• Member Since 11th Nov, 2013
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Noble Thought


Streaming thoughts to a blog near you! Stories to follow.

T
Source

In another world, Answer Jim was just Jim: the janitor for a school in Salt Lake City's suburbs. In the current one, he ekes out a living collecting scrap and food, barely holding back the gray that eats the world and everything in it. Even souls.

But he finds a precious treasure in a box. A brown box in a world of gray. Inside that box is color, and life, and a warm summer breeze. Inside, is a filly who calls herself Celestia.

She's more than she seems.

Cover Art by the talented Silfoe - used with permission.

Edited by Minds Eye
Prereading by: Carapace, ThatOneWriter

MMDG Finalist

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 41 )

Sigh. Another knock off for my little dashie?

Dont get me wrong, i love MLD. Why? Cause i cried six times over a period of 2-3 years.
But there are so many mld related stories with only the main character being changed, its not original.

I could give this a read cause maybe somewhere in there ill be doing d'awwww but

This is just my two cents.

5540099

Written for the More Most Dangerous Game contest, using the prompt "My Little Dashie"

I guess that's why it's the More Most Dangerous...

Edit: I'd also note that I haven't actually read My Little Dashie. I've seen and heard enough about it to kinda gather an idea of what happens in it, and used those vague impressions to shape the story. Although I think mine does end... rather differently.

Good luck in the contest!

What I really liked about your story was that it was a bit of a melding of two prompts, but you only dipped into the second for the setting. Having it set in a post apocalyptic world served the MLD prompt well because it put constraints and limits on the resources of the caretaker.

The characterization of Answer Jack was very strong and fit the setting to a T, while Celestia acts pretty in line to how the show portrays her. I will admit that I read the ending two or three times to fully grasp it. I had issues arranging the sequence of events once magic started pouring out of her face.

Overall, this was a strong entry. Good job all around.

Absolutely stunning. Way to take a tired prompt and truly make a beautiful story out of it.

Damn it Lambent, you got dust in my eye. :fluttercry:

5540241

Thank you. I do admit, the last part does feel a little rushed to me. Pacing's a little off, I guess. Anywho... yeah. The setting was a good choice, I thought, for the time constraints I had, and Jim kinda rose out of that setting. Janitor, older, remembered the fifties. No time frame on when the bombs dropped, and that was intentional. I didn't want to tie it to a specific point in time, or even a reason. The reason for and the time of the setting were irrelevant to the story.

Answer Jim... I thought up his name because of the "Answer" call sign, or whatever it was. Just what he went by after a while. Illiterate, but not an idiot. Common sense kind of guy. Loner. But with a kind heart, and a soft spot for some of the kids in the school. But yeah... the setting was meant to restrict my choices. I couldn't have pizza delivered and have a funny scene, everything had to be scrounged, and there would be times when they had to stay in the bunker for the storms.

But... he was also a janitor. Liked things clean. Neat. Celestia likes things clean and neat. Match.

5540271
Thank you! I'm not sure how good it'll do in the contest. I haven't had a chance to sit down and polish it like a lot of my other stuff. I'm not sure what I would polish. I tried to make Jim's character come out in the narrative and the dialogue both. So it is a bit rough in both places, around the edges. I like it like that. Simpler, too, than my usual style.

5540370
Sorry... kind of a lot of it out in the waste. Gets everywhere.

Comment posted by this community is bad deleted Jan 24th, 2015

5540423

I don't think I've ever seen someone try so hard to be on the receiving end of the banhammer. Or someone try so obviously hard to troll anyone, for that matter.

Oh well, at least you're generating heat for the story :pinkiesmile:

5540423
Yeah, wonderful comment dude. You are really trying aren't you...

Noble your story is beautiful. I'm certain Tia will always remember her daddy fondly.

5540423

Deleting a troll comment from a now banned user.

Sure, maybe this isn't the most polished story around, but it doesn't have to be. *hugs* Thank you for giving my world color again.

5540099
This is as original as it gets while following a prompt like this. I don't care too much for MLD or its clones, but I loved this fic more than I can say.

I'm a sucker for this kind of story. Great characterization, loved the rhythm.

Alright, now that I've gotten my head straight, it's time I left a decent comment.

I know I gushed over Ghost of a Rose and I don't want to come off as a drooling fangirl, but... Well, I was feeling vulnerable this morning. Yesterday was the day of my second visit with my therapist, and I'm not holding back with him so some uncomfortable subjects have come up. Let's just say I wasn't in the best shape this morning. This story, though... This story took that vulnerability and didn't remove it, but transformed it into something else. Something similar, but better. I was still open, but to the good instead of the bad. Quite fitting, isn't it: You brought the pastels back to my world of gray.

It isn't polished, you're right, and there may be so many questions left unanswered, but that's part of what makes this story close to perfect. The little flaws here and there only emphasize the beauty, make it seem more real, like a tiny blemish on a perfect cheek, a broken branch on an old, ripe apple tree. This is more than meager wish fulfillment like so many MLD clones. This is more than cheap jerks on the heartstrings. This is what it truly means to be family.

Good luck in the contest, Lambent Dream. I don't think this story needs to win, though. I think what you've done here surpasses any contest victory. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Liked it. Faved it. Now, as always, comes the tricky part; articulating why without sounding like a broken record playing across all your comment sections.

Your prose, as always, is beautiful without being gaudy, conveying what it needs to to make the reader fully immersed in a scene or a character's action. The grey and lifeless post-apocalypse is evoked with skill, and - despite the presence of a magical talking unicorn - manages to ring very true; in its mix of decent-though-weary souls, amoral killers, and the hope of people that there is a better outcome on the horizon, that East will bring the dawn again.

Your characters are once again excellent. Celestia is true to herself, and even her filly form manages to combine adorableness with regalness. She's unmistakeably her. Jim's an engaging co-protagonist; someone with goals and a heart of gold and a realistic grittiness for the world he occupies - a marked improvement on the protagonist from the original MLD.

The plot echoes the original also whilst taking the core idea in its own direction. It plays to its themes, of hope in the wasteland and the promise of a better day, consistently well. While the mix of flashbacks and present-day initially muddled me somewhat(and if you do read my own offering, you'll see the raging hypocrite that I am in saying that), they're ultimately integrated well enough to make their use worthwhile.

I can very safely call this a superb story in its own right. I think it's even better than the original. And while I've not read many of the other competition pieces so far, I'll be very surprised if this falls anywhere else than among the top three in the final rankings.

Well done, you freaking diamond.

5544738

Thank you. I'm glad the characterization and tempo of the story was pleasing. It was a risk to do a broken up story like that, drawing it out as a man's life, or a part of it, replays in his dying mind.

5545126

I'm not sure how to reply other than... well, I'm glad the story resonated with you on such a level. I'm surprised at the general reception of it, since I barely had time to plot it out, and the characters kinda grew out of the setting and events. This was a pansted story, 100%.

5545898
Thank you, Carabas! I don't think I'll do as well as you think I might in the contest, but thank you for the vote of confidence :twilightsmile: I really do like Jim's character. Bluff, simple. I tried to make the narrative work with his character: simple, straightforward. A man who had most of what he wanted all around, but was slowly falling away from the world. I think Sour kept him going more than anything else until he found Celestia. A force to oppose. Then he found Celestia... and discovered he didn't need something to oppose him, but something to protect, and in that something to protect, he found happiness that was missing, and a hope that things could change.

That was something I wanted to come across in the short time I had to write it. That there wasn't hope before, or at the very least that it was dwindling away to almost nothing. Color faded at the same pace, and became a symbol of his dwindling hope. Then... Celestia, with her untarnished beautiful color.

So... yeah. That was the reasoning. "Answer Jim" because people kept on asking him to answer.

And the bomb shelter, a dinky thing that provided more reassurance than it did real protection. State mandated every public building must have a bomb shelter. Just no mention of how big or how well maintained. The ones he'd stayed with left before a month was out, leaving for the east where there were rumors of unhit areas, shielded by the mountains.

Maybe there were. Maybe there weren't. That wasn't important to the story. It was important that there was still hope in those early days, and the younger folks wanted to chase after it. Jim... wanted to stay. Burden, he'd say, or Gotta keep up the place in case you come back. And one by one, the others in the area left the salt flats, and left Jim and Sour to themselves near the ruined city of dust and memory.

Granted... there are plot holes. Like why the dust, why didn't it get turned into mud almost immediately? Environmental issues. In that case, the environment was bent to fit the story, rather than the environment suggesting the route the story would take. But... little time to explore the environmental impact, and it wasn't important to the story I wanted to tell, anyway. In the end, the waste became a character all on its own. Sort of.

Rambly reply done!

I can certainly say I think it's better than MLD, but that's not all that hard in my own opinion. The maudlin melodrama of the original got real old real fast for me. While this world is bleak, the characters don't spend all day thinking abut how awful it is (and they have a lot more reason to think so).

The dancing came out of nowhere, but then I guess we never really see Celestia working "Deep Magic" (to borrow a phrase) so I have no real objections on that score. Having not one but two scenes with Jim's ghost seemed like a bit much. Anyway, good luck in the contest.

Comment posted by this community is bad deleted Jan 28th, 2015

EMILY DICKINSON!? SHE IS MY TOP FAVORITE POET ever!!!! Well... she's tied in first place with Edgar Allan Poe... But still....

AMAZE PHASE!!

Jim really kept this story together. I can see this going pretty far.

As a curiosity - did you ever think of what caused the world-hop to happen? Some of Celestia's comments half suggest Equestria was destroyed, whereas the ending implies she was somehow pulled out of it, instead.

5695868

I did give it some thought, yes. Some of her comments towards the end, about being the fire of hope, was a subtle reference to another story of mine: Mother of the Moon. The mythos of that AU is... well, I see you've added it to your read later list, so I won't spoil it for you. It's a small part of the story, but will become more important in other stories for that same series.

Essentially, it was an interpretation of her being the very fire of hope. In a world where hope had been all but snuffed out, how could she let it be? I'm less certain on the why of her being a filly, but I would assume that there would have been opposition from the darker end of the spectrum to her just popping in and rekindling hope, or perhaps it was even a willful choice to lock away the greatest part of herself until she knew the world could be saved, and that it was worth the effort.

Anywho... those are some of my interpretations, but none of them were really germane to the contest, and word-space was limited, so I left them out.

5696830

Ahhh hah! Well. I rather like that whole explanation. Thank you for responding!

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Well done, sir, very well done. You've come a long way. I would have placed this higher than ninth myself, but it's definitely deserving of the top ten spot.

5753196

Thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I don't know. I'm kind of in favor of the original ending a bit more, where there's an overt, well, display of Celestia's power. I definitely like the 'Years later' part, but it's lost something in losing the Sun Dance.

5756022

It has lost that overt display of power, yes. But I thought the new ending was closer to the kind of power she demonstrates in the show. Not the grand display, but the subtle guide and the longer term play. Not always certain of the outcome, but then also not pushing people down a path or doing things for them.

It was a gambit, I suppose. On my part and hers. I do feel better about this ending, honestly. It gives Shelly and William agency in their future, and, having worked for it, investment in its outcome.

Edit: I did like the original, too. I liked the portrayal of how she used her power. It's definitely going to be used elsewhere

5756073
The issue I feel is right now it seems we have "Celestia warps between worlds and lives an entire other life at great cost just to tell a couple people 'keep hope alive'" - I might suggest some small, other token. Like a...glowing seed, or something of that sort. Something she imparts some small measure of magic into that may be used to heal or change the world. What could someday be a bridge between Earth and Equestria. I don't know, entirely - muddled suggestions as I think through it.

5756507

A fair thought. What if it was not at her will that she ended up there. But was, instead sent there by, say Nightmare Moon. Or by Discord. Or an accident in one of Star Swirl's mirror portals.

Or even a dream. One where she actually left her body and reappeared on another world. It would fit with the manner of her disappearance from the world.

I'll give it some thought and let it stew for a while.

5756611

Having it be someone else can work, but is at odds with the tone of the ending. Her realization does seem to be part of 'I am here to help, of sorts', and if she truly is there, then her leaving them something they can use to bear a new world from the ashes of the old seems fitting.

5756636

A fair point, as well. I will see what I can do. I think I know just the thing.

Grey has never been so vibrant. Beautiful story.

5819272

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Damn, all fics from that contest are so well made.

:fluttercry: Tears
All of the Tears

I shall explore this further on a different day when my brain isn’t mush from exams.

Almost three years later, and this story still makes me want to cry.

Wait, shit, I am crying.

9362539
*hugs* It makes me cry too, sometimes.

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