• Member Since 22nd Sep, 2011
  • offline last seen 2 hours ago

Chatoyance


I'm the creator of Otakuworld.com, Jenniverse.com, the computer game Boppin', numerous online comics, novels, and tons of other wonderful things. I really love MLP:FiM.


T

An ancient manuscript written in Middle English, the only surviving artifact from long lost Earth, may hold the true reason for the emergence of Equestria, the very existence of the Conversion Bureaus, and the deepest secret of Princess Celestia herself.

This story is a continuation and expansion of 'The Conversion Bureau: Letters From Home', but it is not necessary to have read that story to enjoy and follow this one.

As Featured On Equestria Daily!

Chapters (19)
Comments ( 564 )

(laughs)

Oh this is starting out grand. Ponies and Chaucer - this will be good.

I do believe those few chapters of Luna back in "Code Majeste" have rubbed off on you, just a tad.

Alderfirst, leeve dame - I shall entende to assay thy enditynges, to areste the gale of thine audience.

Wow - I'm rusty... Spend 20 years in the SCA, and you learn a thing or three - but you don't use it for a bit and - bam - it's gone... :pinkiehappy:

ouch, middle english, that's got to be hard to deal with. Thank goodness it's not even older - I think canterbury tales was even older, that would be all but incomprehensible.

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Olde Geoff and his 'Tales were the late 1300's, if memory serves, and the period pretty much ended in the late 1400's when the printing press kinda standardized things. But, technically, you can go all the way back to the late 11th century and still be in the zone, as 'twere.

Though finding an illuminated manuscript from pre-1300 would be a rare find indeed - and one not merely a hand copy of biblical verse even more so.

Which, that point alone creates such wonderful plot device and I *really* should keep my trap shut regarding it - just in case that's the direction this tour bus is going. :rainbowlaugh:

This... this shall be such fun.

Yes.

Methinks I shall enjoy this.

If nothing else, I won't be able to nag you; while I understand the syntax of that dialect I have always been rather iffy on the spelling, mainly because... there was very little in terms of "right" and "wrong" until language was standardized much later.

Also yes callbacks to older stories, I absolutely love it when you do that.

... I am psyched for this. Seriously. Let's get this show on the road!

Brain = exploded. And I'm glad to see you coming back to this little detail, I did wonder why Wildfire didn't look further into the book back in Letters :twilightsmile:

Oh. my......just how long HAS Celestia had an interest in Earth? Also, will something grey and sort of out-of-it appear at some point?

As a history buff myself, I got chills reading this. Hoooooooly Sisters... :derpyderp1:

Sweet baby Luna...

This is a wonderful beginning. I'm gonna love this story, I can tell :twilightblush:

Spenser, perhaps? An "unsalable" manuscript or draft of the "Faerie Queene?"

Nice.

Reading this made me want to burn equestria. Burn it from orbit until there is nothing left. Avenge my fallen brethreren. Those, horrible abominations. Note: I normally like equestria, but the one in these stories is obviously some sort of cosmic evil. (that eats planets)

156468

Oh, it's far, far worse than simply eating planets - it consumes entire universes, using the raw elemental energy of the invaded reality as essential fuels to power it's own expansion.

Isn't it glorious? :rainbowlaugh:

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Ahh, good play. By invoking the esteemed Edmund we circle into the Virtues - not unlike our Elements of Harmony in most respects.

But, as you know, no mention of the Virtues is complete without at least acknowledging dear Aristotle, to which the Elements were first shown in 350BC. While he did expand upon the six Elements to some extent, eventually settling upon ten 'Virtues', this did eventually become the core tenants of 'Ethics' which govern all human interaction to this day.

Such a pity really - humanity showed such promise early on...

:pinkiehappy:

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Cosmic evil? Or cosmic good (that eats planets!)?

Wouldn't you really rather be a pony? Here, drink this...

This shall me interesting, me thinks.

Will we found out why Celestia waited so long to interfere, something tells me that "waiting for sufficient technology" to turn humans into ponies wouldn't matter so much to a goddess and considering it supposedly taking place during the darkest of ages that point in history would be as good time as any to intervene if all her reason for the begging of the conversions where simply because of pity towards humanity.

looking forward to the next chapter :rainbowdetermined2:

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well you wouldn't be "Avenging" many (not to mention killing billions of former humans and equestrians alike :fluttershysad: ), merely the remains of a lost civilization and all but a few who willingly stayed behind, not going pony.

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Those that changed willingly are traitors, and everyone else is trapped inside their minds as they are taken over by another mindset. The ponies destroyed us in this universe. They obliterated our civilization, and had the gall to take the moral high ground. Nukeing them would just be karma.

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Merely traitors to our biology, which isn't worth much in my book considering it is not on our side.
And yes they did change our mindset, but the mindset they gave us in T.C.B. universe is what we strive for to have isn't it?
Those ideals that we strive so hard to reach Honesty, Loyalty, Kindness and Generosity is hard to uphold in an imperfect world and a biology that is not geared towards that, our evolution simply didn't favor such traits.

There is something to be said for those that do overcome those limitations but would it not be better to simply remove the obstacle of biology to achieve those goals? :twilightsmile:

But a thermal nuclear response to them wouldn't be karma, it would just be evil.
If Equestrias intentions had been to simply to obliterate our civilization it would have been karma, but the ones that left wasn't forbidden to speak of Earth they simply chose not to, the end of a civilization was simply a side effect of it all.

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Those that changed willingly don't really have many options in this universe, you know. It's either go become a pony for free and live in happy funtime land, or live in poverty, disease, and constant conflict from gang wars. With the HLF around, there isn't much room for humans who just want to be left alone; they'd most likely get pressured into fighting for the HLF on the grounds of being a "pony lover" regardless of their actual stances, or be killed for inaction. Personally, despite being my absolute favorite recursive-fanfic genre, the Conversion Bureau universe hits my loyalties with a sack of lead discs.

I have amazing hopes for how far humanity can progress, what with the upcoming technological singularity and all. I honestly hope that events play out so that everyone gets to live forever thanks to digital uploading (another touchy subject for me, I only support immortality that lets the same consciousness continue) and get to see the great expanse of the universe. I want to see that first Mars colony, that first manned mission to Pluto, that first manned craft to finally free itself from our sun's orbit and venture out into the dark. I desperately want to see the first contact with life, though it doesn't have to be sentient. I hope for all of this.

On the other hand, given this scenario where nearly 19 billion people live off of nanorecycled human waste for food and strive to live in worldwide slums and favelas, I'd gladly take conversion. It's pretty obvious given what we're told that Earth has lost the good path, the drive to better itself as a whole. Here, there is no Niel Armstrong making astounding achievements in the name of all mankind. It might be a case of "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG", and nanotechnology and AIs aren't being fully utilized (I believe that they aren't. Full artificial intelligence alongside nanotechnology, and they use it for corporate profit rather than creating a truly post-scarcity society. Makes me sad.), but as far as we've been told, Earth has effectively stagnated.

Suddenly, you throw in the bubble-portal to the magical land of Equestria. Thanks to predictable militaries and world governments, it's safe to assume they already tried to nuke it. A lot. Obviously, that didn't work, seeing as how anything that passes through the barrier is 'purified' in the case of hazardous materials, or transformed into something completely random and harmless, like an attack helicopter bursting into a rain of flower petals. It's also pretty well confirmed that this immutable bubble is also expanding at a predictable rate, and there isn't anything that can be done about this. Once this is confirmed, that's basically it. What good would resistance do if it will all be over in about six years?

All of the "fighting for the good of humanity" and "killing of the traitors" doesn't really mean anything at this point. Sure you may not like the fact that humanity won't get to reach those distant thermonuclear balls of fire in that cold void. You may not like the fact that these colorful and happy equines are now living in what used to be your hometown. But think long term. What would any action against anything accomplish? I know I'd regret not being able to witness that first extrasolar vessel, not being able to experience that fantasy of seeing our little insignificant blue speck before the backdrop of the cosmos, not being able to see just how far we can go. I'd also regret not living. I would much rather live life as a pony than not live life at all. If I lived in this universe, I can't say how long it would take before I gave in, but I would. There is nothing to gain by clinging violently to a world whose fate had been sealed years before.

Again, I'd like to point out how badly this series tears at me. I've read far to many stories, watched too many shows, and thought too long about how far we as a species can go. I think we can go into the future as one of the most Genre Savvy species ever, just because of how many different scenarios we present in writing. For example, "Rule #1 for Dealing with AI: Do not treat them as inferiors. They are artificial, yes, but they are also intelligent. Treat them as you would treat a person, and you won't have a Geth Uprising on your hands." We have so much potential. Then along came the Conversion Bureaus, who smacks that notion away, and there's nobody to blame except for Murphy's Law, the universe having a tantrum and kicking a little too hard on the walls between dimensions. When it's abundantly clear that Earth is done (Not doomed, it has simply run its course.), why fight it, when you can keep on living. Albeit, living as a four-legged pastel pony, but living nonetheless.

One thing I think some readers miss in Conversion Bureau stories is that they essentially are Singularity stories, only with a pretty pony face on it.

Replace Equestria with an intelligent machine civilization that is infinitely more sapient than humans. We built it, but it grew rapidly beyond us.

Replace Ponification with uploading into a virtual reality existence combined with superior artificial bodies, should we wish to walk about in Meatspace.

Replace the Conversion Bureaus with Upload Centers.

Keep everything else the same in spirit, if not in detail, and you have a purely Human Future Singularity Story.

Chat, once again I bow to your superlative ability to weave beauty out of simple words. You are an artist in the truest sense :twilightsmile:

And then they did awesome business.

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So call it that the singularity happened, and bronies were in charge of the resultant infosphere. :raritywink:

157633

YES! YES! YES!

I love that story. YES! Tychomonger ruleth mightily for findingith this losteth treasure and bringingth it backeth toeth my attentioneth. Huzzah! Buy my leather mugs.

157633 I salute you for digging this gem up.

Comment posted by please delete deleted Feb 1st, 2014

(re-reads a line a couple times, and then bows her head slightly - a dip of the horn to signify gratitude) "Thank you."

Story-wise this is fantastic. Well paced and with a light-hearted air about it - despite the implications of the manuscript itself.

I truly love the halting reveal of just how much core concept for human ideals would be expunged by Conversion. The fundamental tenants of some religious beliefs not only shaken by the presence of Celestia and Luna, but their very temples torn asunder by Conversion stripping the required punishments of 'be good or else' away.

The Equestrian mind, unbound by finality; without need for there to be something more, would have no need for 'eternal torment' nor the associated engines required to facilitate it. And having that laid out so plainly is heady stuff.

As I tell people in our weekly fanfic sessions at the Trotsdale library - TCB stories are so much more than misanthropic diatribes about the human condition. If you really noodle into the genre, there is such awesome potential to see things from some really interesting points of view that a few might find disturbing in their starkness.

Patiently awaiting the next chapter!

oooOOOOOooohhh, A revisit of letters from home.
all of my money

157633
157651
Also one of my favourites, referenced in that fic which shall not be named that I wrote a couple of days ago. It's a delightful comparison.

156868
better than the empire of the voids response to universal eating .
The punishment for this crime is universal bomb not a bomb in the traditional sense it is a weapon that tears the very fabric of space apart and completely erases said universe. nothing can stop it. I though like my summer home (puts on shades):rainbowdetermined2:

just saying I love TCB fics I find the concept fascinating.

If anypony is wondering how I am pulling off the Middle English, the answer is that I cleverly cheat.

I have open at all times in my browser a couple of sites dedicated to Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales. I search for sentences, or parts of sentences, or individual words, and then slowly piece together correct Middle English sentences that precisely fit the story I am telling. Sometimes I can get away with half of an existing sentence plugged into another sentence, for example, other times, when I am very lucky, I only need to change the subject or an adjective or a verb or a noun, and job done. Mostly I have to do a bit of all of that, then check my final construction with vaguely similar actual sentences, in order to verify that I have the right words and the right grammar.

So far the only thing I have made up wholecloth has been the spelling for 'Celestia', for that I did the best I could based on what I could find that was vaguely similar, and what I am gaining about a general sense of how Middle English seems to work.

I am also researching the locations that existed at the time, as well as names, customs and so forth, so that my play at history can be as accurate as I can make it; I have already learned that failure in this respect will Not Be Tolerated! :raritydespair:

I am finding it very happy to revisit Wildfire and Perspicacity, more than I even thought; apparently I really liked them more than I realized.

Not Be Tolerated is right! :flutterrage:

I... I mean...

You're doing a good job, no matter how you do it.

I have long wondered how you viewed this--what your explanation for Celestia's apparent prior exposure to Earth and its... ways was. But I didn't think it would ever be touched on; I thought you'd just continue to slyly nod in that direction. That you have finally decided to fill us in is highly pleasing to me. That you have chosen to fill us in in this particular manner has my inner English nerd (...mostly inner) bouncing up and down and squeeing madly.

I'm curious as to where this will go... and how much the past will involve our silly ponies in the present.

I'm calling Wildfire being related to our intrepid minstrel. :pinkiehappy:


Or-r-r, our intrepid minstrel being the first "newfoal" and being the reason why there are paint ponies in Trottingham.

156972
Honestly, I've though about what I said, and I kinda regret saying it. I was kinda in a rage mode. Anyways, It seems like they should have at least tried to preserve our historical records you know? Because no matter what, it is the convert's (and their decendants) heritage. And it would be sad for all the trials and suffering our ancestors had to go thru to get us here was forgotten and thus rendered meaningless. That made me mad without knowing why. Now that I know why I was mad I calm down. So, sorry for causing all this fuss.

160028

Ahh! Lucky for us someone did!

Please see Windchaser's "Last Man Standing" :pinkiehappy:

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So you think the pony form is better than the primate on a physical level? I'd rather have opposable thumbs thank you very much!

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So I was right! .... Shame, ive become rather attatched to this universe.

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Get that Stuff away from me devil-spawn! Lol;) but seriously, no.

It figures, right as I try to go to sleep, this updates.

Can't wait to see the next chapter Chatoyance! :twilightsmile:

It's funny that the last bit there, when Hearth's Warming was brought up.

I was just having a discussion about Princess Cadence with a few ponies, and the various theories of her inclusion into canon. My theory is, of course long and complex to alleviate retcon - but it centers around the fact that Hearth's Warming seems to indicate that Celestia and Luna came 'after' Equestria was founded.

"The Land and King are One"

But, this is all neither here nor there. :pinkiehappy:

A good chapter all in all. I am really enjoying the 'tale within a tale' aspect of this one. :)

Once again, without fail, another chapter of your stories made me 'squee' and feel all giddy. This is another reason we need to update our language; I can't properly express how much I love your writing using mere words. Whatever methods you use to spawn these amazing chapters, keep it up! Yours are the stories that unquestionably hold the position of 'Absolute Favorite' for me.

Oooh, the curse of the limited observer! Was she caught, was she playing along, was she in trouble? What happened to the minstrel and who the heck was the drity, sly guy with the beard. Ooohhh I could ponder a ponderance about that.

I actually need something similar for one of my stories - something to trap a powerful creature - and iron is the old magic against fairies. Iron in the blood is the old defence against their arts. Iron, and silver. Both pure, mundane, and yet magical for that same reason. Iron, silver, salt. If you've got something of one of those three, you can handle anything!

I think I've finally flipped the Bozo Bit with this story. This is the fewest ponies reading my work, basically evar.

Eldenath, one of my spouses, thinks she knows why. Controversial subgenre, unconventional writing styles (Middle English and stylized old English) and a deeply disturbing central theme that challenges common religious assumptions and induces existential despair.

That's probably pushing the envelope, I'm thinking. Even Derpy would have trouble with that Envelope. "Open up, Mr. Mailbox, time for your breakfast!"

Ah, well. Must remember the Prime Directive Of Fiction: "You are writing for yourself. If anyone else follows along, great. But always remember - you are writing because Writers Write."

Why does it matter how many people follow a story? Shouldn't it matter more that those who do are marvelous?

Of course it should.

Thank you to my marvelous co-envelope pushers. I am grateful for you following me down this particularly unusual path.

So iron cancels out magic eh. I could find this useful mind if I could borrow it?

Nah. This story is WONDERFUL :twilightsheepish:

Exploring about Celestia's first encounter with humanity, maybe uncovering about Celestia's true motive about the "invasion" and everything...
My mind has derped :derpytongue2:

Very enjoyable chapter. :twilightsmile:
The thinking about newfoals from the prospective of a native Equestrians who is so close to one as Perspicacity
is are very interesting and fun to read about, the reader can clearly see that she cares for and loves him dearly but still - there is that a nagging (whinnying:raritydespair:) sound in the back of my head that wonders whether or not some small part of her sees him as an outsider.

Unusual? Unusual? Underappreciated is more like.

what biased no what in equestria could you possibly be talking about

I may not be in the majority, but I, at least, will follow this story to the end. You, miss, are the marvelous one.

I understand--adore--the idea of worldbuilding and I cannot properly express how much it means to me that despite the main plot point having almost nothing to do with the city nearby you return to it, discuss it, show it, paint it in wonderful technicolor pony shades. Even if it turns out that there is some greater ulterior motive to this expansive worldbuilding (which wouldn't honestly surprise me that much) I will still be wonderfully grateful.

I just... love detail. Alas, as a writer it is one of my own weaknesses--strange, that something one loves so much is so easily forgotten. But when I see other writers that aren't afraid to intersperse their story with proper and constructive (no pun intended) world-building... ah, it's a wonderful thing to see.

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