• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
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Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.


The Long Patrol is an extension of the crown. It brings the rule of law and the princess's banner to the far reaches of the kingdom, the places where harmony fades and the wild chaos of nature still reigns.

In times past, all the tribes took part in the patrol. Today, it is mostly pegasi and a few gryphons. The distances they travel are simply too vast for anyone without wings.

Like most gryphons who join, I wanted to get away from my kind. I dreamed of the adventures I would have and the friends I would make. I certainly got those.

I just wish the price weren't so high.

[My entry for the EqD Summer "Outsider Insight" contest.]

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 93 )

Haven't read this one too closely yet, 'cause I promised myself I wouldn't read anyone else's entry too hard until after the contest was over, but this looks pretty promising. Good luck, yo!

Your stories are always amazing.

After finishing this, I thought for quite some time on whether or not Corvus did the right thing. While he did leave Cirrus behind, could he really be blamed for it? He knew it was a lost cause, just as Cirrus, the other Rangers, and possibly even the Deer themselves knew it was. On that note it could also be argued that maybe, in some strange way, Cirrus didn't make the right decision. His heart was in the right place, but did sacrificing himself really change anything, or did he just end up adding another body to the count? Both sides could be argued, but in the end, the choices themselves weren't real moral of the story, were they?

Stories about ponies really are stories about people.:twilightsmile:

I saw the description, and it made me think of one thing.


of course this wasn't from reading the content, just the description.

There's no way you're losing this. Not after that. I only wish it hadn't ended so very abruptly.

That w...well that was


Oh, ambiguity. Was Cirrus' decision to stay the greatest act of selflessness he could have performed, or was it the single most selfish thing that he could have done?

After giving it some thought, I suppose the answer would be both. To those close to Cirrus, yes, his death could be perceived as selfish - an unneeded sacrifice. For he and his companions, the way out was clear. All he had to do was fly away and he would have spared his friends and family a lifetime of doubt and grief. Praised as a hero or not, at least a mother and father would still have their son. And because this story is told from his partner's point of view, of course Cirrus' decision to stay would be seen as foolish.

But what if this tale had been told from the perspective of one the deer - perhaps a doe with a fawn in tow - who could only watch as their so-called defenders left both her and her family, everyone she knew, to be killed by the windigoes? Now imagine a lone pony staying behind, rising up over the chaos, spitting out commands, - fighting the windigoes - so that this doe and her newborn daughter could escape. To the deerfolk, would this unnamed pony be remembered as a hero? The most selfless being to ever walk the earth? By giving away his own life, how much lives was this stranger able to save?

And even after coming this far, I'm having a hard time deciding if Cirrus made the right choice.

Who can say really... perhaps there isn't one. :ajsleepy:

Gardez posing the tough questions that are even tougher to answer. And I love it.

The sign of a good story is when you're left feeling satisfied, but also wanting more. If that's true, then this one has enough flashing neon to put Las Vegas to shame.

But seriously, I loved the way you used Corvus's visit to Cirrus's family as a frame for the snippets of war stories that Corvus has to tell. His present-day situation is unobtrusive, serving to highlight the snippets rather than detract from them, while building empathy with his character. It also gives weight to Cirrus's final decision, because we've seen the repercussions already.

If I become as deft and subtle as you when it comes to overall narrative structure, I'll be very happy.

Another positive point: you avoided overwrought descriptions. In some of your stories, I feel that your descriptions go too far. They can be too long or too beautiful, and while these are a genuine pleasure to read, they can take away from the mood and feel of the story.

(For example, I felt the description at the start of For Whom We Are Hungry pushes into this category. While it's important to establish what Ponyville seems like through the eyes of a love-starved changeling, the description goes too far, and so becomes less of a lens, guiding our attention, and more a set of binoculars riveted in place with a sign next to them saying, in bold-faced print, LOOK THIS WAY.)

(For example II, this actually adds to the mood of several of your stories, especially the ones that a simpler and more driven by moral choices than the others. Heyyoooo, The Glass Blower.)

Back on track now: All the descriptive text gelled pretty damn well with the mood of the story, and just added to the flavour.

On the whole, I loved this. I think I have a special place in my heart for stories in which the narrator consciously telling the story. It gives me that "by the campfire feel" and harkens back to some of the novels that I've enjoyed the most (Narnia, as a kid, although I don't like it as much now; and Watership Down, more recently.) The complex moral choice at the end really hooks it as well. I've been left thinking about what I would do, and wondering what happens to the characters.

Great stuff.


"thousand thousand" - Ch. 1 - might be a repeat
"skills and herbs" - Ch. 3 - double space
"fscared" - . . . Ch. 1? - typo.

Typo in... second chapter I think. "fscared"

Might want to look into that.

you wouldn't have by any chance read the Redwall series now would you? :rainbowhuh:

"O vermin if you dare, come and visit us someday,
Bring all your friends and weapons with you too.
You'll find a good warm welcome, let nobeast living say,
That cold steel was never good enough for you.

You won't find poor helpless beasts all undefended,
Like the old ones, babes and mothers that you've slain,
And you'll find that when your pleasant visit's ended,
That you'll never ever leave our shores again.

All you cowards of the land and you flotsam of the sea,
Who murder, pillage, loot, whene'er you please,
There's a Long Patrol a waitin', we'll greet you cheerfully,
You'll hear us cry Eulalia on the breeze.

'Tis a welcome to the bullies who slay without a care,
All those good and peaceful creatures who can't fight,
But perilous and dangerous the beast they call the hare,
Who stands for nought but honour and the right.

Eulalia! Eulalia! Come bring your vermin horde,
The Long Patrol awaits you, led by a Badger Lord!"

All I could think of as I read this, and definitely a heavy story. And with that mindset, it actually clears up alot of the ambiguity people have in regards to whether Cirrus staying behind was Selfish or Selfless. Personally... I see it as the former. He was a member of the Long Patrol.

He did his duty.

CiG, this was just... perfect.

You have my admiration.


This is fantastic. That's all I have to say.

It was an excellent story that certainly echoed the tale you told in your blog. The only issue which is independent of the quality of the story itself is that I am not sure how much of the prompt it hits.

No one really knows [how?] windigoes fly.

Not sure if was supposed to really mean what it says, but it felt weird to me and really ripped me out of the story.
ADDENDUM: Later context implied that the word is definitely missing.

I had a speech. “I was... I wanted to—

Inverted close quote (nasty little buggers).

Let me put that in perspective – before that day, over the past fifty years, the Long Patrol recorded three <> windigo sightings.

Extra space.

Aurura was just finishing dinner


and proudly told his parents before being dragged off to bed that he wanted to be a gryphon when he grew up.

Oh how I laughed!

It depicted a pegasus family – two large ponies, colored like Cirrus's parent[s?], with a smaller one standing between them.


As for the story itself, superb ending, but it couldn't hold my suspense through the middle part. Oddly, while the opening is much the same in pacing and tone as 'Hungry', the lack of a shift for the second chapter actually works very well. I'm not sure if it is because the slightly monotonous pacing is perfectly in keeping with the tone, or simply because you've done a good job of inviting speculation on the part of the reader (which totally worked on me, planned or not).

A good read, but I'd have to limit myself to 7/10, and that's being a little generous considering it's a relatively weak use of the prompt. (though I'd rather have a good story and damn the prompt, it's a weakness for competitive purposes)

Good luck in the competition.


wow....you killed it very very good story !!!


Ugh, the perils of writing on a laptop in your barracks. Editing sucks.

Thanks for those. I'll fix them ASAP.

I enjoy the idea of deer in Equestria, I honestly believe reindeer live past the crystal mountains.

The Long Patrol just made me want to go EULALIAAAAA!


Great story.

“Do you know where Stratus Heights is?”
“The neighborhood?”
I nodded, and she continued. “I think it's on the southwest side of the city today. If not, try the north. It's usually pretty high, unless it's low. Never in the middle.”

Ahh, pegasi.

Against all expectation, I did find Stratus Heights. The neighborhood was not in the southwest, or the north, but eventually enough friendly ponies managed to steer me toward it.


I'm honestly not sure what to think about this story, but I did enjoy it.
Thanks for writing!

You aren't the only one who was thinking of that passage.


4862041 I really hope we get canon deer at some point, there's just so much potential to them.

Damn, that battle scene.

As an aside, I love the (possibly unintentional) explanation for Scootaloo in this chapter, it's my favorite idea for her yet. She's got parents, somewhere. Maybe not in Ponyville. She probably even goes home every once in a while. :scootangel:

That led into a discussion about other birds, which somehow took us to a conversation about the best places to migrate for the winter. Apparently, the whole city voted in the fall, and then Cloudsdale would actually fly there.

I also really like this idea.

Ahh, and there's the ambiguity implied in the blog post.

Honestly, I dunno what I think of Cirrus's actions, but to really decide I think I need just slightly more details than we are given. Did staying actually save any lives? Did his sacrifice somehow allow some of the deer refugees to survive that otherwise would have not? Given the situation described in the related blog post I can only assume that everyone who was unable or unwilling to fly away died where they stood, in which case I can't really see staying as accomplishing anything other than turning a few more people into mourners.

But, that's pretty easy to write from my couch.

Goddamnit Cold, now I have to choose between yours and Aquamans. Now that's a difficult moral choice.

EDIT: Or maybe I should check to see if there's even a voting process before I decide to be a numbskull. Well whatever. If there was a voting process, THEN I'd have to choose! :flutterrage:

The Long Patrol?

Brian Jacques, is that you?


Thanks for fixing the rating, btw. I think my thought process was something along the lines of, "Well, there's no sex in this story. Rating: Everyone!"

Wow! I must be getting old and very emotional.......That ending had me.....well I guess Old Sgt's do shed a tear here and there.

You monstrously abuse my emotions, and for that I can only continue to thank you.

"Outside Insight" stands to gain SO much by including this in the top three at the very least. I knew the prompt would inspire some incredible stories, but this is...just amazing. Combine story and culture into this result? Without a doubt, something I'll be recommending to my friends.

As always, thanks for the amazing story. They are gifts, every last one on them.

The door was a dark, stained wood. Etched in the lintel above it was a pair of cutie marks: a stylized swirl of wind and three feathers. The swirl was Cirrus's father; the feathers, I assumed, his mother.

Oh- oh. It's these folks, isn't it.

I think I'm going to go lay down. I think a good night's sleep will sort out this pile of emotion you just gave me.

This is a beautifully written story. While I read it, I couldn't help the feeling that a lot came together for you on this; all of your writing skill, your life experience, touches of themes from other stories (such as your very enjoyable take on pegasi family culture). Absolutely one of my top favorites of your stories.

And... I'd like to add that little Alto was freaking adorable! :twilightsmile:


Sort of. Same characters -- different universe. Aurora in 'Trumpet doesn't obsess over her son, Alto is a boy not a girl, etc.

But there are quite a few similarities as well.


I love your take on Cloudsdale. Most other stories I've read treat it as a typical, fixed-in-place city that just happens to be made of cloud, and I suppose I've always thought of it that way, too. This more flexible version makes a lot more sense, though, and gives it way more 'character', I guess you'd say.


We got canon deer in Filli Vanilli, unfortunately. They're just animals. Hopefully that gets retconned, someday.

Very well done. Of course, as a devotee of happy endings I like to think Celestia [1] showed up in time to save the Deer if not Cirrus... :fluttershysad:

[1] As princess of the Sun one would think this would be a situation where she could be useful for a change... :trollestia:

you make my heart ache with all of these emotions, but by god some of the best stories i have ever read. thank you

Well this is definitely a contender.

4885065 I never even noticed that; I'll have to go look again. It's probably my favourite episode anyway, so I won't mind :P

I'd intended to read this far sooner than I did, and having finished, I do regret my delay, since it's gotten me all philosophical.

It's an interesting piece. Certainly thought-provoking, as expected. There are plenty of questions raised by both this fic and the scenario on which it is apparently based. One can't help but pull out their invisible scales and start weighing the actions of everyone involved.

From a utilitarian perspective, all the actions make sense. The military mind often operates according to this framework, as it has to. It was undoubtedly such thinking which led to the call for retreat. If the odds aren't stacked in your favor, you're a fool to fight; if no good will come of fighting... well, that's kind of the heart of it, isn't it?

What good can Corvus do in that situation? He can join his friend in death, maybe delay things a little longer, maybe even save a few lives from the onslaught (though from your description even that seems unlikely). Or he can heed his orders, retreat from a hopeless fight, and live to carry the banner another day.

Which does the most good? Is it better to end one's story with a note of honor and glory, or is it better to continue the story and see where it goes? Is Corvus better off for running, even if he's forever haunted by guilt? Does Cirrus's family benefit from his telling of the tale?

Do we?

In the final weighing, maybe that's the question that tips the scales.

Author Interviewer

That bit about the children getting adopted for a night is fantastic. The pegasus-related worldbuilding in this piece is unparalleled.


I've always had the most headcannon for pegasi. Of the three tribes, they're the most obviously different. Getting a chance like this to really explore those differences was half the fun :)

Okay this gets an upvote from me for Alto wanting to be a gryphon when he grows up. :twilightsmile:

I really cannot describe how much I love your work Cold in Gardez. This story is both extraordinary and ordinary - it is an extraordinary read, and yet I don't think I've ever read anything from you that wasn't.

I can't wait for whatever you post next, because everything you post reminds me why you are my favourite author on fimfiction, and one of my favourite authors period.

Dude, congratulations on winning second place!

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