• Member Since 20th Jan, 2013
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Silent Quill


"Shh, I'm trying to think here..."

T
Source

Three years have passed since the War of the Wedding, when an invasion force assaulted Canterlot and revealed Changelings to the world. Fear, driven into the hearts of ponies, has given them a new boogeymare to hunt, it would seem.

To Vanessa and her family, it's life as usual one grey and gloomy Canterlot morning, though not for long...

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 18 )

This is a great story that definitely needs a sequel. Justice definitely must be had for this tragedy and the rest of the ponies still afraid of changelings need to have a long talk with the princesses now and know that anymore attempts on the changelings living in Equestria will be met with treason charges as well as attempted xenocide if Pale Canvas is attacked seeing how she's the last of her kind now, last of the Silver Hive.

Also since 2 Equestrians died this tragic way that makes this a tragedy so that tag should be used.

Gonna be honest, didn't expect the feels.
Oh god the feels...
But this was an amazing story, very very well written, and short as it was, the characters had great depth and spirit.
Would really, really love to see a continuation of this!

Would be awesome to see more of this if your interested in writing it. Pretty neat characters you made.

Love the story. I don't know why but I like stories where changeling are struggling in pony society cause of there abilities and how most ponies don't how they look. I imagine the batponies went through something similar too at times. Hope we see a sequel in future.

An interesting little short story. Story is a bit short and could use additional backstory, but it also provides just enough detail to leave the reader with twenty questions. It's a good approach since it leaves the world open to interpretation.

Out of CC it almost feels like Luna goes out of her way to justify her reasoning to her guards. (When she was arguing with one in particular towards the end of the story)

I really feel that this warrants a tragedy tag. Neat story though, and definitely a thought provoker.

Very good. I want to see this world expanded on!

Seems like a nice addition/expansion to your Model Slip tumblr blog. Once again, another enjoyable read.

I'm sorry to say I didn’t like this story. I’m being truthful when I say I think you're a talented writer, Silent Quill. A lot of my criticisms are aligned with those of TheGreatDerpsby’s in terms of the pony-changeling racism dynamic, but there is clearly a passion and effort put into your stories that I can admire.

That being said though, this story just doesn’t work for me. It’s another ‘pony-changeling racism’ story, one of hundreds on this site. Now of course there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with a story about prejudice and discrimination, hell, one of the best episodes of Season 6 was a changeling episode tackling this very issue. It’s just that many fanfictions end up being very similar in their approach with often few variety or anything new or fresh done with it; I feel like when I read one, I’ve read them all. You’ve actually written at least two other stories already that tackle this topic in some way, ie ‘Bat and Bug’ and ‘Changing Times’. ‘Pale Hive’ sadly feels like it recycles many elements plot points from these previous pretty okay stories, specifically by following the tried and true ‘Build Sympathy>Kick em hard>The Princesses intervene and fix everything’ formula.

However, there are two main connecting points of criticism I wanted to hone in on in what looks like to be a ridiculously overlong comment (yeah, very sorry in advance): the depiction of the ponies and some pretty glaring holes in the story’s logic.

I’m going to start with the latter first. What I’m specifically getting that is the events that take place doesn't entirely gel well with the information (or lack thereof) and context we are provided with. In the end, it leaves me racking my brain, trying to make sense of it all.

Vanessa nodded with a smile, “’Non-Aggression Pact’, sweetie. It means that they are more or less our friends, and yes; that was in the newspaper this morning too. Changeling Queens Crawli and Peanut I believe they were called. Took their sweet time, if you ask me; could have gotten past all this mess if they’d come forward three years ago…”

Okay, this whole thing about this "Non-Aggression Pact" really ends up biting this story in the flank. Badly. So Equestria has made contact and signed this pact with at least two Hives, right? The general pony public must be aware of this. It's in the newspaper that morning and likely been in the news in recent weeks. So the policy of Equestrian government must be some sort of attempt at Peaceful Co-existence with the changeling race. And as such, Celestia and Luna must surely be making some attempt at educating their ponies that not all changelings are dangerous or to be feared and that there are at non-threatening Hives out there?

So why are these vigilante groups seemingly allowed to operate openly on the streets of Canterlot, seeking out to catch and presumably kill changelings? (Given what happens in this story, I can only assume that's what their end intentions are) There is already a Royal Guard that exists in Equestria to ensure security. If they were the ones still patrolling the streets in a heavy presence on the look out for hostile changeling infiltrators, that would make sense and wouldn't necessarily endanger the pact (if part of the provisos is that changelings are not yet granted access into Equestrian territories). That would at least come more effectively as ponies being "still wary" as your story describes. Given how we dumb evil racist humans widely do not tolerate vigilantism in our countries, I definitely can’t see these guys getting a free pass in Equestria.

Or much more pressingly, why is it then that a rabble of pony civilians and guards (ponies who, as part of their jobs, must have very good understanding of the LAW) can outright murder a Changeling Queen, a member of the Royal Guard, maim a child and then attempt to sell said child presumably into slavery (one: so what? There'd be no questioning where this child went? Two: seriously, are all these Racist Ponies stories engage in some kinda one-upmanship about how awful they can make ponies look?) and doing so...

...all seemingly under the assumption that they would face no repercussions for their actions? Why do I ask this? Well, the Royal Guard point above aside, this line:

The stallion at the front, who Celestia now noticed had a black eye and bruised jawline, nodded, “We discovered that the traitor who lived here was harbouring a Changeling queen, and we dealt with him accordingly.”

Yeah, cuz that makes total sense. Let's see if I got this right, this pony here has just openly, unhesitantly admitted to Princess Celestia, his sovereign ruler and immortal deity whom they worship and whose very word is law, that he and the ponies around him have at least committed two acts of murder, one of a Changeling Queen and the other an officer of the law. Yeah.

And he's expecting her to react... how exactly? She'll praise them? Give them each a medal? Seriously? Honestly, it's hard to tell, given how the ponies in this scene, or any other pony character with less than three or four lines of dialogue, display little to no emotion in regards to what’s going on. And yeah, we’ll get to that big one momentarily

So, I'm genuinely confused, what exactly IS the law here? I mean, I seriously cannot come to the conclusion that there is no law that says a pony cannot murder a changeling or those associated with them?

Maybe it would more sense if it wasn’t for this whole non-aggression pact existing and there'd been no contact with other changeling hives besides Chrysalis’. It could possibly lead to a political grey area, feeding into feelings of legal ambiguity amongst ponies about how they can respond to a changeling’s presence. But in this context, there surely has to be some kind of law or regulation regarding changelings in Equestria if the Princesses want their peace pact to succeed. Hate to belabour a point, but there’s something clearly amiss here for 35 ponies, including eight off-duty officers of the law, have the stupidity/guts to do what they did here and brag about it literally to their PRINCESS’ MUZZLE!

Even Princess Celestia and Luna’s lines toward the end, if not lampshades, highlights the problems:

“This… witch hunt has gone on long enough. That our ponies still hold enough fear toward your kind is most unsettling. Not even the gryphons met such hostility.”

Good point, Lulu, so quick counter-question: why have you two allowed it to continue in the first place, let alone to the point where this has happened?! Well, besides plot convenience, of course.

I mean, if Celestia and Luna are committed to maintaining peace with the other hives, why have these vigilante groups been allowed to operate, or if not allowed, not been thoroughly cracked down on? What have they actually done to assuage their ponies’ perfectly legitimate fears of changelings and make it clear such hostility won’t be tolerated? Because it sure isn’t elaborated on in this story. Here’s the problem: this isn’t just a simple matter of changelings being misunderstood. These are a race of creatures with the ability to shapeshift into ponies’ loved ones and drain ponies of their love into literal husks like vampires, and there is at least one hive that is outright committed to doing just this. Luna is wrong to compare the changelings’ situation to griffins, because they are simply not the same thing. By all rights, it should take a lot more effort from the Princess’ and changelings to convince everyday ponies they don’t need to be afraid.

The Princesses have more than enough power and influence to have done more to prevent this, but they didn’t, and it reflects terribly on their competence. Celestia says outright, “it’s not something that I ever imagined Equestria would be responsible for.” (Yeah, after years of stories where ponies are written with all the charm and likability of snake vomit, any time they react with genuine shock is almost chuckleworthy by now) only makes them look worse. Is the only real non-contrived reason I can then draw for their failure here that... they just expected better from Equestria? Really? Is this seriously supposed to be the first incidence of such an racial atrocity occurring in Equestria? Given what we humans do to each other on an hourly basis, I find that really difficult to believe. So either Celestia and Luna, after over a thousand years in power, are totally disconnected and actually don’t know who their subjects well at all, or ponies are just better at hiding how rotten they are beneath their candy coloured coats.

“I find it hard to fathom that they thought they were in the right.”

Well, you know what? This actually raises a good question. I mean, think about it: who are the ponies who were involved in this? What’s their backstory? What was their train of thought and mindset that led them to this grim situation? Vanessa and the story as a whole make a big point about how “people/ponies fear what they don’t understand” (even though as I pointed earlier, it’s not so much about not understanding changelings, rather that not all of them want to eat you). Now if that is the kind of fair and sadly true message you want to promote, great, more power to you. One of the best ways to get any message across is via the golden rule: “Show, don’t tell.” Except what we’re shown doesn’t fully work and it leads to my second biggest criticism.

The ponies in this story who committed this crime aren’t written as people. They don’t come across as ordinary good ponies from the show who might only ever do something so awful if their “fear got the better of them.” They’re just the same stock one-dimensional racist cardboard cutouts seen in ‘Bat and Bug’, ‘Changing Times’ and in so many other stories on this website and in general media about racism. They’re nothing more than dehumanized (which I always find the ultimate irony regarding perpetrators in racism stories) plot devices. Tools. Their entire role in a nutshell is to show up and invoke a kneejerk reaction from the readers, outrage when their commit their vile crimes and righteousness when the Princess’ punish them, and are then shooed away now that their job is done. If they were intended to be ordinary ponies who were just afraid, the writing does not sufficiently convey that. As I said above, they display minimum to no emotional investment in anything they do here or the events around them, e.g. the stallion who told Celestia what they did, was he proud? Smug? Solemn from his ‘grim duty’? Or how about the ponies in the crowd there? They’re not even described as looking at all shocked or confused when their beloved Princess furiously turns on them. Hell, every time they open their mouths, such as with Dark Wing (not very subtle name...) it’s just to spout generic racist diatribe that could’ve been copied and pasted from a dozen other stories.

Now if that was the was the story’s <i>intent</i>, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but it quite clearly wasn’t.

And it’s disappointing because you’re undoubtedly a good writer. You can spin an engaging and emotional story and know how to pull a reader’s heartstrings, myself included. You succeed excellently in humanizing your changeling OC characters, making them genuinely sympathetic to readers, to the point where we want them to get out of this mess okay. I’m confident you have the skills to write ponies who are prejudice if not outright racist, but still portray them as people with personalities, friends and loved ones, and maybe even justified reasons for their prejudice from past experience.

But there was clearly no intent to do that here, which is frustrating because it’s an angle desperately underexplored in stories which tackle racism, prejudice and fear, and dare I say, needs to explored if people like ourselves can be easily driven by fear to say and do things we normally would never say or do. I’m sad to say that what this story ultimately amounts to in my opinion, and I recall a commenter describing the first chapter of Changing Times as this, is a well-written piece of Sympathy Porn which sports a few interesting ideas and manages to pull at the heartstrings like your previous stories, but not much else, at least for me.

... phew. Wow. Okay, I sorry once again for how ridiculously long this analytical comment became. If only I could focus that same kind of passion towards writing my own stories, heh heh. I hope I managed to make some valid points buried within this long, twisting ramble, though I understand it’s more than likely I may have grossly misunderstood a few things. Still, whether I’m right or wrong, I’d still be happy to discuss them with you if you’re interested. Either way, thank you for taking the time to read this and I wish you a Happy New Year and all the success with your future works.

Unfortunately, I find myself sharing much of the same sentiment with Magic Man.

It's actually rather saddening how many stories make the ponies into racist violent bigots, or at least attempt to. I feeld bad for the regular ponies, honestly. In fact, I wondered if the one pony who protects the Changelings would turn out to be a bat pony—which of course he was. They never get the same treatment as the normal ponies, who are the racists and bigots. No, they are superior to the normal ponies, judging from not only the moral high ground but also the physical capabilities. All those weak non-bat ponies only overpowered him thirty-five to one after thirty full minutes.

I've began to dislike bat ponies. Not a good sign.

“Your ponies are afraid of that which they do not understand; a reasonable fear,” Peanut stated in a tone attempting to be diplomatic and failing, “

They're afraid of things that may want to eat them. The Gryphons don't get the same amount of fear cause they eat pastries, just like ponies. Not, you know, actual ponies. I guess your Changelings are special in that they don't need to drain love? Maybe that would've been a good idea to tell anypony. Or maybe you still do, and it's just brushed aside for the sake of making the racist ponies look more evil.

After all is said and done, I'm actually more interested in what happened with the ponies who did all the bad things. What's their story? Are they more than just stock racist thugs? Do they have past experiences with Changelings? What was their punishment? Do the princesses actually care to try to redeem any of them, or is that something normal ponies don't get?

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The Princesses have more than enough power and influence to have done more to prevent this, but they didn’t, and it reflects terribly on their competence. Celestia says outright, “it’s not something that I ever imagined Equestria would be responsible for.”

It's a total failure on their part. From how the story's telling it, there are numerous ponies who will go so far as to yell at their princess and risk life and limb to hurt the Changelings. This isn't some casual bullying, this is bordering on organised, and at that point Celestia and Luna need to think long and hard about what their people feel about what they've been doing. They're willing to defy their beloved princesses on this, to their faces. Maybe they're totally misguided, but danm, that takes guts. They're like the bravest ponies around, which is ironic considering they're supposed to be driven by wrong-headed fear.

Maybe the princesses need to go out and listen to different ponies than they normally do, listen to their concerns instead of just dismissing them all.

Addendum: Alright, after venting for a while, I owe it to you to say this as well: None of what I said is remotely something I'd dislike a story for. Your writing is sound, it's just that the message here is so in-your-face. I can see how this could be a really interesting exploration of fear and what it can do to people, if it just went a little further.

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It's actually rather saddening how many stories make the ponies into racist violent bigots, or at least attempt to. I feeld bad for the regular ponies, honestly.

After all is said and done, I'm actually more interested in what happened with the ponies who did all the bad things. What's their story? Are they more than just stock racist thugs? Do they have past experiences with Changelings? What was their punishment? Do the princesses actually care to try to redeem any of them, or is that something normal ponies don't get?

But you see, it's not that fact the ponies are being depicted as the racist bigots (at least one side needs to be the aggressor to some degree in these stories), it's that they're never allowed to be portrayed as people. You're asking all the right questions about these ponies, questions that were never answered, and the reason for that is sadly simple:

Because that's not what was important to this story. They don't have personalities or a backstory. Their past experience and punishment doesn't really matter. As I said in my original comment, the story's primary motive was to invoke a kneejerk emotional reaction out of the readers. These ponies were nothing more than tools to move the plot along and invoke the "feels", in other words, plot devices.

It's not just this story; it's endemic in all forms of media. It is important to humanize and flesh out the victims of racism, but we all too willing to dehumanize the perpetrators into one-dimensional cardboard cutouts. For a message about how racism can make us say or do things we'd normally never say or do, it's vital we humanize the perpetrators as much as we can, because the idea is that this could easily be us.

It's not just easy, it's downright lazy, and it’s the ultimate irony for any story that tries to discuss racism.

Do you know what a racism story like this could do to make for a great alternative to the faceless mob of racist thugs? Introduce a bigoted character, maybe a few even, and write them as actual people. Yes, have them be racist, but explain why they’re racist. Show their legitimate fear. Even make them a guard so to show their inner-conflict about protecting Equestria: do they trust their Princess’ decisions, or trust their gut feeling? Go out of your way to humanize the racist as much as possible and make the readers to relate to them

And then have the tragedy happen. Let’s say in this instance, the lone guard misinterprets what they see and, acting on impulse to protect their fellow guard, kill Echo (maybe just Echo). Then, when the truth is revealed, they react with horror and utterly remorseful about what they’ve done, what their fear allowed them to do.

That right there would make for a genuine, heartbreaking tragedy and far more interesting than just a bunch one-note, one-dimensional plot devices doing this. Who knows? Maybe that was meant to be the reaction of the ponies in this story, but the writing isn’t strong enough the information either too vague or just missing to support it.

I guess your Changelings are special in that they don't need to drain love? Maybe that would've been a good idea to tell anypony. Or maybe you still do, and it's just brushed aside for the sake of making the racist ponies look more evil.

Yeah, again, that is one of the biggest problems with the story's writing. There's a serious lack of information here, and the information we are provided with is so vague that both make the actions that take place just confusing. There's a pact between the ponies and two hives that's clearly in the news, but what are the details of this agreement? What new laws are there surely to arise regarding changelings in Equestria because of it? How much is the common pony informed? And why are vigilante groups allowed to operate on the streets?! That last one seriously baffles me.

None of that is remotely addressed, again, because it's not considered as important to the story's objective, and that is to be a well-written piece of sympathy porn.

It's a total failure on their part. From how the story's telling it, there are numerous ponies who will go so far as to yell at their princess and risk life and limb to hurt the Changelings. This isn't some casual bullying, this is bordering on organised, and at that point Celestia and Luna need to think long and hard about what their people feel about what they've been doing.

The question then becomes how much we can blame the Princesses as characters or the flaws in their and the story's writing? If we look at it from a purely writing perspective, it's obvious their failure was plot-mandated. That they didn’t do enough because it would have made the tragedy that occurred in this story look even more illogical (what with the racism with ponies being intentionally ramped up) and thus we would have no story. But more simply, the Idiot Ball.

And here’s why it becomes the Idiot Ball: these two, Celestia at least, have been leading this country for a millenia. With all that time, knowledge and experience, surely they must have been able to recognize the current climate and where it was ultimately going to lead unless they did more to prevent it beyond just a Non-Aggression Pact. I mean, yes, I did make the argument that the only explanation was that they’re detached and don’t know their subjects as well as they think they do. Except in the show, they seem at least fairly down to earth and open to their subjects, so even that explanation feels a little too... convenient? Contrived?

Either way, I just feel this story makes them look more incompetent than what feels realistic.

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Okay, just... gimmie a moment to collect my thoughts in a way that isn't spouting horrible attempts to defend my work which turn into "No it's perfect you just suck" because that gets us nowhere.

All those weak non-bat ponies only overpowered him thirty-five to one after thirty full minutes.

While I agree that it seems like I'm making bat ponies out to be 'overpowered master race' here, what I was actually trying to convey was that, despite the odds, and the fact that he was going to lose anyway, Echo kept fighting anyway. You know that old trope of the hero just continually getting up regardless of how stupidly beaten they obviously are? The dude was a sergeant and these were untrained civilians. If it'd been Shining Armour, bet you wouldn't be making this accusation because either A) he's a Captain and therefore has significant skill behind him, or B) he's a unicorn skilled in shields and wouldn't have had to fight anyone anyway.
Yeah, magic 'you can't touch me' shields make every fight bullshit.

The Gryphons don't get the same amount of fear cause they eat pastries, just like ponies.

They don't get that fear now, who's to say they never did? Are they not also predatory in nature? They're half lion for crying out loud, I've seen a lot of people write them eating meat and upsetting the natives.

I guess your Changelings are special in that they don't need to drain love? Maybe that would've been a good idea to tell anypony. Or maybe you still do, and it's just brushed aside for the sake of making the racist ponies look more evil.

Oh hey, it's like the story starts with Vanessa buying vegetables or something.
You're right, in a way, though; I don't tell whether or not they drain love, it wasn't even something I considered worrying about when writing this. On that note, however, I will simply say that I usually depict changelings as being able to live on food, while love, though capable of sustaining them, is better suited to bolstering their magic. I usually like the thought that Chrysalis' brood are starving because love isn't very filling and they need to constantly find more.

After all is said and done, I'm actually more interested in what happened with the ponies who did all the bad things. What's their story? Are they more than just stock racist thugs? Do they have past experiences with Changelings? What was their punishment? Do the princesses actually care to try to redeem any of them, or is that something normal ponies don't get?

I admit I didn't go in-depth on the whole 'why do we hate changelings' rhetoric in this story. Y'know why? Because it gets a lot of shit thrown at me when I do, and it's always the 'this was so hamfisted, they hate changelings because of the wedding, why are you bringing this shit up again, omg, so racist'.

The Canterlot attack brought a goddamned warzone to ponies front door. You think ponies are going to like being hunted in the streets or in their own homes? Does anyone actually think that there won't be outright hatred for those that pulled that shit. To bastardize a phrase here: "Not all Changelings."
Not all of them are bad, but there's a lot that are, some ponies, like some people, will just paint them all with the same brush and not bother with any evidence to the contrary.

Yeah, cuz that makes total sense. Let's see if I got this right, this pony here has just openly, unhesitantly admitted to Princess Celestia, his sovereign ruler and immortal deity whom they worship and whose very word is law, that he and the ponies around him have at least committed two acts of murder, one of a Changeling Queen and the other an officer of the law. Yeah.

I admit, this was a lazy piece of writing on my behalf, and I make no real excuses to defend it. I wanted to move the story along, and didn't want to breach 20k words again because who the fuck is going to read that much if I make another of that length? If anyone says they would, I dunno, maybe I'll take the work down and start again; not like I don't have, what, five other goddamned stories to finish. However, let's be clear for a moment here; with everything we know behind this story, unless you've peeped into the expanded universe in the tumblr blog I've not touched in months, at this point there are four hive colours: Orange, Violet, Silver, and Teal. How do we know that? Well, the orange and violet hives have signed non-aggression pacts with the equestrians, Vanessa and Canvas are silver, and Chrysalis is teal. We don't know how ponies would react to finding them on the streets at this point, do we, because that didn't happen. What we know is that the Teal hive have shown themselves to be hostile, as per the wedding invasion (that old chestnut.) The public know nothing about any colours other than these at the start of this story, other than that they are more than likely hostile.

What easier way to remove a potential threat than to simply kill it any anyone aiding it? If Echo had been aiding an enemy of the country, as they were likely to know no better once mob mentality set in (and it does so easily over matters just as fucking stupid), then what they've done was technically a good thing, was it not? They've removed a threat to Equestria, protecting their homes, friends, and families.

This story wasn't about some hamfisted attempt to throw racism political bullshit into the fimfiction database, I fucking hate that, but if that's what I'll be accused of, fine.

But there was clearly no intent to do that here, which is frustrating because it’s an angle desperately underexplored in stories which tackle racism, prejudice and fear, and dare I say, needs to explored if people like ourselves can be easily driven by fear to say and do things we normally would never say or do.

You could say that in this sense, they are just like us.

Oh, wait,

For a message about how racism can make us say or do things we'd normally never say or do, it's vital we humanize the perpetrators as much as we can, because the idea is that this could easily be us.

Damn, beat me to it.

Let's have a look at the fact that the Princesses, the highest authorities in the goddamned country, have allowed this 'witch hunt' to continue for so long, shall we, since we're here. Like I said before, so far we know of four colours, two of which have publicly stated their more or less benign nature toward Equestria, and one of which, which the two peaceful colours have likely told the princesses (though I admit I've not stated them saying as such), has been wiping out other hives and forcefully stealing its forces to bloat its own army. An army which could be anyone, anywhere, at any time, and could do untold damage to the country without anypony knowing until it's too late.

Perhaps, and this is just a stupid thought here, don't have to follow if you don't want to, perhaps the princesses have allowed this vigilantism to continue because, until now, it hasn't actually done anything other than maybe inconvenience some unicorns, simply for the sake of the public's peace of mind. Now one could argue that, after all that time of finding nothing, these ponies finally had something to validate their hunting, and just became overzealous. It's a flimsy fucking argument, I know.

I’m sad to say that what this story ultimately amounts to in my opinion, and I recall a commenter describing the first chapter of Changing Times as this, is a well-written piece of Sympathy Porn which sports a few interesting ideas and manages to pull at the heartstrings like your previous stories, but not much else, at least for me.

Sympathy Porn

Well... I remember that then, too, and you know what I did with that? I used that to basically force myself to continue writing that story out in a piss poor attempt to escape from it, and now that it's cropped up again, I find myself just as irked as I was then. I fucked up that much? Atop all of the complaints that I've not fleshed out the world enough, allowing people to poke plotholes in my stories wherever they want because 'that's stupid, people don't do that', I gotta throw this one too? Gee, gimmie a minute to just stop writing altogether since I'm clearly not up to snuff.

... I'm not, by the way; the pedestal that people keep putting me on as, as you say,

a talented writer

is a flimsy one at best. I look up to 'talented writers' such as J.K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett. Compared to their stuff I'm a joke, and while I would like to one day be as good as they, I don't think I'll ever get there.

Finally;

But more simply, the Idiot Ball.

Wow, I actually had to look this up, thanks for that, puts the next bit into perspective:

And here’s why it becomes the Idiot Ball: these two, Celestia at least, have been leading this country for a millenia. With all that time, knowledge and experience, surely they must have been able to recognize the current climate and where it was ultimately going to lead unless they did more to prevent it beyond just a Non-Aggression Pact. I mean, yes, I did make the argument that the only explanation was that they’re detached and don’t know their subjects as well as they think they do. Except in the show, they seem at least fairly down to earth and open to their subjects, so even that explanation feels a little too... convenient? Contrived?

Either way, I just feel this story makes them look more incompetent than what feels realistic.

Really, this was a failing on my part, as I'll explain. The details surrounding the Non-Aggression Pact weren't fleshed out in the newspaper because I both failed to think of how that could be done without the newspapers becoming eight times larger that day, and actually forgot to write the lines between Celestia, Peanut, and Crawli about the details being announced by way of Officials later that day, as well as the lines at the start that a Royal Announcement was to be made (Mayor Mare, for example, would have called a town meeting for Twilight to announce it to Ponyville.)
They weren't incompetent in this case, I fucking was.

The character, Pale Canvas, was fleshed out ages ago, and this was a pisspoor attempt to show her backstory. I had a conclusion I wanted, and fucked up my methods and evidence on the way to get there.

TL;DR, Hamfisted racism rhetoric not my intention, I didn't want another 20k word single-chapter story so soon after the last one, and I fucked up because I'm not perfect.
Happy?

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Happy?

Honestly? No. Because it wasn't my intention to p*ss you off. Neither did I want you to feel like you should stop writing.

Perhaps we've let our misgivings and criticisms stoke each others'; if that's the case, I'm sorry. Admittedly, both Magic Man and I feel similarly about a lot of Changeling stories, many of which aren't as good as your writing by far. It's easy to get caught up in negativity.

And yes, you are as good writer, because if you weren't, Magic Man and I wouldn't spend so much time with your story.

As for your points, well, it looks to me like the main cuplrit here was cutting the word count. A lot of things would've become much clearer with more details, more backstory, more information. Like, do Griffons eat meat in this universe? Are the ponies bothered by it? Can Changelings choose not to prey on ponies? If so, why not tell the princesses so they can reassure their little ponies that Changelings they might come across are harmless? (That "You" in the passage you quoted was directed at the Changeling queen, by the way, not you, the author). What happened to the criminals? Are there going to be efforts to redeem them? Are they more than just violent racists? Are Celestia and Luna aware how much they f*cked up, not just in regards to the hidden Changelings with whom they want peace but with how little they prepared their subjects for it?

All that might've helped to establish that the main focus isn't a message about violent, over-the-top racism. We looked at it and concluded that that's what the story is about. Falsely, by your account.

Some other things are rooted in other issues, yes. The Bat Pony thing, for example. I get what you're saying about Shining Armor, but to be fair, that one gets his behind handed to him most of the time as it is.

The dude was a sergeant and these were untrained civilians.

Eight of his attackers were off-duty guardsponies. Though, that's a case my me f*cking up, because I totally overlooked that one of his attackers was a Bat Pony too.

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I'd like to chip in my two cents here again. I want to echo what Great Derpsby has said and reassure you that it was not our intention to offend you or discourage you from writing. We are sincere in that we do think of you as a good writer, otherwise we wouldn't be investing the time here in our critiques. I even said at the end of my initial comment I was more than happy to discuss these issues with you, on the likely chance I had made some mistakes.

Now if we did misinterpret the message you were going for, and we clearly did, then very well. We just read the story and took away what we interpreted from it. However, I'm more than happy to hold my hands up and admit we got that wrong.

That being said, I agree that the cutting of the word count was a major source of this story's problems, due to it cutting out some otherwise really useful information and possibly helping lead to this misinterpretation of its goal.

And yes, the information you provide in your reply is helpful, but I still have to judge the story for what it is. Perhaps the word count would have gone longer than desired, but I believe it would have helped the story and mitigated some of our criticisms.

They don't get that fear now, who's to say they never did? Are they not also predatory in nature? They're half lion for crying out loud, I've seen a lot of people write them eating meat and upsetting the natives.

Yeah but that's still mostly just speculation at this point. We at no point disputed there may have been past fear, but unlike the changelings, there's not a canon established past event and grievance that can be pointed to for griffins to justify the fear. There's really not much evidence to solidly confirm if they ARE predators, given all we see them eat are things ponies eat. That's the fault of limited canon info, I guess.

The Canterlot attack brought a goddamned warzone to ponies front door. You think ponies are going to like being hunted in the streets or in their own homes? Does anyone actually think that there won't be outright hatred for those that pulled that shit. To bastardize a phrase here: "Not all Changelings."
Not all of them are bad, but there's a lot that are, some ponies, like some people, will just paint them all with the same brush and not bother with any evidence to the contrary.

I think you've misunderstood what Derpsby and I were getting at about our points about the ponies who committed this crime. Yes, we already KNOW FULL WELL why many ponies in Canterlot are going to downright hate changelings. That wasn't our point. The issue is more... give us more of a reason to care. We were saying that these ponies should have been fleshed out and characterised like actual people, not a collective plot device, because:

You could say that in this sense, they are just like us.
Oh, wait,

For a message about how racism can make us say or do things we'd normally never say or do, it's vital we humanize the perpetrators as much as we can, because the idea is that this could easily be us.

Damn, beat me to it.

Yes, exactly, that was what I was getting at! It's important to humanize these racist ponies exactly because they're meant to be like us. That fear can lead, good people to say or do horrible things that be inconceivable under normal circumstances. But it's one thing to say, another to show and the writing just isn’t strong enough to support that these are real people with genuine emotions and personalities and to whom I can relate to. The very least would be to have them speak dialogue that isn't just textbook racist diatribe.

And fine, maybe that wasn't your focus or priority, but I truly think this would have helped improve the story and give it something fresh over its kin. It’s not just this story or similar stories on the site, but so many others in Western media in general.

What easier way to remove a potential threat than to simply kill it any anyone aiding it? If Echo had been aiding an enemy of the country, as they were likely to know no better once mob mentality set in (and it does so easily over matters just as fucking stupid), then what they've done was technically a good thing, was it not? They've removed a threat to Equestria, protecting their homes, friends, and families.

That’s all well and fine to explain how they thought they were justified, even though it still would’ve benefited greatly by being touched on in greater depth in the story, but that wasn’t the crux of my original point. It’s that they clearly didn’t seem to think they’d suffer any legal ramifications after-the-fact. Yes, from what you described, their train of thought up to the incident all makes sense... but then collapses at that pivotal scene where the stallion declares what they did to Celestia’s muzzle.

Regardless of however justified they may have thought they were, killing someone without due process is still murder. Even if they didn’t think they’d get charged for killing Vanessa, surely they’d understand killing Echo most surely would (even if he was a ‘traitor’), at least afterwards when the violence was over and Celestia showed up. And yeah, I somehow don’t see how maiming and trying to sell a child into slavery (changeling or otherwise) is something they think they’re gonna get away with.* If the civilian ponies didn’t think this, then surely eight off-duty guards (whose jobs includes understanding and enforcing Equestrian LAW) must have.

If that one stallion had not said anything and the ponies remained quiet and had to be goaded into admitting their guilt (like any person with with a three digit IQ and basic understanding of the law would), this wouldn’t be nearly as big a problem. But it did happen, in what you described yourself as lazy writing to move the plot along. Except it made the pony characters involved look just far too stupid and, compounded by the lack of information, had me seriously questioning the Equestrian legal system and the story’s logic as a whole.

“Mob Mentality” only goes so far to explain it away, especially when it’s after-the-fact and the perpetrators are actually confronted by the law itself.

And speaking of which, I just wanna make this quick point: I know the whole “facless racist mob” is a big staple in these stories on fimfiction, but they’ve just never made any sense to me when it comes to ponies. You mentioned how griffins are predators? Well, changelings are predators too and ponies are prey/herbivores. And ponies, like other prey/herbivores... just don’t really do mobs, mainly because they don’t respond to threats the way humans do. A herbivore often instinctively avoids or runs from a threat, not confronts it, often because said threat, often because said threat has physical prowess and fangs. This isn’t just biology, this is how ponies act in the show too. When Zecora showed up in Ponyville, they didn’t at first confront her form an angry mob to chase her out or kill her. No, they ran and hid away until she left, and only confronted her when they thought Applebloom was in direct danger. The only real close example to an angry mob example in the show was the episode with Trouble Shoes, and even then, the most extreme it got was posses (or the CMC) going out to apprehend him and bring him to face justice for his supposed crimes ala the Old West.

Yeah, okay, from a dramatic standpoint and the sake of the plot, I guess it kind of Has to occur here, but I’ve always had a difficult time then imagining this as the same species which runs in terror from zebras and bunny stampedes. I dunno...

Perhaps, and this is just a stupid thought here, don't have to follow if you don't want to, perhaps the princesses have allowed this vigilantism to continue because, until now, it hasn't actually done anything other than maybe inconvenience some unicorns, simply for the sake of the public's peace of mind. Now one could argue that, after all that time of finding nothing, these ponies finally had something to validate their hunting, and just became overzealous. It's a flimsy fucking argument, I know.

Well... yeah, the argument is pretty flimsy. Even if that was the Princess’ rationale, it’s still inexcusably reckless on their part. All it takes is for one trigger-happy and paranoid pony to lose their nerve, mistake something for suspicious, and a tragedy is bound to happen like the one which occurred here. If peace of mind was a priority, then surely an increased Royal Guard presence, whose Job is to enforce law and order, would have sufficed? Allowing these vigilante groups to operate only ends up sending the wrong or mixed messages: to the public that the Royal Guard can’t be fully trusted to do their job and about how to feel about changelings, and to other Hives with whom Equestria is trying to maintain peace with.

Really, this was a failing on my part, as I'll explain. The details surrounding the Non-Aggression Pact weren't fleshed out in the newspaper because I both failed to think of how that could be done without the newspapers becoming eight times larger that day, and actually forgot to write the lines between Celestia, Peanut, and Crawli about the details being announced by way of Officials later that day, as well as the lines at the start that a Royal Announcement was to be made (Mayor Mare, for example, would have called a town meeting for Twilight to announce it to Ponyville.)
They weren't incompetent in this case, I mfucking was.

I wasn’t trying to make you feel like you were being incompetent. Yes, I admit, this information you included here would have been very helpful and cleared a lot of things up if it appeared. But you’re a human being and as such, are flawed and are allowed to make errors. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else.

Though, I'd just like to point this out, I don't think the newspaper (which was only mentioned once) that day would have had to be made eight times longer that day. Newspapers are designed to break down key information about events to make them accessible to everyday readers. Heck, this pact most likely has been in the newspapers for weeks now as the big political event of the year, where details and speculation would be in the news daily.

(*Im serious when I said before there seems to be some kind of escalation with these stories to make the ponies come off more heinous. It's the only explanation I can come up with the focus of changeling children repeatedly being made the target in these stories; shock value.)

I loved this story. I don't care what anyone else says. It was well done (and was able to get me up and mentally screaming for those responsible for the murders to be executed). I'm glad to have finally gotten to reading it, and I wish I'd known how good it would be.

May God go with you :ajsmug::yay::rainbowdetermined2::twilightsmile::pinkiesmile::raritystarry:

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Hi Fireheart:

For me, what bugs me the most is the fact the perpetrators mutilated a child. It bugs me to no end, even if it's a story. Talk about giving a child a permanent reminder of how evil & cruel people can become. Hope she can lean to forgive... she will need the aid of good friends to do so.

Little comfort but at least the perpetrators were caught & will be judge & punished, spending a very long time lock in the dungeon to ponder what they did. They better not lament that they are the victims because their lives were ruined, that will indicate they learned nothing & would be dangerous if ever released back into the streets.

Wait... Who injured the filly? Did you forget to put that scene in?

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