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Survivor Shy - Break For The Everfree by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - Break For The Everfree by Mattatatta
"I decided to avoid going through Ponyville after my close call with the Hound, and instead walked around the outskirts of town. What I could see of it was burned away. Fire had swept over the place and devoured all of the buildings. As the mist cleared, I also noticed that Town Hall was no longer reaching into the air.

"I made my way to my cottage, hoping that my animal friends were safe and sound. When I got there, that hope was dashed. My home had not a single creature nearby nor inside. Instead, I opened my front door to a cold and empty home, and as the silent interior stared back at me, I broke down into tears. I was alone.

"When I couldn't cry any more, I slowly walked inside my house and closed the door behind me, shutting myself into darkness, save for a few gaps in the curtains allowing light to come through. I searched the bird houses and mouse holes, and even checked under my bed upstairs, in a fleeting hope that my friends were simply hiding, but I found nothing.

"It was a crushing feeling, realising that I was on my own. The silence in the house was horrible, and it was cold, as if the very life of my little cottage had been sucked out of it, leaving a hollow and empty husk. I was beginning to feel the same way, through loss and fatigue. I didn't know what to do any more, everypony was missing, my animal friends had disappeared, and the place I used to call home was falling apart every where I looked. I clambered onto my bed and rested my head on my pillow, and quietly sobbed myself into an overdue sleep.

"It was approaching sunset when I woke up from a nightmare, I forgot it almost as soon as I woke up. I slid off of my bed and trudged my way downstairs to the kitchen to find some food. Along the way, I picked up and lit a lantern to make up for the dimming light.

"When I came into the kitchen, I noticed that there was a messy stack of paper on the table, I walked over to it, and looked at the sheets sprawled all over the surface. On every page was an inky print from every animal who was living with me before I left. Birds, cats, mice - dozens of prints of all shapes and sizes occupied every single page. And right at the end of the last page, on the bottom, was a bunny's paw print next to a barely-legible initial - Angel.

"Angel had taken charge, and had left this collection of 'signed' papers behind to show that everyone was okay, bless him. A smile crept on my face, and I felt a bit of pride for a moment for him. He was a clever little bunny, and very brave to have took the lead. I really hoped that he was safe, and had managed to get everyone else to safety, wherever that may be.

"I was interrupted by the sound of voices, gruff and with an accent. I blew my lantern out and took a peek outside a window. Coming up the road was the Hound with a couple of Diamond Dogs following him, carrying empty and full sacks of items. One of them pointed at my cottage, and they all started for it.

"I was in danger, I needed to get out, but I needed to take some things with me. I ran over to my cabinets and dropped cans of fruit, apples, and anything else edible into my saddlebags, and swiped my lantern on my way out. I then ran upstairs and grabbed my scarf and my sewing kit, and hastily took some medicine bottles from my bathroom cabinet.

"I froze the moment I heard my front door being tried. It wasn't opening, and a few seconds later I heard a loud crash as the door was kicked down. I ran into my bedroom and tried to hide, but all of the stuff I was carrying meant I couldn't even fit under my bed. I heard the scampering of paws as the rooms downstairs were searched, and the loud thuds and scraping sounds of something, or someone, big coming up the stairs.

"My heart started beating in my ears, and I felt like I couldn't breathe out of fear of being heard. Terrified, I started fumbling around by the nearest window, trying to unlatch it with my shaking hooves. Just as I managed to open the window, the Hound came through the doorway and into the room. We locked eyes, and in less than a second I had leapt out the window with him following behind.

"I was not expecting to be so heavy, so I fell before my wings could catch me. I tumbled on the ground but instantly recovered, breaking into a full gallop. I had lost some things in the fall, making the load lighter, but by now, my wings were too jittery from adrenaline for me to work properly. Instead, I flapped them to push me along as I made a break for the Everfree Forest.

"The Hound was catching up to me, and he was readying his massive claws to strike. I pushed myself harder, running for my life, beginning to reach the edge of Everfree. As I passed the fringe, the Hound slashed after me, cutting a tree branch in one slice. The branch dropped onto his head, and he stopped chasing me to howl out in pain. I kept running, jumping over bushes and fallen trees, my hooves thundering on the ground as I galloped deeper and deeper into the forest until I couldn't run anymore.

"I stopped beside a large tree and hid behind it, hoping that I hadn't been followed. I focused my hearing, listening intently for a few minutes before my heart beats slowed down and I allowed myself to relax. I fell to the ground and took a deep sigh of relief.

"That feeling didn't last long before I realised where I was, and that I had no home to go to. It was starting to get dark, and I didn't want to risk spending a night in the Everfree Forest.

"I started wandering through the forest, not knowing where I was or where I was going. I was lost, and I knew all too well that being lost in the Everfree Forest was a very, very bad thing. Not even my most scary nightmares could do the frightening creatures I knew were living here any justice.

"While I tried to imagine a cross between a Manticore, Cockatrice, Hydra, and a Dragon, I came across a familiar-looking river, and soon knew where I was, or rather, where I could go and stay for the night."



=~=

EQD FEATURE! THANKS! [link]

Now on Fimfiction!:
[link]

Survivor Shy dA Gallery: [link]

Survivor Shy FAQ: [link]

Follow my Tumblr! (Exclusive previews, questions answered, etc!):
[link]

I'm very thankful for the support I'm receiving. I've never poured so much effort into a project like this. Storytelling and illustrating are not usually things I do, but this project has shown me that there is a first for everything, and that people are enjoying what I'm creating. So thanks to all of you for following the series, giving your feedback, or even just being nice and dropping by as you travel through the vast land of the internet. You're all awesome!

In this scene, I spent far too long trying to get the Hound to look right. Diamond Dogs in general I find to be very hard to draw, and I screwed up over four sketches before I had something I could work with. As a result, I didn't come out with it until a day after it was due, made even later by life conspiring against me. But the result of the time I spent on this piece paid off, I reckon, especially since the Hound (who I've named Spoon) looks much better than his first 'official' appearance in "Staying Hidden", which was my first, and very poor attempt at drawing a Diamond Dog/Hound. It really goes to show how I've improved since I began this project, which only serves to encourage to keep up with.

In the writing, well, the first draft I threw up here was fraught with errors, and I'm surprised nobody called me out on them. I've since improved the excerpt and fixed the issues I spotted. So hopefully it's a smooth read now!

As always, leave your comments in the box below. I really enjoy reading theories, feedback, and general thoughts!
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:iconkittyninja1212:
kittyninja1212 Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2014
[ MINDBLOWN ]
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:iconnintendofreak768:
nintendofreak768 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2012
FINALLY OH MY GOSH. I say this in my feed and i haven't got rid of it since you uploaded it. I FINALLY READ IT THANK GOD. Will we hear more from the animals in the future or are they unimportant to the overall story?
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
They're not essential to the story beyond this mention, and I haven't had any plans for Fluttershy to cross paths with any of her animal friends.
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:iconmegapatron:
MegaPatron Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012
awesome work as always :)
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks
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:icontoadjacara:
ToaDJacara Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012
Cool :)
Can you please bring the story here to DA? :please:
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The story started life on dA, the gallery of finished scenes can be found here:

[link]
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:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
That dog needs a nail file or something.

Anyway great so far.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks.

I guess his guardians were against declawing
*buh duhm tshh*
*crickets*
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:iconzaiali:
zaiali Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
Dude . . .
Reply
:icontwoforflinching:
Twoforflinching Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012
I love the image and part of me *really* wants to read the story as it sounds great but I don't handle scary and sad well so i'm a bit hesitant...
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Without going overboard in attempting to explain it, I shall say that the story is aimed to be "T for Teen". It's a bit darker than the show, but I'm choosing to keep close to canon and stay far away from full-on Grimdark. The story fits the Adventure genre the most, but given the setting and the loss that Fluttershy feels over the rest of ponykind disappearing, it naturally touches Dark and Sad categories in certain scenes, too.
Reply
:icontwoforflinching:
Twoforflinching Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
Yeah? alright I'll give it a shot then. That's really reassuring and thank you so much for replying. As I said I really want to read it but have issues with scary/sad stuff. But the art just sucks me in so much I can't resist.

Expect to see my comments sometime in future *salutes*
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Alrighty then!
Reply
:iconpunisher143:
Punisher143 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
Love the picture, will fave for later reading.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
Reply
:icondempsey23:
dempsey23 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
Home is where the heart is and it's loss is always devastating.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Indeed.
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:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
So, from what I gather, this scene happens shortly after the catastrophe that wiped everypony from the face of Equestria, right?
I don't know (or remember if you mentioned it, sorry :)) where Fluttershy headed in the train and how far away from home she was when the disaster struck, but she either must have been pretty far away, or it took her a while to collect herself enough to begin her journey home, or she didn't head home straight away after the catastrophe.
After all, her animal companions had decided to flee from the cottage, so some time must have passed.

And yeah, I can totally see Fluttershy's right-hand man, Angel Bunny, as the vice-protector and herder of his little animal friends. ;) He can be serious and responsible when he has to. Nice touch with mentioning him. Such little details add integrity to this great story.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The scene before "Help!", which I haven't drawn, is planned to act as the chronological Prologue to the story, which explains in better detail what Fluttershy was doing on a train in the desert, where she was going, and where she was coming from. This particular scene occurs shortly after she finally reaches Ponyville, and is trying to find a friendly face. In fact, it pretty much directly connects two already made scenes together.

The foreshadowing is also strong with this one.

I also wanted to address Angel Bunny's absence later in the story by covering it in the chronologically early part of it. It simply stands to reason that Fluttershy would leave Angel in charge while she is away. And while disasters are not expected to happen, Angel is definitely the kind of character to take action in the face of a difficult situation, and react smartly. He's clearly led the other animals that have put their trust in him to a safer, more hospitable place to live.
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:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
An edit of sorts: I took a look at the train scene and Spike's recollections. They didn't quite mention neither when Fluttershy headed, nor where exactly she was when the disaster happened, but it was somewhere in the desert (or that's what it looked after the catastrophe ;) ).
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:iconnameleslight:
Nameleslight Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
First of all, the story is awesome, and one of your best ones so far. You did a wonderful job with it.

The background is beautiful, and the diamond dog looks good. However, Fluttershy's eye keep distracting me.
I'm going to assume you want her too look somewhat away from the viewer. Then her ear should be further forward. Perhaps the other ear should be shown too. Something like this [link] but not that extreme.

I read what you wrote about drawing diamond dogs on your blog, and I felt the exact same way when I tried to draw male muzzles.
The name you gave him, Spoon, gave me an idea. What if diamond dogs are named after the first thing they try to eat?

"During my travels, I had come across a friendly but not too bright diamond dog. Apparently, the first thing he ever tried to eat was his dad's arm, and thus got the name My Arm. I took him to the old ruins to introduce him to Spike.

'Hello Fluttershy, welcome ba- What is THAT thing?!'
'This is My Arm,' I explained. 'He want to help us find the elements.'
'This is your what?' Spike asked confused.
'He's a diamond dog. his name is My Arm.'
'Yup. My Arm.' My Arm confirmed.
'Whose arm?' Poor spike looked really confused.
I sighed. 'Never mind that.'
'It was my dad's arm.' My Arm tried to explain to Spike.
'What's about your dad's arm?'
'My Arm tried to eat it.'
'Your arm did what!?' Spike asked in shock.
'Never mind it.' I said again. 'I hope you don't mind if he come with us.'
'Fluttershy, I don't think it's a good idea to bring that mad diamond dog.' Spike wispered to me. 'Or his arm.'
'If you have a problem with that you can take it up with My Arm.' I told him. I was getting tired of this, and just wanted some sleep.
'No, please! Not your arm too!'"
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nice exchange there, it had me laughing.

Spoon already has an in-universe explanation for his name though, which I hope to drop in at some point as a little gag ;)

About Flutter's head, I think I've got it about right. Though Hasbro vectors are usually regarded as terrible, this one [link] is a good reference for this particular perspective. I suppose the issue really is her eye has the "back line" a little further forward than seen in the show in my picture. Looking through my previous artwork that has involved a pony drawn at this angle, it's a constant that has existed since I seriously started drawing ponies. The question then becomes is it a distracting thing that is nothing but "wrong", or is it simply a matter of opinion? I personally am happy with how Fluttershy looks, and I don't believe my way of placing and scaling the eye at this angle is incorrect or distracting. It's simply how I've learned, and continue to learn, to draw the characters. I can always consider drawing the "back line" to curve closer to the center of the head circle, thus giving her a larger, more circular eye in more or less the same place. Only that way, it won't seem too far forward/small.
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:iconnameleslight:
Nameleslight Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Ah sorry, seems like I misunderstood the angle. >.<
The issue I see is not how round her eye is, but rather how far forward it is placed. If you look at the reference she have about 3 times as much space between her eye and whatever you call the line above the muzzle. I found this [link] helpful when I tried to learn where to put the eyes.
Looking at your previous works in the same angle, they all seems to have at least double as much space between their eye and the edge of the skull.
It's nothing you have to change here if you don't want to, but I thought you might would want to keep it in mind in the future.
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, I covered that the issue is her eye and not her ear. That the "back line" placement is too far forward. I suppose it was just my mind saying "Well, the FiM ponies have their eyes facing forwards, like humans (and most animals that are predators, even though the ponies are vegetarian), so when drawing a pony side-on, their eyes are going to be more forward."

It doesn't look too awkward how I've drawn her eye now, but it won't hurt to not be afraid to draw their eyes a bit larger and rounder so that I'll eventually fall into a better method of drawing ponies at this angle.
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:iconnasc2:
nasc2 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
What can I say?
Awesome !
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:icondoughnutjoe:
DoughnutJoe Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012
Poor Hound. He reminds me of my dog when he is overdue to have his nails trimmed.

Not specifically relevant to this particular scene, but there hasn't yet been any exposition on the continuation of the day/night cycle despite Luna's absence, has there? Of course, Evil Celestia could be controlling both herself...
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have dropped a passing reference to the how the day/night cycle in one other scene. I do aim to cover it more, though.
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