• Member Since 30th Dec, 2014
  • offline last seen July 12th

Architect Ironturtle


Just a scientist who's working through the six levels of writing in his spare time. Currently attacking number four, Structure.

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Princess Cadance, in an attempt to better understand love in all its forms, has decided she needs to sleep with every species in Equestria, no exceptions. When the only member of one of those species says no, she doesn't take it well, and subconsciously channels a power she wasn't even aware of. A power with a dark past, a darker champion, a deadly enemy, and a horrific side effect.

A.N. Cover art by the exceptionally skilled mix-up, A.K.A. amalgamzaku over on Deviantart.

Chapters (10)
Comments ( 152 )

First!
I love it can't wait for more!

I think that this will be a good story to read and I can't to read more of it. :pinkiehappy:

Interesting idea, I've seen Cadence portrayed as abusing her powers, albeit with seemingly no ill intent. This isn't far off the usual formula, but to also see the result in something akin to Changelings...or at least seemingly so...oh yeah, I'm interested.

Wow this is pretty good. Got the feels going a bit too.

Lovely, Looks like the downvote troll got out.

i would love to see more :scootangel: tracking and liking.

Prologue: When You're In a Hole, Stop Digging. · 17th May 2016 5,201

2,058 words total

Something doesn't add up...

Hmm, this is a very good opening. I'm excited to see more. The idea that Cadance's style of abuse would result in the creation of Changelings is astounding. The AU portion of this story really makes one wonder how this will play out. Both the Crystal Empire returning, and Cadance seeing what she has wrought and the very real consequences of that.

7229370 I think we should dig this hole deeper

I wanted to clear something up, in case the first chapter didn't make it obvious. Cadance is not evil here.

Could have fooled me. She ruined his life out of 'concern' and made no effort to try and help repair it other than being forced to release him. She's worse than evil.

7230528 She's had no opportunity to repair it. The story has lasted less than a day at this point, and the last we heard of Cadance she was winging away to Canterlot. She'll be back once she gets her head straight again.

Besides, which is worse: a great evil committed by an evil being, or a great evil committed by a good one?

The picture confuses me. Is this anthro or humanized?

7230535 Neither, I think. Chrysalis is a pony changeling, and Alex is a human one. They have similar features overlayed on different body structures. Thank you for pointing out I need a custom cover art now, btw.

7230533

She'll be back once she gets her head straight again.

But it'll be far too late by then, won't it? Though no one could see this result of love magic being twisted in a certain way... Still, she is the ultimate cause of what is to come.

Anyway, what she should have done is have an offer of money (to compensate for the lost income by the fact that he lost his job, among other things) and publicly announcing the scandal, specifically to every single person who was wronged by this. Such as his ex-marefriend, and his former friends. She hurt all of them by causing the relationships between the protagonist and them to break apart under the strain. It's doubtful if their relationship can be repaired, but she, as the cause, owes it to him to give him the opportunity to try and salvage what he can.

And, she doesn't need him present to do this. She can unilaterally go to the others and share her story.

*edit*

I just want to say I'm enjoying this story a lot so far, and am looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.

7230614 I replied to this comment privately, but my response includes spoilers so I can't put it here.

7230755

Hmmm, interesting...gotta admit, seeing this as the true origin of Changelings certainly has it's appeal. Moreover it make me wonder how this whole thing is gunna go down. Is the corrupted love spell effect reversible? Could the entire changeling race be saved? Will they conquer with a new ally? Or will this Human turned New Type Changeling break out on his own, upset the established order? Not gunna lie, this makes me excited...though given Chrysalis' comment, the Canterlot Wedding hasn't happened yet...and this might be a far better motivator than the previous one. After all, establish an inside position into the Equestrian Government while eliminating the last carrier of the bloodline and the spell that caused all this. Sounds like an elegant plan to me! Also the above is likely not a spoiler, but I don't want anyone getting ideas...or if I'm close, I don't want to ruin things too early.

7230614 Well, she should, but then again, she IS an alicorn. Which means that the only thing she will consider is how to avoid any of this ever turning up in the news. 'Cause you know... that clusterless personality disorder.

7231745

Which is why when this bites her in the bum later, it'll be glorious to watch. Or tragic, if she really did try to make amends.

Cadance is not evil here.

That is arguable. The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions and some things are, for lack of a better word, evil no matter why you do them. It only matters that you did and then didn't stop.

Getting back to you about the other thing this weekend. Sorry, been busy like you wouldn't believe.

Very interesting start. Saw some missing words, two to be exact, but, otherwise, very good.

Huh, finally seeing someone touch upon the darker sides of having royalty. And I hope True Strike will feel guilty as hell once she finds out what truly happened.

... I feel that a certain tyrant King is going to have a very bad day upon returning.

Cadance might not be evil, but she fucked up big time. She'll need to work real hard to fix all this.

Awww, yeah, and the star arrives. I like this Chryssie, she seems more down to earth than usual.

Hmm, so, not anthro?

... I hope he didn't kill a griffin. :fluttercry: Griffies are so cute.

Oh i like how this plot is going i await the next chapter with great longing lol :twilightblush:

I recommend not doing any more extended fight scenes, personally. In all honesty, I always find those insanely boring. Maybe it's just me, but I kind of skip over that sort of thing. Not only do I find it confusing and hard to actually imagine, it's just not interesting on its own merits, especially when written by someone who doesn't really know much of anything about how a real fight looks like. Which, of course, describes most people.

Rationality: From A.I. to Zombies

I really, really loathe that guy, personally. Yudkowsky is a blithering idiot. Seriously. Half the time he has no clue what he's talking about and the rest of it he bullshits. His entire organization is a cargo cult, it's an insult to every real scientist. I only talked to the guy once and I wanted to punch him in the mouth the entire time.

7238413 I'll keep the fight scene thing in mind. I've run into a similar problem with battles that are several pages long when they don't involve Discord (he makes everything interesting). This one is a mere two paragraphs, so it's not that bad, but I do see your point. Besides, this story is about the abuse of love magic and recovering from/dealing with that abuse. Hand-to-hand combat probably won't be a major factor. Expert sabotage is more likely.

I've never met Yudkowsky in person, and I probably never will, so I can't draw my own opinion about him, but reading his stuff did teach me quite a bit about how to be a better thinker, even if it only exposed me to a bunch of other useful works all piled in one place. When I said it helped me really change my mind, I meant it.

Speaking of which, it would help your position a lot if you could point out one particular piece of B.S. and explain why it's B.S. I'd love to fill in another hole in my reasoning.

7238447
In all honesty, there are so many better thinkers, if you want to learn more about analytical thinking and logic. I can recommend a bunch of them to you, if you'd like. One of my personal favourites is Willard Van Orman Quine, one of the big names in analytical philosophy and logic. He contributed greatly to epistemology, the philosophy of language and philosophy of science, which are the central philosophies of how things are known, naturally enough.

I've never met Yudkowsky in person, and I probably never will, so I can't draw my own opinion about him

I've never met him personally, but, well, when you spend enough time on the internet, you end up talking to everyone eventually. You know how it is. Yudkowsky's big problem is, as said, that what he does is a cargo cult. He has actually no idea what rationality even means, but he uses the word everywhere as some kind of intellectual snobbery. He just worships it for its own sake. The main problem is that being rational is easy. Literally insane people can be rational, while sane people can often act irrationally. Someone who bites their finger nails to make sure the sun rises is acting rationally, because they have an idea about the world and a self-interested intent and they act to bring those things into overlap. Their ideas just happen to be wrong. That's what rational action is, though. That's all it is. The rest of it he's making up on the spot.

The second thing is that he is, in all honesty, crazy. I remember that I looked on his website once and there was this laughable, fanfiction-like piece about "monks of rationality," just sitting in there in between all the other stuff. It was completely ludicrous, but that's the kind of level he writes at. It's impossible to take seriously because he genuinely seems to have no way to tell apart the sections of his own writing that are halfway sensible and the parts that are complete fantasy or plain intentional fiction.

Also, he frankly has no qualifications. He holds no degree in any kind of natural science at all - or even frankly anything. He never even formally finished school. At the same time, this homeschooled manchild presumes to tell all of us, who actually worked hard for our degrees and have this thing pounded into us until we squeak, how our jobs should be done. It's frankly insulting to the same degree that it's laughable.

It might be best explained by saying that he's pretty much on a level with Ayn Rand and Objectivism: faux philosophy dressed up in just enough of the trapping of real philosophy to fool people into going along at a casual glance. Not all of it is straight-out wrong, but all of it is bullshit.

7238498 Yeah, you nailed it. His understanding of religion and attempt to build his own is, quite frankly, cute. Because he doesn't understand it, he falls into the same traps he claims to not have fallen for. Also, his rationale for why souls don't exist is quite lacking. I've spent enough time poking holes in it to know that for certain.

I'm surprised he doesn't have any scientific qualifications, but since I never looked that's purely my fault. It doesn't matter that much, though, since a faulty education doesn't always stop you.

I'm homeschooled, and frankly I would have suffered horribly in pubic school so I'm thankful for that. Of course, that's not a good comparison since I'm now a rising senior in college majoring in biochemistry.

7238562

I'm surprised he doesn't have any scientific qualifications, but since I never looked that's purely my fault. It doesn't matter that much, though, since a faulty education doesn't always stop you.

It quite definitely stopped him. Wikipedia says he dropped out of school when he was twelve and has been an "autodidact" ever since. Now, I'm talking about this from a continental perspective, but I went to school until I was 19, already have a finished bachelor's in computer science and still struggle sometimes with the sheer complexity of what's expected for my current Master's in chemistry. He frankly can't have scrabbled together any working knowledge of natural science to the same degree on his own unless he's some kind of god-forsaken genius - and he clearly isn't.

I'm homeschooled, and frankly I would have suffered horribly in pubic school so I'm thankful for that. Of course, that's not a good comparison since I'm now a rising senior in college majoring in biochemistry.

No offense intended, of course. You're probably as aware as anyone that it works out badly as often than as doesn't. He's the worst kind of example of that - underqualified, undereducated, but boundlessly overestimating his own capabilities and intent on rubbing it in everyone's faces.

7238589 Hey, chemistry is hard. Don't kick yourself too much.

Ok, there's dropping out of college, and then there's dropping out of middle school. That makes a much bigger difference.

He may not be a genius, but I'm pretty sure he's not stupid either. You can't write characters that are too much smarter than yourself, you aren't able to picture what they will do accurately, so unless HPMOR is ghost-written he's at least in the top 10%.

7238607
Oh, no doubt. It takes a certain degree of intelligence to be that creatively stupid. He's not unintelligent in the conventional sense. He's just an idiot about it.

Of course, then again, from what I've seen, the characters in that piece are by no means smart. They're just good at pretending to know what they're talking about the same way he is. Which is a useful skillset all by itself, admittedly.

7238618 Persuasion is an art all on its own. By the way, you never mentioned if you like the story or not. I love your comments, because they make for interesting conversations, but you tend to leave that detail out.

7238673
I'm still reading it, aren't I? :derpytongue2:

But ok, to spell it out: I think it's solid so far. Dropbear had a bit of a point when he said that the beginning is a bit cringe-worthy, though. Given the whole sadsack "boohoo, my heart is broken, I will be an evil bug now" theme it's kind of natural that there will be a degree of melodramatic sappiness, of course. Still, at times, the protagonist edges a bit on the bad end of the "special snowflake" spectrum. A super hardcore martial arts human who was totally saving himself for the right girl and now gets awesome changeling powers is just a bit... eh.

7238678 Fair enough. I guess I just value your opinion. Also, this story is striking out into new territory, and it's about a touchy subject that has the potential for utter disaster, so I'm a bit more nervous than usual.

7238689
Yeah, after a second thought I added a bit onto that, so I recommend re-reading the comment.

It's really interesting to see how Changelings are depicted in this story. It most definitely isn't just a copy of ideas presented in other works. I really get the feel they are different.

That the guards attacked them on their way out reflects poorly on the ponies, I think. Also, it's kind of the proof that 'Alex' is who he said he is, as he is the only one with that kind of skill.

The fact that Cadance will be going public, and then this will roll in later... it's a really interesting angle. Everypony will know who caused it, and when they share their story, well, Cadance will have admitted everything before then, won't she?

Ick, imagine what kind of reaction Cadance would get once it becomes obvious that she can easily turn more ponies into Changelings based on the abuse of her magic. That she won't may be irrelevant...

7238678

I thought Dropbear's comment was praise for the story. Made it as cringe-worthy as possible is impressive.

7238715

I thought Dropbear's comment was praise for the story. Made it as cringe-worthy as possible is impressive.

Knowing the guy, it might have been. :rainbowlaugh: Still, it's kind of true in either sense. The cringe is strong in this one.

7238678 See? Good, constructive feedback.

Unfortunately, all my characters tend towards that end because I personally can do a large number of different things well. While thinking up the concept for the trailer-tent he lives in I ended up designing one that could work in real life and I might build at some point in the future. The only things stopping me are money and a place to store it. While writing the fight scene I acted out the movements I wanted Alex to do to make sure the body could bend that way and that it would flow smoothly. A dash of Norse mythology gave the changelings someone to swear by. I don't think of it as being a special snowflake because that's just normal for me. I do it all the time, and on some level I expect everyone else to do it too. Writing this paragraph has actually been something of a perspective shift.

Alex won that fight because royal guard plate armor sucks and horses can't take a punch. Not a single blow he struck hit metal, yet they were all weak points on the body. I built my own suit, I know what needs protecting. Sci Show did an entire episode about about how humans jaws are adapted to punching: pony jaws aren't. Besides, you'd expect him to be good at fighting after years of martial arts and SCA heavy combat (I started when I was 8 and 11, respectively) and that's what he does for a living. That's why he didn't die instantly the moment he walked into the bad side of town.

Also, stories generally shouldn't be about ordinary people. Stories about normal people happen all the time, but they're usually not worth telling. Those stories that are about ordinary people then demonstrate they were never ordinary to begin with, they just needed a push. All of the Mane Six are exceptional in different ways, that's why we care about them. Starlight's town is all about average, and it shows why it doesn't work.

However, I just noticed I haven't given this guy any strong character flaws yet, or if I have I didn't notice. I'll need to think of one and add it into the next chapter. That should balance out everything else. Being incredibly naive might make for a decent amount of humor with the deceptive changelings, or maybe an extreme discomfort with sex would clash nicely with Chrysalis's goals.

7238851

Besides, you'd expect him to be good at fighting after years of martial arts and SCA heavy combat (I started when I was 8 and 11, respectively) and that's what he does for a living.

I don't. None of these things are actually fighting. I did martial arts for long enough to know that for a fact. Martial arts are a sport, with rules, and SCA is re-enactment. Nothing about this prepares you for what getting into a real fight is like. Take it from the guy who got stabbed in the leg once for mouthing off in the wrong place. Yes, I'm actually this much of a smartass in real life, too. People react as well to it as you would expect.

It's not really the variety of his skills that's the problem, it's the specific constellation of them. He's like a LARPers wet dream. Martial arts and weapon expertise and a crack shot with a bow and all the horse princesses want him and laughs at killing that guy who threw the sword, but he also has the romantic sensibilities of a repressed internet virgin. It's too stereotypically "badass" for any kind of comfort. That's where the problem lies. He doesn't sound like a person, he sounds like someone's power fantasy, and that's never a good thing. I'm a smart guy. There's not a whole lot of things in the world I don't know at least something about. That doesn't translate to being able to take out six armed professionals with only my bare hands, though. That kind of character is not good for anything and you should honestly move as far away as possible from that as soon as you reasonably can.

maybe an extreme discomfort with sex would clash nicely with Chrysalis's goals.

Oh, for the love of God no. The "That Guy" is already strong enough in him. Plus he slept with Cadence, so that's already established as not a thing. I literally visit swinger clubs and I wouldn't bang a horse.

By the way, I will love you forever if you can somehow use the phrase "boohoo, my heart is broken, I will be an evil bug now" in this story.

7238922 Good point. I originally designed him to be a ranged specialist, but I went and shot that in the foot last chapter. Now he got the job after a ten minute sparring match where it doesn't say how well he did and he doesn't have a bow at all.

He didn't kill the guy who threw the sword, another guard did. Alex was a bit preoccupied with his first serious injury at the time. I also edited to make that obvious.

Ok, no repressed sexuality stuff. If you say it's a bad idea I'll avoid it. I only added the saving himself thing to begin with because it's extremely rare on this site and could be refreshing. I still need to come up with something, though, and it has to be a personality trait, not a skill or lack thereof. If you have any suggestions I'm listening.

7238959
The difficult part of this is, of course, that it's difficult to write a genuinely flawed main character who's still sympathetic. It has to be a flaw that's noticeable, but doesn't turn him into someone that nobody would actually want to read about.

If it wasn't for that, I would recommend taking the most negative interpretation of the character he currently is and running with it: Alex is basically a thug (from the fighting) with delusions of sophistication and culture (from the "saving himself.") Superficially, he likes to consider himself something of a warrior poet - a fighter, but with class.

What he really is is a prole. A drinker, brawler, coarse language, little real education. Someone who goes into run-down bars and starts fights just because he enjoys it. At the same time, he fancies himself the type who talks about craft beers and his appreciation for them, but in truth he couldn't tell them from goat piss. The whole "saving himself" thing? Went out the window the moment a princess gave him the bedroom eyes.

And that's who he is: a deadbeat who pretends he's got more going for him than that. Chrysalis problem isn't going to be turning him to her point of view, it's going to be turning him into someone who can even just pretend to be a noble when in disguise.

How's that?

7238981 I don't know what you did, but the site shut down for a moment there. Anyway, how about we invert your idea: make him a sophisticated and cultured person with delusions of thuggery. A guy who thought he'd gotten the fantasy adventure he'd always wanted until reality crashed in on him in the form of Cadance's love spell. A guy who still sleeps in the tent he drove there in despite having lived in the city for over a year because it's his only reminder of home. Sure, he trains like crazy, but he never used those abilities before he came to Equestria and hides his terror at mortal danger behind a mask of apathy and bravado. One that Chrysalis would be uniquely suited for seeing straight through. It's only once he gets to the hive and is presented with the challenge of recreating the industrial revolution that his true personality comes out.

7239030
Same here, I don't know what was up with that.

The problem is that this kind of leaves in the same situation you started. It's not so much a flaw as a hidden strength masquerading as a flaw, and people pick up on that. When you've got a weekend warrior who ends up in ponyland, makes his living as literally hired muscle and beats up trained professionals, no matter how much they're half his size and unseasoned, you can't sell the characters as "yeah but he's totally a scaredy-cat who doesn't know what he's doing." The actual events of the story prove it a lie. You don't get that kind of person without a background that actually justifies is. Being a brawler who can talk smart when he has to actually makes more sense that way.

You know, what I really like about talking criticism with you is that I can really say it unvarnished and as I see it and you won't take it personally. That's really nice and something that's rare as diamonds here. It's so refreshing to just lay it all out and not worry about stepping on someone's toes.

7239043 Thank you. My english teacher was a harsh editor, and she made sure I could take criticism well. Besides, if I can't process a complaint there's no way to improve.

As the for the other part, it could be that that used to be him, but working as a guard beat it out of him. He's learned how to cope, sort of, (I could show him having a breakdown after his first battle) but hasn't really worked through his issues. That gives him a level of depth that both our ideas don't have: a second layer, so to speak. His character arc could be Chrysalis coaxing the chemical tester he used to be back out of the mercenary armor he wears to protect his sanity. Coming to Equestria changed him into a monster mentally, and becoming one physically started him on the road to recovery.

Him sleeping in the tent because it's his only connection to home is a solid idea, though, one that Chrysalis could ferret out easily if given the chance.

7239084
That's a solid idea. In the rough, it's something I see often enough that it's almost a cliché by itself, but usually the kind of story that does this is one of those grimdark "Equestria is a racist craphole" stories, so that would make it different enough. It would work well with what's already established about him, so I'd say that can work.

That was unfortunate. And Alex is a crouching bug hidden badass, who knew.

It's so nice seeing changelings as a whole being happy.

I don't mind Cadance not going to jail. She clearly really regrets doing it and she's going to destroy her public image completely.

I just wanted to throw out that most writers when they do storys with changelings instead of useing everypony when the changelings talk bout themselfs they use everyling thought i would try to give you a small idea :pinkiehappy:

7238589 why do you have to take chemistry in computer science master?

7239835
I don't. I got bored of computer work a few years ago and decided to go back to college to do something else.

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