• Published 27th Jul 2021
  • 3,546 Views, 109 Comments

BuggyCYOA - Krivvy

It was just another routine trip deep within the Everfree Forest when you stumbled upon a most unlikely companion...

  • ...

Backstory Brainstorming | Parts 139 - 150A

From the comfort of your chair, you think back to your brief meeting with Gilda today, and your planned meeting together for tomorrow.
Considering all the different possibilities that such a meeting may hold, you decide that it would be wise to speak with Notaulix about it.

"Notaulix? We need to discuss something." You say to the changeling.

"What is it, Anon?" Notaulix asks in response, giving you his full attention.

"I was just thinking about Gilda again. Did you hear all of that brief conversation that we had?" You say to him.

"Yes, I did." Notaulix confirms.

"So you noticed when Gilda said that she thought she heard someone else in here?" You ask.

"Yes. It doesn't surprise me that she could do that. Why do you ask?" Notaulix asks you in return.

"Well, I mean... It sure surprised me! I guess I had never thought about how sharp a griffons sense of hearing may be. Do you think that she could hear us speaking quietly when she knocked on the door?" You respond.

"I don't think so, Anon. It's more likely that she could hear our hoofsteps as we moved towards your room." Notaulix says.

"Footsteps in my case." You correct Notaulix with a smile. "That would be the best case scenario. I tried to avoid the subject when I said that I was just moving things around. She seemed to buy that, at least." You continue.
"Either way, when I go to meet with Gilda in Ponyville tomorrow, we need to be prepared for the possibility that she didn't believe my explanation, and knows for a fact that someone else was here." You explain.

"How do we prepare, Anon?" Notaulix asks you.

"The only thing I should need to say in that situation is that I did have a friend over... But if she presses further, we should carefully consider the details of the backstory of your griffon form now, rather than later." You answer.

"Oh, I see! Yes, that's a good idea, Anon. What did you have in mind?" Notaulix cheerfully asks, eager to hear what you have to say.

"Let's start at the beginning with your origin. Or rather, Gerson's origin." You suggest.

"My origin? What do you mean, Anon?" Notaulix asks you.

"What was Gerson's life like before he ended up in the Everfree forest? Where did he live? What did he do? You know, things like that... Didn't you go over any of this when you were training that one time?" You say to Notaulix.

"O-Oh, well, um..." Notaulix pauses as he considers your question. "N-No, we didn't do any of that. I'm sorry..." He admits.

You furrow your brow upon hearing Notaulix's answer. "Huh?! Really? How were you supposed to carry out your task if you didn't have those things worked out?" You question him.

"That was knowledge for the one who was selected to be told, I'm sure." Notaulix responds.

Staring at Notaulix in mild confusion, you wonder just exactly how his hive operated. "That seems strange." You comment.

"I'm sure my Queen had a good reason to do things that way, Anon" Notaulix plainly states in response, his voice hinting annoyance at your comment.

Notaulix's tone of voice gives you pause. You aren't certain what exactly prompted it, but you don't want to agitate him further.

"...Anyway, back to Gerson. Where did he come from?" You begin. "From what I understand, there aren't too many griffons here in Equestria, so we shouldn't say that he's from around here. Logically, that leaves us with Griffonia." You say.
"When we were talking the other day, you said that you were being selected to go to... What was it? Talons... Talon Hill? Or..." You trail off.

"Our journey was to take us to Talonsburg. Do you think that's where I should say I came from, Anon?" Notaulix asks you.

"Ah, that's right! Talonsburg... Not necessarily. With a real griffon hanging around here, we need to think carefully about details like this." You explain.

"Hmm..." Notaulix muses while raising a forehoof to his chin in thought. "What do you suggest?" He asks.

"It would be nice to know some other options. Sadly, I'm no expert on Griffonian geography... Were you told about any other towns or villages?" You ask Notaulix.

"No, I was not." Notaulix answers while shaking his head. "Only Talonsburg." He adds.

"Only Talonsburg, huh?" You repeat while crossing your arms.
"What do you know about that place?" You ask Notaulix.

"Talonsburg is a small griffon settlement in a region known as the Eastern Mountains." Notaulix promptly replies.

"...Anything else?" You question the changeling after waiting a few seconds to see if he would say more.

"I don't know anything else about Talonsburg, Anon." Notaulix answers.

Letting out a small sigh, you uncross your arms in order to rub your forehead. "This is going to be more difficult than I expected." You comment.

"I'm sorry that I can't be more helpful..." Notaulix says, giving you an apologetic look.

"No, no, don't worry about it." You reassure Notaulix. "Without knowing much about that place, maybe we should think of something else?" You suggest.

"Like what?" Notaulix asks.

"Well... Somewhere abroad? Where all have you been to outside of your hive? What did you do?" You ask Notaulix in return.

Upon hearing your question, Notaulix immediately perks up. "I was tasked as a stick gatherer and made frequent trips to the surrounding forest! I gathered many sticks." Notaulix proudly announces with a big smile.

"A... A stick gatherer?" You repeat, to which Notaulix nods his head with great enthusiasm.

You find yourself distracted for a moment as you ponder the incredibly simple sounding job that Notaulix is obviously proud of.
As much as you want to ask what the purpose of such a job was, you decide against it, as you don't want to accidentally offend Notaulix. Besides that, you have more important things to discuss.

"...Sooo, uh. Did that stick gathering ever take you very far from the hive?" You question Notaulix further.

"No, there was never any need to go far away." Notaulix answers.

"So we can't use that..." You mutter while trying to think of an answer to your problem.

After several minutes of silence, you watch as Notaulix climbs off the sofa. "I'll be right back, Anon." He says as he walks away, before disappearing around the corner into the hallway.

You take the opportunity to stand up and stretch, in addition to gathering up your dishes and bringing them over to the sink for washing later.
Once there, you lean up against the countertop as you stare out through the window above the sink, which a simple white lace curtain currently covers.
You feel a possible solution to Gerson's origin coming to mind, when you hear the approaching sound of hoofsteps against the wooden floor from behind you.

"Did you get a dessert for us, Anon?" Notaulix asks as he approaches you.

Turning around, you look down at the changeling looking back up at you expectantly, and smile. "Not today, sadly." You say to Notaulix.

"Oh... That's unfortunate. I would love to try more dessert some day." Notaulix comments.

"I'll get us something the next time I go to Ponyville, how about that? Anyway, come back over here, I think I got a good idea." You say to Notaulix while walking back over to the small table.

"Okay!" Notaulix says while following you over.

Over the course of the next hour or so that follows, you and Notaulix work together to flesh out what is a hopefully believable backstory for his griffon transformation.
While Notaulix had little in the way of ideas to offer, he still provided his own opinions on the things that you suggested.
In the end, the key points for Gerson the Griffon that you settled on are as follows...

- Until you can find an appropriate book or map detailing Griffonia, Gerson is simply from somewhere in the Eastern Mountains

- Gerson took an interest in plants early in his life and wanted to become an herbalist

- Gerson's interests were considered strange by the other griffons around him, leading to occasional ridicule that prompted him to eventually leave his home village

- One of the first places that Gerson sought out was the Everfree Forest in Equestria, as he had heard rumors of the strange and powerful plants that grow within

- Gerson is currently staying with you, both to recover from his near-death experience, and to work with someone who shares his interest

- You have not mentioned Gerson to the ponies, because he has never interacted with ponies before, and has been nervous what his first encounter with them might be like

With a more thought out backstory in place, you feel a measure of stress and anxiety at the thought of Notaulix's eventual first meeting with pony or griffon leave your mind.

After concluding your discussion, you and Notaulix take the time to wash and put away the days dishes.
The task doesn't take the two of you very long. Before you know it, you find yourself putting away the last dried off plate.
Looking over at the clock, you can see that there's about an hour and a half left in the day.

"Well Notaulix, I'm thinking a warm shower and some fresh clothes sounds real good right now. Do you want to get in there and clean up before I do this time?" You offer him.

Notaulix considers your offer for a moment, before shaking his head. "That's very kind of you Anon, but I am happy to simply wait my turn." He says.

"Suit yourself. I'll try not to take too long in there for you." You say before walking out of the kitchen towards your room.

"Thank you, Anon." You hear Notaulix say behind you.

Once in your bedroom, you are immediately reminded of your need to get some laundry done from the sparse supply of remaining clean clothes to put on. Or at the very least, clothes that are appropriate for the season.
Besides meeting with Gilda, tomorrow will no doubt be a laundry day. You consider simply bringing your clothes with you to drop off at the cleaning mare before your appointed time at Sugarcube Corner.

Having selected your next set of clothes, you walk from your bedroom to the bathroom, where you begin your usual end of day routine.
While cleaning yourself off in the shower, your thoughts drift to your upcoming meeting with Gilda tomorrow.
Will she bring up the guest that she thought she heard in your home? What kind of things about the Everfree does she want to know? Does she actually think what you do is cool? Such questions cross your mind.
Regardless of how the conversation goes, you simply hope it turns out well.

Some time later, you emerge from the bathroom all fresh, clean and ready for bed. Walking out into the living room, you find Notaulix resting in his usual spot on the sofa.
As you approach, Notaulix's ears perk up before looking in your direction. Upon seeing you, the changeling gives you one of his happy smiles.

"Bathroom's all yours." You say to Notaulix.

"Okay!" Notaulix replies before quickly climbing off the sofa. Once all four of his hooves are on the wooden floors, he takes a moment to stretch before trotting off to the bathroom.

Notaulix sure seems to enjoy his shower time, you think to yourself.

Taking a moment to do some stretching of your own, some of the many mysteries surrounding Notaulix and his home; his hive, flow through your mind.
You wonder just what exactly a changeling hive is like. The name alone can only bring forth mental images of insect colonies.
Granted, if Notaulix is any example to go off of, the natural form of his kind does have vague resemblances to insect-like features, but... Do they live like that too?

Furthering that train of thought, you begin to wonder how advanced or simple life might be like at his old hive, and if he had even experienced things like a warm shower prior to living with you.
The more you think about it, the more your mental image of changeling life becomes muddled when you recall what Notaulix said about his kind laying eggs to reproduce.
You decide to give up on the speculation and mysteries for now as you walk back over to the kitchen, opting instead to enjoy a glass of cool water.

After enjoying your hydration, you walk from the kitchen over to your bedroom. As you cross between the two rooms through the hallway, you can hear the gentle sound of running water coming from the bathroom.
Once back in your bedroom, you look around and quickly find the books covering the Everfree Forest neatly stacked on your desk, the ones that Notaulix has been studying.
Knowing how much he'll want to continue reading them, you decide to take a moment to bring the books back out to the small table in the living room for him.

While you're at it, you decide to tidy up the sofa and fluff the pillows for Notaulix's benefit. You know that he finds it comfortable regardless, but you'd like it to be the best that it can for him.
Thoughts of your previous conversation with Notaulix resurface in the back of your mind. If you're able to successfully introduce him to Ponyville, getting him his own bed is a definite priority.
As you walk back to your bedroom after completing your simple tasks, you idly wonder how much a pony sized bed even costs.

Once back in your room, your attention returns to your desk where, among other things, are two of the three books that Twilight loaned you regarding the races of the world.
Walking over to the bedside table, you pick up the third loaned book, the one you read last night titled Know Thy Neighbor, and place it on the desk next to the other two.
You don't find yourself in the mood to read more of that particular book at this moment. In fact, after last nights experience with Notaulix, you feel wary of even reading the other two.
And yet, you understand that there may be something useful to glean from those books. You consider your dilemma as you stare at the books resting on the desk.
On the other hand, when you turn your head the other way, your bed is looking very inviting at this hour after a long and busy day...

You decide to take a look at one of the loaned books that you've never read before, which goes by the title: Everypony: The Ancestral Tribes and Their History.
Judging from the appearance of the book alone, you would guess this book to be a much more recent production than the previous one you read.
With the book in hand, you climb on top of your bed and maneuver yourself into your usual comfortable reading position. Once there, you open up to the front pages to see if your suspicion holds true.

Sure enough, you find that this particular book, a first edition copy nonetheless, was produced only 22 years ago.

Turning to the table of contents, you notice that the book is divided into three main sections: Major Tribes, Minor Tribes, and Alicorn.
Reading further in the table, you find the Major Tribes to unsurprisingly discuss Earth, Pegasus and Unicorn ponies and their history.
As for the Minor Tribes, you see a slightly larger list of subjects, such as Donkeys, Thestrals, and other associated races which you know little to nothing about.
Scanning further ahead, there is no mention of changelings to be found. Flipping over to the back of the book, you locate an index where you confirm that there is nothing to read about changelings.
You expected such a result from the title alone, yet there's still a sense of disappointment.
Turning the book back over to the front cover, you let out a small sigh as you consider what to do next.

Moments later, you're back in position on your comfortable bed with the final book of the three loaned to you, titled: Silver Quill's Guide to The Races of The World.
A familiar title; one that you regard with a little nostalgia as you examine the cover before opening it up to its first pages.
Memories of your arrival in Equestria just a few years ago come to the forefront of your mind. You recall when Twilight Sparkle first loaned you this exact book to try and help you get acclimated to this world.
It was a difficult and stressful time for you, but it's one that you can look back on with fondness now.
There's things that you miss from your old life back on the Earth that you knew, but you wouldn't trade your new life here for anything. Without any doubt, the home in your heart is here in Equestria now.

Bringing your focus back to the book, you scan through the table of contents and quickly locate the section on changelings that you know exists in this book.
You may have read what it had to say on changelings before, but at the time you only paid the information enough attention to remember a few key points.
Turning the pages back, you quickly arrive at the small portion of the book dedicated to changelings.

The first thing you stop to observe is the relatively simple illustration of a single changeling, which takes up the entirety of the first page in addition to the sections title.

As you study the illustration, it's apparent that it appears to be an accurate depiction, more or less. The more you look, however, the more you see subtle differences compared to Notaulix.
For starters, the changeling depicted in the illustration seems smaller than Notaulix. In addition, you notice the fangs appear to be smaller, the unusual webbed mane a slightly different shape, and other such minor differences.
You understand that such differences could just be this particular artists depiction, but the artwork seems accurate enough to make you ponder over what the differences may mean.

While studying the changeling depicted in the book, your thoughts are interrupted when you hear the door to the bathroom open, followed by the sound of hoofsteps moving down the hallway to the living room.
You wait for a moment to listen if Notaulix is going to come visit you. When it becomes apparent that he isn't, you return your focus to the book.

Moving on from the opening illustration, you proceed to read through the books section on changelings.
Much of what you read are things that you either remembered or already knew. What you do notice is that this book has mostly the same things to say about changelings that the previous older book said.
Unfortunately, because of that, changelings are presented in the same negative light, albeit with some slight differences in wording. You do pick up on a few new things, though.
In the end, you consider the following to be the key points in this book...

- Changelings are an evil race of shapeshifters that devour the life force of other living beings

- Changelings live in dark, filthy tunnels dug into the earth, where they are led by an evil, fearsome Queen Changeling

- Changelings are known for abducting family members and replacing them with one of their own

- Changelings attack by disguising themselves through transformation as a pony or other race to produce a false sense of security around others, before sinking their fangs into their prey when an opportunity presents itself

- Changeling attacks are almost always carried out on isolated individuals, where the act won't be seen by others

- Changeling attacks were once a more frequent threat to Equestria. However, thanks to Iron Bit's reformation of the Royal Guard at the direction of the Princess, attacks are now a rare occurrence

- If their disguise happens to fail, changelings may try and claim that they simply feed from "Love" in an attempt to garner sympathy, in order to deceive and hide their true intentions

- Should a changeling be sighted or suspicious activity observed, the Royal Guard or the Princess, whichever is easier to contact, must be notified immediately for the safety of everypony

As you finish reading the last paragraph, you find yourself struck by how relatively consistent the information being presented is.
Between this book and the previous one that contained changeling information, there's roughly a century separating them, and yet very little had changed, apparently...
You do wonder about this Iron Bit mentioned in the book, along with the corresponding reformation that took place.
Above all, the question at the forefront of your mind now is a simple one: If ponies viewed changelings in roughly the same way for over a hundred years, how do they view them in the present day?
It seems strange to you. For such a supposed danger, you don't recall ever hearing a pony mention changelings before. You would never have initially known about them yourself if it wasn't for reading this book.
You decide to close the book and set it aside before rolling onto your back, where you rest your hands behind your head.
Staring up at the ceiling, you spend some time meditating on the contrast between what these pony books say, and your own personal experience with Notaulix.

You eventually turn to look at your clock and see that there's about half an hour left in the day. With that in mind, you decide to go visit Notaulix and check in on him before bed.
Rising from your bed, you walk out of your bedroom, through the hallway and into the living room. Almost immediately, Notaulix pokes his head over the side of the sofa.

Upon catching sight of you, the changeling gives you a warm smile. "Hello Anon!" Notaulix cheerfully greets you.

"Hey there." You say in response while walking around to the front side of the sofa, where you see Notaulix is reading the Everfree Forest books, unsurprisingly.
"It's been a good day, hasn't it? Did the shower feel good?" You ask Notaulix.

"Yes, today has been a very good day!" Notaulix says, nodding his head for emphasis. "The shower does feel very good, Anon. It's very warm, and being clean is good." He continues.

"Yeah. I always think they feel extra good after a day spent in the Everfree. Especially a hot shower on an icy cold day, or a cold one when it's hot outside." You say.

"I'm just happy that I got to work with you today, Anon. That's what has made me feel the best today." Notaulix says to you.

You're not entirely sure if that was a statement or him thanking you, but Notaulix's comment can't help but force a smile to your face.

"I have to say, it really was nice to have a partner out there. I'm looking forward to wandering out there with you again one day soon." You say to Notaulix.

"As will I, Anon!" Notaulix says with enthusiasm.

You slowly nod your head a few times in agreement. Soon, a lull begins to develop in your conversation as you think about what to say next.

"I don't know about you, but I'm feeling pretty tired. Is there anything you wanted to talk about before I go to bed?" You ask Notaulix.

Notaulix takes a moment to consider your question before answering. "I can't think of anything, Anon. I am content." He replies.

"Okay then. I'll see you in the morning, Notaulix. Good night." You say with a wave of a hand before beginning the short walk back to your bedroom.

"Good night, Anon" Notaulix says in response.

Back in your room with the door firmly shut behind you, the first thing you do is sit down at the desk near the foot of the bed and spend some time writing in your journal.
You get a good amount of progress written in, but you can feel your concentration growing weary as sunset approaches.
Taking a moment to set down your writing quill to give your hand a rest, you find yourself letting out a big yawn.
After that, you look down at the fresh ink drying on the open pages of your journal, debating internally whether or not you want to push forward and finish your writing now, or crawl into the comforts of your bed and save it for tomorrow.

Knowing the rest can wait for tomorrow, you leave the pages of your journal open to allow the ink time to dry, followed by standing up from the desk and walk over to the side of your bed.
Once there, you go about your usual routine of taking off your undesired clothes and neatly setting them aside before climbing into bed.
Pulling up the sheets and blanket around your neck, you begin to relax as you rest your head on the comfortable pillow.
While waiting for the final minutes of daytime to pass, you stare up at the ceiling as your thoughts return to your meeting with Gilda tomorrow.

You might have some worries over how things may go, but overall you feel surprisingly good about it.
You're not quite certain if it's from getting to know Notaulix or Twilight encouraging you to do so, but the opportunity to properly meet and interact with a new race sounds fun to you now, even if you avoided griffons in the past.
As you ponder your recent change in attitude, the transition from day to night occurs; first bathing your room for a brief moment in the brilliant golden tones of sunset, before plunging it into darkness.
Soon, your eyes begin to adjust to the darkness, and see the gentle illumination of moonlight filtering in through the windows. You close your eyes, and not long after that, fall asleep.