• Member Since 17th Sep, 2014
  • offline last seen 9 hours ago

Orbiting Kettle


I've roasted a wealth of exotic things, All torn to ribbons at the hands of kings. Polished copper how I proudly shone, stealin' the fire of the blazing sun.

T
Source

Zecora is known to lead a peaceful existence, alone in the Everfree Forest, lending a helping hoof or advice when asked. But her story began in a very different way, long ago and far away, amidst silk, incense, blood and treachery.

Image source: Giulia Beck

Thanks to Meridian Prime and The Fool for prereading and editing.

Thanks to Quill Scratch for a last check.

:yay: Got featured on EQD!

Chapters (1)
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Comments ( 60 )

Interesting. Certainly a good change from all the vacuous crap this website has to offer.
Great job!

Wanderer D
Moderator

Loved the ending! You need to fix a few quotation marks, but this was a great story!

Huh.


This was... Surprisingly good.

Not bad at all!

~Skeeter The Lurker

I love this story. Thank you for writing it. :ajsmug:

6366771
6366447
6365640
6366229
I am very glad you liked it.

6366185
Will fix them, word processor shenanigans slipped under my radar there.

Oh, here, have a pretty ribbon, too!
i.imgur.com/ndbKAsD.png

Wow. Really interesting and different. I've read so few Zecora fics, and you did some fascinating things with the culture.

6366938
Eh, I was a bit tired of the "Tribal generic-African culture like those things I once saw in a documentary" approach, so I went for the "Ancient trade empire" angle. Also, almost all the non-potion related magic we see from Zecora has to do with storytelling in one way or the other, being it the illusions of "Luna Eclipsed" to the trick in "Magic Duel", and I ran with that.

6366924
Wiiiii, thanks!

The disjointed storytelling was interesting and original, but ultimately was getting a bit tiresome by the end. I can appreciate the effort it must have taken to remain coherent, though.

Nicely done, mate.

There are nowhere near enough Zecora stories on this site, especially ones as good as this!

I think a little more polish could help -- you use "rose" instead of "raised" in couple of places, for example -- but that's a minor detail. The structure of the story, contrasting Zecora's cooking in the present with the flashes of her life back home, is interesting. The worldbuilding's great, especially the magic of stories and shadows that the zebras use, and the backstory you gave to Zecora -- a queen in self-imposed exile, because she rewrote her own fate for revenge, to the point where the only alternative left for her was to rule as a terrifying tyrant -- is genuinely epic.

6367086
I wanted a contrast between past and present, between mundane and nationwide decisions. And I love to play with structures sometimes. Also, the recipe in the mundane part is quite tasty, if someone wants to try it at home.

6367097
Glad you liked it. The problem is that Zecora is a character that has mostly lived her own arc, she is already powerful and wise, so most of the adventurous stories lay in her past, and that means that writing something with her as protagonist is not easy. Also, her dialogue is really hard to write, and the first draft of this fic (written for the Write-off contest) was a mute one.

Fascinating world (worldbuilding), and a very evocative tale you've created. Really works as a short story, hinting at a lot and confirming only what is necessary. A couple technical glitches exist, but I didn't make note of them, alas. (Thank Wanderer D; he signal-boosted this and lead me here.)

Nothing more coherent to say whist I grapple with all these emotions.

"in fave feels teh wow omg babies thumb angry!Zecora wow," as the kiddies might say?

Oooo, that was really good. Loved this take on Zecora's history, as well as the idea in general that she is actually a pretty significant individual.

Moral of the backstory, if you have a kind, benevolent witch-queen, don't do something to trigger her into flipping over into an unkind, malevolent one. It's just...not a good idea.

*Sees the Title*

Well... one of the specialties of my country is called Harissa too. My question is where did you hear the name?!

6368122
I know he signal-boosted me, that was unexpected and a very nice surprise. I have no idea what the youngsters say in this day and age, but I am very glad you liked the story:pinkiehappy:

6369518
I'm not sure I remember where I've eaten it the first time, probably in a Tunisian restaurant Italy or dining with some friends that also love to cook. It is a few years that I prepare it myself. Considering the ethnicity of the food Zecora prepares, I decided that it was stuff she learned during her travels.

6369349
I would also add that the adventures of the exiled witch-queen Zecora is a thing that should happen.

6370418

You said the word 'Tunisian' and knowing the country is good enough for me. Thanks!

Harissa is indeed a Tunisian specialty! To be precise, it's our favorite hot paste-like food! It is not considered as a sauce because of its solid state and it is used for various Tunisian dishes! Even European countries like it because of its moderate spiciness.

Ack! I completely missed you publishing this! Damn it Meri, this is why you don't ignore your feed for days...
It was great to come back to this and read it as a story rather than a editing job, and I must reiterate that it's a fantastic one (although those weirdly formatted quote marks do stick out a little more on Fimfic).
Can't wait for whatever you do next. :twilightsmile:

This wasn't a story. This was a work of art. Wow. The imagery, worldbuilding, characterization, narrative... Everything is perfect. Best Zecora story I've ever read. Ever.

It's stories like these that deserve the Feature box. And all the favorites possible.

6372561
Thank you again for the editing.

6372640
Ok, now you made me blush:twilightblush:

I must admit that when I began reading this, I had no idea what to expect in the slightest. Well, except for what I got from the summary, that is. I do remember stopping, completely stopping reading, at this one point:

The air was fresh, pleasant, the subtle smell of myrrh and the rich scent of agarwood pervading the peaceful atmosphere. At one end of the room there was a stone platform. On it stood the Throne of Whispers, composed of vines, leaves and flowers all weaved into a intricate whole, its ocher color the only clue betraying its nature as sculpted granite. For centuries the lifelike quality of the stonework had fed rumour about it being made from petrified plants.

And this made me stop and think to myself, "Oh f***, what master of the craft have I stumbled onto?" For I saw that as a very mystical and potent tone-setter, and I grew excited for the rest of the story.

And the rest of the story was pretty enjoyable. From beginning to end, I was entranced by the switch between a culinary narrative and a powerful past recollection. The adventure was gripping, the details were extraordinarily vivid, the characters felt alive. The criticisms that I have are either minute, or they are possibly the result of this kind of writing, so I won't say anything about them.

So yeah, I loved this. I will have to archive this for further study. I wish you the best with your next story!

6375394
Well, thanks, but in a lot of cases you should thank my editors and proofreaders, considering that I had a lot of more awkward phrasing in a few critical points of the story.:pinkiecrazy:

6380406 I sent each of them a thank-you on their front page. :twilightsmile:

RQK

Good gravy, this was a wonderful story. I loved how you used modern-day Zecora preparing a dish for her daughter to break the past into sections. While my focus was more on the past than the present, I am almost positive that is how you intended it to be. Don't worry, I got the gist of what was happening in the present as I read along as well.

But returning to the past, boy... One helluva ride. I enjoyed the entire journey, but especially when she laid waste to all of her enemies. Zecora is now a warlord badass.

Have fave, a thumbs up, and an entry into my personal headcanon. Kudos to you sir.

6405049
Glad you liked it, and I'm happy to contribute to headcanon, it's one of the most fun parts of the fandom.

There aren't enough Zecora stories around, she can be a quite fascinating character.

I have no words as to how awesome this is.
However, it is so very appreciated.

So we learn a possible interpretation to why Zecora lives in the Everfree Forest. It is a story filled with tears, bloodshed and tragedy. It is sad but sweet for I though Obborroo had died. Which is what led to Zecora's hunt of the one who did so.

6520839
Sad and sweet were two of the emotions I was aiming for, glad I managed to hit that target.:twilightsmile:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Fantastic ending. Rhymes could use some work, and you should check to make sure "first tongue" is properly capitalized, or not, as you see fit. This is a pretty cool backstory, though, I liked it. :D

6522786
Glad you liked it, and I was somehow sure I had fixed that thing, which clearly means I'm running low on caffeine (or was running low as I published it).

Zecora... She's got friends on the other side :pinkiecrazy:

6529574
To live in the Everfree Forest you need a lot of friends everywhere.

It could use a little editing, but the story is solid. Nice job.

6600486
Thank you, glad you liked it.:twilightsmile:

Could you maybe, even in PM, give me brief summary of thing that may need editing?

If you have time for it, a few keywords are enough (like maybe the rhythm I off, or the chosen vocabulary isn't t right one).

I thought this was grand. I've never read a story with such a traumatic and vicious past for Zecora before. I do like it, though, and to imagine this as the truth gives me new-found respect for Zecora. Following along, I was wondering what the preparation of the harissa had to do with anything, but then it all wrapped up nicely in the end. Unexpected feels, there.

While an engaging read and deserving of its accolades, the overall writing quality could be better. The most common errors I saw were comma splices, and their direct opposite, missing commas. The rhymes could do with a little work, but they're serviceable. I particularly like how Zecora showed Galdaasa mercy in the end, although I have to wonder at what cost that came to everyone else under her rule: all those soldiers, the many dead, the destroyed families who might consider Zecora's mercy an insult to their sacrifices.

Glad I finally read this; it's been sitting on my read-later shelf for too long.

edit: was all the Christmas imagery intentional? Frankincense, myrrh, five golden rings...

6727785
I'm glad you liked the story, and I'll see to fix the issues you pointed out. It may take some time, but thank you for doing it.

While an engaging read and deserving of its accolades, the overall writing quality could be better. The most common errors I saw were comma splices, and their direct opposite, missing commas. The rhymes could do with a little work, but they're serviceable.

I know, it will take a lot of time for me to write better rhymes, but I hope I'll be there sooner or later, if only so that I can write a proper sequel to the story.

I particularly like how Zecora showed Galdaasa mercy in the end, although I have to wonder at what cost that came to everyone else under her rule: all those soldiers, the many dead, the destroyed families who might consider Zecora's mercy an insult to their sacrifices.

I think we are referring to a different mindset here. For as much as Equestria is shaped along the general lines of modern America, other parts of the world (at least in my head) work differently. Zecora was victorious, her enemy at the end bowed before her and, as a consequence, before the Capitol. You do not crush a surrendering enemy, because if you do that nobody will surrender to you in the future. Historically soldiers and the general populace was happy when a war ended. If there weren't some deeply rooted cultural causes that screamed for extermination, you accepted the surrender, maybe took a few hostages and accepted the tributes.

was all the Christmas imagery intentional? Frankincense, myrrh, five golden rings...

I really didn't think about that. The five Golden rings are the ones Zecora wears in the show, for which I then created a meaning in the story here. Frankincense and myrrh were very important trade goods for millennia, almost as precious as gold. They were used (and are used still today) in medicine because of their antibacterial properties, and all this without considering their use in religious ceremonies and who knows how else you can process them in a world where alchemy works.

6727986

I think we are referring to a different mindset here. For as much as Equestria is shaped along the general lines of modern America, other parts of the world (at least in my head) work differently. Zecora was victorious, her enemy at the end bowed before her and, as a consequence, before the Capitol. You do not crush a surrendering enemy, because if you do that nobody will surrender to you in the future. Historically soldiers and the general populace was happy when a war ended. If there weren't some deeply rooted cultural causes that screamed for extermination, you accepted the surrender, maybe took a few hostages and accepted the tributes.

Yeah, you're probably right about that. Perhaps I've just been watching too much Game of Thrones, so I'm used to seeing everyone die, and surrender never being a viable option. Heh. I do think that Zecora did the right thing, though.

Always nice to see an interesting Zecora story, so this was pleasing to read. Despite the minor problems other commenters have mentioned with the rhyming, I really like the way you integrated rhyming itself into Zecora's home society. I'm sure there's more to be written on that topic -- if you do, I'd be interested.

6816739
Glad you found it interesting.:twilightsheepish:

I admit I have a lot of ideas, but I fear my own writing speed (ridiculously slow) and other issues mean it will be a bit before I tackle something else about the Zebra reign:ajsleepy:

I briefly spoke about Harissa in the latest Seattle's Angels stream.
Check it out!

I start at 9:27

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later Reviews #49.

My review can be found here.

Here from TD's review. Enjoyed the story overall. Will read more of your stuff.
-
"woven" might work better than "weaved"
"cowered" instead of "covered"

7245838
Thanks for the corrections.:pinkiehappy:

I really like the art for this. Now to read the story....:derpytongue2:
:derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpyderp1::derpyderp2::derpyderp1::derpyderp2:

Absolutely brilliant. You should write more of this. Absolutely, totally should. I liked the structure, I liked the recipe, I loved the worldbuilding, but, ah, the superb touch is the ending. That's quite the character moment.

6366958
I am amused that we accidentally made nearly the same canon for our Zebras for roughly the same reasons. :twilightsmile:

7886526
Glad you liked it. As for the Zebra canon, I'm convinced that despite everything the show gives a lot of material to work with, so I'm not too surprised when similar solutions arise:pinkiehappy:

Greetings fellow Review Cafe Reviewer!!!

You wanted a review of this story....so here it is!

Wow, this was damned good. A cool look into Zecora's past.

8435004
Zecore is awesome and criminally under-utilised in general.

There are so many different stories one could tell about her...

Login or register to comment
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!