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Here at the End of all Things. · FiM Short Story ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 2000–8000
Maker of Makers!
Once upon a time beyond time, in the loftiest possible dimensions, things were perfectly ordinary up until Asperi exvoluted a portion of her being to produce a Thing. She did this not so much by adding to her substance but by subtracting from the What-Was in selective ways until that which was new had been revealed to the senses of the others. These others now gathered around in curiosity to stare at the Thing, which appeared as a single point of dark absence of the otherwise omnipresent Asperi.

These others, the Utherai, were as a group both merry and curious, and did not have any complex theologies to perplex, occupy and trouble their minds; they knew what they were and why they existed, for Asperi had told them what she was doing, even as she made each one of them: Existence is something joyous to be shared and extended, and the more there are to experience, the better.

Now, as they gathered, Stah of inquiring temperment was the first to approach, and she circled the thing with interest. Her appearance was not easy to comprehend by beings from lower planes, but her cross section in three dimensions resembled a stellated icosahedron.

Dariel and Blaisa joined Stah in closer inspection; Stolva and Fluren held back in cautious and critical inspection from afar, and Meden lurked quietly behind them, silent and lost in her own thoughts.

“This thing is like…” Stah sought for words. “…It is a thing that is noplace, other than itself. I have never before encountered something so oddly limited. I wonder if we dare to even touch it–”

Before Stah could finish, Dariel directly thrust her senses into the thing, and an extraordinary tranformation took place! From the tip the thing separated and spread out like angel’s hairs, widening at the center and growing twice as large as it had been before. Some ends fizzled out quickly, some stretched for long spaces, but all bifurcated many times down to the limits of detection.

“Hah!” Dariel cried. “This is a most exhilarating feeling. It is limited, true, but it is very intense for being so small. Try it!”

The way being opened, those assembled took turns projecting their senses into the Thing, and watching as it expanded and further projections twined out as it made more of itself.

Blaisa went after Dariel. “I do feel a thing like a burst within, which arose at Dariel’s touch, and it tingles with potential! I feel myself carried with it as it grows, and it seems to respond to my presence. I am communicating to it my joy, and I feel that it responds to me!”

And indeed, the threads of the thing grew in great profusion from her touch and continued to twine and roil after she stepped away.

Stolva pronounced that she could feel the inner aesthetic by which it branched into many threads, and it was such a beautiful thing that she knew not where it came from, and felt it was an interaction between her and it. And since something that contained such beauty must have the dignity of a name, she pronounced the Thing to be Euvem.

“But beauty is at its best when it is well ordered,” she said, “and I have thus instructed it with certain rules that shall guide it more elegantly.”

As Stolva receded, the thing called Euvem changed its shape, elongating itself from its starting point as its threads and coils took on smoother shapes.

Flurn was next, and she stood a long time in silence. “It strives to be something,” she said. “It has the property that it is always going, but there is too much for it to travel towards, and so it does not arrive anywhere in particular. I shall impart to it both momentum and direction, that it may reach whatever purpose is latent within it.”

And now the elongated shape of the Euvem lost much of its confusing chaos, and it took on a spindly shape. It was plain that it had a start, and would finish somewhere.

Stah now took her turn to explore within. “It is so far a place to be, but not so much a place to be in,“ she said. “I shall encourage it to contain things, other things than itself!”

And so she did, and the others marvelled thence to discover that there were little spheres now appearing within it. True, in dimensional terms, they were as simple as something could be without going completely flat, but in their profusion they sparkled like jewels as they shone within the blackness of the Euvem.

“I love them!” exclaimed Stah. “They are as an echo of the glory of Asperi, who is not otherwise present in the Euvem.”

The other Utherai marvelled at what had been wrought, but they noticed that Meden had not taken a turn, and was being more thoughtful than usual, having taken an appearance like a dodecahedron with toroid loops joining the vertices in cross section. They encouraged Meden to take a turn, which she did slowly, as if hesitant to bother the Euvum.

“It is vast inside in its own terms,” she said, “And it is certainly beautiful, but at its start there is too much confusion for me to see. Let me urge it to calm… Ah, now things are more peaceful. And look! This small sphere, among the smallest of all, how pretty it is, though it does not shine like the larger ones. I shall bless this one in particular… So! See what I have done!”

The others were much pleased and congratulated Meden, for upon many of the potential branches of the Euvem, that one small sphere was making things by itself! Small creatures germinated within the material of the sphere, then emerged to stand upon the surface of it and stare at the surrounding wonders.

“This is glorious, Meden!” proclaimed Stah. “They can perceive things like us, and as the lines of possibilities progress, they start to make things for themselves from the stuff of their world. It is literal enchantment!”

“They are asonishing creatures, and they draw nourishment from the spheres that shine,” said Flurn, “And from this sphere in particular. Let us move it closer to them and set it to spin about them and lend its radiance to their prosperity.”

Blaisa said, “They are very pleased, these creatures, and grateful for any assistance we render. I am filled with joy!”

“How do you know this, Blaisa?” inquired Stolva.

“I asked them. If you project yourself thusly–note how finely, how delicately I must reshape my lines of perception!–you may take on their appearance and walk among them.”

As time went on, more and more of the Utherai came to see, until dozens of them surrounded the Euvum. And each had their turn at peering inside and walking among the four-footed creatures on that cool and tiny sphere, and tweaking and conditioning the Euvum to make the best possible environs for them to flourish. And soon they had a small civilization, with two wise rulers, who each bore characteristics of Asperi herself, but one was bright with glory and the other dark with serenity, and they ruled a realm filled with tiny wonders.

And as the Utherai admired this little realm and descended to join its members and become part of its legends, the strands of the Euvum that contained the planet and star and populace became shaplier, more harmonious, and the possible ends of that realm became better ordered, though in each case the Utherai were saddened that it must pass at the eventual terminus of the Euvum. And so they worked to prolong the existence of the realm as much as they could.

“Oh, see how this works!” said Stah “I can send more than one aspect of myself through it, look!” She did, and at the nexus of interest, one of her instances took on a golden color, and another a light purple, while the original lavender that she preferred shone on brightly. “Oh, it is strange how they interact! I am but taking the potentials of one branch and magnifying it in another…”

“Oh, what are you all doing here?” came a voice from behind them. It was Chilcz, one of the oldest of the Utherai, who was in cross section nothing very wholesome, or indeed anything in particular. “Ah, I remember this game! Well, you’re going to need a Melk, so I guess I’m in.” He made his own presence manifest within the Euvem.

“A Melk? What is a Melk–” began Stah. “Ah! What have you done?”

For, as Chilcz inserted his tenticular course of influences, the Euvem before them bulged dramatically, then fizzled and shrank into distressing and unsatisfying termini!

“A Melk is a player whose choices are deliberately not in harmony with those of the others assembled,” Chilcz said, swirling in serpentine complacency.

“Why would you even do such a thing!” said Dariel. “Look at the shambles you have made of the beautiful thing we constructed!”

“The short answer is, that I do this because I can, and because you cannot stop me,” Chilcz said, almost beaming with his radiance. “Asperi will not act to prevent me, and all of you assembled cannot dismiss me. Thus, I shall do as I please, and if my voice is discordant with yours, it is a thing you must accept.”

“We will not accept any such thing!” cried Fluren. “See now, we resist you! In every branching of the Euvem, we shall work to save our little world!”

And so the Utherai fought against the wiles of Chilcz, and the Euvum stretched and strained as its strands bulged and withered. Fortunately, Chilcz was not wholly unreasonable, for in the strands where all his influences had sway, the lines collapsed into uninteresting nothingness. “Absence of order is not an order of absence,” he remarked dryly.

But the Euvum, unbesmirched, grew again under their encouragement. They used light to impose order, gems to focus and harmonize the light, and patience and love to encourage the little world and its creatures. And the ends of the Euvum grew in strange, astonishing but fascinating ways.

“I see now!” said Stolva. “Chilcz’s presence in the end does not limit our possibilities, but enhances them! There are now termini available for this Euvem that we never could have forseen had he not joined in. We would not even have thought to seek them!”

“I agree,” said Stah. “And look! Now the lavender line I started perdures, even to the end of the bulk of termini for the Euvem! I believe that she understands the purpose of the Euvum more than any other. She is so determined that it will not end, even though we the Utherai know that it must. What is she doing now? She gathers the efforts of the others, causes them to persist through time like her, and magnifies her powers, and… Oh. Do look upon this, all assembled and great Asperi! Look what she does now! Look what we all have accomplished together!”

At the end of the magnified terminus, a great twisting and squirming took place, followed by a cone of intense purple luminance that protruded impossibly beyond the terminus. Radiance increased, brighter than any Euvem could ever produce, and then… Another being joined those assembled. In cross section, it was many things, and one of them was a thing like a horse with horn and wings, and in full dimension it was a complex, multiply involuted and beautiful thing. Its utterances were like an infant’s cry to those assembled, a declaration and sign of future potential.

“Oh, Asperi, we have created a new sibling to shine among us!” cried Stah. “Is there no end to your glory, and the glory that is possible to us, if we just work to achieve it!”

Asperi remained silent as usual, but for a wonderful and impossible time, everything around her was replete with the grace and peace that is borne by makers of makers of makers of things.
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#1 · 2
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How very interesting! I wish I could do more than just gawk openly, but I’m such a sucker for creation stories. I’m not certain if the names you drew on are of any particular meaning, but I wasn’t taken aback by them as some fantasy names tend to lead one to be. The descriptions were lush and the prose was invigorating—I’m honestly quite pleased I managed to get such a good story on the first pick.

If I can come up with any places to improve on, I’ll edit my comment. First pass sees it as quite nice, though. The tone and the story gel together incredibly well, and that’s making it hard to nitpick at the moment, haha.
#2 · 3
·
Good to know nth dimentional beings still partake in the little pleasures of existence. Like RPGs!

I feel bummed about how I don't have much to say other than how much I liked this. Much more than I thought I would at the begining. I wish we could've seen more of the actual process of creation as well as the interaction between the Asperi and the Euvem. Even if these are supposed to be beings beyond our comprehension, I felt it was a bit too dettached for my liking.

Still, this was an inventive and enjoyable tale. I wish you the best, and hopefully others will give you more in-depth reviews.
#3 · 1
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My synopsis:

Calling them 'gods' is wrong. You can't truly understand what they are, but maybe you can understand what they're doing.


Overall thoughts:

First class. You win.
A surprisingly straightforward little tale of how the universe was made and ends.
So tightly written: there's a little mystery but it's playful, it doesn't stray into overblown nonsense, it doesn't concern itself with irrelevancies.
The opening paragraph tapped me on the shoulder and kissed me unexpectedly; I was scared but excited.


+
You made up one word where you needed to and then avoided falling into the 'hoopy froods' and 'droogs' I was expecting.
Very "pony": the 'makers of makers' are but thin veils over the mane 6 and I felt smart for catching it 'early', even though I don't think I caught it especially early.
Similies all the way down. How else would one write about dimensions beyond understanding?
Discord shows up with a grin and a wink and I was happy to see him.
This is an Equestrian story of Equestria: both how it was made and how it ends. It was bright and fun and joyful, from a prompt which almost encourages the opposite.

++
Good gods the prose is wonderful. The words practically disappear as the story shines through them.
I played a game working out who was who as I went. I didn't need to; but I could so I did and it was fun. I don't think I'm especially smart in working out what's happening but you made me feel smart.

-
I feel quite inadequate as a writer. And as a human being.
I want to make a couple of slight line edits, just to tweak the metre of the occasional sentence.
There's a very unfortunate typo/inconsitency in one of the names.


Rating:

You don't get a rating.


My review notes are basically literally figuratively literally a love-letter to you.

The thing I want to suggest most is this: Absence of order abhors the order of absence
#4 ·
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Took me a few paragraphs before I figured out what was going on, but good lord... It’s simple and straightforward while also being complex and vague. Bootiful. Simply bootiful. 11/10.

My only tiny issue: Celestia and Luna are “created” on the same plane(?) as Twilight, except they’re more powerful. When Twilight become an alicorn, she’s essentially rising to their level, magically and physically, but here she also ascends to a higher plane of existence while they’re still stuck in their silly third dimension. I don’t know, maybe I’m just stretching for anything to criticize.
#5 ·
· · >>ToXikyogHurt
Uh oh, first sentence, and we've already got made up words, names, and strange capitalization of a common noun. This is a red flag (or maybe more of a red cape to a bull situation) to me. Either this story will do something genuinely interesting and novel, or... it'll be a confusing mess. Let's find out.

Hmm, leaning more twoward mess so far. "her cross section in three dimensions resembled a stellated icosahedron." That's the kind of needlessly technical babble that should probably be played for humor, but isn't here. And again, "having taken an appearance like a dodecahedron with toroid loops joining the vertices in cross section." That's not something that in any way helps the reader visualize what's occurring, nor does it appear to in any way advance or help the story. It's just adding confusion to the reader at best, and wasting word count at worst.

The dialog between the angels... I mean elements... no wait... "Utherai"... feel vastly out of place compared to the narration. We've just been hammered with how alien and Nth dimensional their existence is, then they say things in a very modern vernacular like "dare to even touch it" or "Try it!"

And it wraps up as a creation myth, as expected. The end feels rushed, quickly bringing in a bad guy to add chaos, and then outright calling the planets as such, instead of the weird words used previously. E.g. The ending basically explains itself, which seems to go rather against the feeling of "myth" the rest of the story felt like it was striving for. The thing about the ancient myths is that they are relatable. Zeus got angry, liked to cheat on his wife, and she got jealous, etc. They stood atop a tall mountain and looked like humans, they weren't impossible-to-visualize geometric abstractions in null space that we only link to our beloved characters because of blatant "inspirations" they give.

Overall, I think this may have been an interesting dream/thought the author had, one without a true plot or story to tell. Just "what if the Elements were like the Titans of myth?" The bare-minimum word count hints at a struggle for plot to me.

However, I will say, a creation myth shown from the outside IS an interesting concept, and elements of this one could work quite well if polished, but the abundance of difficult names, the needless obfuscation of basic terms, and the geometric babble all combine to make it slower to read (and nearly impossible to visualize), severely hampering my enjoyment of the core idea.
#6 · 3
· · >>Xepher
>>Xepher
I do want to bring attention to a specific point you made.
...impossible-to-visualize geometric abstractions...

I know exactly what a stellated icosohedron looks like.

So, while "ridiculous abstract language" is a completely fair complaint to level – and not wrong – what counts as "abstract" depends on who's reading.

I don't want to convince anyone that your review somehow "isn't right" because it is right, I just wanted to explain why we have different points of view here.

It's a matter of audience, I think. In the same way that I love spicy food and my friend hates it. The author is unlikely to be able to make both of us happy simultaneously here. Perhaps something useful to know and consider.
#7 ·
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Genre: That Which Man Was Not Meant To Know?

Thoughts: Author, I fear that I have failed you as a reader or reviewer, but regrettably I Cannot Even with this one. I see other happy reviewers offering enjoyment and feedback; please cling to those. As for me, I've 100% bounced off the surface of the prose here.

Tier: Orthogonal
#8 · 3
·
I like this story.

I think I'd like it more if it tied more concretely into the MLP mythos. More specifics about Celestia and Luna, more information about what Twilight is doing.

Actually, do you know what would be super-ultra-extreme-awesomazing? Break this piece into tiny chapters, then intersperse the chapters with stories from Equestria about Twilight triumphing. Make this a duet between the outside and the inside, instead of just looking in from the outmost, and you'll have something truly fantastic.
#9 · 1
· · >>ToXikyogHurt
>>ToXikyogHurt
It's not that I can't visualize that, it's that it's a curiously precise way to describe a shape when much more common words could be used instead. *cough cough* star *cough cough* In that sense, it's like a story describing a bush as "103.937cm in height." If that very, very precise number isn't critical to the story, then it's almost certainly better to describe it as "about a meter high." Unusually technical language stands out, and should be used to effect, not as a general substitute for more common terms.

Now, having said that, I think the author here was, in fact, trying to use it for effect. Specifically, to somewhat obfuscate the identities/symbols of the characters involved here. The problem is, MLP is already so obviously laden with symbolism (due to cutie marks), and so often focuses on half dozen main characters that this obfuscation doesn't, at least to me, come across as a clever ruse, but merely serves to slow down the pacing of the story itself. I know pretty early on that these characters are representations of the Elements, and it doesn't feel rewarding just to be able to match up which is which, so obfuscation of their marks in geometric jargon does more to throw off the pacing than anything else.


Now, having said all that as well... I was perhaps a bit too harsh in my previous comment. I hit the negatives pretty strongly, and because this story pushed a few of my buttons on the author-trying-too-hard-to-be-clever alarm, it probably soured my view of other elements in the story as well. To remedy that, let me add that I think the prose here is pretty decent (jargon excepted) and does a really good job of setting and sticking with a fairly unique tone. (The exception there being some of the dialog, which I noted earlier as out of place.)
#10 ·
·
>>Xepher
it doesn't feel rewarding just to be able to match up which is which

That was half the fun of the story, for me. So my point still stands: I liked this fic because it somehow felt like an in-joke between me and the author, rather than on its merits as a story. I expected this to be a slightly divisive work, because humour is subjective. I don't even know if it's supposed to be funny, I just found it so.

pushed a few of my buttons on the author-trying-too-hard-to-be-clever alarm

It certainly did that to me initially, and I was ready to hate on it mid-way through the first paragraph. Then it doubled down on the overblown language. The extra-pointy D20 description made me grin. I swore at the author. It set off my "so bad it's good" glands.

Oh... I really hope this wasn't intended to be serious now. Laughing at something that's not supposed to be funny is a dick move, and I hope I haven't done that by accident. On purpose, for sure, but I try not to outright laugh in people's faces unless they deserve it.
#11 · 3
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I don't get it, I don't get the appeal. I understand what's here I just think... if the joke is that it's too dense to be meaningful and readable, then the punchline is severely undercut by how effective and straightfaced the performance is.

There needed to be more nods and moments of levity if this were a joke.

There needed to be more relatable ideas and much lighter prose if this were serious. Currently this is so purple it's in the ultra-violet spectrum.
#12 ·
·
I think this is well-done for what it's supposed to be, but these kinds of constructed creation mythologies don't really do much for me.

The core difficulty with these is that they're stories about that which is incomprehensible in human terms. Interesting stories are relatable stories - as Cold in Gardez said it, "Stories about ponies are stories about people" - and that which is incomprehensible is correspondingly not relatable.

That's not to say that this story doesn't try admirably.

Unfortunately, it's hard to say that it ever had a chance of success. The only way these stories can be told in understandable terms is to project what one feels are profoundly limited cross-sections of where the characters and their motivations intersect with what is comprehensible from our perspective as humans. This tends to be very frustrating, at least to me, because it feels as if what we're able to see is just a pale shadow of the real story of these beings: a story that fundamentally cannot be told because mere mortals could never understand it. In short, we're tantalized not just by a story we're not told, but one we cannot be told. Nothing is more despair-inducing than to feel our own microscopic insignificance.

I think that this comes about as a result of what most constructed mythologies do, which is that it takes a distinctly different perspective from most mythologies that emerge ad hoc from genuinely held religious beliefs. Genuinely believed mythologies that have accumulated and developed over time and tradition tend to be told from the human perspective looking outward (note how the Old Testament is a collection of stories about individual people and the events they experience from their human perspectives), while these constructed mythologies tend to be told from the outside looking in. This is the main factor that, again, leads to the above issue with these stories being about incomprehensible beings and therefore not really something we as humans feel we can grasp a real comprehension of.

What I do like: the departure from the way most other creation cosmologies involving supernatural beings explain the introduction of evil and/or suffering (or in this case more just a sense of disharmony) into the new creation. Usually these are pretty bleak, invoking the idea of genuine intractable malevolence on the part of one of the outside entities responsible for influencing the course of the conditions or events within creation. The idea that the discordant influence which seems antagonistic at first is in fact designed to contribute to the innovative value and and betterment of the whole is refreshing. By way of contrast, compare to mythologies like Tolkien's Ainulindalë and Silmarillion, or the Judaeo-Christian narrative of the fall of Lucifer and the temptation of Eve, which are pretty depressing exercises in explaining the existence of evil and suffering by simply projecting the worst characteristics of humans onto supernatural beings.