• Member Since 30th Nov, 2015
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Rambling Writer

Our job is not to give readers what they want; our job is to show them things they never imagined. --Walt Williams


Delta. A logging town in Equestria’s far west. With its pleasant (if insular) locals and slow, quiet atmosphere, every inch the small town you’d expect. Except that every few weeks, a predator is found dead and and covered in brutal injuries.

Ranger and single mother Swan Dive is sent to Delta to make sense of it all. But the more she uncovers, the less sense it all makes. The monster leaves no trace except for its own killings. The deaths don’t seem to serve any purpose. And the murders are all clustered around Delta. Swan’s going to have to keep her wits about her if she hopes to make any sense of these strange incidents.

Because there’s something in the forest. Something stalking Delta’s animals. Something deadly. Something bloodthirsty. Something the likes of which Swan has never seen before…

I read the Twilight series to learn from it. Long story short: it really sucks. But more than that, it has many, many ideas that are quite good, but very underutilized. This is my rewriting of Twilight, aiming to utilize those ideas and throw out the ideas that don’t work while still following the same basic plotline. Because even I can do better than that tripe.

Special thanks to Bugsydor for the title.

Chapters (28)
Comments ( 186 )

Very strong start. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes. And thank god there’s no romance tag.

Why would there be? We're following "Charlie" here, not "Bella."

Except “Charlie” in this case is apparently the one with psychic immunity, if the Edward-analogue’s reaction is anything to go by.

Huh, didn't know the word 'Gloaming'.

Well, let's see what you have leard of the failures of the Twilight series.

Well now. This should be fascinating indeed. Eagerly looking forward to further developments. Also, awesome magical bestiary.

To be fair, I didn't create those; they're all fearsome critters (which, I should mention, is the actual term) from American folklore. Yes, even the terrashots. Heck, half the reason I mention splintercats is that they're supposed to be native to the Washington area.

Out of idle curiosity, how long do you reckon this story will be? You've obviously put some not too inconsiderable thought into it, but I also can't imagine you wanting to dwell too much longer on Twilight subject matter.

Probably about 26 or 27 chapters, based on what I've written and have yet to write, but definitely no more than 30. This is me saying "I can do better", so I'm putting actual effort into it, rather than just slapping something vaguely resembling a story together and proclaiming it better. A large chunk of what makes Twilight terrible is its characters, so since I'm remaking the characters, I can throw the aspects of them I don't like out the door and make everything a lot more tolerable.

Interesting so far. I wonder what was with that oily pony who couldn't take a hint. Maybe he was a marewolf?

“Uh… terrashots?”

“They live in the mountains until they get a desire to migrate. Then they walk into the desert and the heat makes them explode. Messy.”

Fascinating. Please tell me this is how they procreate?
They grow up, mate, then head out into the desert once they sense low air pressure. Where they explode. A process that spreads their dandelion-like eggs on the winds, to hatch if they land.
In the meantime, their corpses fertilise the desert over many generations, effectively acting as a precursor species. They enrich the soil, leading to plant growth and eventual de-desertification.
.... I'm getting carried away again.Guess I'll stop now.

Who even used “fascinating” anymore?

(Looks at his previous comment)
(Coughs awkwardly)

You know, I never noticed how awkward it is when you equinize "people person" before now. Though I suppose it's no worse than "man's man."

In any case, you've established a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, with both Homeguard's awkward fumbling, Crooked's concentrated sleaze, and Speckle's menacing condescension. Eagerly looking forward to more.

Nice to see Homeguard when he isn't spazzing out to a ludicrous degree.

“Homeguard here doesn’t drink!” Clearwater said happily. She nudged Homeguard. “Can you believe that? What kind of pony doesn’t drink?”

He does not drink... wine. Nor that rubbing alcohol you're slugging.

Fascinating developments thus far. The dramatic irony is making this a delightful read. Looking forward to more.


The dramatic irony is making this a delightful read.

Thank heavens. I was worried that knowing who/what Homeguard was ahead of time would make it boring and did my best to twist it into dramatic irony.

So. This is inspired by Twilight, but clearly deviates far from it, which makes it interesting and mysterious. I wouldn't imagine the animal-killer is a vampire, unless he (or she) just really enjoys brutalizing animals. But then again, Twisted River and his mare friend seem crazy enough and strong enough to be into that sort of thing, so that makes them the most likely candidates. I'd guess that Homeguard is our Edward analogue, although significantly less annoying and sparkly. I'm very intrigued to see how this develops!

Also, favorite lines:

“You’re gonna investigate the spot where we found the bear, right? Total bummer when that happened. And right after the service, too. I mean, the abbot’s all like, ‘Harmony, Harmony, Harmony’, then you walk outside and find a big ol’ bear sitting dead on the path, which is a bit of a mixed message if there ever was one.”

HAHA XD LOVE how she put that! Also I totally started reading Hailey's lines in Pinkie Pie's voice in my head. They have got to be related (at least in spirit).

“Kinda does,” said Clearwater. She shrugged and took another drink. She was drinking 190 proof alcohol straight. “Tastes more like fire and bad decisions, though.”

“Then why do you drink it?”

“ ’Cause.”

Man I freakin' love fun analogies. XD

And for the kicker:

“I cannot comprehend why ponies drink alcohol in the first place,” said Homeguard.

Real subtle, but I see what you did there. Also, speaking as a fellow non-alcohol-drinker, I appreciate Homeguard even more now.

:yay: Glad to see Swan got through to Levanta before it was too late. Sometimes the most helpful thing to know is that you're not the first person in your particular predicament.

Short version: being an earth pony parent to a teenaged pegasus is really complicated.

Intertribal parent-child interaction is one of those rich areas of potential story space that no one ever seems to do much with.

This chapter makes me SO. HAPPY.
Im so used to the crappy standard in stotytelling these days of the parent and their teen who cant relate and things just get worse and worse u til they explode overdramatically. But this was as near to a healthy, if uncertain (which is NORMAL) effort of a Mom both respecting her daughter and not letting a known problem fester. Their conversation felt realistic and healthy (did I mention healthy?) And the result didnt feel forced and gave me hope for both characters. In short: HUZZAH FOR STRONGLY PORTRAYED FAMILY DYNAMICS

No offense, but you’re not trained for fighting or communicating with wolves.

It's moments like this that make the dramatic irony really shine.

In any case, fantastic work with both the wolf language and the reveal. Swan has all the pieces. The question is whether she's willing to put them together into something out of myth.

Ahh the important bit of evidence is revealed. Its really interesting to see how the pony ability to communicate with animals changes the dynamics of this kind of "murder" mystery investigation. Im glad those werent ponies in there at least; even semi sentient, dead animals isnt quite as horrifying, so I can handle it better. I thought at first that the den might be a secret place our resident Edward uses, but then she observed that ALL of the bones were broken. Definitely psycho Crooked's work. Interested to see if Im right or not, this has many interesting twists and turns!

Excellent ‘that’s what she said’ joke!

Actually, I said that the bones were unbroken. Maybe I could've picked a better word there.

Oh! I may have misread, my apologies! I shall edit my theory, then. XD

Very true.
Hay. Even decently thought out intertribal relations are hard to find.
Very much worth the search though, the three-tribe dynamic can easily be be the most interesting part of a well written fic.

The wolf bared her teeth. «Ponies.»

This being Equestria, I could see a twist ending where Swan realises she is "just" dealing with vampires and calls in some social workers to help the town adjust to their new physiology, link them up with sanguinary support groups to assist integrating openly into Equestrian culture, securing a supply of safe, humane blood for food, and giving everypony medical check-ups to ensure their vampirism is proceeding healthily and that they have not picked up any blood-bourne diseases or parasites...

“Do I look like a mind reader?” he asked.


I quite like the word "misosophontic." Excellent catch-all in a world with so many different sophonts. Though Speckle's apparent anonymity in such a small town raises some alarm bells.

Happy Levanta is a very good Levanta indeed. And now I find myself wondering what hints Clearwater might try to drop during game night...

Oh my god, she’s showing enthusiasm for a hobby. I feel like I shouldn’t be this excited about a character having a personality.

“... Brook does sketches and her stuff’s really good , I mean whoa...

Did you just reference your review blogs there? That's funny!

“No thanks,” he said, pushing it back. “I am not fond of milk chocolate.”

MILK chocolate, he specifies. I see what you did there. ;)

“Yeah.” Cascadia tapped her hoof on the desk a few times. “Swan Dive,” she said eventually, “I’m better than today. Delta’s my town, and I hate seeing it in trouble when I can’t do anything about it.” Deep breath in, deep breath out. “I’m sorry for expecting too much of you. This has been going on for so long and I… just hoped… If, if I ever go over the line like that again, please: don’t hesitate to call me out on it.”

I LOVE stories like this. And by "this," I mean stories where the characters show actual maturity when it comes to relationship and social interactions. A standard thriller or fluff novel would simply take the angst and irritation and hurt feelings and FUEL it under the misguided idea that drama equals more entertainment. But reading this was honestly REFRESHING. I didn't feel like my emotions were being played with, I felt like I was reading a real conversation between two people who made a mistake and were mature enough to admit it and wise enough to talk it out instead of letting it fester. So thank you for that, seriously. It's really, really refreshing and satisfying to read!
Also yaaaay Levanta is happy and it's so sweet and she wants to be an artist :D:D:D

Oh hey, actual interaction beyond, "Gosh you look/smell pretty." What a concept.

Also, I do hope Cascadia takes River's stalking seriously. I could see her dismiss what he's done so far. ("You want me to arrest a stallion for helping you unpack?")

... Did I just pick a hint, or I'm reading too much into it?

Anyway, great chapter as always.

Brilliantly paced suspense and an fantastic cliffhanger. Eagerly looking forward to more.


I foresee the only way she gets out of this is if Hailey or Homeguard come to her rescue. I just can't see Crooked, psycho as he is, letting her leave and report that he's the one out there murdering animals.

Also I resent him a little bit extra for having the same nickname as me. I DON'T WANNA BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOU YOU HOMICIDAL MANIAC

YOU SEE THIS, STEPHANIE? THIS IS HOW YOU MAKE A VAMPIRE SCARY!! I mean, holy sh#t, we all knew in advance what River was, but the reveal in this chapter was still fantastic.

Between fatigue and a much higher level of known magic, I found Swan's reaction entirely reasonable. (I suppose the masquerade's always been in place more for the vampires' protection.) Also, yay for not watching her sleep.

Looking forward to finding out just how these vampires work.

Well, that sure is a fun way to take such a reeal XD

Also, given conversations about her work in previous chapters, I'd say she's pretty used to telling others about very real creatures that are commonly believed to be mythical. And she herself had to learn about those creatures at some point, either in class or in the wild.
Given that, being shown yet another supposedly nonexistent creature might just not be too big of a shock. Surprising, sure. But nothing world-shattering.

Well, that was gross, but I can't say I'm sad the homicidal maniac is gone. Swan's reaction and Homeguard's reaction to HER reaction were hilarious. XD

And tomorrow, the beginning of a supernatural war!

Fate is that much of a troll sometimes XD

Huh. Never pictured griffin hunters in flannel before. Bizarre mental image, that. :applejackunsure:

Luna would probably give that dream a six out of ten. Seven tops. Everything still had only one head apiece.

Science, even thaumology, is the best explanation we have for the world around us based on the available data. It isn't necessarily the right explanation, especially not if someone's deliberately withholding data.

Homeguard read H2G2? Nice.

Entirely reasonable rationale for the masquerade. A society of herbivores won't likely react well to hemovores. Also a good, organic-feeling crash course in Vampirism 101. Now there's just the question of what to tell Cascadia... and how fate will screw everyone over.

XD Accurate ending to this chapter. I like when the characters are genre-savvy. Interested to find out about Homeguard's turning. And how Swan Dive is going to deal with her job when she knows the answer but can't explain it. Of course, ostensibly the violent animals deaths will simply stop and everyone would eventually leave it as an unsolved mystery... but we all know that's not going to happen.

Oh, I should have seen that coming.

Must say, I love the added expression you've put into Homeguard. Makes the whole mind reading thing so much cooler when it's used to give reactions one step ahead of the conversation.

When neither of the other vampires were looking at me, I made a Face at Homeguard, who nodded almost imperceptibly.

Heh. Some mind reading doesn't need telepathy.

It’s like- Can you imagine a pony naming an apple tree and tucking it into bed at night?

Nopony knew why Applejack set out for Delta, AJ included. All she knew was that somepony needed a bucking.

In any case, fantastic presentation of the spectrum of monstrosity vampires are capable of. Definitely looking forward to more.


Nopony knew why Applejack set out for Delta, AJ included. All she knew was that somepony needed a bucking.

I briefly considered putting an alternate ending to the story after everything where Rebirth says her thing, the chapter goes on as usual for another few paragraphs, then suddenly Rainbow-Powered Applejack bursts through the wall, bellows, "What did you say about apples?!", and promptly beats Rebirth within an inch of her unlife.

Oh dang. I knew it was coming (especially after that note Hailey left, not hard to make the connection) but daaaaang iiiiiiit.

Also, "Esteemed Rebirth" needs a SOLID TEN-TON KICK IN THE FLANK.


See you in three days Swan. Hopefully Homeguard will set you down somewhere comfortable so you do not get bedsores.

I like Hailey. She’s just so enthusiastic about her murder shovel!

Sombra!? Now you've hooked me into this story even more!

Sombra was a freaking vampire???? I did NOT see that coming! Clever, clever. Also Hailey is great. She kind of reminds me of Pinkie Pie, except a little less overtly childish, maybe? But that same silly level of do-crazy-silly-things and such. Interested to see where this goes!

The red-eyed vampires show a truly chilling lack of empathy in their double standard. I have to wonder how they feel about alicorns. Of course, if the potential to be turned doesn't dissuade them from preying on ponies, I doubt the potential for ascension will sway them any.

In any case, this promises to be a fascinating backstory indeed. Eagerly looking forward to seeing what Sombra did in this worldline.

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