• Member Since 18th Mar, 2012
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Inquisitor M


Why 'Inquisitor'? Because 'Forty two': the most important lesson I ever learned. Any answer is worthless until you have the right question. Author, editor, critic, but foremost, a philosopher.

T

It should have been a simple raid on the ponies’ livestock, but there was an ambush. There had to be some reason he had been spared, and whatever that reason was, he would probably need all his strength to face it.

"This is a really masterful piece, and what makes it stand out from the others in this contest is that nothing is explained. Far too often, writing an alien perspective involves a lot of “what is that? why are they doing that? I am doing this, and it is different from what they do”, but not here. Osvald, the griffon, just goes about his business as he normally would, and the ponies’ reactions are what tell us that it is unexpected. On top of that, this gives us a couple stories’ worth of redemption and a thrilling mystery, plus the perspective of a people with long memories in conflict with short ones. This is plain great."
—PresentPerfect, Equestria Daily pre-reader and Royal Canterlot Library curator.

Reading by AShadowOfCygnus.
Entry for Equestria Daily's Outside Insight Competition.
Cover image by Abcron
A massive thank you to wYvern for his editing help and all-round butt-kicking.
Additional thanks to Abcron for significant feedback as time ran out.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 54 )

It's a nice story, don't get me wrong, but its a nature of black of black and white, to the colors of so many nuances. And while it says much, how much is truly defining, is questionable in many aspects. In the end, the status quo is what it is. Nothing changes, save what is lost to all.

I know he's supposed to be the star, but he's just a regressive Luddite and traditionalist, another blood-drinking woomeister who huddles like the Forsworn in his bone-strewn cave covered in filth and a thick crusting of ignorance. You want me to feel sorry for him? Wen he swoops back for vengeance, even as a wronged party, for refusing the proper channels he should go down in a darkened rain of arrows.

Your writing style is mint, truly. It was a joy to read. I will be stalking for more of your writing... :)

4856193 Sadly so, there's a point that even someone that has the capacity to learn will see that ponies are trying to reach halfway. This one is willfully ignorant. To choose to believe another is less, but eh, thats how this was written. So you get from him, well, what you wrote. Even then, well, its not even said, implied certainly from that perception they brought them down, odds are, they simply left him to rot for 'falling' against a 'prey' species. Like attracts like eh?

4856357

My point was actually that I hope the ponies arrow him to death when he swoops back like a screaming idiot. If he can't act like a rational agent in a diplomatic situation he deserves all the arrows that can be shot into him.

4856075 I have no idea what you just said.


4856193

I know he's supposed to be the star

Says who?

You want me to feel sorry for him?

No. Not really.

If he can't act like a rational agent in a diplomatic situation he deserves all the arrows that can be shot into him.

To play devils advocate (since I in no way condone the character's response), would this belief also imply that every dead American soldier from the second Iraq war deserved it? because that appears to be an irrational response to a diplomatic situation, too.

Food for thought.

4856197 Thank you very much! if you enjoyed this Every Mare needs Her Stallion should be to your tastes, as it is in a very similar style, but if you fancy something a little more light hearted, you might want to consider Movements of Fire and Shadow.

Be sure to let me know what you like and what you don't!


-Scott

4858421 Ah, the way you said things, it gave the appearance of something else there, my bad.


4859166 Basically, nothing changes, but the fellow acts on what his narrow viewpoint of 'what is' by his perceptions by the wordplay given. What he sees, and chooses to see, is so narrow, its practically a straight line.

4859184 But then, the ponies are the same way, and our society is much the same way (though generally fragmented into a multitude of differing narrow views). His is just more blatant because he's the PoV character.

To simply point out that he has a narrow view is meaningless. At least if you say that a car is red, it can be empirically verified as either true or false. A philosophical assertion can be assessed and either valid or invalid through logic and reason. I'm assuming from the way it was presented that you intended 'narrow' to be a pejorative, but that would be an assertion made without rationale, hence it is meaningless. That would be like me saying 'that ice cream is banana flavoured' as a pejorative and assuming that others would share my view of banana flavoured ice cream.

I'm not saying his worldview is good or bad, but being 'narrow' is not relevant without some degree of reasoning to it. If different people could take the adjective as having both positive, negative, or without basis for comparison, then it is meaningless.

What he sees, and chooses to see, is so narrow, its practically a straight line.

For example, that sounds like praise for his worldview to me, but I doubt that's what you meant.

4859262 If that viewpoint sounds good, Might I introduce to Reality Check? Other viewpoints that work to that modus operandi are zealot, crusader, inquisitor, and perhaps serial killer to name those right off the top of my head.

But poking aside at the aspects of perspective, how each is very much a subjective and always different nature to the individuality of each being, and the light joshing of your reply to break the ice in a moment of what I hope is levity.

What you say is quite relevant to the point. However, it doesn't carry across to this character's PoV from the reading perspective. Or to the message you hoped to convey about equine-kind in his view. That's simply all I'm saying.

4859286 That is a strawman. I said it sounded like praise for his worldview. To then misrepresent that as endorsing any single-minded worldview is unacceptable.

If you start any worldview from a faith-based position, you're going to end up in bad places. Osvald clearly states, however, that the 'laws' as he knows them are not handed down from gods, but simply are. This is nothing but a opening your eyes to reality: no-one had to teach you that gravity existed, you worked the basics of that out before you could speak.

I'm not saying he's right, or that his 'laws' are true. I have no pretension to anyone being right or wrong in the story. People can take from it what they will. I believe you may also be conflating my statement of 'sounds like praise' as referring to what you meant, rather than what you wrote.

4859752 And i not accusing of the same, but when you approach a first person perspective, the viewpoints I know are often fill with that characters preconceptions, viewpoints, and even what has shaped their lives up and unto said points that they interact with others upon their stories.

I used those as a point as are what one could consider needing a narrow point of view to do what they seek to. Doubt in and of their respected fields does not prolong their expected positions in the eyes of what they intend, nor otherwise fit into any congruent aspects for those positions. And to poke at the nature of such as well. Ah well, words and their nuances to how every individual perceives such.

I never intended a strawman, or in its argument as one fallacy to this, but the act more so than in narrowing ones viewpoint, that one has to remove certain other emotive aspects in order to do such with any degree of the mind working within those parameters. However, when such a pov is done, you get a reader disconnect in many cases. The mindset does not bridge the gap intuitively. It often arrives in a form that you tend to come across as trying to place a square peg into a solid block. There just is not that connection, and while writing may place and find those whom this being interacts with that bridge, he himself never does.

If you would look to subjunctive, and see that that author both places the mindset into an alien one compared to the pony in question, but also finds a way that gets the reader to see and view how his mind words in this approach, and what it lacks, compared to the ponies in question that are interacted with. And what their own has in its nuances, and their approach as well that is not in his own.

I understand the predatory instinct, the approach, and how it changes a mindset, especially a winged species. Its was fun to be in the study of ornithological beings of all shapes and sizes for a spell. And how time has worked its magic to each. I guess more so, you wanted to try an alien mindset to ponies, and you do succeed here. The issue is that you also don't have that same bridge that is humanly relatable to as well. It comes across as a rabid animal, and there isn't much that can be done with one. It breaks in reading the bridge a willing suspension of disbelief that one aims to try and work with when reading.

4859166

Those soldiers were dispatched, not acting as independent (irrational) agents. He is doing this murderous reveng. By his own will. So he should die by it.

As for 'the star' he is the primary (actually sole) narrator. By definition he is the star, as he gets the marquee billing.

And for wanting the audience to feel sorry, you hit all the traditional "po', po', pitiful me" tropes; and as tenprotagnist the audience is generally expected to be on their side. Even when they're complete assholes like in "A Clockwork Orange."

All is lost.

4860231

Those soldiers were dispatched, not acting as independent (irrational) agents.

Do you think that rationally murdering people is better? Do you think they are acting rationally? Seems to me that the soldiers are more culpable because of that.

By definition he is the star

That's not the definition of 'star', in this context, so no.

[...] and as tenprotagnist the audience is generally expected to be on their side.

Expect what you like, but you've no cause to put that on me. Personally, I ask more of that from an audience.

4860234 Have you looked under the fridge? I mean, everyone thinks to look down the back of the couch, but no-one really wants to look under the fridge.

4860317

So he's not the character of primary focus, given the majority of revelation and depicted in the most developed fashion? I must have read another story. I thought this was about a primitive griffin that killed ponies now and then.

If you want more from your audience, tell them. If you expect them to decipher some occult, sub rosa meaning in your words without saying it's there then you only have youself to blame for being obtuse.

Soldiers have a job to do. They do it as a consequence of an agreemet they made. Diplomacy can be part of that or might not be. They are less culpable because of an expectation of action. He has no central authority directing his activity in a carefully controlled way. You may as well call him John Wayne Gacey, killing for the sheer desire to kill.

4861961 No, he is not the star by definition 'because he is a character of primary focus, given the majority of revelation and depicted in the most developed fashion' because that's not the definition of star in this context. Actors are stars, characters are not (unless it is part of the character, of course). Hugh Jackman could star as Osvald, but Osvald is not the star; he's merely the PoV character in a story.

The use of star with context to characters is that of 'standing out' or 'displaying excellence', i.e. 'he was an absolute star'. I was doing you the credit of assuming you actually know how to use words, so I assumed that this is the context in which you were using the term since it was the only one that fitted. Since that is clearly not the case, any issue with my response stems from an incorrectly expressed concept. Readers aren't 'supposed' to like him or dislike him; as far as I'm concerned, readers are 'supposed' to think for themselves – hence my previous answer.

I thought this was about a primitive griffin that killed ponies now and then.

It is. However, I assume that here you mean primitive in a pejorative sense since you previously used the terms 'luddite' and 'traditionalist' (both also used either incorrectly or disingenuously) in this context. I'm trying not to assume that you're just bigoted, but I am finding it difficult.

It would be just as accurate to say: "he was a thoughtful griffin that tried to avoid killing ponies and advocated peace."

Both statements are true.

If you want more from your audience, tell them. If you expect them to decipher some occult, sub rosa meaning in your words without saying it's there then you only have yourself to blame for being obtuse.

I pretty much expect them not to be dishonest bigoted assholes who can think critically. Pretty much the same as I expect from all human beings, though I am disappointed far too often for my liking.

If you have a point you actually want to make, then make a point. Just slinging adjectives and propaganda says more about you than the character in question.

Soldiers have a job to do.

Ahh, right. So if I give someone else the job of murdering people, that would make it okay? Seems like a pretty sociopathic point of view to me.

He has no central authority directing his activity in a carefully controlled way.

And there is the bias. This indicates to me that you think it's okay as long as someone else ordered it. No. Murder is murder. That doesn't change because someone wears a uniform. More and grander atrocities are carried out in a controlled way than in anger.

(EDIT: Since you have issues with the meanings of words, I should point out that 'rational' and 'controlled' are entirely different things.)

Those soldiers were dispatched, not acting as independent (irrational) agents. He is doing this murderous reveng.

To give up autonomy and follow orders without personal consideration moral evaluation is, by definition, irrational. Soldiers who exercise rationality when interpreting orders are generally frowned upon – can't have a soldier to understands when his orders are immoral, can we?

In this case, Osvald is exactly the same. If he kills, he is likely to do so in a precise, organised, and methodical manner. What you're speaking out against is the motivation for doing it, and the motivation for either the soldier or the commander/politician in my example is just as irrational – perhaps more so, as I alluded to.

Again, I'm not condoning any specific action in the story, but I don't accept one person's poorly reasoned (or, I suspect, not reasoned at all) opinion as fact.

4864055

You expect a lot. I understand you don't believe a lot of what is in here. Though your position on soldiers tells me a lot more about you than I think you intended.

I am also very bigoted. I am bigoted against honor-bound nuts likes Kingons and Forsworn. He just wants to save the woodlands, Hard Green style. It's actually kind of sad. Throwing his life away for some ancient traditions, puches in the face and sex.

4864837 But this is what I don't get: there are no ancient traditions in the story.

I mean, I'm as big an anti-traditionalist as anyone – I think it's a god-awful reason for doing anything – but aside from a caste system, there isn't really any other tradition shown. Well, not knowingly, at any rate, which is why I ask.

Now that was a hell of a story, certainly. A story of savagery (such as it is) vs civilization, with the usual duplicitousness of civilization rearing its ugly head. Very well told. I don't know if there will be more, or what else would be worth telling, but it could certainly be interesting.

Style wise, my only critique would be that it would read much, much better in first-person perspective. Most of it seems to be written that way anyway, and there were several times -- especially near the beginning -- where I slipped into that myself. Vocabulary work was excellent, character voices very distinct, descriptions of the world were subtle but prevalent enough to build an accurate picture of the ponies and place.

A fine piece indeed, well done. Thank you for motivating me to read it.

4867885 Thank you!

I did spend some time pondering the relative advantages of 1st verses a tight 3rd, but in the end I went with 3rd because it was a competition entry with a deadline and 3rd is what I have experience with. Considering how close I came to not getting it finished in time, I'd say it was the right call at the time.

I enjoyed this story. Good job.

The comments made for some nice comedic relief after its seriousness. XD

4871953 We aim to please and berate in equal measure, for we are the inquisition and somebody has to keep the comfy chair warm.

4871962

The all-powerful terrestrial isopod master race finds your pursuits worthy. Proceed with our blessing, Follower of the Python Inquisition!

You had me.

You had me.

I don't know what's going on in the comments, but I was loving the story. Osvald felt distinct and engaging, with stark comparisons between himself and ponykind. You have masterful grasp of highlighting the alien nature of something we would take as mundane. It drifted a little heavily towards the noble savage concept, but it was written well enough that it didn't feel forced. I was especially enjoying the build-up of political tension that hinted at a possible escalation between species that could only end badly. It was giving a measure of depth to the world that draws me in, something normally only series-spanning epics manage easily.

And then the ending came and yanked me out of that world so fast I swear I'm suffering from whiplash. The story goes into detail to show us that hostilities hadn't even begun. Minor disputes such as what kicked off the introduction, sure, but nothing heavy. But then, surprise! The ponies went complete ethnic cleansing! It's a very sharp plateau of humanity. Or... equinity, in this case. I cannot believe the ponies, even the flawed and more realistic version we were introduced to in this story, would jump straight from 'defending livestock from hunters' to 'atrocity'. There just wasn't enough gradual progression to that stage for me to accept their fall. I believe people could do this, yes. But not ponies.

Not that this makes your story any less of a joy to read. Alternate universe stories make up a great deal of the quality fiction around here. However, I'd gone into this expecting in-universe greatness to add to my personal headcanon, and the apparent bloodthirstiness of the pony race shattered that for me.

A thumbs-up for you and thank you greatly for writing. Best of luck in the contest,

-Hack

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Whoa. Did not expect that ending. Fantastically done. (Gotta feel sorry for LunchTime, too.)

"Interesting."

That about sums up my reaction to this story... :ajsmug:

...well, minus my reaction to the ending, anyway, which was more like this:

up-ship.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/thats-sad.jpg

(Okay, maybe this isn't the best depiction after all, but I already decided against using this picture once today. Not a second time... :trollestia:)

This story gets good grades from me for being unconventional and for being a challenging (and thus worthwhile) read. The plot is good, albeit a little difficult to follow, and a few cliches pop up here and there, but the fact that it got away with standard twists without me spotting them from a mile away deserves praise nonetheless. The pony characters end up being numerous without being easily distinguishable (i.e several times I had no idea who was supposed to be who and how everyone was connected, etc.), but at the same time the ones in focus -- especially Ironhooves -- were fun to watch.

My two main problems are these:

1) The narration, while sublime at times, is often very forced in trying to tell its message. The most powerful passages are the ones where Osvald doesn't tell us outright how he sees ponies as "pathetic herd-creatures", etc. The events and conversations convey that far better.

2) The ending, despite being a good twist and having an excellent buildup, kinda lost me. Unless I chalk this up to "ponies before Celestia" (that is when this takes place, right?), it feels like it's needlessly antagonizing ponies, all just to give Osvald another chance to be angry. While I like how the story does the whole "inevitable, perpetual, and meaningless conflict" thing, and I could argue that the ending is where we "even the scales," since Osvald and his kind were anything but innocent in the conflict and kinda had it coming to them, but the narration never tries to imply any of that. It basically boils down to the stereotypical "indians vs. settlers" thing, except with "griffons vs. ponies" (especially with the "griffons are so in tune with nature" thing thrown in.) Not bad, but it didn't leave a good taste in my mouth.

Other than all that, though, it was a superb read. Not the one I'd nominate for #1 spot in the competition, but definitely in the top ten among those that I've read so far.

Best of luck to you! :raritywink:

4901487 You may have noticed that it's a tad contentious :P


4901860 I wouldn't nominate it for #1 either :P

Currently I have it tied for 4th, but I save several major stories to go before I finish my full read-through.

In the end, I really just wanted to play on the possible extreme consequences of what we see in the show. It seems fair to assume that ponies won't survive without night and day, and so unless the world was crated with enough unicorns already knowing how to raise and lower the sun, then it must have happened on it's own at some point. Also, ponies moved into what became Equestra (according to the story, at least) which means something probably got overrun. Lastly, the show makes the parallels between ponies and humans abundantly clear, so I just threw the ideas together to see what came out.

The fact that it came out as mirroring some classic archetypes... well, let's just say there are reasons that those are well-trodden ground, and the stories in this year's media may have been tugging at my subconscious. I never really intended to make one side right or wrong; the PoV jut naturally frames it's side to be more in the right. I like to the the question is an interesting one, though, since the human-on-human comparison is explicitly not a parallel for pony-on-griffin sex conflict (sorry, the fandom got the better of me for a moment there).

-Scott

This definitely needs a continuation! Well done and congratulations on getting in the final pick! :pinkiehappy:

4905055 I guess I could write PREJUDICE.

:P

This was very enjoyable to read, if something I needed to take much more slowly than the other stories from the competition I've read so far, and I expect the same will be true of those that remain to be read. I found Osvald engrossing and the narrative felt like it just fit everything very well. I'll admit some frustration at, at some points, needing to reread a few times to determine who was doing what to whom, but on the whole that wasn't a great problem. Can't say I left feeling good, but then such is life. There's a certain despair, I think, as though it seemed there was hope, it turned out our POV really was just a bit player in somebody else's story, and nothing he could have done within this story's confines would have brought about his desired state; that's not to say he's done nothing, but perhaps making a little bit of an impact on one small corner has to be enough.

I've noted some editing fixes; I hope you don't mind.

The occasional sigh and snore adding to the babbling of the aesthetically agreeable weir.
I'm not sure if it was intentional, but I don't think this is a complete sentence, and don't recall many (any?) other fragments.

“I…” Lemon Drizzle looked him in the eye, but not further words came forth.
Should that be "no"?

“Oh, no,” lemon Drizzle replied, a more authentic vitality entering her voice.
"lemon" should be capitalized.

He was the loudest voice and he lead from the front.
"led"

As grey bounced and rolled, Tan stepped forward.
"grey" should be capitalized.

“There, there,” Cloud Runner leant in and nuzzled the mare affectionately. “Just a little more and you can go. Then we can put all this behind us and start planning a beautiful wedding for you and your fiancée.”
If I'm reading it right and Cloud Runner is talking to Tigerlily about Woodwork, then "fiancée" should have only one "e".

Moonshine gave him a long, empty look as she trotted past, as if she had no idea what make of any of it.
I believe you are missing a "to" between "what" and "make".

Osvald… there’s an armed brigade on the way here – Pegasi, maybe even unicorns.
"Pegasi" shouldn't be capitalized.

Lemon Drizzle, rested her head on her hooves and sighed.
I don't think the comma is appropriate there.


Well, even though I can't wish you luck in the competition, I have no problem thanking you for a great read. You've consistently made it worthwhile, and I look forward to your next.

4929554 Heh. I do seem to have had a bit of a 'dark patch' this year. I suppose that some time you just have to roll with where your heart is when it comes to writing.

And thank you very much for the errors. they have all been corrected.

Oh wow, I sure didn't see that ending coming.

Good story, but dude, it feels like someone just punched me.

4992405 Bah. You should be use that that by now!

Next one is fluffier. I promise :)

4860231 4859166

To play devils advocate (since I in no way condone the character's response), would this belief also imply that every dead American soldier from the second Iraq war deserved it? because that appears to be an irrational response to a diplomatic situation, too.

Do you think that rationally murdering people is better? Do you think they are acting rationally? Seems to me that the soldiers are more culpable because of that.

Ahh, right. So if I give someone else the job of murdering people, that would make it okay? Seems like a pretty sociopathic point of view to me.

And there is the bias. This indicates to me that you think it's okay as long as someone else ordered it. No. Murder is murder. That doesn't change because someone wears a uniform. More and grander atrocities are carried out in a controlled way than in anger.

Okay.

I'm rational enough to give the benefit of the doubt to people, so I'll humbly ask you before I jump to getting mad or offended. Exactly what are you trying to say here? Because I'm picking up something that may or may not have been your intended message in these words.

4864992

You have built "ancient traditions" into the customs of griffins. They believe in the woo, Gaia-theory stuff and Hard Green position. Like Forsworn. And they have their (mildly offensive) Noble Savage/Proud Warrior Race tropes in full activation, like backwards Klingons (they have some technology that surpassed that of the Federation; these griffins seem to have rocks and sticks against a pre-industrial but advanced nation.

5026965 I think the simplest way I can present it is that Gabriel directly implied that the protagonist should die simply because he was acting emotionally – essentially saying that the action itself is not the issue, but the driving force behind it.

Gabriel then went on to say that soldiers are not subject to the same imperative because they are not acting as independent agents. This essentially takes us into 'only following orders' territory, but to the extreme of refusing the very idea that soldiers are even capable of acting independently. This is clearly nonsense, I think you'll agree.

Therefore, while I can find no reason to believe that the decision to intervene in Afghanistan was not made by grossly corrupt and deeply immoral politicians (and no, not just in the US by a long stretch), it would make the solders implementing their orders only complicit in mass-murder if those soldiers were incapable of acting as independent agents, rational or otherwise. I was highlighting the absurdity in Gabriel's position by taking it to a larger scale – a resductio ad absurdum.

Further, the perspective forwarded was that the antagonist was explicitly in the wrong for not taking a diplomatic route in his response. I would argue that taking a diplomatic route after the slaughter of your kin isn't any kind of moral high-ground. In fact, it could be as easily viewed as abandoning principle and morality in exchange for survival – a very practical course of action, but not one steeped in any kind of ethics or morality.

There would certainly be a case of both sides being in the wrong, but for Gabriel to imply that the protagonist deserves to die for perusing an emotionally driven course of action that had already been visited upon him by his now-enemies is ridiculous; that's more akin to saying that black people should have been slaves because they were conquered.

With specific regard to modern soldiers, I know that there are ways and means of questioning orders that an individual can instigate – be it lowliest ground-pounder or decorated officer. I don't claim to know much about it (a lot of it coming from a number of servicemen seeking 'conscientious objector' status), but I know enough to be sure that some are classified and murderers, and some are not, and the distinction is made on the individual's actions and the assumption of agency. It is that agency that prevents soldiers from being intrinsically immoral, since an order being issued for even the most corrupt and evil reasons still has the possibility of not being equally corrupt and evil, because it is the individual actions that will define the course and moral or otherwise; thusly, the protagonist's morality would be better judged by what actions he takes, not his desire for vengeance. If, for example, he were only to seek out those that participated in the killing of his pack, he would, short of indulging in torture, still be less 'in the wrong' that those who started the killing. That said, the implicit possibility for engaging in terrorism was an conscious inclusion at time of writing.

Additionally, I said that soldiers would be more culpable because, absent situations where they are already under fire, they are not usually the direct subjects of an initial cause. They have an emotional 'distance' from the causal subject that, I would argue, gives them a greater responsibility for the quality of their actions that the protagonist of the story.

-Scott

P.S. To be upfront: yes, I am morally opposed to the existing industrial complex and western intervention in the Middle-East, but the arguments put forward were meant to criticise the opinion put forward, not to assert mine.


5028024

They believe in the woo

Could you cite any examples of this? I strongly believe that you cannot, and that you are talking out of your arse.

“And we care for the entire forest!” Osvald finally butted heads with the stallion.

Nice little diatribe there, beakie... but how exactly do you care for the forest? All you do is hunt in it, and it basically runs itself like the Everfree.

Blah, just more 'ponies suck because they suck'.

So basically he, alone, is going to try for revenge.

And die because he's outnumbered hundreds to one.

Seriously, a cat would lose in a fight with 100 mice all attacking at once. Those little bastards can bite hard.

Really, this is some serious pony demonization, very one-sided.

5040818 You know, getting downvoted by someone making such outrageously stupid comments just has to be a plus. I'm very sorry that actually thinking appears to be such a great challenge for you.

I just had the weirdest idea, but it needs a bit of confirmation first. Where exactly does this story take place? I tried to decipher it through a second reading, but so far I'm stumped. I keep thinking of a place in/near a mountain range (Foal Mountain?) for some reason...

I apologize in advance if this is clearly stated somewhere in the story and/or the comments section... :twilightsheepish:

5169912

“Well, Tigerlily said Ironhooves was arranging provisions for some kind of stockade – something about preparing for a cloud city on the other side of Galloping Gorge. [...] "

South-east of Galloping Gorge is now Cloudsdale, so the story takes place somewhere north-west of it. Equestria being what it is, it's foolhardy to try and pin it down more than that, but you to take the train tracks on the map to be parallel with Reaver's Rush, you have a fairly small area left to play with.

5169972

Thanks for the response!

Hmm... kinda odd to imply there's a "savannah" nearby when they are that close to the Frozen North. That is, assuming every location is more or less based on the map you included.

Anyway, the idea is just a silly "connection" that I found:

- "Pride" takes place in or near a mountainous region (Galloping Gorge), very close to the borders of "present day Equestria," and I assume the events predate the princesses' reign
- the plot details a "collision zone" of sorts between ponies and griffons
- it also hints at a war (or what only the latter perceive as a war at first) that griffons are slowly losing
- taking canon depictions into account implies that, centuries later, the two races are no longer independent: griffons coexist as a minority, possibly since the borders of Equestria engulfed their lands (i.e they are one of Equestria's "border regions")

- my own fic for the same contest takes place in "present day Equestria," specifically in a town within an unnamed mountainous region with a (vaguely implied) minority population of griffons
- main character's intentions imply that he wished to move far away from Ponyville, but there are still plenty of ponies around, so plot takes place near or at (but still within) Equestria's borders
- though centuries have washed away any remaining animosity between the two races, griffons still seem to prefer to isolate themselves from ponies, while (certain) ponies are still unnerved by the thought of venturing into griffon territory, especially without advantage in numbers
- certain griffons are very skeptical about the whole "friendship is magic" approach that ponies seem to have, and about ponies in general
- other than all that, they seem pretty "meh" about living together

Is it too much of a stretch to imagine that I ended up writing a "pseudo-sequel" to your fic without actually knowing about it? :pinkiecrazy:

I know I've already reviewed this on the blog, but for the sake of putting something here: I thought this was a really interesting story. Some uncomfortable realities about Equestria are certainly revealed here. I particularly admire your rejection of a simple goodie/baddie division. It's not an out-and-out favourite of mine simply because I don't much like either Osvald or (most of) the ponies as "people". Doesn't mean this isn't well written (it is), just that my own preference is for something a bit warmer.

I like how this story ends up subverting the reader's expectations. The beginning portrays the ponies as the kind and merciful race through Lemon Drizzle while Osvalt's curt and icy manner is meant to portray the griffins as a cruel warrior race. Yet in the end, the ponies are just as malicious as the griffins.

I listened to ShadowofCygnus' reading, and thought he did a great job with it. Loved the world building you did with griffin culture. Keep up the good work!

6754715 Thank you very much! But I'm afraid what there is is pretty much all there ever will be. I'm pretty much over the pony thing now (I think you'll see that the 'telling stories' bit is more prevalent than the 'ponies' bit throughout my work), so there won't be more stories, save maybe one very special one.

If you liked the worldbuilding, I'd suggest that The Boy Who Cried Wolf might be to your taste, though you may have already heard Cygnus's reading of that, too. If so, maybe Bitter-Sweetie might provide some off-the-beaten-track entertainment?

I read this story ages ago, failed to save it, and only just now rediscovered it! I'm glad I did, too. It's one of the first pieces of pony fanfiction I ever bothered to read and it's one of my absolute favorites.

7689813 Why thank you, O worshipper of the divine brew.

You know, now that you comment brings me back here, it strikes me that much of the argument that occurred below seems to stem from the assumption that what we call civilisation is, in fact, civilised. In that respect, I hope only to have given people pause to reconsider what is civil and what is savage (much like The Boy Who Cried Wolf, actually).

Glad you enjoyed it, anyway.

Took far, far too long to get round to reading this, but I'm glad I got to it in the end. The prose is good and sharp and immersive, the take on griffon culture and the worldbuilding is excellent, and Osvald's an intriguing viewpoint from which to see the world and ponykind. Exceedingly good work.

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