• Member Since 1st May, 2015
  • offline last seen 2 hours ago

Astrarian


a confused cat


E
Source

Spike's fed up of Outer Yakyakistan, a perpetually frigid land of biting wind, blinding snow, and little else. No one actually lives here, not even the yaks themselves. Twilight's company is the only silver lining, but even she can only lift Spike's spirits in short bursts. He wants to go home to Ponyville.

But as they clamber up the final mountain in Outer Yakyakistan, the wind changes. Spike becomes sure that he's been here before. Except... he hasn't. Not in living memory. So why does it feel like he's already home?


Featured in the Royal Canterlot Library.
Reviewed on Louder Yay, by PresentPerfect, and by The Descendant.

I'm incredibly grateful to Ceffyl Dwr for editing and criticising and all that jazz, but most of all for encouraging me to get this story finished. Without him, it wouldn't have happened.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 66 )

Hooray, it's finally here!

And still awesome. :twilightsmile:

I have a good feeling about this story.

I particularly like how Spike is in such a bad mood that he has himself completely convinced the yaks hate him as much as he hates them... and it doesn't look like that at all. They're just hard to get along with, like they always are.

6830933 Thank you, that means a lot. I hope you continue to enjoy it. Spot on about the yaks. I have some sympathy for Spike – I didn't much like the yaks the first or second time I saw them either. But I've warmed up to them now.

6830891 I was gonna wait 'til the end of the week, but I couldn't keep my finger off the submit button any longer! :twilightblush:

Looks very interesting, can't wait to read next chapter :twilightsmile:

Apparently the coat depicted a famous duel between a yak prince and a deer prince. What it actually did was make the fight look like two brown potatoes trying to beat each other into mash.

And that's the line that sold this story to me. This is very well written. I look forward to seeing where you go with it.:twilightsmile:

Wow! Very deep and interesting. I like it!
Will follow!:moustache:

Ah the limitless thing called potential has once again sprung its head. I am very much looking forward to this story. A Spike centered fic on where he might have found his origins. Yes!

6831066
6831888
6833071
6831920
Thanks a lot, folks. Your kind words mean a lot to me. Next chapter will be out later today.

Nice, liked the yak portrayal. Can't wait for the next chapter

I can't quite tell if Spike is upset Twilight can fly and he can't, if he's trying to play himself as tough (as in he can handle the hike himself) or if he just... wants to be alone. Or some... combination of the three? Last chapter it looked like the second, and a few times it looked like the first or last this chapter.

This really is quite a fantastic piece. Combined with the view out my window at the moment, I was easily able to feel the atmosphere and setting of the steppe. I look forward to finding out what does, or does not, await Spike and Twilight within the cave.

Love the dialogue and level of character display by all.
Very nice chapter. Can't help for the next!:moustache:

Woah :rainbowderp:

Not only is the writing beautiful, but the story doesn't appear to be super contrived like I cynically expect stories to be! Spike hears voices? Twilight trusts his judgement rather than brush it off.

I'm super interested to see where this goes :pinkiesmile:

I'm in love with this. Listening to ambient music while I read is also setting the tone of the story pretty well I think.

I feel a little bit like Spike is jumping to conclusions just to advance the plot of the story, but it's not bothering me much. Mostly it makes sense that Spike would think this is his home, based on the feelings he's getting from the place.

I miss seeing Spike as a competent and strong character, because we haven't gotten that in the show much lately.

The Descendant sent me.

Good Story.

This intrigues me.

Tracking...

Not in living memory. So just why does it feel like he's already home?

He's actually a genetically-programmed alien subconsciously picking up the resonance of the crystals in his incubation pod from his asploded home planet Dragotron, which contain messages from Drag-El, his father? :applejackconfused:

What else could it be?! :pinkiecrazy:

:trollestia:

6836083 Maybe not 'super' contrived... but mostly contrived :trollestia:

6837453 I thought I'd made the crossover tag invisible so no one would realise! :derpytongue2:

6837472 I KNOW ALL AND SEE ALL AND SMELL ALL!! *sniffs* And somebody made an awwwwwful mess in here... :unsuresweetie:

He sat down beside Twilight, close enough that their sides touched. “Twilight’s my real home,” he said, “like Chiron was yours. You can’t replace her. I don’t need wings, Ormr.”

No, Spike... you're just confirming the despair Ormr has dropped into. Telling her that where she belonged is gone forever, never to return. You rebuffed her desire to have you stay... to have you be her new family... and then you told her that she'll never be able to have it again!

And you're doing the same for yourself, if you didn't notice! You even reflected on it, saying that it seemed like a grave. You're saying that if Twilight was gone, then you'd have nothing left. What happens if Twilight has to separate herself from you? What happens if she's not immortal? Do you crawl into a cave?

I have the hope, though, that the confrontation with Ormr hasn't ended, though. That this isn't the end and that the next chapter brings the resolution, and not just the ending.

... After TD talked about setting now I'm focusing on it and how it's aiding the feeling of the scene, the otherworldliness...

Extremely atmospheric! Good Spike stories are always a treat, and this seems to be shaping into a fine one. Also, fun to see someone using the Yaks in an interesting way!

Oh!! You get pulled into the despair, the lonliness if you lose focus for even one second. I found myself on the border of crying so many times! Mmm!! I hope to see a resolution as well! If you just give me an ending I really think I will cry.

Oooh, very good! Can't wait to read more!

Wow. :rainbowderp:
Powerful feels and a new understanding about, Spike, and Twilight and his relationship!
Great job! Good chapter. Looking forward to more!:moustache::twilightsmile:

6837953
I'm not sure that's the point. Ormr may have lost all of that...we'll use Spike's term and call it "home," (it's signifying something much broader than that, but I'm finding a hard time finding a better single noun to sum it up with adequately) and that's terrible, but what's worse, is that Ormr's also forgotten what having "home" once meant, whereas Spike has not. And I think Ormr resents that. At the very least, the wyrm resents that Spike has not lost the same sort of things...hence the hatred towards Twilight, obviously.

But Ormr thinks there was no use to having "home" in the first place, that it's better to never have had in the first place.

Spike does not, and sees that having the "home" is of the utmost importance, and hiding yourself away from it, or trying to take someone (like Spike) away from it, was no way to live.

They are two very different beings looking into two very different worlds, very different lives, and finding they do not intermix, at the very least, and can never be made to. One would only ultimately overwhelm the other. You can't have your cake and eat it to, like I suspect Ormr may have (vainly) hoped when Spike first appeared in the chamber.

I think that's the point.

Or at least a large jist of it...in the general area of the right track.

Of course, Part 4 will probably settle the matter once and for all, so I guess we'll see.

Interesting look into Spike's origins. Wyrm want, while dragons are "just" greedy or something like that? Excellent story, love the focus on Spike and his origins, I even like your portrayal of the yaks (less one-note than most of the episode was).

Subplot sadly really does describe most of Spike's life in the show, but glad to see him as the main act for once. Even if it does seem like an affirmation that Spike's home is in Ponyville, with Twilight, but at least this time his encounter is with someone that might be more sympathetic than those teenage dragons before.

Congratulations on making the Featured Box! Well deserved, and I can barely wait for the conclusion.:twilightoops:

Hmm, this is pretty good.

I'm reminded of Baal Bunny's "Far Kobresia", too. The climax of this chapter feels a little vague in some ways, but it's enjoyable nonetheless. Nice work! I'm looking forwards to the conclusion.

6839284

I'm reminded of Baal Bunny's "Far Kobresia", too.

I guess I'm not surprised. Yaks, snowy grass, sibilant wind: the settings have similarities, I won't lie.

Yyyeah not much of a resolution, no. He rejects Ormr's request... but doesn't actually find something better, instead just hoping that Twilight sticks around forever because it's the only place he considers home. And he is clearly conflicted about it but trying not to be.

But it is a resolution to the conflict that Spike goes to Ormr's lair and rejects the offer, so at least that is done. It just... raises questions about Spike's far future, but only answers it as "I want to be with Twilight now".

But I did quite enjoy it, even if I wish the ending addressed the implicit questions it asked.

In terms of criticism, I'd say it kind of comes off as a bit of a retread of Dragon Quest- Spike goes looking for answers about his past/origins, then decides his home is with ponies/Twilight anyway. He even brings home something with him, just as long as it doesn't vanish off-screen like that baby Phoenix (good to return to the parents, but a repeat appearance would have been nice). Sorry, I don't mean that a bad way, just mentioning the (possibly intentional) parallels.

But since there will be a sequel, that makes it better. And anyway, this fic is far, far better than Dragon Quest, I love the mystical atmosphere of everything, ss well as the focus on Spike and the sense of mystery and danger. Spike episodes are all comedic at best, farces at worst. This was pure serious, wistful, focused on Spike's internal conflict, and adds some lore. Great descriptions of everything help a lot too.

Looking forward to more works from you, especially that sequel.

Not perfect indeed. But perfect enough to like and enjoy.:twilightsmile:
Great job! And I'm all for a sequel!:moustache:

6841489 Fair points. I just want to say that I've really appreciated reading your comments and wanted to answer them at the time, but I also didn't want to spoil any of the upcoming story. Also, I'm far more interested in hearing what other people think than giving my own view on it.

As far as the future goes, although Spike thinks about it a little, I didn't think that he would 1) want to think about it or 2) be particularly capable of thinking about it, because he's a kid who, when not thinking about the here and now, is thinking about his past. I was going for focus on the here and now in the setting, too, and tried to show the difference with the cave (timeless) and the outside (always changing). But 1) also stops him from talking to Twilight, who I see as his avenue into 2). She's the one who makes him think. With Twilight in a bigger role, I might have gone for it. But she's more his sidekick here and I wasn't interested in whether she's immortal as well :trollestia:

I think the questions about his future, are questions for the near future. And I certainly hope to tackle them in the sequel.

I'm glad you enjoyed it, anyway. Thanks for reading. :twilightsmile:

6841521 Thank you! Yeah, there was a lot of Dragon Quest in this one. It could easily be the title as well: Dragon Quest 2.0. I started taking more and more out of it the more I rewatched to establish how Spike would feel about that whole episode in hindsight. I can't believe he's never talked about it again in the show. Does his mysterious past really no longer bother him?

The egg part wasn't created specifically to parallel the phoenix, but it's one I'm happy with.

The setting and generally slow pacing here made for a compelling atmosphere and a good complement for the story being told. The rejection of loneliness as a conflict Spike faces felt true to who he is, and what his life entails. And I found the ideas around wyrms to be interesting. I look forward to the sequel, and further development on that point; I especially hope for a fuller integration of his experiences in "Secret of my Excess" and the distinctions drawn between dragons' alignment with greed and wyrm's with desire.
Great work.

6841577
I think I agree that Spike would avoid thinking about it. Spike is... not entirely complacent, but he's pretty complacent. We see sometimes from his episodes that he might want more (probably down to interpretation whether him wanting more respect is a fledgling drive/ambition or just normal attitudes of children and should be downplayed), but he mostly is just happy to be where he is. No question of where he came from, or where he's going, or anything else troublesome like what his relationship is with Twilight.

But Twilight definitely, if she had a reason to think they were important, would try to help him think about those things... I hope. :twilightblush: Anything less would imply she's not interested in his life, which feels rather cruel, so I won't attribute it to her.

I can imagine that you're going to get some comments about the ending, but I've never been convinced that there are easy answers for Spike. I think that the "always a happy ending" at the end of 22minutes like the show mentality pervades works surrounding him. He's still just a little kid in a much larger world where he's not the main character—even in his own story. I'm okay with him just wanting to be with Twilight right now. That's where he's meant to be, and he has many, many, many years left to begin pondering such things.

I'm glad that you've already decided that there will be a sequel. The egg, I hope, will play an important part. The list of possible hatchers already grows in my mind: Sunset Shimmer, Starlight Glimmer, Trixie... but most hopefully, Moondancer. Oh well, pondering that will have to wait. Thank you very much for this piece!:twilightsheepish:

That was really good.

Mm. I still say Ormr's proposals are not Spike's future either, because I stand by earlier comments that Ormr's version of life is one extreme that is missing other elements to balance it out, elements Spike already has in his current life. Of course, it's possible that Ormr needs something Spike has, while Spike needs something that Ormr has, and neither have quite realized it. Unless I'm totally off the mark, and there's something more to being a wyrm that Ormr did not reveal to Spike. In reality, the story really presents more questions than it really answers, laying only a vague guideline for the reader to follow, and then leaves the reader to figure it out on their own, if they can.

But then that's why I actually quite like your "lack of a resolution" ending, because it leaves the mystery intact, and the reader thinking still well after the story's done, and that's all very good. In my own explorations of writing, I've found that some of the best stories are the ones that don't give you all the answers, and leave some things forever a mystery, and this tale is one of them, I think. :twilightsmile:

But that said, I certainly won't say no to a sequel, because I certainly think there's more that can be told, and I suspect that no matter what lies ahead in Spike's future, Spike's going to have to come back this way regardless, if only to tie up loose ends.

Part of me thinks he still won't take up Ormr's offer even then, though...at least not without...modifying it in some manner...but we'll see if I'm even on the right track.

Ger, lambent, tenebrosity, welkin, helectite, speleological... Dang, you are one wordy person. It's always annoying when an author has an unusually expansive vocabulary, as it's easy to forget that not everyone knows so many words. It's rather immersion-breaking when a reader has to interrupt every important scene to look at a dictionary.

To be fair, those last two words I listed were used by Twilight, so I'm not as bothered by them. It would be out of character for her to not know them, and unlike the other words, there are no other, more commonly recognized alternatives.

One really minor nitpick I'd also like to point out is that ponies don't use the metric system due to where the show is made. The metric system is only referenced once, in "Griffon the Brush-Off", and that was Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie. However, because metric is what you know, it wouldn't be fair to expect you to use any other system. Making up a ponified measurement system is possible, with hooves or pony-lengths being a possible unit. I've noticed that an average generic pony's torso is about a meter in length, while a hoof is roughly a tenth of a meter. Another option is to ignore this paragraph entirely, as it is, like I said, a minor nitpick.

Overall, it's a pretty good story. I do not regret reading it in the slightest.

To me, the core of this story can be summed up as "You don't fully understand the value of what you have, until you've gone without it."

Throughout the early chapters, Spike is unappreciative of just about everything. He doesn't like the yaks, he's getting sick and tired of the landscape and trudging up and down hills, he's fed up with the cold and the wind. Spike's even frustrated by and a little resentful of Twilight; she spends too much time with others, not giving him the attention or support he feels he needs, then turns around and lifts him up with her magic just when he wants to finish the climb himself, or offers him a ride when it makes him think about the lack of his own wings.

The mountain, and Ormr, change everything. It's a place where he's more at home than Twilight, and meeting the ancient wyrm gives him a new understanding of who and what he is, and where he comes -- all things that Spike has always wanted. Yet the darkness and the stillness and the cold under the mountain, the endless loneliness, and Ormr's bitter rejection of friendship and home and all the good things Spike has, because they cannot be permanent, are the last things Spike would want.

And in the end, he has a new found appreciation of all the good things in his life. He has Twilight, and the rest of the ponies. The yaks are brusque and grouchy and prone to smashing things, but they're friendly and caring in their own way. Even the cold wind of the wide-open steppe and the dark starry sky are beautiful and welcome after the utter darkness and cold and confinement of the mountain, and at the end, nothing is better than a hot meal and a good sleep.

So yeah. I really liked this one. :twilightsmile:

6842867 I don’t always stop to think about vocabulary, and I apologise. From your list, I stand by using ger, helictites, and speleological, but the others could have been swapped out for easier (better?) words. It just didn’t occur to me. My bad. :facehoof:

The metric system issue also didn’t occur to me. I normally try to avoid using human systems in general (it was ages before I used the term ‘hand’ for Spike’s claws) but when describing distances and heights in a cave it’s hard to not refer to actual measurement terms, so it slipped in. Actually, I really like those basic pony measurements you’ve noticed. They’re not hard to remember. I might use something like that next time.

Thanks for sticking with it and importantly for leaving this comment. I try to use criticism to make my next story better, so I really appreciate any comments that are willing to nitpick me constructively! :twilightsmile:

6841865

That's where he's meant to be

I think so too, but maybe some have other ideas. :unsuresweetie:

Oh well, pondering that will have to wait. Thank you very much for this piece!

I don't know when I'll get around to fully planning the sequel and writing it. It might be ages, if the length of time it took me to write this one is any indication. Still, you're very welcome, and I'm pleased you didn't flip a table at the ending and call back all the good things you'd already said... I worried a bit :twilightblush:

Now, I'm off to start reading So Being What We Sow When We Sew. :twilightsmile:

6843543 Have all of my yes :yay: thank you! :twilightblush:

Also, must say I love your username.

6843571
I very, very rarely ever take back anything I've said about a story's virtues, even if I haven't enjoyed the ending or the parts of the narrative, so you needn't worry about that. I wish you the best with wherever your writing take you next.:twilightsmile:

6841447 Well, that was a little light on the 'resolution', as far as Ormr was concerned, but it gives Spike some closure, at least to this part of his story. So I'm happy enough with that. You picked a fairly ambitious story here, and I appreciate that, even if I felt your execution wasn't as strong as I'd have liked in some places. But, well, everyone's a critic, huh? :P

Oh, and a tip; if you reply to someone, they'll only see your reply in their notifications if it's in the same chapter they commented on. Pretty sure it's done that way to keep people from replying across pages and stuff, but it's a little annoying, what with the way story comments are automatically assigned to the last chapter. And how it's not documented anywhere. Just thought I'd mention.

6844743

But, well, everyone's a critic, huh? :p

They sure are, internally, and that's cool, but if I don't get told it doesn't improve the chances of the sequel being better. Thanks for the honesty. :twilightsmile:

I did not know that about notifications. :rainbowderp: Thanks for the heads-up. I'll try to avoid that in the future.

6844782 I'm glad it's appreciated; I like giving advice, and hope I can be helpful, but it's tricky judging how deep to go or how well people will take it, without knowing them.

If you want more writing practice/criticism, check out the Writeoff group - we do regular writing contests, and several of us give reviews and criticism. It's a stiff competition, to a short deadline, and authors are anonymous - the criticism can be harsh, and there's no responding to it until it's over, or you'll blow your cover. (OTOH, you can compete on level ground with people like Skywriter and Cold in Gardez.) If you want advice on writing, it can be an excellent place to get some. It's a challenging environment - but some people really grow well in that. Caaaaan be difficult for people who write slowly, though.

If you want feedback/help on the sequel, feel free to msg me. I might have to say no, but I usually have some time, if you feel my feedback would be helpful.

6845608 I'll bear your offer in mind, thanks. I'll check out the Writeoff again too. I'm in the group, and sometimes lurk on the threads, but haven't participated yet.

Login or register to comment