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> You had a heart-felt discussion with your mother
> Touching things, about being a knife in your father's back
> Fisticuffs too
> All that's left is (or was) to do well tomorrow, at the practicum.
Post incoming: Return to dorms, the next day, something one of you readers suggest?
Joy. The best single word to describe how I feel when a new Long Name thread is up.
I just realized that he's waiting for input.
So our mother just got finished saying she never loved us after punching us in the face. Nothing more is going to come of that conversation, and it would only depress the rest of our family to run to them and try and tell them about this fight. Dad would probably be disappointed in both us and mom, and I say we be the bigger person and let it go.
Let's just head home and get some sleep before tomorrow's practicum. The last thing we need is to be up all night ruminating over emotional issues.
> Watching your mother dissapear into the night fills you with inexplicable ennui.
> It was not what you expected.
> Many nights you lamented your mother's existence, many daydreams you spent watching her humiliated.
> Those fantasies always filled you with mirth; slaying proverbial dragons is glorious.
> Middle-aged women seemingly defied that proverb.
> The troubling thoughts do nothing to evict the emptiness, but they do escort you to the dorm.
> The dorms are the largest of the Academy's buildings, forming the core around which the entire facility is laid around.
> A tall four story building, the halls are empty and quiet as the clock tower that raises another two stories from it center strikes two.
> Tommorow's practicum is at noon, and your attendence is to be an hour prior.
> You regret you won't be able to sleep more before your debut as you open the doors to the lobby.
> To your suprise, you hear a pony get up from a chair.
Tulip Blue: "It was getting so late, I was worried you had been abducted by dragons."
> Your friend walks to your side, following you into the stairwell.
Etherbreeze: "Do you think I'd taste good?"
Tulip Blue: "I imagine with those muscles of yours they wouldn't complain too much."
> The two of you giggle quietly.
Etherbreeze: "What are you doing up so late anyways? Are you a bat's marefriend now?"
> Tulip scoffs and shakes her head, as you both reach the fourth floor.
Tulip Blue: "No, ofcourse not. I just wanted to give you a gift for your practicum tommorow. Oswaltz did too but he ended up passing out around midnight."
> Tulip Blue takes out out a small wrapped present, no larger than book.
> You take it, and the second one she produces as well, with your telekinesis.
> It leaves you and your friend standing outside your door, smiling at one another.
Good point. Ask if they can both come by tomorrow morning before the practicum for a last little get together. I can wait until then to find out what our present is. A lot has already happened today, anyway.
>"I imagine with those muscles of yours they wouldn't complain too much."
I keep forgetting that Etherbreeze is reasonably /f/it in addition to being charismatic and intelligent.
It's a good thing she eats it on the mental health scale, because otherwise she would be skirting dangerously close to being OP.
> You look at the presesnts as they float lazily in your magical grasp.
> Opening gifts is always something you look forward to.
> You take mental note however, it is much more enjoyable to shred gift paper with friends.
Etherbreeze: "How about tomorrow evening we go to someplace nice to eat, and I'll open it there with the three of us?"
Tulip Blue: "Might be kind of hard. We figured you'd be too busy having that night of excitement with the dean after the practicum."
> That was true, the dean had a habit of parading his best students in front of the elite after the practicum.
Etherbreeze: "Well, I'll make time somewhere. I would have these gifts in any other way but with both of you."
Tulip Blue: "If you say so, I'll hold you to it."
> Another short giggle and a wink, then she's gone.
> Leaving you curtly to your own devices, to sleep for what remains of the night.
> Morning comes as the shrill cry of an alarm, as the clock next to your bed hits the tenth hour of the day.
> The day being THE day, the one that has been on your mind ever since you made the dean's list this year.
> THE hour however, is not quiet yet upon you.
> You have another sixty minutes before that time.
They're probably going to be there at the practicum. We can most likely catch them on the way. I mean, I doubt we'll have time for a proper outing, but we can at least say hi and open our gifts.
It's assumed as PC you'll be part of the 1% at the top. Looking at the character sheet I posted forever ago though, you're really not THAT crazy.
2 is the average for Robustness and Moves for unicorns, 2 to 3 is average for smarts and Personality for all ponies.
You're exceptionally personable, and pretty smart. Physically though you're just slightly above the curve.
Anyways, what do you people want to do for this hour? Prepare? Have fun? Try to meet up with peeps? Take a shower? Skip everything and run away just to get arrested by the time police and forced to go to prevent time paradox?
If we don't have time for seeing our friends, just go straight into the routine. Get up, eat a light breakfast, and if we see our parents we could thank them for last night's family dinner.
I want to do it so we can meet up with the pony time squad.
> The morning comes in the form of a screaming time piece.
> Your attempts to silence the alarm clock with your telekinesis resulted in drowsily throwing it across the room.
> Sadly the percussive attempt didn't actually turn off noisy device, forcing you to roll out of bed and grope around the floor.
> By the time the alarm ends, you are thoroughly awake.
> With an hour before your pre-practicum you begin your morning routine, starting with hygiene.
> The trip to the first floor showers, mare's room, is short and uninterrupted.
> The halls are empty, with even the habitually tardy in class for finals.
> Along with the other dean listers, you took finals a week early so you wouldn't have distraction or undue stress durring the practicum.
> Which was considerate of the dean, as the unknowns of the practicum were already stressful by themselves.
> The showers are similarly abandoned.
> With the hiss of your shower being the only sound, your mind wanders as your hoofs work shampoo into your mane.
> Presents, in your room right now on your shelf.
> Last night you declined opening them so you could do so with your friends later.
> Unfortunately now that a possible later has come, you realize it is a later that will not do.
> While you might have an hour free your friends, like most other ponies at the academy, are stuck in finals.
> Said finals end at 9:30, while you're expected to be at the pre-practicum at 9:00.
> Which means that a later later will need to be found.
> How fun, word play.
> Your shower is quick, and drying is as well.
> You twist your mane dry and blow it, brushing it tenderly until it is presentable.
> Leaving the showers behind, you return to the first floor lobby and look at the clock.
> It's 9:15.
> You have 45 minutes left.
We should do a last little bit of prep and go over what we know about dual spellcasting. I mean, I assume we've already been preparing quite a bit, but topping it off couldn't hurt.
Plus I want to know how it works.
Sorry for disappearing tonight, I meant to stay on more today and post, but some stuff went down for a friend of mine and they really needed someone to talk to.
Tomorrow (or later today, its 7 am) I plan on getting the rest of the practicum done.
I blame it on my short stint as an overnight stocker.
> One last review before the performance.
> It's prudent, it's logical, it's what you're going to do.
> That is despite the clear temptation to prance around the lobby like a screwball worshipper of the old chaos.
> Life's hard, sacrifices must be made, et cetera.
> You briskly return to your room, grabbing your saddle bag and one highly relevant book titled "Advanced Magical Theorem Part II: Metamagics (4th edition with footnotes by Crystal Clear)".
> As you have so little time you float the book infront of you as you then go down the stairs once more, to be waiting and ready for the pre-practicum.
> Part IV: Dual-Casting
> Aka, Multiple-Instance-Spell-Sythesis, aka M.I.S.S
> Many aspects of meta-magical study are for the most part unknown to the average laypony, as their effects are subtle and theories arcane.
> Dual-Casting is an exception to this rule; the practice often results in spectacular effects that are clearly seen by all.
> In this section of the book we will be examining: what Dual-Casting is and isn't; how it is used; the magical theory behind it; potential hazards associated with the practice; and a number of example spells appropriate for practice with a qualified partner.
> In accordance with the Magical Safety act, we recomend that you find a professional instructor to gauge your ability and readiness before attempting any new spells or techniques.
> A common misconception is that the colloquially known art of Dual-Casting is merely the act of two practioners casting the same spell at the same time.
> In reality, the interactions that make Dual-Casting actually Dual-Casting happens prior to the execution phase of casting.
> A brief review, basic Spell casting has four stages: Shaping, Casting, Execution, conclusion.
> Dual-Casting however adds a fifth step between the casting stage (when magical energy is used to 'power up' the shaped spell) and the actual execution phase (when the spell is released and 'happens').
> That phase is where the proper name comes from, Multiple Instance Spell Sythesis.
> Durring the M.I.S.S phase, the spells being cast are woven into each other before they are actually cast, in a process similiar to the shaping phase.
> The result is a completely new and complex spell, that is then executed by both ponies simultaneously.
> It is important to contrast this to cooperative spells and understand the difference.
> Cooperative spells are when two ponies engaging in the shaping of a single spell durring the shaping phase.
> Dual-Casting happens when two cast spells are made into a single new spell before being executed.
> The section on the magical theory is full of diagrams and equations for magical interactions.
> Its stuff you've practiced long and hard, but is not very practical knowledge.
> You skim through this section for what little is important.
> You then proceed to the much more pertinent section of dangers.
> Dual-Casting when implemented improperly can be dangerous to both the casters and those around them.
> Because the spells are already cast, failure durring the M.I.S.S stage almost always results uncontrolled executions.
> This is because unlike miscasts (in which a shaped spell fails to properly cast), the imperoperly synthesized spell has already been cast successful.
> The outcome is very much like executing a non-functional spell by forcing more energy into it durring the casting phase: its effects are erratic, uncontrollable, unpredictable, overpowered.
> Unlike non-functional spells, improper Dual-Casting can result in 'hungry spells' (spells that do not conclude, and instead keep draining magical energy from those that cast it until nothing is left to sustain it).
> Because of the erratic nature of a bad Dual-Cast, the drain and stress can and usually do cause permanent damage to a pony's body.
> In some cases damage to the soul and mind can also occur, similiar to Dark magic discussed in book I of Advanced Magical Theorem.
> The Magical Safety Guidelines put forth by Magical Safety Act state that only qualified practicioners should attempt to dispel Hungry spells.
> If you have not been certified for dealing with hungry spells and dark magic do not attempt to dispel.
When you said Dual Casting, I pictured something much closer to what you described as Cooperative Casting: two unicorn working together to cast a single difficult spell. Instead it seems Dual Casting is closer to two casters casting their own spells and then crossing the streams. That sounds really, really dangerous. In fact, that sounds like Wild Magic.
Is there any limit to what spells can be combined? What happens if they are too different? What happens if you combine a flight spell with an illusion spell, or another combination that has nothing to do with each other?
Skip ahead to the section of the book that talks about the "conclusion" step of spellcasting, just in case we accidentally make a hungry spell that we need to put a stop to quickly before it eats our brain.
Not that that would happen.
It's not in that book (since Conclusion is basic magical theory), but I'll talk about it here.
A good analogy for spells are buckets. In the shaping phase you make the bucket, in the casting phase you fill up the bucket with water, in the execution phase you turn bucket upside down, and in the conclusion phase the water pours out and does stuff.
Hungry spells are different because they don't just use the water inside of them, they keep pulling water from everything around them. The more they pull, the bigger the bucket gets though, and that means more pulling, etc, until the bucket explodes or all sources of water are gone.
> You close the book, and sit down.
> You're in the auditorium now, having read and walked your way from the dorms.
> It's empty save for a small sign on the stage announcing its reservation for the practicum.
> The clock discretely worked into the arch over the main enterance and exit read out 8:47.
> Absent-mindedly you touch up your hair as you wait.
> You spirit away your brush into your pack at the sound of others entering the auditorium.
> The first students trickling in are —like you— unicorns, and join you at the front row.
> Within minutes others appear as well, totalling up to ten (counting yourself) by the time the clock strikes ten.
> Despite that, the Dean is mysteriously absent.
> As soon as her absence was realized, the murmurs of excitement began.
> The point of discussion seems to be the mystery guest that the dean is rumored to have roped into the practicum this year.
> The other topic is who will be paired with who, but that seems secondary on everyponies' mind.
> Slowly the conversation grows from a quiet murmur to a casual chat.
> You could join in, or you could just wait until the dean arrives.
> Of the other nine ponies with you, you only recognize two.
> Peppersnaps, son of a local baker who got in on a scholarship and...
> Pewter, the daughter of famous architect and sculptor.
Are Peppersnaps and Pewter sitting anywhere near to each other so we could talk to both? If not, then I pick Peppersnaps arbitrarily, completely on the basis of him having a cooler name.
Talk to them and see if they've heard any rumors. About the mystery guest, about what we'll be dual casting, or anything else.
Without getting up, we should look around for our parents or brother. I hope they made it here to see us
complete our practicum uneventfully and as it was intended to be performed.
Well, you either get drained, or you cast another spell while being drained to dispel it... But that's like casting two spells at once so most people can't.
aka, getting a second bucket, filling it with more water than the hungry bucket has (while it is still sucking water out of you) and then beating up the hungry bucket with it.
It's an hour prior to the actual event. You were told to come and hour early to get directions.
They are sitting next to one another, but there is a pony you've never met in between you.
How cute! She looks so clueless.
It used to be called Windsweep, a city of only unicorns. They used magically powered weather machines because they had no pegusi. A lot of the fighting of the Sisters War was done there.
Afterwards, Celestia tried to help them rebuild, but they were already too pissed off to accept the help. Instead they filled their weather machines up with pure hate and used them to blot out the sun and moon with endless torrential rain (hence "Torrento").
Now the sky is just luminous green fog in Torrento, and there is no sun, no moon, no stars, and no clouds.
If you want the full version: https://desustorage.org/mlp/thread/26031398/#26043691
Aliens abducted my sides.
> Having spent a few classes with them, you naturally want to join in the conversation that Peppersnaps and Pewter were having.
> The only problem was talking over another pony, namely the one between yourself and your acquaintances, was bad form.
> To solve that problem you lean ever so slightly to the side and try to introduce yourself.
Etherbreeze: "Excuse me, I don't think we've met before. You are?"
> The mystery student looks away from the conversation being had by Peppersnaps and Pewter to look at you.
Bubble Brook: "Ah, me? I'm Bubble Brook, pleasure to meet you."
> He holds out a hoof to shake, which you do.
Etherbreeze: "Likewise. I'm Etherbreeze."
> Like her name, she giggles and gives you a happy shake before making herself casual once more in her seat.
Bubble Brook: "What about you? Heard any news about the dean's mystery guest?"
Etherbreeze: "None at all. I was hoping to join in and learn a bit myself."
> With that you expertly insert yourself into the conversation.
> Earlier this morning some students saw guard ponies snooping around the campus.
> Many —dean's list include— are taking that to mean the rumor of an important guest has merit.
> The prevailing theory is that the guest is none other than Tinsel, canterlot's chief of magical security.
> Still others insist it must be proper royalty, while a some jokingly suggest the absurd.
Spinner: "Really, I'm sure it'll be a Changeling."
Pewter: "That is literally the stupidest thing I've heard all day. Stop it, you're hurting my head."
> The hushed conversation between the ten unicorns slowly grows to a normal volume.
> The conversation switches between specifics of practicum and the guest.
> Then at 9:10 the doors slam open, and awkwardly the room goes silent again.
> Dean Ivorenne raises an eyebrow as she stands in the auditorium's main entrance.
> A few of the ponies try to hide an embarrassed reddening of their face as they quiet down.
Ivorenne: "Ah, students. Forgive me for being tardy."
> Each of her steps echo loudly, as she comes up to the stage.
> Before speaking again, she takes a long look at the ten students in front of her.
Ivorenne: "Each and every one of you have worked hard the last four years, seeking excellence in academics. Today is the last of your trials, and soon you will be joining an exclusive elite. Perform well in your test, prove your excellence, and you'll become part of the Academy's history."
> Your dean pulls out five cards, floating them about her head as she talks.
Ivorenne: "On these cards are the names of two ponies, and a spell. The ponies named will be partners for the practicum, and have half-an-hour to prepare as they see fit. The only stipulation is that while you may study the spell, none of you may cast it until the practicum. Now, without further ado..."
> She brings one of the cards infront of her, and reads off the names on it.
Ivorenne: "Emberspark and Etherbreeze."
> Being called upon, you stand and approach the stage.
> Another unicorn a seat from the other end of the group does as well.
> Only after you are both infront of her does Ivorenne lowwer a card to you.
> Both you and Emberspark grab it with your magic at the same time, though as the poster-child of good behavior you let him take it.
> He returns the favor by hovering it in a place you both can see it, once you take seats again.
> The card on one side has your name and his written elegantly with ink.
> On the reverse is a hand-written spell formula in standard notation.
> The text is small, a necesary step to fit so much onto such a comparative small space.
> Despite that, it is fluid and readable: proof of exquisite and trained calligraphy.
> Unable to converse while the dean slowly hands out the other cards, you (and you presume Emberspark as well) silently puzzle out the unamed spell.
> Having studied the notation quirks of dual-cast spells, you don't have much trouble reading the formula.
> Actually peicing together the abstract notation into a practical understanding is more troublesome.
> Ivorenne finishes passing out cards before you can form a clear picture of what the spell actually IS.
Ivorenne: "Now then, you each have thirty minutes to figure out these spells. If you take the left exit off the stage, you'll find a series of sound proofed musical practice rooms. Each group will be taking one to discuss the upcoming spell in. If you have any questions I'll be waiting in the hall, otherwise don't leave your rooms until the thirty minutes is up."
> With that she directs you all out the left exit, out into a hallway lined with doors.
> You and Emberspark take one, and the others take their own.
> Once isolated from the others, you and Emberspark get straight to work.
> Each part of the spell is discussed, Embarspark showing himself to be both flamboyant and smart.
> By the fifteen minute mark you finally figure out with certainty what the spell does: creates a animate chromatic bird of unburning flame.
> Animate in that it will obey the direction of one of the casters.
> Chromatic in that is would scintillate a rainbow of colors
> Unburning in that the flames would provide warmth without danger.
Okay, so we have several aspects to this spell, and only two casters to make it happen. We need to divide up tasks.
1) Make fire
2) Make fire harmless
3) Make fire colorful
4) Shape fire into bird
5) Set bird up so it is controllable
Ask Emberspark what magical field he majored in and which of these tasks he might be most comfortable with. We need to divide these task up into two spells.
I say we split it up conceptually into the modification of the flame and the transformation of the modified flame into a bird. One of us makes the flame colorful and harmless, and one of us makes the flame obedient and a bird.
>animate in that it will obey the direction of one of the casters
It looks like this spell isn't just a "fire and forget" type of spell, because if it is being continuously controlled by just one of us then we're going to have to leave the spell connected to one of our minds. And then if we fuck up, we have a defective spell hooked straight into our brainmeat.
I guess what I'm saying is that whoever is the bird guy has a significantly more dangerous job than the fire guy. We should volunteer to be the bird caster, and let Emberspark be the fire guy. After all, he has fire in his name.
With that color palate, I was unable to prevent making him look like a weird OC. Sorry.
We can always choose another color for the coat and make the mane fancy-looking flame thingy.
Or we can just roll with the presented design, maybe saturate the colours or something.
Sorry for the delay. I had to pick up groceries. Also dialogue is hard.
Etherbreeze: "So, Emberspark. You're good with the fire side of the spell?"
> The unicorn looks at you as though you have no face.
Emberspark: "Do you even need to ask?"
Etherbreeze: "Just being polite."
> Emberspark rests a hoof on your shoulder.
Emberspark: "We're on the dean list, we're clearly smart enough to skip the niceties and not get offended."
> He then walks to a bench in front of the practice room's piano and sets himself down.
Emberspark: "So yea, I'll do the pyromantic half if you're good with the other. Might as well stack things in our favor right?"
> For a moment you want to whack him upside the head for being so annoyingly pompous.
> Instead you agree with him; there is no reason to set yourself up for failure in a team effort.
Emberspark: "Not that we need any luck or favor. We figured out the spell in half the time expect."
> You close your eyes and bring yourself to a calm.
> No amount of violence you could visit upon him, nor scathing words, would be worth failing the practicum over.
> Or so you tell yourself, as a white lie.
Emberspark: "So, Etherbreeze. Could you give me the pleasure of your story?"
> You mentally will him to fall catatonic.
Emberspark: "I mean, knowing more about one another is a clear benefit to working together."
> A hint of flirtation in his voice seeps through.
> Talking to him would be a terrible idea.
> You realize however if you say nothing, he won't stop talking.
> At this point that is immeasurably worse.
> With a deep breath, you halt his blabbering with your own words.
You're right, he looks better with the mane being the flame-colored part.
This guy is pompous as hell, but we should let it go. I get the impression that we grew up having to let a lot of things go. We wouldn't even risk eating shrimp in public. Honestly though, it's not a bad thing that we are in the habit of being the better person.
I know we're stress from the test but let's calm down. We've surely dealt with LOTS of ponies like him before.
Let's try to deflect by asking him to talk about himself first, hopefully he'll blab until time to go out.
> You open your mouth ever so slightly before closing it again.
> Chosing not to insult him, you put a smile on you face instead and turn around.
Etherbreeze: "Well, why don't you start first Emberspark?"
> You cringe as his face lights up with another chance to speak.
> Like watching a hammer come down on your face, you listen as he spills his life story.
> He was born into a middle class family.
> He loved fireworks
> He got his cutie mark from working with fireworks.
> He got a scholarship to study magic, which he wanted to use to do better fireworks.
> You let him ramble on, asking questions like tossing a log on a fire to keep it burning.
> Eventually the sound of his voice faded away, and you watched him move his mouth.
> It left you with just the image of his mouth opening and closing.
> Sometimes he also threw his head back to laugh at his own joke or funny circumstance.
> You also notice how he waves his right hoof infront of his face with every few sentences, as if to make a point.
> So engrossed in finding more to loathe, you almost jump at the sound of another voice.
Ivorenne: "You have five more minutes. When you're ready come to the back of the stage and wait to be called upon."
> When she closes the door, you look back to Emberspark.
> He gets ready to speak again, and this time you listen.
Emberspark: "If we go now we'll be the first ones out there. Maybe we'll get a peek at who this mystery guest is."
> For once he says something that catches your interest.
> An added bonus, he won't be able to talk so loudly from stage side.
> You trade out your plastic smile for an authentic one.
Etherbreeze: "Don't let me stop you."
> You follow him out, through the hallway and to the backstage entrance.
> Ember-spark pushes the door open slowly, letting you through before quietly shutting it behind him.
She is, but we already know she kinda has a temper. Look at her interactions with Etherwing or her mother, for example. When someone acts like a twat in front of Etherbreeze, she boils over inside. All we can do is keep reminding her that she is a noble, and should try her best to act like one. Let things go and be a fucking adult about it.
I think she actually manages her temper reasonably well, considering. For example, she wanted to storm out of the restaurant in a huff because her mother was being a bitch, but we managed to get Etherbreeze to keep her cool until they could have words in private.
Everyone has character flaws, and Etherbreeze has a temper.
Agreed. I know it's damaging to the seriousness of the quest but it's just too funny.
It's due to some personal drama in my life, I didn't want to bog down your lives with my personal crap so I didn't talk about it.
I got a job working as an overnight stocker, thinking that even though I'm out of shape I could 'tough it out'. I was able to tough out the pain, but I got so nauseous from working that it was hard to drink water durring my breaks. What I did drink made it worse so I wasn't able to eat anything for my lunch break. By the third day I was shaking so badly I was cutting myself up with the box cutters.
To get to the job I went from a normal sleep schedule to working midnight to 10, so I was also losing out on a lot of sleep.
I also have anxiety issues, and the physical exhaustion combined with the fact my cat got diagnosed with cancer was making absolutely miserable. I ended up quitting mid-shift, and then slept for a good 26 hours.
It took me a week to really get back into things again.
I try to post once or twice a day, so that everyone can have time to read what's going on. If I plan on being on hiatus I'll try to inform you. I would have last time but, well, I'm not as strong a person as I wish I was at times.
Also, I'm writing up another post.
> None of the other student pairs are backstage yet, and the dean is absent as well.
> From the other side of the curtain, you can hear an audience talking in hushed conversations.
> Curiously you and Emberspark walk to the off right, looking out at what you can see of the audience from there.
> The house is full, but no dignitaries nor especially prestigious attendees are to be found.
> You do spy your family however.
> Your father, mother, and younger brother are sitting in the second row from the front, near the center.
> The three of them are quietly chatting about something, amusing themselves until the dean arrives to present.
> Failing to find any evidence to dispel your curiosity, you tug at Emberspark to return to the backstage proper.
Emberspark: "I thought for certain we would be able to get look at our guest of honor. What a drag."
> For the first time in your breif acquaintance you agree with him.
Etherbreeze: "I'm sure we'll find out who and if soon enough. You still have that card?"
Emberspark: "The card? Yea."
> He telekinetically plucks it from its resting place between his mane and ear, floating it to you.
> You take it from him and review it one last time, starting to feel the pressure of the event push against you.
> It isn't hard to pushes back down your hysteria, but it does fuel your last minute fact checking of the spell.
> Emberspark on the other hand lazily pulls up a chair from the stage props and relaxes.
> Soon after, two other student pairs come in.
> They too look from the off right, and then return.
> After waiting another minute, the last three pairs return.
> All ten of you waiting in the back, Ivorenne makes her return.
> Before heading out to address the audience, she smiles.
Ivorenne: "It's almost 'showtime' as they say. I look forward to all of your performances."
> Then she goes out on stage and addresses the crowd.
Listen intently to the dean's speech, while still keeping an eye on the doors for our mystery guest.
I am sorry to hear that. I had a job like that once and I lost ten pounds in a month. It isn't worth your health. I hope you find a better one.
> It is a standardized speech, but you listen to it from behind stage out of respect and habit.
> Ivorenne drones about the prestigious nature of the academy.
> It's contribution to Equestria.
> A long tradition of giving the brightest and best mares and stallions the tools they needed to build a better future.
> After a good ten minutes of speaking however, her monologue takes a decidedly unorthodox direction.
Ivorenne: "Since the beginning, it was the success of an individual that was celebrated here in these hallowed halls. Tonight however, that tradition will be changing in recognition of the changes we've seen in Equestria."
> You hear the dean move on the stage as she pauses.
> Presumably she made some sort of gesture to emphasize her words.
Ivorenne: "It was less than a decade ago that numerous disasters reared their head, each threatening the very fabric of our society. Every time, it was revealed that the strength of an individual alone was incapable of leading us back to prosperity. Instead we were reminded that friendship, that working together, was greater than any scheme or power."
> Interrupting the speech, Emberspark jostles you with a bump.
Emberspark: "She sure is a motor mouth, isn't she?"
> You swallow your desire to hiss at him.
Ivorenne: "To help this sacred place of learning reinforce its dedication to the ideals of friendship and cooperation, I'm am pleased to announce that this years practicum has been designed by her highness Twilight Sparkle, Princess of friendship."
> The audience is silent for a moment, as you hear the main entrance's double doors open.
> Then the room fills with applause thereafter.
> Meanwhile backstage, nine ponies and you look at each other with pallid faces.
The scary part is you can have her pissed off and you wouldn't know it until she's about blow your head off. Etherbreeze can be a frightening, hate-fueled little pony.
Guess Long Name drawfag will have to start drawing her as always angry, all the time.
That might be because I forgot to draw half of her eyes. Allow me to fix that.
Twilight Sparkle: "Before I can talk about what's going to be done here today to test these students, I'd like to thank Miss Ivorenne for inviting me to be part of this event. As you all know the practicum is a deeply rooted tradition both for the Academy and the academic community in Canterlot. Being part of it is an honor, and I'm happy to see changes in the establishment to encourage ponies working together."
> Twilight's speech was a fine example of diction.
> Each word was poised and practiced, yet enthusiastically authentic.
> For the audience it was a treat no doubt to participate in an event with a princess as a guest.
> For those backstage it was a nightmare.
> Bubble Brooke is bubbling how ridiculous the sudden turn of events is.
> His partner is palming her own face.
> Peppersnaps and Pewter meanwhile seem to be enthusing one another giddily.
> The other two pairs are in a circle trying to calm one another down.
> And Emberspark is leaning against the wall with a smug grin.
> Or a flirtatious grin.
> You really hope it's the former.
Emberspark: "Looks like we'll have an audience actually worth our time"
> He shrugs with smirk.
Emberspark: "But I guess important ponies love to watch beautiful ones like us."
> You don't spit on his face when he gives you a wink.
> You just smile.
> And nod.
> While you suffer, Twilight finishes onstage.
Twilight Sparkle: "-so without further explanation, I am pleased announce the first pair to present: Bubble Brook and Thistle!"
> Thistle jumps upon being called, almost ignoring her partner to walk out on stage.
> To her benefit she happens to see Bubble standing still, still in a stew and unaware of being called.
> She gives him a shove, and gestures to the front.
> You, Emberspark, and the other three pairs gather to the off-right to watch the first chosen pair perform.
> Her highness and the dean stand aside off-left to give the Bubble Brooke and Thistle room for their practicum.
I have to say, I'm really looking forward to ending this flash back. Flash Backs feel more like writing a green text than an actual quest.
> Whatever anxiety the two had shown behind stage, it was gone now that they face their audience.
> The hush of the crowd grows into a deafening roar as the two close their eyes to focus.
> Laying on the stage innocuously until now, you notice a seed glow intensely.
> Then with a loud hiss and a snap the seed explodes outward in intertwining sprouts.
> Twisting around one another, the vines surge forward as they weave a shape of a pony.
> As they grow, another wave of change comes from the last remanent of the seed's shell, the vines tightening as a sheet of ice forms over the plant-form frame.
> Not yet finished, a second pulse of light emits, as rivulets of water flow to the head and rear of the statue, flowing against gravity to form a mane and tail.
> From where the water came, now existed fine details.
> In the course of fifteen seconds, the two have transformed a seed into a life-like statue of a pony.
> As soon as they open their eyes and conceal a huff of exhaustion the audience bursts into applause.
> From the stage side you and the others give your own silent applause.
> After taking a bow, Twilight then steps forward to them with the dean beside her.
Twilight Sparkle: "Wonderful work."
> The dean then turns to the audience: "I am pleased to announce that as of now, Bubble Brook and Thistle have joined the ranks of the academy's most honored students!"
> The audience again applauds, and while they noisily show their admiration the dean puts a hoof on Brook's shoulder and smiles.
Ivorenne: "Congratulations, both of you. You've made me very proud."
It does kinda feels like a green, yes, but fortunately you're a good writer, so I'm enjoying it anyway.
If you absolutely insist, sure, but personally I'm enjoying the hell out of this.
Maybe to speed it up without skipping we could just list off what everyone's spell was and how they did in one go? Like as if Etherbreeze was distracted by what is on her mind and is just glancing up when she hears applause.
I wasn't trying to say you were insisting, I was just curious how badly you wanted this to be over. I have a vague preference to see it out, but if other people want to skip ahead I wouldn't be too disappointed.
I wonder if all the spells will be about changing the physical properties of things to become more complex. Plant and water becomes a pony, fire and light becomes a bird. It seems very Twilight-like to make a nicely organized set of spells centered around a theme.
> Next to be called are the two students you actually know: Peppersnaps and Pewter.
> Before absconding from the stage to let the two present, Twilight levitates from off-right a large block of tin and sets it front and center.
> Your colleagues both breathe deeply and begin their practicum.
> At first the block glows as the two focus their concentration, but then dims.
> For a moment your heart skips a beat at the thought of witnessing a failing spectacle.
> Yet from the sidelines you see Twilight smile knowingly as the two Unicorns continue their spell, sweat coalescing on their foreheads.
> Then after a good twenty seconds, a bulge appears on the top of the cube.
> That bulge then elongates further, becoming a stem that reaches out and begins to branch.
> The corners too swell and then length, the metal lump thinning as it grows roots.
> A sphere of copper, held within the tin block, is revealed at the base of the tree as it consumes the tin to grow.
> Contrasting the previous spell's intense pace, this one is peaceful and slow.
> The tree fully formed, the copper sphere then shrinks as veins of yellow-brown flow up from trunk.
> The glowing metal bleeds from the branches, slowly unfurling into leaves.
> In the stage lighting, the leaves shine iridescently.
> After casting for five minutes, the unicorns let out a sigh of relief as they end the spell.
> The audience gives them gracious applause in return.
> The dean and her highness both return to the stage to congratulate the two for their performance, and then send them back.
> Rather than getting rid of the tree, Twilight lifts it and sets it on the stage side.
Twilight Sparkle: "For the third presentation I am happy to present Emberspark and Etherbreeze."
> You naturally look up, and she meets your gaze.
> You feel as though you've been exsanguinated.
> Your throat clenches as your lungs tighten around nothing.
> Electricity arcs across your back and your skin curdles.
Uncurdle skin, unclench throat, walk out with head high, and try not to let anyone see that it's all an act and you're this close to hyperventilating and passing out in the middle of the stage.
> Then the moment passes as her gaze passes from you to Emberspark.
> You both walk out on stage and meet the audience.
> The buzz of anxiety evaporates, as the pressure relives you of feeling.
> You barely hear her highness return to the offside to give you and your partner room.
> Emberspark gives you a nod with a grin.
> You both close your eyes and retreat into your own concentration.
> Although you make no movements of the flesh, you begin to reenact an intricate dance from memory alone.
> Your body tingles in anticipation as you shape your spell.
> Your mind begins to strain —like a muscle flexing— as you hold the spell's shape.
> 'Holding' it in place, you pull up from within you magic.
> You feel your legs warm as your tattoos react, but that is something you've grown used to.
> The magic floods into the spell, but you keep your 'hold' tight.
> Although you cannot see through closed eyelids, you can feel Emberspark's spell forming near you.
> It, like yours, 'glows' with unreleased energy.
> It is here you depart from the norm of casting.
> You let your spell begin, magic flowing through the spell and into the world.
> As it unravels and blooms however you thread it through Emberspark's spell.
> It takes speed and precision, as the metaphorical thread and needle-head both are twisting and growing with each passing moment.
> As soon as you do however, you feel a resounding shift in your being.
> You are suddenly aware of Emberspark in a way you've never been aware of another pony before.
> It isn't such that you can read his mind, but you can feel his thoughts and mental actions in colors a thousand times more vibrant than the most neon of paints.
> As you are plunged into new world of sensation, the two spells begin to twist about one another.
> Each twist creates changes that reverberate through both ends of the spell, slowly binding the two spells into one.
> What was once your spell, has become the shell of this gestalt.
> Emberspark's becomes a tempestuous core.
> It grows and crackles, as the spell begins to enter the final phase of casting.
> In the world of physical things, a flame filled bubble has appeared.
> It is shuddering, as each passing moment stretches its form into that of a great bird.
> Somewhere in that spell though, you feel a sliver slip out of place.
> For a moment you feel as though time has stopped.
> Your legs feel weak as you instinctively realize what happens: your half of the spell is falling apart.
> Powerless to do anything but vainly continue, you wait for the inevitable with a growing despair.
> Yet the moment passes in your mind, but nothing happens.
> The spell does not unravel.
> Your eyes don't fly open, nor do you scream in pain.
> No spell fluctuates in your mind, no magic flows from you into the failed spell.
> The next moment moves into the next, and then that moment becomes a minute.
So Etherbreeze felt a sliver of spell slip out of place and assumed it was her fault.
It could just as easily been Emberspark's. While connected they'd be able to feel each other's spells.
We still don't know for sure. She said it felt like something is wrong on her half of the spell, but that could mean anything. Did Etherbreeze fuck up her casting? Did Emberspark screw up his half, and it's draining Etherbreeze's part of the spell? Did they both do fine but the tattoos are interfering? Is there a "shard out of place" in Etherbreeze's part of the spell because that part of the spell relies on some part of Emberspark's spell that he forgot to put it?
We just don't know who is at fault yet.
It's because the spell was designed by Twilight with teamwork and friendship intended. Etherbreeze has too much hatred in her heart for the pony she's working with.
Either way, of course Etherbreeze fucked up! What kind of dark secret would it be if she didn't fuck it up?
I figured the dark secret is that we are stark raving mad because of the mental damage we suffered stopping a hungry spell untrained. He fucked up, we fixed it, and everyone cheered our name, but we also got a new sister out of the deal.
That's a hell of a dark secret. Nobody wants an insane ruler. Not since Caligula, anyway.
> A second minute passes, yet all that you feel is stillness.
> Your panic subsides, and you cautiously open your eyes.
> You are standing where you were, on the stage with Emberspark, tumbling flames trapped within a glossy ethereal sphere floating inbetween the two of you.
> When you step back, you even see the glistening light of the spell sprialling from where your horn used to be.
> It's the same stage, the same people, yet everything is different.
> The colors are wrong.
> Like a coloring book messily filled the color of things bleed into one another.
> The only thing in focus, with the colors precise, is the swirling spell.
> Before you can ponder how this came to be, and worry over the spell further, you are interupted.
???: "Sorry for the haziness, with so much excitement things tend to get a bit out-of-focus. I do hope it's not too troubling for you."
> You turn around to face the voice, to see a mare.
> A pegasus, mane of green and white of skin.
> She too like the frozen spell is clear and focused.
> Unlike the spell —or anything else for that matter— she is animate, sitting in the front row of the theatre.
Etherbreeze: "Who are you? What's going on?"
> You take a step towards the stage's edge, anxious.
> Despite your unease, the pegasus is calm.
Etherwing: "I am Etherwing. And this-"
> She gestures over hear head as she sits.
Etherwing: "- is you; a tiny slice of heaven in your head."
> You shake your head and repeat your question again in disbelief.
> She laughs at this.
Etherwing: " All of this you see, is my home. A mirror of your living experience that I get to have second hand."
> You feel absurd, listening to her speak.
> Yet at the same time as soon as you hear her words they make sense and feel true, as if you had always known them.
> The sudden recognition confuses you.
> Try as you might to hide that confusion, your expression seem to come of their own accord.
The way this reality looks fits so well, when you think about it. The whole world is filled in fast and messy, because what the world is like doesn't really matter. The only thing that gets any real care in how it was made is Etherwing, because the only thing Etherbreeze wanted to change was herself.
It's even worse since Etherwing describes it as "heaven". If she could change anything she wanted about the universe it would be herself. That's some really shit self-esteem.
I just thought of something. In the past we seem to have a hell of a temper, but in the present we seem very forgiving and level-headed unless Etherwing shows up. Did she take that part of us with her when she was "born"? If so, we're even more fucked up than I thought.
I think that might be overthinking things but I say we wait until we know the whole story. Because Etherwing taking our greatest flaw other than being mental and "damnit I'm not a pegasus" would really suck.
We're full of delicious personality defects either way. Either we're still suffering from a Fluttershy-style hidden temper and are just a bit better at controlling it as an adult, or we have a more well-adjusted disposition but only because we had chunks of our personality ripped out.
Either way, Etherbreeze is a fascinating character.
> The thoughts of the practicum fade as your mind tries to wrap itself around the situation on hoof.
> Trapped in your our own personal dischord, like those told of in recountings of the element's own encounter with the god's darker side, you struggle to grasp peace of mind.
> You do not feel panic, you burn with it.
> You do not feel anxiety, it pulls at your neck like a noose.
> You were at a loss: how does one hide away inside feelings, when those feelings are on the outside?
> Exacerbated, you weakly look up at Etherwing.
Etherbreeze: "This is your home? This is me? A mirror?"
> The words are for you, more than her.
> They may not be answers, but they help return some clarity to your thoughts.
> They also give you the direction to ask an actual question.
Etherbreeze: "If all this is me then... What are you?"
> You swallow as you wait for a response.
> Etherwing closes her eyes, rests a hoof on her chin, and tilts her head back in consideration.
> She taps her chin again.
Etherwing: "I guess you could say I'm some stuck between all your problems and the beautiful tattoos of yours."
> She opens her eyes and relaxes into her chair again with a smile.
> You shake your head, frustrated.
> Frustrated at your caprice, at her aloof behavior.
> Frustrated at not knowing why or how you were 'here'.
Etherbreeze: "Why. Why am I here then? Can you tell me that?"
> You hiss, bitterly and vainly trying to keep some sort of composure.
Etherwing: "To help you —like I've always done— ofcourse."
Etherbreeze: "Help me? I've never even known you until now, for all I know you could be a..."
> You take a moment to find the right word.
Etherbreeze: "A psychic parasite or something!"
> The pegasus playfully puts a hoof over her heart as if struck.
Etherwing: "You wound me! That's not a very nice thing to say to the pony that's helped you become a sucess is it?"
>That's not a very nice thing to say to the pony that's helped you become a sucess is it?
Wait, you're responsible for our increased aptitude at college these last two years? You mean we've been crazy for years without even realizing it? You've seriously been in here for that long and it took a botched spell for us to realize it?
Or is it just that our self-esteem is really so low that we had to invent someone else to attribute all of our success to? It's that one, isn't it? You're not the competent half of me like you claim, you're just my insecurities.
If Etherwing is saying she's the one who made us a success, then that means that an imaginary pegasus is better at magic than a real unicorn. The unicorn would make a better pegasus and the pegasus would make a better unicorn.
So even our tulpa is trans.
> Becoming a success, that is something you remember.
> The two years of humiliation and how you overcame it.
> You bring your hoof down with a snarl.
Etherbreeze: "You're lying."
> Almost dismissively, your twin averts her gaze to the side boredly.
Etherwing: "You don't really think your miraculous turnabout was the culimnation of years of failure, do you?"
> Something clicks in your head, in a manner similiar to when you felt the truth of her words.
> On that day, two years ago, you were brought forth infront of the class to once again fail a test.
> But you didn't, you cast it perfectly and left the room speechless at your success.
> But now you see Etherwing's memory, an addendum to a history that was incomplete.
> As a child, you struggled with magic.
> Then one morning you woke up with a cutie mark, yet it did nothing.
> Now you understand that it couldn't have, your tattoos had been blocking it from you this entire time.
> It was only with a mind of its own, that it figured out how to restore it to you years later in accademy.
Etherbreeze: "Then you're..."
> The fog in your mind, accumulated from the sudden transition into a off-kilter world, fades away.
> You don't finish your words, but instead look down to your tattoo.
Etherwing: "When in the flesh, yes."
> You nod, as the various questions start to make sense, some guided by your thoughts and others no doubt by Etherwing's own knowledge.
> It does bring up a new question though.
Etherbreeze: "Why haven't I been here before then? Why do you wait til now to make yourself known?"
> To this, Etherwing expresses a tinge of embarressment.
> You tilt your head at her admission.
> What did she have to fear from you?
Etherwing: "Before I awoke, I was nothing more than a parasite. Then I awoke, and like anything else I want to live. I also knew all that you did."
> She pauses.
Etherwing: "What is the treatment for a compromised etheric inscription?"
So this is why our magic was so goddamn useless. Tattoos sucked it to help us walk on clouds. Nothing we got was for free.
You fucking magnificent bastard. Can we focus on the spell to try and pretend it was not our fault when it finally explodes in our face.
>What is the treatment for a compromised etheric inscription?
If I remember the history of insane painter pony correctly, the treatment is removal if possible, and a lifetime of pity if not.
I'm still a little unclear on where Etherwing derives her mind from. Did the tattoos evolve sentience on their own and they're entirely seperate except from perceiving the world though our mind? Or are they borrowing part of our sentience to be self aware?
This must be an absolute mindfuck to Etherbreeze. The tattoos that she adores for cloudwalking ruined her magic, grew a mind of it's own and decided to give back not only her magic but cutiemark. Two personal, vital things to a pony. How could someone manage living after knowing these things? That it's because of markings on her skin that she is not a failure, not something she herself accomplished.
Fuck. Heavy shit.
She's her own mind, but lacking a brain she exists in a weird parallel to ours in our head.
It's magic shenanigans.
Also my stinky friends are invade my house so I'll post later tonight during a break.
So Etherwing is her own software, but she needs our brain as hardware in order to run. Okay, makes sense.
Did she gain her sentience gradually as we grew up and this is her just finally breaking through? Or does she have an actual "birth" day? Maybe two years ago when our magic started working?
I must say, all these recent revelations have unexpectedly made Etherwing into a sympathetic character for me. When I though she was just a product of mental illness she was easier to dislike as a just hostile hallucination.
Now that I know that she is her own entity, made out of our magical energy as it is redirected through our tattoos, I am able to feel sorry for her. Plus, she seems to have based herself off of us to a great deal. She really is like our twin sister.
Holy shit, we're a blank flank. Etherwing is the one with a talent for magic.
I bet our real talent is charisma. The golden feather is ours and the magical blue flame is Etherwing's.
I think she just wants to exist, and to use her special talent of magic.
Our actual special talent probably isn't as cool.
Theoretically we might even be able to get her her own body, since she isn't part of our mind. She's made out of our magical energy, shaped by our tattoos.
> Etheric inscription, a fancy term for magical tattoos.
> You remember learning that word as a young foal.
> Your father and the stallion who designed your tattoos spoke of it while you sat in a chair.
> Back then, you listened but didn't understand the significance of their conversation.
> Looking back at it now you understand what they spoke about in hushed tones they thought you couldn't hear.
> The risks of using magic on a foal.
> A father struggling with what would be best for his daughter.
> A practitioner of a rare and exotic arte, who knew too well how close his practice skirted the label of dark magic.
> Both unaware you could hear them in the next room as they discussed the dangers of the endowment.
> Of all the risks and trepid crises, it was compromise that the artist warned of the most.
> That the self-sustaining nature of the endowment would fail.
> That it would collapse away and tear away a good portion of you with it or;
> That it would become unstable, cannibalizing your natural magic to twist and mutate until you burnt out entirely.
> For both cases, removing the endowment and all it 'touched' was the only solution.
Etherbreeze: "You excise it."
> When the words roll out of your mouth on their own, you realize what that would mean.
> For Etherwing, it would be an execution.
> For you, because of how complex the tattoo's interactions were within you, it would be a lobotomy.
> As a child though, your fear would have informed your decisions more than the consequences.
> By hiding —even as a parasite of sorts— she saved herself and spared you a hollow half-life.
> But something still confused you.
Etherbreeze: "If you were able to restore my cutie mark to me, why didn't you do it earlier?"
> Still looking away, Etherwing huffs quietly.
Etherwing: "Because I... I didn't know how."
> Rather than laugh at you again, she narrows her eyes and leans in towards you.
>"You know I'd never abandon you, Etherbreeze."
> Her smile grows thin and wide, as she comes so close you can feel her breath on your face.
>"I'll always be by your side, through every trial, every pain, and every mistake...."
> She rests her head against your shoulder in mock comfort.
>"To let you know how worthless you are without me around."
Still feel as sympathetic?
> Standoffish, she crosses her arms.
> Again you can see the memories behind her words.
> It's an alien flurry of colors and feeling, yet you understand it as intimately as you imagine your doppelganger would.
Etherwing: "You're right, I could have given it back to you earlier. I could have just removed myself from your cutie mark entirely."
> But —you feel the self-narrative of her memories shift towards guilt— it was the connection to a cutie-mark that gave her awareness.
> Had she done so she would have once more been just it, an out of control cancerous spell tearing you apart.
> Granted you realize, you would have kept your cutie-mark then if she were excised then.
> A chance that you might come out of excision with a full recovery was possible; you could have been normal.
> Or at least functionally normal as a unicorn growing up in the clouds could be.
Prompt: How did Etherbreeze feel about this? Was she pissed at Etherwing for hoarding magic and a cutie mark that wasn't hers? Does she have mixed feelings leaning towards blaming Etherwing? Mixed feelings leaning towards forgiveness? Or is she thankful that Etherwing didn't force her father's hand with an excision treatment?
There's a reason for the shift in tone between them, don't worry.
I'm inclined towards mixed feelings living towards forgiveness. She never asked to be how she is, and she was afraid to make herself known. She is an outsider and a mutant, just like us.
Also I approve of the unconventional new prompt style.
I would feel... numb. Having my tattoos steal my magic from me and living with a cutiemark that's not my own? I'm going to vote break down into sadness and anger. Not toward anyone particular.
>it was the connection to a cutie-mark that gave her awareness. Had she done so she would have once more been just it, an out of control cancerous spell tearing you apart.
She's not just our tattoos personified, she's our cutie mark personified! The tatts might be her body, but the cutie mark seems to be her mind.
How can we hate our cutie mark for wanting to live? It's part of us after all. Etherwing seems more like a weird sort of psychic daughter than a twin now.
She didn't ask for this, anon. The tattoo magic and our cutie mark magic combined in an unexpected way to birth Etherwing. Separating the two would kill her.
She's in just as fucked up a situation as we are.
This makes sense (at least to me) because neither was aware on their own. Cutie marks aren't aware, and tattoos aren't aware. Nobody would have ever expected the two to interact like they did.
I trust in our writer to find a justification.
And I'd rather be the better man.
Or better mare, or whatever.
She didn't ask to steal our magic when she was born, and I can forgive her for not wanting to return it at the cost of her own life.
You know what? I'm changing my vote. Don't just forgive her, grab ahold of her, hug her, and break down in sobs. Her situation is too much like our own for me to blame her, especially since she was literally only doing the one thing that would keep her alive.
So yeah, hug Etherwing. You're the only one who can really understand me, you poor accidentally created magical lifeform!
Come on, Etherbreeze would definitely be upset with this revelation. She wouldn't entirely be, "Oh it's okay it's not your fault." It's still a bad deal either way. I'm not saying don't hug poner, I just think Etherbreeze would be a mess right now.
Of course she should be a mess. And she should work through those extremely volatile emotions by hugging the only person she can ever confide in about this.
Maybe Winterbeat also, at a later date.
It isn't her fault. Plus, if we blamed Etherwing for the harm she has caused us then we would be no better than our mother.
Etherbreeze didn't mean to hurt her father, and she didn't ask her father to give up his dreams for her.
Similarly, Etherwing didn't mean to hurt us, and she didn't ask us to give up our magic for her.
Fortunately she figured out how to use the magic two years ago, so we got it back, more or less.
It's the same situation, and I'll be damned if we sink to the same level as our bitch of a mother.
It was taken, but it was not deliberately taken by Etherwing since she didn't exist yet. The act of our magic being taken was her birth. As soon as she was able to figure it out, she cast all our spells for us. She was trying to help. The loss wasn't anything that anyone did voluntarily.
And what was the alternative? Seperate the connection between our magic and the tattoos? We'd get our magic back, sure, but then the tattoos stop working and Etherwing dies.
I find her innocent.
I do wish to remind you that future Etherwing is kind of a bitch to us, even if she's innocent at this point in the flashback. Not that I'm saying we be mad at her for things she hasn't done yet.
Since we seem to be more divided than the American political system, lets try and move things along.
Also if there is any clarification or questions people have, I'm here to ask. Or if you just want to rant at me about something, that works too.
1) It seems like Etherwing is dependent on both our tattoo magic and our internal magic to be alive and sentient. Is this correct?
2) Etherwing said she didn't know how to manipulate our magic until two years ago. Is she actually casting our magic for us through our horn, or is she redirecting magic to us so we can cast it ourselves?
3) The only obvious way to get our magic to how it should have been would be to unlike it from our tatts, right? And correct me if I'm wrong, but that would kill Etherwing.
4) Can we hug her while inside our mind?
1. Yes? She isn't dependant on the tattoo magic, she IS the Tattoo magic. Another way to think of it is that she is a self-aware spell. She needs magic to run, just like normal ponies need food to run. If she runs out of magic, she would 'end' just like a spell does when its all out of juice.
2. It wasn't so much that she didn't know how to manipulate your magic, it's that she didn't know how to manipulate herself. Going back to the 'circuit' metaphor, as a spell she is an incredibly complex spell. She happens to be between Etherbreeze and most of her magic (and was channeling it into herself). It was a similar issue with Etherbreeze's cutiemark, she was redirecting the cutiemark magic/mysterystuff to herself, keeping the talent from you.
Eventually however, she figured out how bring herself under control, limiting the amount of magic she was using to sustain herself (essentially she stopped 'growing'). She also figured out how to directly connect the cutiemark to you, through herself. Some of its OOMPH is lost in the process, but its a big upgrade from having nothing.
tl;dr You have most of your usuable magic back. Severing her connection to your cutie mark would let you fully utilize your talent, but would return her to being 'just a spell'.
The Tattoos were designed to use some magic, and that amount was supposed to be negligible since ponies naturally exude magic that isn't really used for anything. The problem was that the spell in the tattoos weren't stable, and took a little bit more than it needed. That excess made the spell change, and those changes meant it took a little more, and the cycle of mutation happened. Growing takes a lot more magical energy than just sustaining though, so when she became aware and stopped the spell from growing further, the energy needed to sustain her dropped. It's still a lot more than what was originally planed and pushes the limits of what 'wasted' magical energy can provide, but its not detrimental to your health or casting anymore.
The real danger to her is if you tried to completely restore your cutie mark. Right now she can give you 80%ish of your cutiemark and still exist. Removing her entirely from it would stop the mysterious interaction that's giving her awareness, ultimately rendering her into just a spell. It should be noted without her intervention, the spell would start ravaging your magic again and mutate further until it was taken out completely. What else would be cut out in the process is hard to say, because like dark magic, this is dealing with souls and other measurable things.
4. The limit is your imagination.
Forgiving seems to be far are long the most popular choice. I'll start writing it up a post now.
An addendum to question 1: What keeps her sentient is the bit (20%ish) of cutie-mark mystery magic stuff she is siphoning off.
Yay, we took the moral high ground. I understand being incredibly upset at all this, but we shouldn't be upset with Etherwing. She never wanted to hurt us, and tried to help us as soon as she was able.
>if you just want to rant at me about something, that works too
Where the fuck do you get off being this awesome? How dare you be this great at characterization, setting, AND dialogue? What the hell, man? And that fucking twist? All this time I thought we were crazy and then it turns out we actually have a twin sister made of magic? You think I'm going to let a reveal that good slide? Well fuck that, man. You fucking rock. Let me have your babies.
> It was something you always struggled to be.
> As a foal there was never doubt in your mind about being normal; you never would be.
> What you strived for instead, was competency.
> To do so well that your lack of wings would seem trivial.
> That competecny that you so desperately wanted.
> The competency that would let you be proud of something.
> The competency that would let you stuff your childish fantasies of being a pegasus so deep into the darkest reaches of your mind that it would never be thought of again.
> It was there all along after all.
> It just wasn't yours.
> You didn't have to flounder.
> Pegasi who, even with their limited knowledge of magic, didn't have to ridicule you.
> The expectations of your entire family didn't have to be falter behind paperthin facades of encouragement.
> It only happened because of an accident.
> You stare at Etherwing, at the very thing responsible for years of failure.
> Anger would be a respectable response.
> Rage and fury, forgiveable.
> Understandable even.
> Hate would be expected, loathing permissible, and spite assumed.
> All those feelings court you, like lovers competing for the attention of a beautiful maiden.
> They clamor and propose, begging to be yours.
> Yet despite their claims, you find yourself holding a grief to your heart instead.
> Your entire life you've oft been posed the question: were you an accident.
> Others made it readily apparent they thought you were.
> Sometimes it was through their pity, othertimes through their scorn.
> It was the razor clutched against your breast.
> Whenever you swelled with pride, it would be there to impale your heart and remind you of the doubt that lurked inside.
> To be an accident is to be damned.
> Every day that singular word threatened to crush you with the weight of imagined sin.
> Ultimately you were the girl who had borne the word's specter on you back her entire life.
> How then, could you ignore the plight of someone who had struggled to make things and call their thirst for life a selfish endevour?
> You embrace Etherwing.
> The fact that she sits in the audience means nothing, because you feel her in your grasp.
> Her skin is soft to the touch, and her tears warm like yours.
> You don't need to say anything for her to understand, as is this strange world.
> You do not, cannot, and will not call her an accident.
Realized I made a typo.
> How then, could you ignore the plight of someone who had struggled to make things and call their thirst for life a selfish endevour?
It should be
> How then, could you ignore the plight of someone who had struggled to make things RIGHT and call their thirst for life a selfish ENDEAVOR?
Then we will fight the downhill plunge. We will claw our way back uphill from whatever came between us between now and the present. We will forgive Etherwing her past transgressions and repair our relationship with her. Neither of us asked for the hands we were dealt, and I'll be damned if we give up on her. She's ours.
I'm unsure. It's going to take effort on both our sides. It won't work if Etherwing resloves herself to torments us because she can. She needs to know her place. We may be nothing without her be she is nothing without us. We are yin and yang. One cannot exist without the other.
Yes, it will take effort on both our sides, but if there is a lack of effort it will never be from us. She is born of us, in part, and we WILL give her a better mother than we had.
>We are going to love and tolerate the shit out of our sister/daughter/tulpa/headmate/psychic parasite.
But we're not. Etherbreeze literally cannot control herself around Etherwing.
Everyone has character flaws, anon. You just have to recognize them and try to improve. If you are an alcoholic, you try to stop drinking. If you have an ungovernable temper, you try to learn to keep your cool.
After the flashback ends will you tell us why Etherwing and us are at odds in the present? Or is that even true anymore? Is the present better now, because we did better in the past this time?
With alcoholic who stops to drink. I have enough experience to tell you this is way more than mere oh so glorified self-improvement.
Similar thing is when it comes to mental diseases. Temper management is more easier to achieve. You just used a bad example imo.
I understand why you might want to put those two examples in different categories, but they don't feel that different to me. I'm fifteen years sober on nothing but sheer force of will.
Now I'm not saying you can willpower your way past being a schizophrenic, but for addiction it is possible (at least for some people).
I don't want to eradicate Etherbreeze's temper I just want her to not be uncontrollable around Etherwing. I can't help but to think Etherwing triggers an extreme response because she's in our head and it's a response she's looking for.
>it's a response she's looking for
Clearly. I just wish we knew why she wants to piss us off. It also doesn't help that we're an easy target for her taunts because of our temper.
She taunts us because ???? and we respond with anger because we have a temper. We either need to find out what ???? is and convince Etherwing that it's not worth attacking us over, or learn to control ourselves around her when she's being a bitch.
I love those pencil crayons though.
While I don't want to suck your dick too much because other anons seem to be going a fine job of that already I want to say that this is some of the best writing I've seen in any CYOA and the fact you read Pleeny's stuff too makes you mah nigga.
Seriously? All right, shows what I know.
Yes. Now that we know she exists we can finish this spell together.
Alternatively, maybe Etherwing can hold her magical breath for a minute and allow through 99% of our cutie mark magic for just long enough to knock this spell out of the park.
No, no, no. We're doing exactly what they told us to do. I'd rather not risk our practicum because we want to show off. Ya'know, not counting that we're going to "suplex" the haywire spell.
Why hold back? Time police work to our advantage here, since we know we succeed at the spell. And with that assurance, I say we make it so the bird is under Etherwing's control instead of ours. Let her be the bird and fly in the real world, if only for a minute. Grant her that kindness.
If you really don't want to take the risk, I won't insist. I just thought it might be a nice thing to do for Etherwing, if possible.
At any rate, I'm really liking how Etherbreeze has been shown to be capable of both great anger and great kindness. We're kind of like Fluttershy in that regard.
We were kind to her because we can sympathize and she is a part of us. Comparing Etherbreeze to the element of kindness is a tad extreme and I honestly don't see how you draw that conclusion.
I don't mean to shit only your every point I've just been trying to give my take on things with a healthy dose of cynicism. Switching tracks so fast to "FUCK YEAH ETHERWING!" has been jarring for me and I'd rather wait and see the rest of the story as to not put the cart in front of the horse.
I think you're reading too far into my comparison. All I meant was that they both have a temper, and they both are capable of being forgiving. That is literally all I meant. And I don't feel like you're trying to shit on everything I say, you just happen to disagree with me.
I think the reason that switching to "fuck yeah Etherwing" wasn't jarring for me is because she turned out to be a person. A hallucination is hard to feel sympathetic for because it is just a thing, and apparently just a harmful thing. Then she turned out to not be a thing but a person. She was a real person who wanted to be alive and wanted to give us back our magic that she had never meant to steal. Those are both understandable sympathetic goals. She never meant any harm, so I forgive her of everything. I judge people by their motivations.
And while future Etherwing may turn out to be a bitch to us, the current one is innocent of everything. I don't find forgiving her hard at all.
Due to the 'flashback' nature of things, the railroad is gonna intensify. I've been trying to give you all some say in things, but since these next posts are critical to the plot the tracks have to be laid so we can arrive on schedule and in one piece when the future arrives.
> Seconds, minutes or hours pass.
> You're not sure, nor do you care.
> Eventually the throb of powerful emotions calms.
> You step back, both you and Etherwing on the stage.
> No fear or anger fans your passion.
> Neither is there mania to lift your heart or depression to drag it down.
> Instead you're filled with an unshakable sense of contentment.
> It's a calm that has been absent from your life for so long, you forgot you could even hold such a feeling.
> So you smile.
> Then the fleeting moment passes and you remember the true nature of the stage you stand on.
> The roiling flame, encased in a fractured crystal bubble, looms behind you.
> In the audience frozen in time your family and their peers watch, oblivious to the impending disaster.
> The dean and even Twilight in all her knowledge smile in the false knowledge of their student's ability.
> Had you the tears you might cry, or rage, or scream.
> But your emotions were exhausted and no dolorous outburst came.
> Why did Etherbreeze show herself to you now?
> On the brink of your own undoing?
> You look up at her.
> She looks back with a confused but genuine smile.
> You turn away from it and let out your resignation with a sigh.
Etherbreeze: "If that's everything, I should be on my way."
> You walk away, from Etherwing and the scene.
> Some how you know that if you keep walking you'll return to real life.
> To the crises on hand and the troubles beyond it.
> Etherwing says something but its faded, just like the imaginary world that floows away.
> Then as the last colors fade away and you feel the tingling sensation of reality, you feel as though your falling.
> Your return to the stage once more with Etherwing.
Etherwing: "-ou need to wait!"
> Her words find clarity mid sentence as the imaginary world returns to your senses.
> You're not angry, just mildly annoyed that she's keeping you from getting the disaster over with.
Etherwing: "Because I want to help you. To help us! That's why I wanted to talk with you."
> You look up at her then.
> Her eyes are wide and she has a hoof held out, as though she though you were about to fly away to your death.
> In a way, you were.
> Going back to a terrible situation without even trying to find a solution.
> But with the cold grip of fatalism around your heart, you found it dificult to find hope in her words.
> Dificult, but not impossible.
> When you say nothing in protest, she seizes the opportunity.
Etherwing: "I know I'm keeping you from your talent. Even with your full talent you wouldn't be able to fix this."
> You start to turn away.
Etherwing: "But! But if I had a cutie mark, if I had a source of power then we could fix this. We could make it look like it wasn't our fault, and stop the spell from hurting anyone!"
> You turn back again, far more quickly than you had turned away.
> Still drained, you find yourself more bewildered by her comment than anything else.
Etherbreeze: "Get a cutiemark?"
> Etherwing nods her wings open, excitedly enthusing you.
Etherwing: "Yes, a cutiemark! If I take Emberspark's we can stop this whole thing from happening!"
> You take pause.
> Dark magic, the thought is enough to spark a modicum of emotion.
> It is a week adversion you feel, but it is strong enough to raise your caution.
Etherbreeze: "Take? As in dark magic? That's wrong, We'd be caught, Princess Twilight, her highness of friendship and the arcane, is literally
> Etherwing shakes her head, stepping up next to you.
Etherwing: "No, she wouldn't. We're already casting a dual spell, our magic is already synchronized with his. With that kind of bond already established, affecting him with that kind of magic would be unnoticeable."
> Her words are not lies, or guesses.
> The knowledge she is using is yours, and her theory is sound.
> The most identifiable aspect of dark magic, is creating a connection between two souls.
> If one was already there though, the rest of the magic would be easily concealable.
Etherbreeze: "But, she's not just anypony. She's faced dark magic before, she would see it!"
Etherwing: "I've lived my entire life hiding my interactions with souls and cutie-marks. The core of my existence is that kind of interaction. Meanwhile the only kind of magic that she's seen of the sorts, is the most flashy and obvious kind. This is something I know I can do for us."
> You want to say she's being too confident in her skills, but her argument like her theory is sound.
> Twilight's experience with dark magic is limited to the theatrically obvious practice of Sombra.
> She was also notoriously optimistic of others' morals.
Etherbreeze: "Even if no one saw it, ponies would eventually realize what would happened. Cutie marks don't just disappear!"
Etherwing: "They do when somepony fails a dual-cast."
> Once again, she's right.
> You knew well from study the dangers of dual-cast spells.
> There would be no reason for suspicion in the absence of a cutie mark.
> Etherwing shakes her head as you struggle to find your words.
Etherwing: "But what? Emberspark isn't even your friend. Why should you suffer humiliation for the sake of a pompous jerk like him?"
Etherbreeze: "But it's wrong."
Etherwing: "Wrong? We CAN stop this spell from hurting everyone in the audience, even the ponies in the stage wings waiting to perform! You
would put them in jepordy just so that braggart MIGHT be able to?"
> Etherwing stares at you, waiting for your next response.
Etherbreeze: "I... Twilight could st-"
Etherwing: "She can't stop it, she wouldn't have time. This spell is falling apart so fast that she might not even have time to protect
> You putter, yet all the comes out is empty syllables.
> Etherwing too, seems stricken by the same desperation you feel.
Etherwing: "If you don't do this, and if we some how survive, you'll be more miserable than you were those first two years at this academy.
I'll have to live every day knowing that I had the capacity to stop it, but couldn't. I want to save our lives. Please, let me save them!"
> You don't want to be miserable.
> You don't want to put ponies at risk
> You don't want to face your mother again as an accident in fact.
> You don't want to find out if what she said about father was true.
> You don't want to let him down.
> You don't want to force your younger brother to live in the shame of your shadow.
> You don't want to give your older sister satisfaction.
> You don't want to betray the trust the dean put in you.
> You don't want to see Emberspark in all his gloating find glory in your pain.
> You don't want to the path that inaction would bring, to ever exist.
> Her plea empties you.
> You're tired.
> Tired of arguing.
> Tired of worrying.
> Tired of being stuck.
> With that admission, you feel strangely at ease.
Aaand thank god that's over with. That inner-head 4 post extravaganza was probably the hardest thing I've had to write up so far. Apologies if there's any typos, I'm literally running on fumes but wanted to get something posted for you all for the day.
On the edge of my seat. Good shit mang.
This is very well written and exciting, but I am still incredibly disappointed in Etherwing for suggesting this and in Etherbreeze for agreeing to this. We're going to have to make returning Emberspark's cutie mark a long term goal.
It's a shame we're on a railroad now, because otherwise I would suggest telling people that we had taken Emberspark's cutie mark after we save them all. We could explain that we panicked and took it to try and save everyone's life, but now that the danger is passed we need help to return it.
So we're going to steal a pony's cutiemark. One of the very parts of his being. If I recall correctly, this is used as a punishment for wrongdoers who are really fucked up. Like that one mare we read about, skilled in doing magically enchanted tattoos.
We are literally treating him like a worst kind of criminal.
I am disappointed. Really disappointed.
Me too. It's especially disappointing because we just finished being a good person by understanding and sympathizing with Etherwing's plight, and then we go straight from that into willingly doing dark magic at the expense of others.
I wish we could have kept trying to be the good guy, but I guess we have no choice any more.
Out of curiosity, how would you have handled this situation if we had elected to play out our dark secret at the beginning? Because I'm pretty sure that 95% of the players would say "no" to committing an act of hideous evil.
History is full of acts of despicable evil committed by people who thought that it served the greater good, because they thought that the ends justify the means. Nothing good can come from evil but it's end.
Did you guys forget that we chose dark secret as one of our character trait. If we didn't get railroaded 95% of the people in this CYOA would of had us killed for trying to save a failed spell without Etherwing help. yes what we have to do is cruel, but it the only way to stop the spell from exploding and giving everyone third degree burns. we should be keeping the whole stealing your cutie mark a secret to everyone all the way to our grave.
Okay, first off
>chose dark secret
No we didn't. We rolled it. But more importantly
>we should be keeping the whole stealing your cutie mark a secret to everyone all the way to our grave
I have never disagreed with anything anyone has ever suggested in a CYOA more than I disagree with that statement. You can make the argument that we have to do this to save people's lives, but the right thing to do afterwards is to tell people what you did and try to get Emberspark's cutie mark back. Hiding it so you don't get in trouble is cowardly, self-serving, and wrong.
I have to point out that what you're saying we do didn't fucking happen. Telling everyone what happened would put Etherbreeze/wing at risk since we have illegal tatts AND might fail our practicum.
>trying to save a failed spell without Etherwing's help
I think the plan was to try and save it with her help, but you're right that it probably still wouldn't be enough. You're right that we need to take his cutie mark, but we should do everything we can to give it back afterwards, either in the flashback or in the present. Keeping it after we save everyone would be wrong.
I understand the hold giving Emberspark's cutie mark back but the problem of telling everyone about it is that we might get exile and giving our family a bad reputation or force us to lose the tattoo with would kill etherwing after we forgave her
at lest this guy>>26404456 gets it
It doesn't put Etherwing or the tatts at risk if we don't mention their part in it and say it was all us. And we already know that we don't fail the practicum because this is a flashback. I just want to try and do the right thing with anything that we don't know how it ends. Most of the things in the flashback haven't been mentioned in the present yet, and can therefore still go either way.
None of that is a possible consequence since Etherwing exists in the present and our family is still respected. You are guarding against a catastrophe that literally cannot occur.
Okay, yes, clearly those things cannot happen, but Etherbreeze doesn't know that. Maybe she is just mistakenly worried that they will happen, so she lives with her shame.
Even so, we could still try to give it back in the present.
>maybe because we never told anyone
Yes, maybe. Your explanation is only one of several, though. Many different paths could lead to the present.
I agree, it's illegal. The right thing to do after breaking the law is confess. "I thought it was the only way to save everyone" is a sympathetic motivation.
I'm not sure Etherbreeze has it in her for that level of selfless dedication to the truth in the name of justice. I think that living with her shame like >>26404543 said is more likely.
I'd love to be proven wrong though.
Fine. I'd be disappointed if she turns out to be to cowardly to own up to it, but I can at least understand why she would choose not to.
I still prefer "always do the right thing no matter what the consequences".
ITT: freshman philosophy majors debate whether it is more important to do the right thing or get the right result.
You both realize that we no longer get a say in which one Etherbreeze chooses, right? We just have to wait and see now.
> Comes into practicum still shaken by her interactions with her Mother.
> Deals with the frustration of being with a braggart
> Deals with the shock of being tested by a Princess
> Deals with the panic of fucking up a spell
> Deals with the WTF of finding out about Etherwing
> Deals with forgiving her and having to literally rewrite her memories
> Deals with having to return to the hell waiting for her on stage
After all that dealing and being emotionally exhausted (which was both implied and explicitly pointed out several times), she still finds the inner strength to try and question Etherwing's plan. But having already been to the point of giving up and accepting fate (thus acting in bad faith because she isn't controlling her own destiny), she finally breaks and loses the will to DEAL anymore (accepting Etherwing's plan despite feeling it was wrong, thus acting in bad faith and letting someone else decide for her).
Obviously I want to root for Etherbreeze. But her being overwhelmed by Etherwing's personality and conviction after going through so much shit just makes sense. And it means Etherbreeze isn't the Mary Sue we worried she might be.
Some of those things you mentioned are more serious than others, but I understand why it all added up and overwhelmed her. It makes sense that in that state Etherwing could convince her to try dark magic on the argument that it was the only way to save everyone. I can understand that, and even sympathize with it. In her mind she had no choice.
What I find harder to accept is what I am worried might be coming afterwards, that she might be okay with lying and pretending this never happened and ruining Emberspark's life to avoid the ramifications of what she did.
If you do something bad, but then you feel bad about it afterwards and try to make it right, that's forgivable. That's Sunset Shimmer's story, for example. But the repentance and attempts to make amends are important.
>What I find harder to accept is what I am worried might be coming afterwards, that she might be okay with lying and pretending this never happened and ruining Emberspark's life to avoid the ramifications of what she did.
That's the entire point of the dark secret. Wether you like it or not, that's what Etherbreeze has already done.
I'll admit, you make a convincing argument for why Etherbreeze would go along with Etherwing's plan. I think that she probably should do it, just because it makes more sense for her character at this point in time. What she does afterwards could go either way and still be in character, though. Still rooting for her to tell the truth about the spell, although obviously not about Etherwing.
Also, trying to always do the right thing doesn't make you a Mary Sue, it just makes you a good person, and sometimes failing to do the right thing doesn't automatically mean you aren't a Mary Sue, it just means you're an imperfect person.
Again, you're both arguing for what you think happened when we just don't know. Just wait and see.
Maybe we cast dark magic, never told anyone, Emberspark's life was ruined, and our dark secret is that.
Maybe we cast dark magic, admitted to it, Emberspark got his cutie mark back, the whole thing was swept under the rug, and our dark secret is that.
You could both be right or you could both be wrong. Let's wait and see.
>Maybe we cast dark magic, never told anyone, Emberspark's life was ruined, and our dark secret is that.
I'm almost sure this is the case. It simply sounds like a really dark secret to have.
I'm actually kind of conflicted on this whole thing. If it's the first one then we're a worse person but our secret is pretty damn safe. If it's the second one then we're a better person but there's a lot more ways that our secret could get out.
Both present different plot opportunities in the future. I guess I'll just wait and see.
>I'm almost sure this is the case.
I am aware that is what you think. I was just pointing out to everyone on both sides that however sure you might be, we don't really know for certain yet. Both sides should stop insisting that it has to turn out their way and just wait to see what the GM writes.
How about a compromise? Etherwing wants to come clean and tell everything, but Etherbreeze is too afraid to and can't go thorough with it.
Both viewpoints get represented, plus it explains why she is so disgusted with us in the future.
>Etherwing seems like she would be the most scared to let anyone know what happened
So Etherwing was the one who wanted to keep it quiet, we told anyway, and Etherwing is mad in the future because we made her give the cutie mark back! It all makes sense now, plus it means--
>I get you're antsy but let's just wait for QM to write.
Okay, fine. No more conspiracy theories. I just hope that there's at least one or two more twists to this tale.
> Most of the things in the flashback haven't been mentioned in the present yet, and can therefore still go either way.
I'd have to disagree. Just because they haven't been mentioned, doesn't mean they have been taken into account. We don't really know how much planning behind the scenes, or how much of what's happening has been established since before we even began the flashback.
>We don't really know how much planning behind the scenes, or how much of what's happening has been established since before we even began the flashback.
I think you misunderstood that poster. The fact that we don't know is exactly WHY it could go either way. We don't know what the GM has decided on. We have to wait and seee.