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Rambling Writer

Our job is not to give readers what they want; our job is to show them things they never imagined. --Walt Williams


Jasper was not in the Crystal Empire when it vanished. His wife Agate was. Separated from his family across time, he writes letters in the hopes that she may eventually read them someday, however far away that may be.

Written for Bicyclette's Twilight Files contest.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 14 )

Absolutely beautiful story. What a well-written piece! The ending brought me to tears.

Goddamn dude, my heart :fluttercry:

Hmmmm. Crystal pony named Agate, torn apart from her family by Sombra? Oh, dear...

Beautiful work. You captured a truly heartbreaking scenario just waiting for someone to pluck it from canon. (And yes, I know it's been done before, but this did it really freaking well.) Thank you for a lovely read, and best of luck in the judging.

Seconded on all fronts

This story is so good. I’m crying. One of the few which have done so.

A genius idea, executed a little bit mundanely, but still, a beautiful piece. Perhaps simplistic is the way to go.

To be honest, I expected the last letter to be one that was written before the Empire's vanishing but was never sent. Perhaps a little bit cliché, am I?

Edited: Since many didn't appreciate me trying to put my criticism as acceptable as possible at all, I'll just drop the effort and go all blunt here.

I made it to the end because I wanted to see how the author would wrap this idea up, and was quite disappointed. Apparently the author doesn't know the power within implicit expression of heart and instead tried to go all out, partially ruining the perfectly good build-up. It's common, it's too expected, it's even more a cliché than what I imagined would be the case. Is it not a quote you like that encourages you to seek what was not imagined?

One cannot truly empathise with something downright impossible in our world, but only to offer an approximation of it, which differs from person to person. Leaving the climax of feelings to readers' imagination would've had an even better effect.


Now that you've mentioned it, yes, yes, you've spoken my piece for me. I was wondering what it is with the final piece that made me disppointed, and now I see it's exactly what you've said; the letter does seem apathetic to me. I would love it when a writer tells a moving story with cruel indifference, but I can see the author has actually put quite the effort into emotionals in this piece. Then, the final piece was not strong enough.

I agree with the first paragraph (and later that people, typically, don’t want constructive criticism).

I was actually expecting a grieving wife to be reading them. Instead… we have another letter just as unfeeling as most of the fic. There is almost no emotion put into it; just what the readers bring. It reminds me why I hated getting letters from relatives.

This is a pretty good stroy and the letters give a good representation of what the Crystal ponies must have gone through when they were trapped outside their home. Going by the last letter Quartz hasn't grasped the nature of the curse. It must be painfull to explain such a thing.

Not trying to reply to anyone specifically but as a contest piece this one has to follow the contest’s rules, so no direct storytelling allowed. The last letter could’ve been more emotional, but I think it’s perfectly fine as it is. It’s hard to convey profound emotion through text without it sounding clichéd, and I struggle to see how anyone could’ve offered a better ending. Life’s not fair, no only in the sense that we don’t get to live happily ever after, but also in the sense that sometimes we don’t get to wallow in sadness and regret either, however we feel like we should.

Ouch. Just ouch.

Seriously, though. What a stunning piece. Beautifully executed. You’ve captured the despair, the sadness, the tragedy, and the strength to live. I want to say more, but honestly, there are no words to describe how perfect this piece this. Thank you for breaking my heart.

Into ’Heartstrings’ this goes!

I have heard that Princess Amore has fallen ill and one of her advisors, Sombra, has taken up temporary rule in her place. Yet I cannot imagine she would approve.

oof, an ominous development for what we know of the canon

Whenever I think of the Empire’s current condition, I feel unsure, as if I should leave. But I cannot bring myself to. This is home; where could I go? And so I shall do my best to weather the storm.

echoes of similar tragedies from across our own history, and the people who saw the signs but could not bring themselves to uproot everything they held dear. understandable to not want to, but oof.

I have been informed of the nature of the spell. You and all the Empire are unharmed, merely displaced in time. This has been little comfort. You are gone from my life, from Corundum’s. He has been closed off to me; I never begrudged how he was more open to you, the way he could spend all night merely talking, but now I wonder if he knows how to communicate with me at all. We have barely said a word to each other, and those words are largely vacuous reassurances that you are of sound body.

and augh, the pieces of the setup come together. losing the parent that the son was closer to, and the quiet estrangement that would result between them. it's a subtle note painted well.

They could not give a timeframe, and I question the logistics, but it is the sole light in my life. I am writing this letter as practice, for I know it will never be answered, yet I must write anyway.

i am a sucker for time-displaced romances and all the heartbreaking consequences that could come of it, so i am ready to be destroyed by what comes next

Yet writing to you this letter felt like an obligation, something utterly necessary. I hated not writing it. I cannot muster the passion to write it. I apologize.

this feels so true to life

I know these streets, yet they continue to feel strange. Whenever I go out for the simplest of chores, my mind is hazy and I remember little when I return. Life without you, without any of our friends, without the familiarity of home, is itself alien to me. I continue to exist, nothing more, yet I can do no more, for everything feels unreal, liable to collapse if I cease thinking about it.

not only losing his wife and child, but also his home and everything of the life he knew? yeah, i imagine it's hard to not be anything more than a shell of oneself after such a thing

Corundum has not spo I have not spoken to Corundum in moons.

and oof.

Ponies express sympathy for me in only the most flaccid, obligatory manner, as if they do not even bother with empathy.

i can't imagine any expression of sympathy not seeming flaccid and obligatory in this mental state, especially from ponies living in comfort who have never faced anything close to a similar loss. Jasper is just disintegrating here, and understandably so

I know I ought to get out into Canterlot, yet all around me is foreign in spite of my year here. I can recognize faces and name names but I cannot tell you what ideas are bubbling in their heads.

the Princesses are doing all they can for the refugees, but can't give them back the feeling of being at home

You and I were separated because I was in Canterlot, and I was in Canterlot to see him fully inducted into the Guard.

oof, yeah, i can't imagine the guilt Corundrum must be feeling over this. it really is no wonder that he would be so avoidant

I hate to enjoy it, for you are not here to share it with me, and by the time you return, the city may have been altered beyond recognition, assuming it is still around. But I cannot help myself.

it's a cruel irony, that enjoying life again without the loved one can feel like a betrayal of their memory, and at the same time inscribing and making real the fact that they are no longer here. moving on is so hard

Perhaps it is unhealthy. Perhaps I am clinging to you too strongly. But I know that, whenever I write and tell you what new, wonderful thing I experienced, my mind is put at ease in a way that nothing else can match. Writing to you is like talking with you about my day, and so I shall continue writing. I promise you, I shall not bore you with every inane thing that crosses my path. May you see the wonders of the world as I have, without the boredom of the slow parts.

augh, that is a wonderful sentiment. and it is heartening that Agate will indeed get to read these words long after Quartz and the Canterlot of his day has passed into dust

It has been but two weeks since my last letter. I realize this is a short timeframe, but this could not wait. You see, I have decided to take up an instrument in my free time…

aww, it's the little touch of being too excited not to share it immediately that really makes this as Jasper's life opens up

I have given it some thought, and I cannot imagine how these decades would have changed had you merely died. To be sure, the thought of you still having your life ahead of you has lifted my spirits, however little. But to see you alone in the strange lands of tomorrow, separated from Corundum and myself, brings me ever more grief with each breath. At times, I wondered if I escaped a swift death by drowning for a slow death adrift at sea.

it is an interesting perspective to consider. considering it for myself, i would've thought that Agate living on in the inaccessible future would be strictly better for Jasper's grieving, but i can see that with that comes imagining them grieving for Jasper, and wishing they could be spared that pain.

While the waves of time continue to erode it away until it is more dream than fact, I remember it still.

i do love this sentence, it is so true to life

And as you live your own life, may you experience things I could never have dreamed. I regret that I cannot be with you in body; may being with you in spirit be enough.

I love you. Give my regards to Quartz, both the filly I remember her as and the mare she will become.

and as last words go, it is hard to imagine better ones.

But once this letter has been written, I shall burn it and kill it. If ponies can pass on, perhaps objects can, too.

magical thinking even within the context of the magical world of Equestria, always fascinating to see

I know that I will still grieve, that this ache will never go away, but I also know that I can handle it. This new world may be strange, but thanks to you, it is not frightening.

I love you. I shall never forget you.

and augh, what a wonderful way to end the story. I can imagine Agate's very conclusion here to be an extra motivation for Jasper to truly eat and drink of life to his fill, for he was eating for two, or even three. it's a wonderful idea, and a way to earn a hopeful ending for this tragic scenario that derives so naturally from the canon that it is hard to imagine it not happening. thank you for writing this!

Very nice story. Very heartfelt, and plays with an interesting scenario that I've always wanted to see explored. I have to echo the criticisms that the final letter feels somewhat inadequate a reply after all the build-up, but I recognise the constraints that the contest's requirements place on the story here, so I don't begrudge i. The story is still excellent overall.

That was a good story.

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