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Shores: Homecoming (Closed)

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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Tue Mar 24, 2020 4:57 pm

Canterlot, Equestria

Magic School
Giovenith wrote:"No, no, no," the punk pegasus quickly shook a hoof, dismissing the notion. "I apologize for coming across that way, I wasn't referring to you at all. [...] it's better to understand their flaws now before those confrontations. I know from experience."

After initially brightening at Goldie's explanation, Sandy's face darkened as she finished. "I... I've had worse confrontations with worse people already. If incautious and lazy spellcasters are the worst you know, better you don't know what I've had to deal with."

Art Show
Giovenith wrote:[Cadance] then spread her large wings and flew off, Toola grinning and waving excitedly after her. Willow gave a long sigh and turned back to Amanda.

Amanda watched the Princess take flight, thinking of Her as a smaller, more brightly-colored version of her own pony-prince of a husband.

Giovenith wrote:"Well, I don't know about you, but I'm not sure I can go back in there and die from embarassment," he said. "Sorry. There's plenty to do in the capital though, we could go out somewhere and call Sandy to meet us there..."

"It's ok, Willow. You've had a rough day. Whatever you want to do is fine with me." There was surprising warmth and sympathy in Amanda's smile.
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Giovenith
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Postby Giovenith » Thu Mar 26, 2020 10:07 am

Sandy

Goldie smiled at him. Friendly, but there was a restrained sense of knowing behind it. She'd let him think that was all she'd seen, for now.

"Care to talk to the kids at all?"


Garden

Willow gave a solemn nod and a deep, cleansing sigh, maintaining his posture and a composed expression as to accept the sympathy while keeping a sense of dignity. Hard to do with everything that just happened, but you had to start somewhere. He'd had enough of being seen as 'the crybaby' a long time ago.

With a mixture of paper birds and wings, the three of them managed to hop over the garden wall and navigate their way off the castle property, where they would up back on the chilly colored streets of Canterlot. Willow considered where they could go that wasn't too expensive or high end, and came up with the perfect spot. Soon, they were in a cozy little booth at a sizable donut shop, where upon he casually asked the owner — a rather large stallion by the name of "Joe" — to please bring some coffee for him and Amanda and some chocolate eclairs for Giovenith (without the filling!) It was a good way to settle down after all that excitement.

Though more than happy to shut up for a moment as she chowed down on the eclairs, Giovenith watched Willow as he quietly sipped his usual black brew. Broaching topics of emotional sensitivity was always a tricky dance with him, as he made many exceptions for her in most departments yet even she was not immune from his usual stonewalling if he wasn't in any mood to be prodded. But he'd promised her, so there was that.

"So..." she eventually started.

"Yeah, I got it Geo-puzzle," he sighed, setting down the mug. "Okay, I'm not even entirely sure what just happened myself. But when Princess Cadance came on stage, I got really... nauseous, and had to go throw up a bit."

Giovenith immediately became annoyed. "Tell the truth, Willow Streaks!"

"That was the-!" he tried, but then quickly conceded. "Oh, okay. So, I like, kind of, groveled in pain a little- a lot. And then I screamed, and then the Princess took me away, and then she made me vomit up a bunch of black shadows from my soul. Or something." He sniffed and framed it all in cavalier tone.

Her eyes grew in horror.

"Okay look, it's not as bad as it sounds-" said Willow.

"You never think it's as bad as it sounds!" Giovenith exclaimed in frustration. "But it totally is, Willow! If anything, it's worse!"

"I just didn't want to scare you-"

"It scares me more that I can't trust you to be alone because you care more about being seen as weak than taking care of yourself."

This gave Willow a sharp pause. He gave her a sidelong glance and pressed his hooves together in thought. Everything that held him back came from the fear of being a burden, even if his friends didn't mind, but he hadn't considered before that perhaps that same drive could become a burden to them in it of themselves. Pansy said that there was nothing wrong with friends helping friends, but he supposed by that same logic, it could be said that there was something wrong with not letting your friends help you.

"Okay Geo-puzzle, I'm sorry," he said, in a gentler tone. "I don't mean to make you feel scared. I'm trying my best to be better, it's just going to take a little time. See this?" He pulled out the silver necklace that Cadance had given him and held it out to her, smiling reassuringly. "It's a present from the Princess, she's going to help me go to the doctor and get all better. She won't let me do anything stupid."

Giovenith gave him an intense look. "Are you sure?"

"I'm sure."

She smiled, and they embraced in a warm hug.

"Does this mean you'll tell me what happened on your trip?" Giovenith asked.

Willow's eyes snapped open, and his smile turned tense. "Maybe later, Geo-puzzle. That's probably something that the doctor needs to hear first."
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:27 pm

Canterlot, Equestria

Magic School
Giovenith wrote:"Care to talk to the kids at all?"

"Oh, ummm." Sandy looked at the foals, all – well, most – happily playing. How will they react to me? What would I even say-- Right. He turned back to Goldie. "I, uh, can try. I teach young adults and adults, not early childhood. ECE is a specialty where I'm from, not something I'm... used to."

"Everypony!" Goldie called to get the students' attention. "Come along, gather round. We have a new friend that's come to talk to you."

All the small eyes instantly turned to the three grown ups who had arrived, expressions gawking when they caught sight of the hyoo-mun.

"Mister Bela comes from very far away and practices his own magic," she explained. She turned to him. "Maybe you can give them encouragement that helped you in your early studies?"

"Well..." 'Early studies?' Not me, sister! Sandy's knees creaked as he lowered himself to sitting cross legged. He could sit down and stand up without using his hands, but too many years – yikes! a decade! – away from the dojo, and his joints were feeling the effects of age.

He beckoned the children closer. "You can come over here. You'll hear me better." A few did, one or two boldly, the others timidly. "My name is Sandy Bela. I'm a sorcerer. I use magic like you guys will: by casting written... written spells.

"So... I came to Equestria to visit a friend, one of the pega-- a pegasus." How strange to say that and not mean a proper name. "But my plans changed, twice, in Ponyville." The bolder of the foals had come within normal speaking distance, and others were starting to inch forward behind them. Sandy beamed at the closest ones: Feed that curiosity, kid, it got me where I am today! Talking to a bunch of day-glow monoceroi in another dimension! Maybe you'll be allowed to use the portal and come say hi to us. Maybe you'll find your own way across the Void.

"First, Starlight Glimmer let me borrow a bunch of books from the Library of Friendship, including some about magic. Second, I heard about this school. So, I've come to learn... and to teach."

"See, my magic-- my spells work like this." He waggled his right fingers over his upturned left palm, while very slowly reciting the nonsense words that drove the spell. A rainbow of miniature skyrockets shot from his fingertips, red to violet left to right, then burst into fireworks, violet to red left to right. He smiled at the effect: some of the foals retreated, but most crept closer, and the most interested moved close enough to touch. He shot off another barrage, which wizzed and crackled.

"But your spells..." Sandy shifted his weight to avoid his legs cramping. He stretched out his right hand, carefully pronounced a slightly different set of words, and as his fingers were lined with green light, shot off the same reversing rainbow, but smaller and intensely saturated. Ooo! So tempting to try more in Celestia's shrine, with Her light streaming in from above. Would she let me show Her kids? Maybe later.

He slowly lowered his hands to his lap. "I think that's pretty neat! So, since Startlight shared your magic with me, I thought I'd return the favor, and talk to you guys about how my magic works. To share what I know."

Sandy looked away for a second, and looked back, his expression more serious. "We... don't always share at home. People sometimes... horde their magic. We've--" He looked away, a bitter expression on his face, then turned back to the kids, who were now intently fixated on what the alien was telling them. "We don't have as much magic as should." He forced a smile onto his face. "So, keep doing what you've been doing. Share what you know. Teach when you're older. And go look for people like me, who are different from you, to teach and to learn from. You never know what you might learn!"

By the end, Sandy's simile was not merely sincere, but full of wonder: what would they teach humanity, if they could? Celestia's cosmic forebearance? Their half-friendly, half-regimented social order? Or the intolerant, willful ignorance humans frequently displayed to anybody different, now backed with sophisticated magic and the experience of fighting other supers?

"Do you guys want to hear more?" He beamed at them: keep 'em hungry, feed 'em well.


Donut Shot
Giovenith wrote:"It scares me more that I can't trust you to be alone because you care more about being seen as weak than taking care of yourself."
[...]
"Okay Geo-puzzle, I'm sorry," he said, in a gentler tone. "I don't mean to make you feel scared."

One nod and a couple of ping-pong looks: that was the entirety of Amanda's visible reaction to the exchange. Mentally, however, she repeatedly upgraded her idea of how close the two of them were, finally settling on very old, very close friends. It shouldn't surprise me, but somehow it does. Years of living in the Building, two years of living with it emptying, and few other people who would understand either one of them. Yes, it shouldn't surprise me.

Giovenith wrote:He pulled out the silver necklace that Cadance had given him and held it out to her, smiling reassuringly. "It's a present from the Princess, she's going to help me go to the doctor and get all better. She won't let me do anything stupid." […] She smiled, and they embraced in a warm hug.

Amanda snapped her focus to Giovenith's reaction to the necklace, studying her face and posture as closely as she could without seeming too rude. Nothing, as far as she could see. It's not an extension of Cadance's godhead, it's not magic, it's beyond Giovenith's ability to See, whatever that is, or it's just mundane. Or Giovenith has unexpected control over her tells. Hm. Somewhat useful.

Giovenith wrote:"Does this mean you'll tell me what happened on your trip?" Giovenith asked.

Willow's eyes snapped open, and his smile turned tense. "Maybe later, Geo-puzzle. That's probably something that the doctor needs to hear first."


Proceed with caution. He won't tell her, but even though few would understand them, I'm not sure she understands him now. With a warm smile, Amanda turned to Willow, and picked her words carefully. "I understand. I don't know what you went through, but I think I understand what you're going through. There are things I don't talk about either, things I'd rather forget. Too many things, things I've seen and done."

She sipped her coffee; it was awful: black and bitter, the way she used to drink it, but not the way she wanted now. After a pause, she continued. "It's usually not a problem, but sometimes... Well, it's part of the reason I have such strong reactions to supers." She stared into her coffee.

Her gaze flickered to the godling's face before dropping again, her voice barely a whisper. "I'm sorry, Giovenith. It's hard not to... just too many things..." She shook her head, tried to set down her coffee, and realized with a start that she had a death grip on her mug. She started to work to release it, trying to bend her locked fingers. Worse than I'd thought.
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Giovenith » Tue Mar 31, 2020 7:50 pm

Magic School

The children around him nodded and chirped up in agreement with Sandy's sentiments, adding some proud or excited anecdote here and there. A few began to make as many other ponies had done so far and use their magic to gently play with his hands and hair, trying to further study his presence.

Towards the door, Goldie was smiling and exchanged a nod with Inkwell.

"I'm sure they'd love to, but they only have a little bit of play time left, so we better leave them to it," the pegasus pony said. She turned to the kids. "Sorry everypony, but hopefully Doctor Bela will come back and visit you again very soon."

Some of the children made moans of disappointment, while others politely said goodbye and gave Sandy's legs farewell hugs and nuzzles before running off. The two mares lead him back out into the hall and closed the door.

"I don't think you give yourself enough credit when it comes to little kids," Inkwell remarked fondly. "I think with a little extra preparation, you could be a natural with them."

"Doctor Bela," Goldie started. "I'm very pleased with your words and your approach. I do have to admit, when I first saw you with your friends, I figured enough that you were benevolent, but I still wanted to be cautious. Every creature is welcome in Equestria so long as they come with peace, and I do fully believe now that peace is your intention, and kindness is in your heart. Because of that, I must apologize now for not being fully honest with you..." She gently held up a hoof, flying up to meet his expression more directly. "... I assure you, I didn't do so to make you feel foolish or to endanger you, but to understand you as you are most comfortable being. It is, in my experience, easier to get to know others when they don't feel daunted by you. But I think we don't need to do that anymore. I very much hope you won't be offended or afraid, and we can continue to be friends..."

She beckoned him closer, and leaned in to whisper close.

"I am Her."


Donut shop

The roommates observed Amanda and her reaction. It didn't surprise either of them that she had been through traumatic adventures of her own, that just seemed to be the inevitability of their ilk, but that didn't mean they were without empathy. Willow nodded deeply, and motioned to an employee for more drinks and sweets to lighten things. "We can't be expected to move forward faster than we're willing," he told her, reassuringly.

Giovenith was more conflicted, sinking slightly in her seat and focusing on her eclairs. She didn't relish in Amanda's suffering, in fact she understood quite well the dangers that "supers" could pose to people like her, but she wasn't sure if the apology made her feel better. She wasn't sure if she was even owed one. Amanda wasn't obligated to care about her, especially if she had been hurt by things like her. If there was one thing that Giovenith had learned so far, it was that things like her weren't the most endearing.

She chewed on an eclair for a moment before answering. "It's okay Amanda, I understand. Don't worry though, I'm not going to bother anyone ever again soon."

Willow's smile dropped slightly at this, though he stayed composed and didn't look at his friend. He reached out and gave her a brush with his hoof, signaling support but tucking away the issue for another time. That was a whole different can of jelly beans.

He looked down and noted Amanda's hand with interest. It was locked up? Sure, it made sense. Some pegasi's wings locked closed out of stress and fear too, dangerous as that could be.

"Don't try to pry them, you might hurt yourself," he said. "Just relax and let it pass on its own." Better to get her mind off of it. Willow thought to himself, going back when he was helping Brit with her struggles (god, what a soggy bunch they all were), and remembered the empathy he had offered her. "I can tell you a little bit, about the parts that aren't that bad."

It would be like a mental game of Operation, getting the good pieces while avoiding the electric shock of the horror, but he'd give it a go.

"I went back in time, to a specific part in ponies' history," he said, cautiously. "And I met a very good friend there, her name was Pansy. Pansy was a pony that I thought was afraid all the time, and honestly, maybe she was..." He made a confessional gesture. "... but she was still very brave. I thought I was protecting her, but she..." Pause. "... she wound up saving me. And she told me..." Hurrying on from the bad parts. "... she told me that it's okay to do your best and depend on friends when you genuinely can't give anymore. I know she was right, and I'm still struggling to understand it fully."

Willow gave a nod to Giovenith, who smiled slightly.

"So maybe after a while, you can begin to see your experiences like that too," he told Amanda. "You're never going to not be effected by the bad parts, they're part of who you are now. But maybe you can find things in them that build you up too, and appreciate them in their own way. That might take a while though, and... well, I already said, you've got to find those things at your pace." Another pause. "Maybe the doctor can help you with that too. If you want them to."
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Northwest Slobovia
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Wed Apr 01, 2020 7:43 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School

Giovenith wrote:A few began to make as many other ponies had done so far and use their magic to gently play with his hands and hair, trying to further study his presence.

Sandy held out a hand for the foals to look at, saying "fingers" and "thumb" while wiggling them so they'd learn the words. He then fished his stick – currently pencil-sized – from a pocket, and grabbed it tightly, showing how his thumb locked his index finger in place: "grip". They must have seen other people with hands or pincers... or even tentacles. Is there a reason they don't have a partial shapeshifting spell for that? Telekinesis is wonderful, but not as good as hands for fine work.

Giovenith wrote:[Goldie] turned to the kids. "Sorry everypony, but hopefully Doctor Bela will come back and visit you again very soon."

Sandy raised an eyebrow: 'doctor'? After a moment's thought, he was pretty sure Amanda had used his academic title in Cloudsdale. So, we were being tailed then. Hm. Whoever runs the barrier must have tipped off the secret police or cultists that we were coming.

Giovenith wrote:"I don't think you give yourself enough credit when it comes to little kids," Inkwell remarked fondly. "I think with a little extra preparation, you could be a natural with them."

Shrugging, Sandy started to demur, waving the praise away.. "I like kids, yes, but... I think I got lucky with what I had to say. It's not much different than, uh, what I said to you, just simplified for them. I don't think I could do that-- I don't think I could teach – or even be show and tell – every day."

Giovenith wrote:"I am Her."

Sandy's answer was a confused stare. "Her who?", followed, after a long pause by, "Ooooooh!" Sandy stood with his mouth agape – unless the Princess of Whimsey happened to be nearby, in which case, Sandy's jaw bounced off the floor, and smoke poured from his ears, along with a shower of shattered clockwork.

"I...Um." He closed his mouth, and cocked his head at the Princess, trying to come to grips with this development. No secret police? She's been watching us personally? The implications were hard to grasp, especially since She seemed to be a shapeshifter and perhaps a telepath as well.

"Well, that is..." Part of his critical faculties finished its reboot and self-test. "That is an extraordinary claim. And extraordinary claims usually require extraordinary proof. Would you mind if I asked for some... supporting evidence?" Sandy wasn't sure if his attempt at a polite smile succeeded. Asking a presumptive goddess for a favor wasn't a good idea, but how to go on otherwise? He could just as easily claim to be Hermes.


Donut shop

Giovenith wrote:She chewed on an eclair for a moment before answering. "It's okay Amanda, I understand. Don't worry though, I'm not going to bother anyone ever again soon."

Amanda turned sharply at Giovenith's answer. "Wait, what??"

Giovenith wrote:Willow's smile dropped slightly at this, though he stayed composed and didn't look at his friend. He reached out and gave her a brush with his hoof, signaling support but tucking away the issue for another time.

Something else I'm missing most of. But definitely time for Sandy to have a chat with her. Something is up.

Giovenith wrote:"Don't try to pry them, you might hurt yourself," he said. "Just relax and let it pass on its own."

After nodding in response, Amanda tried that for a moment with little success, staring into her coffee again. She then turned Willow. "I'm surprised I didn't break it. The spell that makes me beautiful and graceful also makes me strong. Sandy's keeping it going. He probably thinks we're still at the art show."

Giovenith wrote:"I went back in time, to a specific part in ponies' history," he said, cautiously. "And I met a very good friend there, her name was Pansy. […] I thought I was protecting her, but she..." Pause. "... she wound up saving me. And she told me..." Hurrying on from the bad parts. "... she told me that it's okay to do your best and depend on friends when you genuinely can't give anymore. […] You're never going to not be effected by the bad parts, they're part of who you are now. But maybe you can find things in them that build you up too, and appreciate them in their own way."

Amanda listened attentively, sympathetically, nodding as Willow told his story. "I can fill in one gap from what happened with the Princess, and I won't ask for more. You poor thing. Whatever you ran into then makes my problems look small."

With a deep, ragged breath, she went on. "But it's hard to find much to appreciate in an attack that left over forty innocent people dead. We saved a little boy, though, and I take some solace from the fact that most of the attackers will never do that again."

Amanda slid her left hand free from the mug, leaving the handle in the right's grasp. She flashed a smile at Willow. "Well, I guess that worked.", and picked up a donut.
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Giovenith
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Postby Giovenith » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:02 pm

Magic School

"Very smart," was the last thing that Golden Feather said, with a nod, before the punk-rock pegasus flew back and removed a necklace.

The pony's figure was consumed in an abstract light that grew and extended before settling on a new, more imposing form. The first thing that hit was the wave, much like Mi Amore Cadenza's but significantly stronger, of the same nature that Sandy had felt during the Summer Sun Celebration: the happy gentility of summer days and the earth-ripping power of the mother star all in one. She was taller than any other pony, nearly as taller or taller than him, and had a coat that seemed to glow slightly from the sheerness of its white color, a color shared by the huge span of her feathered wings. Like Cadance, she was dressed in a light, elegant golden armor that ran all up her legs and across her neck.

Her most notable feature was her mane and tail, which were unlike even the other alicorn they'd met today. They were long enough to step on if left limp, but they hovered and swirled softly around her like a mist, and shone brightly — literally, infused with shimmering light — with blues, greens, purples, and pinks. The impression given was a miniature aurora borealis that emenated from the Princess, a manifestation of her power just as the true aurora was of the power of the sun.

She bowed her head humbly. "It is good to properly meet you, Sandy Bela. I am Princess Celestia."

"Hm, glad we're not dealing with that silliness anymore," Inkwell remarked, demeanor not effected by the change in her companion's countenance. She was utterly comfortable with the goddess, as only an old friend could be. "It's hard to remember to keep my eye low when looking you in the eye."

Celestia smiled humorously at her friend. "I want to apologize again for not being upfront, Sandy. I did trust you from the start, Perlelei's people keep good company, but I have to stay careful and proper when it comes to my subjects. I hope you don't feel too deceived."


Donut shop

Willow gave a dismissive snort and gently waved away the notion with a hoof.

"I'm not a poor thing," he said. "Or at least I'm not going to settle for being one. But..." He put his hoof down. "... I know what you mean, and I do appreciate it. We should be supporting each other when these things happen."

That one could be categorized as anything but a 'poor thing' was a bold claim from someone who had just had evil trauma shadows painfully extracted from his soul, but that just highlighted the apparently stubborn nature that Giovenith had criticized minutes before. For someone who ran with modernist art crowds and regularly baked cookies with sprinkles, you'd think Willow wouldn't be the type to have the 'tough guy denial' thing nailed down so well.

"Besides," he said. "I don't believe somepony's broken leg makes your scraped knee feel any better. There's nothing 'merely' about what you went through, and I think it's great that you were able to make a difference when it happened. Saving a kid isn't a small thing."

He smiled back and took another sip of his coffee. He was vaguely aware of the jingling of a bell, and then Giovenith gently tapping his back. He looked to her and then to the front of the shop where she was pointing. The front door was opened a crack — as if anyone could manage to hide much behind an establishment door with a bell — and a blue face poked slightly through it to stare at their table.

Willow sighed and set down his mug. "I can see you there!" he called, slightly annoyed.

The pony behind the door folded their ears sadly.

Willow resisted the urge to roll his eyes and motioned for them to come in. The door opened all the way to reveal a pegasus mare, built completely in shades of blue, with a long, curly mane kept out of her face by a white wrapped bandana. She stepped in and was shortly followed by a bluish-grey pegasus stallion, who had a striking black and yellow mane and was wearing a dark, zip-up sweater.

The mare looked intensely at Willow, her eyes shining yet stern. "Your friends told us about what happened at the show," she said, in a low, controlled tone.

He gave her his own careful, controlled look. "It's okay now."

This answer didn't seem to satisfy her, and her ear flicked in visible frustration. The stallion stopped at the table, gave a brief look to the mare, then took in the rest of the table and smiled politely.

"Hello," he greeted, in a very soft-spoken voice. "You're Willow's friends from the other, place? My name is Winning Streaks."

Giovenith gasped, shook Willow, and pointed at the two of them. "Willow, it's your mommy and daddy!"

Willow turned to give her a deadpan expression — did she think he hadn't known? But he nodded and made introductions. "Guys, this is my mom and dad, mom and dad, this is Giovenith and Amanda."

"I'm sorry we came up to all of you," said Winning, folding his ears apologetically.

"I'm not," Willow's mom interjected, swiping a front hoof against the ground slightly. "You should be the first to tell us when these things happen, Willow!"

"What your mother means," continued Winning, with a sort of relaxed tone that implied he probably used the phrase 'what your mother means' a lot. "Is that we were both very scared when those other ponies told us about what happened to you, especially when they said that you didn't come back from your meeting with the Princess. We know that you want to do your own thing buddy, but you should tell get in touch with us when an emergency happens, especially now."

Willow seemed to unwind slightly at his father's words, a slight tinge of shame crossing his eyes for a moment. He nodded. "Alright, you're right. I'm sorry dad, it just didn't really cross my mind."

"Can we join you for a little bit?" Winning asked the rest of the table.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Fri Apr 03, 2020 7:35 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School

Giovenith wrote:The first thing that hit was the wave, much like Mi Amore Cadenza's but significantly stronger, of the same nature that Sandy had felt during the Summer Sun Celebration: the happy gentility of summer days and the earth-ripping power of the mother star all in one.

This close, Celestia's aura felt like the summer sun on his back: a broad, white back with long, white wings soaking up the both Galli's mild summers and the Algerian desert's blazing heat.

Giovenith wrote:Her most notable feature was her mane and tail, which were [...] literally, infused with shimmering light — with blues, greens, purples, and pinks. The impression given was a miniature aurora borealis that emenated from the Princess, a manifestation of her power just as the true aurora was of the power of the sun.

Sandy forgot himself, unconsciously reaching out to see if the shifting curtain of light had any physical substance, as it looked like nothing so much as the magic he Saw around a spell of intricate elegance and power. He caught himself just as his fingertips would have made contact, yanking his arm back, his face turning a color that would do the setting summer sun proud. "Very sorry!" But somewhere under that mortification, there was wisp of youthful, innocent satisfaction in having tried. He slunk back a few steps; Celestia's comforting aura was fogging his reason. An image of Icarus flitted across his mind.

Giovenith wrote:She bowed her head humbly. "It is good to properly meet you, Sandy Bela. I am Princess Celestia." [...] I want to apologize again for not being upfront, Sandy. I did trust you from the start, Perlelei's people keep good company[...] I hope you don't feel too deceived."

"No, no, not at all," came the automatic reply. A goddess just apologized to me?? We're definitely not in Kansas any more!

There was a distinct pause as Sandy desperately tried to shift mental gears, then, with a smile, "Glad to meet you as well. But... why me? We're all, uh, benevolent, and I'm sure-- I'm reasonably certain all the others would be very happy to meet you as well."


Donut shop

Giovenith wrote:"[...]I think it's great that you were able to make a difference when it happened. Saving a kid isn't a small thing."

With an airy wave of her free hand, Amanda dismissed the suggestion. "Playing hero was Sandy's idea. He insisted, and he did all the heavy lifting. Literally: he flew us out, us and another survivor on our side.

In the moment she paused, her expression changed entirely. "But I made a difference, oh yes!" In the right light, the look on her face would be a tigress', savoring her kill.

Giovenith wrote:"Can we join you for a little bit?" Winning asked the rest of the table.

Denying them seemed out of the question: they were his parents, and rightly concerned about him. But something was up with the junior goddess, even if figuring out what was a job for Sandy or Willow. Or both. "I think it would be just fine. Giovenith?" Amanda gave her a questioning look.
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Postby Solisian Union » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:17 am

Giovenith wrote:
Domenica's spells worked, easily shoving their enemies aside. There was a bit of damage to the surrounding world, but it would be easily fixable later. Sallow gave her a quick high five before leading her quickly along again until, in a sudden burst of light, they were back on the beach.

"We're safe!" Sallow breathed a sigh of relief, taking a moment to collect himself. "At least you are, but me and Ms. Prism can take care of the rest. We've got to get you to the other fleshies."

He lead her to the waves, stopping short of where the water reached.

"You just have to walk into the water," he explained, patting her back. "Don't worry, it's magical. You won't get wet or drown, and it will automatically take you to the others. They'll help you a lot better than we can." He took the liberty of pulling her into a hug. "Thank you for helping us, Miss Dom. You're a sweet girl. I can tell we're going to be good friends."


The Filipina felt her heart ache at the thought of leaving these new friends of hers behind. She wanted to stay just to help them deal with the paper soldiers once and for all. But they were right; she had to get to the others who were in this world. She remembered the words of the man who helped her settle down in this world, with her things, but she trusted in the words of her friends right now. Hopefully, it wouldn't bring her back to the real world, her home, but instead to those in this world. She guessed that it could function like a local teleporter. From here to wherever else in this world.

She looked to them and felt some tears reaching out to her eyes. She wiped them off with the sleeve of her right arm and sighed. She smiled at them gently and nodded. She said, "All right. Thank you too. You're always welcome. I hope I can see you all again. Be safe."

When they hugged, she made sure to hug as long as she could. But after that, and after she said what she had to say, she sighed and turned to the water and walked into it, automatically but gently taking a deep breath as she immersed herself in it.
^_^

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Postby Giovenith » Tue Apr 07, 2020 11:24 pm

Magic School

Celestia gave a nod that indicated the two mortals to walk with her down the hall.

"That is a very good question," she acknowledged, nodding. "I suppose the answer is, rather plainly, that you were the most potentially concerning. I already know my own subject, and Perlelei has always been gracious to us. Your wife is independent, and the others are harmless..." She gestured to him, somewhat chidingly. "... you, however, are unknown to me as a person, and yet you carry the representation of another pantheon. That's something that can't be treated casually. I'm always glad to meet new people, but meeting you had serious purpose that I could not adequately accomplish as a get-together."

Donut shop

"Oh, yes!" Giovenith nodded excitedly, previous gloom seemingly evaporated. After all, this was a huge part of one of her most favoritest topics in the whole wide universe: Willow!

She hopped up in her seat, manuvering to shove Willow all the way to the other side of the table and poke, poke, poke him all the way close to his mother. Once satisfied with the image, she propped her head up in her hands and look on brightly.

"So, Willow says that you're called hyoo-muns," Winning ventured. "And that you've been taking care of him despite the differences in your culture. We're very thankful for that-"

"Was Willow as cute as a baby as he is now?" Giovenith asked suddenly, pressing into her own cheeks.

"Gio!" Willow snapped.

"Of course he was," said Winning, brightening at the question. "He would squeak all the time, and had this little babydoll he loved-"

"Dad!" Willow snapped.

Those two didn't stop, and the painter was immediately put into a fierce battle against humiliation as he tried futilely to stop the barrage of chattering about his undeniable adorableness. That left the blue mare to exchange a look with Amanda.

"The others at the show said that you helped him when he got hurt?" she asked. She paused. "Do you have children?"
Last edited by Giovenith on Wed Apr 08, 2020 12:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Giovenith » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:26 pm

Solisian Union wrote:The Filipina felt her heart ache at the thought of leaving these new friends of hers behind. She wanted to stay just to help them deal with the paper soldiers once and for all. But they were right; she had to get to the others who were in this world. She remembered the words of the man who helped her settle down in this world, with her things, but she trusted in the words of her friends right now. Hopefully, it wouldn't bring her back to the real world, her home, but instead to those in this world. She guessed that it could function like a local teleporter. From here to wherever else in this world.

She looked to them and felt some tears reaching out to her eyes. She wiped them off with the sleeve of her right arm and sighed. She smiled at them gently and nodded. She said, "All right. Thank you too. You're always welcome. I hope I can see you all again. Be safe."

When they hugged, she made sure to hug as long as she could. But after that, and after she said what she had to say, she sighed and turned to the water and walked into it, automatically but gently taking a deep breath as she immersed herself in it.


The water didn't seep into Dom as it might have, and indeed, had she let go of her breath she would have found no need to hold it — she could breathe just fine. There was a soft breeze, a sudden lifting of the pressure around her, and when she opened her eyes, she would have found herself standing the middle of a beautiful, walled garden.

A pony, much like the kind Sallow had been, turned a corner and caught sight of her.

"Oh!" they exclaimed. "You must be one of the hyoo-muns who came with Willow Streaks. Did you decide to stay for the art show?"
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Wed Apr 08, 2020 6:47 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School

Giovenith wrote:"I suppose the answer is, rather plainly, that you were the most potentially concerning. I already know my own subject, and Perlelei has always been gracious to us. Your wife is independent, and the others are harmless [...] you, however, are unknown to me as a person, and yet you carry the representation of another pantheon. That's something that can't be treated casually.

Sandy's brow furrowed as he walked along and tried to make sense of Celestia's worldview. 'Princess' was perhaps all too apt: she looked at individuals the way nations viewed each other: vassal, ally, possible threat. But 'independent' vs 'harmless'? What distinction is she making there? Unattached to a pantheon, but possessed of enough individual strength to be worthy of note?

And how does Inkwell fit in? High Priestess, Chief Inquisitor, lead negotiator? Perhaps an immortal? Lucifer's counterpart or Hermes'? Hmmm.


Giovenith wrote:["M]eeting you had serious purpose that I could not adequately accomplish as a get-together."

Sandy glanced at Her to start his reply. "I... I didn't mean to cause any concern. It seemed our presence was noticed, and perhaps found acceptable. I'm not here in an official pantheon capacity, if that's what you're getting at.

"But... my apologies, but I hadn't realized relations were... um, personal. I thought-- I'd been led to believe that pantheon to pantheon relations were more formalized, and there was a suggestion--" He'd started to gesture with his hand on the side opposite Celestia as he walked, making vague sweeps and circles, both conversationally and as he sought words.

Another glance, this one with a flashed grin: "I heard a story about an unusual watchdog here in Equestria: he has three heads, and answers to Cerberus. That's a very familiar description to me, and while there are many surprising coincidences, if he is the same dog I know, and guards the same place, it suggested-- Well, it seemed to indicate that somebody here is on good terms with the folks back home, or some of them." ...and if not, it raises many, many questions, coincidences or not.

Donut shop

Giovenith wrote:"Was Willow as cute as a baby as he is now?" Giovenith asked suddenly, pressing into her own cheeks.
"Gio!" Willow snapped.
"Of course he was," said Winning, brightening at the question. "He would squeak all the time, and had this little babydoll he loved-"

Amanda suppressed most of an impish smile at the exchange, turning toward Giovenith to see if she was sincerely interested in Willow's childhood or just giving him a hard time. Probably some of both, she decided, as it would match their friendship.

Giovenith wrote:That left the blue mare to exchange a look with Amanda. "The others at the show said that you helped him when he got hurt?" she asked. She paused. "Do you have children?"

Amanda had brightened at the first part, and simply left her expression like that when she heard the rest. "I'm afraid we don't." Damn, I miss Philadelphia, where people know better than to make that the first question of a married woman! "I tried to help Willow, yes indeed, but Princess Cadance did all the work. Her magic is a lot more effective than my sympathy."
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Postby Giovenith » Thu Apr 09, 2020 8:00 pm

Magic School

Celestia nodded along.

"It's hard to say that pantheons work one way or another," she admitted. "We do have to keep some strictness in place in order to coexist, but many of us like each other personally and are friends. We can be formal, but we do like to have fun too..."

Speaking of which, she smiled brightly at his next description.

"Oh, Cerberus? He is a good boy, isn't he? He gets out of his yard sometimes, but it's never been too big an issue," she remarked brightly, and her expression settled. "A long, long time ago, when I first started to protect my subjects from more serious threats, I knew that I would need a place to send the worst of them away. Tartarus has many openings in many places, and one was nearby, so my sister and I rent some space out from Hades. They've got so much of it down there, he's always been fairly generous in lending it out."

It was so, simple. They paid rent, like it was a parking space or storage locker. The Princess wasn't wrong when she said things were formal-friendly.


Donut shop

The mare nodded slowly but soberly. "That's a smart choice. I love my son, but it's not something that I could be excited to recommend. It's hard to blame anyone for keeping the important things in their life as things that they can control, as much as they can."

She gave a brief look towards her child, who was still quarreling in a good-natured way with his other parent and best friend. Her expression seemed stony, but not angry or even cold, more locked together tightly so as not to fall. Her tone was even but contained a note of otherwise well-hidden sadness.

"You did stand by him though, when I couldn't," she said, in response to Amanda's humility. "All of you did, and it's, hard to put into words how grateful that makes me, as somepony who did make that hard choice." She cleared her throat and flicked her ears awkwardly, attempting to shake off the vulnerability of the statement. "Sorry if I sound rude or strange, I've never been the best at handling the soft stuff. I'm always working on it."

It might be obvious, then, where Willow got his own stonewalling behaviors from.

"My name is Sapphire Striker, by the way. Most ponies call me Saphy. I don't know if we'll be friends or anything," she continued. "But if any of you need anything, you can find teammates in our home."

And so the little moment went on, bringing a degree of comfort and stability in the long day they'd all been through.
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Postby Solisian Union » Fri Apr 10, 2020 2:06 am

She never let go of her breath during the teleportation. But when she felt that she was no longer in the water, her lips came apart, releasing the air in her lungs and in her mouth. She took a few soft breaths, listening to the pony speak to her. An art show? Stay? She didn't know there was an art show. But when she looked at the pony and thought about what they said, there was no doubt that she had been taken to where the others were.

She nodded gently to the pony and said, "Uh, I guess. Thank you. Where are the others? Do you know? I hope I haven't bothered you." She looked around, realizing that she was in a beautiful place. She let out a sigh of awe. Then she turned back to the pony and said, softly because she thought she had spoken rudely, "My apologies. But may I ask where the art show is taking place?"
^_^

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Postby Giovenith » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:38 am

Garden

"Streaks ran away after some episode, probably went to a cafe or something," the pony shrugged. "And the show is right over in the palace, come on."

The pony lead her to a large, royal ballroom with tall windows that reached the ceiling. It was filled with ponies and displays of fine, mostly modern, art.

Suddenly, a new pony galloped up to Domenica. He was a tannish-pink stallion, dressed in a black turtleneck, sunglasses indoors, and had apparently straightened his mane out to a nice bob with a metallic blue dye. He gasped loudly at her, lowering his glasses to dazzle at her better.

"You, are, perfect!!" he declared, gesturing to her person. "The height, the class, the transcendence! Tell me, oh simian treasure, what is your name?"
Last edited by Giovenith on Fri Apr 10, 2020 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Fri Apr 10, 2020 7:18 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School


Giovenith wrote:"A long, long time ago[...] Tartarus has many openings in many places, and one was nearby, so my sister and I rent some space out from Hades. They've got so much of it down there, he's always been fairly generous in lending it out."

Sandy missed a step and froze for a few seconds, lost in thought. So rich a statement! I could mine that vein for years and still not have all the answers! 'Tartaros has an opening nearby': it is a way to cross the Void. But these 'threats'... oh, boy! Did She displace the previous divinities, as the Olympians displaced the Titanes? Or does She have the Kyklopes down there? Typhoeus? Her own Lucifer, rightly or wrongly? And what does She pay Hades with?

But... Her 'long, long time ago' post-dates the Titanomachia, but by how much?
Sandy blinked and looked at the ancient goddess with new eyes: Likely older than my alter ego, possibly even a contemporary of the mother-goddesses – if Equestria's and earth's chronologies could be compared at all – and assuming she wasn't a Greater Being Herself.

With another blink, Sandy hurried to catch up with Her. He tried a safe tack. "He's not the only generous one: not only protection, but a richness of magic. Um, even if I should have asked before opening the cookie jar." His confessionary smile was sincere, even if one could see a canary's feather hanging from his lip.


Donut shop
Giovenith wrote:The mare nodded slowly but soberly. "That's a smart choice. I love my son, but it's not something that I could be excited to recommend. It's hard to blame anyone for keeping the important things in their life as things that they can control, as much as they can."

Whoops! Amanda did her best to hide her embarrassment at the unexpected answer; she probably succeeded well enough to fool an Equestrian not used to human expressions.
Giovenith wrote:"You did stand by him though, when I couldn't, […] Sorry if I sound rude or strange, I've never been the best at handling the soft stuff. I'm always working on it."

"It's quite alright; I'm usually all hard edges myself." And her attempt at looking understanding was only a little better than not seeming embarrassed, even if heartfelt.

Giovenith wrote:"My name is Sapphire Striker, by the way. Most ponies call me Saphy. […] But if any of you need anything, you can find teammates in our home."

"Well, thank you, Saphy!"
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Postby Giovenith » Fri Apr 10, 2020 8:45 pm

Magic School

The Princess gave a humming laugh. "That's quite alright. Curiosity is a virtue, so long as you remember to respect the boundaries of other creatures, which I believe you already understand."

"How did you come to serve the Olympians?" Inkwell asked, smiling at him. "I don't remember your face always being among them."

The Princess used her magic to open a pair of doors into a large, fancy greeting room of the same whimsical taste as the rest of Canterlot. There were velvet couches, book shelves filled with pristine tomes, and one of the walls entirely covered in elegant window panes that overlooked a campus field. Tastefully arranged but numerous enough to be noticed were the of pictures that filled the room — some paintings, some photos, all branching to different time periods from their various styles and quality. Some hung on the walls, some were tucked along the various shelves and coffee tables, all were of hundreds of different ponies.

A few seemed to hold greater significance than others, in different ways: One was a large, framed photo on the wall of six ponies all huddled together and smiling that held prominent space in the middle of one of the main walls. Close to it was a tapestry in a similar style as the puppet show that Sandy had been shown back in Ponyville, a stylistic depiction of a blue alicorn set against the moon while a white one watched from the ground.

A few others were a series of smaller, framed photos propped on a table in front of the window. On one half were a series of snapshots of one of the ponies in the larger photo, the purple unicorn in the middle, in various stages of life, from very young foalhood to full marehood, engaged in life pursuits such as playing, performing magic, and posing lovingly with the Princesses Celestia and Cadance. The most notable photo, set in the middle of them all, was a portrait of the unicorn dressed in a beautiful gown, sporting a golden tiara and a set of feathery wings from her back — from unicorn to alicorn. On the other half were a series of similar snapshots of an orange unicorn with a fiery mane of reds and yellows. These, however, seemed to end abruptly. There were only half as many adult shots — though those that were there exuded a different personality from that of her counterpart, one more confident and self-assured as opposed to the quirky excitability of the purple mare — and no pictures of her as a goddess. Strewn around those frames was a long, mournful black ribbon.
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sun Apr 12, 2020 2:25 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School


Giovenith wrote:"How did you come to serve the Olympians?" Inkwell asked, smiling at him. "I don't remember your face always being among them."

"'Always'?" Sandy turned to her with some surprise. "You're an immortal? I was wondering how you fit in."

Giovenith wrote:The Princess used her magic to open a pair of doors into a large, fancy greeting room of the same whimsical taste as the rest of Canterlot. There were velvet couches, book shelves filled with pristine tomes, and one of the walls entirely covered in elegant window panes that overlooked a campus field.

"Ooooh!" Sandy looked around in wonder. So, this is how the other half lives! He started to walk around the edges of the room, scanning book titles as he went, and looking at the pictures. He spoke as he did, making sure to sometimes look at both Celestia and Inkwell. "I... wouldn't say I'm in their service. They've loaned me Pegasus, and I do things with him that seem to please them. But they haven't – haven't yet told me to do anything specific.

"It doesn't seem to be a unique arrangement. Other people have had Pegasus, though most have apparently come to bad ends. I don't know why they've loaned him to me. The Olympians aren't always clear about what they want from us. It could be an experiment, a test of character – although if it is, they haven't offered me anything else for being good, and definitely not..."

Giovenith wrote:On one half were a series of snapshots of one of the ponies in the larger photo, the purple unicorn in the middle[...]— from unicorn to alicorn.

He gestured at the last photo. "...apotheosis. This is Twilight Sparkle, isn't it?"
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Postby Giovenith » Sun Apr 12, 2020 4:43 pm

Magic School

Inkwell laughed heartily.

"Oh goodness, do I look that old?" She grinned and shook her head. "No, no, I'm just a regular old pony like anypony else. But I have been working with the Princess for a long time, so I know a bit about the names and faces of other pantheons, and I never recalled their Pegasus moonlighting as a Sandy Bela before now. And I can recall quite a bit." She considered this for a moment, and gave a conceding look. "Well, maybe not so much these days..."

The Princess smiled and bowed her head towards her elderly companion. "Inkwell is a professor here at the school and a dear, old friend of mine. It is thanks to her that the school has reached much of its modern day prestige."

Inkwell shook her head and waved the notion away. "Celie has been saying that for some sixty years now, and I still think she's exaggerating. We all do our parts here."

"That's very true," admitted the Princess, nodding. "But not everypony has stood by my side the way Professor Inkwell has."

The senior unicorn smiled contently. The action gave a slight lift to the scarring of her left eye.

The Princess listened intently to Sandy's explanation regarding his position, and gently offered a tap of her wing to his back in comfort. "I understand that you must feel confused. I cannot say why for sure the Olympians have not been more direct with you, that's their business. But I do know that sometimes I, too, choose to let my students and subjects figure things out on their own even when they may wish for my guidance. I don't do so because I don't care or because I want to trick them, but because I believe that they have the strength to overcome it on their own and wish to see them learn and grow from the experience. It is possible that they, too, want you to show yourself what you can do..."

Appropriately, the human's attention turned to the photo collection of the second youngest alicorn. The Princess smiled and levitated the photo over to herself.

"Yes, Twilight," she smiled. "I gave her many of those tests myself, and she passed with flying colors — with help from her friends, of course." The photo gleamed slightly in the light of the goddess' hair. "I have had the honor of knowing and helping raise hundreds of generations of ponies, each a legend in their own way. But Twilight Sparkle was my most faithful student, and one the most courageous heroes Equestria has seen in a long time. She has, and will continue to, change this world in ways for the better that I could not. And when I cannot."

She carefully returned it to its spot.

"Of course, she would have done so with or without me," said the Princess. "As countless others have. I do hope you can find the guidance you seek, but I also hope that you do know there's no need to rely on sovereigns to find your destiny."
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Postby Solisian Union » Sun Apr 12, 2020 10:23 pm

Art Show

Domenica was impressed at the large, royal ballroom with tall windows that reached the ceiling. It reminded her of the time she visited the palace of Malacañang and of the other places she came to see in her own country. While they certainly did not possess much of the same style of the ancient structures constructed by the Spaniards, the Americans, and later the Filipinos themselves, they were good to her eyes. And she smiled as she looked around, even studying the art pieces from where she stood until the pony in the turtleneck came up to her. She almost jumped at his sudden and loud voice. But she quickly calmed down and looked at him as she then realized she had to answer.

She smiled and bowed her head before she said, "Ah, pasensya po. Excuse me. I'm Domenica. My name is Domenica Castañares. I'm from the Philippines."

She spoke to him respectfully, voice lower slightly but enough to be heard clearly. She even gently bent down so she could level with the pony.
^_^

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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Tue Apr 14, 2020 5:59 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School


Giovenith wrote:"I understand that you must feel confused. I cannot say why for sure the Olympians have not been more direct with you, that's their business. [...] It is possible that they, too, want you to show yourself what you can do..."

Sandy politely overlooked her condescension; goddess or not, there was no reason she should know how contemporary American culture worked. Or was there?

Giovenith wrote:"And when I cannot."

That drew a raised eyebrow, but Sandy had no idea how to follow that one up. 'Cannot'? Present tense, as Willow mentioned, or future? I could spend years with the implications, but a solid answer? Asking goddesses, even this one, questions about their plans isn't necessarily a good idea... and I play for another team besides.

Giovenith wrote:"Of course, she would have done so with or without me," said the Princess. "As countless others have. I do hope you can find the guidance you seek, but I also hope that you do know there's no need to rely on sovereigns to find your destiny."

As Celestia spoke, a knowing smile spread across Sandy's face, and a sparkle came to his eyes. "Oh, I can't say I've ever considered it."

His smile diminished somewhat as he went on: "Since I saw the photos, Twilight's especially, I had a question, even though it may seem non sequitur. Is color photography a technology your subjects developed themselves?" And that may give me a string to reel in on the question of what she knows of us.
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Postby Giovenith » Wed Apr 15, 2020 6:29 pm

Art Show

"No, no! Stand!" Warble implored, waving her back upwards. "I have decided today! I have decided that tall..." He paused longer than seemed necessary. "... is in. Walk with me!"

He made a spin on two of his legs before proudly strutting ahead, expecting Domenica to follow him.

"Soooooo, the place of the hyoo-muns is Filly-peens, hrrrmmm?" he pondered to her. "I can work with thaaaaat... but tell me, Domenica Castañares-" He pronounced it with surprising accuracy. "-what do you see here?!"

With a flourish, he pointed to a giant canvas that was blank except for a single black dot in the center.

"Dandy, are you bothering this poor girl?" a feminine voice peaked up, followed by a pink mare. She had huge, expressive, green eyes and a bob haircut of her own.

"I would never, Roola!" Warble insisted. "I am testing her essence."

The pink pony looked up at Dom questioningly.


Magic School

The Princess gave Sandy a knowing smile and wink in return, giving his shoulder a nuzzle in a way that was reminiscent of a back-pat.

"They did," she answered his question, stepping back to give him his space. Realizing there was a bit of hospitality missing, she levitated over a small silver tray, lifted the cover, and offered him cakes and tea. "Would you like some? It's alright if you're full from the show. But I'm guessing you're wondering about how technology specifically advanced here the way it did..."

The Princess looked to the photographs, considered something, and then turned back to Sandy with another calm, knowing smile.

"Doctor, would you like to know how I first came to my ponies, and how all of this got started?" she asked. "I don't usually make a habit of going into it, but given that you're already familiar with dimensional travel and with the lives of young gods, I don't see any harm in it."
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Thu Apr 16, 2020 6:07 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School


Giovenith wrote:[Celestia] offered him cakes and tea. "Would you like some? It's alright if you're full from the show. But I'm guessing you're wondering about how technology specifically advanced here the way it did..."

Sandy politely took a cup of tea and a cake, though he rarely drank the former, and was beginning to agree with Amanda on the Equestrians' cooking: something less sweet and more meaty might not be bad... but another egg dish might do in a pinch.

Giovenith wrote:"Doctor, would you like to know how I first came to my ponies, and how all of this got started?" she asked. "I don't usually make a habit of going into it, but given that you're already familiar with dimensional travel and with the lives of young gods, I don't see any harm in it."

For a moment, Sandy was visibly surprised, both that she'd tell him and that she'd mention dimension-hopping. But the Equestrians did have a portal of some sort – and possibly more – so what was there to hide? "I'd have to lie through my teeth to say that I'm not intensely interested in both matters."

He lowered himself into one of the chairs, then tried a bite of the tea cake. "As you may have heard, I'm a historian by training, not a sorcerer, and Willow tells me Equestria is thousands of years old. For me, anything that old is book learning." Other than Alexandria... "But for you, that's memories. Living memory is priceless to a historian." And it's too bad I gave Amanda the holocam, because recordings of living memories are worth their weight in gold.

"But as to your earlier point about photography, not only am I surprised they invented it, I'm surprised they can maintain it. Even with the awareness that I've seen little of Equestria, it-- I wouldn't have said that their material culture could – or that they even would – support it... um, even-- even in the presence of magic-- Even using magic to do much or all of what we do with material technologies.

"But I would say that there is reasonable, although not conclusive, evidence of contact with at least one human culture. And--" He flashed a smile. "They are also familiar with dimension travel."
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Power is an equal-opportunity corrupter.

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Solisian Union
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Founded: Apr 22, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Solisian Union » Sun Apr 19, 2020 9:23 pm

Art Show


Domenica blushed and almost jumped again when Warble told her no twice, imploring her to stand. She did so, eyes on the pony, almost as if she was snapped to attention. The Filipina gradually walked with him, following after him specifically. As she did, Domenica looked around the art show, observing the ponies who were around, looking for humans like herself. She turned her attention back to Warble to answer his questions. She said, "There are many place for humans like me. I just come from the country of the Philippines. A republic."

She was about to expand on her answer when she was directed to look at a giant canvas with only a single black dot in the center. Domenica was about to say something about it right after she thought of an answer. She never got to open her mouth because she was interrupted.

The Filipina turned to see that pink mare, smiling and waving a bit, then saying, "Hello there. I'm all right. He isn't bothering me. Although..."

She turned back to the artpiece, saying, "I can say that what I see here is a lonely little thing. Surrounded by nothing, it is. Sa akong hunahuna kini kinahanglan og...daghang trabaho. Mag butang butang pa og mga detalye." She turned back to Warble, explaining what she said, "What I mean to say is that a bit more detail could make the dot stand out more."
^_^

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Giovenith
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Founded: Feb 08, 2012
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:58 pm

Magic School

“Unfortunately, the parts which probably interest you the most don’t have a completely clear answer even to myself,” the Princess said, stirring her tea with her mind as she watched students socializing in the grassy courtyard beyond the window. Her telekinetic aura had a warm, golden hue. "It is perhaps confusingly frank, but accurate, to begin by saying that one day, I woke up. Not all at once, but, oh..." She paused to consider. "... you know how you think about your own earliest memories? You don't truly remember the beginning of your life, just hazy bits and pieces of suddenly existing. It was like that for me too, perhaps with a bit more clarity than most. One day, I suddenly existed as a child in a dry, warm cave overlooking a untouched wilderness, with a sleeping blue baby by my side. I probably would have appeared about three or four years old then, but I can't be sure, and I don't know how old I truly was at that point; I always aged slowly until I stopped at my current state, I was a child for several lifetimes."

That was notably different from the likes of Giovenith, who so far looked exactly how many years she truly was.

"We were the only two there," she continued. "I had never known anything or anypony else, nor been told anything at that point. And yet, I innately knew several things: One, that my name was Celestia, and this baby with me was my younger sister, Luna. Two, that we were creatures called alicorns, and there were others like us somewhere, but I did not know where, or how to find them. Three, how to read and write, though I didn't discover such until I actually saw a book for the first time..." She smiled and gestured to the cases around them. Clearly, she had taken quickly to the concept. "... four, how to speak Old Ponish. And five, that Luna and I were waiting for something. For what, I also didn't know."

The tale was interrupted as the window was suddenly consumed by a whirring flash of bright light. It came out of nowhere and was jarring, but the Princess seemed uneffected. The light dissipated and revealed a large, plumed form of brilliant, fiery reds and oranges — literally fiery, with many tiny flares rolling off its wings as it flapped. The Princess smiled and used her magic to open one of the panels to let the creature in.

"Philomena," she greeted it fondly, allowing it to perch on her back and nuzzle her neck with a pleasant warble. "Sandy, you have a pet bird, yes? This is my friend, Philomena. Say hello, Philomena."

The tall, magical phoenix fixed an intelligent gaze on the wizard and gave a friendly squawk before flapping over to greet Inkwell lovingly.

Princess Celestia nodded towards the bird before catching her thoughts. "Oh, now where was I? Well, for a very long time, my sister and I lived in that cave and wandered the wilderness on our own. There were no other sapient creatures to be found. I watched over Luna and did everything I could to learn about the world around us. I followed animals and memorized their habits, saw the flora of the world grow and die over and over with each season, and always... always, watched the sky, learning little by little the paths the stars took and how they changed. I was trying to understand... who were we? Why were we here? What was coming?"

It seemed whimsical at first, two immortal children with an uncivilized land all to themselves, like an Edenic Wonderland. But when placed into a more realistic perspective, it shifted from whimsical to daunting. What must that be like, tossed as a child into the sharp, tangled, endless world without context or guidance, walking in circles in the dirt endlessly with no voice but your own to break the ambiance.

"One thing we did learn about in that time was our ability to Speak," she continued. "My sister boldly calls it 'the royal Canterlot voice,' but we had it before Canterlot, and it's more than that. It is..." She considered. "... it is a voice that rings within one's essence, an expression of power. It's, terrible, in the classic sense of the word — it strikes awe and fear." The Princess solemnly shook her head. "I've never liked using it for that reason, though it helped to protect us against dangerous creatures during that time. I've known the other pantheons to call it the Voice of God."

Philomena flapped over to Sandy to peck at and nuzzle him good naturedly.

"I remember one day, a horrid winter unlike any I'd seen before came and lasted a day before disappearing," said the Princess. "It was just another unanswered question at the time, but I kept Luna and I close to the cave for the next year or so. Then, one day, I received my first answer, when they came..."

    "How long have they been down there?" the blue foal asked.

    "Shhh..."

    "I want to see!"

    "Not yet..."


    The Representative panted as she landed on the rocky ground from a particularly steep slope, quickly clapping down on her cap to keep it from blowing away with the summer wind. She tightened her satchel as she directed a gaze at the back of the two ponies far ahead of her, making much better progress across the mountainscape than she did. The shifting colors of their robes fluttered as they hopped effortlessly over the many bumps and ridges, and for steps slightly more difficult, disappeared — much to her constant flinching shock, no matter how often it happened — in a burst of light and reappeared in another spot almost just as suddenly. They'd offered to take her with them in such instances, but even an enlightened secretary such as herself wasn't yet ready for the sensation of gliding through subspace.

    She gave them a sidelong glance. "So do you think now might be the time to get a little more specific about what we're doing all the way up here?" she called. "I don't exactly trust the Chancellor to be left alone with the construction for long, if you know what I mean."

    The shorter of the robed ponies appeared next to her in another jarring burst of light, pulling down her hood to better smile awkwardly at her friend. "Sorry, Smart Cookie," Clover the Clever apologized. "I guess we didn't think too much about how you wouldn't be used to this terrain."

    Cookie tilted her cap back into place with a forgiving smile. "Well, it's no small thing to be out-paced by even nerdier nerds than me."

    They looked upward, in search of the fourth member of their party. Private Pansy, who had no such trouble with things like terrain, had allowed her gaze and mind to wander as she looked over the horizon into the beyond. Her ears perked and she was brought back to reality by the sound of her name, quickly descending to stand next to her fellows, smiling along bashfully.

    "I'm here." She blushed. "Sorry. I was just, thinking."

    "You girls will have plenty of time to think and chat once we're done!" a stallion's voice called over. The three looked over to Clover's mentor, Starswirl the Bearded, looking as anxious as one could in a floppy cloak and wide-brimmed hat covered in jangling bells.

    Personally, Smart Cookie didn't get the hat. Clover said that it was the wear of the fully realized magician, and far be it from Cookie to bite the hand that fed (how many silly-hated unicorns had written the books she'd taken from the trash pile back in the homeland?), but it struck her as grossly impractical. Even moreso was the dodginess of the Archmage's explanations for why he'd dragged the Representatives all the way up here and away from their already complicated new duties.

    Cookie raised an eye critically towards him. Clover was his apprentice and Pansy was submissive by design, but she didn't have cow-tow to the guy. "Well I think we could benefit from a little more chat," she said, walking ahead towards him. "It's awfully quiet up here, after all. Come on, we can walk and talk at the same time."

    Starswirl resisted the urge to step backwards from the younger mare, looking her over. She was questioning him, but her kindness was sincere. He didn't like to admit it, but Smart Cookie was... well, smart, for a peon. Smarter than he often assumed (and Clover was always lecturing him these days about "challenging his assumptions"), and unlike most smart ponies in the same room as him, outside the system of formal trust and tutelage that he usually found himself at the top of. It was, at times, unnerving. It'd been a while since he'd had to interact about these things on the fly.

    She smiled politely and ushered him forward.


    The white child gasped and dragged the younger one back around the inner walls of the cave as the clacking of hooves drew clover. She thrust her back into the wall and kept a hoof tightly over her sister's mouth, heart pounding. Would they keep moving on? Or would they look closer? Should she let them?

    "It's around here, you said?" spoke one of them. Spoke. They'd been speaking this whole time. The first voices aside from their own. "Can you tell us now?"

    "I'm not sure what to tell you yet," spoke another. "I'm only hoping."

    "Well, what are you hoping for?"

    The child remained petrified, her heart rate increasing. Hoping. That was the word for it, right? She hadn't realized it until now. Hoping for something.

    This was it.

    Their shadows came into view, and even the younger child stilled in caution.

    "Hello?" the deepest of the voices called gently into the cave. "Are you there?"

    It was time.

    She waited a second. And then another. She wasn't sure how long it was, but it could have been another eternity in its own right for the chasm in time it represented. Once you cross this wall, nothing is ever going to be the same again. Another second.

    She shifted, poking her eyes out from around the corner, her pink mane falling slightly into view. The four ponies stared back at her, surprised but not otherwise awed.

    "Oh, how did you get up here, dear?" Clover asked kindly, leaning down. She'd seen the horn on the small face and assumed it was a unicorn child who had gotten lost during the migration. "Do you need some help getting home?"

    The child didn't answer. She stepped fully around the corner, dragging her sister with her, and that's when the ponies' expressions slowly twisted into a shock unlike any other as they fixated on what should have been an impossibility — two pairs of small wings attached to ponies who already had horns. They all stood there for another moment of heavy silence.

    The one in the bells spoke up, smiling broadly. "Alicorns?" he ventured. "You're what's been said, the Heavens come back to Earth."

    The white child pinched her brow. What has been said? By who?

    "Don't be afraid," he reassured in a gentle tone, beckoning. "My name is Starswirl, the Bearded. What's yours?"

    She considered, watching him. Finally, "Celestia."

    "Celestia." He almost gasped the name, clearly enthused by it. Quickly, he scuffled back to gesture to the other ponies. "Excuse me, these are the Representatives. Clover the Clever of the unicorns, Private Pansy of the pegasi, and Smart Cookie of the Earth ponies. What's your friend's name? Are you-"

    "Who are you?" Celestia asked, rather blankly.

    The magician blinked. He had just introduced them, after all. He thought he understood though. "We're ponies," he answered. "Like you."

    "Like me?"

    "You're alicorns," he said, gesturing to her. "It's been said, that your kind is the ultimate balance of each of the race's virtues."

    "Race?" Celestia helped up a hoof to look at it, as if for the first time, as if it might yield some information that it had not easily before. "What is race?" She looked back at the four, noticing their details. "Unicorns, pegasi, Earth ponies? You're all different." She felt Luna eye the four from behind her. "You have bits and pieces of us."

    "Starswirl," Smart Cookie finally gave a raspy whisper to the magician. "What are-"

    He politely gestured for her to be quiet a moment. "Yes, we're different from each other," he continued to tell the children. "But none of us are different from you. That's why we came to find you. We want your help."

    Celestia shifted to hug her sister closer, eyeing the wizard worriedly. The four exchanged more looks, until the pegasus gently stepped forward.

    "I understand that you're scared," she said in a very soft voice. "I get scared too a lot. But you must be very brave to be up here all by yourselves."

    "I don't know..." Celestia started. "I don't know how I could help you. Did somepony say we could? Who says these things about us?"

    "It's a very long story," said Pansy. "But if you visited us, we could show you. You can come right back here afterwards."

    "And if you don't like it," Smart Cookie interjected. "Then we won't bother you again nothing — we promise."

    Celestia looked back over the cave that had been her home for decades. She thought back to every daydream had here, every wish for the world to tell her a little bit more of its secrets, yet now the day had come when all that was laid bare, and she could hardly make herself seize it. Had she taken for granted what they had? The simplicity of not knowing?

    "We can really go right back?" Celestia asked. "To this spot? And make everything just like before?"

    The four nodded vehemently. Celestia glanced behind them into the open sunshine.

    Just one day, she told herself. Just finally learn this one secret. And then everything can go back to the way it was before.

    She nodded, and slowly shuffled Luna along into the reach of the ponykind.

"And then nothing was the same since," Celestia the adult finished her tea and politely set the cup aside. "They told me about the Old Country they had come from, and how they had spent all of time mistreating each other until then. They told us how they were going to start a new home there, but that it would be hard to overcome the way they had behaved before. That's why they wanted us — to help them go forward, in unbiased leadership. We told them that we weren't interested in being leaders, it seemed too awkward and like too much responsibility, but that if they really needed, then we would help protect them as we had protected ourselves. It seemed like the right thing to do. We wouldn't be rulers, we would just be guardians..."

She threw a pointed gaze around the regal room.

"... but well, that changed slowly over time. But everything that I am now, everything that we are today, began because the ponies asked us to be there for them. I do not know if we were put there in order to be asked, but ultimately, it was through their invitation that we became their Princesses."
Last edited by Giovenith on Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Northwest Slobovia
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Posts: 12412
Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:25 pm

Canterlot, Equestria
Magic School


Giovenith wrote:"One thing we did learn about in that time was our ability to Speak [...] I've known the other pantheons to call it the Voice of God."

Sandy had settled in to listen to Celestia's story, but that drew a raised eyebrow. So, first gods do sleep, and now they do speak with divine power. And this is the second time She's mentioned opponents that required the use of Her full strength. Just how dangerous is this world? Or is the question, how dangerous do She and the Equestrians perceive it to be?

Giovenith wrote:Philomena flapped over to Sandy to peck at and nuzzle him good naturedly.

Celestia's Voice may be Terrible, but the phoenix held nothing but Wonder for Sandy: it – she, apparently – sung her own song, a song of fire, death, and rebirth, and Sandy watched it, a childlike fascination plastered across his face: big smile, wide eyes, and complete obliviousness to everything else.

He stroked the firebird's plumage as it nestled up against him; he'd done it countless times to Plutarch. Philomena is a Greek name. Hmmm... "Is Philomena a good girl? Hmm? Do you understand me? Yes? Have you heard this language before? Do you know these words? We wonder..." He might as well be talking to a puppy, other than each sentence being in a different form or dialect of Greek: Alexandrian, a scholars' best-guess reconstruction of Mycenaean, Classical Athenian, Church Greek, and two forms of Modern Greek. Cocking his head, he checked for any sign of recognition, assuming phoenixes would react like parrots did to words and phrases they'd heard before.

Suddenly, he realized he'd lost the thread of Celestia's story, blinked, and smiled helplessly at her. Whoops!

Giovenith wrote:"I remember one day, a horrid winter unlike any I'd seen before came and lasted a day before disappearing," said the Princess. […] Quickly, [Starswirl] scuffled back to gesture to the other ponies. "Excuse me, these are the Representatives. Clover the Clever of the unicorns, Private Pansy of the pegasi, and Smart Cookie of the Earth ponies."

"Huh!" He sat up like a shot. So it was true! Then, after the kind of thinking that would make Epimetheus proud: Or just a consensus founding myth, whatever Willow saw being... unacceptable to their sensibilities. Hmmm...

Giovenith wrote:"And then nothing was the same since […] They told me about the Old Country they had come from, and how they had spent all of time mistreating each other until then. They told us how they were going to start a new home there, but that it would be hard to overcome the way they had behaved before. That's why they wanted us — to help them go forward, in unbiased leadership. [...]

Sandy spent the last part of the story listening with his eyes closed, rubbing his jawline with one hand, lost in thought. It had the sound of several myths to it, but it might also be true. If true, it would put... whatever happened to Willow only a matter of years before Celestia's story. Or perhaps both stories, Celestia's and the one about the weather factory, were legendary, built around true cores, but embellished and altered repeatedly.

Pansy appears to be a real person, or... that seems to be the best explanation for who Willow was staring at in the painting. If so, that would seem to make Starswirl, Clover, and Smart Cookie real people. Have to check with him.

Giovenith wrote:But everything that I am now, everything that we are today, began because the ponies asked us to be there for them. I do not know if we were put there in order to be asked, but ultimately, it was through their invitation that we became their Princesses."

As Celestia finished, the corners of Sandy's mouth rose into a warm smile, and his eyes resumed twinkling. "Yes, of course. Everybody is the hero of their own story, and all heroes are good."

His expression returned to something like neutral, though his tone remained pleasant, friendly, and turning conversational. "The Equestrians have mentioned this 'Old Country' a number of times. Did they ever say what it was called? It seems odd that even just after leaving it, they wouldn't name it." He held his hands up, looking puzzled.
Gollum died for your sins.
Power is an equal-opportunity corrupter.

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