• Member Since 10th Jun, 2014
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It's called garbage can, not garbage can't.


Ember is not a diplomat by choice. It sort of just comes along with being dragonlord, because who else are you going to send, Garble?

Ember doesn't do diplomacy, though. She does anger. And fire. Sometimes a bit of shouting. That doesn't go over well with ponies, though.

Luckily, Thorax is on hand to help out.

In, and out. Get the ponies to agree what she wants, and leave. That's all this has to be. So why is there so much paperwork?!

And why does she feel so angry?!

Takes place before the Series Finale, and after Triple Threat. Rated teen for gratuitous anger, mostly, and threat.

Editing help provided by Boltstrike58.

Written for the Imposing Sovereign's II contest.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 51 )

God dammit...

There’s nothing wrong with this story; I loved it. You were great at writing Ember, and I loved Thorax being the big dork that he always is. One of the reasons I don’t mind the Reformed changeling look is that as much as Thorax looks like a giant dork, he is a giant dork, so the look suits him. Plus I actually just like the normal Reformed look.

And again, great job writing for Ember, and dragons in general. I particularly liked the inner wyrm making a constant nuisance of itself, it did a really good job showing just how hard Ember is fighting against what comes naturally to dragons to try and make something better of and for herself and her people.

So yeah, there is nothing wrong with this fic at all...

Ember punched one of the statues, sending its head flying clean off.

But damn it all if the series finale didn’t ruin my ability to just enjoy lines like this. Took me right out of the fic and made me wonder if Ember just committed manslaughter. In the good old days we’d laugh at the idea that the garden is full of petrified ponies. It was a joke. Now...

Not your fault, not your intent, not holding it against you in any way, shape, or form, it’s just that I came to the sudden realization that I’m never going to be able to enjoy hearing about the statues in Canterlot garden again.

9933569 Thanks man! It's for a contest, so feel free to check those out too! It'd be nice to win, but writing this was fun in of itself.

Thorax was good fun, I loved his character in Triple Threat. : )

It's pretty clear that petrification is not something Celestia ever did regularly, just because Discord had to give them the idea before it even occurred to them. Unless a story implies or states that Celestia sometimes punishes with petrification, just assume Discord and the final three are the only ones.

IIRC, the only statues we ever saw in the show other than those 2 sets couldn't have been petrified ponies, because they were either too large (the ones in Return of Harmony and the solo one in The Last Problem), too stylized (the ones in The Best Night Ever), or proven not to be (the statues of the mane six in The Last Problem).

9933607 That's true, but there are monsters with petrification powers out there, like cockatrices...

One wonders how many 'statues' are in fact simple pony-made models... Even if it weren't done by the Elements of Harmony...


Dragons are shown to be both primitive and individualistic. It wouldn’t surprise me if they head little understanding of even basic trade and economics. Beyond that beyond an “alpha” dragon in the form of the dragon lord they have virtually no government. It makes me wonder what Embers real purpose is.


IIRC, the only statues we ever saw in the show other than those 2 sets couldn't have been petrified ponies, because they were either too large (the ones in Return of Harmony and the solo one in The Last Problem), too stylized (the ones in The Best Night Ever), or proven not to be (the statues of the mane six in The Last Problem).

Do you have a timestamp for that? Because I don't remember seeing any statues.

9933695 Alpha dragon, it seems. Right?

But beyond being best dragon, what does she actually do?

The Mane 6 statue appears in the first few seconds of the episode, while Spike is flying to the castle. A unicorn and a griffon are seen posing for a photo in front of it.

Whatever she wants. She's Dragon Lord. Fortuitously she mostly wants to improve things for dragons.

This was a fun story of just Ember and Thorax bonding. Not much more to say beyond that other than I thoroughly enjoyed it, well worth the read. :pinkiehappy:

9933723 9933719 I remember seeing a few statues cropping up around Equestria... I liked that they all had the same kind of white chalk or marble look... Very classy.

9934632 Thanks man! It was good fun to write, and I enjoyed playing with those characters a lot.

Nice story! Ember X Thorax ship!!


Better if the paper being ripped out of hands section was flipped in order.



I 'm > I'm

Just let it roar! [Next section over italicized.]

“Does the ocean scream back?”

"Only when Discord does it."

Thorax patted her on the back. “Well, I think you did very well!”
“I nearly turned them into candles!”
“‘Nearly’ is why you did well!”

Thorax is a good friend.

This was exactly the sort of story I had in mind when making the Peace prompt, and you made it work fantastically. The angry dragon in the back of Ember's mind was a great refrain throughout the story, and the way she took Thorax's lessons to heart even in her angriest hour was heartwarming in a very draconic way. Heart-incinerating, so to speak.

All told, great stuff. I could see this being an episode of the show. Or part of a bizarre West Wing-like spinoff of politics in the magical land of Equestria. Thank you for it, and best of luck in the judging.


Nice story! Ember X Thorax ship!!

Yeheh boi!

But, aaaaah italics! This is one of the reasons working on gdocs is so frustrating... Thanks for the heads up, caught and fixed.

9937281 Cheers, very glad you enjoyed it! I loved the idea of Thorax and Ember having a weird, unironically meaningful friendship after Triple Threat, since they were both struggling to be leaders but also wanted to be good ones... Was a bit worried for the story after it got some apparent flak on SSPB, but it's nice to see folks enjoy the somewhat hefty one-shot...

I hope you enjoy the other entries as well. I noticed that there were a fair few of them, and some of them by some pretty heavyweight fellows! Best of luck in judging!

9938450 Goodness, 'best' is pretty high praise.

The highest, some might say!

Cheers! Don't forget to check out the other contestants if you have time! : )

It's rare that a fic is so pitch perfect to the show as this one. A bit more mature in tone and content, but exactly the same in spirit.

This part is probably reading my own interests in but I liked the way Thorax and Ember both seemed to be slightly afraid of the ponies. Both dragons and changelings are fundamentally monsters individually far more dangerous than almost any pony. For all that though they both still recognize that ponies are the ones really in charge because there are just so many of them and they're so damned adaptable. All the dumb monsters think that they just have to be strong and tough and sly enough and they will win. Slowly natural selection is replacing them with leaders who are slightly terrified of ponies, usually because their immediate predecessor took a Big Gay Laser (tm) to the face.

9939888 I can see that. It's a good interpretation.

The ponies have ended up on top against chaotic spirits, changelings, big smoke-breathing dragons, evil centaur-bois, and way more... There's probably a point where the next Big Bad will probably get tapped on the shoulder by his minions and be told 'hey, boss, you sure we want to take those guys on?'

When I was writing I actually thought I could probably stick to the tone of the show way better if I got rid of the 'internal dragon voice', but since I decided I wanted it, I just decided to toss strict adherence to the show themes and bump the rating up to teen... Maybe not the best call, but ey, it was the one I made.

It was the right call. Ember comes off as a better leader and more interesting character when we as the reader know she's perpetually going against her draconic nature. She's a good leader because she has the same instincts as all the other dragons, but recognizes that those instincts just wont work in the new world. Once she really gets the hang of it she'll learn that letting your opposite number get the sense you really want nothing more in the world than to burn them to the crisp is itself a powerful political tool. Probably after she reads that copy of the Princess.

Also random thought. I get the feeling the dragons may do very well for themselves when they discover fun pony things like compound interest and fractional reserve banking.

9939938 Dragons would make excellent banks.

Reminds me of a D&D concept where a red dragon was basically working as a loan shark. I really like that idea (especially considering that in D&D lore, red dragons always know exactly how many coins they have in their hoard...)

I do like the idea of both changelings and dragons trying to rise above their instincts. It's why I found triple threat to be such an interesting concept, since it put the two faction leaders together with their own different problems... I also kinda liked the vibe that whilst Thorax was trying to learn to be a harder, less dorky leader, Ember was trying to do the opposite... It's pretty fun asymmetry.

The line about changelings not trusting being trusted rings true to be on a deep level for other things. Just because you've been accepted after a long time doesn't mean that you can truly believe it right away.

I think this did a great job of exploring something the show might not have, while still fitting with the tone. I really enjoyed it, and i think Ember's inner dragon giving way to her inner ruler when she gave into that anger was a good touch.

9941863 Thanks. The reversal of inner dragon vs inner ruler was a switcheroo I was very keen on, and was part of why I wanted to keep the inner dragon voice in the first place...

It's like, when I try to remain calm, there's always a bit of me fantasising being angry, but when I'm angry there's always a bit of me feeling guilty or trying to regain control. I like the idea that we're always in conflict with ourselves.

Very glad you enjoyed the story! Thanks for stopping by. : )

It's fascinating how we can both write stories about Ember at war (sort of), both of which rely so heavily on her being ultimately ruled by violent instinct which she is struggling to overcome, and yet have you end up with a take on her character that feels so drastically different from mine!

I'm not sure how much that colored my view of the story; I had to do a fair amount of mental adjustment as I was reading. (And the hardcore Embrax shipper in me is still shaking its fist at the more measured relationship here.) But this still had its share of laugh-out-loud lines and a lovely show-adjacent moral. Plenty to enjoy, from The Princess and the bodyguards to a pair of leaders struggling to define themselves in a way not limited by the expectations others have of them.

Best of luck in the judging!

9945756 A sign of a multifaceted and complex character, most likely. : )

Being able to survive in both serious and lighter takes is, in my opinion, something that most MLP characters have proven to be pretty good at, and is a pretty big draw of the series in general.

Ember really shines in this story, I loved her inner dialogue and especially her interactions with Thorax!
10/10 drama
10/10 comedy
10/10 angry lizards

9948865 pics.me.me/angry-screech-angry-screech-ifunny-ce-39824520.png

Angery lizard is my favourite kind of lizard, right after lizard overlord.

Glad you enjoyed the story! It was a lot of fun to write. : )

I enjoyed this a lot! The inner dragon bits in Ember’s narration were a delight, and this is the only story I’ve read recently that manages to make boring diplomatic discussions engaging. Really nice work here, thanks for writing!

9956819 Cheers. I did want the diplomatic talks to be almost like a story inside a story...

All three parties want things and needed to compromise and plan to get it. At least, that was the idea...:twilightblush: It felt a bit tricky trying to include them in a way that still felt (to me) like they were contributing to Ember's internal struggle-y deal.

Very glad you enjoyed it! I hope you've enjoyed the other entrants similarly! : )

I wrote a critique/review of this story. It can be found right over here.

I love these two. Their interactions is really honest. They would make an amazing couple. I really liked this story. I don't know why but I like Equestrian politics. Great job.

10051608 Cheers! I'd be lying if I said I didn't ship them, but I wanted the story to be about the politics and the characters, not romance.

Perhaps that may come later! : )

I'd be very interested to see what you could with such a pairing. You have my full attention. I'll look over your other work soon.

10051744 Ah, don't go expecting any Thorax/Ember any time soon! :twilightblush:

I've got two contest stories I need to finish, unfortunately. Hopefully I might be able to return to the characters afterwards! Yet another unfortunate case of 'too much to write, too little time'...

Completely understand. You do what you have to. Excited either way.

10051951 If you enjoyed this story, another Ember story got written for the same contest this story was written for. You may enjoy it, though the vibe is way different. Horizon wrote it, it's called 'Fang and Flame' if I recall correctly. : )

I do like Ember's character. I'll have to give it a shot. Thanks.

Heya! Just a quick mention, I done did a reading of the story. It... could have turned out better, I think but, well, reasons.

10126493 That's awesome dude! I'll have to give it a listen when I'm not at work!

Cheers, bro.

You're welcome! I hope you like it - odds are I at least made a minor mistake here or there, but I was in a bit of a rush.


She also couldn't have, to my knowledge. It seemed like the EoH just gave fitting karmic retribution (especially at first), not 'Choose how to kill these idiots' powers. Power up the EoH, point them at the baddie, let the punishment commence, save the day from the black-hearted evil ones.

NMM was discorporated into the moon and imprisoned. Discord was petrified - given that he's a creature of chaos, and stone is an ultimate expression of extreme order (stillness, immutability, unchanging for eons), it was his retributive punishment.

They're not guns that turn people into stone.

gettin some canon vibes offa this

10219130 Cheers man! There are days when I like throwing off a canon-vibe, and when I wrote this story was one of them. : )

Extremely funny, and deeper than it seems at first. I really liked how alien, yet relatable, Ember and Thorax both were.

10227773 Cheers, I'm glad you think so!

One of the things I enjoyed so much about the episode that convinced me I wanted to write a story about the two was that they were kinda both in similar situations; very distinct, unfamiliar monstrous races led by an open ruler aiming to improve the lot of their race as a whole. However, they also seemed to have such different problems, despite both wanting the same thing.

There was a mix of alien and familiar that both Thorax and Ember had that I really enjoyed. Glad you enjoyed the story, too! : )

Author Interviewer

This was purely marvelous. :D Exactly the kind of story to read while having a bad day.

You’re a dragon, right?

Uh, I think he's a changeling? c.c


You’re a dragon, right?

Uh, I think he's a changeling? c.c

You don't know what you're doing to me.

One of the most mentally taxing things about writing is that I can never remember whether something weird I wrote was because I had some 300+ IQ strategy or whether I just bollocksed it up. The two options seems o similar at times.

The existential dread is real. A clash between common sense and my own ego that damages my very soul. It is like opening the box wherein Shrodinger's least favourite pet is kept and having two alternate realities shoved into your brain with some fashion of cosmic spoon as the individual particles become observed. Because on one hand, yes, Thorax is a changeling, but it strikes me as perfectly in character for me to have thought something along the lines of 'Ember is trying to put Thorax in the mental skin of a dragon' or 'changelings can technically be whatever they want, ergo dragon'.

I'm not sure which option is worse; that I'd come up with such a convoluted scenario or that I made such an obvious mistake. I think that I will just have to close the box and let that particular cat sort out its quantum conundrum on its own. I hope you're happy, contributing to my own quantum angst.

Glad you enjoyed the story though! I recall it being especially fun to write. Hope your bad day makes itself better though. : (

Bad days are easy to come by these days.

This is probably my favorite interpretation of Thorax and Ember. Nicely done!

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