• Member Since 29th Jan, 2012
  • offline last seen 11 minutes ago

Chengar Qordath


I write lots and lots of horse words; everything from comedy to drama. If you like what I write, please support me on Patreon.

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Sunset Shimmer originally went to Freeport to escape Celestia's influence, and to make some progress towards becoming an alicorn princess. She's certainly done her share of good in the infamous city of rogues, but after almost two years away from Canterlot she doesn't feel any closer to achieving her big goals. At this point, any reasonable pony could wonder if they made a mistake...

Faced with the unpleasant prospect of possibly going back to Canterlot in order to advance her goals, Sunset finds herself with one last option to preserve her independence: the great dragon Argentium the Runescaled, far to the north, wants to meet with her. However, her journey becomes far more than a simple social call, and Sunset has no idea just how much danger she and her friends will face.

Or how much she'll have to sacrifice—not just for her dreams, but survival.

Chapters (23)
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Comments ( 606 )

I’m as conflicted as Sunset. I’m not sure if I want to see her return to Equestria or not.

I know it was already announced as such, but for me its still a bit strange to see the title is just Northern Venture rather than Freeport Venture: Something-something, I hope that's a sign that this new Venture story will be a big step for Sunset, whichever direction she chooses. Or maybe it's just due to most of the story not taking place in Freeport. :twilightsheepish:

Yeah, Strumming is annoying but she is a very competent spy so a lot of her analysis hits a lot closer than Sunset would like to admit. And just when Sunset was giving a lecture on making deals, though of course Celestia is far more benevolent than most age-old beings. I'm curious to see if Sunset values her independence or possible wings as more important. Just hope Sunset can come up with a good reason not to take the offer, other than just stubbornness and spite.

8765314 Most rebellion teens either eventually turn into copies of their parents should they ever manage to mature, or end up in jail (or dead in an alley). :trollestia:

8765483
If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
Sunset definitely has a heart and Celestia - a brain.

8765576
I have no heart then. And apparently neither do conservatives.
22 years here and happily conservative.
Also, how does being conservative mean you don't care about the many things liberals go on about?

Enough of that. on to a story.

JMP

8765314
Well "Come and See" only briefly mentioned Freeport when Sunset checked on it, but other than that, it took place entirely in Equestria, and was still had the Freeport Venture title.

8765608
It's not about what party you're for but rather about wanting dractic changes when being young and taking a more moderate approach when matured - today's parties are all blurred out, cause the only difference between them are backers.

“You wound me, Bacon-mane. Right in the heart. You’re practically cutting the strings. Worse than that, you’re...” She trailed off uncertainly. “Darn, can’t think of a good pun using the rest of my name.

Strumming your pain with your feathers? (One time, one time...)

I'm comin' home, I'm comin' home
Tell the world I'm comin' home
Let the rain wash away
All the pain of yesterday

I know my kingdom awaits
And they've forgiven my mistakes

I'm comin' home, I'm comin' home
Tell the world I'm coming...

I think everyone's due for a treat with this story.

Well now. This promises to be most interesting. Looking forward to seeing where it leads. Well, the descriptions made the broad strokes clear, but the devil's in the details, as they say.

Also, intriguing hint at Midnight's fate... or some other Archmagus whose name started with M and made an inadvisable pact with greater forces under duress. I'm sure there are dozens of those throughout Equestria's history.

8766335
i hope nothing happened to middy my favorite oc in the winningverese if not the whole site

Ooooh! Now THIS is shaping up to be rather interesting! Great chapter and keep up the great work <3

Ri2

8765247
Please, all the drama is undercut by the fact that this is a prequel to events we already know. Sunset doesn't return to Equestria, and she probably doesn't become an Alicorn either.

8766458
Welll... she does return, but not as a teacher or alicorn.

8765726
'Tugging at her Heartstrings' works better.

Sigh, I know that "forgiveness" is a big thing in MLP (and the Winningverese), but I honestly see no reason why Kukri should not continue to loathe Strumming. Kidnapping, illegal imprisonment, and at least two threats to murder Kukri -- and two years later all she gets is an offhand "sorry and all that rot"? That is not an apology, and it does not show any remorse from Strumnming, it's just a quick way of saying "Jeeze, are you still upset about that, what the hell is wrong with you?"

8765314
Wanting to maintain her independence is a perfectly valid reason to refuse Celestia, as is not wanting to get caught up in the White Pony's schemes (although, like Twilight, Sunset may idolize Celestia too much to see her manipulations), plus there's the risk that if she goes back to Celestia, it would effectively gut any changes that she might have started in Freeport society, along with her reputation and respect in Freeport if she ever came back to try again.

8766569
But does she really? I mean most of us are assuming Sunset is the Archon of Freeport we're waiting to see in A New Life And Times, but we could be wrong ... and even if we're right, Sunny could show up with a pair of wings (Alicorn of Magic, or Social-Change, or something) ....

8766429
I think it was meant to be a reference to Magus Morning Star. There’s been a lot of references to something called the Morning Star Crisis in a couple of stories, but we don’t actually know the details of what went down exactly.

I’m very excited to see where this goes! Not too much happening just yet, but I definitely foresee great things coming from this story! Also, if the cover art is any indication, it’s going to be hilarious seeing Freeport native Kukri dealing with arctic weather XD

Comment posted by Mugen Kagemaru deleted Mar 1st, 2018

8766429

Could be the Raven queen spirit thingy that's been helping her in the Midnight's Shadow series.

8767283

Well, Strumming does believe she didn't do anything wrong, whatever crimes might technically fall on her barrel, she passes off to her superiors, who ordered her to commit said crimes with the alternative of being dropped in a hole, so in her mind, she had no choice, and her boss(es?) is/are the one(s) to blame. In layman's terms, she was Just Following Orders.

8766571
Yes, but she already used Heart and Strings... she was trying to find a pun for Strumming.

8765576 I have no heart... for I am actually an amorphous slime mold. (oozes all over the Internet, assimilating all the chan sites!) :pinkiecrazy:

8767283

Sigh, I know that "forgiveness" is a big thing in MLP (and the Winningverese), but I honestly see no reason why Kukri should not continue to loathe Strumming. Kidnapping, illegal imprisonment, and at least two threats to murder Kukri -- and two years later all she gets is an offhand "sorry and all that rot"? That is not an apology, and it does not show any remorse from Strumnming, it's just a quick way of saying "Jeeze, are you still upset about that, what the hell is wrong with you?"

I tend to agree with your overall point.

The thing with atonement is that, while it needs willingness on an outside party to offer forgiveness, it also requires the party seeking atonement to actively do something to achieve this. In order to ask for forgiveness and for it to be more than empty words, you need to understand what you did wrong and why it requires forgiveness. The redeemed and forgiven characters in the show have done this -- Luna, Discord, Sunset, Starlight, etc. have all openly recognized, to greater or lesser degrees, that what they did was wrong, that they were in the wrong, and that they need to make up for what they did. Discord might be the most tenuous example, and even then I'd argue he still understands that the things he did were wrong -- he seems to have some persistent trouble working out what things and behaviors are unacceptable and why, but he still does get the general idea that he screwed up. This is not something I'm seeing with Strumming.

As 8768010 pointed out, Strumming fully believes herself to be in the right, and as such sees no reason to seek atonement as anything beyond getting Sunset, Kukri et al to get off her case. The issue is that she isn't in the right -- a lot of the things she did were unjustified and over the line. The incident with the bokor would be an obvious example -- regardless of Strumming's excuses, that was murder, and she had no justification for using deadly force like she did. As long as Strumming does not acknowledge that she has been the one in the wrong on multiple occasions and that she cannot defend several of the actions she took, her apologies cannot really be worth anything.

There is, however, one thing I disagree with. Does Kukri have the right to dislike Strumming? Absolutely. Should she distrust her? Yes -- Strumming has done little to prove she's someone who can safely be trusted, and this is one area where pattern recognition should override courtesy. Should Kukri loathe Strumming like she does? No. Holding poisonous and bitter feelings like that isn't going to affect Strumming in any way, as she'll likely just dismiss them as unimportant and move on -- the only person to be significantly affected by them will be Kukri herself. This is fairly typical -- as the saying goes, holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Kukri should not be holding a grudge like she does, not for Strumming's sake but for her own. It's never healthy or a good thing to let someone else, especially someone you have such a poor relationship with, have that sort of power over your life and emotions.

On one last note, regarding the "just following orders" defense: it should be noted that, in most modern courts, that defense is not accepted for carrying out illegal actions. If your superiors tell you to do something that is against the law -- shoot civilians, break and enter, commit acts of espionage or vandalism or arson, kidnap and detain citizens with no legal warrant, that sort of thing -- courts will not accept having just followed orders as an excuse. If you're ordered to do something illegal, you should refuse to do it.

Besides that, I also get the impression Strumming has a lot more agency over at least some of her actions than she claims. If nothing else, nobody ordered her to kill the bokor.

8768194

The bokor incident wasn't counted, in that it's not that his wizardry was illegal or Evil™ or otherwise wrong,
but rather Strumming has something against necromancers, and the bokor triggered that.

“Gotta admit, you’d look weird with wings and no horn, and I don’t think you have my unique flavor of charm and sophistication.” She dropped down from the ceiling, landing upside-down in the chair once more. “Anyway, how’d the meeting with the Council go?”

Skyra certainly look weird with wings and no horn.

That is an offer very carefully designed to get its hooks into Sunset, though it would probably work better if she didn't already know that's exactly what it is.

8767283 I don't blame Kukri in the least. I was really hoping at the end of the last story the Equestrian Government would realize what a liability Strumming is and park her behind a desk in Canterlot. Instead she's turned up again like a bad penny.


8768010
8768194 The thing about Strumming and the "just following orders" defense is, we know Strumming is a habitual liar, so we have no idea if she is actually following specific orders. Strumming only claims she was "just following orders" card after whatever morally objectionable thing she's done has blown up in everyone's face.

It's quite possible Strumming just has general orders to spy on Sunset, keep her away from dark magic and try to convince her to return to Canterlot, and her superiors otherwise let her do what she wants. We know Strumming decided on her own to murder that Zebra necromancer in cold blood, it's not like we have any evidence she didn't decide on her own to also kidnap Kukri. I bet it's standard spy practice, when managing an "asset" like Sunset Shimmer, to respond to criticism by blaming one's superiors. Strummer has never given the name or title of any superior officer who is supposedly giving her these terrible orders, leaving me to suspect she's got a lot of latitude and is just passing the buck.

8768102
Ah, fair enough. I guess I missed that one.

8767283
I suppose it's possible to be some other pony, though at the same time, Kukri or even Puzzle showing up as 'Alicorn Sunset' and confusing Twilight to no end would be hilarious, and then have it revealed as a ruse to lure out someone trying to kill her would be... yeah.

I'm certain someone would have noticed the Archon had wings.

8768194

There is, however, one thing I disagree with. Does Kukri have the right to dislike Strumming? Absolutely. Should she distrust her? Yes -- Strumming has done little to prove she's someone who can safely be trusted, and this is one area where pattern recognition should override courtesy. Should Kukri loathe Strumming like she does? No. Holding poisonous and bitter feelings like that isn't going to affect Strumming in any way, as she'll likely just dismiss them as unimportant and move on -- the only person to be significantly affected by them will be Kukri herself. This is fairly typical -- as the saying goes, holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Kukri should not be holding a grudge like she does, not for Strumming's sake but for her own. It's never healthy or a good thing to let someone else, especially someone you have such a poor relationship with, have that sort of power over your life and emotions.

That is more-or-less Sunset’s position on the matter as well. Anger and distrust towards Strumming are entirely reasonable, but she’s worried Kukri’s feelings could become something much more toxic if left unchecked. It’s not about forgiving Strumming so much as it is about not letting anger, even anger over legitimate greivances, turn you into a worse person.

Kinda mean, Sunset, putting a supernatural class like fey over a real race in your own plane like dragons and comparing them to demons. Dragons have feelings too, y'know! ;_;

But really, it's shaping up pretty interesting here. I like that Sunset isn't just blindly falling for Celestia's *Strumming voice* B8, M8. :trollestia:

I'm in the camp of Archon Sunset myself, it just makes sense given her trajectory. Though I did just think of the possibility it could be Strumming or even Kukri, if that's not too short a period for her to get that kind of position. Archon strikes me as a rather big deal, so even fourteen or fifteen years out she might not have the experience needed. Strumming would probably just be the Freeport equivalent of CIA director by the time of New Life, I reckon.
And in all honesty, if Sunset had actually ascended before Twilight had, they would have mentioned it after Twilight's ascension. Winningverse is too consistent for the characters in-story not to.

Sunset dealing with Argentium is going to be interesting, as will seeing her outside the Tales of PE canon and surrounding political climate.

8768756
8768194
I can see what you're both getting at, but look at Kukri's options here:
A) Continue loathing Strumming (which Strumming doesn't care about)
B) Forgive Strumming for the criminal and damaging actions she performed (and we have no reason to doubt would perform again), despite her complete lack of remorse, or even care (which just reinforces Strumming's 'there are no consequences -- for me' mentality)
C) Avoid Strumming entirely (which requires giving up her dream of being a Magus and [more importantly] her relationship with Sunset to achieve)

All three choices hurt Kukri, and if there is a fourth option I'm missing, please let me know ... but personally, I'd continue to hate Strumming.

8768689
True ... so no Alicorn Sunset ... yet :derpytongue2:

8769379

I would argue that the issue is not so much about how Kukri interacts with Strumming when they do meet as much as about how Kukri manages her own feelings and emotions.

Given Strumming's past actions, Kukri disliking her and not trusting her is entirely justified. If anything, if someone has a history of doing things that are harmful to you, you should maintain a degree of wariness and even mistrust around them until or unless they prove they warrant greater trust. This is more or less what Sunset is doing -- she doesn't especially trust Strumming, and she's been angered by her actions on numerous occasions, but the important part is that she keeps control of those negative feelings and doesn't let them grow to the point where they begin to seriously cloud her judgment. Disliking someone is fine up to a point, but beyond that it will begin to hurt your ability to think things through properly and without bias -- and that's before getting into the effects that letting your loathing of someone else consume you will have on your emotional and mental health.

Ultimately, the problem isn't that Kukri doesn't like Strumming -- the problem is that she's allowing that dislike to grow unchecked and fester beyond the point where it's useful. She doesn't need to start liking Strumming, forgive her or avoid her -- she simply needs to control her emotions, rather than letting them control her.

8768615
The reason I find the "just following orders" defense believable, at least in regards to when Sunset neutralized Metal Mome, is because it was likely the first high-profile case of dark magic being used since either {A} King Sombra himself, or {B} Hidden Facts, given his role in the Lunar Rebellion, as well as being known even into the Present Day, if Life And Times or New Life are anything to go by, and Strumming's superiors would much rather see Sunset in a hole rather than potentially becoming the Voldemort to Sombra's (or Hidden's) Grindelwald.

I am shocked, shocked, that a spy with a license to kill is not sincerely torn up over the time she illegally detained an associate of her target and then let her go unharmed.

Sure, it’s a big deal to Kukri, but it’s nothing to Strumming... and honestly, with the stakes in some of these stories, it’s nothing to me either. The hero of these tales lit Cadance on fire out of anger and jealousy to start off. She recently faced an alternate version of herself from an annhilated world of utter death and destruction. Maybe what happened to Kukri isn’t unforgiveable, regardless of whether she got a great apology or not.

8769474
Hmm ... you've got some points there, we'll just have to see how things go ...

I just realized something that I haven’t seen talked about. Sunsets mother is supposed to be an expert in Caribou rune magic with many associates in their homeland, and that is where Sunset is going......

“Yeah, the kid who’s only a year into her apprenticeship needs to get all that long-term planning locked down right away.” Strumming tried to shoot a serious look my way, though stopping to eat a chip spoiled the effect. “Now I’m just a silly spy who knows nothing of the ways of magic, but from what I can see the Alpha Limit’s something that’d be a much bigger worry for you than her. I think somepony’s projecting...”

I scowled at Strumming, but it bounced right off with no effect. She chuckled and rolled her eyes. “Come on, you think you’re the first unicorn to think about the Alpha Limit? And really, calling it the Alpha Limit is just unicorns trying to act like their magic is special and unique. It’s just like that whole stupid system you hornheads have for classifying how much magic you have. Never mind that there’ve been times when a pony took that magic test twice and got two different scores, even when all the equipment was working fine. Or all the debate about whether what all those fancy magic tests measure is actually an accurate gauge of magical potential.”

I just fell in love :heart:

I scoffed at her. “Okay, that makes sense. So who’s coming by later to deliver the offer?”

vignette.wikia.nocookie.net/animaljam/images/e/e8/Epic_pyro_gif_030.gif

Shit. Something bad's gonna happen to Kukri.

And now there's the dragon response. I do wonder how long Puzzle was holding on to that letter, but probably not too long, its best not to keep ancient dragons waiting. Or to turn down ancient dragon invitations (especially given the history of Sunset's family), and it gives Sunset more time to consider her options. Celestia's invitation is probably still the safest, but that's not enough for Sunset (I wonder how long until she would have set a student on fire or froze them or both). I just hope Puzzle and Strumming don't push Sunset too hard during their journey north, she really does need to hear whatever Argentium has to say first.

The title of this chapter was most appropriate. Definitely some good set up to what will be some very interesting conflicts. And I only now realized reading this that this is the first time we’ve seen how Kukris parents feel about Strumming. It was certainly believable. Very interested to see how Sunsets meeting with Argentium goes. I’m still 90% convinced her biological Mom will show up at some point and cause all the drama.

It's only just occurred to me when reading this chapter that I have always read Puzzles voice in the male Khajit voice from Skyrim...

Changeling has Wares if you have the coin.

It was no different than the Kickers insisting that Shadow and Celestia had been lovers despite there being no hard evidence to support that claim, and the fact that Shadow had other known paramours.

(Looks at the next timeline over.)
Yes, completely ridiculous, that.

In any case, the stage is set for an adventure at the top of the world. Now to see just what the group runs into en route...

So is Kurki a hybrid? Knives never changed forms, so pony ling hybrid possible?

Oh god what if Puzzle and Strumming have a kid?

8808770
I forget where it was said, but it was stated elsewhere that changelings can breed with other species, but the offspring is always a changeling. Hence Kukri.

"“Then this one trusts you would not do anything that would cause a major international incident and cause a great deal of heartache and pain for your entire family,” Codex cut in."
Of course not! That's why she specified no witnesses! :D

"but it won’t let her presence stop her from missing"
"but it won’t let her presence stop it from missing"?

"If that EIS nag is part of it, then Kurki stays here."
"If that EIS nag is part of it, then Kukri stays here."?

I think perhaps keeping Kukri and Alula separated might be a good idea. They might form a hugging blackhole and that would be messy.

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