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The Red Parade


I wish you all the luck in the world, you need it more than I do.

E

How do you fly if you’re scared to fall? Fleetfoot discusses falling and other similies with an old friend.

A fairly short story about letting go, moving on, and of those we leave behind.


Featured on Equestria Daily 2/24/20!
Reviewed by the wonderful Flutterjackdash!

Entry twelve in time changes everything

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 20 )

Interesting piece. Thank you for sharing it. Especially interesting the point of view regarding death being different from the other two main pony tribes.

Not sure if I'm reading something more into it or not. Guessing Fleetfoot has decided to join her friends in death as Spitfire takes her final flight. Although, her talking with Soarin would technically prove to her a place exists after the final flight. Though could be in her head.

Even if not, well handled depiction.

9964061
Thank you!

I had the idea that pegasi would handle death differently than burial, since they live on clouds and all that.

As for what's really happening here I'll leave it up to interpretation. They could be ghosts, spirits, or whatever you want.

Well, that was good stuff:twilightsmile: Easy, short, but still with emotions, well done, you get an upvote from me:moustache:

Just on a side note, what brought me here was a test review from someone who applied to my review group, the way they presented your story was interesting enough to give this a look. So you will see the review you requested soon in the group:raritywink:

9975446
Oh, nice! I’m glad you both enjoyed it!

Well... wasn't this something. Something special, that's for sure.
Very rarely does a Wonderbolt fan get to read a story that is touching, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and character-portraying at the same time. This story was all of that, and more. I cried, I smiled through tears, and I had to sit here thinking for a good long while after finishing. Wonderfully done. Wonderfully, wonderfully done.
If I had to suggest something, it's that you write "Soarin" with an apostrophe at the end, where it's actually been changed to just "Soarin", without the apostrophe. Minor thing.
Truly, this is... well, again, something special. It has my Favorite - and respect.

9978706
Thank you! And yeah, this story has given me all sorts of grammatical grief. Apparently I don't know how to spell the word 'cemetery,' so that's cool.

This wasn't bad! There were a few hiccups here and there, but I think they're the kind of thing that could've been ironed out with an editing pass or two instead of the more fundamental issues that might call for a full rewrite. So I'd say this is in a pretty decent spot. I'll admit I actually didn't get the twist at the end right away, because I was a dummy and somehow missed both the lines that made it pretty obvious what was going on, but reading back through it a bit, it was pretty clear.

Something I did find a little confusing is how the actual funeral scene was pretty devoid of reactions from Fleetfoot. From her conversation with Soarin, I get the impression that she didn't realize she was dead, but she doesn't react at all to being at a funeral that's explicitly for her. And sure, yeah, there's her acceptance and all that at the end, but looking back now, it feels really strange that she didn't react more in the moment. Unless she knew she was dead the whole time. But if she did know, why would she beat around the bush with Soarin?

But overall, this was pretty sound, structurally. I don't feel like it's got the most spectacular premise or message, but for what it is, it was fairly solid. I liked the pie analogy a lot--that's probably going to be what I remember about this story in a few days, if I'm being honest.

All that being said, some annoying nitpicky technical notes, because I found myself raising an eyebrow at this quite a lot. The first point where that happened was at the end of the first non-song paragraph:

It seemed like there wasn’t a place you could go in Cloudsdale without hearing that song, the mare thought.

Specifically that last part. I don't know why you would say "the mare" instead of "Fleetfoot." If you wanted to leave the speaker's identity ambiguous for whatever reason, that might be one thing, but when you come out and say her name in just the next paragraph, it makes the decision to omit it earlier a little puzzling. Perhaps there's a reason for it I'm missing, but I'd question what the thought there was.

This same sort of thing actually crops up again later, in this passage:

Fleetfoot set off, weaving through the crowd until she ended up near the front. She watched as the three ponies turned to face the crowd. Two were wearing the same dress blues that dotted the crowd. The first, a rainbow maned pegasus, shuffled nervously. Her eyes never left the urn that lay on the cloud by her hooves.
“You ready, Cap?” The second pony of the group, a black and white pegasus, gently nudged her.
Failing to elicit a response, the third pony, a non-uniformed purple pony, cleared her throat. “Rainbow?”
Rainbow Dash blinked, then adjusted her cap. “Uh, yeah. Sorry. Ready.”
Her hesitation made Fleetfoot shake her head and chuckle. It wasn’t like the carefree pegasus to be nervous, but who was she to judge? She hadn’t been much better when she led the ceremony.
The third gave a small nod. “Okay. Captain Dash, Lieutenant Thunderlane, shall we proceed?”
Thunderlane nodded, but Rainbow hesitated again. “Uh… Sorry, Twi. It’s just-”
Twilight Sparkle raised a hoof, silencing her friend. “It’s fine, Rainbow. You need to let go. Everyone here does, that’s why we’re here.”

Where, again, I don't know why you wouldn't just identify the characters by name. Thunderlane and Rainbow were Fleetfoot's teammates--surely she recognizes them. Twilight, I could sorta see Fleetfoot not knowing by name since I don't think they've interacted as much, but then she's only addressed as Twi and then Fleetfoot knows she's Twilight Sparkle, so clearly she knows the princess by name.

Again, there might very well be a good reason to not come out and use names right away, but I struggle to see what's gained by omitting them at first.

But anyway, back to that first paragraph:

It seemed like there wasn’t a place you could go in Cloudsdale without hearing that song, the mare thought. It was a silly song left over from the glory days of the old guard, when the Wonderbolts were more military than show. But despite being old, it was still popular. Even in the solidarity of the Cloudsdale cemetery she couldn’t escape it as it played in the back of her head.

The third sentence ("Despite being old...") feels almost completely redundant. We already know from the first sentence that the song's popular, and from the second sentence that it's old. So I don't think there's much reason to state those facts again.

(I'm also a little iffy about the word "solidarity" there--did you mean to say "solitude"?)

Then this next bit:

After a pegasus died, it was tradition for them to be cremated. Then their ashes would be released, letting them take one last flight before they moved on to… whatever came after life. That very thought sent a shudder down Fleetfoot’s back. She didn’t like thinking about death.

I think, again, that last sentence could probably be cut, since we've just seen Fleetfoot shuddering at the thought of death--that she doesn't like that kind of thought is something that I think can be extrapolated. If it wasn't made clear there, I'd guess it would be eventually, given the direction the story later goes in.

“Please, I’ve heard enough of that for a lifetime.” Fleetfoot’s ear twitched as a voice chuckled from behind her.

Okay, so. These sentences are technically sound, I think. Grammatically, you're probably allowed to write them this way.

But.

Dialogue tags are common enough that if a character's name follows dialogue immediately--as it did here--my automatic assumption is that that's the speaker being identified. So, here, even though the context makes it clear that Soarin is the one who's speaking, I have to go back and double-check that because Fleetfoot's name makes me think for a moment that she's the one who's talking here. So I wouldn't recommend doing something like this.

Another oddity is when there's stuff like these:

Rainbow blinked and saluted back, not completely aware of what she was doing.

Twilight closed her eyes, doing a quick calculation to take account for the wind.

Where the perspective gets a little janky; we've spent the bulk of the story in Fleetfoot's head, but occasionally she's privy to other ponies' thoughts and feelings.

And also a handful of spots where you didn't put commas before names in dialogue, like right here:

“Okay Captain Fleetfoot,”

And that's about all I can think to say. I hope you find this helpful and keep writing :twilightsmile:

Addendum, because gah, thoughts keep coming: I'd probably ditch the Tragedy tag for this one, since it's not really about any sort of failure or downfall on Fleetfoot's part? I mean, okay, sure, she's dead, that's tragic and all, but the story is about her accepting that and moving on, which is bittersweet--so I get the Sad tag--but not really what I'd call a proper Tragedy.

9984094
Thank you! I agree, I think there does need to be some more reaction from Fleetfoot's end. Not sure why I haven't considered that before.

For character introductions this is just the way I've always done it. I prefer to do soft introductions than just outright say "Bam, here's a name," but I've never given this much thought before.

Also the story mainly takes the perspective of omniscient third person narrator. It's not supposed to specifically follow Fleetfoot, but I see where you're coming from.

Other than that I agree with everything else you've said. You've given me a lot to work with. Thanks again!

9984221
You're very welcome, happy to help :twilightsmile:

For character introductions this is just the way I've always done it. I prefer to do soft introductions than just outright say "Bam, here's a name," but I've never given this much thought before.

So, to be clear, I think there definitely can be value in that kind of introduction, but how much value there is depends on the context and the specifics of the introduction. Introducing a character can be a great way to establish their personalities and whatnot--what kind of impression they make, what other people think of them, etc.

However, when you write something like this:

a rainbow maned pegasus

To me, this doesn't say much except that "this pony is probably meant to be Rainbow Dash." There's not much more information to be gleaned from this description--so it feels like a roundabout, obtuse way of getting the exact same point across that referring to Rainbow Dash by name would have conveyed with more certainty and fewer words.

The onion chopping ninjas almost got me.

I have to admit, this story was very interesting. I love how it slowly reveals about more dead ponies as the story goes on. First, it clearly mentions Spitfire as passing on, and then mentions a memorial to Soarin, and then the ending comes and you realize that Fleetfoot was talking beyond the grave.

Also, I really loved the juxtaposition between the lyrics and what’s actually going on early in the story.

All in all, a pretty good, introspective story. As much as the lesson should be taught, not fearing death isn’t something that comes up often, it’s usually about living life to the fullest. So, kudos on that, too.

10101672
Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

Ri2

If we lived forever, would we do anything?”

Doesn't seem to bother Discord, Celestia, Luna, every other immortal we know...

10104110
Fair. For the purposes of this story I don’t consider them to be immortals but rather they have an extended lifespan. Meaning that they will, like everyone else die eventually. It that’s just for this story.

There's always that one bloody downvote. There's probably some brony hater running around downvoting everyone's stories.

10108137
I picked it up after doing a promo run because it got featured on EQD. I think someone either doesn’t like promotion or doesn’t like EQD.

10108157
Or they don’t like me, which is understandable. I don’t like me either.

10108162
Strange, I don't like you either

Disliking someone's story because of personal issues is probably the most childish thing one could do on this website...

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