Fall into today’s story for some gripping drama.
[Dark] [Drama] • 2,466 words
When the pegasi lose their feathers, they also lose the ability to walk on clouds. The answer to ‘why’ is lost to time. The real question is … what happens to Cloudsdale?
FROM THE CURATORS: Some stories are compelling because they’re driven by a premise which grabs you right from the start. And when that happens, it’s doubly exciting to find execution which is just as exemplary. “The central idea of Feathers is immediately powerful and uniquely pony (if you spot it the existence of TV),” Horizon said in his nomination, “and it keeps a tight focus, driving a claustrophobic mood which is jarred quite effectively by the few outside encounters we see.” Feathers cruised to a feature amid a chorus of similar praise. “I compared this story to The Twilight Zone, with its ability to build tension through a sense of dread, which all pays off in one of the best final lines in this fandom,” Present Perfect said, while FanOfMostEverything agreed: “I have to say that this is an incredibly impactful story that gets a lot of mileage out of its oppressive atmosphere. This is far from my usual taste, but I’m happy to push this one over the edge … and given the subject matter, I apologize for the incidental puns.”
One element of the powerful mood was the story’s excellent framing, keeping the audience focused for maximum emotional punch. “It very much feels like a small slice of a much larger crisis, and the small stakes of the protagonists just underline their terror and lack of agency,” Horizon said. Soge noted that it did a remarkable job of drawing horror from the mundane: “The fic creates some wonderful atmosphere with a uniquely Equestrian plague, which turns a familiar environment into a hostile one, and the concept behind it is extremely interesting — being trapped in your own home, on your own furniture, no chance of escape.” Or, as Present Perfect put it, “Who cares about lava when the floor is clouds?”
But the character work also made a strong contribution. “Rainbow Dash’s parents feel distinctly true to their canon characters while having the over-the-top exuberance dialed back just a tad,” Present Perfect said. “They’re definitely about the last ponies you’d expect to star in a horror fic, but they work as the stars here.” FanOfMostEverything commented on that as well: “I think the moment that stands out the most for me is when Bow argues against helping the mare all but begging for assistance,” he said. “This is what this plague has done. This is how far this stallion has fallen. … I swear I’m not trying to make these puns. They just keep happening.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Flutterpriest discusses nice blankets, seen tomatoes, and Sparkledeath Metallidash.