• Member Since 2nd Aug, 2013
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Tarbtano


I came, I saw, I got turned into a Brony. Tumblr link http://xeno-the-sharp-tongue.tumblr.com/

T

This story is a sequel to The Bridge: A Godzilla-MLP Crossover


Set after chapter 46 so be aware of spoilers!

Bagan, an ancient word meaning extinction lived up to the name. 70,000 years ago it almost rendered humanity extinct on Terra and set down actions that would lead to loss of magic in that world to permanently change the future. Sealed away until it managed to free itself, the nightmare from the world of monsters now threatens Equestria.
Harmony, the living goddess of creation within the tree of her namesake. The creator of the Crystal Heart and laments that bear her name among other relics, she has selflessly given away her power for hundreds of years to protect mortals. Even with much of her power given away, she still keeps protective vigil over the worlds as a mother would her children.

Previously they had fought, the battle ending in a draw. But what could extinction and creation possibly have in common?

Cover art edited from works of Pyrus-Leonidas and Faith-Wolff

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 24 )

Gorgeous side story, this is

What a dialog between the two. Just a nice piece about their ideologies and their clash and a microcosm of the Bridge as a whole, very nice.

Wow, Tarb. This story was beautiful. It’s heartwarming to see X and Aria’s relationship has advanced-also, congratulations for X for joining Xenilla in having a passionate girlfriend- and that even Bagan managed to become attached to the Dark Hunters due to their loyalty,. The backstory of Bagan, Harmony, and Grogar was entertaining to read as all three were caring, supportive deities that openly nurtured their mortals until they learned that mortals could develop dark desires. The fact that the later two created all the previous MLP generations was a pleasant surprise. Thanks for the amazing chapter.

"You alicorns seem like a pretty miserable lot" Twilight Sparkle, The Immortal Game
The blessings and curses of immortality is a fascinating subject to hypothosize on. This chapter provides two unique points of view with both commenting upon the third. Harmony continues her winning streak after Legacy of Everfree as our optimist of the three; the one who sees all the possibilities and presses forward even though the possibility of a bad end scares her. She's a refreshing take on the on the big good, as her optimism is filtered through experienced realism and practical, reasonable implimentation. Her self imprisonment and intentional limited intevention means that follies are thus limited, no one messes up worse then a god. Her being tempted by easy bliss isn't especially novel but is nessessary and adds credence to her fears of going the same way as her opponents. I also love her calm and compossed moments of chiding.
Bagon and Grogar both show different defeatist mindsets. The former solemnly belives his way is the only way and that those beneath him cannoy be trusted en mass, while the other selfishly believes in its own infalibility. Both seek absolute power and the ability to make reality in their image; but one believes he is right while the other dosen't care if they are right. Grogar is the least interesting simply because he is the simplest. A combination of repeated failures and precieved betrayals breaking an immortal into a demon who has no sense of their own hypocrocy. Bagan, while not a good person at this point, is still capable of doing good things. While his path ultimately will lead him into losing what good remains, the fact that he thinks he is doing what is right permits him to do some good along the way.
The common thread amongst all three is lonliness. Grogar going mad in isolation, and Harmony and Bagan's imprisonments. The chapter begins with Harmony, alone, reminising on the mortal she had become friends with, and end with Bagan, with Harmony's company, observing the four beings he has grown fond of, even if he still attempts to rationalize it away. Time makes victems of us all eventually, and its extra painful for those who go on long enough to risk getting used to it.
The chapter is mostly the conversation and pacing wise i did find in a bit slow in places, more then once i wandered off to do some think of my own, so i do think it could have been paired down a bit.
I will state that this is how you do world building right, it only comes up when it is needed and is never the focus. The fact that the first three generations (subtle) are nods to earlier incarnations of MLP is noted, but that is never the focus, its just a fun easter egg. The world building is used as something to build Harmony and Bagan's debate on, evidence in a trial almost.
The brief check ins with our campside heroes are cute bits of fluff to bookend the chapter, which probably helps ease back into the main story of this when reading it in order. So i can see why it was released on its own, i think this should have been a regular chapter or more fittingly, an interlude.
8.5/10, a few slow paces but the main conversation and character work carry this one very far.

A fascinating examination of the motives and means of deities. When one boils it down, they're not really different than mortals, besides their power. Their power only lets then enact the kind of things that we humans in reality can only explore through our imaginations. Good and evil, right and wrong, what place do these concepts of virtues and sins have in the grander scheme of things. Its an interesting process to try to tackle these big questions from the mindset of characters who have the power to basically wipe away worlds the way a painter might tear away a canvass and start fresh with a new painting.

Ultimately I like the Harmony seems to realize that power does not equal flawlessness, and that even gods can make mistakes. And that those mistakes have consequences that are far greater due to the vastness of the power used to make them. Her method of dealing with her fears of more mistakes is to break off her power and bestow it in small portions to mortals, although Bagan and Grogar both have their points that in granting power to mortals one is also increasing the likelihood that the power can be abused and used for more mistakes. Their problem is that they still assume that, as deities, that they aren't making the same errors themselves.

But even then, this story brings up the big existential questions of just how one achieves balance, and what that balance even means. There's also a more personal note to all of this, because for all of their vast power, these deities are still people, and none of them seem to do very well while alone. Whether it was Grogar feeling betrayed by Harmony, or Bagan becoming a lone deity as opposed to three, the story really suggests that regardless of how much power one has, or what one feels is right or wrong, its so much harder to find one's path while alone. Maybe this means no entity, whether on the path of good or evil, should be alone? Or rather, its so much more possible to find one's balance if one forges bonds with others.

Nice work as always, keep it up!

A very nice tale. I love the interplay of ideals and what not. As always, your work never stops impressing.

Nice to know you credited the cover to this story to me as well, I am grateful for it.

9674034
Always! I tried to leave a message asking permission but I kept getting a posting error so I figured it be okay so long as I gave credit.

Some of the dialogue is miscolored. Frankly this is why I don't do it myself.

Trust the reader to know who is talking, and add narrative statements if you think it still needs clarifying.

9674192
Which? I found a single line discolored but did I miss one?

It's something I've considered for a while but every time I put out a poll people say keep it. I do trust they can tell who say what so I only did it here really for aesthetics.

9674197
I think yo should keep it. You have too many characters to easily allow us to keep track of.
So the colored text at least give us a starting point. When I use it, I only use it for certain characters. But I think a writer should use whatever works best for them.

Harmony raised an ear, "Are you getting attached to those four now, Bagan?"

Bagan was unmoving and growled, “Stop.Stalling.”

Harmony raised an eyebrow, “Why, in a hurry?”

“I am over 4 billion years old.”

The bluntness of the reply actually caused Harmony to snicker briefly. She at last fully relaxed.

“I’ll take that as a no,”

So that's where Celestia got her teasing side from.

But in all seriousness, a good side story, if a little tough to follow in some spots. As someone unfamiliar with the previous MLP Generations, I didn't get some of the references. Though I do appreciate the attempt to (for lack of a better term) humanize Bagan. He saw things go sideways and that caused him to see everything as an inevitability. Mortals seek power, so it is inevitable that they will destroy themselves. Gods (with a lowercase 'g') gave mortals their power, so they must do the deed when the time comes. But, here's the thing: despite its constant posturing about being a god, Bagan is just as fallible as the mortals it protected. It is far from perfect despite all claims of being unable to make a mistake. The thing is it chose to cause the Toba Catastrophe the same way Grogar chose to destroy his friend's work. Harmony has had enough time to come to terms with her imperfections, while Bagan, despite being about the same age, is still claiming his own perfection. Maybe I'm naive, but I can't help but side with Harmony, which was probably your intention anyway. All sentient life has the capacity for good and evil. But it's the choices we make that define the people we are.

9674197
Pretty sure I found lines by Harmony in Bagan's color.

Harmony beheld the light archon of devastation with horror.

"St-Sto-..."

I think that is the only miss colored line I could find but it might be intended.

Cant wait to hear your thoughts on king of the monsters

You know, I was beginning to wonder if you would have Bagan to pull a Thanos and say: "I am inevitable", which would still be TOTALLY in character for him. :rainbowlaugh:

That being said, this is a great side story to delve into the minds of beings we can call "Gods", Harmony and Bagan. A lot of media seems to portray Gods as Neutral and unempathetic beings who wouldn't bother caring for the outcomes of insignificant mortals compared to them. Bagan obviously has adopted that role as one who has falling to apathy and nihilism after seeing so many outcomes of possibility and destruction, that he's pretty much fallen into the path akin to Rick from "Rick and Morty" in that "nothing really matters anyway". Though, it's understandable why after seeing the worst parts of both humanity and possibly other kinds in the Omniverse.

Which is why I am so glad that Harmony highlights her path as a harder choice, but one far more meaningful to her creations, in that even with our worst aspects in us, she still has hope that they will do better and grow as a people. In a sense, mortals have faith in her, and ultimately, she has faith in them. That to me is the perfect relationship between a God an their creations, ultimately the relationship of the ULTIMATE parent and their children. Bagan seems to have forgotten that a parent is to both love, nurture, tend, and most IMPORTANTLY, to forgive and teach children for their mistakes. Nobody is perfect, apparently not even the Gods are fully Omnipotent.....which in a sense, creates a huge bridge of empathy for both the creations and the creators.

As you can see guys, my MIND is buzzing with philosophical questions and discussions, relating to the idea of Godhood, religion, the problem of evil, and the nature of Gods in mortal terms. And I can't wait to discuss more!

Thanks Tarb for a well-thought-out characterization of this side story. More than pleased. :)

Ri2

So, how long until Harmony and Bagan hook up? Because honestly, it feels like the two have a LOT of chemistry.

Comment posted by ShogunGhidorah deleted Last Wednesday
Comment posted by ShogunGhidorah deleted Last Wednesday

We open with Harmony having a bit of an introspective: able to watch but do little. And still mourning the death of her friend Wysteria. Hard to blame her, but rather than being crushed or broken by it, she chooses to live up to Wysteria's act. She sees mortal, fragile and finite compared to her, as things that inspire her because they do DESPITE those things. She could be the one who does everything for them, but that would mean they wouldn't learn to do these things herself...but it also means that tragedies she could've prevented happened, and that understandably hurt her. But she has good reason and knows that a god shouldn't see themselves as ABOVE mortals but as amongst them, thus the Alicorns being in that camp is a blessing.

And here we learn that Grogar DID indeed see himself as above the mortals, and it had a role in his fall...but mortals tipped the balance between the two dead even beings. She feels the same about Bagan generally.

She is tempted to recall all her scattered power, which she could use to clean up the entire mess. In its weakened state, even Bagan wouldn't be able to stand up to her...but she refuses. She fears what she might become if she did so. That she may become like Grogar.

It's a moral question to be sure. She could of course merge back with a few of them for a few moments to gain the upperhand on Bagan, but what if Bagan senses it and attacks in the place she now left defenseless?

It is certainly rife with interesting questions to think about.

She has at least made a great deal of positive influence even doing things in this way. As Monster X and Aria attest, but of course there's also her role in the King of Terror's final demise.

Aria and X meanwhile are having some close moments. They deserve it.

However, this introspection is interrupted when Bagan returns...

And we see an image of Mu long ago, with Reijuu arriving to give them a gift...however amongst the glory and healing, an old woman wishes to pass but is prolonged in this world by well meaning loved ones.

And this gives us a bit of an interesting look at the two: Bagan sees torture of an innocent, Harmony sees people who know not what they do and should not be condemned for the act.

Bagan believes the greater power mortals have, the more they will use it to destroy, Harmony disagrees and asks Bagan to prove it...and shows a serial killer using her power to commit a horrid murder. It shows how power can be abused...but Bagan is more focused on the act than the character of the one committing it.

And Bagan explains, while showing the first atomic bombings, that if mortals are allowed to roam freely suffering is caused, why should suffering be allowed to exist in any capacity?

However, given Harmony's actions, I imagine Bagan misunderstood her request to stop them. She never said KILL them, she said STOP them...which Harmony has shown, does not require killing, and can be accomplished in subtle, merciful ways it seems Bagan is blind to.

And now we get to Bagan's rampage...and Harmony asks a question: if mortals use of power to cause suffering is evil, why is Bagan's action not evil as well?

Bagan replies that gods are gods and mortals are mortals...but when Harmony asks why differs the two, Bagan is silent.

And we now go to Equus's ancient past, when the two Nexuses of Light and Dark created and destroyed in balance, one destroying the old and broken to give way to the new.

They are proud with their actions...until murder and genocide occured, causing Destruction to go on the war path and wipes the world clean. Bagan sees this as hypocracy...but Harmony sees a mistake.

And the second generation, while making progress over the first, does fall the same. Bagan sees this as vendication...but Harmony bids he keep watching.

Grogar destroys most of the second...but some are spared by Harmony. And here we begin to see the folly of the God of Destruction: he begins to see himself as incapable of folly. This is a warning sign.

The third generation, due to Harmony being over cautious, is a paradise...but one in imbalance. Grogar becomes furious at this, and decides to throw balance back into place...but like his counterpoint, he makes the same error: too much light being thrown in was a problem, as is too much darkness and destruction too quickly. But unlike Harmony, he cannot see his error.

And in this moment, he not only sees himself as above mortals, but above HER. And in the process, becomes not the God of Destruction, but something WORSE. He now desires to destroy everything, her included, to make something perfect in his eyes.

Princess Rarity sacrifices herself to save others, these ponies may be horrified in a horrible situation, but they will not give up on others and are willing to die to save one another. Unfortunately...a battle of gods has its causalities.

The battle would create Everfree Forest and ravage the world, but would last a millenia with neither able to beat the other. Likely the same stalemate she and Bagan would be in if they were to clash.

And six heroes found themselves near the battle. They choose to break the stalemate, allowing Harmony's victory and Grogar's defeat.

Bagan, due to Harmony's influence, sees little difference between them...but Harmony sees a different: she imprisoned herself willingly and does not dominate the world, rather left tools for the mortals to use on their own.

Bagan points out she's worried that mortals will fall again...

But she points out that it's possible the mortals never truly failed, but it was indeed them. They held them to an impossible standard.

Bagan believes it is inevitable they will fall, and Harmony will need to destroy them. But Harmony doesn't see it as inevitable, rather she sees it as mortals being able to save themselves.

And wisely points if she needs to fix something, she, a deity, would need to make a mistake.

Bagan, on the other hand, sees mistakes only as such if final...which overlooks the fact the death of the previous ages WAS final and thus was a mistake.

Bagan sees that it is inevitable she will make the same choice he did...and tries to show her such.

And it is indeed terrifying. The idea of Harmony no different than her fellows...

But she reacts understandably and attacks Bagan without really even intending to...and shows off her true nature and power.

Though all Bagan did was show her own worst fear. Or the worst future. It is a possibility...

And she shows that this works both ways: in some possibilities, it is Bagan who becomes Reijuu again to join HER. There are many possibility. And unlike Bagan, she sees none as inevitable.

To her it is worthless to look at these and try to make them possible, as by the time you do, you may have already made it impossible.

Bagan chooses to ignore this and still fixate on the one future. Bagan believes Harmony fears it because she fears herself...and she does fear herself, but not him.

She feels sorry for it.

Because Bagan was never meant to be alone. Before it was Reijuu, it was the three Aspects who had to merge to save the world. It's lonely.

She wishes she'd been there and Bagan asks what she'd possibly have accomplished.

She'd have been its friend.

And she replays its rampage in the ancient past...then slower. To reveal survivors.

Survivors who HELPED one another.

And she catches onto something.

Bagan could've destroyed Mu entirely in that one shot. It COULD have left no survivors.

Bagan was aware of this, and COULD have easily remedied it...but didn't.

Bagan makes an excuse...but Harmony knows that it held back.

And this time, it's Bagan who wavers at least slightly.

And Harmony finally makes a point: she doesn't fear Bagan, it fears HER. Because she didn't act like it did. She's proof it is not inevitable.

And Bagan came to ask about the Dark Hunters and their activities...and I think Harmony is correct that its beginning to care more for them than it wants.

And she has a good point: it is lack of faith in them nearly robbed him of X and Kaizer, a major loss.

And in a stark contrast to last time...they spend the night watching mortals be live.

Bagan agrees with her that this is good...but also that it believes Harmony must either join it or die.

Overall, very good short that goes into a lot of interesting ideas. In the end, I honestly don't think Harmony is completely right about the role of a deity either, but she is far more right than Bagan and Grogar. I enjoyed this.

9674136
You're all good man, we're friends. I have no problem with it.

In the dark of a small cabin within the campgrounds, two figures sat together in bed with one reaching over to turn off the lamp. Illuminated only by the subtle glow coming from Aria’s necklace, two pairs of hands slowly raised to one another’s cheek. Aria removed a mask and jacket, leaning in to nuzzle and kiss an old scar crossing a cheek. X removed a set of hair bands and sweater, running his fingers along the back and pressing his forehead to her’s.

Harmony shifted the viewpoint to allow them some privacy, but couldn’t resist letting out a small snicker when she saw Adagio pace by the cabin. The eldest siren took one look at the massive amount of love magic, visible to her as red smoke, billowing out from under the door and clouding the windows; before promptly turning on her heel and pacing away, red embarrassment staining her face.

wait. did Aria an Kaizer "DO IT"?
>;3

(note: from now on, I'm calling X "Kaizer" now. he has a name now right? just add the "Ghidorah" part when he transforms. )

9674746
In essence the two are extremely similar characters that only really have one big difference, with that difference had lasting consequences. Had circumstances been slightly different, they'd be on the same side. I can actually agree there is some chemistry there I would love to hear others input about it.

9676442
What? Couples who love each other can get intimate. Might not even be any sex but just them enjoying the other one's company and proximity. After all they have been through and are dealing with right now I would imagine being around the other could keep them calm.

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