• Member Since 13th Dec, 2011
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago

Raugos


T

After decades of war, the Crystal Empire is finally on the verge of defeat.

On the eve before marching upon King Sombra’s last stronghold, a lone night ranger stumbles upon a strange unicorn, a mare who claims to be the cause of all their pain and suffering.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 55 )

Not bad at all! :pinkiehappy:

“You trying to tell me that you and the Elements are more important than the rest of us combined?”

Well, butterfly effect and all that... Yeah. Yeah, they are.

Hemlock is amazing and I request more stories about her.

8523834 That can't be an easy pill for anyone to swallow, though. Even for a soldier.

8523836 She's only three days old and I'm already getting attached, too. It's just a one-shot AU, though... I'm not sure how much mileage I can get out of anything that can include her. :raritydespair:

8523866
I mean, if you can't think of anything, that's fine too. As long as That Changeling's a Bad OC! continues to update I don't mind.

I came into this thinking I wasn't going to like it. I was wrong.

I like it. I like it a lot.

Well. Now I wonder about Twilight's reaction to having somepony clearly from another time, considering the open time-portal, calling her "mom". :rainbowderp:

'Tis a good read, that goes without saying. :pinkiesmile:

I do wonder though -- yes, Starlight's justification for not revealing the Element-bearers makes some sense I guess... I suppose the implication is that for this timeline, it is now far too late for the "mane 6" to become friends and shoot magical rainbow lasers at their enemies?

But that taken aside, I was sorta expecting Starlight to leverage knowledge from her timeline to help these alternate Equestrias.

Like, for example:

"Let me talk to the prisoners. I know the secret to end their hunger for love forever..."

"Here is what I could find in the archives of the Crystal Empire. Theoretically, it should be possible to create a resonance cascade within the Crystal Heart using a targeted beam at the heart's frequency, which would override the spell Sombra has cast on the heart to keep the crystal ponies under his control. ...And yes, I have the correct frequency, I did the measurements five times just to be sure."

This really is a good story, not the least of which because it really makes you think about your own thoughts and feelings. That said... while one the hand I kind of agree with Hemlock, I also kind of don't. Starlight didn't fart and accidentally sick a Quarry Eel on someone, she specifically went back in time to break up six friends because of her own pettiness and insecurity. She knew beforehand how important those six were, and maybe she didn't believe it (or want to believe it), but that doesn't mean she isn't at fault.

Say there is a button, a button that says 'This button will destroy the world, please do not press.', and I press the button anyway, because I'm angry, because I have issues, because I believe the button was deliberately put there to screw with me, whatever, the reason doesn't really matter. Because of my actions the world explodes, am I somehow absolved of guilt because I didn't know for sure pressing the button would destroy the world? Again though, Hemlock has a point, at this point nobody is keeping score except Starlight, and torturing herself isn't really going to solve anything, but does that mean she's guiltless in all this? I don't really think so.

Another point Hemlock made was that other people made stupid decisions that led to the war for the Crystal Empire turning into a veritable cluster-fuck, this is true. But are any of them innocent of their actions simply because they were one link in a chain of bad decisions that led to disaster? In that case, can anyone truly be guilty for anything they did not do themselves? Rather than Starlight somehow being 'guiltless' because of this, I would instead argue that she is but one of many who can share the blame for that particular timeline going to Hell in a hand-basket.

And last, but certainly not least, Hemlock's final point. She, and many others likely, wouldn't give up their timeline for the world. Again, this is true, I don't doubt there are countless ponies who would agree with Hemlock on this point. At the same time I don't doubt there are countless more who would argue the opposite point, that they would give anything, even their own lives, for everything to go back to the way it used to be. This point of hers is really more her opinion than anything, though it is admittedly a comforting one for Starlight.

And now we come to our conclusion, if Starlight really is guilty, if only in part, of creating these awful timelines, then what can she do about it? Nothing, pretty much nothing. Some people will hate her for what she did, some people will forgive her, heck, some may even thank her, but in the end there's really nothing she can do to make things 'right' again. Maybe she can resolve to herself to never let something like that happen again, or maybe she can devote her life to doing the right thing and helping out other people, but in the end she just has to live with what she did, one day at a time.

Just because we are ignorant of the consequences of our actions, does not mean we aren't still bound by them. The things we do, the choices we make... they all matter, and we would be wise to remember that.

I can't help but think that they could get some inter dimensional trading going. Have the original universe send some reinforcements and help out their war-torn dimensional neighbor. Have the original Twilight meet this Twilight for all sorts of awkwardness.

I do not see Twilight learning that the alternate timelines still exist and just ignoring them once she realizes what that means.

Another minute passed.
They’re going to think I’m nuts, aren’t they?
When no magical solution presented itself to her, Hemlock shrugged and took to the air. Dawn was approaching, and she had a long report to deliver.
Oh, the commander’s going to love this one…

Indeed... :trollestia:

Awesome work, well done.

Wish there were more stories like this one, but with starlight (or others from the Primeline) actually trying to change things.

8523866
The best way to know is to try it and see where it takes you :)

If this timeline of ponies can somehow figure out how to find the elements and use them, they may have a chance. Plus you could try to take some liberties with the new Starswirl arc

8523866
Hell, I liked her character. It'd be interesting to see a Conjunction of the Spheres type thing though, Just to see Hemlock getting chewed out by Twilight

I liked it... Also I miss your writing.

I also miss Hammer and Anvil... REREAD TIME!

When Starlight’s eyes widened, Hemlock chuckled and added, “You look like I used to when I’m waiting for the drill sergeant to flatten me for screwing up. You said Twilight’s your teacher, right?”

I dont think she mentioned being Twilights student anywhere yet.

8524031

But that taken aside, I was sorta expecting Starlight to leverage knowledge from her timeline to help these alternate Equestrias.

She's probably had long lectures from Twilight about the Butterfly Effect. Add that to her obsession about all the harm she's caused, and you've got a recipe for crippling anxiety of accidentally making things worse than they already are. The conditions for those solutions to be effective may also not exist anymore, either. :twilightoops:

8524388

That said... while one the hand I kind of agree with Hemlock, I also kind of don't. Starlight didn't fart and accidentally sick a Quarry Eel on someone, she specifically went back in time to break up six friends because of her own pettiness and insecurity. She knew beforehand how important those six were, and maybe she didn't believe it (or wantto believe it), but that doesn't mean she isn't at fault.

Yeah, I was rushing to meet the contest deadline, so it's not as refined a point as I would've liked. That said, I'm okay with Hemlock coming up with a flawed argument. She's a soldier, not a philosopher, and she may also be trying to convince herself that she and the natives of her timeline are in charge of their own destiny, and that it cannot be so easily ruined by an outsider.

At the same time I don't doubt there are countless more who would argue the opposite point, that they would give anything, even their own lives, for everything to go back to the way it used to be. This point of hers is really more her opinion than anything, though it is admittedly a comforting one for Starlight.

That may depend on how you conceptualise this alternative timeline. If taken as a whole, stretching from the point of divergence to eternity, the number of ponies who would want the original will be vastly outnumbered by those who either prefer, need or do not care about the difference. But yes, at this current point, those who knew and prefer the old world would probably outnumber those who don't.

And now we come to our conclusion, if Starlight really is guilty, if only in part, of creating these awful timelines, then what can she do about it? Nothing, pretty much nothing. Some people will hate her for what she did, some people will forgive her, heck, some may even thank her, but in the end there's really nothing she can do to make things 'right' again. Maybe she can resolve to herself to never let something like that happen again, or maybe she can devote her life to doing the right thing and helping out other people, but in the end she just has to live with what she did, one day at a time.

Pretty much a perfect summary of what I was aiming for. Makes me wish I could go back in time and redo it so that it comes across a little more elegantly. :twilightsheepish:

8524397

I do not see Twilight learning that the alternate timelines still exist and just ignoring them once she realizes what that means.

Somehow, I don't think she'll be in favour of it, especially if helping constitutes the creation of yet another alternate timeline. The multiverse is complicated enough as it is. Only an immortal can spend eternity fixing every thread, and they'd probably go insane first. :pinkiecrazy:

8525607 It's assumed that Starlight mentions it as part of her summary of her meddling with the past. Twilight forgives her and even takes her on as a student.

8524664

If this timeline of ponies can somehow figure out how to find the elements and use them, they may have a chance.

There's always the possibility, yeah...
"You didn't stop the manifestation of the Elements, Starlight. You merely delayed it."

Hemlock's quite the badass.

8524388

Completely agree. Though, if anyone was alive in that implied dead world-verse, I'd imagine THEY would give up their timeline for the world.

A fascinating spin on things. I don't think I've ever seen Starlight trying to atone for her past deeds quite lkke this. Good read, good conversation, phenomenal world building. A generation later in the Sombra timeline is sobering indeed. I can only hope that the war ends tonight. Hemlock certainly has something more to fight for.

8525728

Somehow, I don't think she'll be in favour of it, especially if helping constitutes the creation of yet another alternate timeline. The multiverse is complicated enough as it is. Only an immortal can spend eternity fixing every thread, and they'd probably go insane first. :pinkiecrazy:

Well, in that case... Starlight's freaking evil for doing this. Every time she goes back to check, she's creating another branching timeline and leaving even more ponies to face the horrors of the war.

In summary: ethics gets weird when you add in time travel. I guess I can see everyone just going "nope" and ignoring everything.

8525728
Still want a sequel with both sides dealing with the revelation. Twilight wanting to see her daughter (at least) and The equestrian big honchos finding out the elements actually work. Maybe they can see her memories or something like that. At least they'll put an end to the mysterious spy case.

Okay, I really like this one. And I would adore more out of it. But, I do think that it may just be better to leave it alone. It's just... perfect.

Also, OMG Crystal War fics still exist!!!

8525728
Ah yeah duh, silly me of course she would mention something like that. xD

Loved this, the reveal of who Hemlock is honestly came as a mild surprise and well like most i hope you do something more with her. At least some fuzzy cute mother foal time slice of life or such. :P

Does Interloper know about this story's name?

Nice job! I could see both sides of the argument well, and using the POV of a pony who wouldn't have existed without this timeline was a good way to shed some perspective. This is one reason I hate time travel, you end up killing people by making them cease to exist no matter which way you go (if you change time one way, you've already done it, and if you change it back, now you've eliminated the new people who existed instead). This honestly put me more at peace about the idea of there being these different timelines; sure, they are more harsh, but the decisions made in them would still be valid, and there isn't a complete lack of hope that things will turn around.

Except for that wasteland one. That one was pretty fantastically horrible.

Actually if they had Starlight going into the timelines, trying to fix them, it would have made her more "human" and she wouldn't have come off as a sociopath for a long time in canon.

any clarification on why twilight would name her hemlock?

8530764 The show never established whether the alternate timelines continued to exist after Twilight had convinced Starlight to relent. I'd wager that they're going with the idea that all other futures are erased; it's tidier that way, and there's no point in trying to fix timelines that don't exist.

8530833 Well, I've kind of left it up to the reader's imagination, but if you want my take on it, Twilight has had a much tougher life in this timeline. She failed her entry exam for Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, never made close friends, lost her brother in the war and got pregnant by accident. She wouldn't have much reason to give her foal a happy name.

In addition, given how pony names tend to be prophetic, it's rather fitting for Hemlock to be named after a deadly plant when she's an expert in the preparation and application of poisons.

8530972

I'm guessing this Twilight, Hemlock knows, is a far more morose and somber character who has more than likely plunged herself into war related studies and R&D. However she likely loves her daughter quite a lot and is a proud grandmother. I would even guess Twilight invented the anti-unicorn ring which Starlight broke.

8530972
Who stabbed Shining armor in the back?

8531477 Who did so is an unimportant detail as far as this story is concerned. But if I had to flesh it out, it was a trusted member of the royal guard, most likely due to coercion.

8531529
Should be a sequel another oen shot. Say after the war and they actually have the traitor captured, ready to be excuted.
Twilight gets a chance to confrotn ehr brother's murder along with her daughter.

I'm kind of disappointed Twilight didn't follow when she saw the time spell. You know she'd have flipped, meeting Hemlock and learning who she is.

“You trying to tell me that you and the Elements are more important than the rest of us combined?”

In terms of national security, yes. Definitely yes.

“Are you a god?”

Starlight raised an eyebrow. “No?”

“Demigod, maybe?”

“Uh, not that I know of?”

Hemlock narrowed her eyes. “Then you’re full of shit.”

I really can't comprehend what is happening in Hemlock's head when she's saying this.
She's unlikely to believe that there are some special guys who obviously supposed to fix such messes since she is trying her best to fix it herself.
She's not asking Starlight "are you powerful enough?": she's just seen that indeed Starlight is likely to be powerful enough to smuggle a couple pony weights of TNT to Sombra's bedroom with her spell, or even just have a fair chance of killing Sombra in a magic duel. And since she has no reason to care about Starlight's well-being, it makes sense for her to try to persuade Starlight to do exactly that.
Is she saying this out of pride? But she seems to be too practical for this. I'm out of options.

“Are you sure you’ve gotten all the proof you need?” asked Starlight. “This spell is tiring and I am not making a second trip to convince you agai—”

I'd have pointed out "If I die, you'll never see home again. Give me the antidote, or start thinking of how you'll explain my death to the royal guards."

To Hemlock I'd say "All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others" & if you don't believe that, why are you trying to kill King Sombra?

The dialogue sounds like a human talking to a pony, let alone with a pony.

8667176 Probably a side effect of her swearing, and of me not sufficiently ponifying her rough language.

Bloody guacamole, this mare’s a frigging powerhouse!

Or powerhorse...

An interesting story seed actually

8667176

Sounds close to fallout ponies though. Also a soldier on duty would be quite laconic.

8667198
Easy to fix actually... like using ponyfeathers and horseapples, etc. Thestrals are skeletal nightmares, I do not get how that applies to bat ponies?

8673746

Thestrals are skeletal nightmares, I do not get how that applies to bat ponies?

Somewhere along the line, the fandom just started referring to bat ponies as thestrals. Real world mythology aside, it does lend their subspecies an air of mystery and legitimacy.

8673794
first time i'm running into it..maybe i do not read those fics. Though official world contains banshee, kelpyies, shadow horses...

8673794
I hate it so much. I wish people would stop. But I don't have a pet genie, so it's not going to happen. :pinkiesick:

I disagree that Starlight can't do anything. I've read sooo many stories like this. And I'm sick of them.

Why can't there be some stories where Starlight, and others, go to the alternate timelines and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THEMM? At that point it wouldn't be making more timelines. It would more like alternate universe travel and bringing in some troops to help the alt timeline.

That way she could DO SOMETHING about the alt universes. The Sombra, Chrysalis, etc.. alternates. Then she could head on home happy.

8737793 She probably can. Hemlock just doesn't think she should; meddling with time again might make things worse, especially when they're already so close to victory. The point is that equilibrium has already shifted, and there are ponies who actually desire the 'bad end' caused by Starlight's initial meddling.

As for the other timelines, yeah, sure. Starlight could help. But depending on how serious a tone you want to take, it's not going to be a quick jaunt followed by friendshippy zap-zap like in the show. It would take time and experience that Starlight currently lacks.

Perhaps in the future, she'd see through the flaws in Hemlock's argument and go do something about them.

8737836

I'm not saying meddle with time again. But there's no reason she can't get a bunch of soldiers and stuff from her universe and bring them back to Hemlock's universe. And then have them defeat Sombra then.

8737863 I suppose she could, but the natives may not appreciate the help for a few reasons.

For one, victory is already imminent, and two, they'd be mistrustful of anyone coming from an alternate universe. Especially if these guys are used to killing. Bringing in outsiders who want to moralise about stuff like that is a whole can of worms that their leaders won't want to deal with.

And that's assuming nothing goes wrong. Giving Sombra, NMM and Tirek the opportunity to escape into alternate universes is another potential problem.

I really want to see a part two about Hemlock telling Commander Dash about what she learned, or maybe about alicorn Twilight deciding she wants to meet her daughter and making Starlight take her to that parallel world too.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

light for a thestral to see by

Found a typo.

no precise description of the cutie mark aside from something sparkly in nature.

Uh, I think it's more glimmery. :V

That was really cool, and the twist in the middle hit home like what. :D

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