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And at the End, You Shall Remain Alone · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
The Wound in the World
I can’t find the Wound.

That scares me more than jewelry or pigeons ever could—even working together!

I could be back on Earth, bothering Twilight’s little colony and enjoying her weekly political scuffle with the human-things we’re renting space from.

But no, I’m spending an un-chaos-ly amount of time in Equus’s mantle, looking for a sneaky speck capable of jabbing me in the tail, and FSCHLOOP!

No more Discord, anywhere.

And the only defense I have against that infinitesimal abomination of gluttonous entropy, the “Wound in the World,” is to find it before it finds me, so I can stay the heck away from it.

Celestia and Luna are up above the surface now (where they say the Wound stays 99% of the time, but I’m too suspicous to learn math), making lots of noise, which they can’t hear, all their air being eaten. But down here, trying very hard to listen for something very quiet (and hopefully very far away), the racket echoing through the crust is distracting.

Dare I divert even a little attention to investigate the commotion? I’d say “no” for fear of my me getting FSCHLOOPED, but right now, frankly, screw rational caution.

They’re fighting. No surprise. After—how long has it been here? Three centuries? Thirty?—however-long bound intrinsically to a silent rock or mass-of-incandescent-plasma (and the dead world it orbits), just the two of them, I’m impressed they’re capable of speech.

I’m not tuned into Luna’s voice spell, but she’s probably shouting something like, “Curse you, Tia, I spent all century building this… little….”

Nevermind, that’s an entire city. Get her, Luna! But sculpting citizens, too? I’d say bordering on obsessive, but I shouldn’t judge.

And clumsy Tia broke the biggest tower. As per tradition, this means war!

It’s only a game to them, really. Luna’s not angry, but they’re not having fun, either. They’ve done this too often.

That’s why I bravely risk infinite life and mismatched limbs to visit them. They certainly need me more than Twilight and humanity.

This fight would be legendary, if anyone knew or cared. Celestia probes with beamy-things! Luna dodges, closes in to do something with her horn and a lot of light! Celestia counters by freaking exploding! Luna spins away, now hooks around, and—!

...Holy garbanzo.

All three of us freeze, transfixed by the mountain range Luna just vaporized.

That could have been Tia! Would have been, if she hadn’t dodged. Luna almost killed her!

I can tell this is new to them, but they still show neither anger nor remorse. Nothing… but curiosity. Their eyes meet; some nervous, wordless question passes. I’m paralyzed.

The battle rejoins, but more subtle and quick. No shouting, just concentration and naked excitement. They’re actually fighting to kill. Not murder, not suicide, just apathy.

Celestia’s really into it. She knocks Luna away, and, almost gleefully, burns Luna’s city to glass.

Uh oh. Luna’s pissed.

She ignores Celestia’s apologies, blocking the voice spell. She’s not stopping.

Celestia dodges everything, but Luna’s not just aiming at her. Continents away, libraries, observatories, laboratories—obliterated; Celestia’s every accomplishment since the Exile. Now it’s on for both of them.

Okay, time to refocus and—

Oh, no.

Luna once explained their early-warning system, something about shields and gas. Before her muzzle became a trumpet, she definitely said caverns were weak spots, but the Wound hates land, so whatever.

GUESS WHO WAS WRONG?

The Wound is rocketing up from beneath them. They don’t notice, still fighting.

Screw caution, too, it’s time to intervene. I race the Wound.

I lose.

As Luna braces for Celestia’s charge, a crater rips out of the ground below, and the Wound clips her outstretched feather in the same flap—

—And nearly wrenches the wing off with it.

As the accursed speck flies off on its merry way, as oblivious to gods as to everything else, the fight is forgotten. Celestia’s charge becomes a rush to catch her crippled sister, and I suddenly feel like now would be an awful time to make an entrance.

I watch, instead, as they share a heartfelt moment. They gab about the purpose of life and the importance of love—I’ve heard it all before, and so have you, so I’ll spare us both.

I guess today they don’t need me as much as they usually do. I’ll come back in a week. Or a year. Come to think of it, that’s what I said last time, and that must have been decades ago.

Oh, well. I’m sure they’ll be fine.
Pics
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#1 ·
· · >>Foehn
This is set out in the far future, but it still feels bizarre. I think there's some sort of micro black hole zipping around Equus, and Luna and Celestia seem to be going kind of crazy...

The whole thing just feels disconnected from reality. Maybe that's the point, really - they're immortal, and they're all kind of going a bit mad, perhaps with loneliness, as everyone else seems to have left them, and Discord isn't really helping, either. They appear to have all gone a bit amoral, and while the events seem to somewhat shock them back to reality, it also doesn't seem like it matters at all to Discord, really.

This seems like it is one of those Blue and Orange Morality things, and while I do appreciate that at times, it just failed to connect with me in any significant way.
#2 ·
·
Took a second read to really grasp what was going on, since Twilight was mentioned once in the beginning and then stuck in the fridge, but that may be a function of my headspace tonight, too, so don't take that too heavily.

The Wound is weird, as a, let's call it a "natural antagonist" since it seems to be a quirk of nature just rummaging about. TD hit my guess first at some kind of micro black hole, or maybe a universe cleanup system? I'd be less concerned if it didn't function so heavily in Discord's opening chatter as well as the focus of the title. It seems to have more importance attached to it than necessary, since the mountain destruction blast seems just as capable (in theory) of causing enough grievous bodily harm to stall the fighting.

All that said, I feel like there's a "everything new is old again, until it's new, etc." vibe here, but that seems about as deep as it goes. There's maybe some contrast with Twilight against the other three, where she found new purpose and the others are just killing time, but as mentioned, she's brought up once and then tucked away, so I'm at a loss for any deeper message.
#3 ·
·
Going to again echo >>TitaniumDragon's sentiment - the narrative voice was too all-over-the-place for me to really connect with it, and the multitude of out-there details to absorb felt a little high for a minific. Divergence from established canon is fine, but the magnitude of it here, both in setting and in characterization, left me without much to grab onto.
#4 ·
· · >>Pascoite
Just to start off on the right foot, I want to say that I was never bored reading this, so you've already won, in my book. I think a lot of the story's strength comes from the intrigue it builds around its big ideas, like the nature of the Wound, or the beautiful futility of building a an entire city for only yourself.

Which is why it strikes me odd that this story is kind of set up almost as a character piece. And a character piece about Discord, no less.

Discord's first person narration isn't bad, but it never got above the point of being serviceable, to me. But my biggest issue, is that I'm really not sure how much it actually adds to the story. In my personal opinion, Celestia and Luna are by far the most interesting parts of the story, so if you're going to filter their interactions through an outside first person perspective, there needs to be a good reason to do so. But it feels like most of the payoff to Discord's arc is the last couple of paragraphs, which is something that you just as easily could have thrown in as dialogue between the sisters.

In the end, the story feels like it's built around Discord, but there's this dissonance about it. If Discord is our main character, then why isn't he doing anything? But if the point of the story (as I suspect) is about the Sisters, then why is Discord there at all? I can't help but think it would suit the themes of the story even more if we got this story from one of the Princess's POVs, and they could mention how even Discord doesn't visit them anymore.

Now, I don't want you to forget that I liked the story. Because I really did! But at the same time, I do think that it needs carve out its scope a little more cleanly.
#5 ·
·
I have no idea what I just read.

I mean, it was entertaining. I'll give you that. I'm afraid that I don't really have anything useful to say about it though. I didn't really understand exactly what they were doing or what led to it, but then I wouldn't be surprised if I'm in the minority on that one. The Exile confused me—is it Twilight and her colonists who've been exiled, or are Celestia and Luna in exile? I can't tell whether the Wound is sentient, and if so, what it wants. Unlike >>Bachiavellian I can see a purpose in using Discord as a perspective character. I've gone on record many times as saying that the perspective character isn't necessarily the main character, and it's completely possible to demonstrate an emotional or character development arc through a different character's observation. And as much as I don't know what's going on, Discord doesn't either, so if that's the state you want the reader in, it's not a bad viewpoint to use for that. And independent of whether that was a good idea, I found his voicing well done.

So... a fun read? But didn't knock my socks off.
#6 · 2
·
Oh hey, I guess this means I can reveal myself as still alive.

First ever minific. I think I was a little over-ambitious:
(WitW notes doc)

If I hadn't been trimming down as I went, the first draft of Wound probably would have been ~1500 words long. It lost a lot of context and characterization from that to this.

Oh, and thanks to whoever was inspired to make artwork because of this! That's one of the coolest things to happen to me in the past few months.