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Conviction Discussion thread

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Vinylshadow on Sun Dec 07, 2014 3:29 pm

NMM selects the foals; older Nightkin are tasked with raising them and teaching them that every pony under Celestia is the scum of the earth; NMM selects one after screwing them all to be her Foaltoy...

Whatever works, I guess

Oh hey, new Harmony Theory Chapter...
*28,897 words* Oh for crying out loud...
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by DoomManta on Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:36 pm

Chapter is now up, though you'll probably need to re-read some to refresh your memory. I certainly did.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:52 pm

Spoiler:
That was quite intriguing. This incarnation of Kindness actually, while having a spine, being kind rather than generically "nice" is refreshing.


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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Vinylshadow on Sun Dec 07, 2014 11:58 pm

because nice and kindness aren't the same thing
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:01 am

Spoiler:
Contrast The Element's spoilerific example of kindness in the story to Fluttershy's, what? Hiding from the world like a coward and "caring for" wild animals? Being a pushover whenever anyone comes around? The former's characterization is far better an embodiment of it.


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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:30 am

Yo, please use the PH standard of spoilering comments about a new chapter for, at least, 24 hours or so after the chapter first drops.
'Cause yeah, I didn't realize I needed to make sure not to check this topic anytime soon.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:32 am

I apologize; I didn't realize that the presence of a character whom we expected to show up anyway constituted a spoiler
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Vinylshadow on Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:36 pm

Character showing up, not surprising.

The manner in which they do and act afterwords though, is something else.
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Wed Dec 17, 2014 3:33 pm

Apologies, frost, to be honest I only skimmed the first post or two and assumed the worst.

I've read the chapter, now, and my heart is just beating really fast.
I'll post thoughts later when not on a phone.

This story is such good stuff.

Edit: Why do you say we already knew Kindness would be in this chapter, though?

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:19 pm

Not this chapter in particular, but it's long been more-or-less figured out that we'd be seeing all of the elements sooner or later
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Wed Dec 17, 2014 4:47 pm

...well yeah, I guess we can presume that the harmony bearers are notable-enough to all show up eventually in some context.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:02 pm

By the way, were you as pissed off as I was that the guards stated they might hang the killer or killers of a gang of well armed and armored mercenaries that died at the scene of a clear struggle? It could hardly be more evident that those guys had been hired to kill someone and had gotten killed, themselves, in an act of self defense.
If peacekeeping involves hanging both sides of every fight then this is a heck of a messed up system.

I'm also rather annoyed it was Starswirl that pressed for the death of all fades rather than Celestia.
She's the ruler. Even if she's still ultimately to blame for what happens, it should have been her call.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:13 pm

Yeah, that's a pretty fucking retarded way of doing things. The immediate reaction was to assume murder--not, you know, mercenaries running afoul of their trade. Though this sort of "peacekeeping" doesn't surprise me, given the fact that this is a regime that issued a no-quarter order (though we've beaten that horse into the ground at this point)

Given the more paramilitary nature of the Element bearers this time around (Though not enough that they wear uniforms or at least designate their affiliations, making them unlawful combatants--Aaand we're off-track again) I'd doubt Celestia didn't have a hand in it, no matter what Kindness said (and perhaps sincerely thought.
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by DoomManta on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:04 pm

swicked wrote:By the way, were you as pissed off as I was that the guards stated they might hang the killer or killers of a gang of well armed and armored mercenaries that died at the scene of a clear struggle? It could hardly be more evident that those guys had been hired to kill someone and had gotten killed, themselves, in an act of self defense.
If peacekeeping involves hanging both sides of every fight then this is a heck of a messed up system.

You know, that totally never occurred to me, but now that you mention it, that is pretty suspect. 

Though I disagree with calling the Element bearers paramilitary. Given that Pyra apparently had at least local operational command in Blackrock and that some random Celestian soldier immediately recognised the Element of Loyalty when searching Slight's stuff, it seems to me that "Element Bearer" is functionally a military rank of at least NCO status, probably higher.


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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:09 pm

Slight states, IIRC, they had been waiting off the path just out of town for their group to take that road, then confronted them.
Any kind of tracker should have, at least, found indications that the well-armed thugs had been lingering in the woods before moving to the place where the conflict happened.
Minus a background check of some sort, it'd be easy to take the thugs for bandits. Their behavior didn't imply anything less.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:49 pm

I'm sure you don't want me to go into a lengthy rant on the difference between the (Officer) Chain of Command and the (NCO) Support Channel.

If you're going to give them a military rank, you'd want something more like a Warrant Officer. They're the guys that show up and fix everything when you're not looking, and basically no one's allowed to fuck with them. Also, they fly helicopters.

Point being, though, that (though my definition of 'paramilitary' might be off) they're definitely directly involved in the Equestrian military's affairs and have some command authority--and I'm under the impression that Celestia is the Equestrian military's commander-in-chief. An operation to the scale of eliminating all of the Nightkin is something that would have come down straight from her desk.
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:57 pm

Conviction chapter 12 commenting-on-things-while-I'm-reading-the-chapter review with LMR reaction images, because that's how I roll:


I like this "Curse of the Everfree" poem more with every verse.


...this feels like a dream. She's not this clumsy, unobservant or squeamish.


And now she's dying. Definitely a dream.

"Glancing around, I realised I didn’t see Tom anywhere. Not that I cared where he’d gone."
Tom's a girl.


Sigh... kinda hoping Slight will eventually mellow-out enough to be thankful for free food. They weren't really respectful of her at first, but they're being amiable-enough now.


"Great  strokes of dark green, each tree coming to a jagged tip, ready to gouge the eyes from the birds that would occasionally pass overhead."
I love how viciously beautiful these descriptions are. It's just so unique and appealing.


I'd imagine the only thing more annoying to Tom than having Slight pull a prank like that on her is the fact that, if she were to return the favor, Slight would not only beat her to death... she'd likely then beat Stray to death with Tom's corpse after Tom's passing failed to sate her rage.


These patrol ponies make no sense. They come across three dead well-armed and armored mercenaries at the scene of a clear battlefield and, apparently, the punishment for killing said mercenaries is death? It's not like it was murder. Those guys were clearly equipped for a fight with plenty of evidence of a struggle. Any idiot would come to the conclusion the mercenaries were the ones hired to kill someone that day and things hadn't turned out well for them. Do they really just execute people that defend themselves?


“What in the Pale was that?”
...well that might be an interesting reference.


"We managed a peaceful almost-slumber for a good while, not quite getting to sleep, but I did feel the first gentle caresses of the never-never."
And there's another one!


Gosh, my heartbeat's actually rather intense at this confrontation...


“I believe the punishment for this is hanging under Celestia’s rule and the Council of Hoofens.”
...for drugs? Celestia's a bitch in this. Death penalty for drug smuggling is absurd and barbaric.


Heh, cool fight... but a bit anticlimactic. It felt like the author got sick of writing it. Four or so interesting kills, wrestling with the leader, then just a summary of the aftermath with a statement that Slight, herself, lost count of how many she actually got.
Still, what Slight could have done with a ranged weapon...


"“Slight?” Summer Song asked"
This makes me happy.


Holy hell, does Slight ever have bad luck. I had figured her best bet would have been to shadow walk out of that room after she woke up... it might have raised a few minor questions, but the idea that she had been a fade wouldn't have been the first guess the assembled would have made when someone finally opened the door and found the room empty. But yeah...


...and another dream. Huh.
I gotta be honest, I'm not a fan of dreams. At least it's short.
The repetition seems kinda ominous, though.


Hmmm... Kindness is interesting.
I can believe Slight's response to her, that of wanting Kindness to be a monster. That of crying openly at one more screwed thing messing up the world she's desperately trying to put back in order ever since it was shattered. She could understand that the world, particularly the element bearers, had become evil and diseased and all that was still good resided in her and her trapped goddess. With a few exceptions, like the eager dog of Celestia, the unsteady peace between thieves, the few living priests to Luna still keeping the vigil in the night temples... etc. A Harmony bearer, of all people, treating her like a person? Not being a merciless monster? That really shakes her house of cards.
In the end, though, this doesn't feel like enough. Kindess says she's sorry she killed (to her knowledge) everyone Slight ever knew and loved. But apart from that, and letting Slight leave with her life, that's all Kindness has in her. Delaying the fight to another day.
She's made her peace with her mistake, it feels like, and it's been... what? A week? Two?
I can understand that she's tired. She states that's why she went ahead with the slaughter in the first place. She felt she'd be allowed to go home afterward... yet she's here. Still here. Keeping the peace and possibly a little disillusioned.


Actually, do you suppose Tom was wrong when she said that one guard wanted to rape Slight? If Kindness can sense her element in others, then she shouldn't have cruel people in her company. Or, possibly, she might have nothing but cruel people, depending on the state of Celestia's army.


...in any case, she had nothing but pity for Slight; the last of her species, damned to be hunted down and killed sooner or later. Nothing to be done but to give her a few more days to realize she has no place in the world no matter where she goes.
No offer of help, to try and reform and champion her, to protect her and find a place she can live and love again. No penance from Kindness, only a companion and release back into the world.
Kindness could have done a lot if she was truly kind, but she's no bleeding heart. She just feels guilty, and gave Slight all that she was willing to offer the mare out of guilt.


I see (well, hope I see) the next time they cross paths ending very differently. No, her small, small showing of kindness shouldn't really change anything.
SO happy this story is back in business. I hope the next chapter doesn't take too long...

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by DoomManta on Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:01 pm

Mister Frost wrote:I'm sure you don't want me to go into a lengthy rant on the difference between the (Officer) Chain of Command and the (NCO) Support Channel.

If you're going to give them a military rank, you'd want something more like a Warrant Officer. They're the guys that show up and fix everything when you're not looking, and basically no one's allowed to fuck with them. Also, they fly helicopters.

Point being, though, that (though my definition of 'paramilitary' might be off) they're definitely directly involved in the Equestrian military's affairs and have some command authority--and I'm under the impression that Celestia is the Equestrian military's commander-in-chief. An operation to the scale of eliminating all of the Nightkin is something that would have come down straight from her desk.

Yeah, NCO was a lowball estimate. I'd guess the the Elements are the equivalent to modern day Captains or Majors. 

Although, Sun-Butt may well not really have any idea what exactly went down at Blackrock; her canon solution to problems seems to be basically: Point the Elements at the problem and let them go nuts. So it's possible that she's given them full command and autonomy.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Wed Dec 17, 2014 8:37 pm

Negligence is hardly a better defense than outright malice when it comes to leadership.

As far as the ranks go, NCO's are a hierarchy sort-of-not-really parallel to officer ranks. The first line supervisors (Team and Squad-level) are Specialists/Corporals/Sergeants and Sergeants/Staff Sergeants, respectively, and, at the platoon level and higher, an element is lead by an officer with a senior NCO in an administrative/logistics position (Platoon Sergeant, and First Sergeant for platoon and company and Sergeant Major for battalion and above) meaning that, realistically, that Battalion Command Sergeant Major probably "outranks" the butter-bar that just got in charge of a platoon, though, on paper, the LT "outranks" him. Captains are either in staff positions or command companies, and Majors are either in staff positions or are Battalion XO's--same thing, really. Either way, Senior NCO rank confers administrative duty and Officer rank confers command duty. The Elements, so far as we've seen, don't seem to take much of an administrative role or a command one (though they have some de facto authority considering their reputation, if their treatment by Celestian soldiers is anything to go by) so they'd fit more squarely into the Warrant Officer ranks, as Warrant Officers have their rank as a matter of skill and expertise rather than command or administration.
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Wed Dec 17, 2014 9:10 pm

I find it kinda interesting that canon Celestia keeps all the elements working together as a group most of the time, but this past Celestia clearly did not. They're all spread out and isolated right now, and I'm not sure why that is. The elements are supposed to work in close proximity to each other... at least, in canon.
Why is Kindness at this random town? I guess Honesty was present to help secure that capital city of Luna's, but I'm curious what the rhyme or reason is behind their deployment. The war is over, right?
Does she really need to use the element bearers as occupation forces?

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Fri Dec 19, 2014 12:26 pm

Mister Frost wrote:
Spoiler:
That was quite intriguing. This incarnation of Kindness actually, while having a spine, being kind rather than generically "nice" is refreshing.
I don't see her behavior as particularly kind. She's just merciful. She decided not to kill her, either personally or by sending her to the gallows.
She doesn't really help her in any meaningful way. She holds no good will or intent. This is a sort of penance. She allowed, or played a part in, the genocide of all batponies save this one.
She had the death of a species on her conscience, before, and she doesn't want it again.
So she's letting her, and quite possibly the only pony that actually gives a damn about her anymore, go on their way.
Kindness doesn't want to be responsible for Slight's death, but by refusing any real aid, she seems resigned that it is inevitable and is unwilling to spare more than a single desperate volunteer in putting off that inevitability for a little while.

I just feel, as a Harmony bearer that should have Celestia's ear, there had to be more she could have done if she had actually wanted to.

Edit:
Then again, maybe that's telling of the world, here.
That the closest embodiment of Kindness they could find was the one mare that could feel guilty about the idea of completing a genocide she participated in.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Fri Dec 19, 2014 1:51 pm

She does admit that it was a failing on her part to allow that; a lapse brought on being homesick and war-weary
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Fri Dec 19, 2014 2:43 pm

...that's just an excuse. It'd be one thing if those things caused her not to object to "starswirl's" plan at its proposal, but she admits attendance and involvement in the battle. She is not just guilty through neglect at a single crucial moment, but through active participation.

It reminds me of animal farm. One of the pigs proposes everyone work absurd hours, the horse be killed off, etc... and because he has the lambs yell to drown out any opposition directly after the proposition the animals feel they have to go through with it, since the time to oppose the suggestion has ended.
She had plenty of time to consider what they were doing and did not until she saw the foals responding to all the dead.

I don't know, maybe that's how the military works. If you don't disagree to a war crime early-enough and you just have to go through with it.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:11 pm

There's no statute of limitations. You're outright expected, at any point, to stop unlawful actions from happening. 

I'm not excusing the fact that she participated in, or at least condoned, the massacre. I'm just saying that, unlike Loyalty and Honesty, who seemed damn near glad to participate in the slaughter, it's quite telling that she begrudgingly went along with it so the war would end and she could see her family--that's more the reason that people go along with the more bloodthirsty minority of commanders and soldiers, anyway. It's still an inexcusable war crime; I'm just trying to explain the line of reasoning that would lead her to actually do so (from an in- and out-of-universe perspective)
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:21 pm

Do you suppose the bearers have to be friends in this canon?
I want Honesty to learn Kindness spared Loyalty's murderer.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Fri Dec 19, 2014 3:28 pm

I'm not sure about the friendship thing. A camaraderie, perhaps, but that can be found among soldiers in a warzone with or without magic necklaces. Considering their more militant application and usually dispersed nature, it'd surprise me if there was the closeness we see in the show-era Bearers
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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by swicked on Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:05 pm

I wonder if that lack of friendship is this story's explanation for Nightmare Moon being locked away instead of harmonized.
...or maybe it could just be that these militant ponies didn't think harmonization was possible and the elements respond to intent?
Probably not worth speculating on given there's nothing definitive indicating they couldn't concievably be friends.

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Re: Conviction Discussion thread

Post by Frost on Fri Dec 19, 2014 7:50 pm

Loyalty and Honesty seemed to be a bit more than friends, but Kindness was more remote and seemed a bit disconnected from the others from what we've seen, while Magic (Starswirl) is, by all indications, with Sunbutt in the capital--symbolic, perhaps, of the importance with which the various virtues are regarded in Celestian society.
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