• Member Since 5th Nov, 2011
  • offline last seen Oct 5th, 2015



  • T Havoc's Hourglass
    Continuing the search for Havoc's locked away powers, Novell and Whisper must lead their friends on separate quests to both the wintry peaks of Dragon lands and Dromadary, the deserts of the Camels.
    Croswynd · 13k words  ·  40  1 · 457 views


(5-Star on Equestria Daily!) Purpose. In Equestria, where purpose is defined by the mark on your flank, it is often taken for granted. Yet Novell has grown to adulthood without a single explanation of where he fits in. It's not until a chance meeting with a particular Professor that he gets the opportunity to explore the world and find out exactly where he belongs. Of course, adventuring has a host of its own problems, as this blank flank is about to find out!

Chapters (23)
Comments ( 165 )

Me gusta this story!
I won't spoiler it for anybody but I can already guess what the epilogue is going to be, and I'm going to be DYING to see it get there-- even if I enjoy the trip between.

Congrats on getting an all OC story onto Equestria Daily!

Thank you, thank you! It took some doing, but somehow I managed it. Hopefully I can continue to hold enough attention to warrant the full 40 chapters I wish to make this.

Wow, what an interesting turn of events. I still have no idea whats going on. But way to go and kill the mare. OR DID YOU? :pinkiegasp:

wow, didn't see that coming.
loving the story so far, I think I have something in my eyes:fluttercry:

Oh man. This just keeps getting better and better, nice work!

Many of you who've read through all my chapters may have noticed that the Prologue and Chapters 1-4 have 'Chapter Topper' art - that is, a scene from the chapter in digital grayscale - but all chapters afterward do not. I would very much like to remedy this and my artists have encouraged me to range out in the community for new artists who would be willing to add their own artistic flare to this story.

So, if any of you are interested and are confident in your skills as an artist, please send me a private message with an example of your artwork and we'll work out the details from there.

Thanks to any of you who offer! I will, of course, add a link to your DA page under it like I have for both Wisdom Thumbs and Master Shake.

Very interesting, I shall read more!:pinkiehappy:

You have once again delivered a masterpiece of a chapter. I love these several thousand word chapters :pinkiehappy:

And I enjoy writing them! Of course me continue is due in no small part to you, P3GACY, and the other commenters cheering me on. Thanks :)

If anyone has any critiques for me, don't be shy! I love being told what I'm doing wrong, so I can do it better!

Until next week!

Whisper's so adorable, and Novell's so oblivious. :twilightsheepish: I think they make a wonderful couple. Heh. Keep up the good work, man. This story is lovely - and to think that I disliked shipping before I entered this fandom.

Loving every chapter of this fic! :twilightsmile: I patiently await the next installment of this great story! Also, very curious to see how things develope between Whisper and Novell.:pinkiehappy:

I don't understand why this isn't more popular. This is a fantastic story. GREAT CHAPTER, glad whisper is ok :)

Good chapter - but I must ask, what kind of roux did she have lying around? White, light, dark? Random as that is, I simply must know. Hehe. Also, I've probably said this before, but Whisper and Novell are a cute couple. :twilightsheepish:

@Pegacy: I imagine it's the rather cliche synopsis I used that's keeping people from reading or maybe even the sheer length of each chapter. Of course, it could also very well be my writing, too!

@Dream: Dark, of course!

Maybe the Google docs version is more popular?

I hope you do the full 40 chapters you mentioned in another comment. I for one would love to read it!

Roux is what exactly? If it is something used in French cooking, I think I know, but I didn't think that's something you could really store for later?

That was a cool chapter. It could use some more proof reading though. A couple things I'd like to mention are in the dialog with Luna. Several of the times that thy was used the word thou should have be used. It might have sounded better too with shalt and art in a couple spots instead of shall and are. Also, when novel was surprised that Luna knew his last name, she had already stated it before. :derpyderp2:

I still really enjoyed it and hope you continue to update. :pinkiehappy:


Thank you for pointing those mistakes out. They are corrected. :twilightsmile:

Really, really love this story! Keep it up!

At the end, "Elcome to the griffon kingdoms" Fixit. Time to to read dis...

Thank you. I had some minor technical difficulties with my iPad, so it messed up in Google Docs. All fixed up!:twilightsheepish:

Great update, and I like the resolution we got about Novell's cutie mark and his conversation with the Crusaders.

An invisible cutie mark? To quote Sweetie Belle: OH COME ON!!

I'm sorry but I feel GYPPED. Considering all the times it was dropped about him observing details, using similes and metaphors and trying to think of turns of phrase for something, and the fact that the story up to this point was essentially him telling a story, and the fact his name ('novella') means "SHORT NOVEL", I expected a storytelling cutie mark of some sort.

But an invisible cutie mark?

"Now come on and tell it right!"--- Fred Savage "The Princess Bride"


Your disagreement with my idea is heard and understood completely, my friend. In fact, in the original version of this, that's exactly what Novell was supposed to get. But then I thought some more on it and realized that his name can mean two different things. Novell, if said as 'novel', can mean both a book, as well as something 'new and interesting'. An idea, if you will. Potential.

The pieces together quickly fell into place after that. You may have noticed that after Chapter 2, his similes, metaphors, and the like dropped off significantly. Instead, he started noticing things, began to see the potential in everything, became more creative in all aspects - not just storytelling and literary references. That was the purpose of the sculpture, a subtle hint that Novell isn't just all about storytelling and books.

I could go on and on about my reasoning and I admit forthright that there was a bit of deception involved, but if you look back, you'll see I had Novell be a creative pony, someone who can tell a masterful story or sculpt a figurine, however rudimentary, on his first try. To see the possibilities and understand them, see the potential.

I'm sorry you feel the way you do, but as some people say, 'write the story the way you want to write it'. It may not be to your liking and I don't expect everyone to agree with my decisions, but it is the way things are. I do hope you continue to read, because this story isn't over. It may be different than you're expecting, but I'm hoping it's still something new and interesting to you.

Novel, even.


It's STILL a gyp and a cop-out. The point of a cutie mark is to be a VISIBLE representation of a pony's personality. A good writer knows when to stand his ground, but he also knows when to listen to common sense. It's the difference between George Lucas from "Empire Strikes Back" and George Lucas from "The Phantom Menace."

You just spent too long in the story (in fact, right from the START) establishing Novell as a budding storyteller. Changing it to "an ability to see potential" comes out of bloody nowhere. Anyone with any observational abilities is going to read the story, come to this point, go "WTH did this come from?", conclude you're just jerking their chain halfway through the story.... and then be really annoyed. when they get to the end and you're still sticking with the "invisible Cutie mark" angle.

1) I would seriously recommend that you go with him still being off-base about his cutie mark, especially as the story is only at the half-way point. Yes, he's shown aptitudes at things other than storytelling, but a special talent is not a pony's ONLY talent. It's perfectly feasible that Novell had other talents but that they didn't quite sit right with him.

2) If you simply HAVE to persist with his talent being "seeing potential," one might argue that he doesn't have a cutie mark yet because he simply doesn't know or can't think of a symbol yet for Potential. As seen in the show, cutie mark interpretation is highly subjective--- it has to be something that the pony themselves sees as symbolic of their calling. Noone would ever guess that Cheerilee's three-daisy mark was a symbol for schoolteaching, after all.. except her. And "potential" is a pretty abstract concept (I've been googling for half an hour looking for appropriate symbols!) Potential's pretty abstract concept, and he might just not have anything in mind yet as being an appropriate image of it--- like having a concept in mind but not knowing the right word to express it. And if he doesn't know how to express it, his cutie mark magic doesn't either.

I've found exactly two symbols that Novell might use. http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/32/322.html and http://www.symbols.com/encyclopedia/14/149.html

symbols.com/pics/big/32/3201.gif symbols.com/pics/big/14/1408.gif

They're both old symbols.... The first is called the "seed of life," A japanese symbol for the conceptual starting spark of the universe---- the second is from ancient tibet, again a symbol for "potential."


:twilightsheepish: Actually, I knew from chapter 1 that his talent could be storytelling or something "novel", and by the time I got to this chapter I had already pretty much interpreted the clues as the author states above, especially the carving. So, I wasn't really surprised when is talent was revealed to be seeing potential or seeing the possibilities (still seems open to interpretation a bit).

But, he really didn't seem quite sure yet to me. And yeah, I had not accepted that the mark is invisible till I read the comments and still have not. Seems to me, as I've said, that his talent is "seeing" possibilities/potential, so his mark should be an eye (or anything to indicate sight, extrasensory ability, or perceptiveness) along with something to represent possibilities or potential. Symbols for potential by themselves only work if his talent is potential itself, but that doesn't quite work for the story thus far. It would be an interesting route to base a story on though.

@ Croswynd
Some of the above is directed at you. Feel free to respond.
I'm really digging your story so far. Keep up the good work! :pinkiehappy:
Also, I like your new avatar. It's awesome! :yay:

Don't think it'd work though. Communal child raising? Eagles and lions both are very protective and possessive of their young.
Top-down totalitarian hierarchy? For lions, MAYBE. But raptors are solitary, as are most felines. and, again, very territorial.... as are most predators (one tiger to a hill, as it were.) Overall they'd have even less inclination to close, integral society than humans or ponies... and next to none for the collectivist features (communal child rearing, top-down assignment of life careers, etc) that you've added here.

Such is the beauty of a culture from a species that does not exist. You can make them anyway you choose.

The way I envisioned the culture is completely a Meritocracy, aside from, somewhat, the Matriarch's position. If a griffon is good at one thing, they are judged for that alone, rather than the actions of their parents. Such is the reason they are arranged in clutches from random families and raised by nestmaids unrelated to them. After they are sent to their specific areas, they are given knowledge of their family name and its history, but only to satisfy their curiosity. They can then connect with their families or not, and must keep secret their family names from any siblings who might still reside in the Nesting Aerie.

The Matriarch's position is a little different, due to how the Scepter of Will works. It cannot be stolen and can only be received by the griffon the previous Matriarch wished it to pass to. Thankfully with the way the culture is raised, most of the Matriarchs pass their station down to some griffon who deserves the position, from any of the Aeries.

But most of what I've just said here isn't required to enjoy the story, so I don't include all of it in the chapter.

390267 I was going to ask if you made the whole culture up yourself. I found it quite fascinating. :rainbowkiss: Do you have any particular inspirations for it? :rainbowhuh:

I really liked this chapter. I noticed some doubts about Novell's mark? Interesting. :trixieshiftright:

Please keep up the good work! You can be assured that this one reader enjoys it. :twilightsmile:


I came up with the culture by myself, one that probably wouldn't work anywhere except the 'perfect world' scenario that the utopian society of Equestria resides in. I'm sure there were plenty of inspirations with it, mostly having to do with dwarven cultures in various fantasy worlds along with the matriarchial societies that animals often form. Even so, I couldn't name a specific one at the moment, but it's probably been done before, so I can't take credit.

I'm glad you're reading and commenting, elliot. Gives me a boost to my motivation to continue writing whenever I get a comment like yours or Realtycheck's.

402715 I was hoping I'd have that effect. :raritywink: I really want to see this story done properly. In other words, I don't want to see it given up on or made shorter than it deserves. So you just keep those creative juices flowing and write this beyotch! :raritystarry: :rainbowkiss:

On a side note, at this point I'd rank the quality of this as very high, just under where I'd be willing to buy it as a paperback, but that's really high praise cause I'm quite cheap. :twilightblush: I think it's on track for a ranking upgrade though. :ajsmug:

“By Clover the Clever’s Crafty Cerebellum?" Even though all the words begin with C, the alliteration breaks down. "Cranium" would be better. :raritywink:

Good point. I'll fix that forthwith. How's the story so far, if you don't mind me asking?

It seems like Novell's special talent should be sculpting. First his initial effort at the inn, then his discerning eye with that ice sculpture.

Sometimes you have Luna use informal speech and at others thou hast caused her to speak most formally. Why is this? It has neither rhyme nor reason. Particularly when thou takest care to point out in the narrative the oddity of her syntax. Thy choices in this thing I shall not correct, save few. As for the others, if thou wouldst allow me to proofread and guide thee to better usage, I know thy writing shall have improved flow.

“Where did you hear that name?” --> didst thou
“What did you say?” --> What saidst thou? (or) What didst thou say? (or) What art thou saying?
“You may perform the necessary arrangements.” --> Thou mayest
Recount how Havoc has been released from his prison, pegasus, for what you have done bodes ill for Equestria.” --> thou hast done
“Regardless of your feelings, Havoc has escaped... --> thy feelings
“We can still recapture him, if I have to do it myself. --> if we have to do it ourselves.
“Nothing. You and your friends are free to leave,” --> Thee and thy friends
“Thy wishes a punishment for being controlled, --> Thou wishest
Thy are free to go, young Novell.” --> Thou art
Perhaps thou will find information on Havoc in thy endeavor. --> thou wilt
“Quills, Scrolls, thou may use the Southern Belle to find thy Professor and help this young pegasus find Havoc.” --> thou mayest
“And finally thou, young Novell Light,” --> And finally thee (or) And as for thee
“Thou will find Havoc and report any of thy findings to one of our embassies stationed around the world. --> Thou shalt (or) Thou wilt
We would ask that thou do not engage or consort with this draconequus in any way, --> thou dost not engage nor consort with (or) thou engagest not neither consortest with (or) thou neither engagest nor consortest with (That one's a little tougher than the others. Silly negations.) :applejackconfused:
Is this acceptable to thou?” --> thee?
No wonder one of our moonstones found its way to thou. --> thee
There are three fillies in Ponyville who might be interested in your story. --> thy story
Tell them of your trials with thy cutie mark problems before you leave on your journey. --> thy trials; thou leavest on thy journey (or) your cutie mark problems (Pick one style and stick with it. Switching it up like you've done here creates confusion.)

I figured that the stressful situation with Havoc would cause Luna to be more formal with Novell, while interaction with Quills and Scrolls would be more informal. She wouldn't change between Thee and You as freely as she seems to, though. Unless she's making a conscious effort to switch over, and if that's the case the awkwardness of the shifts could be alleviated and explained by her apologizing for her stilted and archaic speech. But just pick a reason to do what you do, and adjust everything to fit that reason. :raritywink:

"I have misssssed your jokes.” --> jokesssss.
“You remember well my placesssss, Ssssssearch,” --> placcccccesssss
“I musssst be gone sssssoon, as Celesssstia granted me leave only for a few daysssss in this Equessssstria. --> Cccccelessssstia
And should the CH in "Search" be extended too, as it has sibilant qualities?
On that note, how can "Boo" be a sibilant?

I'm enjoying this story, and dreading what will happen when Havoc reappears.


This, this is exactly the kind of comments I love. Thank you very much for taking the time to go through all of the errors, Blik. It is extremely appreciated.

For Luna's speech, I had her intentionally switching between them as she became more stressed or relaxed, as this is some time after the events of Nightmare Night and the Princess is adjusting to the new world she finds herself in. I suppose that didn't come across well at all, so I'll go back and have her comment on her own speech like you've said (and correct the 'thee's I incorrectly used, of course :P).

For the dragon's speech, sibilant is strictly used with the letter 's' and, as you've corrected correctly, the letter 'c' in some cases. Therefore, 'Boo' cannot be sibilant and neither can the 'ch' in Search, since it is a sharp ending to a word.

Thanks again. Hope you continue to enjoy it, as the next chapter has some...items of contention contained within it.

462177 I like the story so far. As we have left the magical land of Equestria, worldbuilding has increased, and Havoc presents a very real threat which the plot is steadily and visibly approaching. The characters all have flaws and their interactions are natural, and none of them are Mary-Sues. Dialog is also well thought-out. I can see the characters changing and developing. So you have passed pretty much all of my conscious green-flags for a good story. I'm definitely subscribing to this one - I really want to see where it goes.

My guesses for the upcoming plot: The Aerie is attacked by hippogryphs before they get a chance to either find Havoc or interview the Matriarch. Also, a griffon will be added to their intrepid band of adventurers.

462605 Conjugating verbs in archaic style is not an easy thing. I have an eye for it due to reading Shakespeare and the King James Bible which are fairly standard in their systems. While I can't always explain why something is the way it is, I can usually tell what it's supposed to be. :yay:

And au contraire, mon frere. The CH in "search" incorporates both a lingual plosive and a sibilant fricative. So you could make the dragon say "Sssssearchhhh" if you think it appropriate. And I pointed out that "Boo" is not a sibilant because in the text you clearly stated it was. :trollestia:

Learn something new everyday. I'm happy to find someone more knowledgeable with the written word than I. Still, I think I'll keep it at the hard end with 'Search'. I overused the sibilance as is.

I hate when I read other stories then I completely erase my memory of this ones plot. Well whatever, a very interesting chapter, this one indeed :scootangel:

More like I just take forever to update that makes people forget :P

Hippogryphs with antlers? If it weren't for the bird's head, I would be thinking you were describing a Peryton.

And you told me no one reads this story, yet look at all these comments. Tsk, tsk, Cros.

I demand a new chapter by....next Tuesday.

I wasn't feeling well this past weekend, so it took me awhile to get to this.

I totally was not expecting that opening. Well played, sir. :moustache:

Novell: "This was dangerous in so many more ways than he thought their rescue could get." Apparently he's the one who's naive, not Pensive. :ajsmug:

476142 I run into that problem too. I usually check the end of the last chapter to remind myself what's going on some. When this is complete, lucky people will be able to read through it without that problem. :twilightsmile:

Anyone else guessing that Havoc was responsible for the egg-breaking?

Look forward to seeing your stories in the que! Can't wait for the next chapter!

Glad to see this return from Hiatus!

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