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Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.

Comments ( 153 )
Drakmire #1 · Jan 8th, 2013 · · 15 ·

You told me there would be no shipping. -.-

I didn't know that ponies celebrated Roman holidays. Hey, in your next story, do something with the October Horse. Actually, almost looks like you already did, in a round about way.

"Romance Reports" sequel by CiG? Yes PLEASE!

Holy shit a new cold In gardens story :pinkiehappy:
(Looks at word count)
Well better start now

A sequel to Romance Reports, by Cold in Gardez, based on Roman mythology? I don't think there's a single part of this that doesn't scream "read this right the hay now."

So quick question, which ending to Romance Reports does this follow? The TwiLee ending or the alt ending?

EDIT: Lol nevermind I see Cheerilee tagged so I'm guessing it's the original ending.

I literally read the word Bacchanalia in the description and I just was like "Oh god."

I've gotta read this.

I don't even know why.

Because Dionysus is the most messed up god ever. I need to read this.

Ah god damn, I so need to get my act together and read Romance Reports.

New Gardez story?

I suspect today will be pretty good.

Wow this has a real epic premises. Definite connections to Romance Reports but it has a very different feel. Very cool. Now I just need more to be written on what is going on between Pinkie and Rainbow Dash...

Huh. I hope there will be a sequel to this sequel, because you set up one hell of a hook.

aww its a one shot, well a 21k word count one :heart:

fabula Erosis? atque Baccurnaliam diridet?

pestis! furcifer! vir scelerissimus!

This should be interesting.
Commence read.

An Archmage....Hm. Familiar.

So, there I was, looking at my notifications and saw the post from Sleepless saying someone wrote a sequel to Romance Reports... So I decided to check it. Interesting premise, not sure why the Dark tag, commence reading.

Fairly interesting, sexy in its own part, but still, why the Dark t-- oh. That's why. Still, a very interesting concept, very well written (I was hoping Twilight would show her mane-biting fetish here as well, honestly XD) and thoroughly enjoyable.

For some reason, I can't help but think that the ending is something like all of the recent Marvel movies leading to the Avengers...

And with that little ending we have a nice little loop back to Like a Fine Wine. Really makes me hope for more fleshing out of the RR universe.

Interesting that you managed to incorporate this into the RR story itself, if I'm not mistaken Sleepless indicated if he ever wrote it that it would be a standalone with no relation(other than Luna having the same basic character).

Hey, hate to ask but is there anyway the story could be cut up into more easily digestible pieces? 21,000+ is bit much all in one go.

That was an utterly fantastic read. I do hope there's more sequels to this story; the world everyone is crafting for it is amazing.

Dang, totally set it up for a sequel, eh? :duck:

This is what I get for wandering into a "dark" tagged fic, something I usually avoid. But a sequel to Romance Reports, written by Cold in Gardez? Hells to the yes. What could possibly go wrong?

On the one hand, this was amazingly written story, filled to bursting with mindblowing ideas. Twilight Sparkle fucking an immortal stag at an orgy of mythological creatures seems oddly fitting, for some reason. And it feels right that Luna would lead such an event. But that ending... it goes against every fiber of my being to accept that Equestria would be built on fundamentally dark magic like that. It doesn't square with the philosophy of the show, nor with the pilot episode's intent that Luna's return was a good thing. Unfortunately, I wasn't taken by the drama of the event; I instead wanted to step through the screen and slap Luna silly for deciding to restart a ritual that would require her to commit murder. Maybe it just wasn't explained well enough in the scene with Celestia, but it felt like angst for angst's sake.

So I both loved and hated this fic; it's an excellently crafted piece of work that pissed me the hell off. :raritydespair:

Whoah. At turns, this was amusing, beautiful, exciting, mysterious and terrifying. Luna really is the Princess of the Night here, andTwilight and Cheerilee were very well drawn, complementing one another beautifully. And the ending of the ceremony; and the ending of the story!

This is the epitome of a good dark fic; not gory, even if there is violence; not porny, even if there is sex; not schlocky, even if there is horror. Well done.

I'm pretty sure it can't be split. Not if you want the story to flow properly, and work as it is intended.

I had to stop reading about halfway through and put on Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" before taking it from the top again. The music fit so well, it was scary.

CiG, this is one of the most hauntingly beautiful (beautifully haunting?) fics I've ever read, and I've read Background Pony.

1941402 I can second this. As much as the "Romance Reports" universe is different from standard Equestria, this might just be taking it that little bit too far. I don't for one second believe that "Like Fine Wine" takes place some thirty years into a millennium of darkness.

Also, why in the everlasting blazes would Luna not explain what was happening beforehand? You can't talk about anything you've seen; the geas doesn't say anything about stuff that is yet to happen. She knows that Twilight hates her as it is; why would she risk digging that particular hole even deeper? If there's anything a civilization at the start of a dark age doesn't need, it's pure hatred from the most powerful wizard towards one of the sovereigns, in the process undercutting said wizard's trust in the other sovereign to boot. Sorry, but this doesn't work for me. A shame, because everything up to that ending was brilliant, if a bit repetitive at times (yes, Twilight doesn't trust Luna, we get it). As this stands, I won't give it a thumb either way, because it doesn't deserve either of them. Sorry.


I knew not everyone would like it, but Stravinski's "The Rite of Spring" has always been one of my favorite ballets. It nearly sparked a riot when it was first performed.

Thank you for taking the time to read it, even if it wasn't your thing. I do appreciate that.

1941055 Do not ever ask such questions. We don't need more of these writers with their itty bitty little chapters of under 5k words. Everything aboth 10k words should be celebrated!

As for the story: "To Read List"

Ain't nobody got time for that!

Well that was... interesting to say the least, also I see the ending hints to more on the way and it seems like we might be in store for more than just simple romance so I guess we'll just have to wait and see what the future holds for Twi and Cheers.

Well this was a lot different from what I was expecting. When I originally saw this fic on Sleepless' idea list I was hoping for a fetished up clopfic; Like Fine Wine showed me he can really do pony x mythical creature sexy times quite well. While I didn't get that (and I'm a bit sad that itch won't be getting scratched) I did get a very well written story.

I don't know if the original idea was supposed to take place in the original RR universe but it came as a bit of shock to me to see that it found its way there. To take a concept so normally absurd such as a magic inter-species orgy and turn it into a believable and serious story is quite a feat in my opinion and you did a great job of pulling it off.

1941055 would you ask the mlp staff to cut down a chapter because 30 min is too much?
that that would eat CiG time away....

1941979 hey some people prefer small reads... :V

1941895 1941402

But the thing is... Luna didn't bring the celebration back because she wanted too. That much was evident by her sorrow and by her sadness both before and after the act. If I'm reading this correctly (Cold, back me up on this), Luna brought the Bacchanalia back because she HAD to. The idea Equestria turning in cycles, through day and night, summer, winter, fall, spring, light and dark, is not a novel idea. There has always been the idea of times of peace, and times of bounty. For years, the Winter-Wrap up may have been enough to push back the winter. For the past millennial, that was all ponies and other creatures knew.

If ANYTHING, you could argue that for the past thousand years, the world was OUT of order. It missed one of its chief rulers/gods and without that balance, the natural order of things was jilted. Now that she returned... the world has righted itself... and things must be done to ensure it runs as smooth as possible.

The stag's death was not murder. He was a sacrifice and a fitting one at that. Old beyond his years, willing, and had been waiting over a thousand years for this moment. His life had been building up to it. We must be looked to it as such.

When considering the act of ritual sacrifice we must try to understand that the ancient tribes lived and died by their crops. If the crops failed, then a hard winter of starvation and disease was inevitable. A whole village could be wiped out through lack of food; therefore, when such a catastrophe occurred, the ancients felt they had to offer a gift to their Gods. The true nature of sacrifice was to give somebody who came willingly. To offer themselves as such placed them with their Gods and the Tribe revered them as heroes.

To view ancient civilizations from the standpoint of modern ethics is a mistake. We have supermarkets and world trade, which keeps us supplied with wonderful food throughout the year. Now imagine growing all of the food you eat yourself, without the use of pesticides to protect the crop from blight and insect diseases. Then imagine your crop fails and you face a winter of unimaginable pain and suffering. Friends are family members starve. Some even die. Now imagine it happened for a second year in a row....

Or, from the standpoint of this fic... imagine if spring and summer never came... imagine if the whole world remained bathed in cold and darkness. That is why NO sacrifice was needed for the autumn equinox. Nopony wants to bring in cold and famine. This whole celebration isnt to usher in a new season or the passing of seasons. The lovemaking, the act of creating life, the sacrifice; its all to bring back the light and the warmth for another year, till it eventually slips away and dies to cold and darkness. The stag's blood brought life back into the world. The cycle began anew. Its a reset button, so to say.

The reason that Celestia wanted Twilight, and why Luna allowed her, to go and see this was for Twilight to understand the world they now lived in. The era they lived in is dead and gone, and they need to understand that. They need to be able to act and think in this way now, because the whole world is reverting. NOTHING Celestia or Luna can do can stop it.

The use of a geas of all things is more proof to this. A geas is a beyond old tradition or curse, depending on how you look at it. They have no purpose in the modern era... but the old ages... very prevalent.

As always, an incredible fic, Cold. There's little regarding the fic itself for me to say that hasn't been said already.

1942383 Where, exactly, did I say anything about Luna wanting to do this? I only asked why she couldn't have told Twilight up front what was going to happen, avoiding the whole "the most powerful wizard in the realm now hates one of its sovereigns" issue. Of course she regrets doing this as much as anyone, if not more so, but that is all the more reason to trust Twilight beforehand, rather than spring this on her out of freaking nowhere. (For that matter, the stag obviously knew what was coming and could have told her, but I'll let that one slide because he probably didn't want to go against Luna's wishes in this.)

As for this not being a novel idea: Fully underwritten. That's another issue I had with this; the appropriate TV Tropes page would be Seen It A Million Times. That doesn't mean it can't be done well, but turning Luna's return into the onset of a dark age really goes against the spirit of the pilot episode; if anything, the age of her imprisonment should have been the dark age, ushering in a new golden age with her return. This way round simply doesn't make sense to me. I don't dispute the validity of everything that went on in this fic, which is perfectly justifiable by the fundamental assumptions the story is built upon (except for Luna not telling Twilight, I stand by my opinion that that was an instance of the Idiot Ball, crossed with Poor Communication Kills); I dispute the validity of said fundamental assumptions. It's not the storytelling, it's the worldbuilding - or should I say worldshattering?

Lots of people have already said a lot. If you've read any of my fics you know I love/respect the mythological themes that pervade the FIM world. Your choice to (fully and unblinkingly) explore the Bacchanalia was both brave and audacious. I love the continuation of keeping Luna as alien as she is in this fannon, as written here she feels like a goddess and every moment in her presence reminds you of that fact.

The best way I can sum up this fic is thus: powerful.

This is a prequel of something big. Something really really big.
To be honest, I was afraid this would fall flat. Instead it landed head-on with divine grace. Bravo!

1941402 This is not "Dark Magic", this is "Blood Magic", more to the point this is "LIGHT Blood Magic". I will endeavor to enlighten you and everyone else to the differences between "Light" and "Dark" blood magic. Okay, first off, the Stag went freely and in full knowledge of what would happen; second, Luna regrets both the act and the necessity of killing the Stag. these two things alone make the rite one of Light magic, there are more things but these two are key. now if it was a rite of Dark magic the Stag would have been forced and/or kept in the dark as to what would happen, and Luna would have enjoyed the act and thought nothing of the necessity of killing the Stag

1941895 a necessary evil that arms not only Twilight and Cheerilee but also the other 5 Elements of Harmony for the coming age. while its regrettable the such actions where used, it was the only way to keep Twilight from outright attacking Luna at the start.

1942383 it is nice to see someone who can understand the necessity and validity of such thoughts that lead to rites like the one written here.

1942502 it can be said that it was Nightmare Moon's banishment was the start of the golden age and her return was its end. it can also be said that Luna's release for Nightmare Moon has softened and slowed the onset of the dark age.

Cold in Gardez, this story is well write, thought provoking, and deep, thank you.

1943412 It can be said. But it isn't - not in the story, at least. Celestia says Luna's release was the onset of a dark age; everything else is headcanon, because the author didn't see fit to include it for whatever reason.

Also, light blood magic? What kind of fantasy world are you operating in here? Every single fantasy RPG I've ever played, and every fantasy novel I've read where the topic is even mentioned, regards blood magic, and the sacrifice of sentient beings in particular, as right up there with necromancy and demonology - read, the very darkest of the dark arts. The only exception to that are cynical, dark worlds or worlds completely given over to the cycles of life and death at their least personalized and most uncaring, and neither description applies to the MLP verse or even the RR verse, nor should it. The only acceptable version of blood magic is a voluntary sacrifice that doesn't force anyone else to become party to it - in this case, Luna offing herself.

Painting the world of MLP a little more to the realistic, sensual side - as Sleepless did - is one thing. But if you read through the original description of how he imagined this fic on his user page, it sounds nowhere as dark and foreboding as this fic turned out to be. Combine that with Luna's idiotic reticence and the suddenness of the "dark" aspect, and this fic manages to shatter all the goodwill it had built up (and that was quite a lot) with its ending. Not quite to Mass Effect 3 levels, but it's there, and I'm angry at it. I don't comment on stories that are bad from beginning to end, and my comments on stories that are good from beginning to end are nowhere near this elaborate. But stories that show signs of potential and then proceed to squander said potential rile me up, if only for what might have been. This went somewhere I don't want to go in pony fanfic. It's a personal thing, and I can acknowledge the writer's chops even as I facepalm at Yet Another Dark Equestria (in the making). It's not meant to be an insult to anyone who read this and found it brilliant. In short, it's my opinion, which should be a phrase mentally added to any criticism ever written, because they're all just that - opinions. Cold in Gardez decided to write this story, and if my experience is any indication, he couldn't have done it any other way. Stories have a mind of their own sometimes, and this appears to be one of those instances. I didn't like where it ended. Simple as that, and no one is going to suddenly convince me otherwise, nor is anyone going to convince those who loved it.


Check out some real-world mythologies. Blood magic is often just the most powerful magic with no connection between light and dark. Hell, the Aztecs would kill a guy, open his rib-cage, remove the still-beating heart, and light a fire where the heart used to go. They did this every year to keep the sun lit and save the world from darkness and death. Its an utterly horrible act done specifically so that all life can continue; good and evil have nothing to do with it.

Well, I for one had been hoping for more bucking... :trixieshiftleft:

Just kidding. This was a really cool story, well written and with a lot of suspense. As many others seem to, I do have some issues with the ending though... Honestly, a simpler explanation about how the stag had just come to the end of his days and how one has to accept death as a natural part of life would have satisfied me more than the epic-endoftheworld-ish reasoning we're given here. As someone above mentioned, it really just clashes with the slice-of-life-world set up not only by the show itself (because if we couldn't come away from that our fanfiction would be very limited indeed), but by the original story. As a separate story, where this was the first of many chapters, this could be great. But as a sequel to RR, I don't feel it works very well... 100% my opinion though. Up until that last scene it was great, and held my attention perfectly throughout.

EDIT: And jokes aside, I was pretty sad to see the insane amount of sexyness-potential slowly built up between Twi, Cheerilee and the rest never actually come to much. Millennia-old deer are cool and all, but don't do much for me in that department... :twilightblush: But I can understand if that was not the kind of story you were going for.


I utterly hated RR.

However, for exploring mythos and then incorporating it here? You did a great job of it. Still doesn't change my outlook on RR, but kudos for writing a captivating tale.

1943634 In any world that has objective standards of good and evil - which is true of pretty much every fantasy world - a deed like that is utterly and irrevocably evil. It's different in real life, which has no such standards, though I like to think that there were Aztecs who thought the human sacrifices as horrid as we do. No one thinks of themselves as the bad guy, but humans have done horrible and (yes) evil things in the name of all kinds of ideologies, including but not limited to religion, things that don't come naturally to us and therefore need a powerful justification behind them.

Oh great, now I need to find a summary of Romance Reports :twilightoops:

Take the time to read the whole thing, totally worth it. I promise.

1943946 Oh, I've read it. An awfully long time ago.

Comment posted by Soviet Power Soldier deleted Aug 22nd, 2017

That was...
Honestly, I'm not sure I have words for it. Certainly it's lovely to see the Bacchanalia as re-imagined by Stravinsky. Even if it seems to owe as much to Cybele as Bacchus. (As an interesting note, the Roman celebration of Cybele was sometimes dedicated to Venus Caelestia. Coincidence?) My mind kept drifting back to The Golden Bough again and again through the latter half.

You capture an emotion here in much the same way as Stravinsky attempted to do in the original, and I'm curious as to where you intend to go with it. Dark age yet to come? Rack and ruin? Or is it something more gradual, like Luna waxing while Celestia wanes?

Definitely keeping an eye on this in case of any much-desired sequels. :raritystarry:


You raise a good point with Luna's odd reticence with Twilight. It does seem like a lot of trouble might have been avoided if she were more up-front and communicative.

When I was younger, I had a bad habit. I didn't get very good grades in school, and of course my parents found out about this when my report card came home with me. We were required to show our report cards to our parents and get them signed. There was absolutely no way around my parents seeing my grades.

That didn't stop me from trying, though. I would keep my report card hidden in my bags, and when my parents asked about it, I would tell them it wasn't out yet. This would go on for days and weeks, until finally I had no choice but to show it to them.

Why would I wait so long? In the end, they had to find out about my grades. It wasn't like they would just forget that I had a semester in school. But I was immature and a bit cowardly, and I kept putting off the bad news because I wanted to enjoy just a few more days of relative peace.

It must have been hard, in Luna's position, to have such a terrible secret. She knew Twilight would find out about it at the end of the ceremony, so why not warn her before hand? That would be the rational, moral thing to do.

I like verry much stories but i didn't see one with 21000letters

My completely unfounded speculation into someone elses universe follows: -

I saw the Stags sacrifice coming from about the second conversation with him, however, I did think that Luna would in some symbolic way die as well. As in 'The Other Mare' she's appearming more like a shadow creature than a living pony I wondered if her body dies at the Solstice and then regrows over the year leading to her being so 'physical' at the ritual again. Her new body might even be linked to the sacrifice from the year before so it would be more deer like next time.

I also wonder if the terms golden and dark age might be more literal than they seem. Golden might not be good and Dark evil, any time when the sun is in charge will be golden and the night will be dark. However, is there a down side to the sun all the time, too much life so that it spreads itself to thinly? Does the universe need a time to cool down and sleep to produce a better, more stable system, not nesseccerily worse just more stable. Its interesting that most of the characters in the show suffer from being to extream at times, AppleJack works her self to death, Twilight and Rarity seem obsessive, Pinkys need for constant partying and abandonment issues, Fluttershys lack of a middle gear (extreme shyness or extreme agressiveness), could these be side effects of Equestria in general being out of control and needing to be cooled down.

Or am I just babbling?

Uh...I didn't read the first one, and this made no sense. I just kinda... The emotion is hard to name.
Wait. I've got it. I feel dirty. Yep, that's it. :ajbemused:

1943538 magic is defined as ether "Light" or "Dark" by one simple "yes" or "no" question, that question is: is the energy used to fuel the spell given willingly and freely? In the case of this story that answer is “yes”.

As for the terms “Light” and “Dark”, I think we view the terms differently. I infer from your use of the term “Dark” to mean “Black” and “Light” to mean “White”, while I use the terms “Light” and “Dark” as shadings of “Gray”.

As for what kind of fantasy world I am operating in, it is called the Real Word. In the Real World nothing is clean cut “Black” and “White”. “Good” and “Evil” are things little kids and “Nut Jobs” cook up to simplify a world too complex for them to understand. I am glade that you do not blindly cling to them, applying such concepts to any world, whether real or fake, kills that world. A living world, again whether real or fake, is made of shades of “Gray”.

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