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Trinary


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Instincts are a powerful thing. For dragons, they're even stronger than most. Ocellus knows this. But when Smolder's instincts drive her into a hoarding frenzy, she's the one who must find a way to reach past those instincts and get through to Smolder herself, as well as discover a few things about herself along the way. Even if everyone knows the one thing you should never do is go into a dragon's lair.

Even if it's made of pillows.

An entry in the The Discovery - A Young Six Writing Contest!

[Note: Placed in Top Ten for the contest!]

Cover art commissioned from DVixie.

Comments welcomed and appreciated!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 27 )

I was enthralled all the way through this. The description, connection, and dialogue are some of the best I've seen.

This is fantastic.

So at some point this contest seems to have half-transformed into a Smolder/Ocellus contest. Not that I’m complaining, though I do wonder somewhat if we might all just be gaming the fact that Semillon-senpai is one of the judges...

:rainbowwild: Just kidding.

Anyway, this is great. You’re fantastic, as always, at writing out the interactions of the Student Six with each other. Seriously, I’m jealous. You seem to just get the six of them, everything feels natural in the way they interact with each other and totally faithful to what the show gave us to work with (which was nowhere near enough).

Like with Wait, What Kind of “It”, if I did my usual quote-spam response I’d probably just end up reprinting this entire fic in my comment. Some of the big highlights are Ocellus and Yona translating from griffin, Sandbar thinking long-term about Smolder’s pillow fort construction abilities (if Gallus wasn’t worried about, ahem, certain documents in his desk I’m sure he’d be on top of that too), and of course just everything Smolder and Ocellus, particularly the bit with Ocellus taking about their first few days together at school.

Hope you do good in the contest! Now I really need to knuckle down and start writing ASAP, finish my own entry (or maybe entries? We’ll see).

10061448
Thank you so much!!! That means a lot!

10061466
The contest can't help it, Smolder and Ocellus are just the cutest of the Student Six. That's right, I said it, FIGHT ME ON THIS!!! :rainbowdetermined2:

I have a little too much fun with the guys, having Sandbar be a cloudcuckoolander-hippie and Gallus a snarktastic grump whose soft side is all too obvious to his friends, which annoys the crud out of him. It probably wouldn't work as well if I had to write an entire story with them, but for smaller appearances I think I can get away with how I handle them.

The story just sort of came together while writing it. Beyond just liking Smolder and Ocellus the most out of the Students, and the two having a LOT of adorable shared moments in the show, the two have potential shared issues that really aren't held by the rest of their friends. We've seen episodes with members of their species succumbing to hunger or instincts, becoming semi-feral (Thorax in The Times They Are a Changeling and Spike in The Secret of My Excess). Maybe Gallus could become a bit greedier, but nothing on the order of potentially devolving to sheer, predatory instinct. Unless someone had a plush mouse filled with catnip or a laser-pointer or something.

I like to see the two of them adopting friendship in a way and making fit into their own unique outlooks and not simply 'ponifying' them, for lack of a better term. Since Smolder is a dragon, a creature that will grow into a big, powerful beast, the idea of her protecting the much smaller and more fragile Ocellus--well, that's a mental image too sweet to ignore. Of course, Ocellus is hardly weak herself and seeing her talk back to said big beastie, well, that's also adorable. Basically anytime you get these two together, adorableness follows. It's inevitable.

Thanks so much for all the inspiration and feedback! I cannot wait to read your entry/entries, even if I'm sure they'll blow mine out of the water. Especially if they do that, actually.

A very funny, enjoyable & sweet story here, love how you captured each of the Young Six's personalities here, not to mention how they really cared about Smolder's condition.

Sweet story all around! :twilightsmile:

10061860
Aww, thank you!

This story is sooo cuteeee :rainbowkiss:

Character interactions are great, as always, and I particularly loved the ending where the fiasco just ends with a nice, loving tea session between friends :heart:

Hope you do well in the contest!

Gallus shouting and bursting into her room seemed to do the trick. “Ocellus! We have a situation!”

I feel this would work better if the direct quote and the descriptor were reversed, and the quote placed in its own paragraph. Lends the words more punch, plus the descriptor is more necessary, because it tells us who's talking after we've seen that happen.
Oh, and it's "first things first", no apostrophe. It's a plural, not a possessive or a shortened verb.

That was adorable. I always feel like I’m pairing the spares with these two since I ship Gallstream and Yonabar so hard, but seeing sweet stories like this makes it work for me.

10063606
Thanks! Fixed.

Sandbar's aunt is Tree Hugger?!!?!!

10064940
She is in my headcannon. I can just see them being related somehow.

tree Hugger is Sandbar's aunt and bakes him 'special' brownies. Yeah, that makes all the sense.

Anyway, fantastic as always.

“I’m not worried!”

Ocellus’ ears flicked at his commentary. “Sorry, I meant especially Gallus,”

You can't hide your feelings from a changeling.

Anyway, this was cute, and the characters were all IC.

D'aw! This was a good read.

Smolder shook her head after they left. “Jokes on them,” she murmured to Ocellus, pouring them both some more tea. “We’re in the most exclusive, awesome party ever and they aren’t.” her face revealed a toothy smile. “Plus, we’re armed with every pillow in school. Once we’re done, we’re going to hit them with the most one-sided pillow fight in history. More like a pillow slaughter, really.”

LOL!

Trinary! I am here to pass divine judgement!

And by that I mean give you a review of your wonderful story, because you asked for it! So let's do it.

First of all: You were in the Top 10. So be proud of that.

Ocellus suddenly tasted a shared tension that filled the room. Even though they were all Smolder’s friends, it was hard to ignore years of stories and warnings from their elders about never, ever disturbing a dragon in their lair, even if it was just a pillow fort. It was understandable, Ocellus admitted to herself. Even changelings in the Bad Old Days of Queen Chrysalis gave dragons a wide berth. They were just too big, too dangerous, and not ‘loving enough,’ as Chrysalis put it, to make tangling with them worthwhile.

I will always comment on a good opening, so I want to tell you that I love this paragraph. Sets up the whole conflict and leads into the reason why is has to be Ocellus pretty well. That being said...

The pacing in this story felt a little bit slow for my liking. The set-up is nice, it makes enough sense, but I think that too much time is taken to explain the situation and send Ocellus into Smolder's lair.

I also have to tell you that it doesn't feel like the conflict rises enough for it to feel super cathartic at the end. I'm obviously happy that Ocellus manages to calm Smolder down in the end, because I know and care about the characters because you do a really sweet job at making Ocellus's desires and thoughts clear, but structurally the story is like this:

Ocellus is doing homework >> Ocellus is tasked to talk Smolder into giving everycreature's stuff back >> Ocellus talks to Smolder and gives everycreature's stuff back

It doesn't feel like Ocellus has to discover anything new in order to solve the problem at hand. Ocellus simply reminds Smolder about things that have happened outside of the story in order to get her to chill, and that's what their chemistry is based on. We don't actually see it in action until the very end.

Let's move on to Ocellus's character change in this story, which is the question of whether or not creatures are slaves to their instincts or not, but I feel like that not enough went wrong over the course of the story to force her into the kind of introspection that would have made the ending feel super super amazing. Ocellus wonders if Smolder's doomed to this, she wonders if maybe she's doomed to just being a deceptive changeling, and then she all of a sudden realizes that that's not the case because she's been looking at it the wrong way. But there's nothing that truly challenges her beliefs besides Smolder acting feral and I would have loved more problems regarding with that, because it's quite a nice internal conflict to have in a story.

TLDR; Ocellus solves the Smolder problem a little too easily.

Now, characters! Your characters are, for the most part, pretty well written, but there were a few things that kind of took me (and the other judges) out of the story. At some points you're like, mean.

Gallus pinched his beak. “Sandbar, could you go grab my book from our room?”

Sandbar smiled and nodded. As soon as he left, Gallus turned to the others. “Sorry, I just needed a half-minute break.” The others all nodded in understanding. Even Yona.

Sandbar returned, trotting back in with a book and gave it to Gallus. “You wanted this?”

“I did.” Gallus whapped him over the head with it. “Thanks.”

Frowning, Sandbar rubbed his head. “So not cool.”

Maybe this was supposed to just be banter-y type shenanigans, but it kind of just felt really mean spirited to me. And a lot of my friends are assholes so I don't think that has to do with me being sensitive. It's just a bit off-putting. It especially stands out so much because there's not much reason for it in the scope of the story, so when it happens it breaks immersion just a bit and when I first read this there were a few times where I found myself stepping back and going "Wait, what? Why did that just happen?"

Are you still with me? Okay. Let me shower you in well-deserved compliments.

Your Ocellus dialogue felt strong enough to carry the entire story! This is something that's hard to do. There weren't really any points where I found myself wishing that Ocellus had someone responding back to her, which you should take as an achievement. A pseudo extended monologue like this is something that a lot of people attempt to do and end up boring their readers, but I didn't feel bored with this.

No such luck. Ocellus groaned and settled in to get comfortable. “Friendship sure isn’t easy sometimes.” She slowly nursed her tea. “Can I tell you something? Well, of course I can—I mean, it’s nice to ask permission first though.” She waited but predictably didn’t get a reply. “You know how different changelings and dragons are? Sorry, that’s a rhetorical question. I come from a big, busy Hive full of hundreds of changelings. Before coming to the School, I had never been apart from it, or from any other changelings. It was really scary for me.” She rubbed her shoulder. “Dragons, you’re so big and strong but you mostly prefer to be on your own. I don’t think you liked the idea of being so close to so many creatures. It must’ve been as weird and upsetting for you as it was for me to be away from other changelings. To tell you the truth I...”

This bit, this entire part where she talks about being scared of dragons and then the adjustments that she and Smolder had to make in order to live together? It's sweet. A brown sugar and maple syrup crepe filled with strawberries and whipped cream kind of sweet. And I loved it. You made a really elegant nod to the whole culture clash dynamic that makes the Young Six so interesting, and I loved this. It was just a joy to see Ocellus spill her heart like this.

That might sound like I'm contradicting my earlier nit-pick. I'm not. I still would have loved more challenges (past Smolder making her drink more tea and being generally incomprehensible) for Ocellus to face in the present situation, but these parts were really fucking adorable.

I also think that the revelation with Ocellus realizing that Smolder's love for her friends has been present the whole time was quite moving. It just could have felt more earned, if that makes any sense.

Obviously I have my biases, I think half this contest knew how much I love Smolcellus, but I really do think that this is quite a great story. You managed to write a great Ocellus and even though she's talking to herself the entire time, it's pretty captivating. At the end I feel very satisfied—I feel like a thirst I had was quenched. I loved it.

:heart: Truly, thank you for submitting to the contest. I was so incredibly excited to see your story when it popped up initially and I've been wanting to talk about it for the longest time so, I hope that what I've said has been helpful and if you need any clarification or anything at all, please let me know and PM me! See you around :twilightsmile:

10168375
Thanks so much for the feedback! Hearing I cracked the top ten in a contest that garnered 38 entries was a considerable boost to me, especially since this was my first stab at writing a story for a contest.

As happened with RainbowDoubleDash, this was actually a backup story that I wrote when I realized that my original planned entry was running too long (never fear, that story is being repurposed to fit in with a future project RDD is aiming for). With that story already exceeding the maximum word limit and only being about 1/3rd done, I resolved to try to keep this one much smaller and more self-contained. I think that's what shaped my approach to try to keep this one short and sweet. Well that and the tendency I've noticed for shorter stories to often attract a wider audience than longer ones. I guess I bent the stick too far in the opposite direction.

I'm rather annoyed at myself that I apparently let the Sandbar-Gallus thing drift over into mean-spirited territory. I'm generally very sensitive on that subject, with more than a few blogs and even stories I've written on this site explicitly calling out that behavior by certain characters in certain episodes--but I suppose the sad truth is that no matter how much we may wish to deny it, we're quicker to pick up on such things when it comes to characters we care about and slower to recognize it for characters we don't. There's a reason why most of my stories tend to revolve around the same few characters over and over again. Some characters just click for me and I'm able to find their voice, and write it rather well (at least, I like to think so). For others it's more of a struggle. For instance, Pinkie Pie to this day is frustrating as all hell for me to write well.

Before signing off, I was wondering if I might ask for your indulgence on something? I was wondering if you could make a similar review of "Wait, What Kind of 'It?,'" as if that story too had been an entry to the contest. Obviously, I know you're busy with many other reviews to write, but I wouldn't mind some additional feedback if you ever have some extra time. I'd be especially interested on how I handled the characterization for the Student Six, if there was anything that story and this one shared that I should watch out for, like the Gallus-Sandbar thing.

Thanks so much again for your time and consideration.

10168511

For others it's more of a struggle. For instance, Pinkie Pie to this day is frustrating as all hell for me to write well.

Hah, I get you. Yeah, I don't think you were being cruel on purpose or anything, don't get me wrong! It's just unfortunate that it turned out to be that way.

Obviously, I know you're busy with many other reviews to write,

Actually, you were my last! So I'd be happy to do it :twilightsmile:

10168511
Whooooooo, finalists! Great job, Trinary!

10168916
I can hardly believe I cracked the top ten!!!

Very nice. I like the reference to Madame LeFlour.

Unfortunately, there really weren’t any books on how to train dragons.

We all see what you did there. Cleverly put in.

“Remember when Sandbar shared some of his Aunt Tree Hugger’s brownies with us? That’s kind of where my head was for a bit. Sorry.”

D R U G S

10919287
As the legendary Paleosteno said on bronies react, "Dude, take a hit."

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