• Member Since 13th Mar, 2012
  • offline last seen Dec 28th, 2017


A man who doesn't write half of his stories half as often as he should like, and writes less than half of them half as well as they deserve.


In the Zebrican tribes, for those zebras who have the talent, becoming a shaman is not a duty, not a responsibility, and certainly not a choice—it is a necessity. Some adjust to the role differently than others.

Entry for the World-Building Alliance's March writing contest, where it tied for first place alongside Educated Guess's excellent The King of Kings.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 32 )

...You are a master of rhyme. It took me a while to realize that every living zebra was speaking in couplets, but once I did, my jaw dropped. Bravo, sir. Bravo indeed.

On the other hoof, dead zebras don't speak in rhyme? An interesting implication. :trixieshiftleft:

I take that as a very sizable compliment, man. Thank you.

And I'm wondering now if, for you, that implied what I had in mind as the reason.

(Insert Magic: the Gathering joke here.)
Now that that's taken care of...

Fascinating story. I love how much mythology is implied through this story. It feels like it exists in a greater context, in a wide, consistent shamanic system, and that's why it's such a good read. Very very well done. Thank you.

Thank you, man. For the watch and for the kind words. Always happy to have readers that like stories told with healthy doses of implication.

That was pretty spectacular. One thing about zebra that would make me hesitant to write about them. The rhyme. I hope that is just a Zecora quirk and not the entire species. But you made it seem quite natural

This was quite the tale. As much as I'd love to know more, you did an excellent job of wrapping things up. Nicely done.

Wanderer D

Very nice! A refreshing and original view at Zebra shamans and their powers, not to mention a very smooth introduction to their mythos! It does give me the feeling that there's so much more to the world of Zebras than what I had thought. A good read and definitely praise worthy!

Thanks for all the kind words, D!

Well that was simply delightful. Naturally flowing rhymes combined with a fascinating look at a culture that rarely gets any attention...I'm both impressed and looking forward to more, should you decide that this is something you might delve further into in future writings.
5/5 moustaches :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

I'd assume that zebras speak in rhymes for traditions sake, or simply because that's how the grammar falls. As for why the spirits don't rhyme, I'd have to guess it's because they don't 'speak', as such, but simply impart communicative intent to those who are able to listen.

Glad you liked it. As to why living zebras rhyme, I have no set headcanon, but that's only because I've never felt the need to explain it. With spirits, your explanation would work—it's fairly different from my own, though.

ooh, do tell? I love metaphysics :twilightsmile:

I might use this same afterlife concept in a future story, and if I do, the reason they don't rhyme is going to be one facet of a pretty important fact about the afterlife—it'll matter quite a bit if it comes up again, is what I'm saying. If you don't mind sorta kinda maybe possible spoilers, though, I'd happily PM it to you.

oh no, if it's gonna be an important reveal later, I'll just hold my horses over here :pinkiehappy:

This story has been reviewed by: The Equestrian Critics Society

Story Title: Plainswalker

Author: Burraku_Pansa

Reviewed by: Shahrazad

Plainswalker is a story about a zebra shaman undergoing some kind of spiritual journey. This is simply the frame story to contain the real action, but might be a lead in to another of the author’s stories. Plainswalker is short, it can be read in under 20 minutes even if you take your time. It’s action oriented rather than spending time creating drama. And yes, all the zebras rhyme.

Full Review

Score: 7.5/10

Beautiful work, I loved the start and how Zenna truly came across as not fake but perhaps a bit of a sham and then when the rel blessed paint appeared she truly came alive. A beautiful character and beautiful story. Definitely worth a top prize.:pinkiehappy: Gonna go check out the other top fic too, thank you for mentioning it in the description.

Thanks for the kind words. And hey, you're in luck: The King of Kings just got an epilogue earlier today after six months of nothing. There's probably a cue for me to take somewhere in there…

Author Interviewer

Nice. Very subtle how you treated the world building, and I like what you came up with. :) Also good on the zebra dialogue, though not entirely perfect. :B

3488293 Hey, I just now looked at your list and saw you gave this story a recommendation. Read it (thanks very much, by the way), and now I've got to ask: if you happen to remember, what was the "1%" of zebra dialogue that was bad?

It was the "ancestors" one, wasn't it? I swear, when I finish the fic's extension I'm going to go back and do something about that damn line. Gave me way more trouble than any other in the story, for no reason at all.

Author Interviewer

That's probably it. :B Anything that doesn't have good rhymes and at least decent meter fails my Zecora test.

4188538 By that standard, Zecora fails the Zecora test. :ajbemused:

Excellent worldbuilding. I didn't notice the zebras were rhyming immediately. On one hand, you rhymed well; on the other, constant zebra rhyming annoys me. That's why my headcanon is that dead old zebra shamans don't rhyme because they're too smart for that shit.

I esp. liked that the shaman was introduced as being something of a con artist, and then we find out that this isn't because his shamanism is fake--it's entirely real, but what (non-dead) zebras want from him (him? Did it specify sex anywhere? I don't think so) has little to do with his job.

I wanted to know whether the other zebras could see the demon, & what they made of the fight. This felt important because it seemed the other zebras couldn't see spirits, and were ignorant of what the shamans did for them, so I wanted to know if this pattern continued or if the shamans got respect for demon-killing.

The ending is okay, I guess, but it would be better as the ending to the first chapter of a book.


That's why my headcanon is that dead old zebra shamans don't rhyme because they're too smart for that shit.

I'll be playing with things like that down the line.

(him? Did it specify sex anywhere? I don't think so)

Could've sworn I did. Zenna's female, for the record. Thank you, I'll have to insert that someplace.

I wanted to know whether the other zebras could see the demon, & what they made of the fight.

Yes, I've since realized I was too vague about that. I only put in a single line regarding it, and that line wasn't the clearest:

The mare was collapsed on the ground outside of her home, paralyzed but for her vocal cords and no doubt very confused as to why.

Just another thing I'm going to have to clear up. The non-shamans probably respect the shamans in their own "we're very happy they keep us safe in all these ways we don't understand" sort of way.

The ending is okay, I guess, but it would be better as the ending to the first chapter of a book.

This was written for a contest that had an upward word limit. It is getting an extension, though: currently a planned ten chapters and an epilogue that follow Zeru with what's here being converted to a prologue. When I've finished writing all of that, I'll update this chapter with all those little changes I know it needs, right before posting the first chapter of the continued story.

Very happy to hear you liked what I've got so far, though. Also happy to finally share some words with you since Bronycon—you might remember me as that tall, bearded, glasses-wearing fellow who spoke with you in that Cheesecake Factory before we all decided on Tir na Nog for dinner.

Author Interviewer


By that standard, Zecora fails the Zecora test.

She sure as shit does in Secret of My Excess. :|

The rhyming in this is worth a favourite alone - coupled with a very solid story and interesting world-building? Sold.

Hey, thanks a bunch, Meri. For the favorites, as well.

You're quite welcome - I'd read A Wish For Greener Grass and A Brush With Beauty a while ago, and adored them, and I'd been meaning to catch up on the rest of your work for a while. I'm glad that I did. :twilightsmile:

Heh, I've definitely noticed the consistent attention. Hope I continue to deliver.

4309534 Did you ever make the extension of this? Well, I suppose im going to find out one way or the other before you reply...

Here's hoping.

It's been worked on, but not nearly as much as it should've been. Still, I'm only going to start publishing it once it's entirely done, and it'll be pretty long (at least by my general standards), so it'll still be some time yet before it sees the light of day. Hope you liked what's here so far, at least.

5506903 definitely going to belooking out for that one.

I reviewed this story as part of Read It Later Reviews #51.

You can find my review here.

Login or register to comment