• Story: Memories of Those Friends Who've Gone Before Us

    [Normal] Just...epic.  It's like a really deep episode or something.  Author is:  WTFHIW
    Description: Two months after coming to live in Ponyville, Twilight runs across an odd traveling bookseller, and through her contact with him, gains insight into the nature of her own character as well as knowledge of Ponyville's previous librarian.
    Memories of Those Friends Who've Gone Before Us

    Memories of Those Friends Who've Gone Before Us (Alternate)

    PDF 

    95 comments:

    1. That was beautiful. Everything was perfect; I have no complaints whatsoever. If this turned out to be an episode on the actual show, I think it would be widely regarded as one of the best.

      You've done an amazing thing here.

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    2. I couldn't say a bad thing about this if I tried.

      You wove a complete and comprehensive narrative to an extent that I was completely unprepared for. You created the character of the bookseller completely and you didn't miss a beat with his story, but I loved reading your elaboration of Twilight's feelings just the same. Though a little long, the length was well worth the time spent and I don't think you could have told the same story with the same emotional depth in a shorter piece.

      Five unreserved stars. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

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    3. Holy Amazing. This was great, a well-told tale with a lesson to impart.

      5/5

      I hope you write more.

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    4. The Pinkie Pie image for the blog post is so misleading.

      Anyway, I loved this story so much! It was well written and made me laugh, smile, and almost cry.

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    5. Salesman was an enjoyable character. You made him really come to life. Overall good read characters were defined well. Though I believe the wording of the final letter could be a little better.

      Other than that good job.

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    6. A very enjoyable read. A great way to weave in an original character and tell a great tale. 5!

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    7. That was very well done!

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    8. Now THAT is how you write a story with an OC in it. And I agree; rework some of the dialouge ("kid's" show and all) and it could be a great episode.

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    9. Wow! Didn't expect such a reaction in less than two hours... thanks to all for the kindness!

      @Anonymous
      On the final letter, it's 'choppy' on purpose to maintain a minor theme in a larger fic I'm working on, which is only available as a PDF download at this time.

      If a cross-link is OK with Sethisto (please delete this comment if it isn't), you can get more info on Ponychan:
      http://www.ponychan.net/chan/fic/res/590.html

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    10. Really enjoyed that one. Great characters and the mayor gets a name! Loved it!

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    11. I read the summary, I read the reviews, I loaded the document, I saw the scroll bar get increasingly tinier.

      I expected pretension. I expected obtuseness. I expected pompousness.

      I yield.

      I received depth. I received an original character I now desperately wish were canon. I received a timeless message directly in line with the show. I received prose that moved at the speed of light despite its length. My heart sang and I simultaneously teared up as I was compelled to continue reading, even given the less-than-glowing light in which my favorite character was painted.

      And in the end, my heart was a little better for it.

      I remember, albeit vaguely, when fanfiction such as this for any given series used to be the norm rather than the exception. This show continues to work magical wonders, and I must thank you, gentle author, for being a part of it. For those who constantly grumble about "fanfiction," know that pieces like this (not to mention several others for this show) are why those of us who read and write it still consider it a medium as valid as any other, stigma be damned.

      5.5 out of 5.

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    12. Brilliant story. Nothing much else to say.
      5/5.

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    13. As the other commenters above, I was moved by the story. Excellent writing, excellent characterization - Kerning was a great and well-fitting OC, and both Twilight and Pinkie were pitch-perfect - and an excellent morale. Even the small details such as Luna reaquintancing herself with Equestria by going through old ledgers were brilliant!

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    14. It's driving me nuts, I read the bookseller's voice in a perfect matching voice that I've heard somewhere else, but I can't think of who it was...

      Very lovely, I even imagined it as an episode and could picture it all almost perfectly. I love characters like Kerning in almost any situation though, so you could've just hit a soft spot. :P

      Oh, and the chess piece part definately made me smile.

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    15. I think that "vibrant" is the best word to describe this story. The characters, the scenes, the locations; all very easy to imagine. They really came to life the way you wrote them. The whole story had a genuine feel to it. The dialogue was both clever and helped to flesh out the characters. Everything about the story seemed to fit together perfectly. Good job WTFHIW. I really liked it.

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    16. I think this story is the first story that I have felt no harm to my pride to be moved by. You gave so much character into an original pony in only a few paragraphs that I... I feel touched, you know?

      I'm tearing up as I'm typing this, but I'm going to mark them up as man-tears. Bravo, WTFHIW; bravo.

      5/5

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    17. Nice work. It feels like a very nice follow up to the first episode, as Twilight is still settling in to her role in town. The timing is good, and I like how the mayor is savvy enough to realize that despite her eccentricities Twilight is a valuable resource for the community, something confirmed without a doubt only a few episodes later during Dragonshy.

      The only qualm I had was that I feel like Twilight would have reacted much more intensely to Princess Celestia's good name being brought into the whole thing. It is a consistently important point to the character, and I think some subtle loss of control (a crackle of purple lightning that Twilight quickly snuffs, maybe.) would have been fitting.

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    18. This is how you include an OC pony the right way. I teared up at the end and could see the whole thing playing out like a real episode of the show. Somebody illustrate this!

      MOAR PLZ.

      5/5

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    19. I've never really written fan fiction before getting knocked sideways by this whole pony thing, and reading pieces like this just makes me want to take even more care with my own stuff. Keep raising the bar around here, folks! It's great!

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    20. Faust should get on this. This needs to be an episode. True, a darker "tonight-on-a-very-special-episode-of-MLP" episode, but it should be made nontheless.
      For Octavo's sake.

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    21. Brilliant story. Very deep and well written with no mistakes. This is deserving of a 6/5

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    22. 51 ratings, with a 5.0 average. And this story sure as hell deserves it.

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    23. Don't tell Queen Celestia I said so
      But are you safe, Miss Ponenko?

      Awesome.

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    24. I'm not going to say it's the best thing I've read all month. It's been a really good month you see.

      But this is easily near the top of my list of 'best thing ever', and definitely something I'll tell others about. Easily one of the best examples of good writing, good character development, and why people keep writing fanfiction.

      This wacky fandom keeps surprising me...

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    25. Excellent work, this story is so nicely began, and so carefully wrapped up. Kerning is such well thought-out character, and the way he is brought to life makes him an instantly believable, loveable, and stunning character. I also like how you created Octavo, and used Kerning's memory to bring him from just a thought in one's mind to a character that, while being deceased, is full of as much life as any other character in the story. By doing this, you have not only given a non-visible character a full write-up for readers to imagine him, but have also driven home the theme that memories of people long gone make them immortal - which is further built upon as the story progresses.

      Overall I enjoyed the story, this is one of those stories that do not come very often, but really should. However, if that were the case, perhaps the appreciation of a tale such as this be diminished.

      I do have a slight issue with how the letter was worded, and Celestia's remark upon reading it. I can see that you're acknowledging the fact that Celestia is most probably hardened against death, and feels indifference towards those who are still hurt by it. It is a very good thing to point out, though I personally think Celestia was rather too blunt about the matter. It kind of felt out of character, but that's just my opinion, and it's only a minor aspect of the whole story, which is top-notch.

      I personally shall take from this story not only the themes expressed, but also several things about writing that I can, and should, incorporate into my own work. Presently, I have only written stories for myself, but as I consider releasing work for everyone to view, I am trying to ensure that what I publish is worth reading. Though I cannot hope to match this tale, let alone top it, but at least I can try to improve my work thanks to this.

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    26. it felt like an actual episode, I could picture it PERFECTLY

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    27. I guess I'm the only one who thought it wasn't the bees' knees...

      It's a fine story, but I was just a little affronted by some pony coming in and telling Twilight she's no good. I'd always assumed it was a private library, or that Twilight didn't mind others using it as a resource. Meh. Just not my thing.

      Still, very nice writing.

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    28. Heavy Weapons PonyMarch 25, 2011 at 4:52 PM

      I love these histories to remind us of the fact that we are all mortal and everything is corruptable (god I hope this is a correct translation)

      Also I know this will never air, but I think that is a damn shame. I tell you if I were in charge of production Id ask my team about how many would like to take part in producing this episode for the fans and not realeasing it officilly for Hasbro.

      This is some amazin writing and it brought tears to my eyes several times.

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    29. Touching, smile-inducing, and lovely. Kernie was excellent, and the piece as a whole was inspirational. Thank you for taking the time to write and share this.

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    30. This story...

      If you have a fanfic.net account, I'd subscribe in a heartbeat. I have no complaints, and others have already said all I could say. I can't even wish for there to be more chapters, as that would detract from the piece.

      Instead, the only thing I could think of is if someone could send this story to Lady Faust. This entire event belongs in the story and should be spread to the masses. Sadly, I doubt it would, but it would be nice.

      In the end, good job. Words fail at how much praise you deserve, and I pray to see more of Kerning in the future. And if not? More of your works for sure.

      May inspiration always find you,
      windfalcon

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    31. I browse fanfiction for the quick read on occasion when I have nothing else in particular to do. I dont usually expect to be floored by any of it.

      holy crap. consider me floored. I tip my hat to you, sir, this piece is magnificent. five well-deserved stars.

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    32. You wright Great stories. Cant wait for more!!!

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    33. Okay, this deserves another 'whoa'... I signed on tonight to check on "Luna's Goodwill Tour" (I really need to come up with a genuine title for that), then popped over here to find all of this. Once again, I'll say that bronies are an awesome bunch! Thank you all for the praise and comments, especially for a story written because the idea was blocking me from moving on with the main fic (and, as I noted on Ponychan, a subconscious ploy to work Police and Jethro Tull songs into a fic.)

      Just a quick note on the wording of Twilight's letter: I wrote it in that rough style to tie in with the Luna's commentary on Twilight's reports in the bigger story (Luna calls them 'trite'.) And, yes, it appears that I didn't convey Celestia's reaction to the letter as intended. Should have come off as more reflective than dismissive... I'll recheck my wording in the future.

      Thanks, all!

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    34. I absolutely loved the story. I've got nothing but praise for it. Since you've created a story that just flows smoothly and is very very realistic.

      The story is beautiful, with an very important lesson that we can all apply to ourselves behind it too.

      Its incredibly beautiful. I love it.

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    35. Everyone has said what I thought and more.

      Five stars, sir. I can't putt it better than that.

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    36. This story, wow. To call it moving wouldn't do it justice.

      5 stars

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    37. Wonderfully worded, I look forward to reading your overarching work that you mentioned this tied into.

      I really like the episode-esque setup, complete with moral ending - this work is the first I've read that implements this style, which surprises me somewhat given I assumed everyone would be working with that plot line in mind.

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    38. Beautiful. I must have reread the chess part 8 times. 5/5.

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    39. tears, tears everywhere

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    40. That was good. I teared up a little especially with the last bit of the letter.

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    41. Some great worldbuilding here.
      I admit at first I thought, what kind of name is Kerning? Then I looked it up and found out. Well done!

      >New Martingale
      You're good at this whole "ponified naming" thing...

      >Mr. and Mrs. Cake were early risers
      Did you do that deliberately?

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    42. That was beautiful man, I am absolutely stunned.

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    43. I rweally loved this one. So well written.

      *salutes* 5/5

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    44. Really, really well done. Now that I've finished this, I can't wait to read your other work!

      5/5!

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    45. I can't add anything to comment.
      This, my fillies and gentlecolts, is the BEST Friendship is Magic fanfic I read so far - it simply work on all levels. Its not too epic, realistic or grimdark, so it stay 100% with the series atmoshpere. You've created the most lifelik OC I've seen so far in this stories, so vibrant, unique and with huge payload of personality - an amazing achievment, considering how short story is! Moral od the story is quite straightforward, yet presented in truly emotional and unique way.

      This, is how Fanfics should be written.
      This is magic.
      I Love it.
      I will spread it to everypony I know.

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    46. I read it yesterday, it's just Epic. also the dialogues are very well done.

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    47. It's been a long while since a fic has moved me as much as this one did, five or six years at least. Plenty have made me laugh or sigh but this one really toughed me.
      It's unusual to have such a good original character, let alone a second we never got to meet. Our loss I'm sure.
      Looking forward to your other works.

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    48. Maybe one day if Weird Al does agree to voice act in MLP, he can voice act the book seller. If this becomes a real episode, I'll love you to death.

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    49. My words of praise cannot do this wonderful work of literature justice. I often find myself moved emotionally by astonishingly well written stories, and this was no exception. I look forward to reading all of your future writing, WTFHIW.

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    50. Good friends are like fine wine. They get better with age. The problem is good wines get drunk, and good friends pass on.

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    51. Wow, this story was so well-written it could be an episode in the real show. I enjoyed it so much that even though my first (*sigh* and epic long) comment was error'd somehow and deleted, I'm re-writing it to tell you how excellent I think it was. I don't even feel like I can do it justice, but I'm gonna try.

      The character of the bookseller was the proud, the rare - the excellent OC that fits naturally into the story like a true character. I loved the relationships he had/formed with the existing characters and thought it was obvious that it took a lot of time to write him. He was anything but a flat character and I think Twilight could certainly learn a lot from a stallion like him.

      This also really hit home for me because of this irrational fear of aging I have. Having to get old and watch as the life you have starts to change - slowly at first - but then faster, and you're helpless as it breaks apart... and then ends... it just terrifies me. I know it's silly, but it's one of the few things that can get me going emotionally. I've always wondered if they'll ever do something with the "other" side of friendship on MLP. You know, things like what happens when you have a true falling-out with a friend, or you have to say goodbye, or you wake up one day and find you've grown apart? They've touched on the subject fleetingly, but I think an episode like this could really bring a whole new element to the show. It might have to be toned down for the kidlets, of course, but the basic principle is there. Someone should force the writers to buy this story from you and make it into an episode!

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    52. You've read Christopher Morley's "Parnassus on Wheels", haven't you?

      Great story. Amazingly beautiful and touching, and it does point out something I hadn't really noticed in the show's depiction—the library really does tend to get used as Twilight's own private demesne; you don't ever see anyone checking books out.

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    53. This was soul-destroying, and so beautiful. I didn't cry, but I couldn't read the last part at one point because my eyes had watered over.

      Amazing. I want to see this as an episode.

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    54. a lovely story without getting overly sad. this would make a good episode but i think it works better as a story

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    55. You know what's terrible about this story? As I read it I started doing line by line diction checks.

      Serious creative writers out there, you know what that means.

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    56. @Chanticleer
      >you know what that means.
      I don't. What do you mean?

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    57. You magnificent bastard. Pinkie Pie had balloons with the troll face on them. So win...so very win.

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    58. I put off shedding a tear until Twilight's letter.

      Once I got to her final few lines, it finally clicked how masterful a piece of fanfic, no, how masterful a piece of literature this is. I can truly and completely honestly say this is one of the greatest pieces of prose I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

      Astoundingly amazing work, good sir. Simply astounding.

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    59. @Anonymous
      Heh. I was wondering if anyone got that. Good on ya!

      @All My Bronies
      I wanted to thank you all again for the kind feedback, especially since I still think of this story as a roadblock that needed clearing so I could continue on with LGT. Doesn't mean that I don't like it myself, though... In fact, I'm planning on revising it a little once I'm (completely) finished with the big story. Nothing major, just a few tweaks to some rough patches in the dialogue, and reworking Celestia's reaction to Twilight's report so it reads as it should. (The report itself will stay as-is.)

      Side note: you all realize that there's a 9.86×10⁻¹² percent chance that this would ever get made into an episode, right? But, and I'm just throwin' this out there, if that trillionths of a percent chance ever bears fruit:
      1.) Hasbro Studios can have the story for free, considering it's a divergent work based on their property, and I hate lawyers. Ooh... I should probably throw a copyright holder declaration in my revision, shouldn't I? I'm pretty bad at remembering that.
      2.) I think Nicol Williamson would be a better VA for Kerning than Weird Al (sorry, Al, but we're talkin' Nicol "Best Merlin Ever" Williamson here).

      Just sayin'. ;-)

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    60. This was beautiful. I really don't have much else to say about it. =)

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    61. Great. Just great.

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    62. Simply magnificent.

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    63. Hmm. Been Google Docsed. Another location?

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    64. @ a href #c6506584760833171710 >Broadwing /a>
      Dammit... Gonna be interesting to see if Google pays any attention to my appeal. In the meantime, you can snag a PDF copy here:
      http://www.mediafire.com/?ig18scck46rif1x

      NB: Mediafire's best experienced with a script blocking utility, such as the NoScript add-on for Firefox. Temporarily allow the mediafire.com domain for hassle-free downloading.

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    65. Hey, I read this for the first time tonight and loved it. Good luck with Google... I've also added it to the MLP:FiM Fan Fiction Archive for anyone who doesn't want to wait for Google to get their manure together or download a PDF:

      http://www.ponyfictionarchive.net/story.php?story=63

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    66. Google Docs has taken it down for a violation of TOS. Can someone find out which violation occurred?

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    67. @RBDash47
      Thanks for that, but I was kinda holding off from submitting to your archive until I'd the revisions mentioned earlier. No biggie. I'll submit an updated version sometime down the line.

      @Mugen Kagemaru
      The GDocs version is active again, and I was offered no explanation for the forced 'unshare'. They just went ahead and turned sharing back on. :-)

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    68. By no means am I attempting to diminish the author's glory, but the comments made this out to be a lot better than it truly was. I went in expecting something godly, maybe even changing, but I got a good OC fanfic. I still enjoyed it though, I really did. Solidly written and everything, I just think it's being overpraised a bit.

      Anyways, I'd give it a good 8/10. Good work!

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    69. @WTFHIW Apologies! Just trying to help out a brony. When your revisions are complete, send them in and we'll get the version on the site updated right away. Nice to hear you were planning on submitting!

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    70. It was beautiful, I almost cried when I saw that the last few lines were Jethro Tull's 'Slipstream'

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    71. A very nice story. I particularly enjoyed our charming stallion's large vocabulary. It seems you based that part of him on yourself, I noticed some unwonted words here and there outside his speech. I've always had and used a fairly large repertoire so this consideration made me feel a lot closer to the character.

      Thanks for sharing!
      9/10

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    72. Finally got around to reading this. Now I know why it is on so many "must-read" lists.

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    73. Read it, loved it, will probably read it again.

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    74. Story: 10/5
      The Fact that I spoke to WTFHIW while reading it: Priceless

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    75. @WTFHIW (sorta kinda spoilers. You are warned)
      Oh wow... that was just... beautiful. The part with the Grave and the inscription, the chess piece, oh god the inscription, the chess piece! Did you come up with that yourself?! and the little poem at the end.
      ...I can't think of any praise I could deliver that could do you justice. This was wonderful. Just freaking fantastic. I almost teared up at the grave part... really, that was just cutting. And Celestia's moment of reflection was just tied it up and...
      god I could gush over this forever. It pains me that I'll probably never meet you because I really wanna shake your hand.

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    76. It's been some time since I read it I simply forgot posting a comment.

      I really liked that the story wasn't about the mane 6, that other people have bonds too.
      For my taste the old Bookseller is a bit too strange I think it would be annoying to meet him on the streets but I simply don't like people like him, but he became somewhat likeable over the story simply because he showed a little bit of a serious side. And I didn't liked the way you showed twilight as a thoughtless and a little bit selfcentered pony, it's your story and you are the person who has to like it the most I know that I simply dislike it when someone drags my twilight through the dirt *GRRR*.

      Well even if I disliked many things compared to other storys I read:
      5/5 It's hard to explain I simpy loved to read this story the plot was really grabing me I went almost into it I loved the way how you described everything and the "mild-sad" ending. I can still imagine the feeling I got when I knew she was going to write down the words from the title.

      So good work keep on ^^ And next time be nice with twi ;)

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    77. This story is really moving, and it brings to life the world around it. The characterization of the mane cast was spot on. Twilight, only a month out of Canterlot, and being the asocial shut in that she was at the time was played perfectly.

      I like OCs. Kerning was such an exceptionally written one that I'll remember him.

      I'm glad to have read this story. Thank you for having written it.

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    78. A quick note for the sake of full disclosure:

      I needed to take a short step back from LGT, so I upped my scheduled edit of this story and posted the "final" version to GDocs on July 25th. It took me a while to get to the PFA.net version (finished that up on Aug.5th), and asked Seth to update the page links here once that was completed.

      As for what's different from the original, here's some copypasta from Ponychan: "The most significant changes are to the dialog (mostly Kerning's), and Celestia's reaction to Twilight's letter [now reads as intended]. Punctuation, tenses, grammar, section formatting, and pagination have all been reviewed and overhauled (Chicago style, 'for-print' layout). Feelin' good enough about it to call this the 'final' edit, but it's still a self-edit, so any mistakes found are all on me. . . . I give many thanks to the poor, unfortunate proofer(s) on ponyfictionarchive.net who took care of ~80% of the punctuation corrections used in this final version."

      Please note that the GDocs version may display weird mid-paragraph page breaks or some blank pages where single breaks should be depending on what browser/version/OS you're using. So, the PDF version is highly recommended if you want to read the story in its intended format, or PFA.net (the "Alternate" link above) if you'd like to avoid Google's nonsense altogether.

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    79. This is one of the best fanfictions I've ever read. It's so deep. The letter to Celestia sent chills down my spine. It's just so good. Too sad the author hasn't written more as yet.

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    80. Just finished this story and just had to comment: wow what a trip! I love these slice-of-life fics. And the fact that It would fit right in the show makes it so much better. I'm definitely moving luna's goodwill tour up on my to-read list. Ahh so much to read, so little time!

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    81. I have to agree, that would make a good episode and that is a one of the best fan fics I have read here. :)

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    82. What does it say when the fandom of a good show is coming up with stories as good as the source material?

      If it's not going to be possible to get the studio to turn this into an episode, maybe the fandom should do it instead?

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    83. It's a pity, given how resistant the management (whatever that may consist of, Hasbro I'd imagine) were to Luna being brought back and a few other 'potentially scary' things mentioned in interviews, it's extremely unlikely that they'll officially make even a passing allusion to mortality (much less the full mention this gives it) regardless how well the story would fit into canon.

      Then again, I suppose it should be said, this is primarily a kids' show complete with all the overprotective reactions that tend to go with it.

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    84. Is the librarian's name a Discworld reference?

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    85. @Remy
      Haven't read much Pratchett (stop yelling at me!), so all I can say is, "Not that I'm aware of."

      Like Kerning, Octavo's name is another book- and/or printing-related pun. Traditionally, octavos were made by printing 16 pages on a single sheet of paper (front and back) and folding it over 3 times to get 8 leaves. Nowadays the term usually refers to the general size of a book, specifically one that's approx. 9"H X 6"W.

      And that was WTFHIW's boring fact of the day. ;-)

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    86. This... this was just so touching and well done. Kerning's character, all of the dialogue, Twilight's report... everything was just so well-written, that I could really feel for everything that was going on. This is definitely superb reading. 5/5

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    87. Wow... that was truly good. I'm glad this was the first fic I've read. I stopped in the middle of work today like WHO the hell was the librarian before Twilight started up squatting?! Why has nobody mentioned this or attempted to borrow a book (except the cutiemarkcrusaders), and this explanation is most fitting. Thank you. No complaints ^_^(needs moar rainbowdash)

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    88. also I went thru the trouble of creating a whatever this is account just to thank you. THAT good. :)

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    89. I used to think that writing fanfiction was just to lazy piggyback on an existing story or world instead of making one for yourself. I see now that it can be caring, loving work, weaving a new story into an old, without tearing, without staining or intruding, in a place where there was nothing before, enriching the original work as it borrows from it.

      I write this, impressed, and quite humbled, by your ability.
      Thank you.

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    90. This one came out RIGHT as i was getting into the fandom... I was not yet an EqD regular yet, still mostly relying on 4chan and google...

      I'm really glad I decided to review the earlier months of EqD again...

      Beautiful!

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