• Member Since 29th Jan, 2012
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Chengar Qordath


I write lots and lots of horse words; everything from comedy to drama. If you like what I write, please support me on Patreon.

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This story is a sequel to Northern Venture


Kukri Doo has a lot to think about after her trip to Northmarch. What was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime field trip with Sunset Shimmer turned into a horrifying struggle for survival—one that left hundreds dead and a city razed to the ground. It's a lot for anyone to deal with, let alone a changeling who's not even thirteen years old.

Kukri's come home to Freeport. If only it was that easy to leave all the memories of Northmarch behind.

Chapters (3)
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Comments ( 50 )

interesting i was wondering what was going on with kukri i like that instead of it being a side plot she gets her own story to deal with her problems

They knew Kukri needed help when she started playing Nickelback songs on loop.

9957197
don't knock it till ya try it

A new Freeport Story! Finally! Also, is that Twilight in the cover?

Yeah, I kinda figured poor little Kukri was going to have a little PTSD. At least she has her sister, who understands and can be a big help. Well, before certain events in another story occur....

Ok, so Kukri needs, like, all of the hugs and probably more than a few rounds of intensive therapy. Also noticed the Crystal Prep ponies in the cover so that’s going to be interesting. Interesting to see Kunai again, and acting more “human” no less. Last time we saw more of the assassin than we did the sister, so this was kinda nice, even if her advice was less than helpful to someone in Kukri’s position. Interested to see how this goes, and (hopefully) how Kukri works through this.

Who did the cover art? I love it.

9957232

Not Twilight... wrong color eyes. Probably Kunai.

Indigo Zap and Sunny Flare in Freeport... wonder where that is going...?

9957232
Hmm? Where do you see Twilight?

JMP

This is....yikes. Kukri is clearly traumatized by everything that happened in Northmarch, but uh....don't know who can really get her to open up. This seems to be taking place concurrently with "Tears in the Rain" so Puzzle is...occupied, to say the least, and Sunset won't be back for several months.
9957232
9957399
The pinkish mare on the left? That would probably be Kukri's mother. Kunai is a Free Mind. Take another look at the family's speech patterns.

JMP

9957381
InusHoshi, the regular artist for the Winningverse.

Oh, poor Kukri is clearly clinically depressed, I guess we get to see the level of mental health care in Freeport. We know that the Equestrian military has therapists but I'd expect the mercenary groups to be somewhat less well equipped for the situation although it's probably something they have to deal with frequently, hopefully the local cure isn't just to drink yourself into oblivion.

Boy, that was depressing. It was well written of course but still really sad to see just how traumatized Kukri was by Northern Venture (understandably so). Not just all the close brushes with death but the... survivor guilt as well (is that the right term?).

I'm not even sure how they would handle this in her family. Probably won't be as simple as trying to find a psychiatrist in Freeport. Her parents were affected too (and I expect we'll see more of how their view of Sunset will change after this as well). I hope Kukri can recover though she probably won't be as innocent again but then that's part of growing up too.

Another Kukri story? I wasn't expecting this, but I'm liking the tone it's set with this first chapter. I love this kind of heavy character drama.

Mom..even as a sailor she can run into this crap..Don't blame Sunset

Kunai wouldn’t be deterred. “You can show us later maybe. This one’s got a few knife tricks to show you now that you’re back. We can do it after breakfast, or whenever you're up for it.”Dad smiled hopefully at this one. “It’d be nice for you two to get to spend some time together. You never know when another job might pull Kunai away.”

Gotta separate these paragraphs.

9965030
thanks for catching that. Must have been a weird Google Docs transfer error.

That is some a very dramatic rain sitting on the cover art, Kukri.

This one wasn’t a grub anymore, it was almost thirteen years old! Its parents shouldn’t get to tell it what to do and have everyone just go along with that without even considering what this one wanted!

Lol, no. Not unless changelings have a dramatically different maturation rate compared to Equestrian ponies.

So what was the point of even getting out of bed? It would just mean sitting around bored in the house, and probably having Mom and Dad ask it more questions. Why did they keep acting like something was wrong? This one was fine.

Yeah, that's a very convincing description of someone that is fine.

“Kukri loves being the Shimmer-mare’s apprentice.” This one heard Dad moving around in the kitchen, but it couldn’t see what he was doing without getting closer and giving itself away. “Not to mention that if half the stories coming out of Northmarch are true, having her be the Shimmer-mare’s apprentice could be huge for us and her. I know Pater Vigil has been very happy with how being connected with the Shimmer-mare has helped the clan politically.”

I bet the clan is absolutely ecstatic about it. It's a strong connection to someone who is pretty significant in Freeport politics and is on the trajectory of becoming even more significant.

Then this one realized that the attacker was actually its sister. Kunai sat on her rump, blinking owlishly as she tried to shake off the effects of getting hit with a point blank thunderflash. After a couple seconds, she groaned and rubbed her eyes. “Okay. Ow. This one supposes it should be proud of you for having moves like that. Also, did it mention ow? Because that was not fun.”

Oops. Good thing it was Kunai and not a normal sibling.

Kunai wouldn’t be deterred. “You can show us later maybe. This one’s got a few knife tricks to show you now that you’re back. We can do it after breakfast, or whenever you're up for it.”Dad smiled hopefully at this one. “It’d be nice for you two to get to spend some time together. You never know when another job might pull Kunai away.”

Maybe even permanently considering that this might be set before she goes after Blackwing.

Indigo's a fan of Hogfather, is she?

That was a long way to go for a "My past is not today" reference, but if you're going to be that heartrendingly adorable about it, fiiiiiiiiine.

Okay, good to see Kukri get those much needed hugs I mentioned earlier. Now she just needs the intensive therapy and, hopefully, to talk to her family about her experiences. That would probably go a long way to helping her work through her trauma (probably, I’m not a psychiatrist). Plus, it might make her mom more favorably inclined towards Sunset to know just how far she went to protect Kukri and everyone else.

Damn. Kukri's really not having a good time of it.

JMP

This one threw its first two darts and hit the targets without any trouble, but ... well for some reason this one compared the sound of a popping balloon to the sound it heard when the Shimmer-mare put out one of the Glimmer-mare’s eyes. The last dart went wild and wound up making the carnie flinch when it hit the wooden planks of the waterfront a bit too close to his hooves.

...yikes. Not surprising, but still sad to see what's just the first of Kukri's trauma.

This one felt something inside itself snap, and it rounded on her. “Lucky? Lucky?! Oh, yeah, you only have a toy sword to only poke at a stuffed dummy? Oh boo-feathering-hoo, princess! Even if—even if—that tin-soldier prawn fork your precious Free Pretenders call a sword was worth a damn in a fight, you wouldn't have the first clue what ‘the real thing’ actually means! You think your cutsey little drills and your thrusts and your parries mean anything against a monster the size of a mountain?! Or maybe his pet warlock that could turn you into paste before you finished drawing your play-toy?”

Yep...there it is. At least she's admitted she's not fine. That's the first step. Seems Indigo and Sunny might be better for Kukri than she initially thought.

Indigo snorted and nudged both of us. “Yeah, yeah, you got your big famous families while my parents just sell books. Then again, I don't need to brag about how cool my teacher or my great-some-odd-uncle's brother's cousin's former roommate is. I just get to be amazing all on my own.”

spaceballs reference

Sunny Flare

Why does that name sound familiar?

Indigo Zap

Ah, the Shadowbolts. Interesting choice.

uncle's brother's cousin's former roommate

:rainbowlaugh: I see what you did there :pinkiehappy:

‘Ponies need to believe in things that aren’t true—that doing the right thing always pays off, justice will always prevail, and harmony will be restored. Because unless we believe in those things, we’ll never be able to make them be true.’

Eh, they're still kids. Hopefully they'll grow out of that foolishness before they become adults and other people starting having to pay for their naivety.

I do like that you are addressing the fallout and aftermath. PTSD is very real and hard to deal with if you've ever experienced it or helped others.

Mom and Dad traded another one of those looks that seemed to happen whenever this one opened its mouth. Then Dad answered. “We don't want to leave you home alone.”

Yeah, no kidding.

This one sat down and crossed its forelegs over its chest. “You both meet old friends this one hasn’t seen before, and they both just happen to have daughters the same age as this one? This one doesn’t believe in coincidences like that.”

This plan probably would have stood a better chance with a non-stinky Kukri.

“Oh.” Judging by the way Sunny’s eyes lit up, something must have fallen into place for her. Evidently she agreed with this one’s parents that being the Shimmer-mare’s apprentice was good for the family’s status in the clan. While this one didn’t really like to think of things that way, it probably did get a bit of reflected glory from the Shimmer-mare. The more impressive her accomplishments, the more it meant for this one to be her apprentice. Once everyone found out she killed one of the biggest and evilest dragons in the world...

Not to mention what happened with Chainbreaker.

The fire and ice spell was a good start at impressing these two new acquaintances.

“Not to mention his place stank,” Indigo chimed in. “No idea what it was, but it was like some of his food went bad and he tried to cover up the smell with lots of lime juice.”

Uh oh.

We all got glasses of water while we waited. Judging by what Sunny said next, she was clearly trying to get this one to do a spit-take. “You know, you don't need to cover up that you're a changeling if you don't want to.”

Oops.

Indigo scoffed. “I thought the whole point of this was to be kinda silly and have some fun. I didn’t come out to the waterfront to be all grim and serious.” She gave a few swings of the foam sword. “So, Sunny, who’s the best wielder of Chainbreaker?”

Uh oh, again.

Don't say it, Kukri.

This one wasn’t eager to pick sides. Fortunately, it had an easy way to stay neutral. Especially since it was also a completely honest answer. “The Shimmer-mare.”

A second after this one said that, it realized probably shouldn’t have. Puzzle told this one to not say anything about Chainbreaker. The Council was still trying to keep the fact that the sword had gotten stolen under wraps.

And of course she did.

“Well, she didn’t know!” this one snapped at her. “It was supposed to just be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to visit Argentium the Runescaled. Nobody knew there were going to be warlocks, mutants, and the most horrible evil dragon in the world! Nobody knew that the Glimmer-mare would show up and destroy our inn, or that Blackfyre would burn the whole city to the ground while we were inside it!”

Feels like this is a about to take a bad turn, though maybe these girls will see the stress and pull back a bit.

Apparently not. Maybe after the outburst, then.

Indigo swallowed and took a hesitant step towards this one. “Um ... wow. Sounds like a lot happened. Are ... are you okay?”

There we go.

It’s not fine, it’s not fine, it’s not fine, it’s not fine... oh Endless Night, this one was freaking out in front of them, but...

Hey, and there's the breakthrough Kukri really kind of needed.

This one grunted and just hugged her. Maybe she was right. This one ... wasn’t fine. But maybe someday it could be fine. It was a nice idea, to think that things could be better just because we wanted them to be. But ... well it wasn’t like this one could just completely forget about everything that happened just because it was in the past.

But ... well maybe this one didn’t need to let the past decide what today would be.

Nice. I love the call out to My Past Is Not Today.

“An evil dragon could swoop down from the sky and burn the entire city to the ground before murdering all who resisted and mutating the rest into horrible monsters that are a crime against nature and sanity,” this one answered. “Although if that happened, it's not like staying home would keep us safe anyway.”

Midnight Sparkle would be proud

Ponies need to believe in things that aren’t true—that doing the right thing always pays off, justice will always prevail, and harmony will be restored. Because unless we believe in those things, we’ll never be able to make them be true.’”

To quote a certain anthropomorphic personification

You're saying humans need... fantasies to make life bearable."
REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.
"Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—"
YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.
"So we can believe the big ones?"
YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

Comment posted by Admiral Q Ponyform deleted Dec 13th, 2019

damn this story was a lot shorter than i though it would be

Oh. That was easy. A quick 2 month jump to a better mental state. A nice place to end on, in any case.

The Shimmer-mare sighed. “Think about how your bed will feel with all those crumbs mixed into the sheets. Also, all the crumbs attract bugs.”

Sit on a towel and put it in the wash after, young fool.

It was nice to get a peek at what she was going threw while Puzzle and Sunset were busy.

JMP

This was a lot shorter than I expected, but I suppose this was just about Kukri getting closure, and she couldn't do that with Sunset still in Canterlot. Still, short and sweet. Glad Kukri has some new friends.

Aaaaaand there’s the intensive therapy and proper discussion. Glad to see Facon dealing with everything in a healthy way (seriously people, therapy, it’s there for a reason). Also interesting to see Kukri may have started to form her own little adventuring party. Hope we see more them, they’re neat. This story was shorter than I expected, but it’s about as long as it needs to be, I suppose. Overall, I enjoyed this, can’t wait to see what’s next in this corner of the ‘verse.

There was no proof he and Evergreen Shimmer had ever been anything more than political allies, but the two of them were probably just very discreet.

Kukri has her shipping goggles on :pinkiehappy:

“An eager young teenager with seemingly boundless curiosity and a mild case of hero-worship,” Shimmer-mare deadpanned. “I’ve never had to deal with anything like that before.”

:rainbowlaugh:

“This one’s...” It took a moment to find the right words. “This one’s not fine, but it thinks it’s going to be fine.”

:yay:

It did seem a bit of a sudden fix, but it is nice to see she is getting the help she needed and that things still aren't entirely right for either Kukri or Sunset.

Next problem to deal with Kukri discovered boys, or girls or both boys and girls.

Well, this one flew under my radar. Still a great read, capturing both the trauma and the start of Kukri's recovery in devastating detail. Plus, I always like seeing Shadowbolts, and I almost never see speculation on what their equine counterparts are like. I was not anticipating a well-read Indigo Zap in anything.

And Sunset realizing she's echoing Celestia's friendship lessons is amazing. :rainbowlaugh:

Brilliant work all around. Thank you for it.

JBL

Huh... well that ended abruptly.

Wow I thought this was going to be at least a few chapters longer. I felt like it was just picking up steam and then it's "Epilogue. Sunset came back and we talked."

It's over already? Huh.

Well, I enjoyed what we got, for what it's worth.

Always good to have an 'oh God, I sound like mom' moment.

Friends and therapy, both good developments.

This one also found a nice little side project to fill its time: genealogical research. Even if the Shimmer-mare didn’t want to find out how she was descended from Torch, this one could always research that on its own. It had found out a few useful things, like that one of her ancestors actually worked with Torch to help free the slaves. There was no proof he and Evergreen Shimmer had ever been anything more than political allies, but the two of them were probably just very discreet.

I look forward to seeing how that plays out in The Last Charger.

“I’m adjusting,” the Shimmer-mare answered. “It’s fine.”

This one couldn’t help raising an eyebrow at that remark. It had heard those words from itself far too many times. “Is it really fine?”

Mutual support between the "It's fine" crew.

“An eager young teenager with seemingly boundless curiosity and a mild case of hero-worship,” Shimmer-mare deadpanned. “I’ve never had to deal with anything like that before.”

Sure, but it'll probably be more entertaining in triplicate.

The Shimmer-mare grinned and ruffled this one’s headcrest again. “Oh, nothing. Glad you’ve got some friends to show me off to. I was starting to worry you were spending all your spare time studying with me instead of going out and making some friends.” A second after she said that, she groaned and buried her face in her hooves.

Hahahahaha! It's a natural state that comes with getting old.

A very honest look at trauma and dealing with it. I must echo the sentiment that it feels like this ended too quickly. I was very much looking forward to seeing that first talk Kukri had with her family after coming to terms with the fact that she’s not okay. In truth I’m kind of disappointed we only got that as a footnote in the epilogue. Still though, it was a nice piece and was cool to see Kooks make new friends (new cute nickname included)

This was so well done! I 'm glad that we got to see how Kurki deals with the aftermath of Northmarch. This struck just that right balance of sensitivity to the subject without either romanticizing depression and trauma, nor dismissing it. I'm happy that she's on her way to being better, we love a changeling that knows the importance of self care! :heart:

Thank you for writing such a nice story. Always appreciate them!

That ending. Feels in abundance. I love it. Good ponies those two.

The Shimmer-mare grinned and ruffled this one’s headcrest again. “Oh, nothing. Glad you’ve got some friends to show me off to. I was starting to worry you were spending all your spare time studying with me instead of going out and making some friends.”

You mean like you did? :trollestia:

A second after she said that, she groaned and buried her face in her hooves.

Ah, there it is.

Glad this ended happily. The three young friends gave me serious CMC vibes too. I'm eagerly awaiting to see what they get up to in the future.

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