True Inspiration

by ClayInTheCarpet

First published

Far Cry is an artist with a myriad of talents under his belt. He's a pony who has certainly realized his purpose in life. However, he still hasn't earned his cutie mark. With the helpful encouragement of Pinkie Pie, will he ever discover wh

Far Cry, an anxious unicorn with perhaps a slight drinking problem, is a skilled sculptor, designer, and painter who lives on the outskirts of Ponyville. He has found his lot in life and made quite a name for himself since moving there a few months ago by selling various artworks. However, even being a grown stallion with several well-realized skills, he has not yet earned that elusive cutie mark. This only feeds his anxiety and causes him to avoid the outside world more and more, opting instead to work long hours - sometimes days on end - in his apartment without speaking to another soul.

Although he is constantly frustrated by the fact that his mark of destiny has not yet presented itself, Pinkie Pie - his only friend in Ponyville and one of his biggest fans - is as supportive as ever. Since Far Cry came to town, she has come to enjoy bouncing on over to his place once every few days to check out his newest works and cheer him up for a while, confident that one day he'll finally earn the mark through his artwork.

This is a very personal, metaphorical story about my "ponysona" and a mirror for my experience with the fandom in many ways. A cutie mark is a very important idea to me, as it represents your "destiny," and I was having a hard time defining my ponysona's mark and feeling generally uninspired earlier this year while in a bad place in my life. The story of Far Cry's cutie mark pursuit came to me in a jolt of inspiration one day when I first heard an ultra, ultra beautiful acoustic song by MandoPony about Pinkie Pie entitled, "It Started With Your Smile." Since then, I have expanded the plot into this 4-chapter work you see here.

Since none of my proofreaders have accounts here, I'll just mention them either by their DeviantArt account handles: Thanks goes out to UnderworldFaery, SilverDrgnbane, and FaceOfSorrow for proofreading and editing duties, and a special thanks goes to SilverDrgnbane for helping me write a particularly important paragraph in Chapter III.

Rated Teen for decidedly more adult topics such as depression and a hint at alcoholism.

Chapter I - Just Another Day

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Another hangover. Luckily, Far Cry had experienced so many already that it really wasn’t intrusive enough to affect his sleep. His windows were already covered with cloth to keep out the sunlight and help with his odd sleep patterns.
For him, living near the edge of Ponyville in a small, rather plain apartment filled with works of clay, latex, and plastic unceremoniously strewn throughout many rooms was all he really needed. Being a unicorn pony has its advantages when it comes to such tedious works of art, and he had already established himself as one of the best artists in town, though he had only lived there for a few months. His dark gray coat and a mane and tail of long, brown, notably unkempt hair, and an inexplicably bare flank was easy to spot amongst Ponyville’s otherwise decidedly more Technicolor residents – that is, whenever he left the apartment.

This had become quite the daily regimen for Far Cry. He would wake up late, spend the day designing various art pieces for other ponies alone in his apartment all the way into the wee hours of the morning and hardly ever venture out into the streets of Ponyville – except to restock some groceries, keep an appointment, deliver a new piece, or track down some form of alcoholic beverage that would suit his fancy. He had a particular enjoyment for the Apple family’s famous cider, but when it wasn’t in season, he would set out to locate a decent whiskey. Far Cry had very few friends within Ponyville. He wasn’t born and raised there, and because he tends to keep to himself a lot of the time, he hasn’t been very successful at – or interested in - making new friends since his arrival there. That is, except for Pinkie Pie.

Having somewhat of a sweet tooth, Far Cry had inevitably found his way downtown into Sugar Cube Corner within the first week of his arrival. Pinkie, who is well-known for her overwhelming desire to personally welcome every new pony into town, learn everything about them, and make them smile, instantly freaked out when Far Cry stepped up to the counter and, as she always does for newcomers, threw him a small welcome party and sang a silly song. It was an amusing spectacle, and, though Far Cry felt uneasy at first, his guard quickly dropped when Pinkie’s infectious attitude began to sink in and make more sense. Well, “sense” in the only way that Pinkie can really make sense.

Since that day, Pinkie would show up at Far Cry’s apartment once in a while to deliver a cupcake or cookie and make sure to sneak a laugh out of him. But she also came to visit because she found Far Cry’s work astonishing – an eclectic mix of sculptures, drawings, masks, and busts - and loved to ask a myriad of questions about whatever new project(s) he was working on at the time. Being her usual Pinkie self, she would excitedly bounce around, talking far too quickly for Far Cry to give a sufficient response before she could ask the next question. To her credit, the work really was quite good. Far Cry, though not a master by any means, knew how to express ideas in clay and on paper in a way that would be visually intriguing. He’d been doing this type of art for most of his life and was attempting to make a living out of it these days, though he had his ups and downs in terms of success.

After a while, Pinkie would leave and Pinkie Promise to return again in a few days. This promise had always been kept, and this day was the day on which she would make her trip once again.


Far Cry rolled over and moaned loudly. Slowly cracking open his purple eyes, he squinted at the clock on the adjacent wall and noted how late it was. “Ugh. I totally forgot…,” he murmured as he slowly dropped out of bed and patted around on the nearby nightstand for his favorite purple hair tie.

Finally locating it, he quickly lifted it in his magic and put his mane in a ponytail, another part of his daily regimen, and began a slow, sluggish walk to his front door.

As soon as the door swung open, an explosion of confetti flew into the room as the sound of a party horn filled Far Cry’s ears. While he had experienced this phenomenon many times before, it always caught him off guard for some reason. Finally wide awake, he could see a familiar face standing in his doorway, wearing her usual gigantic grin. It was a pink earth pony with the craziest mane he had ever seen and a cutie mark of three brightly-colored balloons on her flank. Oddly enough, he could swear that her mane and tail smelled of cotton candy, but he had never gotten close enough to confirm it without a shred of doubt. On her back was a saddlebag, brightly colored with a pattern that included various yellows, pinks, and blues. It really did compliment her color scheme quite well. Her hooves high in the air, she yelled, “SURPRISE!!! IT’S ME!”

Smiling for the first time in what felt like days, Far Cry quickly regained his senses. “Pinkie, it’s only a surprise if I’m not expecting you.” He smiled warmly. “Come on in, if you like! Sorry, I just woke up.” Happily obliging the invitation, Pinkie Pie skipped into the apartment, as she had done many times before. As Far Cry closed the door with his magic, he could already hear her getting excited behind him. “OOOOooooOOOoooo! That is soooo cool! When did you start on this one? Who’s it gonna be? Can I touch it? What are you going to produce it in this time? OOOooooOOOooo, what COLOR will it be?!”

She had already made her way into the workshop area in the next room and was staring down a small, very unfinished blob of clay that had just begun to resemble a rather tall pony figure in a decidedly regal pose. Far Cry’s smile crept wider as he waited for a moment to get a word in edgewise. “Haha! Well, it’s going to be Princess Luna eventually. I started it yesterday, and it’s still very early on. And yes,…” Far Cry rolled his eyes, “…you can touch it. Just be gentle.”

Pinkie Pie grinned and jumped in place before putting her hoof gingerly on one of the sculpture’s legs. “Eeeee!! I touched it!”, she chirped. “Hey, you know what you should sculpt sometime? A CAKE!! Ohmygosh, yeah, a cake! Or cookies! Oh wow, that’s the best idea ever!”

Far Cry laughed at the absurdness of her suggestion. “I…really don’t think there’s a very big market for stuff like that,” he said, “but I guess I could make a special exception for you.”

Indeed, he would consider doing a ton of stranger art pieces just for Pinkie. He had become rather fond of her over the last few months and her spontaneity and incredibly consistent care-free, positive attitude was a nice break from his usual feelings of loneliness, gloom, and doom. While he preferred to be alone most of the time, it wasn’t always the greatest experience to be cooped up in your home without any additional pony contact for days at a time. Pinkie Pie represented a wonderful zest for life that he longed to experience for himself, and secretly savored their time together, though he had never made any mention of it out of pure shyness. He figured she came to see him because she could sense some semblance of that depression in his attitude and decided that she needed to put in some extra focus on keeping him happy…Or maybe it was just…

“Do you think you’ll get it this time?” Pinkie asked, her smile undeterred by the subject at hand.
Far Cry snapped out of his daze and spared a quick glance back at his blank flank as his smile slowly wilted and died. “I hope so.”

Before he even had time to think, Pinkie Pie burst out, “Of COURSE you will! Look how AWESOME this thing is turning out! Don’t you worry, this is sure to be the one!”

Her enthusiasm was so sincere that it brought back a small smile to Far Cry’s face, but it did nothing to calm his mind.
Earning a cutie mark seemed like such a simple concept to him, but then, that was exactly why it was such a touchy subject... Everypony else in Ponyville usually had received one by the time they were fully grown. It seemed to him as though everypony had found what they wanted to do with their lives – fulfilled their destiny - by Far Cry’s age. Far Cry had been trying to fulfill what he believed was his destiny for at least a decade by honing the skill that he was best at: creating art of various types. However, the fact remained that, no matter what he did or how he did it, his own personal cutie mark – much to his own dismay - remained unfortunately elusive.

Chapter II - No Cigar

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The chocolate cupcake was delicious. Far Cry thanked Pinkie Pie for coming and, with a wave, Pinkie Promise, and ultra-cute smile, she was off. The happiness serum that Pinkie had injected deep into his brain was still lingering as he contemplated perhaps someday inviting her out to dinner or a movie…or both. Maybe they could just go downtown and have a milkshake or something, he reasoned.

Almost without realizing it, Far Cry had walked right through his living room and into his workspace. Snapping himself out of his Pinkie-inspired daze once again, he looked up at the sculpture that was sitting right in front of him on a stool. It was the sculpture that Pinkie had been admiring a few minutes ago, and looking at it filled Far Cry with a new batch of determination. His smile quickly turning into a serious scowl, he continued walking toward the piece, picked up his favorite sculpting tool in his magic, and began raking at the clay.

He concentrated so hard on his work that he lost track of time, same as always. The mindset of “I just need to fix this one last thing…” took over and he soon found himself in a never-ending struggle to perfect the piece in the only way that he could, never feeling satisfied enough to leave it alone for the night. That, plus the steady flow of whiskey on the rocks kept him from feeling the pangs of hunger, for the most part. Eventually, long after everypony else in town had already been in bed for a few hours, the Princess Luna sculpture was finally complete. Far Cry raised his head, looked the piece over one final time with his discerning eye, and used a brush to flatten a rough area he noticed near the mane. “Perfect,” he said with an air of confidence. “I may send one to Luna as a gift once it’s done. She deserves more love than she gets from everypony here.”

Anticipating that only the finished version of his newest work could earn a cutie mark, Far Cry headed on to bed.

The next morning, Far Cry woke up earlier than usual. His mind was abuzz with excitement that maybe, just MAYBE, this next piece could be the one to earn him his cutie mark. He jumped out of bed and immediately began work on molding and casting the new sculpture. He felt sure…This time would be it! This time, he had made a piece so great, it would finally earn that elusive, unknown mark of destiny on his flank. Only stopping once to eat a small breakfast of leftover hay fries earlier on in the day, he spent the entirety of his time feverishly working.

Sometime in the early evening hours, he completed the mold. Then, he pried it open and carefully removed all the clay. With the mold ready, Far Cry’s eyes lit up. It was so close now, he could taste it! He lifted a couple containers of liquid with his magic, and then started mixing them together. With the empty mold strapped back together, he poured in the mixture and waited impatiently.

After a while, the statue was finally removed. More determined than ever, Far Cry lifted up a few small containers of paint from across the room with magic and began adding Luna’s dark, deep colors to every inch of the design. He was in a full-on frenzy now. Upon finishing the last brush stroke, Far Cry reared up in joy and looked back at his right flank – and then, he waited. He waited a long time, his smile slipping into a deeper frown with each passing minute.

Finally, with tears in his eyes, he shouted, “WHY?! WHY NOT?! If this is what I was born to do, then why can’t I earn my cutie mark?!”

He seemed to be shouting at somepony else in the room who was forcibly withholding this experience from him. “I’ve tried everything I love to do - things that I’ve been good at for many years - and yet…nothing. What do you WANT me to do?”

A single tear rolled down his cheek as his head dropped toward the floor in utter despondency. It was true. He had done everything in his power to try and earn that mark, but for some reason it just never came to pass. There was something he still lacked - perhaps…something he had not yet done, creativity-wise. He simply did not know anymore.

Feeling absolutely crushed, he slowly turned from the piece and trudged back into his bedroom. It was rather late in the evening now, and he was starting to feel the effects of the lack of sleep he experienced the night before. He flopped over onto his bed and stared at the ceiling for a few minutes, trying to contemplate exactly what he could do now. It soon became harder for him to keep his eyes open. He tried to fight it, but it was no use. His body and mind demanded sleep, and, with a final sigh, Far Cry drifted off into the dream world.

Chapter III - The Dream

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Far Cry was suddenly in a strange and unfamiliar place. Drawn by the dim light in the night sky, he looked up to notice a large moon hanging overhead. However, the moon didn’t look like the Equestrian moon he had known for his entire life. There was something inherently different…He could only see a little more than half of this moon. Even the stars in the night sky weren’t recognizable. The constellations he knew well could no longer be found. He could barely make out a mountain range nearby under the dim light of this strange moon, but it wasn’t similar to any he had seen before. What, exactly, was this place?

It was then that he felt the hard floor on which he was standing. It was made of stone. Turning around, he could see that he was on the balcony of a large castle. As far as he could make out, the castle was old and in a state of dilapidation. It may not have been cared for in over a thousand years, judging by its outward appearance. Starting to feel a bit uneasy about his surroundings, Far Cry began to walk around the balcony. “H-Hello?...,” he stuttered out quickly. “…Is anypony there?”


The sudden noise startled Far Cry. He quickly turned in the direction of the noise, which appeared to be an open doorway to one of the castle’s only fully intact spires. “Um…W-Who’s there?!”

Unease quickly turning into fear, he timidly walked toward the doorway and entered. Inside, he could just make out a spiral staircase that led to the top of the tower. There were lit torches hanging up along the outer wall of the stairwell, which was odd, considering that it looked completely abandoned, otherwise. Still curious as to where he was and who was there with him, he decided to ascend the stairs.

Finally at the top of the staircase, Far Cry entered a large, open room. It had very thin openings in the walls spaced evenly apart, which he could only suppose was to protect against arrow attacks. However, the light illuminating this room was not from the strange moon hanging outside…It was from a set of candelabras and torches hanging around the room. Looking around, it did not take long before Far Cry noticed another object – a giant box centered right in the middle of the room. The box was much longer than it was tall – bone-colored and decorated along the edges with ornately-carved details and handles along the lower half of the box.

With a gulp, he began to step closer to the box. He had some strange desire to see what was inside, though he was getting pretty creeped out by this entire experience. As he grew closer, he noticed the top of this ornate box had a horizontal split down the surface. No locks could be found. Whatever this thing was, it had been there for a long time; spider webs adorned the bottom half of the box as if it had set there for years. Finally feeling satisfied that there was nopony else in the room, he slowly placed his hoof on the side of the box in order to flick its lid open. Suddenly…


The top half of the box lid quickly swung open, startling Far Cry. But that was nothing compared to what he saw next. The box was occupied. As Far Cry peered over the edge, a truly frightening image came into view: a large spindly creature in black embroidered robes. Staring in fixation, Far Cry's eyes wandered over a myriad of horrible features, least of all the lack of hooves. Instead, the thing pushed open the container with a spidery appendage ending in five long, tapering digits with pointed nails. The head, too, was monstrous. It was nothing like a pony's. There was no muzzle, no fur or mane, queerly pointed ears, and the skin was unnaturally wrinkled. Eyes of the brightest yellow slowly opened as Far Cry looked on with mounting horror. Those eyes were nothing like the cute yellow eyes like he had seen on Derpy during so many trips to town before…These eyes obviously had purely malicious intent – and they were staring straight into his soul.

Without a beat, the horrendous creature gnashed a mouth full of incredibly sharp teeth and hissed loudly at Far Cry. Now completely petrified, Far Cry screamed to the top of his lungs, “AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGHHH!!!!!!”

It was then that his own blood-curdling scream woke him up. In a cold sweat, and heart pounding harder than it had in his whole life, it took a few moments to calm down and reassure himself it was only a dream.

Chapter IV - Results

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Pinkie Pie bounced happily through town, greeting other ponies on her way. Today, she had decided to make an unscheduled stop at Far Cry’s place, since she had to be in that area of town to make a cake delivery, anyway. She was also rather excited by the possibility that he may have already earned his cutie mark in her absence over the last two days – and if he had, then she knew what it called for: a PARTY! This thought put an extra bounce in her …usual bounce…as she quickly made her way to Far Cry’s apartment. Eventually, she was standing at his front door. Raising her hoof, she intended to knock three times, as she had always done, historically.


Before she could even reach the third knock, the door swung open – this time startling Pinkie Pie in much the same way she had usually startled Far Cry. A pair of hooves rushed outside the door, grabbed her, and pulled her inside. “YOU’RE JUST IN TIME!” Far Cry barked, enthusiastically.

Pinkie stood in the living room, still trying to comprehend what had just occurred. “Uh, just in time for what?”

As she asked the question, her eyes drifted to her right-hand side and she noticed something new in the room with them that she had never seen before. Instantly, she squeaked out a quick “EEK!!” and hid behind Far Cry, as if he was her only shield from getting mangled by this new inanimate object.

“Hahaha!” Far Cry laughed enthusiastically, “Yeah, that’s pretty much the reaction I had at first, too.”

“What is it?!” Pinkie Pie asked, still a bit bewildered.

“I don’t really know. I had a nightmare last night, and this…thing…was in it. When I woke up, I knew I just HAD to sculpt it while I still clearly recalled what it looked like. I stayed up all night long finishing it.”

Pinkie Pie turned to Far Cry and noticed that his eyes were bloodshot and he had bags underneath them…but he was smiling. He was smiling a smile of utter self-satisfaction. Whatever that dream was, it had obviously been a big inspiration for him.

Trying to act a bit less fearful for the sake of her friend, she maneuvered around Far Cry and inched closer to the sculpture. Though strange and frightening, this weird monster had been rendered quite well into clay – realistic pointy ears, bald head, short muzzle, and a mouthful of extremely pointy teeth. Its skin looked old…and was very wrinkled. She couldn’t shake the creepiness of the whole thing. It truly was unsettling to look at. “Wow…That must have been some nightmare! I don’t EVER wanna see anything like THIS in MY dreams! I’m fine with just dreaming about frosting!....Creamy, …creamy frosting…”

While explaining this fact, Pinkie Pie had begun drooling uncontrollably. Luckily for Far Cry, she shook her head and quickly snapped herself out of it. “Oh, but it looks GREAT!”

“Thanks, Pinkie! I just wish…” Far Cry paused, “…I wish this would have been the one to give me my cutie mark.” Pinkie looked up at him with sincere concern, and then back down at the sculpture. She began to examine it very closely from every angle, darting back and forth around the stool on which it sat. This continued for about a minute until she suddenly stopped and her eyes widened. “HEY! I don’t really know for sure because it’s not my dream, but…is this supposed to be here?”

Far Cry walked over and looked down at the area Pinkie was pointing at. It was a small patch on the side of the neck that had not been detailed yet. “Hrm…No, actually. I must’ve missed it on my last detail pass.”

Floating over a tool from his workspace in the other room, he proceeded carving in the missing details to the best of his ability. After a couple moments, he looked up from the sculpture and sat the tool down with his magic. “There! All done.”

Suddenly, the two ponies were startled by a flash of light in the room.

Far Cry stood still as a statue, unable to move…Could this be…Would this be…Is it possible?...No, it couldn’t be…


The statement rang out through the room as the last remnants of light faded from Far Cry’s view. Tears began to well up in his wide eyes as he slowly turned back to view his flank. Just like Pinkie had said not even 5 seconds before, he had finally earned his cutie mark: an oddly-shaped, deep purple creature head that resembled a profile shot of his newest sculpture…and underneath it, a representation of the sculpting tool he had used to finish carving the last few lines on its neck. He stared in disbelief as the tears freely dripped from his face.

Pinkie was practically bouncing off the walls, yelling “YAY!” over and over, as loud as she could. Suddenly, a realization dawned on Far Cry: It was her. She did it. Without Pinkie being her Pinkie self, he might have never earned that cutie mark at all… It made so much sense that it almost hurt his brain. A mighty grin began to grip at and pull the muscles of his face. He could no longer control it. This was simply INCREDIBLE!! Far Cry began bouncing around the room with Pinkie Pie in a show of pure, unadulterated joy – and in this moment, regardless of anything else in his life, he was truly happy.