• Published 24th Sep 2017
  • 1,515 Views, 80 Comments

To Bring Light to Eternal Darkness - scifipony



In the days before Equestria was even a dream, when mares are second-class citizens, a pony with a solar cutie mark tries to help her brother become a mage. She doesn't realize that she and the sun have an appointment with destiny. (EqD Story Post)

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Beginnings (Epilogue)

I'll spare you the good-byes, the kumbayas of what looked to be half of the townsfolk—mares and stallions—and the signing of the scroll with my deal with the Collegiate, my codicil included. (I'd never held a real quill before or written anything other than to cross-out stuff with charcoal. A black ink blot now stained my flank, and I'll say nothing more on that subject!)

I also explained the proper way to address and interact with an unmarried High Desert mare. I desperately wanted them to know what they could expect me to do, like always wearing decorous clothing and associating only with stallions with my brother. I was unmarried—and not interested in changing that—and ponies would need to keep their innuendos or offers to themselves. I'd study. I'd raise the sun and moon, of course. I also gave a list of what I must refuse, simplified when Summer Daze would escort me, extensive when not. I gave the example of the pink unicorn dressed only in her cutie mark I first met in Heartstrings valley, and the gifts I got from Flare which Umbra subsequently broke (or maybe I did), and how nervous those situations made me. I acceded that I might feel freer in the presence of a trusted mare, were I to find any outside the High Desert that might earn my trust.

During the two a'days it took me to sleep, eat, and recover enough to travel, we’d come to believe we'd cowed the propolis into submission.

The mages provisioned their caravan of finely made blue wagons; a'dawn of the third day, we rolled along the downhill toward Five Waterfalls Township to pick up Smart Cookie, the earth pony potions practitioner I'd seen tested. In light of the Collegiate’s need that I have contact with the tribe, and that I'd now filled the position of spheres-spinner, the Collegiate had decided he was now an also must-have student.

The moon rested impatiently on the horizon in a dark sky full of twinkling stars. The trees downhill from the Council Paddock were faintly-conical silhouettes that rustled in a cold breeze blowing at our backs. I wore my mares-cloak cinched to my neck. I was as likely to wear another of the Collegiate's robes as I was to ever run the organization.

I sensed a flicker. It was as if something had crossed the face of the moon. I looked, but I didn't see anything, especially after my eyes had adjusted to the sudden brightness of looking at the moon.

Buster hadn't missed it either. "Keep moving," he warned. His horn lit red as he prepared whatever battle magic he thought appropriate.

I found myself encircled by the mages, though being taller than them all, what good did that do? The wagons drifted to the rear, their springs squeaking as we increased speed.

Summer Daze was puffing to keep up. He nevertheless said, "You need to learn Teleport."

"You have way too much confidence in me."

His brown eyes gleamed in the moonlight as he gave me a look of incomprehension. "You taught me what I needed to learn it." A statement. Cause and effect. No excuses for me.

He had much to learn, as did we both.

Buster wormed through the crowd to my other side. He said, "The pegasi have been known to use nets. Be ready to dive under a wagon or dodge."

I nodded.

While the big yellow-eyed desert owls I'd seen mousing around town were notoriously silent, one could hear a tawny eagle flapping its wings. Something as heavy as a pegasus, or shaped as un-aerodynamically, could not be silent—though with the masking sound of the whistle of the wind, this one came close to being owl-silent. A dark low-flying shadow banked out of a wadi beside the road with a whoosh of a power-stroke. The pony streaked overhead in an instant, then shot upward on the other side of the road until his momentum ran out. I gasped at the suddenness of it. He studied us as we continued rolling, flapping his fabulous wings, pinions spread, once, twice, thrice, then dove toward the trees. I saw the barest dulled gleam off a helmet and got the impression of a crest.

Our pace increased and I had to watch my step on the rutted road.

Buster said, "We're being followed."

A glance showed me a herd barreling downhill toward us. They galloped, their hooves like the thunder of an onrushing storm. Intuition told me to look forward and I stretched my neck as I strove to see into the night shadows downhill.

I caught the small purple battle mage glancing at me. "Yes," he said. It sounded like a complement. "The pegasi will cut us off where those behind us will catch up."

Implied: We would still be in the High Desert not greater Unicornia. "Then we should stop."

"Agreed. Everypony! Stop and circle the wagons around Celestia. Summer Daze, Rolling Rock, prepare to protect against thrown spells."

As they treated me as the most precious of treasures while surrounding me, my throat closed up and I blinked away tears. My heart also raced at the threat of the oncoming herd—and a weird realization I could feel forming in my mind that conflicted with what I had always thought it meant to be a mare...

The pegasi figured out quickly what we'd done. A squad of six overshot us headed up the road with little more than a spooky hiss in the air. Five banked in a circle and landed ten pony-lengths downhill. Their leader remained airborne, his charcoal-dusted armor clanking occasionally as he flapped lazily, awaiting the contingent of unicorns, including one carriage.

Buster shouted, "What is the meaning of this, Stormrunner Hurricane?"

I caught a sudden scent of lavender in the air. I liked lavender.

The pegasus looked, then squinted. His hooves clattered when he landed pony-lengths from us, positioned so he could look between the blue wagons, chuckling. "My precious pinions! If it isn't Archmage Buster, the former defense-against-magic instructor at Platinum Academy. What trouble have you gotten yourself into now?"

My mouth dropped so hard it almost unhinged. The pegasus was a mare with an incredibly sweet voice—and it dripped with sarcasm.

Buster pointed uphill with a hoof. "I could ask Platinum's former ballistics trainer the same thing, sergeant."

She flared her wings. "Doing the honorable thing when an ally that values the pegasus tribe asks for assistance."

"Honorable? That again?" I could see he fought not to roll his eyes.

"You got that right, Buster," she said with a snap of her tail. "Honor applies to all sorts of relationships, and not just military!" Her nose wrinkled with anger that approached a sneer.

"I love you, too, Hurricane, but about the on-rushing stampede—?"

These two had a history beyond both teaching school.

"That's Lieutenant Hurricane to you, Buster." She tapped a medallion set in her breastplate with a vertical bar of brass or gold. "I graduated the academy and earned my Pegasus Air Brigade commission."

Buster smiled hearing her news... briefly. "Congratulations. And, uh, let's try to talk it through this time. But, um—stampede?"

She huffed. Considering how long it took for her to look uphill and say, "oh," I figured she'd huffed about talking it through. "Them? It's a police matter. Something to do with a kidnapping." She squinted at me. In the moonshine, I wasn't sure if her fur was light blue or gray, but her eyes were amber like Da's. Frazzled particolor hair stuck out of her helmet as a crest. She lifted a verdigrised-bronze horseshoe toward me. "From the description, her."

"Me?" I snorted. "Really!? Stormrunner Hurricane, listen carefully. The propoli charged me with crimes of which I am innocent, and when I refused to marry my accuser they convicted me. When I declared my innocence such that I could not be made a slave, they—"

I couldn't finish because the "stampede" arrived thunderously, drowning out my words, especially with the shout of the chief propoli as the wheels of his carriage scraped against the rock road.

"Don't listen to her lies!"

Lieutenant Hurricane fluttered aside to avoid pebbles kicked into the air, glaring at the unicorns. When two unicorns lofted stones in blue and amber magic respectively, she jumped into the air.

I noticed his black leonine mane before I recognized Umbra exiting the carriage. It wasn't him picking up stones; that aura would have been crimson. It didn't matter anyway: Summer Daze flicked his hooves and the implied upward vector in the two levitation spells reversed. The stones fell.

Bang! Thump!

A pair of stallions began hopping up and down yowling in pain, a white unicorn constable with the black band wrapped around his head and a red roan who looked like a roustabout The constable held his leg against his chest.

The ponies around me shifted. The delegation from town jerked closer together and somepony put up a glowing blue shield spell. Umbra jumped aside so he stood like a gray shadow to their left in the brush beside the road, glaring balefully at my brother.

"We don't hurt ponies," I whispered to Summer in the ensuing silence.

He replied, "Nopony threatens my sister."

"Wait for your cue."

"I can do that."

From above, Hurricane shouted, "Everypony! Stand down. Now!"

The five other pegasi had joined her, casually flapping above both groups. They wore lighter non-metallic armor—tight loops of something woven like wicker—but all carried a sheath of javelins, each with one at the ready. Without magic, don't ask me how that worked but—with Hurricane having been a ballistics teacher and the pointy evidence right before my eyes—I knew it did.

A third pony rose shakily in the carriage. The elder stallion had a deep yellow horn, eyes, and fur, and a blond mane. His face was practically white, but that testified to his age. I could see his brass lantern cutie mark as he swished his tail angrily and declared, "That mare is the property of the High Desert! I want her returned now!"

"I am nopony's property!" I shouted, my face heating up. I stepped forward but Buster and Star stepped in front of me and I butted into their warm bodies.

"Impropriety!" Umbra shouted back.

"You should talk! Inventing charges so you could force me to marry you or so you could buy me as a slave when you falsely convicted me—!"

"Whoa there, young mare!" cried Hurricane.

"And who threw the stones at me, Umbra?"

Hurricane said, "Whoa, whoa! Let's be civil—"

Umbra said quietly. "The charges were real."

"As was you seeing me raise the sun the first time and scheming to force me to marry you so you could control the one pony who ruled the crystal spheres?"

"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Raising the sun?" The pegasus hovered a pony-length above me so I could hear the sound of the air in her feathers. There was awe in her voice, and she did smell of lavender. "Did you say that you— By yourself?"

Golden Lantern cleared his phlegmy throat and said, "There is no conviction."

"Liar!"

The pegasus turned and yelled, "Some ponies are having trouble speaking the truth. Now, everypony, shut it!"

Golden Lantern returned, "You, mare, are under my authority and you will arrest—"

A javelin thwacked deeply into the road (and remember it was rocky), vibrating in front of the town elder's carriage. I'd barely caught the slight movement of the lieutenant's nose and a flick of a hoof to point.

It became silent enough to hear the wind rustling the brush and a lone cricket chirping.

"No pony dishonors the Pegasus Air Brigade. We are High Desert's ally, not—" she spat on the ground "—mercenaries to be ordered around. Who was kidnapped?"

"Nopony," I said over Umbra saying, "She was."

I don't think I'd ever heard as weighty a sigh as Hurricane emitted. With three subordinates covering her, she descended beside me, gesturing the Collegiate ponies away with her wings to make room to land, and motioned that a wagon be pulled out of the way. When Summer Daze refused to budge, she asked, "Obviously your brother?"

"My twin brother."

"A proper High Desert escort as I understand the concept. Have you been kidnapped? Really. I can handle my ex—he's a push-over—and get you away without a scratch."

Close up, I could see her crested mane was red, green, and blue. Her lavender perfume was strong, but her eyes were hard.

Summer Daze and I said "Nope," in unison.

She blinked and huffed. Her nose ticked and her nostrils flared.

She fluttered over to Umbra. "You manufactured to force her to marry you?"

"Whose ally are you?"

Tiredly. "Just answer the ques—"

"You lack all propriety!"

Golden Lantern said, "I commuted her sentence."

"All righty, thanks for the clarification." When the elder didn't continue, she made a circular motion with her hoof. "But? Kidnapped?"

Umbra spoke over the chief propoli and the town elder, saying, "She's still forfeited her freedom. She can make no commitments nor bind any contract. She belongs with the High Desert ponies. The Collegiate stole her from us."

I narrowed my eyes and said, "You mean from you."

Umbra said, "I am but a servant of the town and the High Desert." His magenta eyes seemed to glow in the darkness as he focused on me. "You belong to us."

Hurricane trotted up to the white-faced palomino chief propoli, still inside the carriage, waving away the surrounding unicorns. Like flies, they scattered. When she addressed him, he froze. "Have you investigated—" She pointed at me.

I opened my mouth when the realization I'd felt forming earlier finally set in. I could raise the sun. I was more than a mere mare. Or any mare. More than just any pony. In the High Desert. In all of Unicornia... Just existing, I had power.

I truly was no longer Sunny Daze.

"Celestia," I said.

"Have you investigated Lady Celestia's allegations?"

The chief propoli began sputtering. Perhaps mares scared him.

Umbra said, "That would be preposterous and would lack even a veneer of propriety."

"No, then. Not kidnapped." Hurricane fluttered back to me. "So, I'm thinking I'm going to send you on your way, but, you see, I have a problem also."

The blue-gray mare was average size for a mare. I met her gaze looking down at her. "And that would be?"

"You do know that the Collegiate is Queen Platinum's tool?"

"I refused to join the Collegiate."

That earned me a grin. "You get points for that. But, you know, there is a reason that the High Desert and most of the pegasus tribe won't work with the Queen except when they have no choice but to protect Unicornia, right? An earth pony province is in open rebellion as we speak and breathe. You go with the Collegiate, you leave the High Desert."

"This is a choice? I go home and I am a slave for the rest of my life."

Hurricane looked at the other delegation. Nopony spoke up. She looked back, her eyes locked on me. "It is a better choice than many ponies have been forced to make. There are degrees of freedom."

Freedom? Degrees? Perhaps freedom could also be made. "I can raise the sun. Nopony can do that."

She blinked. She blinked again, but didn't look away. "Queen Platinum better beware. But never forget, she has a thing for chains. Gold or cold iron, they're equally unpleasant."

Remembering the propoli's cell, the hobbles, and the chain, I shuddered. The Collegiate had spoken about "promising new members" not surviving the queen's scrutiny.

But—but I had melted away the propoli's chains.

I shook my head.

Golden Lantern spoke up, his tone derisive, "What would your father think?"

His non sequitur wasn't one. It was a threat, and suddenly I found myself sweating. It hadn't occurred to me they'd do something to Da when we had left him happily waving, content with a generous stipend from the Collegiate. But then, it hadn't occurred to me that a duly appointed supposedly honorable propoli would make it look like I had committed a crime in order to force me to marry him, or turn it into a capital offense to make me into his a slave, either.

I whispered, "He has my father."

Stormrunner Hurricane narrowed her eyes. She fluttered over to Umbra, who stepped further into the brush, causing sticks to crackle. "What do you think? Is the town elder threatening this not-kidnapped mare who happens to be able to raise the sun?" She raised her wings and looked enormous. She swished her tail in annoyance.

He gulped.

Nopony said anything.

"Gray stallion. What's your name?"

"Sol Umbra." He gulped again.

"Propoli Sol Umbra, so, you are the protégé of those old codgers, aren't you?"

A few townsponies gasped at her targeted rudeness, but Umbra gave his typical confident smile and a curt nod. He wanted to be town elder one day, but chief propoli was his obvious stepping stone.

"Good." The pegasus put out a wing that archly pushed up his propoli robe and touched his flank.

The unexpected gesture spooked Umbra forward onto the road, clattering toward us. I almost laughed, but then I realized she ushered him toward us, herding him with her wings.

Lieutenant Hurricane looked at the High Desert delegation and said, "Well, since you have acted dishonorably and lied to trick the Pegasus Air Brigade into your scheme, I am forced to balance all the powers at play here."

"You will do no such thing!" yelled Golden Lantern, rearing and putting his hooves over the side of the carriage. He left out the epithet mare but I could see it vibrating on his wrinkled lips. The horns of the unicorns surrounding him lit, but before anypony could complete a spell, javelins bloomed amongst the party. Two of the ten stallions spooked and ran away uphill. Jumping aside, another fell over and others scrambled into the brush, one tumbling into the wadi with a crash.

Hurricane said, "Dishonorable. Nor properly drilled. Don't escalate. Buster trained me well and I've exceeded my teacher. You didn't even wait for my proposal!"

"What proposal, mare?" This time the town elder sneered.

I felt cold. It sunk in: It wasn't the townsfolk who had made it unbearable to be a High Desert mare. It was these ponies who didn't see the value in traditions and used their positions of trust to foist their selfish plans on everypony in the name of propriety or societal harmony, even if it warped right into wrong. Golden Lantern, our protector? The audacity—no the impropriety of it, of all those trusted ponies using us—left me nauseated.

"Glad you asked, sir. The pegasus tribe has a stake in our lovely tyrant queen not gaining control over this fair innocent maiden. Lady Celestia has a stake in seeing that nopony hurts her father. You want to ensure propriety." She said that with deep sarcasm. "That said, I shall accompany the Collegiate and escort Propoli Sol Umbra along with Lady Celestia, ensuring no harm befalls her or him."

"You don't have the authority, Lieutenant Stormrunner Hurricane."

"Elder Golden Lantern, in that you are correct. But circumstances and my training dictate that I make this decision. I will send back a corporal to PAB Command Aloft for instructions and a request for proper replacement."

"We shall protest!"

"You do that."

She looked at the Collegiate. "I will broker the situation so all our interests are preserved. Do you have a problem with this?"

I hadn't missed that Buster had been giving his leader a whispered running commentary. Rolling Rock nodded and said, "It works for me."

I looked at Sol Umbra who smiled with his gleaming teeth showing such that it made them look lion-sharp.

I said, "Sure." This was a contract, so I added stoutly, "Yes, Lieutenant Hurricane. Seems equitable to me, if they don't harm or imprison my father or harass him in any way."

Golden Lantern asked, "Do I have a choice?"

Hurricane gestured. A javelin dropped toward her. With a upward bounce and curved swipe of her wing and a two-step, the weapon rolled, flipped, and clicked into place on her armor. She turned and jabbed Umber lightly. He whinnied and jammed himself close beside me. My hide ticked under my mares-cloak as if he had really touched my flesh. I felt the shocking warmth of his body and this time smelled curry on his breath.

The Lieutenant grinned. "A willful exchange of hostages is a time-honored tradition started by the Queens Platinum. No, your statement of blackmail leaves me no choice. No harm shall come to Lady Celestia's father—"

"Snow Frost."

"—Snow Frost as she stated. And I will protect your interests and those of my tribe. Do we understand each other?"

Golden Lantern took a deep breath. "Yes."

"Good. Make no mistakes and do not act dishonorably. Corporal Flint, you know what I need."

I said, "We're going to Five Waterfalls Township first."

"Thank you, Lady Celestia. Corporal, give the captain a full report."

"Yessir!" With a salute he shot into the sky.

"Buster, I think we should continue into Unicornia."

In moments, the wagons surged forward, springs squeaking and wood creaking, accompanied by the clatter of over a dozen sets of hooves. The remaining pegasi escorted us from above.

The lieutenant pricked Sol Umbra again when he hesitated, and hissed, "Watch yourself." He jumped ahead.

I turned to Stormrunner Hurricane and bowed my head. "I like the way you think." She was the first somepony I wanted to be like.

Honor. Protecting ponies. Protecting me. For a few moments I humored myself and imagined myself... not a queen and all the baggage that title conveyed—no, a princess... with my own royal guard. For a moment. I smiled. For a moment. I'd be delusional to think that would ever come to pass.

A'evening, after I'd raised the sun in Five Waterfalls Township, I realized something profound. I had found the first mare not of High Desert descent I could trust. That, beyond Umbra glaring at me when nopony was looking and my worries about Da, made me hopeful for the future. It would certainly be sunny.

- END -

Author's Note:

That’s a wrap. I hope you enjoyed it. Time to up vote and to leave comments! Please follow me for news of sequels and other stories. Below is some inside baseball about this story, which will become a blog post, soon.


Secret Sauce and the Zen of Novel Writing

I wrote To Bring Light to Eternal Darkness as part of a cycle of stories.  It is linked to Celestia and the Battle for Sunset by Celestia's recollections of her childhood, which was in part the inspiration for this novella.

By now you have figured out that this is a first story in the retelling of the events leading up to Hearth's Warming Eve.  Stormrunner Hurricane and Smart Cookie have entered the stage.  Mentioned were the Queens Platinum, the current Queen Platinum and her mother the dowager queen—also named Queen Platinum.  Easy guess what the queen's daughter will be named and what her title is.

I threw in some heavy-handed foreshadowing that there is another pony, a "she", who strongly influences the moon.  She even resents the sun, for whatever looney reason.  It is a direction for the series, anyway.

I have been asked my plans for a sequel.  I am certainly incentivized by the fact that any sequel I publish automatically qualifies for Equestria Daily's Story Updates posts.  And I like the characters.  Very much so.  And my dear readers who have encouraged me—I like them, too.

That brings me to the title of this little essay.  Specifically, the "secret sauce' part.

This novella had secret sauce.

I decided to revisit the theme of my first published novel: a woman's role in traditional society and the barriers that poses for her as an individual.

Don't get the basics wrong, here.  Modern American society qualifies as a traditional society.  Ask any woman who is trying to succeed at any non-traditional role.  You'll get an earful that has become wholly and undeservingly cliché, heartbreaking volumes of which I won't repeat here because you've heard it.  And I doubt you'd not have heard it because you're a fan of MLP FiM, a show that is both wonderfully subversive and ultra-feminist at the same time.

I'm a feminist writer first and an SF writer second.  Read my other stories; their subversiveness should be apparent now that you've read this one.  My first novel was characterized as Yentl in the future.  (Yentl was a current movie at the time of its publication.)  I wrote To Bring Light to Eternal Darkness when I decided I wanted to replicate the outrage of the downtrodden woman in that first novel, and the bittersweet triumph she earned for herself in the end against all odds.

And it was a #metoo moment, too.  Note that I wrote all of To Bring Light to Eternal Darkness prior to the inception of that hashtag.

So... that's the secret sauce.  It's both dark and savory.

Kim Stanley Robinson once lectured me and a cohort of the Clarion Workshop that you had to have a message when you sat down to write.  If you know what you want to communicate to your audience, it is hard to get lost writing a story.  Before I start a story, I like to have a reasonable grasp of the main character(s) of the story, a planned end to the story, and the story's message.  I had that and more in this one.

It is no mistake that a mares-cloak resembles a certain garment in the real world.  I wanted to tell the story of a teen who could have been happy growing up into a traditional role—but for circumstances—and was subsequently oppressed by those who would unethically manipulate and warp tradition for the reasons of getting and keeping power.  Sunny Daze was and is a High Desert mare and proud of her heritage and culture.  How living amongst foreigners, and the tastes of power she's gotten, will warp her view is fodder for future stories.

For insight into the backstory, understand that the High Desert is where Saddle Arabia (cough, Saudi Arabia, cough-cough) is today.  I had originally named the High Desert The Hijazz, an MLP transmogrification of The Hejaz, but decided that was too heavy-handed and could obscure my attempt to characterize Sunny Daze's culture as good for those who conformed or didn't step on the toes of those in power.  Such things are true of all societies.

Think about that for a moment.

As for a sequel, well... that's not so cut and dry.  I am searching for the secret sauce for that one.  I have the characters: a certain talented filly foal with lunatic tendencies, Celestia and Sol Umbra forced to act for each other's benefit to survive the scrutiny of a tyrant queen, and Stormrunner Hurricane trying to herd cats while balancing the needs of her tribe against the requirements of her honor.

That's the putative story.  The message, though?

Yeah.  About that...

If you have not followed me on FimFiction, I suggest you click the Follow button now so you will know when the sequel shows up.  While you are at it, please add an upvote if you think the story deserves it. (I really think it does, but I’m biased.)

In the meantime, may I suggest reading Celestia and the Battle for Sunset?  Celestia's backstory in that one inspired this one, and, like bookends on a shelf, it could be considered the last extant story in this cycle of stories.

If you want something edgy, something about a mare in a tough situation just trying to get along while finding herself stuck in events she'd surely want to avoid, read The Enforcer and Her Blackmailers.  I'm re-reading it now and am surprised at its power.

Please leave comments, especially if you want a sequel.  

Comments ( 14 )

Nicely done could wish Umbra had gotten more of his just deserts but not badly done

Cool story. See you in the sequel.

Well, it still feels like it just started, but, eh, I'll bite.

I really suggest adding more character tags though, the story feels misleading without them, as well as updating the description to match the current status.

Hurricane is pretty clever, and I'm amused that Buster happens to be her ex.

Really looking forward to that sequel.

Jeez this is a brutally religious story. That whole setting is a real shitshow as well. It swings between early classical era and late Victorian era.

8670683
Is that so? I would be interested in learning what specifically in the story made you come to your “brutal” conclusion. Feel free to PM me. Please do me the favor of giving me the chapter name and quote some text. If I slipped up, I want to know so I do better next time. I try not to comment upon the content of my stories, leaving it to the readers to glean or not glean my message, however I must reply to your comment because I fear it will mislead perspective readers.

I wrote no explicit or implicit religiosity into the story,, nor any indictment of religion. The milieu does have parallels in our world, as is discussed in the Author’s Note at the end of the story. This story is about the abuse of power that is relevant to our world as it is to Sunny Daze. The protagonist would be perfectly happy living in her traditional society—despite the limits that our evident to our modern perspective or to what we see in MLP—were her antagonists willing to leave her alone.

8786960
This could well be true! :pinkiegasp: Fiction writing 101 demands you give all your characters names that start with a different letter. Did I do this? No. Of course not. I liked the Sunny/Summer “daze”–”days” homonym too much, or their mother did. :scootangel: So... If you could point any transpositions out, I guarantee you I’d be very thankful. I’d even award you a virtual gold star. PM me if you want.

8788813
Spotted three errors in chapter 6

Sunny Daze asked, "Are you all right?"

Summer

Sunny Daze blinked a few times, thinking it through.

Summer

Had Sunny Daze not asked?

Summer

And this in chapter 5

But Summer Daze, life rarely gives us want we want.

Sunny

There might have been others, but probably only in the earlier chapters. I don't recall seeing any of this error after chapter 6.

8794951
:eeyup: Eeyup. All fixed. Thanks. :twilightblush: Feel free to PM if you spot others, or if you'd like to be a pre-reader.

This was exquisite. Thank you for pointing me to it. I'll be sure to take a look at the other entries in this timeline.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

9724017
...I forgot it was a show. o.O I need to watch that sometime.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Ugh, yes, this was so great. If you're building to something, that definitely undercuts the "parade of canon characters" effect of Smart Cookie and Hurricane showing up together in one chapter.

It is no mistake that a mares-cloak resembles a certain garment in the real world. I wanted to tell the story of a teen who could have been happy growing up into a traditional role—but for circumstances—and was subsequently oppressed by those who would unethically manipulate and warp tradition for the reasons of getting and keeping power.

Hah! Yes, I had been contemplating this very thing while listening to the final chapter. It never occurred to me that being set in a desert might in fact suggest a real-world geographic and cultural parallel beyond the obvious symbolism. XD

9732557
The goal of most writers is promulgating their philosophy. Communication. Subtlety and entertainment are a hard balance. I glad it worked.

I've the pivotal chapter of the sequel completed and I'm debating adding it to this novella or just publishing it as a standalone story. Those "parade of characters" show up, disastrously, of course. With the addition of one additional mare that explains Sunny's problems. Your comments have left me thinking hard that maybe I should write the full sequel. Being on-message is the hard part. Discussing the oppression of women and exploitation of the weak are what I'm trying for. I'll have to see if I can make it gel. An ending is eluding me, sadly.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

9732679
It's not just being on-message, but also not trying to hammer it in. You did a really good job with this piece in letting the story speak for itself. I trust you to do it again, but that's doubtless pressure. :B

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