• Published 10th Jan 2016
  • 1,000 Views, 52 Comments

Wizards of Everfree Valley - Dafaddah



A geeky young Pegasus decides that magic should be for everypony, and sets out to make his dream a reality.

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Prologue - And this too shall pass

Author's Note:

Welcome to Wizards of Everfree Valley, a compendium of my entries for Obselescence's OC Slamjam in early 2015. It includes all my entries for each round up to the finals.

My idea in participating in the OC Slamjam contest was to use the contest to develop a multi-chapter story loosely based on the life of Steve Jobs and equating the Personal Computer revolution (which I experienced very personally in the eighties and nineties) with the Personal Spell Caster (or Personal Caster) revolution championed by my protagonist OC, Firefly.

Of course, I had to find ways to fit the spell caster technology and its effects on society as I envisaged them into the stories I wrote within the guidelines of the contest. Of necessity this has created a lot of different PoVs, and I hope the structure makes the PoV changes acceptable. Also to help separate the stuff going on in the present (Prologue, Wake segments, Epilogue) from those occurring in the past I have put the sequences in the present in Italics. Please let me know what you think of this approach.

Why compare unicorn magic with the computing? The specific difference between unicorn magic and the magic of other pony tribes (as portrayed in the show - so far!) is that it is spell based - I.e. It can be abstracted into a series of actions and commands that can executed in a specified order, represented symbolically (in spell books), taught as a discipline, and can be imbued into objects (enchantments). It was these parallels with computer programming that gave me the idea to do a series of stories based on the emergence of the "personal spell caster" in Equestria.

Twilight Sparkle

The nurse on duty rose from behind her desk and bowed as I entered Ponyville General’s palliative care ward. Her expression was somber. Her teal coloured mane was done up in a tight bun upon which she had set the little hat that was symbol of her office. She even had on a spotless white uniform, as if the greenish scrubs worn by most of the hospital’s other staff failed to convey sufficient respect for her charges and their families in this... dismal place. Her name tag read “Head Nurse Summer Meadow”. It took a special kind of courage to do this job, something which I appreciated far more since my ascension.

“Good evening, Princess Twilight.”

Nurse Meadow sat back down. It was one of those new ergonomic chairs, with knobs and levers sticking out from behind the seat and backrest. They were for ponies who spent a lot of time sitting in from of PC monitors while typing into keyboards. Hospitals were embracing Personal Casters ever since it became possible to link them into a common information network. The Cobbler Inc logo glowed on the monitor's backside, reminding me why I was here.

“Is he awake?” I asked Nurse Meadow with the warmest smile I could manage, given the circumstances.

“Yes, your majesty,” she nodded as she spoke. “The others are already gathered in his room. He is awake, but... it won’t be very long now. His wellspring is fully depleted, and his body has already begun shutting down.”

“I...” I lowered my gaze to the tidy desk between us. “Thank you,” I finished lamely, turned on my hooves and walked away.

My hoof steps echoed down the immaculate hall all the way to his room. Behind me I heard Nurse Meadow typing as she logged my visit to the ward.

I dreaded this meeting, and was ashamed that I should feel that way. It brought a flash of heat to my face. Many ponies believed that when I was made a Princess Royal of Equestria I became immortal, and that, somehow, I was now in on the secrets of the afterlife! If only that were true! All during my apprenticeship, Celestia had categorically refused to answer any of my questions about the existence of an afterlife, or even about her own immortality. She merely advised me to observe others carefully and come to my own conclusions.

Sigh.

I'm proud to be a child of science. Most of my life I have endeavoured to be a rational being, and have truly believed only in those things I could experience with my own senses, measure and test. Until my own ascension, that is. There was the moment, when I was struck with lightning, that I swear I felt my body die. I was... somewhere with Princess Celestia, and it wasn't Equestria! Everything felt different. I felt different! Then before I could figure anything out, I was whole again and graced with an added pair of wings. Was what I felt in that place real? Has anything that’s happened since been real? The thought makes me shudder.

Ever since, death has left me uneasy. Facing terminally ill ponies even more so. They could so easily ask me questions that I cannot answer. Questions that Firefly might want to ask – might need to ask – as he lay on his deathbed. I took a deep breath and entered his room.

He lay covered in white sheets up to his chin, with a whole row of noisy monitoring devices lined up behind his bed, beeping, clicking and hissing. The little of his orange coat visible looked washed out, a pale shadow of its former deep orange. Most of his fire-red mane had fallen out, leaving him looking looking like pony four times his age. Four times my age. He was smiling that crooked, annoying, infuriating... sad little smile of his.

Six ponies stood in vigil around his bed. Applejack was there, so were Dash, Big Mac, Mild Manners, Whirligig, and Falcata. They nodded in greeting as they made room for me to join them in the circle.

“Your majesty, you came to see me off,” said Firefly. His voice was a raspy whisper, barely audible above all the machinery keeping him alive.

I tried to smile. “We eggheads need to stick together when the going gets tough, right?”

He chuckled. “I suspect this is tougher on all of you than on me.” His eyes twinkled. “But this, time I’m not going to prolong the show by saying ‘and just one more thing’.”

Some of the ponies next to me chuckled, others sniffed back tears. Some did both.

Firefly’s eyes closed momentarily. When they opened again they seemed to have sunk further into his face. His lips moved. I leaned in closer to hear.

“Thank you...,” he whispered.

“You don’t have to thank me for friendship,” I tried to smile through trembling lips. “Friendship is what this kingdom is all about!”

“Yes,” he breathed. “And I’m grateful to all of you for your friendship... but that’s not all you gave me...”

I wasn't sure what he meant. Confused, I wiped a fetlock across my eyes and looked at the other faces, equally perplexed. “What else did we give you?”

His cough barely moved his sunken chest beneath the starched sheets.

“The magic...” he wheezed. “The magic that an egghead pegasus like me... couldn’t have found elsewhere.” He closed his eyes again. It was so long before he opened them again.

“I was so empty... so sad... when I came to this town.” His eyes widened. “Here I made magic... I did... what... I was meant to do.” He coughed again. “Now I’m... satisfied... no regrets...” The corners of his lips tugged upwards. “None that matter, anyway...”

She placed a hoof on his foreleg. She could feel through the sheets how thin and frail he had become.

“Good-bye... my friends,” he whispered, and slowly closed his eyes. The beeping slowed, stopped and was replaced by loud buzzing sound. Nurse Meadow trotted quietly in. She must had been waiting by the door. She pressed a button on the device, plunging the room into a sepulchral quiet.

We all looked at each other. Four mares and two stallions, whom neither blood nor clan had brought together, but rather an odd, scrawny pegasus whose love of magic few others could rival, a love that had turned a sleepy farming town, and its neighbours in the shadow of Canterlot, into the heart of innovation in Equestria – the fabled Everfree Valley.

Instinctively we moved closer together, some of us hugging, others just needing the living warmth of other ponies against their bodies, for truly, there is comfort in the herd.