• Member Since 2nd May, 2013
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AShadowOfCygnus


'I am made from the dust of the stars, and the oceans flow in my veins: here I hide in the heart of the city, like a stranger coming out of the rain.'

T
Source

A time without war, a time without fear—until it isn’t.

A story for our time.


Preread through the effort and kind attention of Admiral Biscuit, Luna Farrowe, Neighrator Pony, Thornquill, and the ever-loving Dark River.

Featured, 31 August 2018.
No audiobook readings, please.

Chapters (3)
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Comments ( 93 )
Comment posted by fanreader999999 deleted Aug 31st, 2018

Oh, good grief...that's literally all I can say right now...I mean, seriously, this is like reading the MLP version of the Boston Bombing...

RIP Rarity... :(

Maybe it's my imagination, but I sense similarities between this and Cold Light - how they approach the subject of trauma, and the wounds people inflict on one another. In both cases they focus insistently on the process of healing - not on finding answers to questions that are not being asked. In both cases, it could be said they demand the reader do the same.

If there's anger in either of these fics, it's at a world that puts crime before suffering, and rage before compassion. At a world that fails to listen to the desires of those most in need of healing, because the selfish cries for retribution and answers are louder, more compelling.

To be sophisticated as hell, I think you've got a theme going here. Your best works share questions about the nature of justice, the relationship between individual and communal needs, and impulse/instinct vs learned behaviours (particularly as relates to empathy). I have to say I love this. (About the fic, you knew that already - about the running theme? I figure you probably picked it up from me, but it's worth saying anyway ;P)

9142982
I once read thoughts from a man who was there, and the viceral feel...God help us all

Comment posted by CrystalWaters deleted Aug 31st, 2018

My heart has been pounding for the last hour and a half as I've silently read.

There is no need for words.

...

I haven't felt like this for a long, long time.

For nearly 15 minutes after reading the final sentence, my heart kept pounding. My head was swirling with pressure and pain, and I've only just begun to wind down from my cold sweat. There's now this pressure I hadn't known about letting up on my lungs, but I can't even bring myself to focus on even that.

This story hasn't left me feeling profound, it hasn't left me feeling full of anger or sadness, it hasn't left me feeling anything to hold on to or understand.

It's left me feeling empty.

They way people are talking about this, it's the new Biblical Monsters.

Cover me, I'm goin' in.

Christ almighty.

I wanna hate you for writing something like this, but I can't from the care and skill you've put into it.

~Skeeter The Lurker

And every word placed, every sentence strung does nothing but drive the knife in deeper.

~Skeeter The Lurker

It's times like this I wish Twilight's Library was still active.

Take my well meaning 'fuck you' and don't stop writing. This was beyond powerful.

~Skeeter The Lurker

9143253
All I can say is, you picked a hell of a day to send that PM. :fluttershyouch:

Also, I *did* see you go in--did you ever come out?

As I'm mentally looking looking out over the crowd with Celestia, all I'm thinking is "when's the second bomb going off?"

Flying out of O'Hare in 2005, I remember standing in the security line. It was a serpentine line, folding back on itself like at an amusement park for maximum compactness (Boustrophedonically, if we want to do a vocabulary lesson), and all I could think was "man, just wait until you're right in the middle of the crowd, set off the pipe bombs in your carry-on. THAT would mentally fuck this country up like nothing else."

The fact that no terrorist ever managed such a simple, obvious follow up made them seem so impotent to me. There's a sort of sick, grim satisfaction in seeing these pony terrorists orchestrate it right.

9143297

Take my well meaning 'fuck you'.

If it helps, this is exactly the kind of reaction I was expecting. Well, alongside the torch-and-pitchfork mob.

9143379

You sure as hell got it from me, dude.

~Skeeter The Lurker

This was s bit too real for me but it is one of the most well written stories I've read here.

We must never devolve into hatred, but instead seek justice. Even when it hurts, even when it seems wrong. Friendship and love will endure far longer that hate.

It still hurts to lose those we care for and those we love. But never tarnish their memories with meanness or pettiness.

Live in Friendship, always.

She poised herself to say another few words in closing—and the second bomb went off in the square below.

I am happy that it ended as if the terrorists are complete monster that wanted to crush all hope. I liked it. It satisfies my heart cold cruel part.

Ordinary terrorist are just thug but with bomb and machine gun instead of knuckle and bat. They wanted something then they use violence. Just fucking thug and glorified robber!

9143373
Doing a simple follow up in the places of grieving or in public address will be hard because of the heightened vigilante of the public and the security force after previous attack. If succed though, I think it also broke some kind of an unspoken agreement, of basic respect for the dead. The type that will do it are the kind like Joker I think. The usual terrorist are more like thug than monster. They attack the unsuspecting and weak, not the vigilante and aware.

But closely done together and/or simultaneous terrorist attacks are more often heard than follow up bombing. Simultaneous and closely done usual attack are where the terrorist set the playing field. In contrast, doing follow up bombing is like playing as away team.

I am sorry for this just a little emotional.

A homeward angel on the fly
A wave toward the clearing sky...

This is a very sobering read. Not something I really expected to see on Fimfiction, but I think you've captured a real sense of the whirlwind effect that shock and grief have immediately after a tragedy. The story was almost as hard for me to digest as it was for a lot of the characters. Very well executed.

Comment posted by Cold in Gardez deleted Aug 31st, 2018

I think this just might be one of the most powerful fanfics I've ever read on this site. The parallels that can be drawn to our own, troubled world and society...wow.

A very depressing story, but I think as a cautionary tale, it works that way.

10/10

9142982
Or 9/11. Or, for us across the pond, 7/7. Or the massacre of tourists in Tunisia in 2015 (when I started writing this story in earnest). Or any one of the 346 (apparently) mass shootings that took place in the US in 2017.

How long is this going to go on?

Wow, this was powerful.

9143538

What's so beautiful about that whole album is the fact that it captures whole of everything that was going on in the wake of that kind of tragedy--the hope, the despair, the anger; the rebuttals to all three. If I captured even a fraction of that power in this story, that's more than I could have ever hoped for.

9143373
This is the part that sits with me too. That for however all-too-common the tragedies are of late..it takes a certain kind of diseased mind to do them, and that mind seems generally incapable of improvising.

I may be cold, and callous, but I think my general lack of reaction here is something else, because I look at the portrayals of every pony else here and go 'I'm not sold the malevolence needed exists'.

I understand why it happens in America; things are fucked up enough here that those unstable ones can get pushed and pushed and pushed until they snap. But...Equestria? At least, the one painted here, I simply see this as a bad dream. It doesn't detract from the quality of the prose, but to take 9143253 Biblical Monsters as a point of comparison, that had its horror because I never once doubted it could unfold the way it did.

Here, I do, and it may be naivete or hopeless optimism, but I feel you've painted an Equestria too true to the ideals of Harmony for me to accept it would also lead here.

That, to me, is a good thing though; I can gaze at the space and see it without being stung by it, and honestly I think that balancing act is almost more skillful even if likely unintentional here.

9143823
Actually, completely deliberate in terms of tone.

You are, as I recall, roughly the same age I am, so you remember what life was like before things like 9/11 and 7/7 set the standard, and this sort of thing became all-too-commonplace.

That is what this story is about. The horror isn't fresh to us, because it's something we now deal with on a near-daily basis--and that's horrible, and needs to be picked at. It is, however, fresh to them, just as is was fresh to us some twenty-odd years ago.

9/11/01. I'm sorry I read this. The quality was very good, I, however, want escapist fantasy. Not this. AT ALL! I can't favorite this. I can't give it a thumbs up as much as it deserves it. I'm just going to do my best to erase it from my MLP experience.

9143879
That's, I guess, just it. 9/11 didn't horrify me. I mean, I was an utter prat at the time and generally callous, but at the same time it just...wasn't surprising? The magnitude was bigger, yes, but it felt like, like.. 'This is just another..yea'.

It saddens me. And I didn't understand why, like I think I do now. But the big bit is just that fundamental 'It takes a really fucked up situation to breed this', and ...it's Equestria. Where's the situation, as it were?

Playing world-building here the religious extremist parallels are what come closest, and I could see a hypothetical unreformed Starlight Glimmer-like character as a preacher of such things, but...it's just that. It feels too at-odds. In the 90s...it may have felt weird in the first world.

But only if you weren't paying attention to the rest of it. The Slavics, the Troubles, Rwanda, child soldiers, Colombian drug wars...it was all already happening.

In our case? It was imperialistic seeds of destruction finally coming home to roost. There's...nothing comparable here?

I find this less disturbing and less horrifying than Background Pony.
What does that say about me??? :pinkiesick:

9143916

Well, then our experiences on that differed, and that's okay. I was eleven in 2001, and far enough removed that I didn't really understand what was happening; at fifteen in 2005, and with this happening on a rail system I used with decent regularity -- that's a lot closer to home than anything you'd hear on the telly about Rwanda, or Serbia, or any of those other far-flung places I remember being talked about during my childhood. It may be that you didn't have any innocence to lose in that respect; I get that, even if I don't particularly understand it. Unfortunately, I did, and in some ways still continue to, and that's where this all has its root.

Likewise, I very deliberately did not put any indications as to the motives of the attackers in this story -- because when it came screaming out of the dark for us, and for quite some time after, we had no idea where it was coming from. We only got that context later, when people started claiming responsibility for it to forward their own political agendas. But -- you talk about the potential for Equestrian imperialism; it's something that's been raised in other fics, even some of mine. Who's to say that a fringe sect couldn't camp out on the borders for thousands of years, learning to hate the concept of tribal unity? Not like there aren't still places here where that's the case. You talk about the destructive potential of a lunatic like Starlight, to raise a small group of fanatics against an empire -- I don't have any trouble seeing that, for much the same reasons.

In brief -- I don't think there's much of a case to suggest that there's not potential for anti-Equestrian motivations in the hearts of ponies we've seen in-show. Would there be many of them? No. Would they be a force to be reckoned with if handled en masse? Probably not. Could they still do considerable damage if they managed to hide themselves properly? Well, see above.

9143973
It means that, as it is for the rest of us, the notion of random death has become too commonplace to have any shock value anymore. :ajsleepy: Welcome to the 21st Century.

It's not an Equestria I recognise or can really visualise as an AU, it kinda doesn't sit right with me although I can't quite put my hoof on why that is so. But that really doesn't matter, as your quality of writing is nothing short of stunning here. The princesses in particular feel so multi-dimensional, so extremely real that I can honestly say I have very rarely seen them portrayed in such a fascinating and detailed way, if ever.

I'm not going to comment on the theme of the story, that speaks for itself.

Great work. Well done.

God damn, this is the best story on this website I've read so far. Even ignoring the heavy subject matter--which you handled unbelievably well--your writing allowed the characters in this story to be fleshed and living in a way I've always strived to do but miserably fail at, and your descriptions really bring the world to the reader impeccably.

It's drama, it's sadness, and it's a lot of things, but it's really amazing. It's stories like this I'm always chasing.

Generally, sadistic dark stuff is called 'edgy' because it's trying too hard to cut at the heart. It's a fistfight with a drunken, enraged Edward Scissorhands.
This is a goddamn open heart surgery. Well done.

I'm chalking this up to random fucktards who kill for the same reason every one who does it on Earth does. No matter what excuse they may come up with later.

Killing for the sake of killing. And because they enjoy it.

9144355
Does that apply to the suicide bombers in this story?

9144131
Yea. I don't disagree with anything you say, per se, because of course we're filtering it through our own unique lenses. It's still an...interesting take, for certain, on how it feels...different.

In some funny way I guess my reaction is basically Celestia's own.

Even if I find it hard to believe this could happen in a nation so devoted to Harmony, and am partial to ponies as escapist fantasy, I find this story kind of beautiful in a say way. It shows ponies can still hold onto their ideals of peace, friendship, and goodness in the face of a tragedy that could never happen in a TV-Y cartoon.

I feel these song are appropriate for the fic:

Wow, the way this story plays with words... all that uncertainty, suspense... :unsuresweetie:

It's stunning, to see what a good writer can do with just ideas and words. How they can convey the entire spectrum of emotion with what is essentially blots of ink on a white surface; a feat to be admired. Just stunning. Can't think of anything else to say; words escape me, clearly unlike this writer.


So, what's the culprit in for? Banishment? Imprisonment? Imprisonment in the place that s/he's been banished to? To the Moon?

...

Execution?


I'm just glad that Twilight survived. I wish that Rarity had, too, but one survivor is better than zero, right?

... But on the flip side, one fatality is way worse than none.

My favorite character is Twilight (and Fluttershy), so the fact that Rarity died instead of Twilight makes me relieved, but then that feeling of relief males me feel bad. Rarity is really as important as Twilight, so... conflicting feelings, in a nutshell. :fluttershysad:

I liked the speech. Makes me want to do one of my own.

We must stand strong in the face of the unknown and adversity. The perpetuator will be caught, and s/he will be caught by our, your, cooperation; cooperation that is brought about by the bonds of friendship which we have with our fellow ponies, the very ponies who are beside you, around you. Stand together, and we will not break.


She poised herself to say another few words in closing—and the second bomb went off in the square below.

...

B***. I suspected, anyone would. After all, there was that filly mentioned for no apparent reason, a square full of ponies, a speech meant to console citizens; its's the perfect target for a demoralizing bombing. So, we can surmise that someone is using foals as suicide bombers. Despicable.

This story really is a masterpiece of... suspense, terror, emotions, something like that. It plays with your heart. It... I really can't think of sentences that can do justice, so I'll leave it at that.

While I hope that we might see the culprit get caught, this ending as it is can be enough for a story of this type. Well, sequel or no, this was very good.

Also, here's some uplifting music inspired by Rarity. I think we all need it.

P.S. Congratulations on the feature!

I really love how this opens a page for a possible series. Not to want to diminish the point of this fic, but a post traumatized Equestria where some ponies are taking advantage of the hearts and minds of impressionable or desperate ponies left feeling unloved, out of place, mistreated, and conditioning them into living weapons.

Good fic. Handled terrorism and pinies well.

Hot damn, this is an amazing fanfic. And that ending hit me in the gut hard. You have a lot of talent, writing something this engaging.

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