• Member Since 16th May, 2013
  • offline last seen 8 hours ago

PaulAsaran


Technical Writer from the U.S.A.'s Deep South. Writes horsewords and reviews. New reviews posted every Thursday! Writing Motto: "Go Big or Go Home!"

T
Source

Shining Armor went on a secret mission without alerting Celestia and Luna to this act. Now he's come back, and what he brought with him is beyond Cadance's comprehension. Desperate to save her ill husband but terrified of how her aunts will react, Cadance calls upon the one individual whose magic might be able to fix this.

But when dealing with the latent power of Grogar, even Discord may be hesitant.


The first in a new collection of Them tales. This one will be different from its predecessors due to my very different intentions with it.

The Them Series
Chronologically from Top to Bottom:
Origin of Them
Feed Them
Entertain Them
Hunt Them
Becoming Them
Guide Them


Cover art by Glukoloff.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 46 )

Hello, this looks interesting. I don't have the time or motivation right now, but this should make excellent reading on the plane.

On a skim, your first paragraph looks very strong. I'm actually looking forward to this.

9060326
Just a fresh warning to someone new to the series, this one has a very different overall atmosphere and handling. If it seems lackluster by the end, I'd recommend one of the later works as an alternative.

I really winged it with this one.

9060414
Duly noted, though as a long time story reviewer and tutor for fledgling authors, I've never considered lack of motivation as a valid excuse for lack of quality if you intend for anyone to take it at all seriously.

9060431
It has nothing to do with a lack of motivation. It has everything to do with the tone of the story requiring something different from the rest of a series that I've not touched in years.

But I won't mind a harsh critique. Lord knows I give them enough, so I better be able to take them.

9060442
Ooh, is that a request? I haven't had a request for a harsh critique in... actually years at this point. Approximately five to be more specific. Done. Rest assured that once I've gone through for enjoyment purposes, I'll begin a thorough scanning and analysis to point out every flaw I can.

He never told her what he’d found out there. There’d never been an opportunity. Within two hours of coming home alone, he’d collapsed. He’d even been pronounced dead two days ago. Yet now he moved. Or, at least, something moved.

This confirms my suspicions.
He is a zombie.
First was the title, then the dark magic, then the way he was acting, and now him being pronounced dead, but still moving.

I’m excited to see more installments!

9060460
It wasn't, merely an expectation. But regardless: oh, Celestia, you are gonna rip me to pieces! I seriously looked at this story a grand total of two times before publication, including the writing itself. I should have devoted more time to it.

9060472
Yeah I suppose a thorough shredding like I used to enjoy in my early days as a reviewer would be a bit overkill here. And without an explicit request there's really not much point. Oh well. I would have left some thoughts either way.

Ho-ly shit! OK?!' Is literally what I said to myself, aloud, when I finished this fic

Dude, another one?! HECK YEAH!

Edit: Hey, great entry in the series dude, can't wait for the next one also... any plans of sharing just how... Lovecraftian the ending might have been when the next one comes out?

Interesting. I'll check this out.

I'm gonna be honest, I read this story, and the original "feed them", but I only read this story because I'd forgotten Feed. This series suffers a lot from needless darkness and complete lack of hope. There's no path forward, 90% of the characters you love and care about already dead or implied as dead, etc. Hell, Feed Them had the notable trait of being so fucked that you kind of WANT Spike to die, because he's not doing much better than that alive. There's dark and then there's "okay, time to just give in and commit suicide".

In this one, I understand that Cadance is behaving irrationally because her husband is 'sick', but whatever this is killed Discord, everyone she talked to told her what she wanted to do was a bad idea, and she still went through with it. I can't wrap my head around the contrast between her being willing to let Shining risk his life investigating a currently non-existent threat, but not being willing to accept her Husband's death after it had already occurred, and instead willfully risking her life on something she knew damn well could kill her entire kingdom, INCLUDING HER BABY. She's not just irrational, she's clutched the both the stupid and crazy balls so hard that, ultimately, her irrationality can't even begin to be justified by what she's faced.

I read them all in 'order' and the last one is much more 'meh'.
A great two hours and I was affected by the unhappy endings, I just feel this needs to be a huge single story since it all seems like disjointed chapters of the same tale.

Been around for the series for a few years. Having read this most recent story, I'd like to know how the conversation went between Discord and the Princesses. And as of now, that is all I want to know. Because anything and everything that took place and was decided upon from that point forward, be it something, several things, or nothing at all, would have been the end of the entire situation. So with that said, I'm glad that the Princesses chapter has been reserved as the end of the Them series. I don't know if there are plans for that particular conversation to be included or not, but I'm really looking forward to seeing this all capped off.

Sentimentality dooms everything. Sometimes the world needs a bastard.

So... Flurry's dead, I get that much.... Tell me Cadence didn't EAT her. PLEASE tell me something else killed her.

9060970
I've no problem at all sharing that, seeing as it's never going to actually happen. It's all rather complicated, but to try and summarize: Discord is actually an eldritch god who created the world just to have fun destroying it. He places himself in a mortal form that forgets that fact. Then the world ends, his mortal form perishes, and he re-ascends to godhood and analyzes his work, just to repeat the process with an entirely new apocalypse scenario. Celestia and Luna are also gods, but don't have the power to defeat him, and so he forces them to do the same thing: put in mortal forms to forget until their inevitable deaths. The end of the series would have come with Celestia's death, her understanding the truth once again, and being driven to total madness while Discord starts planning his next session.

To be honest, I didn't like it from the beginning. It's totally out of left field, it's grimdark as fuck, and it's way too 'common' with everything else Bob writes (Bob really likes grimdark, Lovecraftian 'everyone dies' scenarios). But Them was originally Bob's baby, so I went with it. Now that I have the reins, I aim to completely redirect where the story is going. And on that note...

9061022
There will always be those who see 'dark and lack of hope' as needless and thus a bad sign of a story. And I understand that. The 'happy ending crusaders', as I dubbed them, are simply those who 'don't get it'. I've never been one to want to please them, but I fully understand where they're coming from.

That being said, things are going to change with this series. I've got one more 100% grimdark entry in the series to deal with, something that was planned ages ago between myself and Bob (and since this was his brainchild and baby, I feel duty-bound to get it out). Once that's done, the stories are going to start winding towards the conclusion, which will be a positive one. There will still be some unfortunate crap that has to go down, but the endings will start to reflect that there is hope for ponykind.

9061132
A lot of people say that about Guide Them. At first I didn't get it, but I re-read the story as preparation for this one and now I sorta wish I'd just ended it with Babs and not moved on to the ship. So yeah, I agree, the last one's 'meh'. Probably would have been loads better with that ending cut off.

I also agree that the whole thing feels like chapters to a bigger story, which was sort of the intention. Bob and I agreed to do it this way. One of the benefits of this was a lack of pressure felt to force the story out. I'm allowed to publish this when I feel ready to instead of due to a constant, unresolved need to hit that 'complete' switch. There are caveats, such as how this story is appearing years after the last one, but all things considered I'm pleased with how it's going. Especially since I now have a set plan to finish this series that I didn't have (and which I believe is a lot better than the original plan).

9061235
I can confirm that there will be a 'Princess' story. I can also confirm that there will be a conversation with Discord. I can't guarantee it's the particular conversation you're looking for though.

9061477
Discord's words regarding Flurry were meant to be a clue, albeit a vague one.

9061676

Something doesnt have to have a good ending to not be hopeless. Theres something very cathartic in a story about someone striving for a solution that innevitably gets yanked away, so long as the readers feel that hope with them, and thats what I think this series has been missing. Hell, the description of Become Them kind of explains the problem- you finally give the characters something to strive for, and the description and name give away that the hope is outright false and pointless.

9061803
Everyone misconstrues what I mean by ‘happy ending crusaders’, but meh, I let them. After all, if they weren’t a happy ending crusader, they wouldn’t need an explanation. Fact is, some people don’t need that ‘sense of hope’ you’re looking for.

But again, I’m planning on eventually shifting the series away form that method.

9061676
No offence to Rainbow Bob, he was a great writer, but uh, thank you for deciding against that ending, I completely agree with you.

I suppose I do count as a 'Happy Ending Crusader' sort of person, as I tend to prefer stories with sparks of hope in them that while not everyone will get their happy ending, the world will live through it. I will counter by saying the one story I experienced that made me angry it didn't have a happy ending was Drakengard, and that had less to do with no happy ending, which is what I called it, and Yoko Taro not really ending anything, as we didn't understand what was going on.

My rants about old games aside, this was interesting. I've read a few more of the 'later' stories now, and while this isn't to my tastes for horror stories, it is well done here and in those other tales, building quite the realm of fiction with the way you added this start to it all. That said, probably not going to read more, since, as I said, not my thing when it comes to the stories I read for fun, but I can compliment your work, and wish you well.

... I'm disappointed.

What you have here is basically a raw gem. Rough, cloudy, unrefined, yet harboring potential for absolute beauty. Dark beauty, yes, but isn't that the point of horror? I do wish you'd spent more time proofreading and revising this, but having spoken to you I understand why you didn't. It's a shame you don't want a lovecraftian ending. I personally believe it would complete this. I also want to complement you for the moment at which you chose to end this. Just as she began to succumb, but before she fully lost conscious choice. Anyone could spell out what happens next, which is why you didn't. Well done.

I look forward to reading the rest of the series. Interesting to note that Rainbow Bob had a hand in creating this. I always liked his style.

9062193
I’m not surprised. I think you’ll find ‘raw gem’ may describe a lot of my recent short stories. Much of the reason for creating a story a month is about A) getting certain ideas out of my head and B) keeping me from getting tired of constantly working on my big stories. They often end up being of a lower quality than my multi-chapter pieces. The previous stories in this series don’t suffer from the ‘quantity over quality’ issue though, so you may enjoy them more.

I haven't logged in a while and came back to find a new story of them series :pinkiegasp:
I loved the origin of the sickness and how it spread through equestria and to show why Discord wasn't around to do anything.
I think you did a great job on this chapter Can't wait for the rest :twilightsmile:
Ps are we going to have a story on blueblood and how he ended up the way he was with fluttershy?

9248986
That is indeed one of the stories on my To Do list, although I make no promises regarding how long it’ll take to release it.

Also, welcome back!

9249062
Thanks:twilightsmile:
Take your time with it I can wait

I can not wait. I've been an avid reader of this site since like 2010, but didn't make an account until 2012. I remember coming across the first story in the Them series and I was really intrigued by it.
Just this year I came back around since like 2016 to start reading again, and writing my first story on the site. I have the whole series on my read later and favorites, and I've been reading them as of recently. I'm pretty surprised to see that there'll be more, and I'm highly looking forward to it. ❤

9250667
Always happy to see people rediscovering the series. :pinkiehappy: Hopefully it won’t be a new age before I get to the next story.

Been on the list to read this story for a while and I finally got a chance to do so. Great story. Not what I expected but still a scary fate for the characters involved.

...That blue shell is coming back to whomp someone in the ass, ain’t it? In some comedy dimension where they get turned into wacky clown zombies, that blue shell is going right up to Celestia and smacking right down centre in her butt. Cuz at that point, she’s prolly in first place in all of Equestria :B

I remember vaguely Bob telling me that was the ending he planned for this story a few years back. Actually, I had completely forgotten it until you mentioned it. I remember him being enthusiastic as all hell, and me being... not so enthused. I hadn’t planned on reading this AU series, so I didn’t really care at the time, and I guess he was a bit confusing in his enthusiasm. What can I say, you might’ve plugged this series better? And now here I am, reliving that conversation a smidge. While I rather do like that ending, cuz damn that’s heart wrenchingly bleak for Celestia, I feel the surprise has been kinda meh-ed for me. I mean, the beans have been spilled for me. Twice. I kinda want some sort of new surprise ending. Even if it’s a bit more hopeful. I like to roll with that kind of ending too.

I’ve got the feeling that Flurry got zombified. Badly. That’s why Discord didn’t want Cadence to see her. I mean, she’s filled with so much magic, and it was said that dark energy seemed to be hella attracted to magic, guzzling it down like my bro at all you can eat shrimp at Red Lobster. She might be the key to solving this plague. Either that or she’s a horrific player in a future story. Like jeez. A zombie pint sized pony terror that can explode things and chew on the exploded limbs afterwards. Sheesh.

I’ve only read Guide and Origin but frankly this is just a fan adaption of Lovecraftian lore with few changes.

10129795
I had no idea Lovecraft wrote about the world succumbing to a zombie apocalypse. I mean, Cthulhu and other such abominations I can understand, but zombies?

Then again, RainbowBob was a Lovecraft guru, and he did write the original story the rest of them are based off of, so there is likely to be some thematic connectivity. Heck, his original vision for the overarching Them ending was Lovecraftian grimdark in the extreme. But for the stories I wrote (which is to say, all the rest), I had no Lovecraft-based influences, only zombie apocalypse ones. I made up the whole Grogar aspect because I needed an origin for the plague that could reasonably fit in with the MLP setting, My use of Horsemouth was a nod to my friend JawJoe's story Twilight Sparkle: Night Shift, which used the same name for a town of cultists — I was unaware of the Lovecraft connection there until he explained it to me afterwards.

My point is, any similarities to anything Lovecraft comes directly from other people who themselves were influenced by Lovecraft. I don't know if that qualifies as incidental or not. I also don't know if any of this invalidates your claim. It probably doesn't. But I figure knowing a little more of the background helps... uh... somehow.

10130399
Deep Ones in Lovecraftian Mythos are zombies. Brainwashed mutated human beings that go out into the world to create more.

Deep Ones also don’t take over the world in Lovecraft stories because the US Army rolls in and kills them all. Deep Ones In Lovecraft stories are also coded language for non-Europeans, blacks and Jews. Hilarious given the fact that Lovecraft wrote all this on the run up to WW2 and all that entailed.

That said, most Lovecraft fans talk about the works and not the writer.

10145068
Interesting. I've only read one or two Lovecraft stories (The Dunwhich Horror and The Colour Out of Space), and neither of them involved Deep Ones. I've heard of them off and on, but always assumes they were some Eldritch race of alien/extra-dimensional beings rather than anything related to humans.

This is making me curious about finding more from his overarching bibliography.

Luna: take off that crown, take off that crown you don't deserve to wear

you are not a princess you are brat I heard!...

#slap#

Luna: you are brat!!!

Oh, just like the purge series how it the origins happens to be sort of the last in the franchise? sweet! Btw you inspired me a little, PaulAsaran. Thank you

10783979
I do have a few other entries for the series in my head, but I don't know if I'll ever get around to writing them.

Glad to be an inspiration!

10784099
just another story in the dark Multiverse about a failed Equestria I love it

May I be honest? I haven't read this yet, and I'm actually trying not to, but I have this nagging, morbid curiosity that's urging me to read it. I normally enjoyed reading dark-fics. I initially couldn't get enough of the stuff. Vampiolence by Obabscribbler continues to be my favorite. I was initially attracted to "Feed Them" and that story certainly delivered what it promised, but after reading that, and then "Entertain Them" and then "Hunt Them" The stories unexpectedly caused me to discover that I actually apparently have a limit for dark stuff. A limit that the "Them" series brought me past. I've enjoyed alot of dark-fics before, but The "Them" stories turned out to be too dark, too depressing and soul-crushing even for me. To the point where I actually questioned why anyone would ever want to write something that's this dark and messed up. For the first time in my life, I actually feel like I've had my fill of MLP Grimdark.

Just to be clear, I'm not complaining. I'm actually complimenting you. You have an amazing talent for writing truly dark works of art. I just felt like I needed to let how I feel off my chest is all. Thank you for such a unique and enlightening experience.

10828239
This will be accepted as a compliment, and a big one. What's strange to me is that I don't feel the Them series is the darkest thing I've written... though I'll acknowledge it's pretty dark. Although I would like to point out that the series and the events in most of the stories are the brainchild of RainbowBob, He really wanted it to stay dark, and if he'd had his way it would have gotten far worse in that regard.

Bob left the fandom years ago, and he gave me full creative control of this franchise. The first evidence comes in the form of Becoming Them, for which I gave a much more positive and hopeful ending that Bob originally envisioned for it. Origin of Them is the first and so far only story in the series that I conceived and wrote entirely on my own, and while it is certainly dark in its conclusion I would note that this would mark a turning point for the series. If I ever get around to continuing it, we can expect a couple more dark stories to fill out the background but then a move towards an all-around ending that would have a more hopeful conclusion.

At least,that's my intention.

10828286
can you please end this I want to know what happened to Celestia and Luna and the rest of the Main 6

11052185
Well, we already know what happened to Twilight, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, and Fluttershy. AJ and Pinkie are the only ones I'm unsure of, but I can't make any promises whatsoever that their ultimate fates would be revealed. Celestia and Luna, on the other hand...

I often consider going back to this, but it's not something I can force. If I try to do that, they'll come out forced, and I want to avoid that. But perhaps someday soon.

11052277
Okay then you could do a story based off of the first few days of the Apocalypse kind of like how they did the fear of The walking Dead I would like to see how the civilians would panic and run away or stay and look in fear as their loved ones eat them

I read Feed Them a long time ago, had no idea there was more. I wonder what Shining found in Innsmouth

Login or register to comment