• Member Since 19th May, 2012
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Thinking myself to death.


Counter Deacon-Cavalier Sapphire Alpha Ori is not a conversational pony; Grower Smithy-Grower Sapphire Gamma Sa is troubled.

Set within the Enlightened Herd.

(An entry for EQD and Obselescence's "More Most Dangerous Game" competition. )

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 7 )

PresentPerfect loved this story. I'll read it later.

I can see why PP rated this so highly! And I have little-to-no interest in F:E fics anyway, but this was fascinating. So much excellent use of terminology and language. Marvellous.

If you ever do more with this idea, count me on board with it.

Hm. As sci-fi this has a lot to recommend it. The characterization is impeccable. What brings me up short is that I simply cannot shake the feeling that I'm missing something here, like an unlabeled crossover I'm expected to have internalized. (Is the "Enlightened Herd" an FO:E thing?)

For example, the only time that the characters are ever called by their full name is the story description, and "Counter Deacon-Cavalier Sapphire Alpha Ori" is interchangeably called Counter and Ori with no lampshading of the emotional timbre of both those names, nor why "Deacon-Cavalier" or "Sapphire Alpha" aren't used, or even what a Sapphire Alpha is (I guess Deacon-Cavalier is a lineage name?) or where "Ori" came from or argh. For every piece of their culture I'm able to piece together from context, there's another that I'm still grasping to get.

However, this was certainly an interesting read, and has some serious strengths to go along with those flaws. Thanks for writing it. :twilightsmile:

Thank you for the feedback, and I am glad you appreciate it for what it is! I will try to answer to some of what you brought up as confusing…
The easy part, "The Enlightened Herd" is a splinter milieu I've been sitting on for about two years, only a few very short bits actually written that are set in it. Basically: Unicorns from the Old Land (think Windigoes) who stayed behind and managed to survive on their own by going underground. …And staying there. Not quite a Fo:E world, but it was suitable for the event's prompt so I seized the opportunity to explore a moment of life in it. (Indeed, I have not knowingly read more than a single story of Fo:E, and it was a side-story at that; written by Mystic, I think.)

As for the names, you are quite correct that the entire name is never used in-story, in no small part because it is a very formal and verbose name that is rarely used outside of legal matters and stiff protocol. Components of it, however, follow a rather rigid convention, and the essence should have been conveyed in the prose. (I won't do a full BNF for people, but the structure is: <role/formal> <lineage_donor>-<lineage_bearer> <hall> <seniority> <endearment> )

"Counter" as role title and more formal name, the final "Ori" being the name of endearment (i.e., name given to a child before a role is found/assigned). Note how Grower (Sa) first calls their stallion Curu—his endearment—then changes it to his role title, Cavalier, in the conversation for Counter's benefit. Similarly, Counter points out another member of their subherd "Counsel Sapphire Delta Lu" supplies "both names," a formally-complete role title and the endearment.

The 'role title' in that latter instance also includes placement data, "Sapphire" and "Delta." There are subtle hints in the prose that the Herd is subdivided into separate halls, Rose for one, one should be able to discern that Topaz is one as well, with Sapphire filling out a theme; there is little more to it than, for example, "so-and-so of Gaul," but has become part of culture (there is also at least Emerald, Diamond, and Amethyst halls, but that's neither here nor there). "Delta" is to distinguish others of same role-hall titles, and place them uniquely and in seniority without use of the endearment; Delta then means she is fourth-ranked of however many other Counsels in the Sapphire Halls. Grower Gamma as 'third', Counter Alpha 'first', etc.

While not presented in the text (so one would have to be rather perspicacious and imaginative to arrive at the correct deduction), the hyphenated "Deacon-Cavalier" is a lineage name, not unlike cultures who adjoin the last names when married (and/or passed to children). Being a society where they have zero new genetic material to introduce amongst themselves, lineage naturally has become of extreme importance.

Getting off of my (pun incoming) high horse of what things should be, there are several ways that names are used in the story, and they all should be more or less consistent. They address themselves, Counter and Grower, by their names of endearment: Ori and Sa, respectively; it is the narrator/narration that uses the formal names, which may make sense as it could be how Counter thinks of things, despite her using (the expected) endearment. As above, the endearment/formal is presented regarding their stallion. The foals, pre-placement, have no placement name, only their hall name and endearment ("That Topaz colt... Tun"). A formal-complete role: "Planner Sapphire Beta." Role and endearment: "Counsel Sapphire Delta Lu." The clues (for the most part) are there.

And yes, you are absolutely right that there is so very much that is absent—there is something of a mountain of culture that is shaping everything in the scene, and I could only bring back a small satchel of pebbles. This was written partly as an experiment to see just how far I could push immersive storytelling in such a short form, and that it came out as well as it did is nothing short of stunning.

(Hopefully, this protracted wall of words will inspire you to take fifteen minutes to re-read, ponder, and proceed to tell me that I'm right on all accounts… or something.)

Glad you were intrigued!
As noted above, I have ideas related to this thing. If anything more is written of it, I'll do what I can to remember your interest.

You've done some very, very strong world building in this story! The writing does a good job of establishing the culture shock and how alien this civilization is to the Equestria we know. I do hope you plan on continuing within this universe, because a story with this much potential demands expansion.

I liked this story. There isn't much for me to say that Horizon hasn't already. I actually read this because I wanted to try to discern whether it was a crossover, sequel, or what-have-you. The world-building really is good.

I can’t go home either, and you seriously think anyone else would put up me?

Thank you both for finding the setting so interesting. (I want to do something more with it, I promise!)

I can’t go home either, and you seriously think anyone else would put up me?


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