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

horizon


Not a changeling.

T
Source

There once was a story about the beautiful dark alicorn who moved the moon. In the tranquil countryside, a young boy listened to the story, looked at the stars, and imagined. He grew up and fell in love with the ruler of the night … and she loved him, too.

It was perfect, except for one nagging doubt in the back of the quiet boy's head: she was a character from a children's story.


Winner of the Writeoff Association's "Written In The Stars" competition! ** Featured on Equestria Daily ** Featured by The Royal Guard (twice! :twilightblush:)

Highly Recommended by Present Perfect! "An excellently written story about an emotional encounter between the titular characters … yet a good bit more than that. If you like reading, you will like reading this."

Recommended by Titanium Dragon! "This story had an excellent style to it, a sort of fairy tale like quality … really, this is a work of original fiction which pokes at MLP in only the barest of ways. But that doesn't mean it isn't relevant to your interests."

Art: Assembled by me. Luna vector by azur-wing.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 183 )

First comment reserved for spoiler-free author's notes, etc.

If you're checking comments to decide whether or not to read this: Quiet Boy and Moon Horse is basically the bastard love child of Thou Goddess and My Little Dashie, if Lucky Dreams were the midwife.


Edited to add: AFTER reading QB&MH — especially if it hit you hard — I highly recommend checking out both 6895679 and this blog post. In the former I offer some framing for those, like me, who find the story touching (uncomfortably?) close to their personal experiences. In the latter I talk about some of the major themes I hoped the story would illustrate.

basically the bastard love child of Thou Goddess and My Little Dashie, if Lucky Dreams were the midwife.

Not gonna lie, that hook totally sold me

Is this changed fro the write off?


I can't read it again I'll weep. I'm a big dumb sentimental sort like that.

Beautiful!

Welp, I wrote a one story review of this story over in my blog. It is mostly just what I said in the competition, but edited and clarified for a more general audience.

Definitely a different sort of story from what you usually see around here.

Hopefully the relevant folks will find it interesting.

PS. I took the liberty of adding it to several groups, you lazy not-changeling, you.

This cuts... way too close.

No choice but to like and fave. But I feel a bit like I've been punched.

Painfully beautiful

This hits so close to home...

My life in a nutshell but i did do one thing different told the girl to go away

A beautiful and quite an emotionally powerful story. It was well worth reading.

This is almost uncomfortable in how close to home it hits. Congratulations on the gold; it was well deserved.

Totally a pony story! Completely legit!

:3

6883314
If you read this in the Writeoff, you probably don't need to read it again; there's some smoothing throughout (especially in the scene before the horizontal rules), but no significant alterations.

6883418
Thank you for the review and the group adds! This passed moderation while I was AFK with some friends at game night, so you beat me to the punch.

6883249
Either I need to describe more of my stories this way, or I need to write more stories which can be described like this. :raritywink:

6884106
Bah, submissions guidelines are for authors who aren't in the 1% of authors by follower count. You're acting like Horizon is some kind of plebian. :moustache:

Well, either that or some changeling replaced one of the story approvers. Has anyone checked the basement yet? :trixieshiftright:

Though, more seriously, this is probably more of a pony story than Rescue.

Incidentally, grats on getting featured! :twilightsmile:

6884106 6884129
Hey now, it totally has a Luna character tag, and her name appears in the description box. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go deal with the totally unrelated problem of what to do with all of this serial-number dust and this suspiciously worn-down file.

In all seriousness, though, this is a story about our relationship with ponies, or at least, one manifestation of that ... and I am not alone (judging by comments) in feeling like this particular manifestation hits uncomfortably close to home. (I, uh, have a lot more to say on that, when it's not 3 AM on the day before a Writeoff day. I never got my post-Writeoff author's notes typed out. This only increases the need.)

Quiet Boy and Moon Horse is not a story which I could have written if I were forced to name-drop ponies throughout, or even insert actual names. That would ground it far too much, and the power of the story is in the deliberate stylistic decisions I made to leave it in an ethereal, unnamed, mythic space. That said, this is not a story that I could have written without the context of MLP, and specifically, Princess Luna. I absolutely intend for readers to go into it with her as their default Moon Horse mental image: witness lines like

That was okay, he decided. Moon Horse was on vacation, and her silent sister Sun Horse was taking over for her for a while. It was good that she got to take a break, because everybody deserved nice things like vacations.

... which would be powerless without that context. They set the tone I want to set only because it is being read as a very specific sort of subversion. This is why I wanted to publish it in a pony context rather than clean it up for a general-fiction short-story sale.

I realize you're both joking around, and both enjoyed the story — but I'm speaking on public record here, and I want to be very clear that I did not post it on FIMFiction to "slip it under the radar" or flout submission guidelines. I genuinely didn't know if it was going to pass moderation or not, and I was entirely prepared to post it on my own website if it failed, but I wouldn't have even tried if I didn't think it was appropriate to put here. [1]

I totally get the joking — and I totally get the need to joke, because the rules around here are broken in some important ways — but I'm also a little uncomfortable with the "fimfiction elite using his power to skirt the rules" joke, because it distresses me when authors can't post stories like this. I'd much rather have this be a positive precedent, and a statement that these sorts of stories do have value here.

--
[1] In fact, that was the entire point of one of my other recent stories, "This Is Not An Adventure Clyde Story": as a protest against too-aggressive enforcement of the "not a pony story" rule, because I believe the site (and we as readers) benefit from edge cases. My best argument for that is high-quality stories at the margins.

I like it. Feels like an actual fairy tale.

Got me square in the heart with this one :pinkiesad2:

Awesome story and characters, I absolutely loved it.

Well, this tickles the feels in a wonderful way and I feel slightly more for having read it. Thank you.

6881373
I only now realized I misread this at first as "the bastard love child of Oh My Goddess and My Little Dashie", which would probably change the story somewhat.

Comment posted by Dyslexic Foal deleted Jan 30th, 2016

Hmm. … I think I can guess what other experience might have influenced this. :trixieshiftright:

Wow this was good, and it leaves a reader thinking, fave and like most definitely.

But... but what about the star? :'(

Y'know, it's rather useless to link to a bare url of your own upload as "source" of the cover. Source is meant to be the place where people can give feedback to the artist of the image, as means of crediting :unsuresweetie:

(As far as I can see, the actual source, before the Luna you presumably edited in yourself, is just some stock image. Though since you seem to have made the edits on this yourself, there's not much use in giving any source url at all, unless you put the edited result on deviantart or something.)

I hereby dub this to be this story's theme. And, my God, I couldn't stop reading! It gave that certain warmth, one of a bed time story. When I get a chance to be a baby sitter, and I'm gonna look up this story and read it to them.

I, too, had a warm presence like Quiet Boy did. It was at a vacation home a church member allowed us to stay at for a week. I can't remember actually what happened, but I think it had something to do with how tired I was of my parents demanding me to depend souly on them for my life problems, and I only felt weaker with them instead of stronger. I told them that it wasn't fair that whenever there was a problem with my siblings, that I should handle it myself, but then it got into a 'I'm the parent, your the kid, you don't understand'.

That argument lead to them yelling at me, and me fighting hard but failing to yell as well, to the point that I was sent to my bed so soon. Then, I decided, that I wasn't going to sleep, but meditate all night instead in the dark. It sounds weird, but my old and dying thing for meditating is another long story to tell.

So, anyway, as the hours ticked of sitting cross legged, it started to get a bit more dark. As weird as this sounds, I'm actually still afraid of the dark, even at 16. But, I knew it wasn't right, so I decided to resist the urge to hide under the safe covers, and faced the dark. No closet lights, no nothing. But it only got worse and worse, as I started to get more paranoid that something was after me.

Eventually, it lead to me curled on the ground, unable to keep a straight face anymore. And, as reward for my efforts trying to be like a soldier, I felt something wrap around me. No one was there, everyone was in bed, and I had my room to myself, but yet I felt Someone embrace me. For Quiet Boy, it was Moon Horse. For me, it was God, despite how sick of Him I get, with my dad being the preacher, my entire life being drilled that Christianity is the holey way, that Jesus is the only inspiration, but yet I can't help but be inspired and fall in love with Littlepip instead.

Whenever I was scared, whenever I felt lonely, I thought about Littlepip's loneliness. But not that night. That every night, God decided to wrap his warms around me, just that one time. So, the truth hits. He isn't inspiring, for He is more modest than Bible made Him out to be, for the writers couldn't understand what I do now. God knew that he was far too perfect, that Jesus was nothing but virtue, and that having no sin doesn't appeal to me, so he made Lauren Faust create the most uplifting, cuddly show, and how Kkat make a fanfiction off of it that took that adorableness and made it into something inspiring.

For some Christians, it's all Him, only saying that it was He who helped them in their lives. Me? Church brings social paranoia of gossip that leads to my parents scolding me for doing something socially wrong, like being bisexual. Jesus is all power and virtue and no character. And God sent the Jews to destroy every single non Jew, such as the city of Ay, while Musslims basically do the same to us. But the Holy Spirit was the One behind the scenes as I grew and developed into a writer, destined to encourage all, able to be able to teach a more universal thing that every Budist, Muslim, Christian, Atheist and et cetera would understand; virtue, the thing God used a chain of reactions to bring Littlepip in my life to teach me the meaning of.

This is the first time I had ever brought up that strange, non physical yet warm hug. I had always thought it was just some delusion, a weird Doug thing as my family and friends would put it, but then I found this story that describes exactly what I went through, and so I now find courage to share such a tale. Thank you for this story, it was uplifting behind words, and I wish to one day share this as a bedtime story to kids one day.

And then a nuclear war started and everybody died, the end...

Ok just kidding I loved the story, thanks for creating it.:pinkiehappy:

6884968

Jesus is all power and virtue and no character.

Kinda like Ghandi? :trollestia:

But the Holy Spirit was the One behind the scenes as I grew and developed into a writer, destined to encourage all, able to be able to teach a more universal thing that every Budist, Muslim, Christian, Atheist and et cetera would understand; virtue, the thing God used a chain of reactions to bring Littlepip in my life to teach me the meaning of.

Oooooo-kie-dokie-loki.... :pinkiecrazy:

This seems to be a story about a guy who was seriously close to becoming a delusional schizophrenic but managed to reason his way out of the hallucinations. Either that or a deep-seated 'lifestyler' fan who manages to pull himself out of the illusionary comfort zone and develop a real relationship.

Because, really, if you're hearing voices from magical ponies and they start talking back... it's time for olanzapine! :raritywink:

Indeed, the 'discussions' he has with Moon Horse sound much like the conversations some schizophrenics report.

Then there is this:

Then their star, the new star, rose above the horizon, and a shock passed through his body.
It was in the book.
The guide called it Tarazed, the third-brightest star of Aquilae. The book had been published ten years ago. But Quiet Boy knew, as sure as he knew his name, that it hadn't been there before Moon Horse's gift.

Pretty clear what's going on after that. The kid wasn't exactly an astronomer beforehand. He simply noticed it for the first time in the course of his hallucinations when Moon Horse 'pointed it out', likely a subconscious act on his part to generate self-assuredness of the veracity of his beliefs.

holy shit
12/10

Well, someone is going to be surprised when they log in today :moustache:

the horse-drawn moon

Oh, that is just a beautiful mental image :heart:

And the moon became a symbol of how, even in his darkest moments, Quiet Boy was never truly alone.

Nice. Well, it more or less always has been, no?

the sun was a ball of fire that sat immobile and horseless in the center of the solar system

Aww. Surely not horseless! :raritydespair:

"I'm not in your dreams," a familiar feminine voice said in his ear, "I'm here with you."

Okay. Since Luna is known as being a dreamwalker, that kinda surprised me :rainbowlaugh:

The next day, he was pulled from fifth period to talk to the school psychiatrist.

Ohh boy. For an imaginary friend? Talk about overreacting :facehoof:

He listened through the door afterward as the psychiatrist told his mother that the schizophrenic episode seemed like a temporary coping mechanism for a resolved period of severe trauma, and under those circumstances medication wasn't clinically appropriate.

Pfff, what.

He would subvocalize at her, to set his own thoughts into verbal order, and back would come a burst of sensation that evoked rich and complex shades of emotion in response. And when speaking in that emotion-language began to feel too weird and abstract, they would retreat to words

Woah. That's deep, man.

"I love you," he said during one of those quiet together nights, and "I love you," Moon Horse said back, and the gulf of physical distance tore at his heart.

D'aww.

There was a new star in the sky.

I wonder what astronomers all over the world will have to say about that :rainbowwild:

Then their star, the new star, rose above the horizon, and a shock passed through his body.

It was in the book.

Oh, wow :rainbowderp:

Quiet Boy got a girlfriend more or less by accident.

yay, teen angst and drama!

The girlfriend frowned, and looked away, and said the last thing she would ever say as his girlfriend: "But how could I ever compete with her? I mean … she's so perfect."

Sure, but she doesn't put out. She kinda can't :rainbowwild:

"I will return," she said, "when I am finished."


Quiet Boy never saw Moon Horse again.

Well, whoops? That'll teach you to ask her stuff that may take more than a human lifetime :facehoof:

their child, who turned out to be a beautiful girl who cried somewhat less than he had been expecting.

Well, that's always a plus :twilightsmile:

then bought a house miles from the city at the base of some quiet, grassy hills.

Ohhh. Is this going where I think it's going?

Their first night there, the chirrup of crickets drifted in from the distance.

Full circle. Awesome.

Now give your daughter a Moon Horse to watch over her, Quiet Man! :trixieshiftleft:

"She was a beautiful dark winged unicorn, with a mane like the night," Quiet Man read as Quiet Girl fidgeted under the covers

YES! :yay:

6884922

Y'know, it's rather useless to link to a bare url of your own upload as "source" of the cover. Source is meant to be the place where people can give feedback to the artist of the image, as means of crediting :unsuresweetie:

There is a very specific reason I did it that way: the "source" picture is actually different from the one used as cover art. Because of the ghost effect on Luna, I could not upload any image at a larger size that looked equally good when shrunk down to 250 pixels. The cover art was uploaded at 250 pixels, and has the Luna vector at a higher opacity than the one in the source link. Someone who wants to use a larger version (for linking reviews, etc) can grab a better-looking one from "source".

You are correct that the bedroom photograph is a stock image. There is a link in the story description to the DA source page of the Luna vector.

6884918
Moon Horse made a promise. She'll return when it's done.

Well...nice to know I'm not the only one who occasionally sits up and talks to the moon.

For the record, the moon doesn't talk back.

Great story, as many have already said. :twilightsmile:

At first I thought, "Oh, it's a whimsical fairy tale. Horizon must be channeling Lucky Dreams."

Then I thought, "Oh, it's a concept that shouldn't work at all, and he's found a way to make it work. He must be channeling... well, me."

I was, of course, wrong. This was you finding a way to top Thou Goddess. Until today, I didn't think that was possible.

It's also the second time you've been able to make me care about a love story. Doing that even once is impressive. :raritywink:

When I see stories like these, I feel the need to play appropriate music. And I know just the piece.

so far this story is an accurate portrayal of accidental tulpamancy

I'm finding it hard to believe this won a competition I never heard of, but whatever.

I don't give a damn if it won a competition or not. It looks like it's been a very well received and praised story so it must be worth the read.

WHY IS THIS SO CUTE YET SOOOOOOO SAD!?! :')

6884172

So, now your Original Fiction contest winner is at the top of the FimFiction feature box. I'm trying to decide how to feel about this. Part of the conflict, of course, is that I gave it my first-place vote in the Writeoff, so obviously I thought it was a great story (and I still do).

Have we been wrong about FimFiction readers this whole time? Do they really crave original fiction, and we fools have been giving them ponies? Or is there, perhaps, more pony in this story than I originally judged.

I cri evrytiem i reed dis!

But seriously, this is really an excellent story you wrote. I enjoyed reading it.

6885770
Hook 'em while they're young, man. You get 'em started on ponies, then gradually start introducing more original and challenging ideas. Before you know it, they're all praising your latest war novel, and without ever realizing that in your latest work, there aren't any ponies at all.

6885770

↑↑↑ this ↑↑↑

Very emotional. Bravo...

6885770
oh stars I need to remove this from my brain and start writeoffing

But, if I can take a short stab at it ... this simultaneously is and isn't a pony story. I explained above (6884172) why it is. Now I get to start arguing against myself with a straight face, and note lines like:

"and [Moon Horse] galloped across the sky with the sound of distant crickets," and she would pause and put down the book and crack open the window, and the sound of distant crickets would echo in from the darkened hills.

... which are a strict signal that this is at complete right angles to My Little Pony convention and can't be interpreted within its boundaries.

The uncharitable view of this is that I'm talking out my ass, or trying to eat my cake and have it too. A more charitable — and, I argue, more accurate — reading is that this is a story with one foot firmly planted in both worlds. Hence my deliberate decision to unground it, and use the style to reinforce its place in the realm of myth.

My life is a dance with liminality, and that's a recurring theme in my most heartfelt works. (It's right there in the username — I've never made a secret of that.) We learn and grow by exploring our boundaries. Edge cases. Edge cases.

--

tl;dr "Stories about ponies are stories about people." :trollestia:

6885266

Huh. Thank you. That was more answer with somewhat less mystery than I expected. Of course, now there are entirely different questions breaching the water's surface.

On a side note, I'm bookmarking this story as a writing style reference. I can only hope to eventually write something maybe half as good as this. Doesn't help that I have no stories to my name yet, but the sentiment stands.

Wait, so why did he never see Luna again?

RBDash47
Site Blogger

This story... hmm. This story bears thinking about. It absolutely deserves all the attention it's getting, and more.

If you'll permit me, a typo:

and he never minded when had to explain the way his world worked,

Missing a pronoun between "when" and "had", I think.

6886013

My life is a dance with liminality, and that's a recurring theme in my most heartfelt works. (It's right there in the username — I've never made a secret of that.) We learn and grow by exploring our boundaries. Edge cases. Edge cases.

"We all like to congregate at boundary conditions. Where land meets water. Where earth meets air. Where bodies meet mind. Where space meets time. We like to be on one side, and look at the other." -- Douglas Adams

6885886 6885866
See 6886013

6885440
Thank you for the kind words! :twilightsmile: As for the music, that's now the third different piece that readers have submitted as the story's soundtrack, and all three have gone off in rather a different direction. I must be doing something right if the piece feels so personal to people with such different musical expressions.

6886042
> Of course, now there are entirely different questions breaching the water's surface.
Well, yes. :raritywink: "Is Moon Horse even real?" should be the big one. For me to answer that question (and overrule readers' personal engagement with the story) would be a disservice, but I'm happy to clarify her sincerity.

> On a side note, I'm bookmarking this story as a writing style reference.
Aw, thank you! :twilightblush: I strongly suggest considering the stories linked in 6881373 for your reference shelf as well; Dashie not so much, but Thou Goddess (even though it shares a great many similarities with this) is less mythic and more directly poetic, and could serve as an excellent contrast. Lucky Dreams' critically acclaimed work In The Place The Wild Horses Sleep is even more stylized than this, with onomatopoeia and repetition and formatting that just beg to be read aloud. (The RCL interview about the story is just as magical, despite being nonfiction!)

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