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horizon


Not a changeling.

T
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This story is a sequel to The Last Dreams of Pony Island


If somehow you're reading this without having read The Last Dreams Of Pony Island, stop now and read that first. Otherwise, this will make no sense and thoroughly spoil that story!

The Last Dreams Of Pony Island told a tale of an Equestrian colony's last days and a hated merchant's disappearance by the docks. Back in 2015 I held a contest for entrants to piece together Myinnkyun's mysteries and provide the best explanation for what happened to Peridot (and the town). These are the collected submissions; I'm publishing it now because unpublished stories are no longer accessible.

Each chapter is a separate entry by a different author, narrating one proposed epilogue for Pony Island from the point of view of the individual who they decided was the one peering into the other residents' dreams. They were originally presented here anonymously and in a random order, for purposes of contest judging; after the competition was over I added each author's username to their chapter title.

A list of entrants, and more details, can be found at this blogpost here. The contest is long since over, though; this post has the winners.

Chapters (26)
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Comments ( 300 )

Since I know I'm going to get questions about it:

I had to manually craft the side-by-side sections with an arcane combination of [quote] and [right_insert] in order to match the submission received. Code available upon request.

And yes, FIMFiction does support right-justified text. It's totally undocumented, but click on the "center" button to get centered text like this:
[center]centered![/center]
and then just replace "center" with "right".

Edit: also note, among other wordcount problems, fimfic counts all of those [right] / [/right] tags as words, so this one shows up as way over the limit. It isn't.

2017 edit: I'm pretty sure that FIMFiction's changes in the last year or two broke the coding. :( I fixed it up as best I could.

6461959
It seemed somewhat appropriate given the nature of the collection. :pinkiecrazy: Plus the piece's title, which I blatantly stole from was reminded of by one of the entrants.

6462003
Source link pops up if you hover over the photo, but to save you a click: it's named after Shakespeare's homage in The Tempest to a drowned elder — "Full fathom five thy father lies ..."

6462021

I thought the obvious Shakespearean allusion to draw would have been Hotspur, but Bill Shakes is solid gold, either way. This should be good....

EDIT: And now I see #4 has a Romeo and Juliet reference. Man, the Bard is really on board today.

Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015
Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015
Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015
Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015

This piece is very reminiscent of Horizon's own poetic style, so if you were shooting for regularity, author, you succeeded. There are some hauntingly lovely lines in here as well—like that first stanza. Oof.

I must wonder, though: just by virtue of being in this contest, is this story implying that Adagio is the nightmare? How could that be possible? Perhaps I'm missing something in the piece, but I don't think it's explained at any point how Adagio gained the power to perform dream incursions—or that she even has performed them.

Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached the pinnacle of literature. This is it. You can all go home now. It's done.

Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015

I like the implications of the last stanza. Fits very well with Peridot's canon chapter.

I'm not sure how I feel about Hotspur referring to Peridot as a 'loathsome shrew,' which, IIRC, is a quote straight from the original collection. A bit jarring.

Also of slight concern is the section where Hot rattles off all the canon dreamers, as well as a few thoughts about them all. The concept behind it is brilliant—however, the execution is uneven. I don't like how some characters have their analyses fit into one stanza, while others have them drawn out across two or three. In addition, where are Shooting Star and Sunspot? What has the potential to be a brilliant patterned section is left looking a bit ragged.

Did - did someone just give this the 'Lost Cities' treatment?

For me:

"Whodunnit?" is the question I've been asking since I read the original back during the Writeoff. So I think that's what my comments will focus on: does the piece answer the question in a way that I can buy? But I'll probably remark on other aspects of each entry, too, if I know me... :twilightsheepish:

Mike

Guess I'll go first:

1. 15 - Coy to the bitter end, I see
2. 14 - Praise the Eternal Sun
3. 16 - Did you hide, U Low Kene?

I'm impressed that so many writers saw things I didn't, or intuited things I never considered. And while I'm no good judge of poetry, the stories told by those three entries all managed to impress me greatly.

6461652
That's some impressive fimfic-fu

The textual lengths that this one goes to incorporate the actual dream-viewing is impressive, too!

Adagio says she did it:

As part of her plan to stir up the strife the sirens need to power their gems, and from here, she's on to conquer the world!

I like how the implied changeling is just another pawn here, and I agree with Dubs about the lovely writing. Pinning the blame on a character not mentioned in the original makes me wrinkle my nose a bit, but still, this is one that answers my basic question quite nicely.

Mike

6462201 6462269
I'm definitely doing the same thing for the "left brain" portion of the judging (that's half of your points!), but PLEASE don't let me stop you! It'll be a useful way for me to cross-check my scoring (since whether a solution has contradictions / whether it offers a solid explanation should be objectively measurable against the facts), and having submitters launch that conversation themselves means that I'm not stifling discussion by providing a "right" answer from above.

1. 11 - Shame! Shame!
2. 15 - Coy to the bitter end, I see
3. 23 - Dawn has yet to break

Honorable mentions go to numbers 1, 17, and 21. It wasn't easy to pick from this pool.

HE SPEK LIKE WET ORANGE
like failed badger

You snuck this into the poetry section of my brain (which is like putting strawberry yogurt in the water cooler), and now I can't stop laughing :pinkiecrazy:

Hotspur says:

It was an accident, then sets out to stop the town's disinegration.

But the piece stops before letting us know if he manages that or not, so I'm left feeling a little incomplete. And I didn't much care for the sections that recap what we already saw in earlier chapters. I'd much prefer just getting Hotspur's impressions of the characters rather than the summaries. Still, this one does give me an answer I can go with.

Mike

Dawn Patrol says:

Majority Vote hired Sunspot to kill Peridot, but I'm not buying it. For one thing, my understanding from Dawn Patrol's section of the original was that he was the one telling all the ships not to come into port. So Peridot was waiting for her ship: she didn't have one in the harbor. And this might've been easier to read if it had been structured like blank verse. That way, you could've split the lines at all the places where you've made comma splices now, and the punctuation gremlin in my head wouldn't've growled so much while I was reading this... :scootangel:

Mike

6462285

Adagio actually is mentioned, at the end of Sonata's chapter.

Fun fact: for a while I thought the big twist was that this would be a Starswirl the Bearded origin story, but that theory seemed untenable the more I read and studied it.

In a forest of poetry, genuine prose stands out. In this case I don't think that's a bad thing at all. Author, you made an orange look right at home at the end of a line of apples. Well done :twilightsmile:

Because I can't help myself:

"it's petals" there in the middle should be "its petals".

But here, Hotspur says that Majority Vote did it because Peridot was becoming too troublesome. But Vote seems more a talker than a doer: I'd expect him to try to buy Peridot off first, then as in the previous entry, hire somepony to kill her if she didn't take the deal. I still like the changeling as maguffin, though, and the lines and the form here--congratulations, Horizon, on getting it to post--is very nice.

Mike

An unnamed Nightmare:

Talks about the mysteries but then is both unable to solve them and seems to meet the Pale Pony of Death at the end. The versifying and rhyming are rough enough, too, that I'd recommend going full blank verse on this instead of the half-and-half it is now.

Alas, however, that I find no answers here!

Mike

Rosetta writes back to Nostalgia:

But there doesn't seem to be an answer in this one, either. I do like the stretched out rhythms and the side-rhymes here, each line wobbling like a spinning plate till it crashes down at the end. But again, no answer to my question.

Mike

Nobody's mentioned that it is:

But I get the feeling that this is all referencing something I'm unfamiliar with: zerglings and all the other names that I don't know how to spell since the story doesn't know how to spell them. Something out of anime or a video game, maybe?

This one does give an answer, though: the creature disguised as Tommyrum killed the creature disguised as Peridot before Peridot could kill it. There's a lot of humor here, too, which is a plus, but I'm pretty sure I'd find it cleverer if I had any idea where it was coming from.

Mike

Hotspur tells a qilin:

That Majority Vote killed Peridot. I think.

But I'm not sure even after reading this through three times. I mean, when the straight prose one is the one I'm having trouble understanding, I think it's time to take a break.

I'm not quite sure I can untangle the motive here, either. Peridot's been sneaking over the walls to dally with the minotaurs so she resents the Nocturnes for being able to dally openly with the ponies. Dawn Patrol, who's in love with Littlemoth, finds out about Peridot and is going to blackmail her. But Minority Vote somehow finds out that Peridot's down at the dock and pushes her into the drink. But I still can't quite see how it all connects.

Mike

6462531

Starcraft. It's a strategy video game where you can play as either human colonists, the Zerg hive (think John Carpenter's The Thing) or Protoss, your standard glowy Star Trek-esque godlike aliens. You pick your side, build a base, and blast the crap out of the other sides, which, now that I think of it, actually does make a cunning sort of sense, given this story's themes of isolation and an encroaching threat.

Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015
Comment posted by Trick Question deleted Sep 28th, 2015

#1 -- 4. "The old stallion calls me," for maximizing (IMO) completeness of answer with lyrical beauty; probably the best complete textbook Left/Right solution compared to horizon's guidelines. Full marks.

#2 -- 13. "Blackest mirror laps on sand," for an interesting, credible, and quietly, sadly appealing relationship that hadn't occurred to me; and a beautiful exploration of what the Nightmare's job actually looks like in practice.

And at the risk of sparking a screaming fit on the part of the author...

#3 -- 7. "I figgerured out murderpone," for throwing the rules out the window and making me laugh while doing so, from the title on forward.

Honorable mention to 12. "The waters of Myinnkyun’s harbor" for a spot-on Cold in Gardez impression. This will be comforting to the author if he is in fact Cold in Gardez, because there is a quiet satisfaction in being told you exemplify yourself. If it's anyone else, you may want to meet with Gardez about gainful employment as his understudy and/or body double.

6462562

Huh:

Okay, thanks. Being so out of touch with pop. culture, I've developed an ability to recognize when I'm missing something even when I have no idea what it is I'm missing. :twilightblush:

Mike

6462450

That way, you could've split the lines at all the places where you've made comma splices now, and the punctuation gremlin in my head wouldn't've growled so much while I was reading this.

Exceedingly true. Perhaps it's because I just finished reading Yoruba Girl Dancing, but the prose here reminds me quite a bit of Simi Bedford's narrative style—just without any of the literary finesse she uses to make it work. Comma splices, awkward sentence structures, and weirdly quoted passages (it reads like a high school English assignment at some points)... Not to mention that half the names go uncapitalized. This is unfortunate, as I really like your opening line (I think it captures Dawn's madness well).

Picking Dawn for the Nightmare has a lot of potential; his canon chapter is filled with enough insanity and treachery to fill an entire poem by itself. Unfortunately, though, your piece doesn't ever really take the time to examine his mental state, which was perhaps the most interesting part of his character. It's a pity.

Majority Vote is an interesting answer, although I can't find any motivation for Sunspot to help him. I get that Sunspot didn't like her, but in his canon chapter even he seems to show a bit of sadness for her death—in addition, he notes that he thinks that kelpies killed her. Unless he's somehow altering his own dreams, it seems like he doesn't know who did it either.

Potluck says:

That Peridot was clumsy and fell in, but then he goes to say that he's just as guilty as everypony else for everything that happened here. I'm not quite sure where this goes at the end, but it says a lot of things very prettily and with some very nice rhythms, so this one goes into the "answers my question" column.

Mike

Hotspur says:

That Littlemoth used her dream powers to take over Peridot's body and send her on an endless swim. Pretty straightforward, and it even attempts to explain the possible time discrepancy. The versifying's a little choppy, but I like the introduction of rhyme in the last eight lines very much. I'll buy this one, too.

Mike

Gotta give props to the formatting (and to Horizon for making it work on fimfic). But, I quickly found it frustrating to read. I think that has more to do with my lack of exposure to (or realized appreciation of) formal poetry than anything else. But, I found myself trying to re-compartmentalize sections in my head and read them in that manner, in the hopes that I could glean more from the sections.

As for the words themselves, I do like the idea of a Changeling among the crowd. Fits well with the overall environment in the original piece. Author, have a tip of the ol' cap. :)

I like the form, and some of the language is very beautiful, but I'll be quite honest: I can't make heads nor tails of what this piece is trying to say. I'll come back to it later.

Potluck says:

He accidentally drove Peridot to suicide, and it all seems to add up. The verse here is lovely to read and look at, too, though the underlying premise seems a little shaky--if this was a colony Luna had set up, I don't see how so many ponies with prejudices against Nocturnes would've been selected to join or would've applied to join. Still, I'm on board for this one, too.

Mike

6462214

Very much so!

The lost city of Myinnkyun takes us on a brief tour of its own remains, and while we get to see the inside of Peridot's home, that view doesn't give me personally enough information to know what happened to her. A red feather, yes; some scratch marks on the window sill, fine. But more enigmatic clues are exactly what I'm not looking for in these entries.

The voice of the town says that what happened doesn't matter, so I guess that's something. Not a very satisfying something, but a beautifully written something...

Mike

6462498
This. The problem with this poetic style is that, unfortunately, it calls for at least some sense of meter, which this piece unfortunately lacks.

Also, not even a guess as to who killed Peridot?

Nicely done. Took me a couple of reads to let it sink in, but despite it's prose-based design, this piece gets a message across nicely.

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