• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen Yesterday

Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.


Starlight Glimmer never thought much about the map table in Twilight Sparkle's throne room, except to consider taking it apart to learn its secrets. It didn't have much use for her. But all that changes when the table selects her and Twilight Sparkle for a mission in Las Pegasus. Now they're in pursuit of a crazed villain and a magic spell that threatens to undo their entire timeline.

Starlight Glimmer knows a thing or two about timelines. But the dreams she's been having? They're the deepest mystery yet.

Winner of the March Writeoff Competition.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 51 )

Thanks for the new story!

My one issue so far is that the map, so far at least, hasn't sent two different pairs of ponies to the same location, so the fact that it sent Starlight and Twilight to Las Pegasus just doesn't sit right with me.

I'm also glad this doesn't have the romance tag, since that way I can interpret Starlight's want for Twilight's warmth to be for platonic comfort.

Otherwise, this was a pretty interesting first chapter, though I have no idea where it's going to go, which I guess is a good thing.

Wonderful start! I'm secretly hoping for a little GlimGlam/TwiTwi romance, but hey, beggars can't be choosers.

All these carefully laid parallel themes... you've still got it, all right.

I haven't even read it yet but the description... and the cover picture... Starly is best pony/waifu... I will fight anypony who disagrees... or tries to take her away from me!


Every story you release reminds me why you’re my favorite writer on this site, and this is no different. You pack the grandeur of a tale four times longer into a mere 9,000 words. It’s only too bad we don’t see a little of what happens next with Chryssy.

Eagerly awaiting that upcoming epic you mentioned in your recent blog post. I adored Salvation and I have doubt I’ll love the new one, too.


This story is excellent! But honestly, my favorite parts aren't the dramatic twists. It's the little bits of interaction between Starlight and Twilight.

“Mhm.” Twilight took another sip of her cocoa. Her horn glowed briefly, and Starlight felt a warm rush wash across her body.

“Did… you just check if I was a changeling?”

“No.” Twilight set her mug down. “Okay, yes. Can you blame me for being careful, though?”

Yes, yes she could. But Starlight could never say that to Twilight’s face. She wondered if there were some way to get Twilight to scan her again, if only to feel the gentle warmth of her magic.

“Of course not,” Starlight said. “Can never be too safe, right? Ha, ha. So, am I?”

“Are you what?”

“A changeling.”

“Oh!” Twilight blinked. “No, of course not. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a changeling! But I would certainly wonder where the real you went if you were.”

That whole exchange was just glorious. :twilightsmile:

Oh, very nice!

As soon as I understood Starlight was getting hints through her dreams, I assumed Princess Luna was somehow, sneakily, involved. But you were doing something sneakier and more clever by half!

Most excellent fanfic. Favourited!

A deep, multilayered story about morality and mistakes. And nerd horse cuddles. Excellent stuff all around; no wonder this won the Writeoff. Thank you for it.

I love the parallels you drew between Starlight and Chrysalis here, what with them both losing their homes to Twi and company and then trying to get back what they lost through time magic. The twist also shows that Chrysalis can also be redeemed if given enough time.

The dreams also hit a nice balance of giving the reader just enough information to speculate on without giving too much away. My one gripe is that, logically, future!Chrysalis shouldn't know how she defeated Star and Twi because that fight never happened in her timeline.

Winner of the March Writeoff Competition.

And so freakin' well deserved. I would have been livid if this hadn't won. :twilightsmile:

That was an absolutely wonderful story.

Deserved both its gold medal and its overwhelming margin of victory. Great to see it here.

However, I've still got to grump about the title, because in relation to the story, it makes no more sense to me now than it did in the original version. The only time the stars are relevant to the plot is in relation to their relative position; their color is never once mentioned anywhere. Stars-as-symbols are inherently relevant neither to your protagonist nor antagonist. Are you name-dropping a quote I should be recognizing, or something?

Great story all around, nice character work and I liked the twist with the dream. Great job!

Personally, Starlight loved them. Equestria needed more buildings like this.

Why do I suspect she would enjoy Brutalist architecture.

Who drew the cover art? Because I think Starlight Glimmer looks very beautiful in it.


Of the handful of general things I know about stars, one is that their color varies depending on their temperature, which doesn't seem much relevant to the story, and two: that their light takes ages to reach us. It's like looking at a message left behind from something far, far, far, in the future. We don't see the stars as they are, only as they once were. The Chrysalis in Starlight's dream is dead, the way that Starlight is witnessing her message is the same as how we witness stars in the night sky. Broken down further, seeing something only as it once was and not what it could possibly become is the root of Starlight's personal struggle in this story. Focusing on what she was, not imaging what she could become. Hence the import of her final line: "I'd like to be kind." Chrysalis couldn't do this, couldn't imagine herself as changing for the better. That is Starlight's true victory.

I suppose it goes without saying that I loved this?


I did. I paint as well as write.

8090127 Awesome! Do you accept commissions?

The cover art is so beautiful!


It's tough to do more than that with only three days. Such is the WriteOff.

8090461 Which pony comic?

Because if you choose the wrong one.... hoo-boy are you in for a dressing-down in Fiction Writing 101.

Chrysalis was also going to have to use changeling magic... whiiiiich the show has clearly made stand out as RADICALLY different from all other forms of magic since the stone throne blocked everything except changeling magic... implying a totally different form of magical energy. Ya know? Else it would have blocked them too? Kinda makes sense that anything too similar would all be blocked. Even Discord's magic was blocked.

So anyway, point is, if Chrysalis tries to power a pony--magic-based spell that's really complex and dependent on magical structure with her radically different changeling magic without knowing exactly how to modify the spell matrix.... yeah, Twi and Glimmy would just need to sit back and let her blow herself up.


“No friends to save you now, are there?” the queen hissed. She grinned, exposing a forest of wickedly sharp teeth. “I think I will enjoy this.”

Starlight just stared with a nonplussed expression and droned in boredom, "Bug Queen, we literally stood there doing nothing while you ran away right in front of our eyes. Rather slowly at that. Heck, Fluttershy could have caught up to you. Would you like to see how much of a threat you AIN'T right now?"

Chrysalis whimpered, "Uhm... no?"

Starlight smirked, "Here's a little technique I learned from a certain Neighponese cartoon which fits the circumstances... SPIRIT FLYSWATTER!!" SQUISH!!


You go, Kuwabara. :trollestia:

I would try to follow this time line stuff and all the paradoxes it creates... but like DBZ: Abridged Goku, I fear if I do everything will start tasting like copper... from the aneurysm... that's what that meant for those who didn't get it.

See, if a flexible multiverse is a thing, then paradoxes pretty much can't happen, BUT all the possible timelines MUST ALWAYS EXIST, which means Future Chrysalis and her unhappy timeline (was it really that bad? We don't really get a sense of why she suddenly cares about love when she was such a beeyatch her entire life) will still be there. If the multiverse ISN'T flexible, then paradoxes WILL happen, which means this story pretty much broke the universe and these things are gonna show up and eat everything.


Time travel is very hard to write, because it's so easy to mess up and make irrational and contradictory. I've found the better time travel stories try to avoid focusing on the why and centering the plot on the time travel itself, and rather use it as only a vehicle for the true plot. "The Time Machine" was the earliest and best example.

8090499 The prize is... a bottle of Koolaid.

Go ahead, take a sip. It's tropical punch! :pinkiecrazy:

Another really solid read from you, CiG. Only criticism I can think of is that the ending is a bit abrupt for my tastes.

Very curious to see what this big epic you're working on is all about. Godspeed.


This was brilliant. I loved it. Though to be honest I would have liked to see what would happen if she was victorious or how the world is empty. Or even how Chrysalis goes from now on.

Damn, CiG, back in full form. That's a good sign for that new adventure you're cooking up.

To me, it feels like the sort of story that could probably benefit from some more meat, but even as is the impact is very strong. It's always nice when altered timeline stories work without any crazy contradictions.

My question to you: what's the title meant to mean?

Sometimes all we have to do is find the right pony and talk to them. Other times we end up finding some ancient eldritch horror and have to fight it for the fate of the world. You’d think the map would have some way of telling the difference when it sends us to places.

"Frick, it's a terror mission! And we're not ready for chryssalids Chrysalis, yet!"

And this... this is why Cold in Gardez is one of the best... if not the best writer in MLP... that maintenance of suspense that mystery, all wrapped up in an ending that makes sense as it's being constantly hinted throughout. God that was a good read.


Very interesting fic. Nice twist with the magic as well.

She powerful but not skilled.

Typo here.

That was a neat story. Lots of subtle characterization and bits of world building, plus a nice twist. I dig it.
Goddammit, you're even more talented than I thought you were.

Reread this this evening. Still love it. :twilightsmile:

Who made the cover art?

This was a very tightly crafted, well-executed story. I love it.

Other then a slight continuity goof with the Map, that when summoned the ponies flank glows and vibrates first to alert them they have a mission, not just wait till they find out their marks are over the table. This was perfect. I figured the moment time travel was mentioned that the dreams were part of it, but I at first though it was just Starlight being sensitive to Temporal shenanigans and so getting a kind of, feedback or glimpses of the future in her dreams, the real reveal was AMAZING! Just, damn.

This built up the tensions and surprise just great, liked the little touches of Starlight’s crush that never really turned into a romance or Twi feeling that way, just a thing. All of it was well handled... okay was also odd how much the story focused on how that Gravity thing was great for unicorns, but not EP’s or pegasi. For one, it would screw up pegasi really bad.. hell a version of the spell is how Dresden took down a demon possessed RD. Also, that saying it’s only good for unicorns, kind of brings up the whole “But Twilight is all three now” so if it’s not good for EP’s, then she should have the strength to resist it. Just odd to add the specificity to it.

But, damn a short, direct, but so well paced little story. Just amazing.

8090535, w

hich means Future Chrysalis and her unhappy timeline (was it really that bad? We don't really get a sense of why she suddenly cares about love when she was such a beeyatch her entire life)

I’m seeing it as one of the worlds Enigma!Twilight (the one from iisaw’s Alicorn Mysterious series) went to in her multiverse hopping road trip where the ‘lings won. And in every case of that she saw..... they were all dead. The Lings became locus, just swarming, spreading consuming all love all life, tilll finally they had hunted all the other races to extinction, and then all slowly starved to death.

Cold in Gardez, I would believe me if you told me you're a famous author. Absolutely incredible. I love every one of the stories you make, but this is one of the best. Awesome job. :twilightsmile:

Excellent story. I've intended to read this and somehow had it tucked away on the shelf until tonight...

This was an excellent piece. I especially loved Starlight's characterization, as well the wide variety in the descriptions of her thoughts and emotions.

And you do both spectacularly!

Interesting story, I guess....


Cyan serenity.

Simply everlasting. :pinkiesmile:

Haven't read this yet, but seconded on the platonic thing.

??? Feels like I read this before for some reason.

I am proud that I had the honor to translate your stories. You know, they are loved in Russia. And, we trust, what we'll translate "Salvation" in this year :rainbowdetermined2:

Я думал сперва, что просто по своему обыкносению напишу: "Вижу Психованную Лошадь(Starlight Glimmer) - ставлю дизлайк не читая".
Но тут вижу присутствие ещё одного персонажа - Кризалис и понимаю, что рассказ, скорее всего, имеет отношение к финалу шестого сезона.

Ну и тогда, в данном случае ставлю каверзный вопрос. А почему в финале 6 сезона, который был сделан исключительно под Психованную Лошадь(Starlight Glimmer), её словно нет.

И чего уж там говорить про это бессмысленное похищение принцесс и М6.
Как мы помним в противостоянии с Кризалис Принцессы не проявили никаких особых возможностей к сопротивлению, а М6 она легко взяла в плен. И зачем они ей нужны и что ей это даст, кроме того, что качество управления в Эквестрии снизится, пони будут более несчастны, а значит рухнет вся кормовая база чейнджленгов.
И понятно, что вся эта глупость была написана только для того, чтобы повысить значимость Психованной Лошади(Starlight Glimmer).
Известный ломовой приём из любого фанфика. Не можешь придумать своего интересного персонажа - погрузи в навоз чужих персонажей(а в данном эпизоде это сделано практически напрямую).
Ну ладно. Психованная Лошадь(Starlight Glimmer) должна всех спасти, поэтому сочинили дурацкий сюжет, принцесс и М6 утопили в навозе. Психованная Лошадь(Starlight Glimmer), давай покажи себя.

Ну и где же эта самая Психованная Лошадь(Starlight Glimmer), которая всех спасает?
Трикси - вроде бы присутствует, Дискорд вроде бы присутствует. Даже присутствие Торакса помню.
И у всех, вроде как есть своя роль.
А в чём роль Психованной Лошади(Starlight Glimmer)? Ну вот где она и что она сделала?
Поприсутствовала за компанию?
Кирпичом по трону постучала?
Речь чейнджлингам зачитала?
"Я была злодейкой но поняла свои ошибки и вы тоже можете".
Но разве чейнджленги злодеи?
Разве биологическая потребность какого то вида это злодейство?
То есть, по сути, то, что она сказала это самый настоящий расизм.
Что там ещё? Позвать Кризалис на путь дружбы и получить под зад коленом?
Ну вот в чём её роль? С тем же успехом на её месте может быть любая фоновая пони.
Ту же Дерпи бы взяли. Было бы куда интереснее.

Я не знаю, что тут в рассказе содержится и мне всё равно, что там содержится.
Психованная Лошадь(Starlight Glimmer) абсолютно чуждый и ненужный сериалу МЛП субъект.
Этот субъект способен испортить всё и даже эпизод, который вроде бы должен его возвысить в глазах зрителя, а на деле субъект остаётся там же где и был, а остальных просто топят в отхожем месте.

Так что - дизлайк вам автор.

Good story. Cohesive and well resolved. I'm jealous.

I love Starlight as a character. There's an edginess to her Twilight could never be allowed. And good use of Chrysalis. In some ways she's Starlight's antithesis. Makes a good Main Event match.

I'll have to study this story and figure out how you made it work. You not only started with a good idea, you realized it. This would be a good subject for a class in creative writing.

Hey, reading this after Equestria Daily showcased it, so I'm not aware if there are other stories set before or after this.

This story has some interesting ideas, but they aren't explored well enough in the allotted space. The entire reveal that Chrysalis was sending information to Starlight in her dreams especially needed to be expanded, instead of being left as ending exposition. The setting of Las Pegasus was also underutilized. This was before it appeared in the show, of course, but the only notable locations are a desert and a library! Starlight's seeming attraction to Twilight was also oddly unexplored.

That said, you did a great job describing the action and Starlight's view of things, and like I said, you had interesting ideas. Overall, good story.

... You didn't need to specify that Starlight needed to empty her bladder when going to the bathroom, though. It's kind of implied, haha.

she could see Twilight in her mind, wing’s flared, horn pointed forward like a spear.

eating away the distance between them in an instance


Twilight’s eyes filled with a brilliant light, and her wings wings extended out to brush the shelves on either side.

You know, my first thought when compression was mentioned was that Starlight was going to thicken the air around herself until she was buoyant in it.

Very engaging. Nice build up of tension.

Хейтер, который даже не прочитав историю ставит дизлайк. Позор!

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