• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
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Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.


Queen Platinum is dying.

She is cursed, and every day she grows weaker. If she dies, the kingdom will collapse, and the three tribes will once again fragment. Centuries of unity and harmony will come to an end.

There is only one thing that might cure her – a mystical, half-forgotten potion known as the Panacea. It can cure any curse, any disease, any poison. But all magic has its price, and the greater the magic, the greater the sacrifice it requires.

Prince Hyperion will do anything to save his mother. He will find the Panacea, regardless of the cost.

Even if he isn't the one who must pay it.

Winner of the April Writeoff Competition

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 54 )

So glad to see this here at last:

I can't wait to see what you've done with it!


Yikes. Platinum's arrogance comes through nice and smoothly, I'd say.

I love the descriptions of alchemy here, and the glimpses of this ancient pony society: it's definitely not Equestria, though the seeds are there.

Expanded out darned well.

I love the world-building you've done with all the extra words you have; it's hard to imagine the story without it now. I can't wait to see the rest!

Author Interviewer



Yes. Yes. So happy to see this getting an expansion.

Also, can I just point out that this little detail

Anise chewed on a stick of her favorite snack, licorice

is just perfect in every way?

Ohhhhhhh shit, here we go~!

~Skeeter The Lurker

Platinum's ward is described as both 'basic' and 'intricate' to the point of being a work of art, which is a bit of an odd combination. I also found the atoms discussion a bit weird, though in context I can't say that it felt out of place or hurt my immersion.

I love how you chronicle the accident here. Putting a clock on it ratchets up the tension, and the early weight of description gets paid off well by leaving a much clearer image of what happens. The balance you strike between revealing the menace of the dark magic and leaving its action mysterious is very nice. Similarly, the understatement through to the last line makes the whole thing more horrifying. From where the room's colors change to the end, I'm hooked.

The earlier stuff doesn't feel quite as strong. It's good, but it doesn't hook me—except for the first sentence, which is nice and strong. I don't want to say I think any of it is a misstep, though. It's all or almost all good detail that establishes Platinum's character or sets the reader up for what's to come. I think it's worth being aware that you're probably walking a reader-interest line here, trying to balance setup space with how much trust you've built until the accident starts. The fact that "Cold in Gardez" shows up in the author line gets you more leeway, and I think even without that you manage to strike the balance successfully (at least for me)—but like I said, I think it's worth mentioning, because it's a close-run thing.

Anyway, this is pretty cool! I never read the Writeoff entry for this one, so I look forward to seeing where it's going.

"In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king."

...because the source quote that the title was taken from has to be relevant to this story somehow, right? :rainbowderp:

But in all seriousness, I'm adding this fic to my read later pile for now. Too many other fics on my plate for now. That said, a question: Given the description, why is there no Tragedy tag? That last line all but screams "Unhappy Ending".

I assume you're making a conscious choice to have the start of this chapter parallel the prologue, but I feel like it drags a bit for this choice. We go from magical research (with a big, flashy finale) to potion lessons, and there's so much similarity that I just don't find the scene all that engaging—especially after the aforementioned flashy finale on the prologue. I feel like your characters are losing some of their ability to shine by being tied to a structural choice that I'm not sure is getting you a whole lot.

The "You need a boyfriend" conversation over dinner feels cliche and expected to me, like something I've seen done many times before to establish some key facts about main characters. It's not bad, it's certainly competently executed, but it doesn't catch my attention much because I feel like I know exactly where it's going as soon as it starts to take shape.

Other than that, I definitely like the structural choices here. It feels like you're not wasting reader attention on anything irrelevant. Actually, I'll go a step further than that—it feels like you're doing a good job pretty much throughout this chapter going multi-purpose with just about everything. The potion-making passages are good for both tone and characterization, and they look like they're going to be key to the plot. I was a little unsure what role Anise was going to play outside setting construction and providing more characterization for Foxglove, too, but based on the end of the chapter it looks like she'll continue to be relevant. It's so nice to read something where I feel like the author is really putting thought into his/her choices. I continue to look forward to what you've got in the pipeline.

I disagree; I loved seeing the similarities and differences between the two ponies' workrooms and magical methodologies, gimmick of a parallel structure or no. Having two scenes like this (and presumably stopping now) does violate Rule of Three but that's hardly a "rule," it just leaves a niggling little sense of incompleteness in my brain, like we should see a pegasus workshop now just to round it out. I should probably just get over it; this doesn't seem like a pegasus story.

Agreed with Bradel that geek girl (with goggles, no less) having the Boyfriend Talk seems a little hoary, but it's admittedly a fast way to cover ground. Reserving judgment until I see how the plot and themes shape up.

Perhaps this is just me trying to engineer the situation, but if both the sisters cooperated on mixing the potion, perhaps they could only sacrifice one eye apiece? Dunno how magic works in this world. Magic is finicky.

Anyway, loving the ambiance, and Hyperion's blithe supercilious well-meaning obliviousness.

I have to say it again: Screw you. How could you do that to poor, innocent Anise?

I could not be more ready for this.

Oh man, this thing apparently became a monster, and expanded out quite smoothly from the looks of it. This goes into the tracking list. :twilightsmile:

First, I must say that this story has defined how I view the highest levels of alchemy in Equestria. Headcanon accepted.

Second: this is captivating. Please continue, have my upvote, and have my fave.

I find that, especially with the first line in mind, the focus on minutia prior to the accident really beginning added to the sense of foreboding. It builds the why and how, and underlines the mere chance of the thing, and the contrast with the lavender scented candle yet more by indicating that there were other degrees of freedom where things didn't need to be in some ideal state to prevent what followed.

Though this chapter lacked the urgency of the first, and in fact gave a tone and setting in many respects the opposite of the first, the thematic and structural ties between them are nice. It lacked much in terms of forward momentum, though, which seems to reflect Foxglove. So I'm very happy for one of the parallels between the chapters: each ends, implicitly or no, with someone other than the focal character for the chapter taking over control of where the plot will go.

Generally, people only agree to pay "any price" when the price will pe paid by someone else. A pity, really. And the "noblier", the more common such behavior is.

I love where you're going with this, and I especially like that you've made the earth ponies all speak more plainly than the unicorns, including swearing. Nice little cultural touch! The palace is a really wild place to think about, being that large and that intently designed. Not a brick out of place in the palace of the unicorn queen, huh?

I'm really looking forward to hearing more about the, "fuse in his heart that chased away sleep". If I know anything, at the least that's going to be a really interesting red herring.

I love the sort of body horror you write. Absolutely alien, but not unnecessarily grotesque.

With this kind of leadership, I'm wondering how the tribes are still united. Unless there have been several revolutions that have been expunged from the history books.

The description of Hyperion's wanderings through the palace was almost Lost City-esque!

Overall, I'm loving your descriptions and the setting-craft, but the characters are what really make this story. Hyperion's desperation and exhaustion, leading to him making terrible choices, is very well portrayed, as is Foxglove's righteous anger and her growing terror as she's shown what's going on with the Queen.

If one of his sisters tampered with the experiment, I hope it's not Electrum. That would shatter his heart.

Incredible world building. And I'm not sure at the end of the day wether the potion will even work.

I feel like this has to be pre-Windigos, and maybe this "unification" is not the same as the one we see at the end of Hearth's Warming. It doesn't seem likely that the earth ponies would give up their status as an independent tribe to become serfs to the unicorns.

Love all the worldbuilding you've done. The characters feel real, and the plot is compelling. Can't wait to see where it goes from here.

6359723 Platinum was prolly like Pony Stalin or Pony Hussein. Unity through abject terror or her crazy-ass cleansing sprees! :pinkiecrazy:

Would explain her kids a lot....

6325340 Unless the guy lives in an underground cave world with no light, Then he's just a weirdo and still can't see a thing.

*It's all in the details, ya know?* :raritywink:

My reaction to Platinum if she were my mom.

Mom: Help me! I dabbled in dark magic and now all of the bad things are happening to me!

Me: THOU HAST BROKEN THE SACRED LAWS, WITCH!!! BURRRRRRRN!!! *shoots her a zillion times in the face*

Blood may be thicker than water; but for me, the law is much thicker and heavier and reaches longer with more impact!

That sounded dirty...

There is only one thing that might cure her – a mystical, half-forgotten potion known as the Panacea. It can cure any curse, any disease, any poison.

but can it cure the curse that is... my existence
but can it cure the disease that is... love
btu cna it cure the psoison thats is .,, thoughts of my ex


come back to me please


It's been a while since I've read something else of yours for a control point, but the huge amount of rich, evocative, visual scenery seems to implicitly highlight the sacrifice of the eyes almost as much as bringing it up directly does. And perhaps it's just an unjustified bit of optimism on my part, but at this point, given him going off alone with her and that weird blank line before the one scene break make me wonder if he might not end up trying to give the offering himself, as much as it seems likely not to be the way alchemy works.

Couple editing points:

“My lord!” The unicorn cried.

"The" probably shouldn't be capitalized

She hated winter, it’s chill, its darkness.

"its chill"

which was tall enough to suite their needs.

"suit their needs"

Argentium had taken the lead in fighting back the curse, and the fact that their mother hadn’t died within hours of the accident was entirely due to her. She was the youngest of his seven siblings by over a decade, and she came as something of a surprise to their mother. By the time she was born the rest of them had already carved out roles and aspirations, little fiefdoms to fight over, and rather than compete she chose the life of an academic. Hyperion had thought her choice a waste at the time

Even the most useless of creatures can fell a kingdom at times...

Today’s chosen blade was the sabre, a brutish sword, heavier than the graceful rapier he prefered, and its primary use was for hacking at enemies in close quarters, crashing through their armor, as much a bludgeon as a blade.

The sabre rewarded the strong, the fast and the stubborn, ponies willing to bash and bash and bash against an opponent’s guard until it crumbled. Ponies who wanted to feel the spray of blood on their muzzle when they struck.

That's totes how it is. Explains why It totally wasn't used an awful lot in the Napoleonic Wars.

Her grasp wasn’t like iron – iron could bend; iron could be broken. Her limbs were steel

So can steel. Stone would a more appropriate material in this case.

“You’re right. She is innocent, and doesn’t deserve what is happening to her. Neither do you. And you can call me a bastard and the queen a bitch who’s just getting what she deserved, and maybe you’re right about that too. But the fact remains that I, and the queen, and the kingdom need your help, and I will compel it if necessary.”

That's good. Me likey.

“In ancient times, ponies thought the sun and moon and stars needed magic to move,”

Foxglove knew, to the edge of the world. The world didn't actually end, of course.

Interesting...Is this a different Queen Platinum than the one we're thinking of?
Or maybe...
*in headcanon*
Celestia: lol hey woona what if we told everyone we controlled the sun and the moon
Luna: lol dats stupid all the nobles no that isnt tru
Celestia: dats okay just execute all of them and everyone will forget *under breath* dat i betray u and send u to da mun betch

So, the Everfree was apparently even worse in the past/future. Fun.

Yikes. Given how dangerous it is, I have to wonder what the benefits to messing with dark magic actually are, and if they really truly justify the risks. Probably not from Platinum's perspective right about now, not that she likely has much of a perspective on anything at this point.

Calling it right now: Hyperion and Foxglove wind up being such good friends - or maybe more - that by the time it's time to brew the Pancea he'll end up sacrificing his eyes instead of hers, or at least try to. She'll be sent back to cure his mother as a sign of his trust, and he'll end up dying out in the Wildlands. Or, if the author wishes to go a less dark route, they'll find some way to do it without either of them losing their eyes. As this lacks the tragedy or sad tags, I will call that under no circumstances will Foxglove wind up permanently losing her sight.

6369546 It seems to me it's like trying to play with a nuclear reactor core... while standing inside the reactor core.

Ya gots ta be a special sort of stupid and or arrogant to attempt it. :trollestia:

My only question now is which one of them becomes Sombra?

Think a little about it. It seems kinda obvious. :raritywink:

“I’m not trying to provoke you, prince. I am being serious – if you need to get the Panacea back to your mother as quickly as possible, it would make sense to leave me behind. Leading a blind mare through the Wildlands is not a quick proposition.”

She knew a lie when she heard one.

Something seems to be missing here.

I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And I water’d it in fears,
Night and morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.

And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine.

I had hoped Foxglove would refuse our young prince everything he asked, but there would be no story then. Now I can only hope that she does not meekly brew his miracle for him, martyring herself for the sake of her enemy. Her sister is innocent, yes, but this Prince is a devil, and it is right to refuse him.
How noble he thinks himself, as he lowers his hooves to the troubling business of extortion and fraud. No one else would sully themselves so, in the pursuit of what is necessary. How steadfast he is, to besmirch himself thus. He is simply doing what must be done, after all. How restrained he is, to merely threaten imprisonment instead of death. How kind, to offer her recompense for her sight.

A reckoning is not to be postponed indefinitely.

Not forever. Not in the end. Not for long.

“What about Quicksilver?”

Electrum shrugged. “Depends what time it is. I can never get a straight answer from her.”

I see what you did there, Mr. Clever.
Quicksilver is a nickname for mercury, which is related to "mercurial", meaning easily and quickly changing, often on a whim. In other words, Mercury is being mercurial.

I need more, please, I beg of you! :raritydespair:
Holy buck this is good.

Comment posted by Nekonyancer deleted Dec 23rd, 2015
Comment posted by Nekonyancer deleted Dec 23rd, 2015


Are you seriously going to do this for all my stories?

Comment posted by Nekonyancer deleted Dec 23rd, 2015


Well, you're basically highlighting my mistakes at the top of the comment stack for every story you do this to, so it's the first thing new readers see.

Or is there some hidden benefit to this I'm not getting?

6757596 I didn't realize you felt that way. I considered using PMs for that reason when I started randomly doing this for people, but went with comments for the most part because I noticed other people doing the same thing. And it's been going pretty well - until now, the worst response I ever received was indifference. Most were grateful, and fixed the mistakes I pointed out. Some authors have asked me to continue doing so for stories they hadn't released yet. A couple times, other readers noticed my comments and asked me to read their fics as well.

Regardless, I understand where you're coming from. I'll delete the comments if you want me to.

6757665 PMs work much better for corrections, because once the corrections are corrected, they don't just stick out there in the comment section for the rest of the life of the story. Although I once had somebody leave me a comment about a correction that he thought I needed to make, which turned out to be right in the first place AND the comment had three different errors in it. I corrected his comment in good humor and we all had a laugh about it. :pinkiehappy:

Slowly but surely I've been reading my way through your numerous works and haven't yet found one that I've not thoroughly enjoyed, either though heart felt laughter or heart clenching sadness, and I just want to thank you for creating such amazing works of art, and for painting pictures through words.

Specifically for this story, I love the emphasis put on the descriptions paining a picture of the world for the readers all to show what a shock the loss of eye sight would be. Also just cause I'm that type of person, the consistency of the taste of the healing potions between The Wind Thief and this story just makes me shiver in delight. Would love to see this story continued when you have time!

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