• Published 26th Nov 2012
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Letters From a Friend at the End of the World - alexmagnet



Twilight receives a letter from Trixie one day, but it raises more questions than it answers.

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40 — The End of an Old One

Chapter 40:
The End of an Old One

The sun had long ago set, and what little light the moon could provide was blocked by the perpetually bleak and cloudy sky, so the room was lit only by the handful of candles that they could find and Trixie’s dim light spell she’d cast many hours ago. Sitting up, with her head against the headrest, Astrid wore a weary smile as she talked quietly with Polaris. The light from the candle on her bedside table flickered across her face as she spoke.

Trixie stood by the window, staring out into the black night. She was lost in thought, and only came out of it when she was tapped on the back by Corona, who was standing beside her. He said nothing, merely glancing over at Astrid, then looking back at Trixie. Trixie nodded. She stepped away from the window and took a seat next to Polaris.

“It’s well past midnight, you know,” said Trixie, drawing both Polaris and Astrid’s attention. “You should really get some sleep. Both of you.”

“I know,” replied Astrid with a soft sigh. “I’m just… I’m having a hard time falling asleep right now. I’m sure sleep will come in no time though. For now, though, Polaris is keeping me company, so I’m fine.” Smiling, Astrid glanced at her husband, placing her hoof over his.

“Aye,” said Polaris, nodding, “and before you go asking me if I want to ‘take a quick nap’ while you watch over her, now that I ain’t going to sleep until she does. Heck, even then I’ll probably just stay up anyway.”

Despite herself, Trixie laughed. “Well, I guess I can’t change your minds then.”

“Nope,” said Polaris, crossing his hooves. “My mind’s made up.”

“Then I won’t bother trying to convince you, but just so you know, Dr. Snowmane did say she should be fine for at least tonight, so you can sleep if you want to,” said Trixie, a little bit more forcefully than she had intended.

“Thanks, but I’ll be fine right here,” said Polaris as he pat the side of his chair. “I’m not even a bit tired yet.”

“Neither am I,” Astrid quickly added in. “I feel better than ever, in fact.”

Trixie chuckled. “Now that is a lie. I’m not that easy to fool, Astrid.”

After a moment of silence, all three ponies started to laugh quietly. Trixie covered her mouth while Polaris gave deep belly laughs, and Astrid only chuckled for a brief moment before her laughter turned into coughing, and she was soon doubled over, coughing so hard Trixie was sure she was about to hack up a lung.

Polaris stopped laughing and put his hoof on Astrid’s back, leaning in. “Astrid!” he shouted.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Astrid insisted once her coughing fit had subsided.

Polaris breathed a sigh of relief. “Don’t scare me like that. If you need us to get Dr. Snowmane in here, just ask, okay? Or if your pain gets worse, and you need more medicine, let me know, Astrid. I’m here for you.”

Astrid gave a pained smile. “I promise, sweetheart. I’m okay.”

“Do you remember when we first met?” asked Trixie. She didn’t know if she’d done it consciously, or if it was just a kneejerk reaction, but she felt compelled to change the subject to something else entirely. Trixie smiled, her hoof moving to her chest, where her brooch used to rest. “I found you trying to pry Polaris out from underneath a rock.” She chuckled. “Hardly an exciting to start to a grand adventure, is it?”

“Not exactly,” said Astrid with a weak chuckle, “but it’s not as if we knew what a grand adventure it would be once we’d met. For all we knew, you were simply a lost pony looking for a guide.”

“You’re still lost,” Polaris added with a hearty laugh. “‘Cept instead of Astrid and I leading you around, now you’ve got Corona taking you around Frostvale. He won’t be much use up north though, once we’ve passed the Onyx Mountains. Nopony will, matter of fact.”

Corona briefly glanced away from the window to respond, “I know the area better the most, I’ll have you know. I’ve studied dozens of maps.”

“Maps’ll do you no good up there, son,” said Polaris in a rumbling voice. He nodded at the window, through which could be seen the peaks of several mountains that formed part of the vast Onyx Mountain range. “Those mountains are a labyrinth of impassable spikes and tunneling caves that stretch for hundreds of miles. Maps are well and good if you’re trying to get from one town to another, but for trekking the most dangerous places, there’s no substitute for walking it with your own four hooves.”

“Well, I guess our real adventure has only just begun, hasn’t it?” said Corona, grinning.

“Our?” repeated Polaris, arching a brow. “Lad, I don’t remember you being with us for the past few months. Far as I recall, you only joined our little party a few days ago.”

“All the same, I can’t help but feel like this really is our adventure, you know?” Corona turned back to the window, placing his hoof on the glass. “After being captured by drakes, and escaping from windigoes with you guys, I feel like you’re my best friends in the world, not that you have much in the way of competition,” he said with a mirthless chuckle.

“As long as you’re with us, Corona, it will be our adventure, for better or worse,” said Astrid. She quickly moved a hoof to cover her mouth as a fit of coughing broke out. Waving her hoof, she assured Polaris she was fine, and then continued, “Besides, Corona, what would we do without you?”

“I imagine you’d get along just fine,” Corona replied with a shrug. “You managed without me for however long you’ve been traveling. Surely you could make it a little further.”

“Maybe so,” said Astrid, “but I know I’d rather have you right there beside us.”

He smiled. “Thanks.”

“Do you remember the forest we went through when we first met?” asked Trixie. “Not the one with the windigoes, but the one right after we met outside Hoofington.”

“Aye, I remember it well,” said Polaris. “I thought those wolves were going to be the end of us right then and there.”

“I wasn’t worried,” said Astrid. “We’d only just met you, Trixie, but I knew there was something special about you.”

“Would you still have helped me if you knew then what would happen afterwards?” asked Trixie. There was a hint of uneasiness in her voice, a twinge of doubt, but she asked the question all the same. In the back of her head somewhere she knew what Astrid would answer, but right now she felt in her heart that Astrid would say she wouldn’t have.

“Of course we would have, Trixie,” said Astrid, frowning. “Why would you think anything else? I don’t regret a single moment of anything that has happened up to this point. I wish things had gone a little smoother, sure, but I wouldn’t change it if it meant we couldn’t all be together.”

Polaris nodded solemnly. “I feel the same way.”

Not really knowing how to respond, Trixie merely nodded and then fell silent. For a time, silence was the only thing that filled the room. Astrid would cough occasionally, but other than that, no one made a sound. Eventually, however, after what had felt like hours passed, the silence was broken by Corona. As he moved away from the window he’d been silently staring out of, he took a seat next to Polaris and Trixie.

“So,” he said, shattering the wall of silence, “have you thought about names yet?” He gestured towards Astrid’s belly.

“Not exactly,” said Astrid as she sat up straight and glanced at Polaris. “We only just found out today, and it’s not as though we had any names in mind in the event that I got pregnant, so… no.” She grinned. “I suppose we’ll have to think of one though, won’t we?”

Polaris gave a nervous laugh. “Aye, I suppose we will, but at least we’ve got many months to decide. I can’t even imagine having to come up with a name right now. I mean, what if it’s a boy? What are we gonna call him, Drake?” He paused, blinking a few times. “Actually, you know what? That’s not a bad name at all. There’s power behind that.”

Astrid frowned at Polaris. “You want to name our son after the very creatures that imprisoned us?”

Polaris held his hooves up. “It was just an idea, dear. Don’t get too worked up over it. Besides, we don’t even know if the little bugger is going to be a boy anyway. What if it’s a girl? Are we just gonna name her after Trixie and be done with it?”

Trixie, snapping out of her self-induced ennui, looked up. “Wait, what? You’d name your daughter after me?” She shook her head. “You can’t do that. You have to pick a name that will suit her.”

“I think it’s a good name,” said Polaris, crossing his hooves.

“She’s right though,” said Astrid with a shrug. “The name has to come from the pony herself, not from whatever you can think of off the top of your head.”

“That’s a very poetic way of looking at it,” said Corona. “Do you think that’s how your parents named you?”

“My mother once told me that there’s a spark when a foal is born,” said Astrid, her voice soft. “She said that there’s a moment of unbelievable clarity where it becomes clear what the child’s name should be.”

“My mother told me that our names are chosen by destiny, and that us getting them is simply part of the plan,” said Trixie.

“Well, either way, we won’t have to worry about it for some time yet,” said Astrid. She looked at Polaris, putting her hoof on his cheek and smiling. “That’s a long way off.” Her eyes going wide, Astrid started coughing, harder than before. She was doubled over, hacking and wheezing while Polaris tried to help. After a few seconds, with no signs of her stopping, Polaris shot a glance at Corona.

“Get the doctor!” he shouted.

Astrid held out a hoof, trying to tell Polaris that she was fine, but she only got one syllable out before the coughing came back. She unconsciously clutched her chest, her expression becoming more and more pained. “Polaris,” she said, in between coughs, “help me. It hurts.”

“The doctor is coming, Astrid,” said Polaris, trying to keep his voice from sounding too worried. “She’ll be here any minute with some more medicine, and you’ll be just fine, okay?”

Trixie’s heart raced. She stood up, but didn’t move. Frozen in place, she simply watched as Polaris patted Astrid on the back, trying to help her cough while she moaned in pain. It was like everything was happening in some other world, and she was just looking in on it. It was a bizarre experience. However, it did have one particularly striking effect. Everything was crystal clear to Trixie in that moment, sharply in focus, and astoundingly resolute. Astrid would die if Trixie didn’t act.

“Her fever’s coming back!” cried Polaris, his hoof on Astrid’s head as he continued to cough.

Trixie hesitated but a moment, then rushed to her bag and rummaged around for the only object she could think of to help. “Ah!” she said, pulling out the drake’s tooth dagger from one of the pockets. It felt cold to the touch, as Sypher had said it always would, and this was exactly what Trixie was hoping for.

Hurrying over to Astrid, she lifted the dagger in her magic and placed it against Astrid’s head, pressing the flat of the blade down against her forehead. “This should help bring her fever down,” she said, hoping that that was actually true.

A minute or so passed with them standing there. Astrid’s coughing had subsided for the moment, and Corona returned with Dr. Snowmane in tow a moment later. “Is she okay?” he asked as soon as he set foot inside the room.

Polaris nodded. “For now.”

Dr. Snowmane, her face solemn, approached Astrid. “What happened?” she asked, her voice ragged.

Not taking his hoof off Astrid’s back, Polaris answered, “Her cough came back, but worse than before. She’s in a lot of pain.”

Her lips curling into a grim frown, the doctor said, “I see.”

“You see?” cried Polaris, his words harsh. “How about doing something? Give her some more medicine, or something!”

“I’ve already given her all that I can,” responded Dr. Snowmane, her voice calm and cool. “As I suspected, your wife’s cold has worsened to the point where it’s become pleurisy. If I give her more painkillers than I already have, it could cause her liver to fail.”

Polaris stared at her blankly. He stomped his hoof on the ground. “That’s not good enough! There has to be something more we can do.”

“I don’t like this anymore than you, sir,” said the doctor, her grim face watching him carefully. “But I’ve done everything that I can. Until tomorrow morning, there’s nothing more I can offer. From now until then, whatever happens will happen due to Astrid’s strength alone. The best you can do is offer her support until the coughing recedes.”

His eyes alight with fury, Polaris looked as if he was about to yell something else, but he turned back to the bed when he felt Astrid reach out to him. She placed her hoof on his shoulder. “What is it?” he asked.

Their eyes met. Astrid stared at Polaris, her pupils flitting back and forth, searching his face. She was silent for what seemed like an eternity, then she said quietly and simply, “I’m scared.”

Polaris clenched his teeth. He wrapped his hooves around her and pulled Astrid into a tight hug. She coughed again. He hugged harder. “It’s going to be okay, sweetheart. Just lay still and let the cough take care of itself.”

Astrid nodded and attempted to lay flat, but immediately sat back up, her hoof grasping at her chest. “It hurts too much,” she breathed. “I feel like I’m drowning. Polaris, I’m scared.” She clutched his hoof, squeezing it. Her cough returned briefly.

Corona stood at the foot of the bed, next to Dr. Snowmane, watching as Astrid’s breathing became more ragged, and every inhale more laborious. Trixie kept the knife pressed against her forehead, even when she bent over to cough. It was all she could do.

“Astrid,” Polaris whispered, “look at me.” He put his hoof under her chin, turning her face towards his. “Do you remember when we first met?”

Astrid nodded, a strained smile crossing her face. “You looked so lost,” she said with a slight chuckle that was almost immediately replaced by a cough.

Smiling back at her, Polaris stroked Astrid’s mane. “What about our first kiss? Do you remember that?”

“As clear as da—” Coughing replaced the last word as Astrid doubled over once again.

Tears started to form in the corners of Polaris’ eyes as he said, “And when I asked you to marry me?”

She took a moment to stop coughing, but when it finally calmed down for a moment, Astrid smiled again and said, “I asked you.”

His cheeks now wet, Polaris smiled back. “Oh, right. I guess you do remember.”

“Polaris…” Astrid’s chest heaved. She reached out a hoof, grabbing at Polaris’ face, trying to stroke his cheek. “In books and fairy tales, ponies always say things like—” she coughed “—like, ‘I’m going to a better place’ or, ‘I’m not afraid of death’—” another cough “—but I don’t think I can be a storybook heroine.”

Shaking his head, Polaris placed a hoof over Astrid’s lips. “No, no, don’t talk like that, Astrid. You’re going to be fine.”

With her weak hooves, Astrid pushed Polaris’ hoof aside and continued. “I can’t be like the ponies in fairytales.” She paused to cough a few more times. “Because I’m afraid, Polaris. I’m so scared right now.” Another cough attacked wracked her body. “I… I don’t want to die.” As soon as the words left her lips, tears burst from her eyes. She sobbed, holding on to Polaris as tight as she could as she coughed yet again, even through her tears.

As tears poured down his face as well, Polaris kissed Astrid’s cheek, saying, “You’re not going to die, sweetheart. You can’t. I know you can’t.”

“I don’t want to die!” Astrid cried, her body shaking with fear now. “I don’t want our child to die either, Polaris. What kind of mother would I be?”

“Don’t talk like that…”

“I feel—” she covered her mouth as she coughed again “—I feel like I’m drowning.” Her breathing was getting worse every second, and it was starting to sound like she was breathing through a straw. “It’s… it’s so hard to breathe, Polaris.” Her eyes wet with tears, Astrid tugged on Polaris’ hoof. “Please—” another cough “—help me.”

“I don’t know what to do,” said Polaris, his voice cracking. “I don’t…” He whipped around, staring at Dr. Snowmane. “Help her!”

Astrid’s hoof soon brought Polaris’ attention back to her. Her face soaked with tears, she said, “I… I… I… can’t… bre…” Her breathing was barely more than a whisper now. Her face was starting to turn blue, and skin grew cold.

Polaris shouted again. “Help her! Do something!”

Dr. Snowmane’s face was cold and expressionless as she stomped her hoof. “There is nothing I can do. I already told you that she will live or die by her own strength now.”

“Astrid is strong!”

Polaris’ voice shook the room, and for a tiny second, everything was silent. It was broken moments later by Astrid’s weak voice reaching out to him. He turned back to her, leaning in, putting his ear up beside her muzzle.

Astrid sucked in a tiny breath, then said, “I… I’m… so scared… Polaris.” She paused to breathe again. “I don’t... want… to… die.”

Weeping, Polaris lay his head against Astrid’s chest, tears streaming down across her stomach. “I don’t want you to die,” he whispered. “Please… don’t leave me.” Lifting his head up, he saw Astrid trying and failing to gasp another breath. His own breathing quickened. “No…”

With her tears gone, and now drying, Astrid placed her face against Polaris and said with her last breath, “I’m… sorry.” All at once, her body became heavy as she slumped against Polaris.

The room was silent once again. No one said anything for a time, then, as the sun broke over the mountain peaks, casting its first rays of sunshine down into the room, Polaris repeated, “No…”

The drake tooth dagger clattered to the ground, falling from Trixie’s grasp as she too crumpled to the ground. With her head in her hooves, Trixie felt tears streaming down the side of her face. She looked up and saw Corona standing silently, a grim look on his face. Dr. Snowmane had already left, and Polaris lay weeping over Astrid’s rapidly-cooling body.

A knock came at the door.

Only Trixie turned to see it as it opened. She was greeted by three tall stallions in leather armor with axes strapped to their backs. The middle one looked around the room and said, “Which of you is Trixie Lulamoon?”

Trixie slowly stood up. She glanced at Corona, who didn’t look back, and then said, “I am.”

The stallion nodded. “Come with me. The Warden requests your presence.”

Her brow furrowing, Trixie glanced back at Astrid. “I’ll speak to him later. As you can tell,” she said, her voice growing more angry, “there are more important things at the moment.”

Seemingly unfazed, the stallion stared blankly at Trixie. “Perhaps I should rephrase, Miss Lulamoon. The Warden demands your presence.”

Trixie clenched her teeth. “Well, he’ll have to wait then.”

“The Warden does not wait, ma’am.”

“He will for me,” said Trixie, practically spitting the words out.

The three stallions stared at Trixie. Their horns lighting up, they reached for their axes, but stopped before they reached them.

“Trixie…”

Turning around, Trixie saw Corona shaking his head. “It’s not worth it. You’ll either end up dead or in jail, and I’m sure that’s the last thing Astrid would want. Just go with them, all right? I’ll stay here with Polaris.”

“Your friend is very wise, Miss Lulamoon. You can be wise too,” said the stallion in the middle.

Trixie stared at them for a long time, then she finally broke her gaze and said, “Fine.”

The stallion cracked a broken smile. “Excellent. There is much The Warden wishes to discuss with you.”

Gathering up her bag, Trixie approached Corona, whispering to him, “Wait for me. I’ll be back as quickly as I can.”

“Be careful, Trixie,” Corona warned, his face serious. “The Warden is as cunning is he is cruel. Watch your tongue while you speak with him.”

Trixie nodded.

Motioning towards the door, the guardspony said, “This way, Miss Lulamoon. We will guide you to the tower.”

Falling in line behind the three as they exited the room, and left the hospital, Trixie muttered, “I have some questions for this ‘Warden’ as well. We’ll see just how cunning he is.”

PreviousChapters
Comments ( 93 )

Well... here we are. This is the end.

Okay, well it's not technically the end. It's the end of this book. There's still two more to come after this, as you can probably guess since it didn't end with Trixie becoming an all-powerful sentient robot with laser beams for eyes and rockets for wings. Hopefully the humor dulls the pain you're feeling (hopefully)

Anyway, yes, this book is over, but the story is not. It will live on in the sequel Unread Letters From a Friend at the End of the World which, after careful deliberation, I've decided to release the first chapter of this coming weekend (10/18/2014), probably Saturday, but maybe Sunday if things don't work out.

Uhh, I don't know what else to say here, so I'll just leave it at that.

Damn. Way to end this on a happy note! :raritydespair:

Eagerly awaiting the sequel.

“As I suspected, your wife’s cold has worsened to the point where it’s become pleurisy.

Somepony needs to get some moldy bread and invent penicillin, for Faust's sake! :trollestia:

On that note, she died that fast? Damn, she was weak as hell! Best to get those inferior genes out of the population! NATURAL SELECTION AT WORK!!!

(Alondro does not mourn, for he is a cold-hearted biologist and all life is naught but a stew of chemicals for him to mix in his metaphorical witches' brew!) :pinkiecrazy:

But on a more serious literary note: too fast, dude. Wayyy too fast. Came across as sappy melodrama.

I've decided to release the first chapter of this coming weekend

Damn. I've really got to get working on that cover art.

First, congratulations on seeing this first book through. You've done a truly brilliant job crafting this world, and the characters that reside in it. I'll definitely be tracking the next part of this awesome tale. Bravo!! :twilightsmile:

Second... NOOOO, Not Astrid?! Why? :raritydespair::pinkiesad2:

Okay, that was a bad punch to the gut. :twilightangry2:

That was... unexpected.

Rude, alex. Just rude :rainbowwild:

5136591 There are words I could say to this, but if I gave in my rage would boil over. And no, I don't give damned one any explanation you may or may not offer.

Wow. Just wow. You plum 1-upped me. And here I was, in the middle of the chapter thinking, "You know what, I know what's going to happen. The sickness will get worse, she'll give birth (may or may not be a stillbirth). If it lives, she dies. If it doesn't, she lives." But oh no, you outdid me. You just killed her off in one chapter. Although, I would like to comment on that. It feels too rushed. Illnesses don't get worse and then kill people in the span of five minutes. It's usually an hour or more. There was also no time for any drama or buildup, it was just "whoop, she's okay, and now she's coughing, and now she's dead. And now here's convenient guards! Next book." Try taking your time with major events next time. The transitions can be sudden (ie. the sickness suddenly getting worse), but the event itself should always take at the very least most of a chapter (ie. Astrid's death).

APB

That was a very well done death scene. Props go out to you for having a good ending to the story.

Oh...

I... I don't know what to say. I thought she would at least make it to the next book and after that, it could go either way but...

Well, you've hooked me for the sequel.

...Noooooooo...:pinkiesad2:

Also, I wish each of those guards the swiftest and most painful kicks to the nads.

Ouch, my heart :fluttershysad:

Eh, to me the surprise would have been if she lived.

When I saw the complete tag it seemed a bit odd. But I was hoping that it meant Twilight would finally find Trixie. But no, guess not. Now I am wondering if it will ever happen. If you can drag it out this far, I wouldn't be surprised if Trixie dies at the end of the third book just before Twilight reaches her. Meh.

How in the name of Luna does it end here? :rainbowhuh:

paul #17 · Oct 14th, 2014 · · 2 ·

Killing her was cruel, unrequired and clashes with overall story feel.

I remember a while back that I recognized that a heavily pregnant mare (or new born) would not be suitable for adventuring, and that Polaris wouldn't leave them alone. At the time I speculated that Trixie would part ways with Astrid and Polaris to continue her journey... I was half right, and most certainly not in the way I was expecting. QQ

Interestingly, what stood out the most in this chapter to me was that moment were Trixie was frozen, feeling like she was watching another world when everything started happening at once and she was looking on. I am not sure why, and I'll think on it more, but I really liked that touch.

So far, Trixie's adventure had been fittingly storybook. Sure there was danger, but no consequence, so ultimately it was just thrilling. Everything turned out fine in the end. But now is the first time during all this that Trixie really gets confronted with the reality that bad events don't always end with some property damage and a lost reputation.

I wonder how she'll deal with this, and the idea that this happened because of her. (However indirectly.)

My sincere reaction when I saw the update: OMYGOSHOMYGOSHOMYGOSH :rainbowkiss:

oh wait, where's the first chapter of the sequel you promised? D:

5140011
It'll be posted this weekend.

5140229 Nice! Looking forward to it! (That Inconvenient Trixie picture is so funny XD)

5138175 Two words: character development.

5136750 Actually, it took the course of several hours; it was past midnight at the start of the chapter and past dawn at the end.

Congradulations! You finished the story! :pinkiehappy:

:'(

i wanna slap the warden, tho..... insensitive brute.

5140934 Still, it was over quickly and didn't build as much drama and tension as it could have. It was also an opportune moment to develop Trixie's character, or to give her some bit of inspirational opinion/quote/item.

5141136

or to give her some bit of inspirational opinion/quote/item.

I specifically avoided that for fear of being "cliche". Now, whether or not the way I did go about was the right way is another matter. I will admit that it probably went a bit too quickly, though when I was writing it felt extremely long, so it's hard to tell sometimes.

5141136 Yes, it could have been drawn out. Part of that will be in the sequel, I'm sure, but a bit more would have been nice.:eeyup:

Honestly, this felt like pretty blatant emotional manipulation. A pregnant mare, shouting "I don't want to die", coughing to death in her husband's embrace. I'm more irritated by the chapter than saddened by it.

5140229

This weekend? Ugh, thats rather INCONVENIENT.

5141148

It felt cliche to me. Like 5141201 said, it seems like you made Astrid sick for the sheer purpose of emotional manipulation. In fact, all of her sickness just feels like you're using her to show how far your story is willing go. It also feels rushed. Heck, it's like when Astrid reached the hospital, the doctor just stuck a hose into her lungs and turned it on.

Besides, if this is pneumonia, why didn't the doctor try draining the fluids? Why didn't patting her on the back loosen some of the gunk attached to her lungs? Were antibiotics or antiviral medicines used? Why wasn't oxygen therapy used? Why didn't the doctor tell Astrid to calm down, or put her into a coma? Is every single sickness curable by herbs and nothing else?

Also, now that Astrid's passed out (since you don't die just because your eyes are closed), she has a much, much better chance of surviving. Well, she'll probably survive if that quack doctor doesn't pump any more fluid into her lungs.

Fuck.

Edit: I see this sort of emotional manipulation happen in various books and movies, and it doesn't make the story better at all. I've talked with my siblings about a book with an 'artistic' ending where the main character's love interest dies because the bad guy just happened had one poison death arrow up his sleeve, just happened to be in the right place to shoot it, and the girl just happened to be in the right place to get hit, and you know what? It ruined the entire series for them.

I'm not saying that it's bad to have emotional deaths in books, but you better be sure you're not just forcing things to make your story darker and edgier.

Imagine if you were roleplaying, and you played Astrid. Would you be glad you tried yor best until you died? Or would you be thinking 'this is bullshit!' over the fact that the other people pretty much killed you off in a way you could do nothing about because you were someone's girl?

5142603
I understand where you're coming from, I really do, and I can certainly appreciate why it might feel like I was simply going for visceral emotions just as a cheap way to generate sympathy, and perhaps I could've/should've done a better job in dealing with that scene, but it's not as though I did it arbitrarily. See, I've been planning this for over a year, as far back as the first few chapters. I sowed the seeds of her death from their first encounter with Corona, and have been foreshadowing it ever since, perhaps poorly, but foreshadowed nonetheless.

Take, for example, this scene from chapter 16. If you'll recall, after Trixie and Co . were captured by the drakes, there was a dream sequence in which Trixie visited Twilight in Ponyville. This scene is full of symbolism and foreshadowing, and I tried to make it clear that that would be the case by including this line:

Printed in dull golden letters were the words, The Understanding, and Interpreting of, D—.

It might've been a tad too subtle, perhaps, but regardless of that fact, everything that followed was intensely symbolic. This bit, in fact, foreshadowed the events of this chapter a year before it was written:

“Did you know that that was one of the least popular Daring Do books?” Trixie whipped around, the book still held in her hooves, and saw her standing at the top of the stairs, Spike right behind her. “The author killed one of the main characters at the end of the book,” she continued as she walked down the stairs. “Not Daring, of course, but somepony else, and fans weren’t too happy about it. Apparently they thought it was ‘out of place’ in a Daring Do novel to have somepony die.” Her whole body seemed to shine and sparkle as the sunlight streaming through the window caught her just right. Trixie said nothing. “Now me, on the other hoof,” she said, pointing at herself. “I thought it was a very fitting end for that character. His story had come full-circle, and he had already lost his love, so there was nothing left for him to do. Having fulfilled his purpose, there was no reason that he should live, and he was ready to be reunited with his late companion anyway, so why not have him die in a heroic sacrifice?” She shook her head, sending waves through her silky lavender mane. “I guess other ponies just didn’t see it that way.”

I even anticipated the reaction some people would have regarding her death. So, while you certainly may have a point about her death happening too quickly, or about the doctor's lack of apparent medical expertise, I can at least confidently say that I did not do it on a whim. Further, this event will have a proprofound impact on the rest of the story, and in particular upon Polaris' character. After all, the next book is the second act in a three act structure, and it is at this juncture where the characters are at their lowest point.

5143367

Hmm...

You're right, you did foreshadow it, and it does have a purpose. I do still think it could have been done better, but at least you didn't kill her off at the end for the sole purpose of making the story dark. (I would have been happier if you decided to surprise everyone and kill Polaris or Corona. This just seems forced as hell.)

And i remember that quote now that you mention it, but Twilight doesn't strike me as the pony who would think death was fitting after a point fulfilled their 'purpose'. Perhaps pre fim Twilight, but not the twilight that's been spending years with her friends. Which season Twilight is this?

Edit: Also, survivors don't tend to panic, and are extreemely hard to kill. You had someone that acted like a survivor until now, panic in a way that could be blamed for her death. In that scenario, I wouldn't be hyperventilating, I would be breathing at a catatonic rate, I would be trying to drain the fluids from my lungs myself, or I'd use Trixie's dagger to puncture a hole in my lungs and let the fluids drain (if I thought that would be effective). If you're trying to kill off a character that would try to survive, you have to at least show them trying to survive.

5143795
It's dream Twilight. As evidenced by the fact that she goes all fire and brimstone on Trixie by the end of the dream, she is not canon Twilight. She's simply there to be a mouthpiece for symbolism and such, and to voice Trixie's fears of what her return to Ponyville might be like.

5143906

Ah, it's been so long... My memories...

Well, this chapter pretty much killed my interest. Character death for the sake of itself is boring. No build-up. No real reason for it that I can see other than to say that Trixie's lost something along the way, and that can be done much more elegantly than a random death. Suddenly axing a character is an easy way to break immersion if done poorly, and here, tbh, I feel it was done poorly. Character deaths only have weight if there is dramatic tension or the death somehow reflects upon the actions or character of one of the others. There was no reason to care about this death past the frustration of a character randomly plucked out of the story.

5143906

Ah. You should definitely see this: Matther O' Reilly: "Am I dying?" The honest answer.

You made your character act OOC. She kept her cool the whole time, then panicked to make way for your death scene. Real people don't act differently to make their death scenes more 'touching'.

5144165
Well, you're certainly free to stop reading, but I would at least direct you to this reply I made attempting to explain that her death was not arbitrary, nor did I do it for the sake of itself.
5143367


5144421
Okay, well that's a fair complaint. In the future, should another situation like this arise, I will take that advice into account. Thanks.

5144435

*Sigh*

As someone who rewrote the first chapter of their most recent fic tens of times, 'in the future' just sounds disappointing.

Still, this is definitely not your first chapter, and I can totally understand both not wanting to go back and edit things, and the mindset that, once released, the words are set in stone. There are valid reasons for both rewriting and not rewriting, and it's your fic, so I'm fine with whatever you decide.

You're welcome. I'm glad I could share my thoughts. :twilightsmile:

5136750 Not to mention, worst doctor ever. Worse than the crappy neurologist who missed the MRI data which clearly showed the damage from several strokes in my mom's brain (found that out two days ago, very very pissed... seething with rage in fact...)

Really, he has nothing to offer? No potions or poultices or surgeries or ANYTHING? This is a world with... remember now... MAGIC!!!

They have NOTHING to help treat rather mundane illness?

5143795 I could have bought it if she'd been diagnosed with sepsis, and it was a magical bacterium or something that resisted treatment.

Sepsis can kill FAST; often involving catastrophic multi-organ failure as the bacterial toxins attack all major internal organs.

But instant death from pneumonia-induced pleurisy? I've SEEN people die from that. It's agonizingly slow in many cases and takes at least a full day to develop.

Why is this tagged as complete? :'(

That was interesting :pinkiesad2: A very sad twist at the end there but I do hope it was worth it :raritydespair: If it helps build Trixie's Character then I could forgive it for now :trixieshiftright: I can't wait for the sequel I will keep an eye on it :twilightsmile: It was a great run till this chapter and now I want MOAR :flutterrage: But I guess I have to wait for the weekend I'm sorry :fluttershyouch:

5144942 When they put neurosurgeons at the frontier of Alaska, sure, I'll see your point.

5148970 It's pleurisy, not a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Hmmm... that also woulda killed her quick.

Note: if you want to know 10,000 diseases/injuries that can quickly kill someone... just ask Alondro... he knows them all... disturbingly well... :pinkiecrazy:

5143367 Okay, now that I;ve digested this a bit I have to say...

No. That's bad foreshadowing and planned or not, it was still pretty bad. It was a gut punch for the sake of a gut punch and made me more angry than anything. And not the 'good' kind, like with Discord or Ted Dibiase, but the 'bad' kind where I'm pretty damned put off overall.

The reason, 'their story is over/point fulfilled' makes no sense to me and never has. Andf this is just so... I can't describe it. I really can't. But I don't like it in any way, shape or form.

I'll check out book two and read along but this is not a good start.

5149445
First off, thanks for the feedback. As much as people might be upset about this ending, I don't want anyone to think I don't appreciate all the feedback I'm getting. Second, I'm going to have to disagree with you about the:

It was a gut punch for the sake of a gut punch

See, I'm not sure you can make that call since you don't know why I, the author, did it. You don't know about the plans I have for down the road. If saying that comes across as arrogant, then I'm sorry, because that's not how I mean it. I'm simply saying that that's quite a call to make when you don't know what's going to happen in the future, or how Astrid's death is going to affect the story and the characters and I do. I know what I have planned, and I know that her death was far from a gut punch for the sake of a gut punch. It will have significant impact upon the rest of the story, and it's something I've been planning for a very long time. As you may have noticed, throughout the story, she becomes progressively sicker, and eventually that culminates in her death, which is extremely important with regards the overarching theme of this story, that being "destiny vs. choice".

I hesitate to give away anything major, so I'll try to be as vague as possible. Trixie struggles, throughout the story, with whether she thinks destiny is real or not, and this event will play a major role, now and again later on, in her answer to that self-asked question about whether things happen because of choices made, or because it was destiny.

The main thing I want to get across here is that I completely agree with everyone saying the ending was rushed. It was, and I apologize for that. It shouldn't have been that way, but I resent the fact that many seem to think it was simply done for the sake of tugging at some hearstrings, which I promise you it wasn't. I know it wasn't because I'm writing the damn thing, and I know why I do things, and I don't do things like kill a character arbitrarily or for the sake of itself.

Anyway, I do hope you continue reading, and I hope I can make up for this lackluster ending in the subsequent sequel, and I'm sorry if anything I said here sounds arrogant or douchey, because again, that's not my intent at all.

The ending isn't what bothered me. The lack of an ending is. You're writing a series, yes, but what you did here is what was done with The Hobbit: taking a complete story and breaking it into fragments because of the limitations of the medium. The result there, as here, was that the ending didn't resolve anything.

The first few chapters had me convinced that this story had a lot of potential, that you were an author who wouldn't drop the ball halfway across the tightrope. Because those first few chapters were so good, I still believe you could have held onto it. A lack of editing, proofreading, and peer review is my best guess as to why you didn't.

Nitpick-y things are that the characters chuckled, smirked, and looked bemused far, far too often. Little things like that--and those places where you edited but didn't clean up the scraps--became more and more irritating each time they came up, to the point where they became impossible to ignore.

Other times, you narrated things that were already sufficiently implied. That's mostly a dialogue issue. The story itself, if a bit predictable at times, wasn't too tell-y. Also, you use a lot of adverbs. More than necessary. "Quickly," in particular, is the most egregious thing to see in any description.

I could actually forgive all that if not for the characters. For one thing, while you made an effort to give them distinct voices, they still ended up sounding too much alike. Subjective complaints are that I found the way the drakes spoke to be weird and arbitrary and that I completely disagree with the way you portrayed the marine offshoot of ponykind.

None of your original characters in major roles had enough depth, and the canon characters wouldn't either if we didn't have the show for reference. There was the illusion of depth, but it often seemed like you didn't know what to do with it. Astrid felt so much like a stranger that her death meant nothing to me.

The real problem is when your main characters are shallow--I get the impression she was supposed to be a main character. As for Trixie, the main character, I was disappointed by how readily she seemed to give up her notions of free will in favor of destiny just because a drug-induced vision told her it was so.

If Trixie has one defining flaw, it's pride. To your credit, you do try to demonstrate that pride. In her interactions with Anvil, for instance. And yet, it comes across as artificial, tacked on, despite being such an integral part of her character. It's like you don't know what it is to feel that kind of pride, the kind that borders on hubris.

Perhaps these things bother me so much because your narrative voice reminds me of my own, what with your liberal use of participial phrases and all. It makes me wonder how painful my earlier works must be to read, and for that matter, how painful some may yet find my current ones. That reminds me: use pronouns; they're your friends.

... umm...

So... all that waiting...

And then she died...

...

...

...

...

:fluttercry:

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