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Here at the End of all Things. · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
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The Bonds You Choose, and Those You Leave Behind
Parish, Frederick, and Beauty stared across the table, mouths hanging open as they tried to process what they had just heard.

Octavia, for her part, allowed them whatever time they needed to formulate their responses as she neatly gathered pasta, carrot, mushroom, and garlic cream sauce into an easy bite. It would probably take them a good minute or two to really come to grips with the news.

“You can’t be serious,” Parish said, as always the first one to find his tongue.

“I am entirely serious.” She popped the forkful into her mouth. It was no wonder everypony raved about Marea. They would have to come back one day.

“Seriously?” Beauty asked, her voice far too loud, but that was the curse of a pony with her lung power.

“Most seriously.” Octavia gathered up another bite and considered ordering a second glass of wine. If this is how the conversation was going to go, it would be a long dinner.

“You can’t be serious,” Frederick said, echoing Parish’s sentiment perfectly, all the way down to the incredulous tone.

“Parish already said that. Do you want to try again?”

Not even the slightest hint of a smile played between them. She, at least, had been amused.

“Octavia, darling, you know that our reputation as ponies of class is part of our appeal, yes?” Parish asked, leaning across the table. “It isn’t just that we’re talented, it’s that we are refined. Sophisticated. Part of the Canterlot elite. The sort of ponies that other ponies aspire to emulate. We are the creme of the musical crop.”

“We are,” Octavia agreed, savoring another bite.

The other three exchanged glances. Glances that said many things. Most notably that Beauty and Frederick were not willing to be the ones to say what was apparently on all three of their minds. Not that she blamed them. Had she been in there horseshoes, she would not want to be the one making an ass out of herself either.

Parish drained his wine glass, probably banking on the idea that a little liquid courage might give him the strength to say what was on his mind.

Honestly, she wished he’d just hurry it up.

“It’s one thing for you to have a little... tête-à-tête while vacationing out in the country. That is practically Canterlot tradition. But marriage?”

Octavia set her fork on her plate. The little clink of metal on porcelain seemed painfully loud at the silent table. “That is generally how things progress when you decide that you love somepony, yes.”

The ice in her voice caused Parish to blanch, but, to his – or the wine’s – credit, he persevered. “You must understand, Octavia. You being so closely associated with a… with the… you getting married to a pony so... far outside our social standing would lower the stock of the quartet in Canterlot’s eyes.”

“Yes,” Frederick agreed, nodding along.

“And, right now, we really can’t afford to deal anything that might damage our reputation. We’ve only just recovered from that catastrophe at the Gala. Something else so soon and it might really be the end for us.”

Beauty said nothing, instead choosing to express her agreement with the others by very pointedly not looking at Octavia.

“Perhaps if you just waited a while longer?” Parish asked without hope. “After all, what is marriage besides putting a name on something you already have? What’s that thing that ponies say? Love need not stand on ceremony? Why make any more of it than you already have?”

Frederick continued to nod, while Beauty finally added her own hesitant noise of agreement.

Octavia savored the last bite of her pasta, the subtle bite of the garlic lingering on her tongue. “So, I take it I shouldn’t be expecting any sort of congratulations? ‘We’re happy for you’? ‘When’s the wedding’?”

The three of them endeavored to look at least a little bit ashamed.

“Octavia, you know we’re happy for you,” Parish protested. “It’s just… well… this isn’t about you. It’s about the quartet. You might only concern yourself with the music, but I’m the one getting us work. This sort of scandal will make a difference.”

“This isn’t a scandal. This is me marrying somepony I love.” She couldn’t really muster much enthusiasm in her defense, though. The end of the conversation was already in sight.

Parish, on the other hoof, seemed to be gaining momentum. “It is a scandal, whether or not you think it is, and it’s one we can’t afford right now. I’m sorry.”

All three of them flinched as Octavia set her hooves on the table. “So, I suppose I should say it has been a pleasure playing with you all?”

Swan Song laughed, the normally pleasant sound grating in Octavia’s ears. “That mare you met when we took that two-week excursion to Ponyville? Really? I had heard rumors that you might still be seeing her, but I never would have expected this.”

Octavia sipped at her cup of tea, enjoying the relaxing hint of jasmine. “Well, it’s true.”

She laughed again. “Oh, my poor, dear Octavia. I understand that feeling. I really do. Why, that farmhand I introduced you to? He was was quite the stallion, and I certainly would not have minded spending more time with him, but the time comes when we must be serious.”

“I am being serious, Swan,” Octavia said. That particular word was starting to irritate her.

“Oh, I’m sure you think you are.” Swan smiled and pushed a plate of orange pastries at her. “Teacake? I got them from the new shop down the way. Rave reviews.”

“Thank you.” The little pastry proved to be sickeningly sweet, just the way Swan liked.

“Like I was saying, though: a marriage like that has no chance of succeeding. Even if we ignore the very real possibility that she’s just some sort of gem digger—”

Octavia chose not to dignify that with a response.

“—how would it work? Will you be teaching her how to blend into high society? Proper etiquette at dinner parties? How to dress?”

“She’s not a yak, Swan. I imagine she could handle Canterlot.”

“I think you’ve been spending too much time away from home, Octavia. Even if you trained her to behave—”

“She is not a dog either!” Octavia snapped, her teacup spilling as her hoof hit the table with far more force than intended.

Swan levitated a napkin over to dab up the mess. “You’re right. A dog wouldn’t get invited to dinner parties just so ponies could gawk at her.”

Octavia opened her mouth to protest, but stopped herself. No matter how much she wanted to pretend that the ponies of Canterlot were the better breed they claimed to be, Swan was right. They could play their parts perfectly, and they still might end up as nothing more than a sideshow, the eternal targets of endless ikdle gossip. “Sorry.”

“It is no trouble at all dear,” she said, refilling Octavia’s teacup. “I have gotten quite used to your recent eccentricities. But you see what I mean? Your manners have already started to slip. Could you imagine if that little outburst had happened at one of Silver Frame’s parties? You would never hear the end of it. It is better that… well, as they say, what happens in Las Pegasus stays Las Pegasus.”

Was it possible that Octavia had ever ever been this shallow and vapid? “What if I don’t care what the rest of Canterlot thinks?”

Swan laughed again. “Oh, don’t pretend you’re above all of this, Octavia. Of course you care. You’re one of us. One of Equestria’s movers and shakers. The ponies with a direct line to the princesses. Your family alone owns… what, a third of northern Equestria?”

“Forty percent,” she corrected, entirely on reflex.

“See?” Swan said, giving her a knowing look that caused Octavia’s cheeks to heat. She then offered her another teacake. “I am sure she is a wonderful pony and you had a lot of fun with her, but Canterlot is full of wonderful ponies – ponies who would not leave you a social pariah.”

Octavia shook her head. “Fine. Then we’ll stay in Ponyville. Nopony there would care.”

“Oh, I can just see it now! Octavia in rustic-chic. Or would you go with street-chic?” Swan tittered inanely and clapped her hooves. “Either would look positively wonderful on you. Oh, why not both? You could wear overalls and dye your mane to match hers? Wouldn’t that be something?”

This time Octavia managed to only jostle the teacups as she placed her hooves on the table and pushed her chair back. “Thank you for the lovely teatime, Swan.”

“Don’t be like that, Octavia. It was a joke.”

“Oh, well that’s all right then,” Octavia said, her voice laced with enough sing-song sarcasm to kill an ursa major. “After all, why wouldn’t it bother me that my friend considers my happiness a joke?”

Swan rolled her eyes. “Really? Your happiness? I would give it a year, tops, before you got bored with her and started to regret it.”

The table rocked as Octavia almost threw her chair back into place. “Then I won’t waste your time by sending you an invitation.”

Octavia’s mother sat on the couch opposite her, sipping from her favorite silver-rimmed porcelain espresso cup. She had hardly said anything since Octavia had been shown in, no doubt waiting for the delivery of whatever news it was that would bring her not-so-prodigal daughter home unannounced.

For her part, Octavia continued to stall. “This tea is delightful, Mother. Rize?”

“Nilgiri,” she said. “You’ve lost your sense of taste.”

“Ah. Yes, you’re right. That it’s Nilgiri.” Octavia’s eyes fell to the floor. It was probably not too late to just lie and claim that she had wanted to check on her mother’s health before she left for another extended vacation. Another conversation like the last couple might be too much.

“I suppose that is inevitable when you spend all your time slumming it, though.”

Octavia started. “What?”

Her mother snorted. “Do you really think that I don’t know what you’ve been up to, Melody? It is bad enough to have my only daughter wasting her time fooling around with a mare, but some ex-Manehattan club tramp at that? Your father must be rolling over in his grave.”

“She is not a tramp,” Octavia manged in what was, against all odds, a level tone.

“How many other ponies has she told you she’s slept with?”

“Mother!” Octavia protested, her face starting to burn.

“That is not a number, Melody.”

“And I will not be giving you one!”

She snorted again as she finished her espresso and returned it to the silver tray on the coffee table that separated them. “Well, let us hope you haven’t caught anything.” Before Octavia could think of how to respond with anything more coherent than screaming, her mother continued, “So, what is this nonsense that I hear about marriage? Has the gossip mill been running wild, or have you completely lost your mind?”

Octavia’s hooves shook as she held the teacup in front of her, trying to decide whether she should put it down to avoid breaking it or continue trying to drink in the hopes that it would give her enough time to gather her thoughts and answer in a civil manner.

Lacking an answer, Octavia’s mother provided her own, “Completely lost your mind, then.”

“I plan to propose to her the next time I am in Ponyville, yes.”

“That is unacceptable,” her mother said with all the assurance in the world that just saying it made it true. “We possess one of the grandest lineages in Equestria. If you think I will welcome that tramp into our family, then you are sorely mistaken.”

The teacup fell to the floor and shattered, forgotten as Octavia brought both hooves down on the coffee table hard enough to crack the surface. “Stop calling her that!”

“Shall I not call a spade a spade?”

“You don’t know anything about who she is, what kind of pony she is, what she’s done, what she’s like…” Octavia’s forelegs shook as she leaned against the table, unwilling to let the tears building behind her eyes free. “Why can’t any of you just be happy for me? I have found somepony who loves me as much as I love them, somepony that I want to spend the rest of my life with, but the only thing that matters to any of you is the propriety of it!”

Her mother stared at the table for a long moment before she met Octavia’s eyes again. “That is because we are trying to look out for you, Melody. Do you really think this little fling of yours will have some storybook ending?”

Taking a deep breath, Octavia squeezed her eyes shut. She wouldn’t cry.

“No. She’ll leave you once she has what she wants, and by then you’ll have burned every bridge you have here in Canterlot.”

“She. Is. Not. Like. That.” The tick-tock of the ancient grandfather clock pounded in Octavia’s ears, thunderous in the silence that followed her statement.

Her mother eventually sighed. “Melody, let me make this easy for you: it is either her or me. If you insist on continuing this insanity, then I will not have anything to do with it. It is as simple as that.”

No matter how hard Octavia tried, she couldn’t stop the tears any longer. Her voice hitched. “Fine.”

Vinyl blinked as she stood in the doorway, cerise eyes gleaming like gems in the moonlight, her mane even more of an unruly mess than usual. Her magic gripped the headphones she was wearing and pushed them down to her neck. Despite the surprise, it only took a second for her face to break into a manic grin. “Yo! Tavi! I thought you weren’t coming ‘till next week.”

“I had a sudden change of plans,” Octavia said, fidgeting as the overstuffed saddlebags and cello case pressed awkwardly against her spine and ribs. “I’m sorry I couldn’t call ahead. If you’d rather I find somewhere else to stay tonight—”

“Tavi, love, its fine. What kind of marefriend would I be if I didn’t welcome you into my bed whenever you wanted?” She winked at her as she levitated the cello case off Octavia’s back and deposited it inside. “Sweet Celestia you brought a lot of stuff. You planning on staying forever this time?”

Octavia laughed, despite feeling the faintest hints of tears threatening the corners of her eyes. “Maybe.”

“Well, no better time to start then the present! Don’t just stand there, come on, come in! Oh. And, um. And pretend the mess isn’t here.” Vinyl’s grin went sheepish, even as she chuckled to herself. “I’ve been super busy the last couple weeks, so I’ve sorta let things get out of control. I was totally gonna clean before you showed up. And shop.” She made a noise in the back of her throat. “Right. You eat already? Because I really don’t have anything besides the mac and cheese I was gonna make. It should be enough for both of us, but it’s the instant—”

Dumping her saddlebags on the floor, Octavia didn’t let her finish. She didn’t care. Wrapping her forelegs around Vinyl’s neck, she pulled the unicorn close and kissed her. There was only the briefest moment of resistance as Vinyl tried to figure out what was happening, but once she did, she returned the gesture with equal enthusiasm.

Octavia eventually broke the kiss, but only because was she was sure that one of them was going to suffocate if she didn’t.

The unicorn panted, beaming that way only Vinyl knew how to beam. “So... that’s a big yes on mac and cheese?”

Octavia gave her another, much more restrained, kiss on the muzzle even as her heart pounded with wild abandon in her chest. “Vinyl, will you marry me?”

She blinked, then stared at Octavia, her mouth hanging open for just a moment as the words no doubt worked their way through her brain. “Uh... yes? I mean, yeah. Yes!”
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#1 · 1
· · >>Zaid Val'Roa >>AndrewRogue
Nice job infuriating me Andrew, lol.

The drama was handled incredibly well, although these stories tend to just... yeah. Infuriate. I went to a private school with a lot of trust fund kids, and while I never attracted any specific ire, particularly not for any relationships I had, this attitude and blithe elitism permanently enrages me.

I did notice a spelling error or two but I shall forgive you due to the nature of the round. Didn’t break me from the story, whose strength is solidified by how each progressive scene allowed the vein in my forehead to stretch the capacity of the PSI it can withstand.

that last bit made me miss my boyfriend so much you bastard ;_;
#2 · 3
· · >>AndrewRogue
A dose of forbidden love always soothes a weary spirit.

This was a lovely tale, and kudos on making me invested on Octavia's dilemma. I agree with >>regidar in that the drama was handled in a believeable way. However, I wish we could have seen a bit more out of the encounters Octavia had with other ponies, if not in amount, but also in variety. I find it odd how everyone is just against the idea of Octavia marrying someone beneath her and more concerned with social standing. I can see why Octavia's mom and her agent(?) would think that way, but what about her fellow musicians? Parish comes across as a bit caring, yeah, but he ultimately aligns with everyone else's opinion.

Why not have someone she knows be genuinely happy for her, but still lament all she'll lose due to her engagement with Vinyl? Or hell, someone who supports her choice in spite of what society will say? Sure, this may make the feeling of alienation seem less strong, but as it stands you've explored essentially the same conflict three times in a row. "I love Vinyl." "She's beneath you" "I still love her and I'll marry her" "Curse your free spirited love!"

Having Octavia be confronted with different attitudes would let us explore more about her feelings and why she's willing to lose everything in her life in order to be with the one she loves. I say this because this story is clearly banking on ScratchTavia being a known ship. If this story remained the same but you changed Vinyl with, say, Applejack, the reader would be left wondering what is it that they find in each other that makes Octavia want to throw everything aside for the sake of love. Within the story, we're only told that they love each other and get a few glimpses about how they met, but that's it.

If you're going to tell me that this relationship is more important to Octavia than her family and her career, then make me care about that relationship so by the end I'll also be rooting for their love to triumph.

Oh, well. Sorry if I was rough, I only complain because I care, and I can see this story being much greater with just a little bit of love.(heh) I still liked this quite a lot, author.
#3 · 1
· · >>AndrewRogue
My synopsis:

Octavia's family and friends don't approve of her love life.

Overall thoughts:

This is glorious in its simplicity.
It's just characters talking, but I like that – when the characters seem real and their conversations seem genuine.
I thought it had literally one spelling error: a kind of "last-brick at Jiayu pass" thing, but then I found a second one.

Octavia's friends and relatives all come off as real douche ponies, vain and shallow, without seeming over-the-top villainous.
Very natural back-and-forth conversation.
I thought there was a nice progression / slide of Octavia's mood as the piece progressed. It could have just been the same thing told 3 times and it was not.
Vinyl: an earnest port in a sea of phony ponies.
Octavia: I don't know why she loves Vinyl but I know she does.

The text must flow!
Seriously, this is just so smooth and flowy. It has the perfect amount of "set dressing" for this kind of writing.

I have nothing really bad to say!
Oh, wait, you used an Oxford comma that one time. I'm afraid you're dead to me now. That's a shame.
Hey, other readers? Did you want action? Well, tough. It's just Octy getting emotionally thwacked repeatedly.


The lesser of two evils.

It's straightforward and simple and maybe it is a bit weird that nopony Octy knows thinks she should go through with it. But as a concept I'm fine with all her friends being dicks and her ditching them for love. It's kinda sweet. They might all be right, marrying Vinyl might be a terrible idea. I don't care. Not everything has to be complex.

And I'm a sucker for nice prose.

Except that comma.

Fuck that comma.
#4 · 2
· · >>AndrewRogue
I liked the writing in this story. It fit elegant Octavia, and the emphasis on tastes of food added, if you can forgive the pun, spice to the story and caught my interest. I really enjoyed the story, but I would have enjoyed seeing more of Vinyl and their relationship. All we have at this point is Vinyl welcoming Tavi (and the warmth and genuineness of that welcome emphasized the difference between Vinyl and the other ponies Tavi has interacted with, so I do approve of that. I liked this line particularly: "“Tavi, love, its fine. What kind of marefriend would I be if I didn’t welcome you into my bed whenever you wanted?”' unfortunately it's only a few lines though), apologizing for the mess and lack of food, then getting kissed and proposed to by Octavia. The welcome made me lean towards liking the relationship; the mess and lack of food and general habits of Vinyl (they come across as general habits at least to me when we know they have a distance relationship and she was planning on cleaning before Tavi came, and we have no other information as to her habits) made me worried that she was different enough from Octavia that it was going to make things really rough. Could Octavia be comfortable in a mess, as prim and controlled as she was through the rest of the story?

To gather my thoughts and summarize the awkward blurb above:
I liked the story, I liked the prose, I really enjoyed the events, but I wish we'd seen more of Vinyl and her relationship with Octavia, because it would have made the story the stronger for it. Even if the scene we had was extended, with more clues to their relationship added in like the welcome Vinyl gave Octavia.
#5 · 5
· · >>GaPJaxie >>AndrewRogue
I'm going to be the bad guy here, I'm afraid?

Look, before we even start -- this is well-written. The dialogue flows, the prose is good, this is a well-constructed story. From a technical point of view I legit have nothing to say, which is a damn good thing. I don't know how many stories you've written, author, but this clearly shows that you know how to write one. If you've written a lot, hoo boy, does it show, congrats. If you haven't, hoo boy, it doesn't show, congrats too. Really good writing here.

But, story-wise? Eeeeeh?

I mean, this is just -- snotty ponies are snotty. Vinyl isn't snotty. Hell, she's portrayed in the least snotty way possible, with an added "gee what kind of girlfriend I wouldn't be if I didn't [ACT OF KINDNESS HERE] let's have mac and cheese" moment on top of it all. This a really, really predictable story, told in a really, really obvious way.

I'm not gonna call for subtlety because this story doesn't need subtlety. Vinyl being inconditionally supportive and outright explaining how she's the polar opposite of every other pony in the story to date is as subtle as a hammer to the face, because subtlety would make the story worse. Maybe something a bit less heavy-handed would've been slightly less jarring, but the idea is solid.

However, I do think this needs some more originality. Within three seconds of starting this story I knew exactly what was going to happen. The conflict is one I've seen, read, and heard a million times already -- both outside of ponyfic and in ponyfic alone. Especially regarding these two.

"Octavia's family/friends don't approve of Vinyl" tends to be a cliché subplot in most stories about these two, so as a main plot?

Eeeh. Again: really well-written. This is not a bad story at all. It is, however, really unoriginal. I say that if you added something to the story to make it stand out it would be pretty damn good, because the technical level is absolutely there and -- usually -- that is by far the hardest thing to get right.

But, as-is, this is more of an exercise in writing than a story per se. It adds nothing new to the table; it's readable but pretty forgettable, and we know what's going to happen within three seconds of the story. Those are pretty big flaws, sadly, so I'd say to me it's a definite mid-tier. Won't go to the bottom of the list any time soon because it's well written, but not to the top either.

I'm kinda feeling guilty about writing this? I don't want you to be bummed out, author, 'cause obviously a lot of effort (or a lot of skill) went into the story. The scenes flow well, the characters are well-defined, the prose is good, etc. It's just the storytelling, the plot, that's lacking. So, hey, you've pretty much almost there -- you just need to add some more flavor, something to surprise the reader, and you'll have a knock-out.
#6 · 3
· · >>AndrewRogue
An OctaScratch entry, let's see what it has in store.
*Reading done*
*Heavy sigh*

Okay, so, all the tropes for an OctaScratch fic are there:
- Noble ponies are dickheads? Check
- The Gala damaged Octavia's reputation? Check
- There is not a single pony that side with Octavia? Check
- Glorious lesbian scene? Again, check.

That doesn't make the story bad per se, especially since you have a solid prose and a great pace, but it still makes it unoriginal. There is nothing new here to bring a new light on their relationship, or the way it is described.

And that makes it hard for me to rank it, because on one hand, the unoriginality feels like you took a straightforward shortcut to please readers, but on the other hand, the writing, as mentionned by others, is fucking great (the beginning of the last scene worked so well for me). So I'm left wondering how this two can coexist, and my guess is that it's the first time you're trying to write this ship.

Even with that in mind, I don't know.
I'll probably rank it pretty high, because I believe the first half should be ranked based on writing skills, and only the very top should be sorted according to taste.

And this is not Andrew's.
#7 · 4
· · >>AndrewRogue
I like the quality of the characterizations, but the antagonists here are monodimensional and too over-the-top. You really should dial back a notch on how repulsive they are. Just as you need to give protagonists flaws, you need to give antagonists redeeming qualities.

These ponies have zero redeeming qualities. Period. They're totally vile and lack any depth. This means Octy doesn't have a true moral choice to consider, so she isn't agonizing over anything other than a loss of wealth: after these conversations she wouldn't want anything to do with them even if she weren't getting married. This makes her interest in marrying her beloved less noble, ironically enough.

My advice: give the bad guys something positive so Octy is actually losing something by making that choice. Make them more than just shallow caricatures of ponies.

I think the twist at the end where Octavia hadn't even asked Vinyl if she wanted to get married until after she burned her bridges is excellent, but some readers will miss it because it's too subtle. Find a way to focus it more sharply into frame.
#8 · 3
· · >>AndrewRogue
Definitely sweet, with strong writing and characterization. I'm always a fan of stories that manage to impart some character into someone who's, largely, a blank slate on the show, as Octy and Vinyl are. Vinyl's earnest offer of boxed mac 'n cheese is touching and sweet, and reinforces the theme of the class difference between she and Octy.

Octy's end of things feels a little weaker, however; we get that she's in love with Vinyl, but without a larger context... it's hard not to see the other characters' side of the argument. Not the bourgeois shit, but the fact that she and Vinyl, as far as we can tell, just met. And I don't get a sense that this relationship between them is one that is worth striving for, to the extent that all true warriors Octavia does.

I dunno. It's still really good, darbro.
#9 · 3
· · >>AndrewRogue
Here's how much I disliked this; I got to the point where Octavia's colleagues -- who are indistinguishable from each other, because they aren't actually real characters -- are talking about the 'stock' of her fiance, the lowered standing, etc. and I worked out everything that was going to happen. And I was so confident that I stopped reading. I am going to make my prediction here, then scroll up and see how close I got by skimming through. I want to emphasize I have only read up to the line:

The ice in her voice caused Parish to blanch, but, to his – or the wine’s – credit, he persevered. “You must understand, Octavia. You being so closely associated with a… with the… you getting married to a pony so... far outside our social standing would lower the stock of the quartet in Canterlot’s eyes.”

Octavia quits, because they can't accept her love is more important. It's very dramatic because nobody has ever before conceived that love could be more important than a career or social status. This will be treated as far-out and inconceivable in universe, as if it's a profound statement. Obviously, her family doesn't approve. Octavia sticks to her guns and gets married and gazes off into the sunset with the ruthless determination of the rightness of her decision, as if there were any actual conflict to it.

Alright, I'm going to finish reading now...


Man, the only thing I got wrong was I didn't think to include "Octavia realizes the transparency of high society, even though there's no nuance to its awfulness". If I hit that one, I'd have got bingo.

Final note:

Swan laughed again. “Oh, don’t pretend you’re above all of this, Octavia. Of course you care. You’re one of us. One of Equestria’s movers and shakers. The ponies with a direct line to the princesses. Your family alone owns… what, a third of northern Equestria?”

“Forty percent,” she corrected, entirely on reflex.

This is absurd. It's an absurdly big number and an absurdly big in-universe implication. This is like saying her family owns everything from Washington state to Wisconsin in the US.
#10 · 1
· · >>AndrewRogue

I am going to have to double down on these comments. I enjoyed it, it flowed well, the dialogue and sentence/paragraph construction were both very solid, etc. But it felt a bit paint-by-numbers. There was nothing really new or surprising here.

Will make the top half of my slate just due to quality of execution, but I would have loved to see more from the actual story.
#11 · 2
· · >>AndrewRogue
Frederick and Parish don't sound like very "pony" names.

Okay, a full page into this, and all we've seen is the "You can't be serious" trope dragging on with still no clue to the subject of the conversation.

...And the subject is marriage. Vinyl ship incoming? Sincerely hope this is more than the usual "don't marry beneath your station" cliche.

"She’s not a yak" reads dark to me. She's debating someone's classist ideas with a racist one herself?

Starting to see a few typos, missing words, and other technical problems.

Surprisingly touching scene there at the ending. Unfortunately, at least for me, the rest of the story really doesn't do much.

This is a story (almost) as old as time. From Helen of Troy, Romeo and Juliet, The King and I, to Downton Abbey, the "forbidden love" thing has been done so, so many times, and this story really doesn't bring anything new to it. None of the characters that tell Octavia she'll be "ruined" are more than basic archetypes, and octavia herself is so determinedly non-emotional (she focuses on the bite of pasta, or the tea, or whatever) that it's hard to feel much of anything in most of the scenes.

The exception, is the ending, as mentioned. Vinyl's casual, welcoming attitude is a nice contrast to the cold shoulder of all the others. So, overall, while this is well written, both in general prose and in specific dialogue, it's retelling something I've seen too many times before to genuinely grab my interest.
#12 · 3
· · >>AndrewRogue
Genre: John Hooves Movie

This is well-written. I would have liked to see more variety in the interactions between Octavia and the other ponies in the first scenes. It did feel like the same conversation each time, which certainly justifies her mounting anger. But--okay, when she thinks of telling her mom she wants to check in on her health I thought, "That's a good idea actually, maybe this will show us another dimension of their relationship." It was a little disappointing, I admit, when Mom just got mean right away and flipped her an ultimatum. It does work for building up to the "moment of truth" you planned for Octavia here.

The ending with Vinyl is nice and warm and I like the energy it brings to the story, but like other readers I would have liked to see some of that earlier. Octavia actually bringing Vinyl to a meal/event could have created some interesting opportunities, like showing how these other ponies behave differently (or don't) in her presence.

I don't mind stories like the ones I've heard before, if they're good stories. Some things will keep being told and retold as long as there are people to hear and identify with them. And there will *always* be people who want to hear about forbidden love and underpony triumph. You just keep on improving and writing the best forbidden-love-and-underpony-triumph tales you can.
#13 · 4
>>Zaid Val'Roa

Well, I did everything else this round audio. Might as well post mortem this way too.


Addendum: Failed to comment on it while mentioning Trick's comment, but I wouldn't exactly call that a twist so much? I can sorta see where you're coming from, but it was just sort of an active choice regarding Octavia's characterization and the idea of some optimism going into this series of battles, only to have it stripped away.