• Published 5th Jul 2015
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Dinner at Ravenloft - Meep the Changeling

Vinyl's father invites her and her friends to the family for a weekend visit. Unfortunately for Vinyl, there is something she neglected to tell her friends about her family...

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The Invitation

Vinyl Scratch - 5th of Solar Dusk '03 EoH - Afternoon

Ever see black parchment? I have, a lot. My dad writes exclusively on the stuff, using only red ink. Because of course he does! That’s so him that he almost doesn't have a choice to not do it. Tartarus, I didn’t even know parchment came in white until my parents sent me to school in Canterlot since I wanted to learn modern musical theory.

So, naturally, whenever I got a letter from my folks, everyone knew. It’s kinda hard to keep getting mail from home a secret when it’s sent on black parchment, bound in red silk ribbon, and sealed with white wax. That right there is super distinct. Dad doesn't even put a return address on his mail anymore. They know it’s from him.

“Another letter from your father?” Octavia asked as she came into the living room, easily spying the letter on the table in front of me.

“Yeah, looks like it.” I sighed.

I peaked at my marefriend over the top of my glasses, red eyes sadly urging her to let me read it in peace.

Octy rolled her eyes at me and moved over to our book case. “I know you like to read them alone, but I need to find a songbook I’m certain I left in here. I won’t read over your shoulder. Go ahead.”

“Alright.” I sighed.

Hopefully dad hadn’t put anything too him in the letter. Ha! Yeah right. Better hope Octavia didn’t decide to read it anyways.

I carefully peeled the wax off with my magic, slipped the scroll free of the ribbon, opened it, and slowly began to read the first line of his spidery, thin, horn writing.

To my most beloved daughter, Vinyl, and by extension of the bonds of my fatherly love, her chosen spouse to be, Octavia Melody.

Horseapples… I bit my lip and read the rest of it.

I recently attended court in Canterlot and had the most delightful opportunity to hear your music. I regret that I was unable to hear you live, however, even in the form of a recording I found great enjoyment in your musical stylings. You remind me of myself at your age, though our instruments of choice differ greatly, we both have the same passion and drive for music. Did you know nobles are listening to your work in an attempt to appear more in touch with the younger generation? I am delighted to know my daughter has achieved some level of fame within her craft.

Double horseapples! He was trying to butter me up so he could drag me through something. I totally knew it from the way he addressed it. Now, he would say something about home to get me thinking about it...

It has been most peaceful at the estate this summer. The village also enjoyed a pleasant and plentiful season. We were blessed with a delightfully robust surplus of food from the winter stocks, enough where I was able to throw a spring equinox feast for everypony. I am saddened you chose not to attend, we held the feast in the glade you enjoyed playing in so much. I am sure you know the one. Where the trees arch over and form a ceiling with their branches? It truly is a lovely spot. I am considering constructing a path to it so it may be used for formal events in good weather.

I am certain you remember Lightfrost, your former hoofmaiden? She got married this last month to a rather nice stallion also on the staff. Though for the life of me I can not recall his name. He must be one of your mother’s servants. I let Lightfrost borrow one of your gowns for her ceremony. I am sure you don't mind but I feel the need to inform you regardless. The new couple sends you their warm regards.

And now the thing he really wanted from me…

Their wedding brought to mind your long term commitment to your beloved Octavia. I fully understand your reasons for not yet wedding her, and I assume you two have all the time in the world to wait for more favorable conditions. However, it pains me to realize that my daughter has been courting a young noblemare, yet has not once in twelve years introduced her to the family. I understand the young’s need for independence quite well, so surely you can understand a father's wishes to see the source of his daughter’s happiness in person.

Again, this occurred to me while in a quite dull session of court. Meaning I had plenty of time to realize one of the friends you have written to me about is also of some standing within the nobility. I am uncertain if your friend Meep’s title of Lady denotes her as a noble’s daughter or a knight in her own right. This made me realize I do not know anything about your friends.

Remember when you were a filly? I knew all your friends by name. I even hired their families on as staff so you could play with them more. I miss knowing whom my daughter spends time with, and it’s not like your mother and I can simply have another one of you.

As such, I formally invite you, Octavia, and your friends to our castle in Hollow Shades for a weekend (or longer should you wish to stay a while) for a proper welcoming into the family, and naturally a dinner. Should you wish to attend, a carriage will arrive in Ponyville in five days to take you and your friends home for the festivities.

I stopped reading and rubbed my forehead with a hoof. You know I can’t do that dad! Or well… maybe you don’t. Oh ponyfeathers! He had no idea if they knew anything about him, or my family! No, he said ‘all the time in the world’, he thought I had! Bucking Tartarus!

What would they think if they went to my old home and my dad had prepared a meal for everyone which they wouldn’t be able to even think about eating? Oh man, Lyra would want to explore the castle, and she would find every last hidden passage! Faust only knows what Octavia would think of my parents...

I groaned and looked to the last part of the letter. At least I could just tell him no.

Because I know you, and how you think, and assume you wish to remain away from home, I regret to inform you that I have gone behind your back on this matter. I have sent an invitation to all of your friends, enchanted in such a way as to have arrived the moment you opened this letter.

“Motherbucking son of a Timberwolf!” I shouted the letter dropping from my magic.

Octy looked up from the bookshelf, alarmed. “What is it? Oh no! Did somepony die? Vi, I’m so sorry!”

I shook my head angrily. “No… dad’s invited everyone to his place for the weekend. But he sent everyone their own invite so I’ll have to go because everypony will want to.”

She raised an eyebrow at me. “You have always said you like your father, why would you be so mad about-” her eyes narrowed slightly, “Wait, are you embarrassed about me?”

Oh buck! I held up my hooves urgently to try to calm the ticking vein in Octy’s eye before she went critical. “No! No! No! I write my dad about you all the time! I… I just… I don't want our relationship to change… and if I introduce you to my parents it totally will.”

“Bah!” Octavia scoffed, waving a hoof back at me, “However your parents are, you are still you. I know your father is a noble of some sort, if you are afraid that money will change everything… You are aware of my family business, aren’t you? It’s not like I need or want to marry for money.”

My ears dropped as I realized there was going to be no talking anypony out of this. Dad won, again. The score was now dad 3089, Vi 1489.

“Fine…” I sighed miserably. “Let me finish this letter and I’ll go get packed.”

I believe this sets the score of our little game at 3089 to 1489, my favor. Don’t worry my dear, you will get far better at outmaneuvering others with time! Though you will never surpass the master. I did outmaneuvered my way into a countship back when that meant something after all. Be sure your friends pack for cooler weather, it might be a tad colder in the mountains.

Your petname for me when you were a filly,

(Please giggle at this Ms. Melody)



What’s this I hear about you updating the family name to modern Equish? This irks me. I shall have my revenge posthaste!

I quickly rolled the letter back up. There was no way in Tartarus I was going to let Octy know what I used to call my dad! So uncool...

“When will we be off then?” Octavia asked trotting over to give me a gentle hug.

“This coming weekend. He’s sending a carriage in five days to pick us up.” I sighed.

Octavia pulled back and gave me a concerned look. “Er- This weekend?”

“Yeah, why?” I asked with a confused expression, then nodded as I remembered. “Oh right! You do that midnight concert once a month. That’s this weekend?”

“Well it’s called the Monthly Moonlight Melody, so you tell me.” she said flatly.

“There’s a moon every night.” I pointed out.

Octavia facehooved. “It’s only bright enough to do a proper concert at night on a full moon Vi… I… I suppose I could miss one. Somepony could cover for me.” Octavia mumbled nervously.

I gave her a gentle hug, “I’m sure somepony can. Hey, if you feel bad about missing one, my dad’s estate is like, huge. You could find some place to play there. The orchard’s pretty nice, and there’s this sick glade a short ways off where the trees make it look like you're inside because they form a solid roof.”

“Oh!” Octavia exclaimed softly looking up again. “It’s a rural estate?”

“Yeah. My family um… We kinda own the fiefdom Hollow Shades is in.” I admitted slowly.

Octavia gave me an oddly relieved smile. “I think everything will be just fine. Why don’t we go ahead and pack? I’m sure everypony else is doing the same.”

Colegate Aquafresh - 5th of Solar Dusk '03 EoH - Afternoon

Holding the black, red, and white scroll which had just arrived moments ago at my home carefully in my magic I trotted up the stairs to our bedroom to give it to my special somebuggy. “Dear… a swarm of bats dropped a scroll on the porch…”

I was so not dealing with a teleporting bat swarm airdropping mail. Not until Meep checked the formula.

“That’s nice.” She called. Then a second later, Meep poked her head out from our bedroom, black and gray pixiebob mane flopping over one eye. “Wait, what?”

I waved the scroll carefully, incase it was magic, or something.

Meep sighed and stepped back into our room. “I’ll get the Log.”

The Log was a thick book we recorded everything crazy that happened in Ponyville in. By this point, with our experience living in this often disaster stricken town, and a little help from Princess Twilight, we had worked out a way to check for the special Ponyville brand of disaster based on what was happening. Although, it didn’t always work.

Meep mumbled to herself a she checked a spreadsheet and scratched a few notes, then quickly crunched Twilight’s disaster probability equation in her head. “Well… there's only a twenty eight percent chance this is going to lead to disaster. That’s below the safety threshold. We should read it.”

“Are you sure you don't mean eighty two?” I asked carefully.

We, that is our friends, had discovered Meep’s amazing ability to make a truly terrible mistake or decision when under pressure the hard way.

“Let me check…” she hummed then nodded, “Yep, twenty eight point three-seven nine-two repeating.”

“Okay, let’s read it then.” I decided, slowly opening the scroll.

“Oh hey!” Meep exclaimed, snuggling up to my side, “Doesn't Vi’s dad send her letters like this? Maybe it was misdelivered by whatever spell he uses.”

“No, it’s addressed to us.” I pointed out, flashing the names on the outside of the parchment as I opened it and began to read.

To the respective friends of my daughter,

My most cordial greetings! I have taken the liberty of inviting you, along with my daughter Vinyl, to my estate for the weekend. The purpose of this gathering is two fold. First, her mother and I desire to meet the mare our daughter has been courting for so long, and second, I would like to meet the friends Vinyl keeps talking about in such loving terms.

It would be an honor and a privilege to have you stay for the weekend in my castle in Hollow Shades. While it was not built for housing guests but rather war, Ravenloft has been quite extensively renovated from its original state. I assure you a more comfortable place to stay can not be found.

Should you desire to attend, I have planned a formal dinner, so kindly bring eveningwear. If you do not own any, fear not, I can have some made for you. I have also planned an informal dinner, so bring your fur coat. Or in the case of Meep, your chitin. Feel free to remain unmorphed if you so desire, my fief is welcoming to all manner of people.

A carriage will be dispatched and arrive five days hence. Should you wish to attend this reunion, simply board it when it arrives.

Your Friend,

Count Damsire Scârţâi


I am mildly irked that my daughter is using the modern version of our family name. Since I am certain she did not allow Ms. Melody to read the letter I sent to her, Ms. Melody likely missed my revenge. As such please inform Ms. Melody that Vinyl's foalhood nickname for me was ‘Daddypookins’ while in my company, so I can relish in my daughter’s mild humiliation.

This is a matter of Fatherly Irritation. I am sure you know my honor rests upon this matter and will carry it out expediently. Thank you.

Up until the personal sending, I had figured it would be best to let Vi’s parents meet Octavia without all of us tagging along. But I totally had to see Vi’s dad now. He sounded hilarious!

“Sweetie… we have got to go.” I urged.

Meep nodded, holding back a giggle. “We do! If only to see Vi’s face when I let that slip! I owe her one for spiking the cider last week!”

“So… we should probably pack!” I exclaimed hopping up to find my bags.

“Seriously?” Meep asked shaking her head. “A whole five days in advance?”

“You never know what you might forget if you pack at the last minute.” I sang teasingly.

Meep groaned, “You forget a telescope while going stargazing one time and nopony ever lets you live it down!”

I giggled. “Well sure, when it’s an astrophysicist who forgets to bring the telescope.”