• Published 12th Aug 2019
  • 1,077 Views, 69 Comments

The Horizon Behind Us - Syke Jr

Gingersnap has never had to fear death. But to ponies from the outer realm, death is a big deal.

  • ...

Chapter 5 - Identity

Around three weeks pass. Silver Star decides not to join K's game, but from what I can gather he's working with White Mage to get a character into the new quest when our party reconvenes, now that he's back in Newforest. There's some secrecy going on, there, and I'm sort of excited for what they're going to come up with.

The problem is that it's definitely passed the point of being able to tell Ganelon that TeaMistress is Gingersnap without it being weird. I can only hope it works out. I already asked White Mage to only refer to me by character name. Maybe Celestia will help out somehow. I try not to worry about it.

[Ganelon]		well you have to admit I'm improving
[Ganelon]		it's not my bucking fault that all my skill was essentially 
			muscle memory for muscles I no longer possess

[TeaMistress]		Well maybe if you weren't stubborn you'd be improving faster.
			I haven't known any unicorn who refused to use magic to play 
			video games

[Ganelon]		look. magic is fine for typing but I just
[Ganelon]		need my bucking hooves on the keyboard when I play
[Ganelon]		I've been trying to use my magic to control the mouse, though, 
			I told you that the other day

[TeaMistress]		I just don't see how you can possibly prefer hooves. I mean 
			the other way around I could understand, magic on the keyboard 
			and hoof on mouse. you're doing it backward m8

[Ganelon]		no. this will work out. I'm going to get a split keyboard and 
			have my mouse right in the middle.

[TeaMistress]		lol how will that help?

[Ganelon]		I don't know! I feel like it will!

[TeaMistress]		At this point I don't even believe you were good at shooters
			in the outer realm

[Ganelon]		ffffFFFFFFF
[Ganelon]		honestly fingers were just so much bucking better

[TeaMistress]		better than wings? better than horn magic? better than earth 
			pony magic?
[TeaMistress]		I don't reckon

[Ganelon]		Look I'm the one who has experience with both okay? I'm the 
			authority on which is better here
[Ganelon]		so maybe stbu and have sympathy for my plight

[TeaMistress]		lol poor otherworlder missing his weird claws

[Ganelon]		that's better

[TeaMistress]		what else do you miss about the other world?

I regret asking as soon as I press enter. But he's seen it now. Once again, I see him start and stop typing several times.

[Ganelon]		I guess when I think about it, aside from the hands, literally 
			nothing I can't find somewhere in Equestria
[Ganelon]		But that's... not the whole story, is it?
[Ganelon]		it can't be the same, here
[Ganelon]		if I get fresh cider and donuts, it won't be from the cider 
			mill we've been going to since I was a baby
[Ganelon]		If I get some rum raisin ice cream at the beach, it won't be 
			Empire beach, even if Celestia made it look identical, and I 
			know she wouldn't because it would piss me off
[Ganelon]		if I go to a coney island restaurant at four in the morning, I 
			won't be listening to the truckers complaining to each other 
			and talking to Mayo the insane guy who works behind the 
[Ganelon]		it's just....
[Ganelon]		those place-feelings, that sense of time and self, that 
			identity in my past
[Ganelon]		it's gone and that's hard sometimes

I think for a few moments before responding.

[TeaMistress]		The past is always the past, Gan
[TeaMistress]		I can't go back in time either. Nopony can.
[TeaMistress]		I can't go back to when I was first reading my favourite book, 
			or selling my first photographs.

[Ganelon]		lol not the point
[Ganelon]		you can go back to WHERE you were reading that book, taking 
			those photos

[TeaMistress]		That's...
[TeaMistress]		yeah. I see what you mean.

[Ganelon]		If I go visit Detrot, there's no chance in hell it'll be 
			anything like Detroit
[Ganelon]		take my bucking word for it
[Ganelon]		Celestia wouldn't let that place exist, here
[Ganelon]		I'm sure it would have all its good qualities
[Ganelon]		all the things that make me miss it, make me proud of it
[Ganelon]		but without the fact that deep down, we all know it's a 
			shithole so deep the sun can't reach it? truly dangerous, 
			truly broken? it's not the same place by a long shot

[TeaMistress]		why did you move to Brittania anyway? Was it because Detroit 
			was dangerous?

[Ganelon]		honestly, kind of
[Ganelon]		our house was broken into a couple times and stuff like that
[Ganelon]		but we could have gone anywhere; to a nicer area in Michigan, 
			but my dad was British
[Ganelon]		He wanted us to see what it was like to live where he grew up

The past tense sticks out to me. It occurs to me that he hasn't yet mentioned his father, only his "mom" and brother.

I have a bad feeling about it.

[TeaMistress]		I see
[TeaMistress]		well I'm glad you ended up here and not in Detrot

[Ganelon]		haha I'm glad you're glad

I look out of the window. It looks like rain, but the dipping sun paints the sky in wistful hues of pink and orange in defiance of the dark clouds.

I should really go take some photos.

[TeaMistress]		I'm going out for a while, got some stuff to do
[TeaMistress]		we can play more Equine Crisis later
[TeaMistress]		practice maybe so we don't autolose again

[Ganelon]		yeah yeah

***you are now set to AFK

I get up and grab my bag, unplugging my camera from its sync cable and looping that over my neck as well. I set out. The air tastes wet; it can't be long before the rain comes. A gust of wind punctuates the thought, making me blink. Before then, though, the fire-edged clouds are a perfect subject... I just need to find some good angles.

I walk through the near-empty streets. Most ponies don't relish being out in the rain, even as common as it is around here. It makes for an even easier time finding shots to take.


A corner cafe, tinged grey in the shadow of the clouds, potted plants blowing slightly in the wind. An empty street in the background, leading downward, as the roofs sink lower to meet the treeline at the edge of town. The sky is the true focus, the sun's rays visibly shining down between the dark and foreboding rainclouds, the edges of which are tinged red and orange to compliment the grey-blue of the sky behind, the pink and peach on the horizon.


Yes. Yes. It's a good photograph; one of the better sky shots I've taken recently. The cafe is such a good object! I have to return here the next time there's a particularly photogenic sky.

I take wing and look for a good roof-level shot. Taking photos while flying is hard, but I've had a lot of practice. Here, the chimneys of the buildings along the street make a curving line of perspective, down and down. In the distance, the mottled sunlight managing to peek through the clouds makes patterns on the canopy of New Forest.


I've only been taking photos for maybe fifty minutes when it starts raining. I consider flying over to Pine Pond for a rain shot (rain on the water is always great) but the sky is already surrendering its warm hues so... nah. Today's not the day.

Returning to the ground, I make for my studio. I don't actually mind the rain but flying in it is no fun. I would also rather be inside before it starts in earnest, too, so it's at a trot that I arrive at my studio door—just as the rain begins to fall hard, slapping the paving stones as if in anger. I enter, toss down my bag, and set my camera on the desk. I'll edit the shots and get them print-ready later.

I do check to see how orders are doing, though. I snort when I see that, once again, my bog-standard landscape shots of the trees and cliffs at morning or sunset are still the best-selling canvas prints. It seems that some ponies prefer the art on their walls to be pretty but benign. Most, in fact.

It kind of vexes me. Once again I have half a mind to remove the more boring images from my site; once again I remind myself that I should be happy ponies are appreciating what I do. And it's not like nopony buys my better snaps. I'm fairly successful, in that there's nothing I put up for sale that absolutely no pony wants to buy.

I return to my apartment and grab a towel from my airing cupboard to dry what little rain managed to soak into my mane. Sitting back at my desk with a happy sigh, I remember there's a new episode of Golden Storm to watch. I wonder if Silver has caught up on it yet.

As soon as I think of Silver Star, I notice the 14 notifications from EQChat. Hm.

[Ganelon]		heyt I had this great idea to see if i was beytter to playing 
			equine crisiss drunkk
[Ganelon]		better at
[Ganelon]		but I'm not
[Ganelon]		i thik im worse

Oh Luna.

[Ganelon]		you know i haven't bean drunk asa pony tye
[Ganelon]		its bassdically yhe same in case you werwe wondering
[Ganelon]		the onyl problem is that all my brothers stash is gone now
[Ganelon]		I know my tpyign is bad but I seawr I;m not drunk enough yet
[Ganelon]		it's thias bucking horn it doesn't ytype right

[Ganelon]		hey can you still fly sruink?
[Ganelon]		drunk
[Ganelon]		or is therea law aaginst that
[Ganelon]		lol FUI
[Ganelon]		come play bvideo games before the druink wears off

Something tells me I should be concerned. Silver's mum is visiting Cambraya up in the clouds, and his brother Random is at a music show of some kind in Trottingham. He's alone in his house, apparently drinking all the alcohol that happens to be available.

His last message was sent only a few minutes ago. I flex my wings.

[TeaMistress]		yeah I'm not gonna play with an even less coordinated version 
			of you.
[TeaMistress]		if I liked losing that much I'd just play with my hooves

[Ganelon]		look I dont nees your bacvkchat
[Ganelon]		need a distraction taht;s not celestai
[Ganelon]		shes a buvcking bitch sometimes
[Ganelon]		tihngks she has a solutionb for everything
[Ganelon]		YOU DONT

Okay, this is now worrying. Resenting Celestia isn't unheard of, but it doesn't exactly bespeak a healthy mental state.

[TeaMistress]		Gan, you're worrying me.
[TeaMistress]		look if you're going to get drunk at least go to a pub
[TeaMistress]		hell go to the gaming pub over in Marske

[Ganelon]		nah I had vodka her eso why woudl i
[Ganelon]		also goinf to a pub alone? buck thaty

I chew my lip. Maybe this is the time. Silver sounds like he needs a friend, whether he admits it or not, and something tells me playing video games isn't going to alleviate whatever's driven him to drink in the first place. Apparently Princess Celestia pissed him off somehow, which is unheard of as far as I know—but I don't really know any other immigrants. After another moment of thought, I make my choice.

[TeaMistress]		How about I go out to a pub with you
[TeaMistress]		we're both in Newforest, remember?

[Ganelon]		hmm
[Ganelon]		they will have more booze threr

[TeaMistress]		yes but there are conditions.
[TeaMistress]		one, you have to tell me what's bothering you. I actually 
			care. I don't know how it worked in the other world but here 
			ponies don't suffer alone.
[TeaMistress]		two, no more drinking...

[Ganelon]		bcuk that

[TeaMistress]		...until I catch up.

[Ganelon]		well
[Ganelon]		look you sont need to know about my iissues
[Ganelon]		ill bucvking get over it
[Ganelon]		but tbh it souynds fun and I ahfven't met any of you dnd pones 
			in person yet
[Ganelon]		so sure
[Ganelon]		what pub, the sivler sword?
[Ganelon]		whichj i'm surpreised isn't just caelled the graytwandsir
[Ganelon]		graysawandire
[Ganelon]		Grayswandir
[Ganelon]		buckin celestai seroisly

Again I don't know what he's talking about, but at least he's agreed. I glance out the window. Already the rain has stopped; looks like it was just a flash shower. One almost perfectly timed to make me see the messages from Ganelon.

Maybe I am part of Celestia's plan after all. I don't know if I like it.

[TeaMistress]		Yeah, the Silver Sword is perfect. Meet there in twenty 
			minutes or so?

[Ganelon]		yeah cool
[Ganelon]		howw ill I know it's you
[Ganelon]		you know my namwe already aalong with everyony else in town
[Ganelon]		I'll be the silver prick with blacvk hair

Well, now's the moment of truth.

[TeaMistress]		I'm a ginger pegasus with a two-tone red mane.
[TeaMistress]		I... think we've met, actually.

A long moment passes. Oh Celestia I hope you knew what you were doing. I've done this all wrong. It's weird now and it's my fault and I've made everything worse—

[Ganelon]		wow
[Ganelon]		Gingersnap
[Ganelon]		I remenmber. thje phortographer
[Ganelon]		celestai, well played
[Ganelon]		can'r avoid tghe bucking mastyer plan i guess

[TeaMistress]		look Silver I'm sorry
[TeaMistress]		I should have told you who I was right away
[TeaMistress]		Seriously just come to the pub. I'm not letting you be alone 
			tonight no matter how much you want to avoid me or any other 

[Ganelon]		no don'r be sorry
[Ganelon]		I'm the one wgo should apoloigse
[Ganelon]		it'sa just thatr
[Ganelon]		buck i dunno
[Ganelon]		I'l see you at the silver swrod.

[TeaMistress]		Alright. See you there.

I really hope this is a good idea.