• Published 3rd May 2013
  • 4,673 Views, 79 Comments

Dusk-Lit Waltz - Nicknack

Gilda deals with her unexpected betrothal to King Sombra

  • ...

Chapter 4

The big day came, like I knew it would. Like knew I couldn’t avoid. I didn’t know if I was ready yet.

I spent most of the morning in my bedroom getting dolled up by three of my dad’s servants—my new handmaidens. I started to learn their names once it hit me they were coming with me to the Crystal Empire; other than letters and visits from my family, those three were going to be my main source of “griffin contact” for the foreseeable future.

Luckily, most of the preparation for the ceremony had already happened, with all my lessons and rehearsals. Today’s preparations weren’t really intricate work. I started by taking a bath, then I got assaulted by various perfumes, powders, and other things that made me look and smell pretty. One of my handmaidens—Lora—tried to speckle me with glitter, but I shook my head and chuckled. I was getting married; I didn’t need a permanent reminder of it.

There’d be a bracelet, given to me during the ceremony, for that.

Once I was physically ready, I got to begin the waiting game. I’d been dragged off my bed early “so that I wouldn’t be late,” which I understood. When we finished at eleven o’clock and there was a two-hour window before the ceremony, though, I had to question if I really couldn’t have slept in another hour or so.

Tayte suggested that I eat lunch before the ceremony, which almost made me smile. I felt too sick to eat, let alone do much besides sitting on my butt and waiting. I told my three handmaidens that they could go eat if they wanted to, which of course led to the whole “Oh, we couldn’t eat if you won’t” deal, which just led to me ordering them to go eat.

I did it nicely; I didn’t want to upset them. But I did need some time alone to think about stuff, so it was the best for everyone.

They took the hint—not like their oaths really gave them an option—and left me alone in my bedroom. My morning makeup routine had ended with me on a short stool in front of my dresser, facing a big oval mirror. Since I was alone now, I looked into it and reflected on everything that was going to happen today.

I was getting married to the king of a distant empire. He was a hard-ass or something, and I could apparently take the edge off that and make things better for our two kingdoms. In the five weeks since my mom’s little talk with me during that storm, I’d had a lot of time to think about what it all actually meant. It was a huge responsibility, and I didn’t know how a lot of it was going to work—let alone if it was even possible.

I just knew I had to at least try. It was too big for me not to.

During those five weeks—my final five weeks in Griffalia—I’d begun to pay a lot more attention to the official goings-on around our home. I’d also started bugging Cenric to teach me stuff, and he’d been happy to do what he could to help.

When I thought about my brother, my reflection turned into a sad smile. It reminded me of everyone I’d said goodbye to over the past few days. The list hadn’t been very long, granted: There were only a few griffins in the city I’d really miss; then, in my home, there were some of the cooler servants; and finally, there was my family.

My mom had cried with me when I said goodbye.

Cenric had responded by almost breaking my spine in what was either suffocation or a hug. Even if it was a sad one, I grinned at the memory; I was going to miss my egghead little brother.

I’d mostly avoided my dad for the past four months. I glared at myself in the mirror as I remembered my resolve: If he wanted to sell me out to another country, for whatever reasons he had, without telling me or asking first, regardless of how little a difference it would have made...

He could tell me goodbye if he wanted. It wasn’t bitter, or petty; it was just how I was going to let things turn out.

I shook it out of my head. I’d already said my goodbyes and packed my things; there wasn’t anything left to do but leave. I looked over to the table near my door. On it sat a small traveler’s chest of my personal belongings. My etiquette tutor had told me that Sombra would provide me with most of the essentials for living; that meant all I had were some sentimental knickknacks and doodads to bring along with me.

I thought about opening it and going through it, but I chuckled at how dumb an idea that was. I’d have time for that when I unpacked, and even then, I had already made sure the important things were in there: a picture of my family, my diary, and the knife Cenric had given me.

I really didn’t want to use that last one, but I still wasn’t certain about what would happen in the next few months. How would my marriage turn out? Would Sombra let me lead my own life to a certain extent? Or was he one of those ego-headed kings who was obsessed with continuing his line? Would he count hippogriffs—I’d had to go to the library to look up that scary word—as his line?

The only thing I could really do was wait and find out.

A knock at the door interrupted my thoughts. After glancing at the door, my eyes turned to my clock. My handmaidens couldn’t have even gotten all the way down to the kitchen yet, let alone eaten anything. If they’d found some sort of loophole in my order, I was going to get annoyed; either way, I stood up and headed over to the door.

When I opened it, my dad stood on the other side. He was sharp as ever—he’d probably gone through a similar, male version of what I’d woken up to—but as close as we stood, he still loomed a good head taller than me.

Neither of us said anything at first until he finally broke the silence with, “May I come in?”

It’s your home now. I shrugged and stepped aside.

He stepped inside, and I watched his eyes quickly take inventory of my room. Right when he finished, he gestured at what used to be my living area. “Sit with me?”

There wasn’t anything I could lose by disobeying, but I didn’t really gain anything either. So I nodded, and the two of us headed over to my couch and sat.

Silence fell between us again, but I didn’t really have anything to say to break it. After all, he was visiting me; that meant it was his turn to speak, regardless of the whole authority thing.

Finally, he did. “You’ve been avoiding me.”

I wanted to throw back some poison along the lines of “How can you tell?” He’d always been a fixture in my life—there at meals, or in the hallway from time to time, but we never really talked unless it was about stuff I needed to do. But that wasn’t a fight I wanted to have today—or ever—so I settled on a meek “Yeah, a little.”


I sighed. There wasn’t really a good answer I could tell him, so I started putting one together by talking about my whole betrothal ordeal: “You know, I used to worry about ‘why.’ Like, why me? But then when I found out why, it still didn’t make up for how.” I turned to look at my dad. “You used me, and dropped it on me like a bomb. Why?”

His eyes turned somber, and he spoke gravely. “The risk of foreign turmoil forced my hand. If I had given you any sort of warning...” He chuckled lightly with a small grin. “I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that you would have had a volatile reaction to the news.” He sighed, and the humor left his face. “I had to chose between your feelings—and your ‘freedom,’ as your mother tells me—and the good of entire nations. I hoped you were strong enough to accept my failure as a father.”

It was weird to hear him speak like that; without his usual air of authority, he seemed... real, for a moment. I didn’t have anything to say to him, though.

He continued, “And you raged and you pleaded and you cried... but in the end, you’re still here.” After a short pause, he added, “Do you remember, during my speech, what I said about you being ready to accept royal responsibilities?”

I nodded, even though I remembered my original, heated reaction of “not wanting them.” That desire was still there, in the back of my mind, but I’d long since learned that it was pointless to complain about my situation.

“I was right, or rather, you proved me right.” My dad held his right hand out in front of him, palm up, and curled his talons in, one after the other. “So I’m overjoyed to be vindicated in my faith, even if I don’t deserve it. For what little it’s worth, this decision is the hardest I’ve ever made—and I hope it remains that way until my time as king ends. For what little more it’s worth, I’m sorry that this came to pass as it did.”

I mulled his apology over for a moment before I decided it wasn’t worth it to tell him the truth about how I felt. Then again, the more I thought about it, the more the truth had changed. I wasn’t really mad about being “sold out” anymore, I knew I had to go to the Crystal Empire, and there wasn’t anything I could do to stop it.

All I could do was choose how I approached the situation.

It still took me a little bit of effort, but I made up my mind. I reached out my hand and gripped the top of his still-outheld fist. “I... Okay. You did what you had to, and now... well, it is what it is.”

He smiled, and right then, his relief told me that it had been well worth it to forgive him. As we sat together, in warm silence, I realized that I also felt a lot better about my own situation.

“I’m going to miss you, Dad.”

He responded to me by taking his hand back, then wrapping that arm around my shoulders. He softly placed his chin on top of my head and whispered, “I’ll miss you too, Gilda. But I’m certain that you’ll do great things if I let you go.”

We stayed like that for a few moments, but it couldn’t last forever. When it was over, my dad stood up, and I led him back to the door. Before he left, he turned to me and said, “You look beautiful. I’m sure that Sombra will be pleased.”

I shrugged. “I guess we’ll find out later.”

He nodded. “Together?”


With that, he exited my room, and I walked back over to my dresser. My stomach churned—wedding nerves—and my mind still ran in about a million different directions at once. But when I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I found that I couldn’t help but crack a grin.

* * *

When Griffalia was first built, the king had ordered a huge platform installed over one of the lower magma chambers. Inside, there was only one thin, upward-sloping bridge that connected the massive doors to the hanging platform. Massive stone chains bolted the corners of the large, rectangular rock to four pillars around the room. The lighting in the room came from ancient, unicorn-forged pumps that brought magma up from the pools below to form several glowing streams that lined the walls.

The first king of Griffalia had made it his keep. Later, poets called it Hell. Today, I called it my wedding hall.

It was hot. My first few steps into the room took my breath and thought away as I wondered why my dad couldn’t have planned it in somewhere cooler, like maybe an oven or a bonfire or something.

I could have turned and asked him, too—he was walking me up to the platform, where I’d walk down an aisle between the representatives of two nations gathered. It would’ve been a pointless question, though, so I just walked along with him and figured that the location would be memorable, if anything.

For how big an international deal my marriage was supposed to be, I was glad to note how few guests there actually were. Granted, the feast after was going to be a city-wide event, but I didn’t need a ton of griffins present during my wedding. Luckily, only about a quarter of the platform was occupied, which I guessed to be only a little over a hundred guests on either side.

Every step we took got heavier and heavier, and I felt myself growing more and more aware that I wasn’t ready for this. I didn’t want this. I kept walking, though. I had to. There was no way around it.

When I got to the front of the crowd, a Griffalian cleric began reading through the traditional rite of griffin marriage. It started with a long-winded explanation of how it was permanent, not to be taken lightly, all that jazz. I’d worried about it for months now; I didn’t need a refresher today.

The liquid heat of the room was useful, though. With how much everyone was already sweating, no one would notice if my eyes were glistening during the whole thing.

Not even my groom.

Up close, King Sombra was pretty much what I had gathered when I first laid eyes on him. He was tall, coal gray, and the owner of some seriously freaky eyes. He’d worn some royal armor to our wedding—which made me wonder if he’d known it was going to be in a volcano—and even though its steel blended in with his fur’s color, it made me feel exposed when I stood next to him. I took small comfort in my wings; they covered my spine better than his thick red cape covered his.

I turned and caught his eye for a moment and noted that he... also didn’t seem very interested in the ceremony. Even though we were just giving each other a sideways glance, I fought not to turn away; being a wimp like that was looked down on by both our cultures. Sombra wore a grim, almost hard expression as he looked down at me—he, like my dad, was a good foot taller than I was—but the longer we looked at each other, the more I felt he was curious about me.

The cleric in front of us stopped speaking, which gave me an excuse to focus my attention on him and his dweeby robe. He asked if anyone in the audience had any objections to this union, and I took a deep breath. As much as I wanted someone to say something, anything, it would only make the situation go from what it was to a whole lot worse.

After a polite, consenting silence from the audience, the cleric started in on the part of the ceremony where Sombra and I had to actively participate. All my lessons from the past few months came in handy; I knew the dialogue word-for-word, so I didn’t have to think about my answers or their implications.

In the end, I said yes, Sombra said yes, and that was the start of our life together.

As soon as it was done, I could’ve sworn that it felt like a weight was lifted out of my stomach. It didn’t make any sense.

When I offered a hand for Sombra to put his wedding band around my wrist, I noted how soft and gentle he was when did it. For an added touch, his blood-red horn glowed black, and the bracelet shrunk to a size where I’d have to get a blacksmith or a jeweler to cut it off.

If there was any consolation to have that day, it was that we were doing a griffin wedding, not a pony wedding. I didn’t want to have to do that tongue thing in front of everyone.

But at any rate, once we exchanged wedding bands, the ceremony was over and our marriage was official. Griffins applauded, and ponies gingerly stamped the ground—almost like they’d never been on a rock platform hanging several hundred feet above the molten earth before.

Right on cue, a swarm of servants bustled onto the platform, carrying trays, tables, and other assorted furniture to begin setting up the post-wedding celebration. That was a nice trick in griffin royal weddings; why waste everyone’s time moving to a new place if you could just change the room’s function? The switch-off was made official when the cleric made his way to the exit of the keep; he apparently had other, cleric-y things to take care of that evening.

It took less than a minute to turn the flat, plain platform into a functional, if hot, reception party. A traditional band of griffins—drummers, mixed with cut-taloned string players—set up stage in the back. There were two drink bars set up: one for fancy, fun drinks, and one exclusively for water. There were snacks to enjoy, tables to sit at, and all of this had been set up in a loose circle around where I stood with Sombra.

Both sides of the wedding started making their way towards the food and each other. If I were there alone, I would have hit up the water bar first, then grabbed some snacks. A whole day’s worth of fretting had left me starving, and the feast wasn’t going to be until after this smaller, social affair. However, I wasn’t there alone, and that was the main point of having a little introductory little party after an arranged wedding:

It let everyone get to know each other, including the bride and groom.

I turned to him, and he turned to me. We stood in front of each other, but I waited for him to say something first. Because honestly, I had no idea where to begin.

“You... look... pretty,” he grumbled in a low voice. Except it wasn’t really grumbling, because he didn’t sound annoyed with me; his voice was more like a low, rumbling earthquake that someone had added... not a whole lot of words to.

That was going to take some getting used to.

Still, he’d given me a compliment, which was a nice way to begin things. I nodded, gratefully, trying to make eye contact without staring at his eyes. “Thanks. And, uh, you look pretty cool too. I... like the armor.”

His eyes glanced downward for a moment, absently; then they came back to me. “Heirloom.”

“Oh,” came my response. I didn’t want to sound like I was mocking him, so I added, “Yeah, my, uh, dad got me a music box last year. Not, uh... not as good as the whole kingdom, but he’s saving that one for my brother.”

Sombra looked at me flatly for a moment, and my stomach twisted like I’d said something wrong. Before I could apologize, he asked, “Are... you... afraid?”

I blinked, and felt a tear fall. It would’ve been pointless to lie. “Y-yes.”

He lifted a hoof and dabbed away the drop from my cheek. “Don’t... be.”

I nodded, but his words caused a warm relief to wash over me—which, given the room, was saying something.

We didn’t really say much more to each other after that; either there was some language barrier going on, or he didn’t like talking in the middle of a crowd. Whatever it was, he guided me over to the water bar, where I got a much-needed drink to take the edge off being in what felt like a furnace.

When it was time for new festivities to begin, the guy in the band who was in charge of the biggest drum let out three booming raps. It signaled everyone else to clear off the middle of the floor to make room for the newlywed couple. We walked out onto the dance floor, the band started playing the quiet intro of something, and Sombra whispered, “Ready?” It was still kind of loud, but I nodded.

He stood up and picked me up with him, which kind of helped the height difference. Part of my preparations for the wedding had been dancing lessons, which included practice at balancing on my back legs without using my wings. It was tricky to do, but part of the reasons we danced like that was because it made it into a cooperative effort—leaning on each other, without making your partner fall over backwards.

Sombra firmly pulled me in close to him. I braced myself, expecting him to start crushing me, but that never came. He put some weight on me, but as I pushed back to balance myself, it felt a lot more equal than I would’ve imagined, for dancing with someone who was wearing metal armor.

The band picked up, with strings cutting in to start a deep, resonating tune. We began dancing—he led, I followed, and my feet didn’t get stepped on. He had a hoof on my back, near the top of my hips, but the more we moved, the more I felt it was a natural for us to be together like that.

For a quiet guy with freaky eyes, I had to give it to him: He could handle himself gracefully.

Our fire-lit dance in the depths of the earth took us in slow, steady turns. I felt myself floating away, and in a few moments, I had difficulty telling where my body stopped and his began. That was weird enough to snap me back into the moment, but I managed to do it without throwing our rhythm off.

The music built up to a peak, and at that point, it was the right time for me to dip backwards. Sombra leaned over me as I arched my spine backwards, and for a moment, we were horizontal, with him on top of me.

It didn’t bother me like I thought it would have.

After the first dance ended, other couples filtered onto the stone dance floor. Sombra led me off to the side, which was fine by me—after our first dance together, I guessed dancing could be cool, but it still wasn’t one of my favorite things in the world.

We stayed on the edge of the dance floor for most of the rest of the party, only heading back out at what felt like carefully measured paces to not be rude to our guests. The whole time, I was filled with a strange sense of inner calm. Everything ran around me in an almost-blur, but I kept coming back to the feeling that, given the situation, today definitely didn’t turn out as bad as it could have.

The party ended around five o’clock, when it was time for dinner. The whole wedding started to form lines for a procession to head up through Griffalia. Sombra and I were in charge of leading it, so the two of us linked arm in foreleg. I was ready to go.

Once everyone was in their two lines—one on either side of us—we headed to the exit. I smiled at my family as I walked past them, but it was a quick, fleeting thing. Before I could even dwell on it, I had passed them, and I kept walking with my new husband up to our wedding feast.

After that... well, I’d just have to wait and see how it all turned out.

Comments ( 64 )

And BAM, Favorited and Thumbed, sir. Of course, I may be a bit biased. :twilightblush:

Christ, the word Griffalia still sounds so silly to me :twilightblush:

2481780 You are ogrereacting!

Any chance of a continuation?

I don't want to say "definitely not," but I don't have any plans for it in the near or distant future.

2519002 Your puns are way ogre the top

2519158 Like an onion, you too have layers.

Congrats on making it onto Equestria Daily.

NOoooo... over!? Unacceptable! Continuation, I demand it!



Because there are so many things hinted at which would make for a grand tale. What will Gilda's life in the Empire be like?
Does she actually change Sombra?
The political ramifications with Equestria.
What is Rainbow's reaction to hearing her former friend is now the wife of a tyrant and enemy of Equestria?
So many threads to be picked at.

True, but I don't really want to go all Game of Pones on this. I invented an alternate universe for this, but really, the main focus of the story was Gilda coping with something while tied to the four classic elements (Earth, Air, Water, Fire).

It was a one-shot commission, the commissioner is happy with it, I'm pleased with how it came out, but I didn't really build this story with expansion in mind (hence Gilda's in-character "political ignorance").

Nice to see that I'm not the only who's made Gilda a princess is one of their fics. She's one in my head-canon for a couple of my fics, too.:ajsmug:

DEAR LORD SOMEONE WROTE THIS!:pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy::pinkiehappy:


I feel like there isn't much reason for me to sympathize with Gilda.

Yeah, that was a bit of a gamble on my part—basically, I weighed "showing her at position 0" with "making her sympathetic / likeable." In the end, I decided to go with what worked best for the story. Is she a likable, empathetic character in the first chapter of this? No. But this story is about her growing, as a griffin, and I figured that the only people who read this are "people who like Gilda already," so there wasn't much risk in alienating an audience by having her be show-accurate.

And heh, the gamble pays off for someone who continues on past chapter one. :rainbowwild:

While I certainly enjoy the story (I'd complain about 'Griffalia,' but the show does worse), I think my favorite part was Sombra; I've never seen him characterized much, and while you don't spend much time on him as a character what little there is seems quite intriguing. All in all a sequel would be cool, but as you've said you never intended it, so I'll just enjoy your story and thank you for writing it.
Also, Gilda is best pony.


I consider it less a gamble and more of a common courtesy. I hope you didn't misinterpret my comment as indicating that I disliked the story, anything but! I try to only critique things I like and appreciate, the stage you have set up here was well made, I honestly hope you continue this. For once, a Sombra who isn't a homicidal elder god. Or if he is, he can at least dance well.

Well done, I wish you success.

Ann lies.

Oh, no. I took the whole of your comment as positive. My main point was part of my whole "theory of writing Gilda."

Note: The fact that I have this theory makes me wonder about some aspects about my life.

But basically, when you write Gilda (or any derivative work that focuses around a villain, really), you've got two main options: play it straight, or subvert. Subverting show-Gilda (who was a clingy, desperate bully) usually entails making her sad and/or neglected as a child. I did that once, in the early days of the fandom, to mixed amounts of literary and critical success. Now that I've posted what is technically "Heart of Gold Version 4.0," I'm as happy with it as I'll ever be, but I definitely stuck to the trope of "give her a tragic backstory to justify, in her eyes, her own actions."

In Dusk-Lit Waltz, I tried to play her character from the show a lot straighter. I made her the center of her own universe, and I filled her head with ego instead of introspection. So she is sad, she is mildly neglected, but the main difference in Waltz is that she mostly brings a lot of her own failures down upon herself because of how spoiled and easy her life is.

Now, I absolutely agree that "making your characters likable" is... well, you put it great: it's courtesy to one's audience. However, I have to look at my potential audience when I'm writing Gilda: in my opinion, there are two types of Gilda fans. The first group is the one who's built the "she's sad and Pinkie Pie was being obnoxious / rude" fanon around her, or they do it because they're endeared by her faux "coolness" from the episode.

So, really, I wrote this story for that latter group. They'd ideally be endeared by and enjoy her whole "queen bitch of the universe" act. However, this makes it a gamble, in my eyes, for almost every other reader: by starting with bitchy Gilda, will I alienate them? Or will they keep reading to see what happens once she gets a well-needed call from reality?

I then put a lot of focus into making the story pay off for any "casual" reader who read on past chapter one; I get her alone with her brother, who cuts through her pissing and moaning like a knife. :rainbowderp: I give her a chance to actually talk to her mom and admit to herself that she's not only selfish, but she's scared about the whole thing.

So really, this story is my attempt at growing a shallow bitch into a likable entity in a manner that is organic and has natural results. There's the people who'll be put off with where I start her off, sure, but then I have to ask why they're looking at a Gilda story to begin with.

Anyway, thank you for reading, and for your comments on the story. :)

Cool story, thanks

This needs a sequel.

Seriously. It would be a crime if you didn!0't make a sequel.

I uh, was expecting more romance coming in.
Like, a lot more. I didn't have an idea exactly what would happen beyond maybe some traded growlings between Sombra and Gilda that somehow turn to romance.
Though what Gilda's mom said about high conscription rates and the soldiers being in barracks, WOULD explain why we see very few stallions in the streets.
I'm not saying that I was disappointed, it was a good fic, but.... It wasn't what I was expecting either.

The fic pic made me think some comedy would be involved.

The romance tag implies someone, somewhere, is in love with someone else. This is not the case. You might wanna remove it.

This is an awesome set-up for a really epic story and I hope you get around to writing more of it someday. But finish Evening Flames first.

To say that i was skeptical at first would be an understatement. but after reading this... it's not that i fully support the couple, oh no.
It's more like, i want you to prove me wrong.
I want this couple to work, as much as i don't think it can.
If you can do that, you are a true master of your craft.

Interesting to say the least, I'm anxious to see a sequel to this. I hope dearly that you continue the story but I understand why if you don't

Love the way you wrote Sombra, good job :twilightsmile:

Well done. I really liked your presentation of Gilda and Sombra (Gilda especially). I don't want you to write more if you have to force yourself to do it, but I'd definitely read anything else in this AU. :raritywink:

Nicknack, you've got to be the only author on here who's portrayals of griffins i like. everybody else seems to write them as 'grumpy pegasi with claws'

Ya've still got it. Been a pleasure reading your work the past couple of years.

Keep it up.

I can hear it:duck:...
Funny that we both heard her as a starship's doctor

They might end up in genuine love with each other.

2519919 Huh ive always thought she came off as still being from a different culture and with different mannerisms, You can only really think of how squishy and soft most pony's really are. Think about it zecora looks like more of a fighter than most of the main six. :twilightoops: To say this ive always enjoyed storys about gilda and her brashness, keep it up im looking forward to where you take this.
Also i have a few questions mind you as I have time before work.
Have you made any ideas on how to go about her eating meat without going the boring way with fish?
Also I know this is more of a guess but if sombra practices slavery gilda is going to flip.


Have you made any ideas on how to go about her eating meat without going the boring way with fish?

In another story, I have her and griffins at large just straight-up hunting land animals from a nearby forest. For my convenience, I also call the species "mild omnivores," in that they can supplement meat with other (vegetarian) foods, if they so choose. That's probably one of my few points of headcanon biology that I just chalk up to "magic" as opposed to "let's take the best aspects of both avians and felines."

That being said, I would think they wouldn't mind fish. Eagles eat fish, and cats eat fish, so I wouldn't see it as that much of a problem for griffins that live near the coast (e.g., my chili-spiced shrimp "joke" in the first chapter of this story).

Also I know this is more of a guess but if sombra practices slavery gilda is going to flip.

Possibly. I haven't really thought out the whole "Equestria / Crystal Empire history" that I invented for this AU. All that bad stuff that Cenric talks about, though, was largely done in the past and around the time of their secession, though.

Y'know, even if this is an alternate universe, there do seem to be ties of some sort between griffons and crystal ponies, considering the griffon statues outside of the Crystal Empire's library... I'd already wondered about that, but now I'm even more curious about possible canon connections between the two groups.

Also, when I found out that Gilda was getting married on a platform over a giant magma pit, I found a tiny part of myself expecting Gilda to knock Sombra into the lava. Sure, such an action would obviously have massive political ramifications, but at least the crystal ponies themselves would likely hail Gilda as a hero, right?


2519144 2519136
I like to see a continuation of this. Similar to this story here

450,000 words.


And still not done.

But, honestly, if you ever find yourself wanting to write a lot for whatever reason, this thing is a great set up for

Game of Pones

. Like, woah.

I was going to make a comment about your Nipples of the Future™, but then I remembered that was Really, Really Big Man from Rocko's Modern Life.

Looking up Powdered Toast Man, all I got was:


All griffins are cool. :rainbowdetermined2: (Seriously, though, I'm glad you like Cenric)


if you ever find yourself wanting to write a lot for whatever reason

Fair enough, but... an epic-length continuation of this story would probably be sixth on my "list of epic-length expansions of my stories" I would write.

Could you make a list of these ideas? I am curious now.

On the one hand, I'd rather not, since there's a notably high chance that none of these will ever get written, and I don't want to give false hope.

On the other, you asked, so:
1) Something I don't want to give details out about.

2) Epic-length continuation of this story. It'd explore that world and address some "grand-scale" conflicts that I included in the background.

3) Grand Theft Auto crossover (fitting in technologies of the show, not necessarily content) that acts as a time-wise prequel to this story.

4) Some sort of non-deterministic followup to Two Beats. Not epic length, but will probably take a while to figure out what the hell I'm doing.

5) Original Fiction

6) The... apparently, it's got a name: Game of Pones.

I'll end on this note (which I don't intend to sound too harsh): As much as I'm glad at how Dusk-Lit Waltz turned out, I honestly would never had the idea or will to write it had it not been a commission. So I wrote it, and I tried to write it up to my usual standards, but I feel that the time taken for a continuation would probably be best-spent in other areas of my writing and life in general.

Well that turned out nicely. Well done! I rather liked the pacing on this one-- not too slow; not too fast.

Sequel? Good story! :pinkiehappy:

It would be interesting to see this move on in a second story, but I understand that you don't feel like it would be your best work, or that you would be better off working on a different story. Still, it was a nice half hour or so read.

I understand having story plans you don't think you'll ever get to; I was just curious what was running inside that head, and yeah, that sounds like a good list.

1) Something I don't want to give details out about.

Don't take this as me trying to pry, but that sounds ominously awesome.

This was fun! I didn't notice the elemental themes while reading, but they're quite clear looking back. I like the way you attempted to give Sombra a touch of class and character; certainly more than the show writers did. :raritywink:

It is the natural reaction to an enjoyed fic to want a sequel, and I don't deny being typical there. But if you're happy and have no plans for more, I'll just have to enjoy your other stuff instead. :twilightsmile:

I have to say, I was disappointed when it ended, I had to check to make sure it WAS completed.....

mainly because I could see so much stemming from this story, like....books worth. An alternate universe where Sombra ISN'T a sadistic tyrant? Who knows!

Anyhow. It is your story, and to continue it, or not, is your choosing. Just know that I'd be more than willing to help should you ever want to give this idea a shot.
Well done.

I still think that certain aspects of Gilda's personality are remarkably similar to yours. Whether that's because you're that good of a writer or your personality does blend easily with hers, who can tell? Still, even though you took a risk that makes her seem unlikable at first, it seems to have paid off. As the months pass by and she's forced to look at her actions, she realizes that she doesn't have much of a choice and changes her attitude instead.

I'm sure many people in forced marriages inevitably go through the same thing before resigning to their fates. In our culture, it seems unheard of, but it's for the good of the Kingdom. We can't possibly understand the gravity of that situation, since we ourselves are not royalty. Still, as a writer, you've helped us gain an insight into what would happen if we were.

It's a bit funny though. Considering that this story was a commission and that you didn't really want to write it otherwise, it seemed to have turned out well. Even if you did spend a heck of a lot more time working on your other stories. Ah well. What's done is done, and you can at least be proud of that fact. Whether you choose to continue this story later or decide to work on any of the other six ideas spinning around your brain, remember that you have a choice. Unlike Gilda in this particular instance anyway.

Hmm... not really sure what my point was. Anyhoo, I found this story enchanting and it kept me reading till the end. To me, your writing feels more alive for the simple fact that you relate to Gilda so much. At least, that's what it feels like. There's just that something that makes me want to keep reading everything.

And that's what I'll do. Time to reread Heart of Gold once more, then move on to the two sequels.

This was a interesting story, and definitely didn't go where I expected it to. Since we knew that Sombra had some at least minor mind control powers in the show, I was smelling fish from the surprise announcement on. But ultimately this story wasn't really about him, it was about Gilda and her family, with a chapter dedicated to the relationship with each member: Gilda and herself, Gilda and her brother, Gilda and her mother and finally Gilda and her father. I think Gilda and her Mother's interaction was probably the best, it certainly meant the most to Gilda.

You do a really great job of showing Gilda growing up over the course of these interactions, even if I remain skeptical about how this is all going to work out. But I guess this is an alternate universe so, you know, there probably isn't as much chains and evil laughter on the seat of the Crystal Empire.

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