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Zecora isn't from Equestria. That should be obvious. She hails from a distant land where everything from skin to speech is vastly different. There, she was a skilled shaman, one of the best in all of the land, and the uttering of her name could open more doors than the Abada himself.

So why, then, is she in Equestria? Why would such a powerful zebra leave her rich and vibrant homeland to live in an untamed forest? Why does she never speak of it to anyone? And why is she constantly speaking in rhyme?

Because of mistakes. Her mistakes, his mistakes, and the mistakes they made together.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 21 )

Beautiful :)

6526891 I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Zecora turned and looked at the pile of hay where she slept. Even from here, she could see the razor blades, shining like crystals in the sunlight streaming through the roof. Had she been out all day as she usually was, she most likely would have lay down without a second thought. It might not have killed her, but it would have come dangerously close.

Dafuq, not cool zebra bros. There’s better ways of making her suffer… like giving her orange flavored snacks.

"How I detest poison joke, which my speech patterns it has broke!" Zecora slammed a hoof against her cauldron in frustration. Was that last one even a proper rhyme? What did the curse care? It got its funny moment, and that was all the damned herb cared about. She kicked out at the nearest shattered bottle.

Oooh shit, now I feel terrible… I’m_a_bad_llama.gif

The zebra chieftain entered the shaman's hut, step by respectfully sluggish step. His skin was as black as the night, while his mane was a carefully combed garden of aging white and gray.

I can see into your soul you week old newspaper, you’ve been used to wrap fish…

The Abada's smile became a frown, and for a moment he averted his gaze. "I am afraid I must claim responsibility for the... current state of things."

“I fucking knew it!” *Throws my hands up in the air.*

She rarely went into town these days, but every time she did, zebras would avert their gaze, and they would whisper.

They better knock that shit off, I’d like to see them rhyme like Zero mistakes Zecora, beatmaster extraordinaire.

"It's not that," he choked out. "If you were with child, I could plead to keep you. My advisors would not dare endanger the throne to be rid of one meddlesome shaman. But, with you like this, I have... limited options."

Wooooow, like that couldn’t be taken the wrong way
Prior warning: I'm like 80% sure I missed what the story was supposed to be about... apologies in advance, it was just to much fun to write and not comment it.
All aboard the feels train; next stop unbridled contempt and confusion! It was a very interesting take on the origin of Rap-master Z’s talent but the way the chieftain handled that at first infuriated me so badly it made the 4th circle seem like Canada.
Just exploding her shit? I’ve sentenced more powerful imaginary beings to the void for less… I get he may have been trying to motivate her but he was the chieftain for Christ sakes he could have put his hoof down and the ‘with child’ ploy was weak sauce that shouldn’t matter, she was your lover you dick *Huff* So anyways, it was a pretty decent origin story to a numerously asked question, it was a pretty good story overall but it didn't really click with me other than making me misinterpret most of it in funny rage moments. 5.5-6.5/10

6541822 I'll admit, the Abada isn't exactly a brilliant character. For the most powerful being in the land, he's very much a product of royal pampering, and doesn't have very much of his own free will. He's basically a spoiled kid in a god's body being told he has to break it off with his filly crush.

And he blew up her wall because the scene would have just felt awkward if they actually had to walk out of the hut to get the dramatic view.

Thanks for the brutal honesty and lame attempts at cracking jokes. I always enjoy a point-by-point reaction.

Yeah, apologies on the long comment; I copy-pasted this from my word document and didn't realize how long it was.

6544097 I enjoy long comments. They usually mean someone has a lot to say.

As much as I loved everything else in this story, I have to agree with Applebloom at the end there. I really like like you're explanation as to why Zecora talks in rhyme. :twilightsmile:

This was a nice read.

6562814 Glad you think so. And I'm glad you liked the rhyming explanation.

I have to say. By far, the biggest problem with your story is the lack of views it has received.

It is a brilliant piece (I was brought here from DeviantArt); this is one of the best back stories for Zecora and her propensity for rhyme that I have read as of yet.

And to top it off, I feel like your vision of our lyrical zebra fits perfectly with her short appearance in the latest episode.

6612746 Aw, you had me thinking I was about to receive helpful criticism, and instead you just say that it's a crime this isn't more popular!

In all seriousness, though, so many thanks for the glowing compliments! I hope you have a wonderful day!

... Dramatic.


That was a rollercoaster, right there.

Very, very nicely done.

This is one of the better explanations as to why Zecora is apart from other zebras that I've seen. Plenty of writers have gone with exile, but most have flimsier excuses and contrivance: for example, if their reasons stop at 'You're creepy and we're superstitious', I want to hit my head off the wall. Bullshit. Zecora was creepy to the ponies because of their clashing cultures, but it makes no sense that it would be the same among her own people. She'd be seen as helpful and wise, and thus respected. However, the embarrassment of not having yet found a cure for herself is exactly the right device to undermine her tribe's respect for her, and their paranoia coming from the political instability of the chief not yet having an heir would push them from mocking her to fearing her. That works well.
My only sticking point is, I sort of see why Zecora would initially have trouble finding the Poison Joke cure, if we assume that it is native to the Everfree Forest and doesn't actually belong in Zanzebra. That makes it an invading plant and outside all prior knowledge of the zebra shamans. But it isn't addressed in the story why Zecora would voluntarily keep its effect after moving to the Everfree and finding the cure in an Equestrian textbook. I suppose I could assume that despite the humiliation she suffered among her tribe for it, now she approaches it like keeping a scar as a reminder. But a reminder of what? None of what happened was her fault; it's not as though she made some fatal mistake that she needs to remember not to do again. She was a victim of circumstance in this more than anything else (which I admit bothered me a little; I prefer when Zecora has agency in her story, but that's not a question of writing quality as much as a question of my personal taste, so I don't hold it against it).
And then there's the fact that in the show, there have been several moments where Zecora spoke out of rhyme, usually during shocked exclamations (there's whatever it was she said when Rainbow crashed through her door, and there's the 'Have you gone mad?' when Twilight interrupted her meditation), which is why my headcanon goes that her way of speaking is more of a custom she's expected to observe as a shaman, similar to Luna's speaking in plural pronouns. The curse explanation may not hold up from that.

6782122 As an explanation for why she continues to speak in rhyme even after discovering a cure, I think of it as a question of infection; the Mane 6 were within twenty-four hours of infection. Zecora, by this timeframe at least, has spent several years not only imbued with the curse, but imbibing various failed cures that might have had adverse reactions. Basically, you don't find a life-saving operation in a first responder's medical bag.

Oh wow, poison joke that makes perfect sense. So Zecora kept it as a reminder huh? I could be reading into that too much but still what a clever little tale of lore and character building.

i never would have pit Zecora as the overly emotional type but she did a brave thing leaving her land behind to make a new life in a strange land by herself.

7101389 By 'kept it as a reminder', I assume you mean her rhyming curse, in which case, the comment directly below yours contains an explanation for why she didn't cure herself in Bridle Gossip.

7101411 Oh duh. I feel silly. I knew I should have read the comments.:facehoof:

7101434 Good advice for life.

Wow. This has some feels woven in it. To think that Zecora faced being avoided out on the streets not just in Ponyville, but in her own home? *sighs* That's harsh.
The backstory was excellent, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

I think I've got a new head canon for Zecora. Even your expansions laid out in the comments work well for me. I have no complaints for this story at all and it's one of the better Zecora / Zebra stories I've ever read. Kudos to you!

Excellent story.

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