• Member Since 9th Jan, 2013
  • offline last seen June 18th

Scramblers and Shadows

Politicians prey on the vulnerable, the disadvantaged and those with an infantile sense of pride in a romanticised national identity which was fabricated by a small to mid-sized advertising agency.


Alone and far from Equestria lies a dragon; before him, a photograph of him and a mare he once loved. He remembers the moments they spent together, the moments that made him who he is, the moments that explain how he got here, and the moments that tell him where he is going.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 43 )

Good sir, this chapter was as fine as fornication, and I am desirous of additional content in this wise.

Translastion: F***ing awesome! Moar please!

A few shameful, shameful typos to be rectified, here and there. Pacing/events could suffer additional elucidation. Some circumlocution to be avoided. And, uh, explicate the apocryphal nature of the original characters? Or something. Pffft, yeah. Am just joshing. Excellent work. Impressive vocabulary finesse and usage. As a similar recent fanfic writer, find the beginning of this tale enthralling. Moderately disheartened that Spike is once again shafted in fandom. That poor lad was somehow engineered as the proverbial punching bag, intentionally or otherwise. In any case, wunderbar. Will await the next entry of this seemingly tragic tale with great anticipation.:twilightsmile:

all I can really say is that it is a good story, it has ideas that, frankly, I want to read about... though there are some issues I have in preference to my opinion, but that's just my opinions... but the one major question is: what's with the blank spot at the end? did you forget to write a part?

Oh my, I really liked this, although this just confirms one of the things that makes me like Sparity as better pairing for both Rare and Spike. I really hate when Rarity falls for a fancy guy, it's just like, come one, she's a Rarity, so if she just choose another Blueblood or Fancypants (even when he's a nice guy though) it would be like an obvious thing and it shows she keeps being the superficial pony that she seems to be. I think Rarity is more than tghat,and falling for Spike would show she really loves somepony for what he is inside, not only for his appeareance or his status. Although I will keep reading, I really wonder what happened to Spike.

Thank you, all of you. I'm really pleased to have such a positive response to my first attempt at producing something decent. Now all I have to do is follow up with something just as good. (Ye gods, the pressure). Now, on to individual concerns:

Kudos, my good man, for use of the word "fornication."

Haha, yes, circumlocution indeed. I'm constantly trying to reconcile the fact that I dislike florid prose with the fact that I really friggin' love fancy words.

I must admit, I see where you're coming from about screwing over Spike. He does seem to get the short end of the stick way too often. In this case, though, I can assure that it's mostly because I suscribe towards the Whedon Principle of emotionally tormenting all the characters, and Spike just has the misfortune of being the main character here. That said, I would quite like to write a lovely, innocent, non-angsty fic for both Spike and Scootaloo to make up for how the fandom treats them. I'm just not sure if I'm capable of coming up with anything that's actually cheerful.

Well, don't worry; all opinions are welcome.

The space is there so one needn't be distracted my author's note wittering at thge last paragraph of the story. It's a very minor thing, but it feels good to include. Hopefully it's not serving as a distraction in itself.

I agree, Rarity is a lot more than that. She's a strong contender for being one of the deepest and most interesting characters on the show. And I do find the idea of her and Spike together to be absolutely adorable. However, to defend what happens in this chapter: I think Rarity would be initially impressed by a cultured, high class pony. She wouldn't, however, fall in love because of that. For love, she wouldn't care about a pony's* background; she'd look for more important traits like decency, compassion, wit and the like. Presumably, Debonair showed some of these traits when they got talking after the dance. but the fic's not about him, so they're not shown.

It's a good point you bring up, so I hope that explains my choice in the story somewhat.

*(Or dragon's, obviously)

well, to me it's not so much of a distraction as a weird blank spot because I actually read stories as 'html's and in that format, it only has the story, so it was just a blank spot at the end

and my opinion is basically, "Spike is best pony and I want things to go his way." but it's a bit more complicated than that, but that sums up most of it fairly well

Well, I would like to tear it down, but I'm not so analytical. I'm just loving it. Most stories about an aged Spike focus on the sadness of outliving all his friends, but you've taken that old trope a step further by immersing us in his history with Rarity more than his current state.

My biggest problem is that the concept itself is ridiculous. Even if dragons do have a lifespan that puts ponies' to shame, I have a hard time believing that the nature of Equestria would allow something so heartbreaking. Spike grew up with a fast-paced, stimulating environment, learned about himself and the world, fell in love, and now he's forgotten it all and has no life. It's an ugly scenario, but I have faith it's not set in stone.

so spike is attending rarity's wedding spike must be in such a depressed state stay strong spike stay strong

holly shit this is so sad :raritycry:
why did you write such a sad story? :raritydespair:

I should have stopped reading when Rarity decided marring another guy... he didn't even get the girl he loved. :raritycry:

oof right in the feels:raritydespair:

Huh. Pow. Stones in the kidney.

Truer words have never been spoken.

Did Dobonair leave Rarity or did he tragically die?

I don't think you will lose readers. If anything Iook forward to part 3


My attention, sir/madam (select appropriate), you have it. *favorites*

D.Hooves shipping Co-Operative? Derpy has been quite busy.

Ooh, a discovery! This makes my morning.

I'll weigh in with fuller comments (as is my wont) a little later, after I've had time to finish. 10,000 words isn't much of a burden, especially when they're this well written.

It really is sad that Spike never was able to win Rarity's heart. But at least he was to keep being that mazing dragon she always though of him as, right? Still... My rational side says good story, but my rabid Sparity fanboy side is screaming "WHY!?". The rational side won.

And I'm back. I expect you'll be getting a bit more attention for this story soon. This is magnificent.

Not perfect. What is ever perfect? There are a couple textual errors: things like doubled words and one or two misused ones. But they're minor – far more minor than I see in even really good Fimfiction pieces. You might want to try cleaning those up before submitting this to Equestria Daily.

And if you haven't done so, then you've been remiss. Run, don't walk.

It's rare for me to read a story and have so little to offer in the way of helpful criticism, but this was brilliantly put together. There's no mawkishness to this, as the third chapter makes abundantly clear. This was all to a point, and that point was the perpetuation of Rarity's spirit through Spike. The scenes are both well chosen and well written. Characterizations are firm throughout, though you get a lot of leeway for using older versions of Spike and Rarity. Differences between canon and your portrayal are easily chalked up to the additional maturity of the characters. But even in the deeper flashbacks, characterization is still strong. You don't do much with the rest of the Mane Six, and I think that's probably to the best. A little touch of idiosyncratic dialogue lets us get the feel for them, but they don't weigh down the story unnecessarily.

Really, in many ways I'm just so happy to have had the luck to see this on the updates list while looking for under-read stories, to have read it, and to have found such a wonderful voice. I'm at a loss for my usual long commenting. This is excellent stuff. I'll try to read your other story soon, and if this is any indication, I look forward to seeing what else you have to offer in the future.

Oh, and if you're curious about what I had to say elsewhere, you might be interested in this blogpost.

2217903 I know exactly how you feel mate. Spike's love was quite admirable all things considered through out though.

2218172 Guess as the saying goes "if you love her, let her go".

spike got friendzoned pretty damn hard wow poor guy

If anything you intrigued me more. T.T And I don't even care about Rarity.

darn I see everything blurry at this point, you actually made me cry, have you an idea of how difficult is that? I'm not someone that use to cry. hold on you're in job, you can't cry now... :raritycry:
ok good story, it makes justice to Rarity's character and also to Spike.

I didn't see the point to having the Zebra's reptilian lover point out that Rarity had no problem with inter-species relations if that wasn't a factor as to why she never got together with him. For that matter the reason she never gets together with him is very vague and not really explained very well, especially when much of the, the above mentioned scene for instance, indicates that they would.

Saying she 'just doesn't have those feelings for him' is really weak reasoning especially if she wants to love him. I've had people in the past say that such reasoning is just realistic, that there are many real world situations in which two people don't peruse relationships because of a lack of romantic connection. I think there are more to those situations then that, but even if it that statement is true I don't think that fiction should mimic real life just in an effort to be realistic without exploring a deeper meaning.

In short never put something, 'realistic' or not, into a story unless it has a purpose and never leave something unexplained even if not knowing is 'realistic'.

I can easily see Rarity breaking the news to Spike like that. Not just telling him she doesn't feel the same way, but going so far as to actually try to feel the same way for him. She's the Element of Generosity for a reason.


I'm afraid I don't quite see what your criticism is. At first you say say that her reason for never getting together with him is vague and poorly explained - and then you (correctly) sum it up in eight words. She doesn't have those feelings for him. So, presumably, it's not that vague. You then say that's weak reasoning. Well, no. It's not reasoning at all, it's just a reason. I'm inclined to say that not being in love with someone is actually a pretty good reason for not getting involved with him or her. Beyond that, though, since we can't choose who we fall in love with (at least in my experience), reasoning doesn't come into it at all.

Also, your two proscriptions for stories are contradictory. It's possible to have an explanation for an event in a story that has no purpose in the story beyond explaining something else. By your first rule it should not be in the story, and by your second rule it should.

I agree, though, that the story could suffer the loss of Varani's comment. It doesn't have much of an impact on later events, it just gives an indication of what sort of pony Rarity is.

This story has been reviewed by: The Equestrian Critics Society

Story Title: The Dragon and the Photograph

Author: Scramblers and Shadows

Reviewed by: Shahrazad

The Dragon and the Photograph is a sad story with a generous heart. It doesn’t pull any punches. But none of those punches are cheap or shallow. The story is fairly simple, while still retaining a surprising amount of emotional complexity. This could be an excellent short story, if only the author would stop hiding behind a thesaurus and speak from the heart. It’s still a decent piece, just be willing to skip over a few words

Full Review

Score: 7.5/10

Woah! Congrats on the EqD! It took long enough that I'd kind of given up hope, but I'm very pleased to see I was wrong.

Nice job!

Huh. I'm conflicted, but not for an interesting reason.

I have no doubts to the quality and effort involved in this story: I enjoyed it. Combining the more mystical aspects of being a dragon with the comfortable slice-of-life flashback was a great choice for the plot. I can say I was particularly happy when The Dragon maimed The Other Dragon, instead of killing him, because of how well the flashbacks reminded me of the Spike we know from the show.

One quibble to be had with the story may or may not just be a pet-peeve, I've never been able to decide. Obviously, you posses a marvellous vocabulary. That's something to be proud of. Especially when it enhances the reader's experience by way of accurate diction. Of course, however, an overdose of anything is still an overdose. I think for most of the time, you've chosen your words carefully, but now and then, it feels as though the word-choice is a bit gratuitous. For example, Twilight wryly remarking that she could easily predict Spike's behaviour with "basic empiricism." Past experience. It seems to me it could be said in simpler terms- which would avoid the hang-up for readers like me who had to make a note of the word to look up in the Dictionary later. You seem educated enough to know that intelligent diction is only so when it clearly and precisely communicates it's point.

Of course, I also have to take into account that I've never had a knack for accurate diction myself. It could just be jealousy. I haven't come to a final conclusion about it yet, but I thought the reaction might be worth mentioning.

Heh. Grats on EqD.

(I feel like such a hipster :applecry:)

I like youre story, though there are some words I do not know being from south america.... but I like youre story so much that I do not care LOOOL :derpytongue2: you should be proud of youre work... and I think you are..... loved it.:heart::rainbowkiss:


Cheers! I was starting to wonder if it would ever happen, m'self.


Yeah, I'll be the first to admit I can be very indulgent about vocabulary, so that's a legit reaction. It's something I need to be more disciplined about. (That said, I do think "basic empiricism" is a phrase Twilight would use.)


That's good! I need someone to tell me I'm a sellout if I ever write a story where someone gets teleported to Equestria, gets transformed into a really really like totally cool obscure animal that later turns out the be a heretofore undiscovered pokemon, and then falls in love with and has lots of lurid sex with all the ponies.


Haha, thanks!

I'm glad to see this last little chapter for explanations.

We do know from the experience with the red dragon in "Dragonshy" that some adult dragons do retain higher intelligence and can speak.

But, assuming that Spike is representative of dragons ignores several very important canonical facts.

I've actually been a proponent of the theory that Spike is an unusual type of dragon, given his magic teleporting fire and explosive growth spurts. This is based on the proceeding evidence:

1. The teenage dragons, in spite of their greed HAVE NOT UNDERGONE GROWTH SPURTS! This means that greed alone has no effect on the growth of a normal dragon.

2. All other dragons we've seen, even Crackle the mutant freak, have wings. Spike, after both of his growth spurts (hatching from Twi's magical surge and greed-growth) remained wingless.

3. All other dragon fire is normal fire-color (orange, red, yellow) and shows no magical properties whatsoever.

4. The ponies themselves admit in several episode that they know nothing of dragons. So, any assumptions they make about Spike and dragons in general are baseless due to total lack of information. However, we are able to observe all the dragons shown in the show, which gives us more information as nigh omniscient and omnipresent observers. And what we see indicates that Spike is not a member of the common dragon species.

Now, what remains utterly open are the explanations for his oddities. He could either be a rare, nearly extinct species. Or his species may reside on another part of the planet far away (griffon lands, Zecora's homeland, etc). Or, his physiology may have been greatly altered by the powerful magic he was exposed to when hatched.

It is indicated, if not explicitly stated, that dragons are less susceptible to magic than other creatures. If this is indeed the case, then the effect of Twilight's magic on Spike was both unprescedented and could have had very unpredictable affects on his later development.

And this concludes my mini-dissertation!

SCIENCE!!! :twistnerd::twistnerd::twistnerd:

The pacing felt a bit odd in the beginning but seemed to smooth over as the story progressed. Other then that I think what u have here is a good idea, next chapter HOOOOOOO!

That was a really nice ending and it gave me the feels..:fluttercry:

Wonderfully constructed and enjoyable overall. Nicely done.

Not sure how long I had this sitting in my "Read Later" folder, but I'm glad I finally got around to it. It was wonderfully done.

:pinkiesad2: And the winner of the "First Fanfic to Make Me Cry" award goes to... this one. *sniff*
Thanks a lot...:raritycry:

>>Hmm interesting theries ill keep them in mind when i right my fan fic about spike hes one of the main character and all the mane six n my fic are all dragons including spike

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