• Member Since 29th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen March 23rd

Chengar Qordath

I write lots and lots of horse words; everything from comedy to drama. If you like what I write, please support me on Patreon.



This story is a sequel to Freeport Venture: More Equal than Others

Sunset Shimmer had grand ambitions upon becoming Freeport's only magus, most importantly helping out the citizens of Freeport itself. When she hears of an outlying farming community in danger from a horde of undead, she knows she has to help them. Even if they can't pay her fees, it's the right thing to do.

However, this new challenge might be too much for her to handle. These zombies are unlike anything she's ever seen, and an old enemy is mixed up in the middle of all of this. Sunset has no idea what dark secrets the undead horde hides, or the danger posed by the necromancer behind it.

Chapters (6)
Comments ( 273 )

Freeport is Back!

with how obsession with fairness and equality

her obsession.

welp one chapter read.

Strumming... the local Christians in Outremer had a reoccurring problem with Crusaders showing up in the Holy Lands, and then immediately attacking the nearest armed outpost of Muslims, whether they were enemies, neutrals, or... Oftentimes these were the local Christians' own allies. One of the worst cases of this was the diversion of the Second Crusade from its original aim of crushing the Zangids of Mosul and Aleppo to a fruitless and treacherous siege of Damascus, whose emir was once the ally of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and who was driven into an alliance with his own enemies and rivals.

It's not a good thing that I'm forced to compare Equestrian intelligence with Crusaders and the Knights Templar.

Yes! more Freeport. Really interested to see what this necromancer wants and who it is. keep it up :twilightsmile:

These two are pretty casual about murder.

Starlight seems really ooc, under-powered and very stupid...

7649107 This does take place over a decade before she shows up in the show. As such, there is sorta a limit to how you can define her character as New Life is taking place right around that point in time. Don't think she's as much underpowered, just her magical skills don't have the refinement they do later on and the lack on knowledge is just her starting point for the years of living and learning she has to do before running into Twilight.

Man, Strumming has always been aggravating to me, but her flippant and casual attitude about murdering what was essentially a benign necromantic farmer really gets me. Not to mention she essentially manipulated Sunset to get her into his home in the first place, just to kill him no matter what evidence might turn up. Shit like that, as well as her past actions make me think "Well, I don't exactly want her to end up dead, but I certainly wouldn't mind it either". At least then, she'd also stop making Sunset look like a chump at times like this. Oh well, maybe she'll miscalculate one of these days and end up humbled for her arrogance. So Starlight is back eh? Well, I have a pretty thorough dislike of her in canon, but fanfics have been known to make her a decent character from time to time, and I'll bet you'll do a fine job with her. Anyway, fantastic story so far, hope to see more soon.:yay:

7649144 Okay I'll accept that but even in the show its hinted at if not outright stated that Glimmer was always absurdly powerful, examples would be her raw magical strength next to Starbursts knowledge of magical theory shown in the season 5 finale or her ability to create new complex spells like the season 6 episode Every little thing she does.

She just seems really under-powered compared to all her depictions in the show, Its a bit jarring for me.

7649181 She's been shown/stated to be as magically powerful as Sunset currently, but without the honed skill. The stuff she does later on is due to her having the skill to use her power properly.

So we're just having Strumming commit casual, premeditated murder, now? The only reason Strumming shouldn't end up in a trial for that incident is that it was in essentially lawless territory. Also, this:

The whole thing with that bokor was just ... ugh. I knew she was right that he probably would’ve come after me for revenge at some point. Probably once he’d replenished his undead horde and summoned up a lot more spirits. Making sure he couldn’t do that was logical, but the way Strumming had killed him just didn’t sit right with me.

Makes no damn logical sense. This isn't a superhero comic; most of the enemies you make in life won't show up the next day trying to kill you. This guy probably wouldn't ever even leave the island and the small area around it.

I know you want to have Strumming do some unsympathetic stuff, but the characters are all making light of Strumming committing cold-blooded murder, and that comes off as tone-deaf when in other situations Sunset Shimmer is shown to be very conscious of ethical issues.

Once she was done composing herself,, Kukri opened the door, revealing a rather dirty brown hippogryph—zyphon, rather, given the stripes—wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat. The zyphon doffed his hat and cleared his throat. “Er ... this is the tower of Magus Shimmer, aye?”

Two commas when there should be one. I highlighted it in red.

For some reason the title caught my eye, and without reading a word of the story, I just felt I have to comment on it: "Pssst...there's iron in blood!"


Wow, Strumming's making friends all over the place, isn't she? She's just so ... pleasant.

And it's a pairing of our two ... I wanna say favorite? ... ego-driven unicorns. I think I prefer this Starlight to the one we got in Season Six. Also, better zombie story than we got in Season Six.

Yes! I've missed this Sunset so much. The last few Venture stories have been from different perspectives. While they are interesting, I've always favored Sunset's attitude. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to read more stories from those perspectives, but Sunset's sassy sarcasm is the best.


I think the show really amped up Starlight's abilities in order to make her come off as an analog to Twilight Sparkle---just like Trixie was meant to be. And Starlight Glimmer. And Moon Dancer. Like Super Saiyans in Dragon Ball Z (or Alicorns after Season 2) we kinda ended up with a glut of uber-powerful unicorns meant to show 'what Twilight could've been.' Obviously, I think it was overplayed. Toning it down a bit in order to focus on what should make a character stand out--namely, their actual character rather than their sheer power--wouldn't be a bad move to make.

7649476 I really doubt that in the case of Starlight, The episode 'Every little thing she does' makes it very clear Glimmer is equal or even better at magical combat and spell construction than even Twilight. She sucks at pony to pony relationships and uses her high level magic to compensate, its part of her character and to downplay that would be like downplaying RDs loyalty trait.

7649249 7649147 Necromancers are generally very bad in the Winningverse. It's a safe bet that'd he'd have killed numerous other ponies if he was not killed first.

Yay new Freeport fic! Though Sunset is probably still too naive for Freeport. Either she's going to lose the moral high ground sooner or later, or she's going to lose a lot more than that. Not that I like what Strumming did, but barging into the compound like that was not going to end well. Just hope that zebra necromancer didn't enchant their own body in the event of their own death. Is it bad that between the Equestrian black ops spy and the Changeling information dealer, I like the changeling more? He's more charming at least. As for who is more trustworthy... well, that is still up in the air.

Fun to see Sunset and Starlight clashing already. Wonder how long until it comes down to open combat. I'm curious whether this Starlight will still eventually end up the season five version or not. For now the higher priority is their mysterious necromancer and its going to get messy. Wonder if the zombies or working together will be the more difficult task. Probably working together (at least until a tougher sub-boss zombie shows up).

I'm curious to see how much Sunset will have to struggle. She's skilled, but her pyromancy and ice magic are well known by now. Even with Starlight (reluctantly) backing her up, going up against an independent necromancer won't be easy. Looking forward to how this all unfolds.

I'm so glad to see a new Freeport Venture story! The diverse world-building, the moral grey areas, and not to mention the snarky banter of everyone's favorite Magus. All the conflicting agendas and secrecy of Puzzle and Strumming thrown into the mix trying to manipulate/guide Sunset is actually my favorite part of this series, despite what others seem to be saying, so please keep it up!

7649107 Starlight (at this point in Freeport Venture) relies solely on her raw power with a bit of magical theory; give her a decade (which she has) to reach the magical knowledge we see in canon.

Hmm, I'm not sure, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, an ability (i.e. Starlight's magic) isn't the same thing as a character trait or attribute which Rainbow's loyalty is. You can give a character new abilities, or even take some away, without it affecting their core character. But let's leave that aside for a moment.

I could point out a couple of things in the "Every Little Thing She Does" that lead me to conclude that Starlight isn't more powerful than Twilight, but instead I'll address what I think is the main issue. What it comes down is what you, or the writer, thinks works best for the character. If you feel a character from a show possess Mary Sue or OP tendencies, what makes for a better piece of fanfiction? Something that adheres more closely to that character as presented in the show, bad writing and all, or something that diverges a bit from the cannon in order to present a more interesting character and tell a better story while keeping the essentials of said character? That, I think, is what it basically boils down to.

7649010 I think this was more Strumming personally than the EIS. Considering her conversation with Puzzle, and how pissed she got when he mentioned that something happened to her in the past, something emotional influenced her actions.

7649249 Actually, since he is technically a warlock, no matter where he was, Strumming could justify it any way she wanted. In The Freeport Venture, Strumming defined Hostis Equinus Generis as "Anyone who can catch her, can prosecute her." And since he was a warlock, premeditation is not a surprise. But there does seem to be a touch of something personal there.
It does make logical sense to take him out. People bent on revenge are not known for logical thinking. He may not show up tomorrow, but there is always the possibility he would leave the outer islands if his hatred burned hot enough. The bokor showed he had a good amount of power, and he could get a lot of innocents killed in the process of revenge.
And let's not forget this is Freeport. If Sunset hasn't already become somewhat dulled to the concept of cold-blooded murder, I'd be really surprised. And Sunset was shaken up, but she's pragmatic; there were more immediate and important things to deal with, she didn't have time to deal with it, and nothing she could say would ever effect Strumming.

7649107 You'd be amazed what a decade's amount of experience can do to a person. A younger version of a person would be 'OOC' compared to the present version.

The zebra rolled his eyes. “Do you know how little that narrows it down? Equestria’s hate for warlocks has no small renown. Hostis Equinus Generis they call us, and would happily leave us hanging from the nearest truss.”

“What, are you saying you don’t want me dealing with warlocks?” Strumming demanded. “Last I checked, they’re still hostis equinus generis, so it can’t be a legal issue. And if you were worried about our safety, Sunset and I killed him off with no serious problems.”

Does this mean that warlocks are considered non-persons or something?

7649731 hostis equinus generis would roughly be Hostile equine generally. Pretty a being that can be assumed to be hostile in any situation and are to be dealt with in that way. Which means the bar of reasonable force starts out higher, usually much more so.


Not to mention this fic was pretty much a ponified Dresden Files with Sunset channeling his in-another-parallel-dimension-mentor. In this sense, Strumming was simply enforcing the Fifth Law, and rightfully since the guy who starts regulary using zombies as workforce usually ends in "MUHAHAHAAAA!" territory pretty quickly.

As a personal note, while I really hate Strumbitch with a passion, I admit her actions are usually justified in-story, specially considering her line of work.


This story takes place long before we see her in the show, probably by a good ten years or more, she's still young yet. Also if you read the previous story in this series you'll see that she managed to kick Sunset around pretty good for a couple minutes. Also this is an alternate universe with a younger Starlight, and I don't think we see her reform in the Winningverse, although I could be mistaken.


Honestly I think the whole point of Strumming is that you're supposed to not like her; she's a right cunt and she has no real redeeming qualities. Strumming is Sunset's foil throughout the Freeport series and I can't wait to see if the two of them end up coming to a head at some point down the line and end up trying to do each other in. Also; spy.


It really is a real shame that the show can't make a compelling villain without resorting to "Ubermensch caster".


Actually, I loved Starlight as a villain. OP in the Season 5 finale? Maybe a bit, though that is the problem you have when you set Twilight and the girls up against chaos spirits, changeling queens, evil monarchs and evil minotaur/centaur monsters. A regular unicorn after all that would be chump change. But it wasn't until Season Six that I really thought she became unlikeable as a character and her abilities became well and truly ridiculous.


I never really liked Starlight in the show period. Her whole character as a villain was just boring, and honestly the greatest disservice to her character was having her reform. The show would really benefit from a recurring villain and some longer plot arcs in general at this point.

And yeah, from what little I've seen of season six it looks like the show might be on its last legs.


Honestly, they did strike a nice spark at the end with the whole lot, especially Trixie and Discord. It's just a case of Main Character Exhaustion and Glimmer is a bloody sociopath with serious personal issues.

The best S6 episodes tended to focus on non Mane-6 more.


He hadn't killed anyone, just reanimated dug up bones from the sea.


It does make logical sense to take him out. People bent on revenge are not known for logical thinking. He may not show up tomorrow, but there is always the possibility he would leave the outer islands if his hatred burned hot enough. The bokor showed he had a good amount of power, and he could get a lot of innocents killed in the process of revenge.

There's no indication that he was 'bent on revenge', he didn't sound like he would want revenge at all. He just wanted the ponies to leave him alone and stop burning down his island.

7649919 He hasn't been proven to have killed anyone yet. Necromancy is a very slippery slope and it's very very likely he'd kill people if hasn't already and just keeps those victims locked in his basement. Strumming was immoral in killing him without trial, but not overly so.

7649919 He might've not been specifically bent on revenge, but they did break into his home, break his stuff and set some of it on fire. Sunset even thought about what she would probably do to someone who did that to her place. He could've been following to make sure they left, and that's it, but then again what happened could've been the spark needed to make want to raise up and army and hunt down those who wronged him.

Killing him wasn't necessary, but he would've been someone to keep on eye on just in case.

This should be fun. I like the inclusion of Strumming, it's been too long.


That line of reasoning doesn't hold any more weight or have any fewer flaws here than it does in real life. "Well that's just how those people are, so even if it might not really be ethical, you can't honestly blame him/her for doing that to them" is a poor defense at the best of times. We've already seen that using darker magic doesn't automatically turn someone into a monster through Sunset. Strumming flat out acknowledged that this is the case herself, but just insists that she can tell the difference, and her conversation with Puzzle makes it blatantly clear that there's some kind of personal element to her decision. Hell, based on her behavior so far, if it hadn't specifically been her job to keep Sunset from getting killed she likely would have tried to deal with Sunset's use of dark magic the same way that she did here.

Strumming is in the wrong here, plain and simple. There was a blatant personal motive, and her attempts to justify it were sketchy at best. They attacked him and destroyed his property without provocation. They only stopped once he gave them no choice. They agreed to leave if he cooperated. He agreed to that proposition, and showed no signs of taking any further hostile actions at the moment or the intention of doing so in the future. The fact that there was potential for him to take revenge in the future - even if he showed no signs of wishing to do so now - is no more justification for killing him than it would be to justify Sunset killing Strumming because it's possible Strumming might betray her again in the future, or to justify Strumming killing Sunset because she might turn back to the dark arts again in the future. Based on the line of reasoning you're using to dismiss the severity of Strumming's actions, nearly any murder committed against someone who you've wronged in the past would be immoral but justifiable because it's entirely possible that they would want revenge and act on it if they had the means to do so.


I do love a good healthy dosing of first-person snark. These kinds of narrators are just so fun. And while this chapter had too many good moments to point out individually, I was laughing at loud at

“And I didn't set her on fire,” I chimed in. “You have been telling me to work on my diplomatic skills. I think that shows real progress.”

Also, Puzzle's deadpan makes a great counter to Sunset's snarky and sarcastic nature.

Yep. Still fking can't stand Strumming.

I kind of like this zebra guy, he's interesting.

Aww, never mind. Dangit, Strumming.

“Oh, and seeing as we had a fight I’m already looking forward to the makeup sex tonight.”

I groaned and rolled my eyes. “Seriously? I’m right here!”

“Which is why we’re waiting until tonight,” Strumming shot back with a smirk. “No peeking.”


Starlight certainly isn't less annoying.

“This one likes to think it can be very persuasive,” Puzzle answered immodestly.

“And I didn't set her on fire,” I chimed in. “You have been telling me to work on my diplomatic skills. I think that shows real progress.”


I truly, truly hope Strumming is supposed to be a Hate Sink. Fairly certain she's the most unlikable character in this series. Yes, including Starlight.

Okay... Blood and Iron. Reference to Otto von Bismark's "Blood and Iron" speech? Interesting.
Where's all the hate for Strumming coming from though? I like her, she's greedy, smart and amoral; as opposed to Sunset who is also greedy and smart, but not quite as amoral. She's also a spy (likely HUMINT officer) her job description is literally: gather information relevant to her nation's (Equestria's) national security and interests as well as engage in clandestine affairs to render aid to her nation's interests. Sure she's shown some sociopathic tendencies, but that's justified and preferable as sometimes intelligence work requires hard ethical decisions to be made.
7649147 I'm no expert but generally most enemies you make in life you don't make by blowing up their houses.

I'm going to assume that the present that Puzzle is talking aboot is a set of armor for Sunset.

7650367 She's only slightly less likable than Tirek.

As far as all the Strumming love/hate goes ... yeah, I know she's a character who tends to provoke strong reactions. Some folks love her, some hate her. Even my pre-readers are pretty split on their opinions of her. That's part of what makes her fun.

(Now to see if anyone adds her as a Base Breaker to my TVTropes page...)

7649731 7649747
It's a (possibly poorly translated) ponification of "hostis humanis generis."

Basically, it's an international law principle that some types of criminals are so nasty that they're outside a lot of the customary protection of the law. Warlocks and other general dark magic types tend to fall under that category.

7650768 Not like I actually know latin so I just sorta guessed which words meant what, and apparently I wasn't that far off in my guess of it.


Yeah...the thing about Strumming is that we haven't seen much of her alleged intelligence. She generally displays how "smart" she is when dealing with Sunset...who is repeatedly shown to be pretty ignorant regarding quite a few things, and who Strumming already has a huge file on due to years of observing her while she was Celestia's student. Between the fact that we almost never see her pull any of her "smart" moves on anyone else and how horribly she handled her assignment in watching out for Sunset, it can be hard to honestly see her as intelligent.

This is the same agent who was specifically given the task of befriending and supporting Sunset Shimmer while she was in Freeport. Her method of achieving this was to repeatedly lie to Sunset and then shove it in her face afterwards, constantly talk down to her about her mistakes and failures rather than even so much as try to calmly explain a better way she could have done things, and generally just be as obnoxious and grating as possible to someone who constantly made it clear she didn't like being treated that way. And her half-assed excuse about not knowing how to deal with teenagers doesn't fly - adults generally don't like being mocked or condescended any more than teenagers do.

Not to mention the crowning moment of stupid that came when she arrested Sunset in Freeport territory for an action that isn't considered a crime in Freeport territory when that action was sanctioned by Freeport's governing body. Now, that's not the bad part. That's just expected with black ops type of stuff. The problem is that this ultimately culminated in nearly driving Sunset off the deep end when she got desperate and started delving into some serious dark magic to escape. The exact type of situation that her entire mission was intended to avoid. And it happened because she either couldn't recognize that she was basically driving Sunset to the point where she couldn't possibly trust her, or did recognize it but wasn't capable of adapting her methods and changing her approach. Either way, she literally couldn't have handled that assignment any less competently unless she actively attempted to kill Sunset herself.

You're right that someone whose primary function is to act as a spy needs to be able and willing to make some questionable ethical calls. But they also generally need to be capable of blending in and adapting to the situations they encounter as needed, which tends to require having at least some measure of social skills. Or, at the very least, the ability to pretend at having them. The way that she handled her assignment regarding Sunset made it abundantly clear she's woefully lacking in in that regard. If the stories actually showed her going toe-to-toe with someone like Puzzle in a battle of cleverness and intelligence (and I mean actually showed it - not just mentioned it offhand through another character), then maybe it would be easier to see her as smart. But as it is? She just comes off as horribly incompetent except when dealing with someone that is already pretty naive and prone to emotional decisions (and is easily manipulated as a result), and even then she already came prepared with a truckload of information on that person beforehand, making it seem even less impressive.

"composing herself,,"
Extra comma?

"with how obsession with"

"were asked to come to Sweetash"
"to go to"?

"given before hoof"

"non-unicorn magical traditions"
Missing period?

“And I didn't set her on fire,” I chimed in. “You have been telling me to work on my diplomatic skills. I think that shows real progress.”


7650833 I have to agree with you on a few of those points, and I would certainly like to see Strumming have to deal with a legitimate threat that shows actual intelligence (preferably without Strumming being made a total idiot). I also have to concede that her social skills are absolutely terrible (which is pretty important for a spy). However, Strumming hasn't been reassigned or fired yet, in fact it seems that she's increased her power. This leads me to believe one of a few things; that she's been amazing at lying to her bosses (back in Equestria), that she's considered to be doing a decent job, or that she's politicked her way into being the only one who can do what she does.

The entire Sunset operation (Freeport Venture) was certainly messed up. However, we'll likely never know exactly who was at fault for what incidents (Sunset was emotional/irrational, Strumming was trying to clean up a mess, Strumming's bosses at the embassy (who we've never been introduced to and don't even know if they exist) may have been meddling, Puzzle was involved and probably wanted Sunset to stay in Freeport where he could exert his influence over her/use her for his own interests. The abduction of Sunset (the illegality of which you covered under black-ops/espionage (we could have an entire discussion on the difference)) was very obviously botched, however, there is still the question of who was at fault. Strumming clearly failed in her objective, however, some of the circumstances were out of her control (the time it took to get the ship, Sunset's luck in finding a way to escape, etc.) in addition, Sunset realized that she was being sedated and took action (vomited) to reduce the effects. There should have been a contingency in place (and that I will call Strumming's fault) in the event of an escape in transit. Personally though, I like to think that Strumming underestimated Sunset (justifiably as Sunset, despite her educational credentials and strong magic had until that point presented herself to Strumming as a not-very-logical/doesn't think things through type of pony the entire time they'd known each other), rather than that Strumming is just a total idiot (hopefully the idiots get weeded out during the selection process for intelligence agencies). In addition, despite her losses, Strumming managed to establish herself within Sunset's network (Sunset calls on Strumming for help in this story, Strumming calls on Sunset in the last story, etc.) so that Strumming can protect her (i.e. send a few guards to an island in the middle of nowhere to help Sunset, feed Sunset some money and/or information to help her defend herself and help teach Sunset about the rules of Freeport. Strumming also managed to get herself established with one of the most influential individuals in the city (Puzzle).

As for your last point. I'll agree, Strumming sucks as a spy in the classical sense; she doesn't blend in, she's not your friend, she probably doesn't even have real friends, I can't imagine her doing to well at a fancy embassy party (in a tux, swirling cocktails, rubbing elbows with local elites, ect.). My current theory for her is that she's a paramilitary intelligence officer; that is, she collects intelligence through less than polite means. She's shown a proficiency in combat (even here she killed a zebra with a thrown knife while eating a candy bar and holding a conversation), she can lead troops (on the necromancer's island and later she is in charge of the islands defences) and she seems to know a decent amount about Freeport before she arrives (she displays some of this on the ship during the first book).

Now is any of this set in stone? Absolutely not. Until we get further evidence that Strumming is either an idiot or decently smart we'll just have to work with head-cannon and limited evidence (in my case I like to look at her in a positive light and you have the right to look at her in a different light if you wish). In addition, my primary complaint (maybe I didn't articulate it properly/fully in my first comment) was that people were unleashing hate on Strumming for killing a necromancer (who had clearly raised a number of undead and apparently was capable of murder (or at least had threatened to commit it)) while ignoring the fact that this guy posed a threat to Sunset (a rival here, a rival there, and then suddenly you have an alliance raised against you) and Strumming (who probably didn't want the Equestrians to be named as the guys who kick your door down for no reason). There's also the little detail of it being stated Equestrian policy to deal with necromancers quickly.


I get the impression from the text that this isn't Strumming's first murder. Her blasé reaction and easy justification suggest she's probably gone down this path before, which raises some questions about why, exactly, the Equestrian crown continues to employ her.

On the other hand, this is (I believe) Sunset's first experience with murder. Certainly she's killed ponies before, but only in self-defense or in combat; never as part of a premeditated, cold-blooded affair. And one could argue that she didn't murder this zebra, but... well, she's at least an accomplice, just as much as a bank robber is an accomplice to murder if his partner shoots someone. Her, ahem, "troubled" reaction to the killing, which seems to be limited to frowning at Strumming and thinking deep thoughts, is not morally encouraging.

Well, that's fine, you might say; after all, Sunset isn't exactly a paragon of morality. Which is why I smirk a bit at this line in the story's description: "Even if they can't pay her fees, it's the right thing to do."

Off to a great start there, Shimmy. At least you can only improve.

When it comes to our characters, there are few things authors can do that have more impact than killing them. One of the things that does rise to that level, though, is having them commit a crime like murder. Just as there is no way to (usually) return a dead character to life, there is no way stop being a murderer. That is your title forever – Strumming's biography is now listed in this order: murderer, and also a pegasus, an EIS agent, and I assume she has some sort of day job at the embassy.

Speaking of the embassy, I'm curious how the embassy guards will report this incident, since they apparently witnessed the whole thing. I could see the EIS maybe, possibly being amoral enough not to care, but the guards should supposedly have some sort of legal fiber.

And now Shimmy is an accessory to murder. Forever! There is nothing that she or Strumming can do that will unmake them murderers.

I'm curious to see how you'll let this play out, Chengar.

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