• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen Saturday

horizon


Not a changeling.

Sequels1

T
Source

The colony of Myinnkyun had enough problems without Peridot vanishing — trade ships were disappearing, and the island's native minotaurs had launched an attack on the city walls.

But now there's talk that she was murdered, and the city is about to tear itself apart before its enemies have the chance.

One part Spoon River Anthology and one part Rashomon, this story invites you to piece together the story of Myinnkyun's last days — and Peridot's final night — from the dreams of its inhabitants. "Dreams cannot lie," the Nightmares say, but everybody has a different understanding of the truth ...

Now with an official epilogue, thanks to the contest!

* Audiobook Version by Dubs Rewatcher *


Featured on Equestria Daily! Winner of the "Most Controversial" award in the August 2015 "Distant Shores" Writeoff!

Highly Recommended by Present Perfect: "Once again, horizon attempts something ambitious and in doing so effortlessly shows us how to write a story."

Praised by Cold in Gardez: "Dreams is the best story I've read in a long time. It deserved to win the last Writeoff, and if it had been a prose story instead of a poem, it probably would have ... but it wouldn't have been the work of art that it is."

Recommended by Titanium Dragon: "Really, you don’t need to be a connoisseur of poetry to appreciate this – the form of the poetry didn’t matter so much as the mystique it lent the piece."

Praised by Skywriter: "This story is destroying me right now. I mean, I'm just sitting here at my desk crying because of it. I don't know what else to do."

Rated Why Haven’t You Read These Yet? by PaulAsaran: "Poetry isn't my medium … [yet that] does nothing to dissuade my satisfaction with an ambitious concept and a fascinating delivery."

Reviewed by Chris: "The more you put into it, the more you're going to get out ... if you're looking for something opaque, surprising, and even poignant—and especially if you enjoy piecing together stories for yourself—consider this highly recommended."

(Also, first place in my own list of my top stories! "Everything that people appreciate about my writing is at a full-throated howl here.")

Chapters (17)
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Comments ( 142 )

First!

Just kidding, Horizon.

6421754

First!

As punishment for your transgressions against the Gods of Pony Internet, I sentence you to three Hail Lunas, two Our Heartbutts, and reread the Catechism of Cake. :V

(Also maybe to enter and/or signal-boost the contest to solve the mystery, and compete for some of the cash and prizes! :twilightsmile:)

In all seriousness, having read both this and the Writeoff version, this is an unexpectedly haunting tale and it really kinda sticks with you after it's done. I have no brilliant insights as yet as to the truth of the whodunit, and I fear my sleuthing skills are dull at best, but whatever the outcome of your contest I very much enjoyed the core piece.

6421808

Our Heartbutts

MY HEARTBUTT

MINE

I thought I was good at solving mysteries... Then this story happened.

Comment posted by Skywriter deleted Sep 14th, 2015

HMCS Pegafore

… and now my brain is playing "Poor Little Buttercup" for who knows how long

6422162
Unless no ships were ever sunk at all and Dawn Patrol has just been scaring them off with tales of plague. Question still stands as to what the hell Adagio was doing he night of Peridot's death.

AARGH PERIDOT DROWNS IN THE DAYTIME

THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING

NOTE: Deleted 6422162 due to a significant unintentional spoiler. I sent him the comment text and encouraged that it be reposted after the contest is over.

It was the comment that started with:

"Okay okay okay. After putting my thoughts together for a while, and gritting my teeth because now my brain is in full-on puzzle-solving mode instead of writing (damnit):

I think one of the keys to understanding this story is that when anyone asks, "How could (they) have done (x)" the answer is "they didn't." ...

I'm happy to field basic questions (and wild speculation) here, especially if you're not planning on entering the contest, but once you start drilling down into the clues and assembling logical conclusions, I want to make sure that contest entrants aren't piggybacking off of others' work. If you're not entering the contest, and you're impatient to know how close your deductions are, then PM me with your guess and I'll give you a ballpark yes/no.

(Contestants are on the honor system not to team up and abuse this.)

6422111
If you sit down and assemble a list of what you know and whose stories contradict, I think things will start to come together. :twilightsmile: If not, track the story and you'll see the answer in the winning contest entry!

6422294
Or, given the Writeoff almost-prompt that originally inspired this, perhaps it's "Poor Little Bottercup." :trollestia:

6422388
ALIENS

6422730

I'll try opening each chapter next to each other and cross check when I get the time...

Incidentally, I've always enjoyed the name "Nightmare" for bat ponies.

6422730
I'm not saying it was bat ponies

But

It was bat ponies

6422722
The problem with this is that now you've quasi-confirmed to me that Skywriter's biggest sleuth is on the right track.
Or is it? Maybe you think the spoiler was something else. Maybe you cackled to yourself at how completely off he was, but thought that maybe you should delete it just in case, or just to be sure that other incidental information wasn't leaked.
It was a hell of an idea he came up with to be sure. I still can't tell what possibly inspired him to think what he did, but the more I consider it the more impossibly correct it seems to be.

6423157
I TOLD YOU ALL IT WAS ALIENS

BUT DID YOU BELIEVE ME?

NOOOoooOOOooo!

Why hasn't anyone pointed out the obvious?! Everything we know is a lie!!

It's a peninsula, not an island.

Well, fantastic poetry, loved the change in aesthetics to reflect the different characters. It's maddening how alive the scenery becomes, just by the strength of their monologues.

Guess I'll have to wait ten days for the conclusion =/

6423008

That's one of the parts:

That confuses me. I thought the Nocturnes were the batponies. I'm not entirely certain who or what these Nightmares are supposed to be. But then I missed that these were dreams entirely when I read it in the Writeoff, too... :twilightsheepish:

Mike

6423719
Oh, don't worry, you're not the only one who didn't realize they were dreams the first time through.

Frankly, I didn't figure out a super-important piece of the puzzle until reading it this time.

6423008 6423719
I'm just going to give a Word Of God answer on this one, because they're headcanon names and I don't want the distinctions to be unclear:

For purposes of this story,
Nocturne is the term for ponies physically altered by some form of Lunar magic, of all three tribes. "Batponies" are Nocturne pegasi. Not all Nocturne in this story are pegasus Nocturne; that may or may not be relevant to the mystery(s).
Night Guard are a special division of the Equestrian Royal Guard composed of Nocturne. Shooting Star is a Night Guard, and the only one in town.
Nightmares are simply ponies (or other beings…) that have received special training in dream infiltration. They're sort of Lunar secret agents. It's a job description, not a racial description.

There are several places in the text that should exposit that (with greater or lesser clarity), but for contest purposes I'm happy to set that straight.

I reviewed this story!

My review can be found here.

6424075

My train of thought:

Was heading along the path of Nocturnes being night pegasi and Nightmares being night unicorns, but reading Horizon's "clearing up" comments, I'm glad this information isn't necessary for the conclusion I've reached. Now I can be much more certain that my conclusions are entirely erroneous, and I can get on with writing my entry without having to worry about it winning. :twilightsmile:

Mike

6424405
You could make an entry that's so amazingly "incorrect" that it sways Horizon to your way of thinking, and that would make your story become the most correct!

Nearly 1500* words of case study later and I haven't come to any conclusions I didn't extricate from my readings last night.
Meh, the case study was fun to draw up.
Though I haven't analyzed yet! So who knows what I might find!

Also, I'm trying to restrain myself from wasting hours attempting to translate the Mooken words based on the information from the Writeoff thread. I put a bit of time into it last night and the research got scary fast.

EDIT: I failed to restrain myself. 6424954
EDIT: EDIT: *It's not nearly any more**
EDIT: EDIT: EDIT: **coughs more like nearly 2000 coughs

This might be my favorite chapter from an execution standpoint. I love the stream-of-consciousness style and the rigid blocks Majority Vote's thoughts are forced into.

6421808

As punishment for your transgressions against the Gods of Pony Internet, I sentence you to three Hail Lunas, two Our Heartbutts, and reread the Catechism of Cake. :V

I hear they're doing the final editing pass on the Litany of Checklists and the new psalms. Should be in next year's hymnals.

In less theological matters, I'm definitely going to have to think about this one. I may need to draw up a flowchart, or at least a dramatis personae...

After doing entirely too much research into the Moken people and their language, I've come to the conclusion that "Palei Hantu" is not a name but rather a title U Low Kene is assigning to whoever Palei Hantu is*.
Whether or not I'm right, I have no idea. At this point all I really want to know, Horizon, is how you possibly found information about Moken online, and for that matter why you even know about the Moken people at all. Forget Peridot's murder I want the linguistic background here

EDIT: *Or that at the very least the name "Palei Hantu" has some relevant meaning. Please help me

This was by and far my favorite entry in the Writeoff.

Oh my god I just realized that Nostalgia is literally speaking to the reader in those last few lines.

That is the problem
with dreams, you see:
a dream cannot lie,
but what lives inside
may have precious little relation
to the truth we are here to seek.

That's us. Oh man. Oh man

This was beautiful.
I sadly dont think I have the mental fortitude to solve this wonderful mystery.
A dream of a dream of what might have been

As much as I'd like to take a shot at writing the last chapter, there is no way in hell I'd be able to write one good enough to be the solution/ending.

This is just awesome. It's a mystery!

I haven't read the synopsis. I know nothing about this story other than I trust the author explicitly with my complicity.

And, having scrolled down the first chapter to type this, I know it's going to be poetry.

I feel a historical memento, a 'before', comment should be warranted. Right now I feel the closest I can to emotionally neutral, and I have an inkling that this is about to change very rapidly, so let's document my descent into Something Else together, shall we?

Let's cross this bright new Horizon together.

Stress.

I feel deep and unexplainable stress welling up through my chess and crushing against my heart in waves.

What are you doing, Horizon? What are you doing to me?

What are you doing Horizon.

Why.

... No.

No, this is absolutely not a prequel for EQG2 is it? It is.

Holy-

It is here that the meaning of the title finally makes sense to me.

To which my response is; Oh no. Followed by another seventeen 'no's' spat out like machine gun rounds.

AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGH-

What the @#$% happened to my neutral mood you sadistic #$%^?!

Favourited, tracking, adding to best-of-the-best folder. Only partially out of spite.

I've now read this through three times. Time to try and turn my notes into a definitive whodunit, or at least an improvisation that's easy on the eyes

Solution:

Littlemoth did it because Peridot tread on her Nikes.

Equestrian Opium Wars in the background? :unsuresweetie:

6424578

But that would then invalidate:

The entire core concept of my entry, causing it, I assume, to swirl away like "The Mouse's Tale" in Alice in Wonderland. It'll be an interesting experiment, at any rate. :pinkiehappy:

Mike

6425182
:raritywink:

6427949
Well spotted. There were a great many tragedies of colonialism, and one of the major themes of this piece -- Leitmotifs, if you will -- was the devastation of having good intentions devolve into a broken dream.

6425615

6423571 6425300
Thank you! I'm glad to hear it's leaving such an impact.

6425070
I just wanted to say, this really means something extra given your initial reaction in the Writeoff. That's high praise, that I was able to write something that didn't catch you originally and then stuck in your craw and kept gnawing at you from the inside until you found yourself giving it such high regard. So thank you for opening yourself up to the experience!

6425417
You might do better than you think! I've gotten four entries now, which use four different narrators and identify three different individuals as the primary culprit ... I'm not judging your deduction based on whether you come up with the "correct" answer in my head or not, I'm judging based on how well the explanation you come up with fits with the facts. What I want readers to do is to go as far into understanding the story as analysis will get them, and then follow their instincts from there to wherever the contradictions thin out the most. Some of the clues were left deliberately vague in order to encourage exactly that.

Plus, half of the judging is just whether you can write something cool. (That's why we're all here!) And I've read at least one story of yours that I liked, so I think you've got it in you. :twilightsmile:

6425717
It is moments like this that make years of fanfic commitments and slaving over stories all worthwhile.

6424859

I may need to draw up a flowchart, or at least a dramatis personae...

I know you've already submitted your entry [1], but speaking as a more general response to authors considering solving it: yes, that's probably a good strategy. It took me about two days of plotting to piece this together myself, back before I wrote the first word.

--
[1] It should be noted that both you, and other entrants, are allowed to revise and resubmit, right up until the deadline. Useful if you wake up one morning and suddenly an overlooked clue smacks you in the face.

6432966

Useful if you wake up one morning and suddenly an overlooked clue smacks you in the face.

This is more likely to happen if you just tell me who did it like I keep asking.

6433003
I TOLD YOU IT WAS okay enough of that gag already

6433309
Yes. A secret mysterious third faction working in secret on devious tasks. Turning into wolves, stealth-editing comments to confuse horizon, things like that.

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