• Member Since 14th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen 6 hours ago

horizon


Not a changeling.

T
Source

A delinquent young alicorn named Luna just transferred to the Royal Crystal Academy, and Drying Paint has fallen head-over-hooves in love. But she doesn't care about him — or seemingly anything, except for the dark, mysterious gathering place she disappears to on weekends.

Paint might just find a chance to win her heart there. But the shadows hold dangers he never would have expected, and everyone must walk into the darkness alone.


Highly Recommended by Present Perfect! "It's won one contest and taken second in another … because it's outlandish, ballsy, and utterly unique. Read it."

Winner of Cynewulf's Worldbuilding Contest! "Horizon manages to hit both the kind of reader who likes Infinite Jest and the kind who hasn't cracked a physical book since high school, and he does so simultaneously. This is one of his better stories."

Won second place in the 9/2017 "True Colors" Writeoff (as a first draft)! Then third place in the Lunbra group's "An Unexpected Meeting" contest! Also featured by Seattle's Angels!

Praise for the Writeoff version:
"Seriously though, Loveless is one of the coolest things I've yet seen in the fandom." —CoffeeMinion
"Dear god I love this so much. ... The story crashed into me with energy, style, and pizzazz." —MrExtra
"Literally the story of how gothic clubbing destroyed the Crystal Empire." —horizon


Cover art by Graypaint. My thanks to GaPJaxie and Haze for editing assistance!

Chapters (4)
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Comments ( 84 )

First comment reserved for spoiler-free author's notes.

I don't have a whole lot to say at 8 am of a workday after pulling an all-nighter to get the final edits done, but after you've finished reading, my (spoilerriffic!) meltdown when the original version scored a Writeoff silver might prove entertaining.

I've added nearly 4,000 words since then, fixing many of the problems of the original story, and hopefully smoothing out enough of the rest that I can feel good about the finished product. I owe large debts of gratitude to GaPJaxie and Haze for their prereading efforts and excellent analysis; I was spending a lot of time flailing unproductively at the story and at least half of the improvements here are a direct result of one of their suggestions.

Poor Paint. This is not going to go well for him.

8660950
No.

No, it is not.

Now, I'm torn. On one hand, everything about Loveless is awesome, including the icky changeling absinthe. And there's some really, really good writing here.

On the other hand, this:

The room curled like a morbid croissant around a low stage at the far end.

:rainbowhuh:

Okay, this is not how I was expecting this story to go. Nope.

And now, I'm very much uncertain whether I love or hate this ending. Probably a bit of both? But I got to repeat myself: this is not the way I was expecting this story to unfold. And... I really do think this is a unique take on Sombra's backstory.

… oh.

Of Clubs.

I don't know why I didn't see that at first. :rainbowderp:

Not bad, I am lookiing forward to reading the rest

Wow. Took you long enough to get this over here...

Now I, uh, just gotta read it...

8661013
Glad you enjoyed it!

Though, uh, you're commenting on the end of Chapter 4, and that's the end of the story. :twilightsheepish:

8660964
Well, you know how it is. Morbidity does not necessarily imply curling, and the room certainly didn't curl like a non-morbid croissant.

(:trollestia:)

But seriously, there were a few stretches set in The Loveless where I could do no less than go fully, ludicrously over the top. The story demanded it.

Exquisite. This is at once brilliantly thought out, beautifully tragic... and weirdly hilarious. To think, one of the greatest monsters in the history of Equestria spawned from a high school dweeb with a crush desperately trying to get the hot goth transfer student to notice him. I can only imagine what Luna thought when the time came to confront him for the last time. And what Moon Shot thought of what his friend had become.

Hmm. Actually, Moon Shot might have been instrumental to any resistance against Sombra. If it took a miracle to defeat him...

In any case, fantastic work. Thank you for it.

Ok you seriously need to change the description and/or picture. I almost didn't read this story because I thought that the alicorn was a DeviantArt-tier edgy OC

8661112

You think so? That pic is what brought me here!

~Skeeter The Lurker

8661112
You know, somehow I'd missed that I didn't actually include Luna's name in the description, only in the tags. :derpytongue2: Certainly no harm in clarifying that.

I do appreciate you speaking up — can't improve without feedback!

hello darkness my old friend
help i think i might fall in love with a horizon story again

8660981
I'll take "unique." :twilightsheepish: The response to the original Writeoff version was very polarized; everyone seemed to like the ideas, and "not sure if I like where it went with them" was pretty rampant in a way that I don't think this was ever going to 100% escape.

The entire fourth chapter, among other bits, is new, and a direct attempt to narrow the story's thematic focus in the direction that I hoped would give it the most coherence.

Thank you for reading, and your kind comments!

8661003
Now, if you really want your mind blown, ask yourself who the title refers to. :raritywink:

8661023
I look forward to your thoughts when you do!

8661071
Thank you! :twilightblush:

Hmm. Actually, Moon Shot might have been instrumental to any resistance against Sombra …

I had not even considered that, and I am perfectly okay with that worming its way into my head as dangling sequel bait.

8661344
No worries — my other stories are pretty chill about sharing. :duck:

And the award for 'Weirdest Historical Fic I've Ever Read' goes to...

"Hey, you," Luna finally said, eyes fixed on the ground.

Very, very, very strange. And odd. I'll be thinking about this one a while.

I give this story: 🍆🍆🍆🍆🥒🥒🥒

8661365
I would like my mind blown please

8661454
I choose to believe that you normally rate stories from 1-5 🌽 and I have completely destroyed your rating scale.

8661405
Considering some of my other stories, that faced some pretty stiff competition.

8661615
Actually, I don't rate stories with any real rating system, so the joke's on you! You've gotta figure out exactly what that rating means, if anything, because my bookshelf notification won't tell you much. All the contest stories have gone in the same shelf thus far! Mwahahaha!

And that's a very corny suggestion on how to rate stories.

8661619
If it was a WriteOff story, i probably haven't read it unless it's been posted here, but I've read some stuff, yo. Out of the three thousand some stories I've read, this is by far Weirdest Historical Fic.

Wear it with pride:🌟

"What was it going to feel like, to have his love eaten?" feels out of place. We have no indication that Paint understand who Loveless actually is, so the word "eaten" feels out of place. I'd go with "taken away" or some such.

And I don't understand the motivation of Paint in the second to last scene at all, which throws off suspension of disbelief for me. I don't understand what "You. Lied." is supposed to refer to, and why is he so angry with Loveless, and... well, pretty much the entire conversation. My only guess is that he's angry about Loveless not showing up when summoned, but that doesn't make much sense.

Oh, and what the hell "You broke your oath." is supposed to refer to? :rainbowhuh: My only guess is that Paint could be mad about Luna and the entire affair and taking it out on Loveless, and the phrase is just a meaningless statement for extra pathos and/or a justification of his action to himself that he knows to be untrue, but that explanation feels like a stretch. If that's the case, it should have been communicated more clearly.

But, all of that could be due to me missing something obvious and/or just being unable to imagine Paint's mindset at that moment. So, uh, feel free to disregard this, I guess. Also, I've read the original Writeoff version and my perception can be colored by that.

I liked the original Writeoff version, by the way, and the edits done to the first three chapters improved it even more.

It's interesting how this manages to be ludicrously over the top while also being a trainwreck of feels at the same time.

8661771
Thanks for the feedback!

1) "eaten" was never explicitly communicated but it was pretty heavily implied back when Loveless was initially establishing the offer: she did straight-up stop talking for a moment to run her tongue over her fangs. Still, yeah, that could be stronger. (And I can't really edit it right now due to having submitted this as a contest entry and the entry deadline having passed; I think contest ethics would require me not to stealth-edit the story in between entry and judging. But I'll take it under advisement.)

2) You guessed correctly that he was upset about the previous scene, where he invoked Loveless' clause to free her of her oath (back in Chapter 2, where she backed him up to the wall and swore she wouldn't eat his love unless he asked her to) so she would show up and eat the love that was hurting him so much after Luna's disappearance — and then Loveless did absolutely nothing, and he was not only stuck with a painful, bitter love that had never really been requited, but he also put himself through a totally unnecessary freak-out waiting for her to appear. Hopefully that gives a little more context for why he'd be so upset about it?

"You broke your oath" is a callback to that, so it's not quite so meaningless as you suggest, but it's worth noting that it's also true that Paint is putting more weight on it than the situation actually justifies. Loveless never did actually promise to do anything in the eating-unwanted-love department, she just swore she wouldn't unless he hit the escape button.

And, yeah, if it has to be explained in comments instead of being clear in the story, that's a problem with the story. I blame deadline pressures on the new material. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Still, I'm glad to hear that this is an improvement over the Writeoff version! That was the goal of the edits and I'm grateful they largely worked.

8661803
That is quite possibly the nicest thing anyone's ever going to say about this story. :twilightsmile:

8661830

"eaten" was never explicitly communicated but it was pretty heavily implied back when Loveless was initially establishing the offer: she did straight-up stop talking for a moment to run her tongue over her fangs

Well, this is what Loveless actually said:

"But should you ever decide to be rid of your love," she said, "speak my name three times. It shall release me from my oath, and I shall lift the burden of your passion —" she paused to slowly run her tongue slowly over a mouthful of glistening fangs — "wholly and irrevocably."

Which is rather vague. So I can totally see him wondering what "lifting the burden of his passion wholly and irrevocably" even meant, especially after seeing those fangs. After all, fangs are generally used to inflict physical damage; the thing that could affect emotions - magic - is typically channeled through horns. Given that, a wording as specific as "What was it going to feel like, to have his love eaten?" is unexpected.

So, all the right concerns for all the wrong reasons :ajsmug:

You guessed correctly that he was upset about the previous scene, where he invoked Loveless' clause to free her of her oath ... so she would show up and eat the love that was hurting him so much after Luna's disappearance, and then Loveless did absolutely nothing

Well, see above what Loveless actually said. She pretty much promises to do it - not in the oath, but still. My problem with this is that Paint says the words in a school hoofball field, and gets really angry at Loveless when it doesn't work. If I were him, I'd just feel really stupid after the scare - of course she's not omnipresent, nobody is, so of course she didn't hear him. The words were never implied to be a spell, and he didn't cast any distant communication spells either. The obvious next step is seeking out Loveless and saying the same thing to her face. What's worse, his final decision seems to hinge on the assumption that simply saying those words anywhere would do something, and I just can't see where he got that notion.

I guess Paint's irrational behavior after the scare could be explained by him being mad with grief or some such, but if that's the case, it should be communicated a lot more clearly.

I blame deadline pressures on the new material. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

That's probably the case. Admittedly, I feel that right now the story is stronger with just 3 chapters instead of 4.

This whole thing felt kinda school shootery. Like Sombra's just that one edgy kid in school who actually buys all the 'dark and brooding' stuff she hears. I guess my main thing is that he went from 0-60 pretty quickly. Was it the ritual that made him go that far in the end or did he always have that in him? Still, good story though.

8662112
Yeah, that's a reasonable take. The whole thing is villain backstory. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Well now. That went sideways, then careened downhill, then exploded.

Really unique origin story.

8664104
Well put! And thank you. :twilightsmile:

Loveless shifted against his side, ignoring his question. "In the traditional sense, the shadows are not a path of comfort — but they are a path of power, and there is a different sort of comfort in that. They are about casting off your shackles to embrace who you truly are, the light and dark aspects alike. They are about the freedom to remake yourself and seize the happiness the world has not offered." She leaned even closer in, muzzle nearly touching his ear, voice dripping honey behind her fangs. "And you? Is there anything the world cannot give you, sweet thing?"
...
"But be warned," Loveless added almost casually. "Everyone must walk into the darkness alone."

You know, this has me thinking quite strongly of Luke and Yoda and the Dark Side cave on Dagobah. And everything's telling me he's not going to end up in the light.

Also interesting how there's the contrast between the proprietor's dismissal of Paint's oath, and the one she herself makes.

8661803
Well, high school AU that's also a Horizon joint and all that.

"Hey, maybe I'll see you if I ever visit this frozen dung-hole again."

Man that's some unfortunate timing on publishing this.

8661615
Which of your stories would you rate highly on the corny scale? :rainbowwild:

That was thoroughly enjoyable! You did a lot of very clever and sneaky things in this story, and I love that sort of thing. Echoing/reinforcing Paint's disillusionment with the appearance of the club during off-hours, was a particularly cool thing.

This goes on my favorites shelf!

My favorite part is the part I helped on! :duck:

Ah yes, this reminds me of my dyed black youth.
You captured the bombastic emotion driven life of a besotted teenager perfectly.

8695621
Thank you! Glad it was enjoyable. :twilightsmile:

Awww yeeaaaah! :coolphoto:

This new ending is magnificent. It does a more satisfying job of wrapping up Loveless’ involvement in the story, and it helps cement the changes Paint experienced by making him a much more active participant in his fate.

8712651
Glad you (re-)enjoyed! :twilightsmile:

The room curled like a morbid croissant.

I love this line. So much.

Also this one:

None of that, child. I'm not your professor. I'm Loveless." Her muzzle curled back, exposing gleaming fangs in a gesture that Paint expected to find more threatening than he actually did. "Or Loveless, to my friends."

Like, she's just saying she goes by Loveless but I read it three times thinking I missed something when instead it's really just... exactly what it says and I like it for that.

So far I really like this story a lot. I'm excited to read the next two chapters!

Okay my friend, this isn astounding. I absolutely adore it. It's such a good background for Sombra, even if it's a little funny when broken down. For about a third of the story I was like...what's with Paint? Is he going to fight Sombra? But nah, of course not. he becomes Sombra.

And your characters beyond Sombra and Luna were amazing and we'll rounded and just...I dunno.

Again, I just really like this alot. I hope you do really well in the contest.

Well, this is it. Your story is the final story of my reading for the Lunabra contest, and I have one word to say about what I just read. Fuck. Holy fuck. That... Is two words, but I don't care. I absolutely loved this. It enthralled me. It gripped me. It brought me to the edge of my metaphorical seat for a whole 20 minutes. What you've crafted is incredible, and deserves far more attention than it has.

I thank you for submitting this, and I wish you luck in the contest, my friend.
I wish I could like this more than once, lol.

What a silly, strange, stupendous story this is.

The sheer oddness of it makes me just... really love it. It just has this certain energy, this delightful charm, and yet it packs so much emotional weight into such a neatly contained peace. It's wonderfully pony-esque.

I dig this a lot. It's exactly as off-kilter as I was expecting when I found it, and these are exactly the kinds of stories that I enjoy finding. Great work, my dude.

That’s a very clever title.

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