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For centuries, countless griffons have braved the depths of the Abysmal Abyss in the hopes of recovering the Idol of Boreas, never to return.

But now stories have surfaced that someone came close to bringing back the legendary artefact, and one group of explorers is willing to try again where others have failed, for a chance at restoring Griffonstone’s lost glory once and for all.

Unfortunately, success may hinge on them first getting into that friendship thing that dumb ponies seem to love so much.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 76 )

Great to see another story with this as a premise! If there's one trope that's always irked me to no end, it's the Leave-It-It's-Gone trope (which I'm sure TV Tropes has a name for but I can't find) where characters lose a valuable item... but they know where they lost it. They can go back for it and find it again, only they never do! Why? Because Plot! Drives me nuts some times.

Looking quite forward to seeing where this goes.

You have my interest! Characters seem fun, premise seems fun. Griffons are cool.

Currently too short, will read when it's grown nice and big, in the meantime it's on tracking.

:applejackconfused:Uh.... Description on each characters please?

So far so good. Nice to see a little something different. Got to read more stories about griffons and/or zebras I guess.

Here's hoping, and crossing fingers, that they both survive. I think I'm justified in my concern, given the dark tag. Somebody's going to be taking a fall into the abyss.

Well, to be fair, that trope often arises from situations where it'd be dangerous, risky, and foolhardy to go looking again. Kind of like climbing mount everest successfully and then saying "Oh, sure. I'll have another go!" just to be the person who can say they did it more than once.

Comment posted by StormyVenture deleted Jan 22nd, 2016


Well, to be fair, that trope often arises from situations where it'd be dangerous, risky, and foolhardy to go looking again.

This particular case also has a later retrieval done off-screen left open as a possibility. There's nothing saying that a later, larger and better equipped, retrieval attempt wasn't made.

I suppose, that does assume that circumstances change. In most cases, a golden statue isn't the sort of thing worth that kind of trouble.

6861876 I assume that whoever holds the Idol becomes King of Griffonstone. That makes it worth a lot.

My griffon senses are tingling. Good world building, likable characters. I think we have a winner.

6861329 Sure. I'll be more thorough with descriptions in the next chapter.


Here's hoping, and crossing fingers, that they both survive. I think I'm justified in my concern, given the dark tag.

In case it's affecting anyone's decision to invest time in this story, the Dark tag is there for themes that are probably too intense for the show. Not necessarily death, but let's just say that there's a price for everything, and that one does not simply walk (or climb) into the Abysmal Abyss.

6862348 That depends on the contemporary culture. Modern griffons may treat it more like a priceless museum artefact rather than the holy grail that their ancestors did.

So, uh, any idea when the next chapter will be out?

6869189 I'm working on it, so it will probably take a few days. Hopefully within a week.

Really liked your last story. Hoping for some more fun/interesting goodness here.

Lenny's backstory is sure to be interesting. I wonder if you'll show it. An expedition into the isolated abysm does not leaves much space for meeting his mother, so... Flashbacks? Conversations? Dreams?

6881352 There'll certainly be opportunities for that, though I'll have to say that it's not completely central to this story.

Little lost on an detail (I was a little tired on my first read ). Lenny is a pegasis and Audri is a hybrid right?

6883682 That one's my fault; I was a little stingy with the details. :twilightoops: Lenny's a pegasus and Audri's a griffon. No hybrids. It'll be made clearer in the next chapter!

6883763 So it seems that the case will be adoption then it looks like. I figured that they were both hybrids, but that it didn't show, kind-of like with Tirek and Scorpan (assuming that they are biological brothers.) Anyway, interesting story so far.

so sunlight no direct path to their position this deep

Missing a "had"
The money thirsty mercenaries as well as the Korkonen(spelling not right, on mobile) house dynamics were a very real part of the story, it was very believable.
However the horrifying flying leeches remind me of the most recent king kong adaptation abyss ark: an horror show punctuated by deaths. It is more proper of a nightmare, and although you might change my opinion of the trope, I'm afraid, in that case, it will end up repetitive and break my suspension of disbelief.

Welp, life-ending calamities straight out of the gate. :rainbowderp:

Looks like Reynard borrowed from a bunch of different loan sharks, and they just found out about each other. They know he owes more money than he can possibly repay. Even if everything went to plan and he just showed up with that idol, the loan sharks would just seize it anyway.

6936754 Good catch. Fixed!

However the horrifying flying leeches remind me of the most recent king kong adaptation abyss ark: an horror show punctuated by deaths. It is more proper of a nightmare, and although you might change my opinion of the trope, I'm afraid, in that case, it will end up repetitive and break my suspension of disbelief.

Huh. I don't think the creatures were too outlandish for MLP, since the show has already depicted some fairly odd creatures lurking around in Equestria. :twilightoops:

6937730 Maybe not quite life-ending yet, but definitely calamities. :pinkiegasp:

6935776 'Cause when has a quest ever been fun without something going wrong? :pinkiecrazy:


When it involves beautiful ladies and lots of easy money?

Also, I'm getting the feeling that Erin is a hybrid. Part Diamond Dog maybe?

6938504 it's even cannon. I'm so sorry.

holy shit man
thats leaving it intense! O_O
i seriously cannot wait for the next chapter! :D


When it involves beautiful ladies and lots of easy money?

Ammendment: 'Cause what quest can't be made more fun with something going wrong? :rainbowlaugh:

6940534 No worries! With five seasons lying around, it's not easy to keep track of all the show's details. Though, to give fair warning, they will encounter nasty creatures in future chapters that aren't necessarily canon.

6914406 According to Fiendship is Magic #2 they are biological brothers. Their mother is a gargoyle like Scorpan and their father is a centaur like Tirek.

He's probably banking on a long standing truism about kings and moneylenders: Moneylenders who are too insistent about the king paying them quickly learn what the king's dungeon looks like from the inside.

6946669 In a functioning kindgom, sure. But Griffonstone right now is basically Somalia, it's a failed state. There is no government, just the private employees of the noble houses, many of whom resent Reynard and his house. Even if Reynard climbed out of the chasm with the idol and his half-dozen soldiers, it sounds like there will be a much larger, better trained mercenary army waiting for him. While Reynard is down in the chasm, the other noble houses aren't going to band together and fight off this fairly serious threat to help their political rival claim the throne, especially when they think he probably won't come back with the idol at all.

Now, if Reynard did make it back with the idol, I suspect the mercenaries and their loan shark employers (at this point they have probably agreed on a common cause and profit-sharing deal, since Gilda didn't report them fighting each other) will pluck the idol from Reynard, and auction it off to the wealthiest noble house in Griffonstone.

"Everything going to plan" probably included having a chance to start consolidating his rule before having to deal with the moneylenders. As for the various groups of mercenaries not fighting each other, the likely spark for this sort of situation comes about when the possibility of being the one guy who gets paid in full rather than one of many who get a small fraction enters play.

6947378 Yeah, you have a point. If the moneylenders hadn't figured out Reynard had borrowed from each of them, and thus had borrowed more than he could possibly pay as a single noble house, then Reynard might have had a chance. After coming back with the statue, and assuming he could have won over the loyalty of the rest of his hardened band to stay on, he would have had a decent chance to be recognized as King by the rather disorganized noble houses. Then he could borrow money from the other nobles to pay off the loan sharks, and rebuild the kingdom while he pays back the other nobles at his leisure.

Of course, relying on none of your shady creditors talking to each other does not seem to me to be the best plan. There's a reason when they ran this scheme in The Producers, they borrowed money from little old ladies rather than professional loan sharks.

And I agree, there is a high possibility that the mercenaries would fight each other for the right to collect the largest share of what they are owed. I just guessed that because they have already occupied Reynard's house, and aren't immediately killing each other, that the groups have come to an agreement. There is still a chance (a fairly likely one) that the mercenaries will betray each other once Reynard is dead, especially if there is this lightweight, incredibly valuable idol that represents all the remaining wealth that can be stolen and run off with.

Right now they are in a situation where even getting everything there is to get leaves them with only a fraction. The most likely 'agreement' is that they all agree that there simply isn't enough to get for fighting to be worth the cost, (no sense in incurring 100 gold in death bonuses to get an extra 80 gold after all).

Recovering the idol might also allow for other courses of action. Such as the possibility of there being treaties that are still technically in force but that would requires someone more than just a pretender to the throne to call upon. How much de facto legitimacy recovering the idol would grant is as yet unknown.

6948172 Assuming those treaties do exist, which is a possibility, (and assuming Reynard makes it out of the chasm alive clutching the idol at all) there's still a catch-22. To enforce those treaties, and get all the noble houses to rally their own guards and get a large enough army to kick the mercenaries/mob enforcers out of Griffonstone, would take at a bare minimum a couple of hours of Reynard flying around to all the houses with the idol, showing it off to prove his claim, right?

But we know the mercenaries are watching the passes, and are almost certainly planning to jump him the second he comes out of the canyon. So Reynard and his maybe 5 loyal soldiers are going to have a hard time saying "excuse me, mercenaries, let me pass with the idol so I can go rally the other noble houses to kick you out of town."

How much relevance are the Merc's going to have on the plot? I ask because so far it seems like the main story is going to be about our group being lost at the bottom of the abyss, where the Merc's can't get to them.
It just seems like an excuse for Gilda to be there and entice hostility in the gang.

6960042 To be honest, not all that much. They're more of a depiction of the consequences of Reynard's actions and a catalyst for the group dynamics.

6960554 Slight spoiler critique!
The main reason I asked is because I re-read that whole section and found that outside of Gilda's presence, practically nothing was lost with it's omission. Nothing from either the plot, or any of the characters growth.
Reynard could have simply insisted they keep going despite animal attacks, or claimed that abandoning the mission would mean that everybody would owe HIM what it cost to start the mission and the griffon's would still have a dislike for him. He already seemed like unlikable arrogant royal, and he doesn't change at all in these scenario's. He just seems very flat at the moment. I'm hoping he gets better in later chapters.
And Gilda could have come down to warn them for something much simpler. Maybe there was a freak weather storm on the way or... okay, I have no real idea how she could have just appeared in the current story frame without it feeling forced. Bit of a weak point.
There are still several ways you can use these goon squads outside of a passing mention. They could provide a reason for Reynad to want to stay in the abyss. Or as part of similarly lost hunting squad and find that loyalty due to money isn't the best mindset. Or even as a small side story where the interrogate the others who made it out of the abyss.
It's just that this story has been great so far and I want to to continue being great.

6960805 Gilda and the mercs are supposed to have roles in influencing the characters, but yes, I haven't really made much of it apparent yet. Hopefully there will be more interesting tidbits in later chapters. This story is one of my more ambitious projects in terms of having multiple character arcs with more complex interactions, so here's hoping that I don't botch it up. :twilightsheepish:

Thanks for the feedback! :twilightsmile:

6961414 well, here's looking forward to a good story. And don't worry, the only way to botch something up is to not put any effort. And judging by your comments, you like this project of yours too much for that. A fanfic is usually a work of passion, after all.
Besides, there will be legitimate critics like me trying to help you if you do mess up.

Wooo, Griffies! Always happy to see stories where they aren't the stock villains.

Interesting characters, I'm curious about Lenny's story. I like the premise, too, it totally should be explored in the show our comics.

They're off to a great start.

House Karhonnen, huh? Definitely inspired by House Harkonnen from dune. Even has someone who's a bit of a glutton in charge.

6937730 A human would probably have died from the fall. The natives of this world tend to be a touch tougher than real life humans. See also: the big huge giant who fell into the chasm and apparently got eaten on his way out rather than dying from broken bones.

I think ponies would die too. A touch tougher isn't a whole lot and hit sharp pointy rocks at high speed is fatal to almost everything. It's a bit hard to tell if something died before it was eaten or after. Besides the nasty bat winged scorpion things will probably devour them. In any case, if they get away with less than a leg/ankle/wing sprain then it's unrealistic and I'd expect one or more things to get broken.

7076820 When I said a touch tougher, I was going for british-esque understatement. See: scootaloo making a crater in the ground and being just fine, Changelings using themselves as kinetic impactors and leaving craters, Dash intercepting a falling statue with her back, tron lining (absurd acceleration), using herself as an anti-building kinetic impactor causing a mini-nuke explosion, and Twilight Sparkle taking an anvil+other stuff to the head and merely needing to go to the hostpital for a bit.

Of course, an author can go with a lower-end interpretation if they want, and much debate exists about exactly how durable they are, but it's clear ponies have enhanced durability. It's gotta be all the magic running through them. You have to be a touch cautious about applying real-world physics to your expectations of ponies because of that.

edit: so, Whether they'll have broken stuff as a result of this fall is up to the author, but because of what happened to mr. cyclops, I'd expect them to be mostly bruised or sprained rather than have anything outright broken.

7076820 7076887
I think the show regularly switches between semi-realism and cartoon physics invulnerability depending on the plot and tone of the episode. Dash can use her own body to demolish a building, yet she and Soarin have also injured their wings under far less stressful conditions.

I generally try to go for something between cartoon physics and realism. In this case, they can take far more abuse than a human or real horse, but they're not going to walk away from this unharmed.

For what it's worth I see the barn explosion thing as a case of most of the energy being directed outward into a sonic rainboom rather than inward. It's not really her body demolishing the building, even though had I written a script for that kind of thing she probably would've have suffered some injuries. It's more like she pulled up and out through a barn door with the outward explosion of air and maybe some electricity behind blowing the barn to bits. It's also a controlled action rather than being tossed by wind or slipping off the edge of a ravine. If she tried to fly in that ravine I'd expect at least a wing sprain from having her wings forced open.

are accounts are as good as gone

Should probably be "our".

(Also, I put this story on my kindle, so when I reached the end of the chapter, I thought for a minute that it was the end of the story overall. It WORKED as an ending, but it meant Lenny DIED. Thankfully, I checked to see if that was really the end, haha.)

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