• Member Since 23rd Jan, 2014
  • offline last seen Yesterday

NorrisThePony


Horseword maintenance and installation specialist. Mareschizo extraordinaire.

T

Shady Fortune is an ambitious stallion. The old manor outside of town is an ancient eyesore. Where most ponies would see a tear-down job long-gone undone, Shady instead sees potential and beauty in the decrepit old house.

But he's not the only thing living in Buckwheat Manor, and Shady will soon learn that not all spirits remain at rest.


This story has a dramatic reading by Skijarama, which you can listen to here. Thanks!

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 46 )

That was sweet. I was kinda hoping she'd stay with him, but I'm just a sucker for unusual romances

This story certainly delivered, and to very high marks. The tone that’s wrapped around the characters, atmosphere, and the elaborate environment did wonders for both visualizing the setting and putting out some strong emotions. The way the story escalates the tone doesn’t feel too rushed or slow, it gives all the time you need to absorb the intricacies in play. It even wraps up tidily in a place befitting the pacing; I was left wanting more, and then the epilogue rolled around and I couldn’t help but feel a little bad—as we often forget, sometimes you just have to come to terms with how things turn out. Bittersweet in all the right ways.

I can say that this is definitely a hallmark piece for pony ghost stories: it’s surprisingly well-grounded in Equestria, and I think it owes that to the use of outside elements in a story intended to be about a single haunted place. From the realtor dropping back into the woods, to just being back in town for supplies, it’s a perfect mix of external influences. I’d like to see more of this kind of Equestria in stories, because it often feels like the stories take place in their own isolated bubble. Really, this fic melds ‘ghost story’ and pony planet so nicely.

Hey, aren't you the horse from Horsin' Around?

Stories are probably one of the few things just as hard to put to rest as ghosts. Often times they can leave viewers longing for more, or hoping for closure that doesn't come. This story was so well written that it closed out neatly, without going on too long. The pacing was phenomenal and I couldn't spot any errors in spelling or grammar. I am honestly blown away with the quality of this one! Beginning to end I was eager for more but now I'm satisfied to know how it closed out and left no threads dangling.

11449883
Great story, Admiral Biscuit has been a writing inspiration of mine for a long long time.

11449898
He's definitely in my list of favorite writers, and he can be a decent conversationalist as well for as much as online back and forthing can count.

If I could get paid to sit around all day and read nothing but horsewords I'd be set for life (or at least until the next super shiney show caught my attention:twilightsheepish:)

11449883
Apparently I have, though I don't remember it... looks like it's time to reread it!

11450186
I have a library FULL of stories that I could re-read at some point so I definitely know the feeling:twilightblush:

A very touching story. :twilightsmile:

The new Phasmaphobia MLP crossover sure looks interesting.

Jokes aside i really loved the story! Was really good and touching and im glad it all worked out in the end.

Including the murder of a husband getting what was coming too him. Told everyone she drowned, drowned himself. Karma truly is a wonderful thing.

Oh man, oh MAN, I'm. Well, I'm crying at the moment. Oh me oh my does this story delivers. I have to say, placing this in my all time favourites. Awash with feelings right now, this is just absolute perfection of scary, interesting and so absolutely heartbreaking and warming, that's some damn ride... Thank you. I love this story to bits.

10/10. Just, fucking murder me with feelings, would ya.

This was a beautiful little story! Love me some bittersweet ghost stories.

This was beautiful. I shed no tears, but was profoundly moved.

In my head the perfect coda to this would be Shady’s eventual passing as an aged bachelor, and “waking” as his younger self beside an oak tree, to find Perennial beside him.

“You waited for me?”

“I had all the time there will ever be. And now we both do.”

At any rate, you paced this beautifully and I would recommend it to my friends heartily. Well done.

Sheeeeesh, Norris! Sheeeeeeeeeeesh! :D

What a sweet little ghost story! I definitely liked the ponyish take on the victorian ghost - it feels right that she'd be more open to a sympathetic hauntee than in other ghost stories. Well done!

This is really, really good.

You had described your intent to make a distinctly "pony" take on the ghost story trope, and this was entirely accomplished. Unlike most "ponified" works, you did not simply slap pony characters onto an unrelated tale, but rather crafted a story which worked because they are ponies. I cannot think of a single example of a haunting victim lowering his defenses out of total sympathy for his aggressor. It wouldn't make sense - unless they are ponies, of course, then it all fits into place.

Shady sweeping away the salt was in some ways the climax, and the clear pivotal point when the tropes fell away and the "usual ghost story" was left behind. It gave that charming, relentless optimism which in-part lured us all into MLP. I loved it, it was so unexpected and so perfect.

The scene on the hill watered my eyes. The ending was bittersweet, but the conveyance of our dear ghost to paradise was the perfect capstone. As for Shady, his restless wanderings beautifully demonstrate with maximum "show don't tell" that he fell in love with his host, and feels unwhole with her absence. Perhaps he'll move on one day - perhaps they'll meet again. While it would have been more "show-like" to let them share the house happily ever after, this is still a ghost story, and a happy ending here is different than what we might find elsewhere.

Thank you for making this, it was wonderful.

11450778
Yeah... the little bit at the end with Shady's nighttime wanderings was a perfect, tiny window into the love which found his heart. I think it will be as you say.

Oof, I'm tearing up again.:fluttershysad:

11450778
Had a very similar thought.

Beautiful, and exactly the feel-good pony-ness that I love MLP for.

That said, I'm gonna have to be *that guy* and point out a couple typos

"The trees above his head *hasn’t* been pruned or cared for in decades " - *hadn't

"so he could go back home and invest in a house that wasn’t *invested* with wayward spirits." - *Infested, though I can see why you accidently used "invest" twice.

That's all I noticed. There are a couple quirks relating to the order of giving reader information I could comment on,, like how he read the message but we didn't find out the message for half a scene, or how long Shady seemed to be staring at Perennial before noticing blood dripping down her face. I can understand why you gave bits of information like that time, but it made the experience of those bits feel unnatural to me, like I wasn't seeing the message *with* Shady, or like Shady was looking at the moon and the trees before noticing the most obvious thing of the blood and tear stained face of the strange mare in front of him.

Other than that, this is another great MLP ghost story (like Synchronicity, which is another favorite of mine). I loved it.

Beautiful story, 10/10. Defiantly would like to see these two together again

This is really well done!

Really sweet story, I would like to tell why, but it has been said already and I keep getting something in my eyes…

This is so well written :pinkiesad2:

i feel bad for ivory, just missed her
this story was so nice

This was delightful. Thank you for this.

I would love a sequel maybe next Christmas where Perennial was offered a chance at reincarnation as one of the mares Shady befriends in Sundown that becomes his lover and as the relationship grows in her reincarnated body she starts remembering her time as the ghost he befriended and helped and her past life as Perennial Buckwheat. Then she tells Shady who believes her because something always was bugging him about her when he started dating her that reminded him of her ghost. Then Shady promises her that he will do all he can to make her happy, loved, cared for, and always making her feel listened to and valued. Which he does and when she passes on "again" she dies having lived the life she should've lived as Perennial, being a beloved wife and a loving mother and eagerly waiting for her loving husband if she were to pass on first or if he goes first she'll be happily embracing him when she rejoins with him in the afterlife

The ending and the epilogue made me cry. This story was so, so, so well done.

Dunno why I put off reading this for so long; absolutely excellent story, as I've come to expect from you at this point. Glad to hear (in the blog post) you've got plans to keep things going for a bit, good luck and a belated happy holidays

This was just so gosh darn good!!!! The whole thing left me feeling so strongly bittersweet, you really nailed the descriptions of faces and emotions, I really saw everything playing out in my head. Well done, bravo!!

Honestly I thought it would be revealed that Perennial's husband was Shady's grandfather- his name is Shady Fortune, after all, so it probably was acquired dubiously. And he did get what seems to be a pretty big inheritance, and it would explain why he felt an unexplained yearning for the place... All the same, though, I'm alright with the ending we got. Would've been irritating to know he'd lived a long life.

. You want us to send somepony every couple weeks to check in on you? In case the rats getcha?”

You sure it's the rats that are gonna get him?

“DANGER, KEEP OUT!”

Ah, how kind of them to put up a WELCOME sign!

It was a strange thing, though. He was quite certain the house was not exactly airtight, and so he could think of no reason why it would be left alone by the woodland critters.

I can make a couple guesses.

LEAVE OUR HOME.

Message received.

To Shady, she sounded scared. And confused.

I get the feeling she was murdered, and she doesn't know why.

. She drowned herself in the lake out beyond the trees there, behind the house. Did it a year after her parents died. I guess her husband sold the place after that.”

Drowned... ? No, no that can't be right. What about the bloody gash? The basement?

...

Murder.

She must have been killed then tossed in the lake!

“Your husband?” Shady guessed, biting his lip. Perennial gave a single nod, her eyes squeezing shut. They’d begun to water, and the gash on her skull was deepening with black, colourless blood.

It was definitely the husband. He killed her.

When he opened his eyes again, she was gone.

Rest in peace... Perennial

So you made the fanfic Norris I listened to your fanfic being narratored by skijaramaz (tone shift) on youtube a few months ago and now found it on here and I will say its an amazing fanfic I loved every word of it definitely a 10/10 fanfic :heart:

11833194
Skijaramaz did a great job with the reading, to say I'm flattered would be an understatement.

Thank you much for the praise.

11833258
He sure did and no problem keep it up

It has been some time since I've read a story on the site that has floored me this much. I've been reading ghost stories and folklore (and watching spooky ghost programs on TV) for basically my entire life. Even when I was arguably too young for them. Traditional ghost stories have been my bread and butter for a long-ass time, and an important forerunner in my interests in theology and true crime. When it comes to them, I'm picky -- yes, even in the case of one-of-my-best-friends-ever who also wrote Dusk Falls. It's just how it is. I had high expectations for this, and you absolutely knocked them out of the park. The way you subverted so many expectations of a ghost story and the sense of atmosphere and style in here really reminded me of The Haunting of Hill House at times -- which is one of my favorite ghost stories.

There were a few points where I was fairly skeptical. One was how the personality of the house wasn't explored nearly as much compared to most of my favorite ghost stories. That doesn't mean your writing wasn't good or atmospheric here; it's simply that I'm used to more drawn-out latent periods and initial haunting. They're vital to a good ghost story even before an investigation into the haunting begins. Places that aren't memorable or carefully constructed just don't cut it. You also gave massive gothic horror vibes, and nothing really gets those elements built quite like the exploration into bloodless terror. The other minor quibble was related to the level of technology in Equestria. The only thing that's really clear is that this is set sometime after Luna's return, but the ponies have phones. Equestria has a fairly inconsistent level of technology, but quite a few modern appliances usually suspend immersion more than others. Phones are usually one of them. Despite that, I'm pleased to say that not only did it not happen here, but I really like how you clearly went with a more antiquated example of a phone (and that they weren't really integral to the story).

A number of elements in this story were especially pleasing. I loved Shady and Ivory's relationship and how naturally she was integrated into the story, but I love even more that Shady resolves the story on his own. I was pleased with how there was a good explanation for the dream that Shady had, and the clues that were sown in it. The usage of the natural world as being part of the reason characters suffered, including the presence of timberwolves, really makes it clear how well the setting is integral to the story. Everything from the pivotal conversation that Shady and Perennial had to the final scene of her in the afterlife made me fall completely in love with this story. So many stories are afraid to use scenes of an afterlife (either good, evil, or something else) and the sense of magic and optimism that this ended on. Long one-shots are wonderful, but you managed to use the word count so well that I couldn't really ask for more. I felt like I was reading a much longer story, which added to the satisfaction. The atmosphere and use of the Equestrian heartland were top-notch. I'm glad that Perennial's husband wasn't a loose plot thread just left to get away with all of his ills. Being a domestic abuse survivor, the fact that Perennial just wants the truth of her story to be known and the nature of her abuser to be made clear really, really hit home.

I will say, I do feel that there was one element that was arguably a plot hole, but it was one that can be overlooked. It has to do with the immediate aftermath of Priennial's death. While her husband manages to pass off her death as a suicide, there is only one reason why the lack of her body being presented could have been an excuse, and that's if where she drowned was too deep to fetch anything. However, despite magic, boats, and more existing in the world, which makes the possibility more plausible, this is literally never mentioned. Some of the details are clear -- like how the abusiveness of the relationship was hidden and that despite the lack of specifics in some areas with the time period and styles, it does seem pretty clear that you're going for parallels to the early 20th century at the latest, in terms of when Perennial lived. You really nailed the feeling of Victorian-era spookiness, and new money hopes, in the heartlands, which is common in a lot of ghost stories that are usually set in the American midwest, Bread Basket, and similar regions. But even in our more cynical world, the death of an upper-class young lady in such circumstances would need an excuse as to why there wasn't a body. An autopsy would be the norm. Obviously, if an autopsy had happened, the story of her husband would have unraveled completely because she didn't have anything consistent with drowning. There isn't even an indication that he tried to create a red herring by falsely planting some of her belongings in the lake, which then acted as the foundation for the townponies' belief in a drowning suicide. Even if she wasn't new money gentry, a death in these circumstances wasn't just taken at face value. If you want a famous example, I'd look into the murder of Grace Brown -- the circumstances of that murder were even more damning, and they still managed to find the body and convict the criminal. But as I said, there technically is a way for the premise to work, it just really, really should have been mentioned since the details of the death are vital to why the story is happening.


11450857

I cannot think of a single example of a haunting victim lowering his defenses out of total sympathy for his aggressor. It wouldn't make sense - unless they are ponies, of course, then it all fits into place.

In my eternal autism, I must comment on this. It's certainly not common but it is by no means unique to this story (though, this story does execute things uniquely). I've sometimes seen it used in non-paranormal stories as well, both in pony fiction and original fiction. The most prominent pony fiction I can think of off the top of my head is Thornquill's Carousel. When it comes to original fiction, I distinctly recall this novel having a really immersive dive into the premise. Even though it's geared toward middle-grade readers, it's honestly worth reading for anyone who likes ghost stories and a happier/more just ending. I distinctly remember it giving me many pointers on how to write a compelling mystery. I would have to look around more to find other stories that use this same story element, but I will say that the one uniting factor is that the demographics of the ghost appear to be the uniting factor in determining whether this is a possible story outcome.

11935879

The most prominent pony fiction I can think of off the top of my head is Thornquill's Carousel.

Carousel is extremely good, one of those "oh my god they ran out of chapters please publish the next one soon" that grabbed hold and never let go. Certainly far less cozy than Buckwheat Manor!

I would rate it differently on the referenced area, though, as in that one Rarity never has an 'evil option' to simply bust the ghost. While she does make peace with it, that really is her only choice, whereas here the lead character deliberately decides to do the right thing.

11935934 Absolutely! It was a phenomenal story.
That makes sense. It's... interesting, though. Salt is generally just seen as a ward against ghosts, and while it can certainly harm them, it's more like an electric fence than it is a way to banish them. Seeing something that's Paranormal Happenings 101 being used this way was unique.

11935879

Thank you kindly for your comment. My intent with this story was to tell something that seemed Gothic, only for the gothic facade to start to ebb away as the reader and Shady himself learned more about the situation. My intent was to reflect how a gothic story might shake down differently if it were a pony experiencing it.

In reply to Perennial's death and her husband getting away scot-free with it, there's a few elements that made it a bit more possible in my eyes;

Firstly, he GTFOs pretty much immediately after it happened. Sundown is a small town and was probably even smaller back then. They wouldn't have had anything resembling a police force. The local perception of Perennial in the months or years leading to her death (and something her husband would have cultivated) was that she was distant, reclusive, depressed, and mentally unwell. That she'd do something like drown herself would be seen by many of the locals as a sad but not unpredictable fate for her. This is eighty years before Show Equestria, which is already somewhat medieval in nature. I don't think autopsies in tiny medieval towns with populations of around 30 would have been very common.

Secondly, Equestria being a fantasy setting I think allows some leeway for things like missing bodies. I imagine it'd be pretty easy for her husband to hoof-wave it away as 'well maybe a kelpie or sea serpent got to her', etc.

11936012

This is eighty years before Equestria which is already somewhat medieval in nature. I don't think autopsies in tiny medieval towns with populations of around 30 would have been very common.

Before Equestria did what? Before it was founded? If so... what does that mean for the time of Shady, Ivory, and telephones? That strikes me as very contemporary for canon, especially when there aren't period references that solidify this as historical (like the Mare in the Moon). Phones would be the most glaring anachronism. Rococo being a mentioned style also appears to date it (both Perennial's lifetime and Shady's) way later than prior to Luna's banishment, and so does the mention of sanitoriums, which were invented in the 1850s. Or am I misreading your comment?

You do bring up a point with population severely impacting criminal justice results. If you're really interested in American history and criminal justice, then I would point to The Man from the Train (by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James) and the works of Harold Schechter (particularly Bestial, if memory serves). Both heavily focus on the regions that I mentioned from 1897 to 1928 and unearth a lot of history about how the criminal justice system and related disciplines evolved. A TL;DR is that because these regions were developing frontier and underfunded, underpopulated rural areas, most staples of criminal justice (including basic inquiries into deaths) were effectively crowd-funded and fully privatized... which had all the consequences that you can imagine. That feels like it would be a plausible answer to Sundown's status and the lack of expected action around Perennial's murder -- I mostly just wish it was presented in the story.

I will note that Schechter's title is an anomaly since it eventually works its way back east and eventually into Canadian history.

If I am reading this right and you're suggesting that Perennial's time is (somehow?) medieval, then it becomes very... odd. Medieval Europe had a really complicated relationship with death. That's why I expected that the date was much, much later. Plus, using what details you gave and nothing but that points to Sundown not having a typical medieval layout or relationship with things like property transfer.

I'm so sorry; you just stepped into an absolute minefield of intersecting autistic interests of mine. :twilightblush:

11936036
Equestria herself is inconsistent with what time period it's supposed to best represent, and it varies based on location itself. But medieval is the best description for places like Ponyville, so it's what I went with, considering that Sundown is supposed to be a Ponyville-esque heartlands community. The point is, it ain't urban.

Before Equestria did what

I edited my comment, I forgot a word. Basically, it takes place eighty years before modern Equestria. Settlements are smaller. Civilization hasn't encroached as much in many corners of the map. Sundown is one of such locations. It seems... lazy, to me, to say that Equestria is emblematic of any human time period and then fully commit to it, because then I may as well just be writing stories about humans. Sanatoriums being invented in the 1850s doesn't matter to me, because this isn't a story about Earth in the year 1850.

11936046

Equestria herself is inconsistent with what time period it's supposed to best represent, and it varies based on location itself. But medieval is the best description for places like Ponyville, so it's what I went with, considering that Sundown is supposed to be a Ponyville-esque heartlands community. The point is, it ain't urban.

Okay that makes much more sense. I thought you were referring to the time period as being equivalent to what would be the medieval age -- which was obviously the Tribal Period up until Luna's banishment. But you were just talking about aesthetics, which makes much more sense.

I edited my comment, I forgot a word. Basically, it takes place eighty years before modern Equestria. Settlements are smaller. Civilization hasn't encroached as much in many corners of the map. Sundown is one of such locations. It seems... lazy, to me, to say that Equestria is emblematic of any human time period and then fully commit to it, because then I may as well just be writing stories about humans. Sanatoriums being invented in the 1850s doesn't matter to me, because this isn't a story about Earth in the year 1850.

Adding the word cleared up everything, as did the start of the comment. :twilightsmile:

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