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DerpRavener last won the day on November 22 2017

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About DerpRavener

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    Philosophical Changeling

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    Gaming, game design, philosophy, logic. A little writing on the side.

    Oh yes, also changelings. I love changelings.

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    Slim Chance
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  1. Hidden texts. [Open]

    As they stepped into the bookstore, Naj started to get the uncomfortable sensation of being out of place. The truth was, this wasn't really her field of expertise. She did like books, more than the average changeling, but the sort she tended to enjoy tended to land squarely in the realms of fiction rather than anything of historical or magical significance. Much as she did like the idea of seeing Coltson in action, the truth was she was likely to be as much a liability as an asset in this situation. And, to tell the truth, it sounded like the supposed source of the troubles here was somepony they knew before and hadn't been so bad. That is to say, somepony who it might be best to talk down, rather than smack down. While Naj did prefer a peaceful resolution, and was as happy to talk as anyone else, her skill set was focused on the direct approach above all others. She'd been building up other skills, but a mare would always have her specialty. It turned out she had a perfect excuse to get out of the was as well, and thanks to what she'd established to be her cover, not only would it fit but she wouldn't even really have to lie about it. “I just remembered,” she said, when there was a lull in the conversation, “I actually have a few reports I have to make at the castle, while I'm in town. So, rather than getting underhoof,” she added, with a bit of a grin, “I'm going to get to it.” She turned and trotted out the door, calling “good luck!” back to the ponies inside as she left the shop for the streets outside, trotting away toward her destination.
  2. Okay, apparently I'm still getting back into the swing of things. But I think progress is being made. I am pleasantly surprised there's still this much interest, given how much time has passed. So, there are two ways which come to mind that we could go about this: @Pretzelparty would have been the next person to post, however given that it's been so long that it might make sense to restart the posting order, in which case I'd try to get a post up by this weekend.
  3. Fish Aren't Always Friends [Invite]

    Clef found Night Prophecy's doubts odd. Why would the ponies think either one of them had beached themselves? Ponies from central Equestria maybe, but most of the dockside ponies could be able to tell the difference between something which had gotten itself stuck on land and something which went there deliberately. Besides, Clef was perfectly comfortable on land, and Night said he was too, so why would anypony think they couldn't make it while out of the water? Needless to say, he hadn't noticed that his new friend had reservations about venturing above the water. Or at least, Clef didn't until Night immediately followed his first foray above the ocean with a very wet cough, and it was only then that the siren finally had some doubts of his own. Just how long had it been since Night had been on land? The latter clearly wasn't used to this sort of thing. Yet he had made it clear he was perfectly capable of it, very confidently in fact. Clef frowned, but didn't know what to do about it. Perhaps his new friend had spent too long away from land to be used to the air. Perhaps he would just have to keep an eye on said new friend, lest something happen which neither of them were quite expecting. Clef glanced in the direction Night had been looking. “Hmm? Oh, I've gotten that in a few places.” Well maybe not quite the same reaction, but close enough to matter. “I wouldn't worry about it too much, they just aren't used to seeing seaponies around. They'll get used to it in a few minutes, I'm sure. Or at least find something else to draw their attention.” The fact that a number of ponies' gazes remained fixed on the two of them did nothing to dissuade him. “The best place?” Clef paused for a moment, and thought about the question. “I've never been here before either, but the obvious place would seem to be the docks.” Clef pointed a little ways away from where they'd surfaced. Unfortunately, there hadn't been a closer place for ocean dwellers such as themselves to get onto land, at least from what he'd seen. “I imagine most things picked up from the sea would pass through there, so if that doesn't lead us to what you're looking for we're bound to find somepony who can.” As the two started moving that direction, Night revisited the question of divination, suggesting it was a lot like what pegasi did with the weather. Clef considered that for a moment, thinking it sounded reasonable but that something didn't quite fit. After a moment he replied. “But pegasi study clouds because clouds are a big part of weather, I'm pretty sure. I'd think studying stones would be something more like...” he absently waved his hoof in a circle, looking for the word, “geology or something. How do rocks tell you about the day?”
  4. My Little Investigations: Canterlot Edition

    I think Grim Solace could make either a good suspect or a good witness. He's an odd pony, often seen doing suspicious things, which could make him work as the former, and then for the latter he's often seen talking to himself from other's perspectives and can get questionable but relevant information from dubious sources. Looking at roles yet unfilled, the rival team/prosecutors seem to be the biggest one. I don't have the best characters for that, but I might have a couple that could fit. Naj has the mindset and the connections to the REA that I could see her being a part of an official investigation. Just note that she wouldn't be one to try underhanded legal tactics. She might accidentally pursue the wrong person, but she wouldn't be the type to seek a guilty verdict at all costs. Nosk meanwhile might be a little convoluted to get there, but he could work. He could be trying his 'hoof' as a prosecutor (probably with some kind of cover identity), and he's got a mischievous streak that could see him try some underhanded tactics. I imagine he'd see the whole thing as yet another very dangerous game. (Also I know that's more than two, my thinking is that I offer up extra for options and then we can figure out who among them is the best fit and set aside the rest.)
  5. Welp, I was looking through old threads and I remembered/rediscovered this one. I think I've got myself a little more organized now, so we could take another crack at this one. Before I commit to that though, I'd like to see: would people have an interest in trying to continue this, or should we leave it where it lies?
  6. Canterlot Checkers Challenge

    Grim held no ill will toward his teammates. Perhaps, in better circumstances, they could have had a nice conversation. As it was however, priority was to be kept on resolving the current situation, the game, such as it was. He was fully intent on doing just that. However, he was stopped by what one might describe as a screeching in his ear. His companions could get... excitable, when the wanted got something in their heads. “No, that is unnecessary, I am sure they are perfectly capable of-” he was cut off by more rapid chittering. He looked back, only to find that he'd made too much distance from his teammates, who were no longer in comfortable earshot and where enacting their own moves. “...It's a moot point anyways. The only way to talk to them now would be to go backwards.” More chittering. “Well, do you want me to play the game, or sabotage my own chances to tell them that?” This time silence followed. Grim stopped himself from saying 'that's what I thought' as he came across a pair of nobles, loudly arguing over who should move and capture a hapless delivery pony, caught up in this whole mess. By holding his tongue, he was able to sneak up with them unawares. He got into position just in time to hear another red-tinted pony shout for the would-be victim to jump over his aggressors. When the pizza pony finally listened, Grim made his own move. He tensed for a moment, then took a galloping start before leaping over the second noble could react to something other than his friend vanishing. Grim landed heavily on the opposite square, which brought him to a space adjacent to the mare who'd spoken up. A voice in his ear helpfully reminded him this meant they couldn't capture each other, with neither able to move in a way that would put the other at risk. Though filing away the information, Grim pointedly avoided reacting to the voice, and that was only partially due to the reaction he might get. With nopony immediately ahead of him, he took a moment to assess. He had planned to ask the red-tinted mare if she had merely been generous or if she too wanted the game to end, but with the other nobles dealt with and the pizza pony away, she had moved on. Just as well, perhaps. The voices were muttering again, though this time Grim couldn't quite tell what they were on about. He took a step forward, intent on getting a slightly closer look at his surroundings, only to stumble a bit when his hoof landed further ahead than he expected it too. Oddly enough, the lane seemed... smaller... hmm.
  7. Canterlot Checkers Challenge

    Grim Solace didn't typically come to Canterlot. His typical practices were frowned on particularly harshly by the ponies that lived there, and for that matter his attitudes likely weren't received well either. Granted, all that was mostly speculation on his part, but what little time he had spent in Equestria's capitol supported the assumptions, even if it hardly made for a complete account. He wouldn't turn away from a situation in Canterlot that needed his attention, but that was the most he could say for the city. He had no other reason to come here. Well, almost no other reason. As much as Grim Solace prided himself on his ability to be independent, he could not do everything on his own. There were a number of rare materials that he lacked the time or expertise to acquire for himself, and of the two remaining options for magically active materials, he much preferred academia to the black market. Grim Solace had spent most of the day inside thus far, and so while he had felt the tingle of some sort of large scale magic, he hadn't known what it was or what it signified until he stepped back out onto the street. The moment Grim left the doorway he immediately noticed the change, or at least one of them. This was not the part of town he'd entered, let alone the building or door. This was a part of town he didn't recognize. A shift of location would have been irritating, but easily solvable. If only that were the only thing affecting him at the moment. His coat seemed to have changed colours, now a dark shade of blue instead of his usual grey, though it still managed to be somewhat sombre. The ground was similarly...'decorated', covered with alternating colours of squares. Trying to move, having not yet decided if he would aim to escape or to confront the source, he found he couldn't, unless he shifted diagonally. Just as Grim's confusion was reaching it's peak, a paper floated conspicuously down to his hooves, and he finally had an explanation: checkers. A foals game. He vaguely remembered playing it sometimes when he was young, but that was ages ago. It was perhaps fortunate that instructions were provided, even if he would have far preferred not to have need of them in the first place. Grim's 'companions' were chittering in his ears, just as anxious as he but not as skilled at containing it. “Hush,” he muttered under his breath, “this is only temporary. If not meant to be, I will make it so.” He noticed he wasn't the only pony so affected, perhaps it would be better not to speak with his usual company unnecessarily, lest he start getting funny looks from his teammates. Speaking to the apparently empty air was the sort of thing which got one remembered. Indeed, Grim wasn't the only pony affected. Already, another blue-tinted pony was calling forth a charge of sorts. Much as Grim didn't like charging forward without a plan, the only way out did seem to be through. And besides, what's the worst that could happen? Being captured could only mean one was out of the game. With a nod toward the other pony Grim began walking forward, stepping on such spaces as the game allowed him, in a steady advance toward the castle some ways distant.
  8. Hidden texts. [Open]

    It turned out that there was a method to Tongue Twister's madness, in that she'd left the room to give Naj and Coltson a chance to speak. “Oh...Oh!” Naj said after a moment. She waved a hoof, as if brushing away the issue. “I did get to speak to him a little, but it's nothing so urgent. Actually, if anything, I was hoping to get a chance to see him at work. Most of what I might want to talk about is, ah, kinda boring. And might take a while, so it can wait.” Strictly speaking, that was all true, although whether or not security plans were boring was a matter of opinion. Coltson caught Naj's attention as Twister mumbled to herself, indicating to the muttering mare. She wasn't quite as good at lip-reading as he was, her specialization was in more direct sorts of interaction, but there was enough there to be concerned. Her thinking though, rather than worrying about a civilian, was that maybe Twister wasn't as out of the loop as they might have thought. Though that too was a complication, and until they knew more about the mare it was something to keep any eye on. The complications didn't stop there. Coltson's idea for Naj's cover wasn't quite what the changeling would have used. And much as part of her was tempted to try to play along, she wasn't sure it was a ruse she could maintain if it came down to it. Fortunately, she had a way to play things off and resolve the issue, hopefully without rousing any suspicion. “Heh 'Purveyor',” Naj chuckled and shook her head. “I work with the REA, and lately I've been doing a lot of 'artifact recovery'. Sometimes dangerous items pop up which are best kept out of unknowing or unscrupulous hooves. To that end, it's helpful to know somepony who works with rare books.” She looking meaningfully toward Coltson. "Though I suppose,” she reflected after a moment, “I have been working with antiques a lot lately, so the confusion's understandable.” The train pulled to a stop just as Naj was finishing what she was saying. They had arrived in Canterlot. Equestria's capitol had a lot of personal history for the changeling, being both the site of one of her greatest regrets and her greatest triumph at different times. But today this wasn't her adventure, she was just along for the ride, which brought its own sort of interest. Naj stepped off the train and then turned to her companions. “Alright, where to?”
  9. Fish Aren't Always Friends [Invite]

    Clef sat back as Night Prophecy went through a range of expressions, each indicating a different emotion or mood, without actually saying anything. It was a curious thing to watch, seeing his new friend go through so many moods at once, but Clef couldn't bring himself to interrupt. Whatever Night was thinking of was evidently a private matter, else it would have been shared. Besides, it was the siren's belief that everyone deserved a few eccentricities. When he finally did respond, Night seemed affronted that Clef would even ask him such a question. The siren for his part thought it was a perfectly reasonable thing to ask, given that his current companion was from a previously unknown ocean-dwelling civilization. But, he supposed this was its own form of answer, even if Night had an odd way of expressing it. If the sea pony was so sure of himself, who was Clef to argue? Night finished by suggesting that finding a good bit of shell or coral would be a reason for him to return back home, and that would in turn be excuse enough to bring Clef for a visit. That was it then, it was decided. There was a way for each of them to find a mutually agreeable outcome. Clef nodded to himself, and then started looking for the quickest way up out of the water. It wasn't easy, with all the boats coming in and out the surface of the water was choppy and a little hazardous. There were docks, but those were built for travelers going to and from floating on the water, rather than the water itself. Clef swam around a bit in lazy circles as he looked for a way up. It took him a minute to spot something. Near some of the private docks was a wide staircase, which lead from the land into the water. Clef didn't get the purpose of them until he spotted a filly run down the stairs and splash into the water. He started swimming that direction, before remembering he was supposed to be getting Night onto land as well. He waved the seapony over, before continuing to move toward the stairs. Clef poked his head out of the water on reaching the stairs, accidentally startling a few ponies in the process, and looked around. He took a moment to get a view of the city from above the waves, but not for long. It was simple enough, with a small application of a natural siren ability, for him to get himself out of the water. He turned to make sure Night Prophecy was still following, and as the latter made his own way out of the water Clef asked a question of his own. “So divination, how does that work? Or is it the sort of thing you can't tell laypeople?”
  10. An Ounce of Prevention [Private]

    Celestia could see Applejack's point. If she went to any official medical centres, questions would inevitably to be asked about what caused her injuries. Another pony would have a chance of concealing the truth with some risk, but for all her capabilities one thing Applejack could not do reliably was lie to other ponies. It was regrettable, but it apparently unavoidable. Yet another unpleasant surprise, the one positive development that could be taken from this was a lesson learned. The farmpony should not be called on for a certain sort of task. Applejack took offence, of a sort, at Celestia's own criticism. She naturally did not outright insult the princess, though the inherent displeasure was very evident all the same. The alicorn supposed she could understand the farmpony's perspective. Applejack had an innate understanding of herself and had a confidence in that, and as such she 'knew' she could accomplish the task they had undertaken without putting her child at risk. She'd thus accused Celestia of passing judgment despite not being the most knowledgeable pony on the subject. Strictly speaking that was true, Celestia thought. She didn't know Applejack's body as well as the earth pony herself did. What she did know however, indeed what she felt herself an authority on, were mistakes. Over her centuries she'd seen how even the most durable, resolute pony could be laid low by a stone where one didn't expect, or an opponent moving faster, or even slower than one would expect. She also knew what could be lost, when those small mistakes were made, particularly in high intensity situations. Indeed, she'd made a great number of mistakes herself, some of which haunted her for a thousand years. Applejack had taken a risk she wouldn't have dared taken herself. However that was, ultimately, out of Celestia's control. It had taken her effectively several lifetimes to truly learn that lesson, and Applejack was known to be a particularly stubborn pony. She doubted Applejack could be convinced without indisputable proof, which she hoped the mare never found. This was yet more to the lesson the alicorn herself would have to take away from this, but beyond that there was little more to do here. Celestia smiled back, if a bit sadly, and after a moment she spoke. “Yes, to happier meetings.” And then, with a flap of her wings, she launched herself into the sky and flew off.
  11. Hidden texts. [Open]

    Naj had heard of a new changeling hive, one which vaguely sounded like the one belonging to this 'Thorax'. Beyond that though, she didn't know anything about it. Her job meant she didn't get information the way normal ponies did. In some cases this meant she knew more, while other subjects would fall by the wayside. This was one of the latter. However, she had not been expecting the question, and while she was thinking of a reply Tongue Twister had run off, leaving Naj and apparently Coltson watching her exiting form in confusion. “Me, if I had to guess,” Naj replied, with a sigh. “It would hardly be the first time I've caused this sort of reaction.” A changeling in the open was, she had to admit, a strange and potentially disturbing sight for many ponies. Those who got to know her were generally able to acclimatize easily enough, but she could hardly meet everypony in Equestria, and that meant there would always be some one new to disturb. Granted they'd come a ways so far, but Tongue Twister had hardly spoken to Naj during that time, and sometimes there was a delayed reaction. “I can say this though, she ran off, which means she doesn't need me kicked out. Or at least, she doesn't want a confrontation.” That was good, she could work with that. Some ponies just needed time. Naj was a little more subdued when Tongue Twister returned, but tried to finish her reply all the same. “To answer your question, I don't really know much about Thorax's hive. I cut ties with mine some time ago, and since then I've kept out of contact with other changelings. Well, with a few exceptions.” She smiled with what she hoped was a disarming smile.
  12. An Ounce of Prevention [Private]

    Just as they were on the verge of reaching civilization, Applejack began to remove her armour. Understandable, as this was meant to be a less public operation. It did however make Celestia think back to everything which they'd left behind back at the castle. Yes, the books they had come for had been recovered as much as they could be, but in their place was now a fair amount of sophisticated arcane weaponry, albeit rendered inoperable. Then again, anyone who would be able to get to and make use of the debris would either already know how to build such things, or would be more than dangerous without them. It would be good to clean it up eventually, but for now she could set the thought aside and focus on other things. “And a doctor too, I should hope,” Celestia was quick to reply. She let the words hang for a moment, before following up on them. She shot Applejack a meaningful look. “I mean that. Your resolve is unquestioned, but those injuries are not trivial.” She hoped Applejack would listen, but knew the farmpony was stubborn. She considered sending her personal physician, just to make sure Applejack got some medical attention, although she didn't believe that necessary just yet. Or at least that had been how Celestia felt, until she noticed the faint bulge around Applejack's stomach as the earth pony's armour was removed. “Applejack, did you...?” She trailed off. It took her only a moment to puzzle out what was going on, and much of that was because she would not have expected it from the farm pony. “You're pregnant,” she said finally, before her expression and voice hardened. “And that means you've done something very, very irresponsible. Did you not even think of your family, before answering my request?” Her expression gave way to concern. “I would hardly be much of a princess if I couldn't find a pony to help me, or a way to do without.” Celestia sighed. “Though, I suppose there's nothing for it now. What's done is done.” There didn't seem to be any point in getting worked up about it, any damage would have already happened. Now it would just be up to them to deal with any consequences that arose. “I do appreciate the help,” she admitted, “even if I don't agree with the priorities which drove it. Just, make sure you speak to a physician, alright?” She turned to leave. “I'm afraid I can't stay, there is much yet to do. I hope next time we see each other, it's under more pleasant circumstances. Farewell.” She smiled back at her friend, before beginning to walk away.
  13. Fish Aren't Always Friends [Invite]

    Night Prophecy didn't react the way Clef might have hoped. Not that the siren would know exactly what kind of reaction to expect, but exasperation was never a good sign. If he had to guess, he'd overstepped his bounds. Maybe asking to be taken to someone else's home, essentially inviting himself, was going too far. Night hadn't turned him away, and indeed had introduced himself and asked about any questions, but perhaps it would be better to stick to the present. That Night Prophecy introduced himself as the court wizard of Okeanos proved to be something of a mixed blessing in that light. Much as it was exciting to not only find a member (arguably) of an lost civilization but one who was so close to royalty as well! However, Clef was also fairly certain he wasn't making a very good first impression, and if the pony he was talking to was so important then that made it doubly bad. Clef realized it would be better to focus on the present. Helping with the issue ahead of him would probably go a ways toward fixing that first impression he'd made. He listened intently, as Night Prophecy first asked if Clef had any questions, before once more explaining the situation with the coral. “Ahh, well...” The siren scratched the back of his head with a hoof, and looked away for a minute. “Honestly, I'm not even sure what I'd want to ask. It's just, almost nothing is known for certain about Okeanos after it fell. It's almost a lost civilization!” Hopefully Night could see why that would be such an exciting find. Clef moved on either way, to the issue of the now-missing coral. He considered for a moment, then looked up, towards the surface of the water. “Say, how well can you travel on land?” Realizing that his new foreign friend might not understand the way Equestrian civilization worked, having potentially not really encountered it, he added something else. “I'm sure somepony up there either knows where we could find, or knows where we could buy some.”
  14. An Ounce of Prevention [Private]

    There they were again, those lingering doubts. Celestia had underestimated the opposition they faced, and as a result a pony she could call either a subject or a friend, was seriously injured. She wasn't sure which case was worse. But, she supposed, there was no point fretting about it now. What's done is done, and it was far too late to change things now. She would have to press on, as she had always done. There was nowhere to go but forward. Or back, in this case, she supposed. They were done here, it was time to return home and consider everything that had happened here. Despite being significantly more injured that the princess, Applejack insisted that the mission was now to get Celestia back home safe and sound. Even if Celestia would generally concede her own importance to Equestria, she was also perfectly healthy, unlike her temporary bodyguard. She had half a mind to chastise the farmpony for giving such little thought to her own safety. If there was one thing for certain though it was that Applejack was a stubborn pony, and so Celestia thought better of it. Instead she nodded her assent. Agreeing was, she felt, the easiest and fastest way to get Applejack back home, and to some medical attention and rest. Celestia fell into quiet contemplation for a moment, silently helping Applejack move rubble with her magic, before she replied. “Yes, I have to agree, on both counts. He seemed too...focused, to be simply willing to grab a random book. And he had plenty of time to grab a random book as we arrived...” The thought had nowhere to go, at least not yet, and so she fell silent again. With the rubble cleared, the pair began the walk back before Celestia spoke up once more. “I'll need to look into this. We don't have the information we need to come to any sound conclusions yet.”
  15. Fish Aren't Always Friends [Invite]

    Night Prophecy, which Clef finally knew as the sea pony introduced himself, explained away a number of small questions about why he was here. Clef barely heard them however, and even only just registered the name, in the face of one particular thing the sea pony had said. He paused, head tilted slightly to the side and at first said only a single word, “...Okeanos?” Did that make sense? According to the more reliable sources, that place should have been long abandoned. “Isn't that that old pegasus city that fell into...” He trailed off as he put two and two together. “That means the rumours were right!” he burst out suddenly. “My mother was talking about how there's all these rumours about how Okeanos was inhabited after falling into the ocean, but no one's ever found any hard proof! That's so exciting!” Much as he didn't agree with his mother's methods, he understood and picked up some of her appreciation of both history and the mysterious. Clef suddenly swam up right in front of Night Prophecy. “I don't suppose you could bring me there, could you?” His voice was reserved, but he couldn't fully contain his excitement. At least, not until moments later, when he remembered the sea pony had introduced himself. He blinked. “Ah! I'm sorry, I'm forgetting myself. My name's Clef,” he said, extending his hoof with a smile.