• Member Since 31st Aug, 2013
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Mystic Mind

The greatest storyteller of our time, or just another smuck brony on the internet? YOU decide! (Also I do episode analysis sometimes.)


The Crystal Empire was once an open and welcoming place for all ponies to come and go as they please. But from the number of serious threats to the life of Princess Cadence, it has had to expand its defenses, becoming a sprawling urban jungle separated by massive walls.

This fortification could not have come a moment too soon. With the appearance of a strange unicorn, commanding an army of armored ghosts referred to as "Phantom Stallions", it is up to Cadence and Shining Armour to rally the greatest heroes the empire has ever seen to prevent it from falling into the hands of evil.

The Siege of the Crystal Empire has begun.

Chapters (24)
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Comments ( 18 )

The last line of your first paragraph is a little confusing; the first half indicated that it is talking about the things that live outside the crystal empire but then the second half seems to be talking about the monsters that ponies, or a similar race, would find outside of the empire. It's as if the subject changed halfway through.

I think the scene with the troll guards doesn't work very well it shows more humanity than evil races usually display in the way the guards try to turn Moonshadow away then show concern for their shaman. However, then it contradicts this when the shaman shows no concern for the guard's death. I think Moonshadow should have just walked up to the guards who ominously threaten to kill him, he kills them and then converses with the shaman. It's more to the point.

It's a confusing that the shaman first indicates that he knows Moonshadow has peaceful business with him and then inquires why Moonshadow didn't kill him.

I'm sorry to only write about criticisms, I hope you find them somewhat helpful.

the remaining six pulled the crew from the windows of their cab, repeatedly beating them with heavy clubs until they stopped squirming in their arms.
“Unhand those ponies!”

It sounds a little inappropriate for Emerald to say this when the line above give the strong impression that the trolls are beating the ponies to death.

The fight with the trolls feels like it comes to an abrupt end, it causes the main character to seem as if he's not really doing very much. It also tell the reader whats happening instead of showing them.

Emerald's response to Star Dust's death feels more like he's getting annoyed rather than witnessing the life force being sucked out of a pony before his very eyes. Even as a veteran how many times has he seen something like this?

The mysterious whispering allowing itself to be heard by Emerald, but then doesn't seem to be speaking to him directly. Is he just overhearing the commands? Is the voice just musing to itself?

Sorry again to just leave criticisms, again I hope you at least find them helpful.

8203664 Thank you for the feedback! Here are some clarifications I hope you find helpful;

1: I was trying to imply that the trolls *are* monsters, but I think that some small line edits can fix that. I currently have my hands full editing the chapters that haven't been released yet, but I will get back to it.

2: Fair point. I think I was less going for a vibe of civility, and more that the shaman is the intelligent one among his race. I modeled the troll dialogue off the Orcs from Warhammer 40K, and the Dakspear Trolls from WoW. Though a more concise point won't hurt, I concede :).

3: This scene was intended to establish Moonshadow's level of threat. He sees the Trolls as disposable, but the Shaman sees worth in the alliance. Will consider how to adjust some dialogue options to make this clearer :).

4: This little error in dialogue can easily be fixed. I suppose I wanted to keep this initial fight short as it's just a skirmish, with Emerald quickly assessing the situation to command his troops and deal with the situation. Could you elaborate more on how you felt I was telling the audience the outcome instead of showing?

5: The reaction to Star Dust's death was tricky to write, as I wanted Emerald to react with confusion, but also have his attention divided by something else that's important. Everything goes downhill so fast, he can't comprehend what's happening. Not sure how I could change this specifically.

6: Moonshadow was whispering into Emerald's head directly with his magic. It's essentially telepathy.

I appreciate the critique! Cheers for keeping it constructive.

The first part of the chapter seems to have a bit of a problem with pacing, starting with the gates closing and Meteor and Shining talking. However then the Phantom Stallion approaching, then attacking, then Shining charging out to meet them without feeling like any time has really passed. It makes me think that they're having a conversation as the walls are being shot at.

piercing through the open spot under the earth pony's arms...

Ponies don't have arms, I know that's a nitpick. You have them wield items in their hooves a lot like humanoid creatures that might be part of the problem.

blasts that generated such intense heat, it melted the armour off Meteor's back.

The level of heat that would be required to melt armor would cause Meteor to go up like a match

I like that Meteor was trans, it's a hard point to broach subtly, but you worked it into the story without being too direct about it.

You spend a lot of time talking about how dedicated Stellar is to following orders, but we never learn what those orders are. Then, confusingly, you tell us that he's not been order to take command where he did. It's a very distracting contradiction.

You've used the word 'fury' to describe unleashing a barrage of magic in almost every chapter, it's best to avoid colloquialisms in your writing, less they confuse those not familiar with them.

You should probably try to keep the reader's as uninformed as the character about the nature of them enemy, it really breaks suspense when the characters' tactics keep failing, but the reader already knows they are going to fail. if the Reader knows shooting the Phantom Stallions with arrow won't hurt them then they gain nothing when the character are surprised by it.

You probably should have had at least one line describing Seer running out into the battlefield because he seems to end up trapped out of nowhere.

Stellar pulling up such power to save his friend Seer, but that's the first moment you mention they are friends. It would be better if there had been a bit of a build up about how they were friends before that moment so it doesn't feel like it comes out of no where.

With a flick of the skinny unicorn's wrist

Again nitpick, but ponies don't have wrists. I also find it odd that you would describe Moonshadow directing his magic like this and then mention his horn which he could used for his subtle flick

I liked the subtle build up to Moonshadow's reveal and the continued teasing of what exactly it is that he is after.

I have to contest the line about Cadence holding Sombra at bay for only 12 hours, I think most people would agree that she had been doing that for at least a few days.

A fairly decent chapter, Cadence seemed well and in character. I think it could have been longer giving a better sense of what had happened over the five days. Cadence could have also been given a bigger role showing that while Shining Still prefers to be the field commander, Cadence's command is burdened with more than just fighting. This could show that while Shining role has more direct dangers, Cadence's role is far more daunting and draining.

Your description of the empire makes it sound like a single castle in the middle of the tundra, but it's a large city, and it's barrier extends way past the city opening up vast farmlands. While the hospitals would be busy it seems unlikely they would be packed, Ponyville own hospital is decently sized and a city the size of the Crystal Empire would probably have a few. As the empire's shield covers such a large area, the sound of the siege would have to be considerably loud to have such an effect. I see no reason spells designed to nullify a barrier would be loud, why would they be?

Big trans mare

I think Rosebud could be a little more respectful here; Meteor probably doesn't need her nurse constantly reminding ponies she's trans.

With each new world spoken, Stellar's world exploded with light

I think there were at least three different lines like this; you should be careful not to repeat yourself too much. Also, outside of the dialog, I didn't get the strong indication that Cadence was doing anything to wake Stellar up, she just seemed to be casually talking with the others.

You are one of the most capable heroes the Crystal Empire has ever seen

This isn't the place were Cadence should have dropped the H-word, it's a fluffy romantic word that has little place in a conversation between a ruler and one of her soldiers.

I find the whole part where Cadence asks the aged, gravely injured pony to get up and fight for her to be problematic as if her concerns are just pleasantries and she just expects him to fight and die no matter what state he's in. The reason why the heroes of stories like this are usually young adults is that they determined and foolish enough to think that they MUST get up and keep fighting because they are needed, and they can't stand not to act. An elderly character can fit into this role as well, but it is they same idea that they push forward and fight regardless of being told to stay down. Emerald, Stellar and Rosebud are all acting like this, but the effect is somewhat ruined because Cadence asked them to fight on despite their injuries.

Every time the enemy blasted away at the empire's defences, an identical number of hammers would slam on the anvils as a countermeasure.

This is a good f--king line, goddamn!

I think there's a bit of a conflict when Emerald orders Meteor to stand at attention and she refuses. Since Emerald is a main character and I like him, I want to see Meteor respect him, but at the same time, I like Meteor bucking authority.

As a reader it's confusing when T.K.'s name switches to Toon and then back again in the middle of the story.

It's confusing to read that there was a 'Dead' Phantom Stallion armor in the forge with intact gem when destroying the gem is supposed to be how they are neutralized.

Meteor smacked away Cadence's hoof

There's no line saying that Cadence reached for Meteor so this line is very confusing.

The conflict between Cadence and Meteor over Cadence's use of love magic seems completely unneeded. It raises a lot of questions about why Meteor even works for the crown if she has so many problems with Cadence. If she's not willing to fight what does she intend to do when Moonshadow takes over the city?

Why do they need Meteor? They all know that they need to destroy the gem to nullify the Phantom Stallions so there doesn't seem to be any reason for them to work so hard to convince Meteor to join their group.

gates shut behind Stellar, the encouraging cheers of the crowd ceased, replaced with the distant echoes of war

Again this is very confusing how the sounds of battle could be shell shocking the ponies in the castle's hospital when it couldn't be heard by the marching army until it was to the last ring.

Soon the troll forces were overrun, cut down by their blades while the mages shot down any that tried to trick the ponies into thinking they sustained heavier injuries than they had. Less than fifteen minutes after the train had derailed, the troll war band had been slain. With the skirmish over

In response to point 4 above, this line here tells me what happened in the battle, but doesn't show me what happened; it just gives me the facts. This scene should all be written out in detail, so I feel exhausted and satisfied at the end. Show don't tell is a difficult thing to get right, I'm always debating with myself over whether or not something I've written is showing my readers what's happening, or telling my readers what's happening.

To point 5, I just think he should act more horrified.

To point 6, I find that the line reads like he's talking to the armor not Emerald.

I'm glad you found my points helpful, I hope you found the rest likewise helpful.

A solid chapter, descriptions are good and characters feel substantial and believable.

for support instead.

You really should specify here what the unicorns are not doing having been transfer to support roles. It may seem self evident, but the line feels awkward without the explanation.

was through a portal, a combined variant of the typical unicorn teleportation spell

Combined with what, I think you mean combined effort of the unicorns, but the explanation feels incomplete.

Emerald rammed his lance into the throat of a Phantom Stallion

You need to make it clear here that he smashed the gem otherwise the line doesn't make sense.

I present to you these two music videos; these, I think, are perfect for a siege.

100% epic! Glad you were inspired to find something fitting =D.

So far, I see no problems with the opening, so that’s good.

Now this action scene was a little clunky but was still entertaining to read

Glad you enjoyed it! Can you elaborate on how you found it clunky?

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