• Member Since 26th Jun, 2012
  • offline last seen Last Monday

Syke Jr

we can be like they are


It is said that these forests are enchanted.

The deerfolk weave strange magic, magic that can bind, and trick, and mislead. But to a pony with a sixth sense for danger, the woods hold no terrors.

Perhaps it is not the deer's enchantments which present the real peril.

Entry into the fourth Quills and Sofas Speedwriting Competition. Conceived and written in one hour; the prompt was "trapped inside". Given two minutes of fixing post-contest to remove a confusing line.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 16 )

Hmm. Your writing style and dialogue are good, and it's a pretty good horror premise. If I might offer some constructive criticism, I feel your story will be stronger if you present more in the actual story. The most important information isn't in the story itself, but in the synopsis and the author's note. There aren't enough hints about the deerfolk making it hard for ponies to find the cave IN the story, so we don't get a real sense of how unique it is that Pathfinder found his way there (at least, this was what I assumed you meant when reading your synopsis). And not being able to even guess that Pathfinder would turn into a book without it being explained in the author's note really detracts from the story. I think if you could incorporate more hints of these natures so that the story is self-sufficient without the outside notes, it would be much stronger.

(Upon rereading, I can guess more from the ending line what you were implying about Spellweaver. Still feels a bit vague, but there is more of a hint there than I gave you credit for.)

All great points! Maybe someday I'll come back to this and re-write it with all of that in mind. I wanted to add a lot more to the point where Pathfinder figures out he has to get out, make it clearer and darker, but that's when time was up. I could have fixed it in post, but I like the integrity of the one-hour challenge.

"I even come by new ones, now and then."

This was supposed to be the "...uh oh" moment, for the record.

Oh yes, that's quite fair, and for being written in an hour I'd say you did well. ^^

Wonder whether Spellweaver does it out of malice, or because he's lonely, or he doesn't and it's the nature of the curse.


Some ponies simply can’t be in one place for too long without going a little mad.

Holy crap, I'm reading all this again knowing the danger and just going "ooooooh"
I will continue to reiterate that this was so good for an hour and that it deserved my spot in the finals

Nicely eerie stuff. I wasn't clear on the full consequences of sharing one's true name, but I know enough folklore to know that's rarely a good idea. Thank you for this.

Nah bro.

It deserved CiG's spot. :trollestia:

Thought it was about the Pathfinder. You mean, it appies to Spellweaver as well?

That's exactly it. Did Spellweaver start entrapping ponies and turning them into books right away? No. Probably not for a very, very long time; long after accepting his fate. But after long enough, the need for new entertainment can... well. Drive a pony mad.

Unironically true
I would've voted yours over Jaxie's and mine too :derpytongue2:

While becoming books wasn't obvious, the threat of telling your true name is a very real thing. I'm suprised it wasn't the deerfolk (fae) trying for it.

Alondro enters the cave, "I am Charles Abdul Habubaka Bdjaro Roberto De Charleroy the Fourth, Lord of /b/ and King of Trolls."

The evil bookshelf just kinda… explodes... as it knows it cannot contain that much BS in one place.

The curse is gone! So is most of the mountain... it's reduced to a smoldering crater.


I saw this story mentioned in a blog and I had to ask. Are there monster mares (or a singular monster mare) in this story?

Very nice story! You wrote this in an hour? That's pretty amazing, and requires some well exercised skill.

Rather than offer any criticism of my own, I'll address the one offered by River Babble and maybe give you some contrast for you to make what you will. While the criticism is sound, I don't think it needed any more hints or explanations - and there was a solid two hours of chores before I read the synopsis and opened the story, and the moment I actually read the story, so I'd completely forgotten the synopsis (other than 'deer' were mentioned, as I was tryna get some inspiration on deer for a fic I might be writing).

I feel that Pathfinder being lured into the cave doesn't need to be that particularly 'unique', and the siren song drawing him in is already supernatural enough. I appreciate the subtlety in the whole thing (really gives you that sense of ancient magic that 'lingers' as you describe it, like a memory, which never has the same intensity as the event itself) and think it was the right call. River Babble is right in that we can't really guess the whole 'being trapped as a book' outcome from the story without the final explanation, but again, I don't think we need to. I found the unicorn's insistence on the getting the pony's given name and his brief change of expression at being denied was enough of a warning, and then the italics in 'true name' coupled with Pathfinder's reaction made it very ominous. I wasn't able to guess your intent as an author, but it was pretty clear to me that Pathfinder revealing his name would've been disastrous, and that gave me a sense of tension and genuine uncertainty as a reader that I appreciate. (That said, the final note on what the consequences would've been is a nice 'bonus' track.)

I have to admit I'm not a fan of the 'we see' angle to the narration. It's really a matter of personal likes, no real criticism, maybe that's your style and that's fine. It did give it a certain "documentary" vibe to the story at first? But it kinda was gone for me form the moment he enters the cave, and I didn't particularly miss it. Writing a story in an hour is a challenge though, the present tense helps getting through drafts quickly and it was a convenient way of conveying perspective to the narration, so it's got its merits in context. I'd probably do away with it if you ever re-write it though, but that's your call.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Also, if I do end up writing my thing with deer, do you mind if I maybe had a character make some off-handed, very indirect nod towards curses and ponies trapped in forgotten caves or something, towards your story? It's just such a cool lil' tale you wrote here.

I'm so glad you enjoyed this! And of course, feel free to take any ideas or make any references you wish. I'm unlikely to do anything more with this, so it's nice someone is deriving a bit of inspiration from it. :heart:

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