• Member Since 12th Nov, 2013
  • offline last seen Last Thursday

Noble Thought

I sometimes pretend I have a posting schedule other than "sometime near the end of the week."


Hearth's Warming Eve.

A night to celebrate new beginnings, to be with family and friends, and welcome the new year.

For Derpy Hooves, a few things are missing.

Editing by Minds Eye, prereading by ZodiacSpear

Rated T for kissing, drinking.

Thank you kindly to Tchernobog for permission to use a different cover art, originally for Mood Wings! Give it a read if you haven't already.
Art by Im_not_sue.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 59 )

Yes kids, all of that will be on the test.

This was a fun little experience. I've never written a story with a lesson in mind before, and I hope I helped that intent shine through.

Also, derpi lists the artist as adamscage. Here's another picture he did that links to a tumblr page. Not sure if that's the same place to find the cover art, but it's there.


Sadly not... I looked through all 25 pages of arts on the tumblr. No luck. All the google image search results lead right back to Derpi, too. Also looked through the deviantart gallery, and didn't find even a sketch like it.

I loved this so so much, the tone or feel of the narrative was introspectively warm? I dont know how to describe it.
The melancholy threaded throughout was very palatable
I loved the time travel joke, the characters interactions, conversations and just everything felt very real.
Would love to see more of this.


I'm glad you enjoyed it! I meant it to be a warm story, with a growing warmth as it went on, with the melancholy drifting through it feeling both real and attached to a particular... feeling, situation... it's a hard to describe thing, but it has a name. That name was actually in the story, if you take the metaphor in the condition's name somewhat literally.

It was something that I got to witness firsthand when I was home for the holidays this winter.

6856023 Yes that is the feeling I got. I believe you captured it very well.

It comes in a bit late for the Hearthswarming crowd, but honestly I think this might be my favorite Hearthswarming story released this winter! I'm a huge sucker for TwErpy, and the emotional weight was just perfect for the amount of time given. Small bits of holiday melancholy interspersed with beautiful moments of lightness. Excellent piece, simply excellent.

This is the stuff that keeps my heart beating. :heart:

I like this Universe, but I get the feeling you weren't planning to continue using it, were you?
All the same, this was a ship that I have never, for some reason, ever thought of. I like it. :twilightsmile:

I liked it. It hits all the right buttons: soft & warm romance, bits of silliness, happy family, all the good feelings.

My only problem is that the introduction is...well, to put it best, I'll borrow the line right before things started making sense. It pretty much mirrors my thoughts.

She added, again, fixing the flue to the list of things that needed doing, and shook her head over how scattered her thoughts were.

That's not to say that the intro was necessarily bad or impossible to understand, but up until that sentence, the writing is really scattered. Certain phrases took rereading to make sure I caught what was being said, and there are times where two sentences are in the same paragraph, but are completely unrelated to each other.

Other than that part, though? Loved it, would read more of it, and this is a rather under-represented ship that I like.

An original backstory for Best Pony, an adorable romance, an exquisite nerd joke...

Yeah, there's nothing here I didn't love. Thank you for it.


Better late than never! And thank you. I really enjoyed filling in the bits and pieces in this story.


I don't have any plans at this time, no. A part of the problem is that I need an ultimate goal for the characters to reach. This can be overcoming an obstacle, achieving a self-set goal, or coming to a fundamental realization. I would need to develop a few ideas and mesh them into the world. Something I could certainly do, given time, but it does take time to develop a longer story's plot. Not to mention writing it.


I can't disagree with you there on the opening being a bit of a jumbled mess. I will have to have a look over the structure and see what I can do to improve it without losing the sense of being lost and uncertain. I have a tendency, especially in early drafts, to be a little sloppy in constructing paragraphs, and some of those construction mishaps make it through to the final product. Similarly, I find I have a tendency when self-editing to ignore the opening of the story, despite it being the most important part to getting folks to read on. It's a failing.


I'm glad you enjoyed it! I was a little worried how folks would feel about me giving her an original backstory, but it seems like it's not poorly received.

I had thought I would make the Fillydelphia (Philadelphia Experiment) connection a bit more concrete... but that it might also detract from the story. So I settled for the 'meme' (infectious thought) in Fillydelphia, since conspiracy theories are pretty similar in thought morphology to memes... and the chapter title + story title.

(That's mostly a lie... it happened by coincidence in the writing initially, and I decided to run with it.)


Oh... that joke... Uh... :twilightblush: I actually forgot that was in there. Until I re-read it. Whee! In my defense, I was also trying to craft the blog series that started this story, and update another story at the same time.



Fair enough. Sorry to hear you didn't enjoy it, and thank you for giving me a some specifics about why. I really appreciate the feedback.

Edit: At the risk of killing the author, the focus of the story was meant to be on family growing up, and making changes as it does. But everyone takes away something different, which is why I love hearing back from readers. And I can certainly see where you're coming from, I'm just not sure I agree with parts of it, specifically the preachy part, but I can see where you're coming from.

Which, of course, doesn't mean anyone is right or wrong. It's all up to interpretation, preference, and personal enjoyment.

I agree with 6857615, everything about this was great. It helps that this is my favourite ship...


I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Even so, I do so adore criticism. It stings, but it's a good sting, y'know. Actually can't think of anything at the moment that stings that would be 'good', but I hope you get what I'm saying. Growing pains! That's it.

Anywho... I'm glad you did enjoy it, and I do keep in mind as much critical feedback as I can, and I especially appreciate that you took the time to explain it. I have a hard time, sometimes, writing up reviews myself. Putting why something struck me as odd takes time and effort to suss out, and more time and effort putting it into something coherent.

So, thank you for the time. I truly do appreciate it.

And, well, my edit may have come from the old angle. But it's the same sentiment, I hope. Feedback is always appreciated, but never expected.

And I'll stop writing adding things to this reply because I have a tendency to ramble and add things unto incoherence.

Edit: My comments tend to be very spacy. I'm a space case. Hence the short bio. Luna also accurately portrays my mood most days. Spaaaaace!

Twilight x Derpy was one of the first ships I've encountered after getting into the fandom (I think it was Address Unknown), so it holds a special place for me.
Nicely done.


Thank you! I'm glad I was able to do it justice. I shall now have to find this story and read it, because it's definitely relevant to my interests.

Found it! Address Unknown by Remedy

Thank you! Got another story to read, now. And a long one.


I'm sorry... I have to do this mashup... PinkiePox: Contagious laughter.

You're welcome! :pinkiehappy:


I now have another ship involving Twilight that I love. I think I have a problem......


Nah. That's not a problem. That's a solution.

To what?

I'unno. I imagine it's, like, the ultimate question. Like 42. Except the question is something more like "Who can I ship this pony with?"


I will see your d'aww and raise you d'aaaaaaaaaaaw (seriously, that's the tag I found this under)

And because it made me smile:

Same tag.

"Sowing Night?" Do I want to know what that is? :P


What? The planting celebration? Psh. Nothing uncouth going on there. Nosirree. 'Specially not at night. Nope. Nothin' to see here.


Pst. Sowing wild oats.


If you're the one sowin' them, how can the be wild? Ain't that the definition of cultivated?

I feel bad for being curious, given the off hand nature of the line and the lewd implications, but it feels like there's a backstory here

My feels were not prepared for this... I'll just be happily ded in the corner for now. :rainbowkiss:

Holy shiztaco. Twiderp is RARE.

Of course.
What I really want to see is Dinky and Sparkler having Twilight as a second Mom. There are endless cuteness possibilities.


True. And yes, there is a backstory to it. The origin of the idea is from a book I read a long time ago, the Books of Swords, where there's a festival that plays a large part in the start of the story, the implications of which echo down through the stories. The festival revolves around the mingling of nobility and commoners without any obligation on either party. Part of a fertility rites ceremony.

I decided that something like it was popular in olden days, but had lost its following slowly. However, the Planting Festival itself was still going strong. The Sowing night was something that kept going by the stories young mares and stallions of the more rural towns and villages where the old traditions still held strong. But, modern times creep up on all, and the Sowing Night tradition only attracts enough for a semi-annual gathering of about a hundred ponies. It's not all about the fertility, of course. It's a part, but there's gaming, drinking, and a good deal of proving themselves as new adults. Racing, tests of strength, etc, and prizes for the winners.


Glad you enjoyed it! I'm always glad to see that.


It is, isn't it. Sad, that. I like the ship, myself.


Indeed. I always have a few ideas blipping around, and I had some ideas for how to incorporate it all into a story about Twilight learning to be a mom and balancing her duties as a parent and a princess, Dinky learning to share her mom, and Sparkler learning what it means to be a princess, and the responsibilities that go along with the privilege. For Derpy, it's learning to let go and not need to step in whenever one of her girls is in trouble.


Sorry... I have a tendency to do that...


Huh, I wasn't actually expecting a reply D: It's certainly an interesting thought; were you interpreting it being 'on part' from the apparent sex imbalance in Equestria, as many authors have, or just wanted to incorporation the idea in general?


I don't generally subscribe to the idea of the huge gender imbalance. If you read Ghost of a Rose, you can see some of the ideas that I work from when I write ponies. That story has the greatest amount of my world-building at a slice of life level. In particular interest to this, ponies have fewer hangups about the mechanics of scoodlypooping. Origin of that word below.

Anywho... I see that, because they don't generally wear clothes, the physical body isn't something they give a lot of thought about being afraid of or embarrassed by. I mean... there's gonna be accidental flashes, and ponies have a very distinct difference of feeling between casual and intimate, and that's all in the body language. They have very expressive tails, which a lot of authors don't pay attention to, and very expressive ears, as well. Both tell a story about a pony's mood.

They're also cues that we humans tend to pick up on easily, too, because the cues for ears are very similar to those of cats, dogs, and... well... horses. The tail motions of a horse aren't hard to understand, either. Angry, frustrated, annoyed... ears plus tail lend to a full body emotional readout. Adding in hoof movements adds more layers of meaning. Stamping, shuffling the hoof, and more naturally human things like reaching out, hugging, clapping, etc... Ponies are extremely expressive creatures, and they can make their mood known easily with just a few cues and no words.

So... yeah. Got a little off track, but my point was that a pony's body language is the indicator of whether something was accidental or with a purpose, and that's where the embarrassment and discomfiture of trying to flirt and the complexities and uncertainties of dating... It's not that they're on display, it's that they're actively looking, and that's where what appear to be more human traits come into play, things that we can relate to.

It's all about intent and mood.

And rambling... so... thanks for giving me an opportunity to ramble! I do love it so.


I don't generally subscribe to the idea of the huge gender imbalance.

Canon-wise, it looks like Gender Imbalance takes place tenfold. It's improved season to season, but it still seems like Equestria is mostly Female. More so than our Earth. Not I agree with that, but still.

This was an excellent story! I loved it. It was heartwarming, honestly, I want to read more .-. This was so amazing, I simply cannot describe it..
I give this story a muffin rating of: Twelve and a half muffins out of ten :derpytongue2:


I haven't personally seen Twiderp since S1.


And it's why when you get HiE that get poofed into ponies, the awkwardness factor shoots to 11 out of 10. Misunderstandings and missed social cues galore!

But clothing isn't all bad. Walking around on fleshy feet can be painful if not outright dangerous when every little jagged rock or pointy stem happily punctures the soles, oh and exposed roots are excellent places to smash toes inward. And don't get me started on sunburns; I must be part vampire because I all but burst into flames under a strong lightbulb since I always burn, never "tan". Then there's the dangly bits of human anatomy that are super sensitive to rough surfaces and sudden impacts. Owch! Ponies have it so easy with their fur and hooves... hmph.

That was a wonderful, heart warming read.
Thank you :twilightsmile:


I'm glad to hear it! I wish I could say that I could promise more, but alas, all I can promise are maybes. I currently have close to sixty other ideas to write, some of which are sequels to other stories I've already written.


You're welcome!


But of course! I would love to see a professional equestrian (horse handler/rider) zapped to Equestria and poofed into a pony. That could be interesting. The cues aren't missed... they're well understood... and she ends up reading far too much into a casual tail flick or grin. Misunderstandings abound!


I'm not sure how I feel about the whole gender imbalance thing tbh; I tend to use it in my stories but I'll admit that it's something of a cheesy idea, and the ratio of mares to stallions has, over the seasons, improved. That said, I think there's still more mares than stallions in the show, as far as I know.

I do think it makes a lot of sense for them to have fewer hangups around sex; it always struck me [this is a bit of an aside] that nudists tend to take such an unusually dim view of sexuality (usually in the sense of 'what do I do if I get a boner' FAQ) given the situation. If you're nude, you're going to see males get erections, and accidental flashes (and perhaps not-so-accidental flashes) and everything in between.

Finally, to comment on body language: I agree, but technically humans have body language too, and it doesn't stop us from making mistakes.


True about human body language. Our facial language is a bit more subtle, so far as I know. I think, more, what I was getting at is that ponies have far more visible markers for body language. Tails and ears. And I'm certain there are ponies that don't pick up on those cues. Like the impatient mare stuck listening to a boring diatribe about Ogres and Oubliettes because the stallion isn't paying attention or not catching the snapping tail, the slicked back ears, the strained smile, brief, terse replies, and the roving eyes searching for an escape route.

For a human woman it'd be the tapping foot, crossed arms, fake smile, and roving eyes, maybe terse comments, etc.

So, there's a good bit of overlap, yep.

Failed to pick up the cues in both cases.

To the nudists...

I think, for the difference in Pony vs. Nudists - for the pony, not wearing clothes is the norm. For the nudists, it's a part of image. They don't want to be seen as sex-crazed, and want it to be seen by larger society, where clothing is the norm, as a healthy, non-sex-crazed lifestyle. When you wear clothes, the question of what to do when you have an erection is moot, as is bending over, crossing your arms, etc.

When a society has nudity as its norm, the problem of what to do if you have an embarrassing slip is written into social mores, and everypony just accepts it as an oops and moves on and doesn't create a pamphlet freaking out over it. It's taught as a part of growing up, and handled just like any other social faux pas.

As to gender imbalance... there may be a disposition towards mares in the population If you're going by historical herds, mares and stallions were probably born in close to equal numbers. But dispersal and the need to roam to find non-related mates would send stallions out to roam and try to find other herds that weren't related where they could set up as part of the structure of that society, a notoriously dangerous endeavor. Similarly, stallions are also defenders of the herd, and mares the leaders. Defenders protect the leaders, and thus suffer higher attrition due to predation.

But... birth-rate-wise... perhaps somewhere along the line a minor disposition towards female offspring would explain it. Over time, such a minor disposition would lead to a seeming overpopulation of mares.... but it would likely even out as mares would then be taking roles that stallions had, once - namely defenders, and suffering the same rates of predation, thus evening numbers.

As far as the show is concerned... well. I'unno. I just tend to write it as either a minor local abundance of mares, or generally equal distribution, or even just the stallions need to satisfy that need to roam and take jobs that send them off. Railroad workers, mail carriers, couriers, etc., leaving the mares to appear to be in abundance, when the stallions are just off-screen doing something else.

Edit: Wow... I ramble too much.

That was a decent bit of rambling. But it was the good kind, points were made, information and opinions shared.
Hell, I even learned a little about actual herds. (I actually didn't know that mares lead herds)

Not like the angry and or nonsensical kind that I see far too often.


I like to think of angry rambling like this:

Anywho... glad you learned something about herds! I've always found horses and herds fascinating. I used to have my own little horse farm playset when I was younger, and I loved it. I've been horsey ever since.


I think subtlety can be somewhat relative, as well though, Horse's body language seems relatively easy to understand, but I think one could make the argument that it's at least partly because horses likely feel emotions in a much more basic, uncomplicated way than we do--not to mention the complexities of culture and society heap on top of this. For example, one generally would be seen as rude if you bit someone, but horses often do when they're annoyed or angry. The other difficulty would be that even if we take the position that there is no differences in emotional complexity and body language isn't as informed by society as other forms of communication might be, it's still possible that horse body language is more complex than we realize, and we're missing part of it because we're not horses.

I think, for the difference in Pony vs. Nudists

I think you've hit the nail on the head, truly, but it does bother me on some level that so many nudists seem to take the position that boils down to, in essence, 'don't be ashamed of your body, but be ashamed of your body'. In some sense, this is probably due to how utterly fucked up our society is to a large degree when it comes to the human body, and it really isn't that relevant to this story save as a compare and contrast with this hypothetical pony society.

On gender: I think the idea of roaming studmuffins is actually a rather interesting one, where the stallions go from place to place, maybe spend a month or a few weeks in an area, before moving elsewhere. Do you have any stories that explore it specifically? Or Would it be in that Ghost of Rose fic?


Do you have any stories that explore it specifically? Or Would it be in that Ghost of Rose fic?

Sort of...

I had the idea of the Wandering College that I used as a very minor plot device in Ghost. It was how the protagonists eventual mate got their degree. The idea of the Wandering College is pretty much there in the title. It's a caravan that roams the nation, picking up and dropping off students as they go, picking up knowledge and sharing it, and their expertise for a small fee, water rights, and some food. The knowledge of the WC is more practical than theoretical. It's more akin to a technical school in our world, that teaches skills and how things work.

It also satisfies, for mares and stallions, a basic wanderlust need at an age when that desire to roam is the strongest. Their may actually be a few, with hometowns that support them instead of them requiring fees for what they do. I had the idea that the students are all active, working parts of the caravan, and they help mend wagons, cook meals, and do other camp duties just like the teachers. But when the caravan settles and sets its tent walls, staying in one place for a week or a month, they teach and spread knowledge to whatever town they happen to be near, with the more advanced students helping teach the younger foals, and the younger wandering students taking lessons from the professors.

Of course, since becoming more stationary and building cities and farms, developing agriculture, the need to wander is becoming less and less. Over the last millennium, the WCs have faded from glorious caravans of hundreds of ponies in each, with the wealth of knowledge in their wagons equal to any library, to maybe a hundred or so ponies who rely on local libraries to store the more delicate knowledge found in scrolls and books and focus more on crafts and magical tutelage.

If you're interested on my take on earth pony magic, I have a good deal of that in Ghost, and some more in Under a Tree. For unicorn magic, or... well, alicorn, really, I have Mother of the Moon. I have yet to publish one focusing on pegasi, but I do have another Derpy tale I'm working on, a LyraDerp with some emphasis on wings in the background details. (Though I call her Bright Eyes in that one... and Muffins in Twilight Sparkle and the Cake Thief)

In fact, much of the detail I have in my stories is understated, actually. I don't exposit on the nature of magic all that much. I try, as much as possible, to demonstrate how it works. It's more visceral that way, I think, and people are free to draw their own conclusions about the minutiae of magical systems and limits. I don't tend to like magic that relies on "It's a level 7 unicorn spell!" Too formulaic. I like organic magic that's woven into the world.

As for the rest, on subtlety and nudists... couldn't agree more. There's just so much we can't know about the complexities of the emotional cues of other animals. Heck... a huge portion of their social cues, as relate to romance, may not even be understandable by us. Scent, you know.

That was adorable and a lot of fun to read.

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