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Survivor Shy - Carry On by Mattatatta Survivor Shy - Carry On by Mattatatta
"I awoke with a fright as another nightmare came to a sudden end. I lay on the grass staring at my hooves for a moment as I calmed myself down, repeating to myself that nightmares couldn't hurt me - like what my parents used to tell me.

"A few weeks ago, reminding myself a couple of times was enough, but nowadays, a couple of dozen times was barely enough for me to get a hold of myself. My dreams were getting worse, and they were starting to get to me.

"I lifted my head up sluggishly and looked over to where Spike was sleeping, only to see that he wasn't there. I panicked slightly as I looked around for him, clambering onto my hooves in moments. I let out a sigh of relief the moment I saw him sat on a fence nearby, his back to me, looking up at the Moon in the night sky.

"Like me, Spike was having nightmares too, but not every night. Other nights, he'd simply stay awake for hours, staring at the sky and getting lost in his thoughts. I preferred not to disturb him during those times, because after everything he had shared with me, and all the other things he hadn't, I knew that he was still coming to terms with what had happened. The loss of our friends (even if that turned out to be temporary, or so I hoped), the carnage that had swept over our home, and his own gremlins were all a lot to take in. Especially for a young Dragon.

"Still, I felt he was much braver and stronger than any pony ever gave him credit for, with the exception of Twilight. With the destruction all around us, with everything he had to face alone before I found him, he was handling it better than I could've expected.

"I decided to go and speak with Spike, since I wasn't ready to go back to sleep just yet. I quietly walked over to him, and leant up against the fence he was sat on. I looked up at the Moon with him, not saying a word so I wouldn't bother him too much. Tonight's moonlight was brighter than it had been for days, as the Sun and Moon's new schedules fell in line with each other to allow such a peaceful night sky to appear.

"Spike piped up. 'Nightmare again?'

"I nodded, whispering. 'Yes, and you?'

"'Needed time to think.' Spike shrugged.

"I looked over to him, 'Anything that you'd like to talk about?'

"He didn't take his eyes off the Moon. 'No, I'm fine.'

"Silence fell between us for a few moments, and just as I turned my head to look at the Moon once more, Spike changed his mind.

"'How did you find the strength to carry on?' He asked. I turned my head to him again, and he carried on. 'I mean, no doubt you realised that everypony was, uh... Gone... After a while. How did you cope with the sadness? How did you get through the grief and start over?'

"I began to think of my answer. There were times where the realisation would hit me, and I'd spend anywhere between a few minutes to a few hours lost in my mind. But between fighting to survive and seeking the Elements of Harmony, I'd never stopped moving. I'd never stopped to take a day to just cry until I couldn't cry any more, I never had the time to do that. If anything, I hadn't really grieved at all yet, I'd simply pushed everything into the back of my mind, and forced myself forward even if I didn't want to go - memories of my trip to the Free Lands surfaced in my mind as an immediate example of that.

"Spike was patiently waiting for an answer, I tried to form my answer into sentences. 'Honestly, Spike, I haven't got through the grief yet. I've been ignoring it.'

"Spike kept quiet, and I continued: 'Everything is moving so fast, and I don't want to be a nervous wreck while trying to keep up. From the moment everything went wrong, I've always been focusing on going somewhere, and never stopping long enough for grief to catch up.'

"The Dragon didn't move, but appeared to be digesting what I'd said. Finally, he spoke again. 'So... you're like the Moon? Or the Sun?'

"I tilted my head sideways in confusion.

"'Princess Luna isn't... here,' Spike began, 'And yet the Moon carries on. Never stopping to think about her not being there. It just keeps on crossing the sky, it may have started acting weirdly now, like the Sun, but they both keep moving.'

"My eyes fell upon the Moon again, and I thought about what Spike had said. Both celestial bodies had taken on their own routines in the absence of the Princesses, and neither had stopped to mourn the disappearance of the two ponies that guided them for so long. Their movements were automatic. Lifeless.

"'Being like the Moon is not a good thing,' I started to explain. 'We're both creatures with emotions, but the Moon and Sun are not - they can't grieve because they can't feel pain. So they do what they do best, moving across the sky without slowing down one bit.

"'Every day I push everything into the back of my mind is another day that it becomes harder for me to do just that, Spike. I just don't think I can take it if I let it all out. But I cannot be like the Moon, even if I tried, because one day, it will all catch up with me. And if my worsening nightmares have anything to do with it, it is clear that it will catch up with me soon.'

"I turned to face Spike, who was now looking at me. 'You're much better off than I am."


=~=

Also available on FimFiction!:
[link]

Survivor Shy dA Gallery: [link]

Survivor Shy FAQ: [link]

Follow my Tumblr! (WIPs, other stuff):
[link]

I took way too long with this...

I didn't expect this to appear on EqD, I also picked a bad time to be drinking fizzy orange when I saw this on the Drawfriend.

Regardless of my dirty screen and sticky keyboard, I hurried onto dA and did the revisions and proof-reading I was going to do later in the description. So sorry if you put up with the horrible writing earlier.

Anyway, I wanted to practice drawing Spike again, I think I've almost got drawing his face and torso down, if a little iffy at times (I always need to reference something at the moment, but that's not a bad thing), but his arms and legs still give me trouble. Claws are a pain to draw, but they are much simpler than hands thankfully. Maybe one day all of this time spent drawing claws, paws, talons, and giant foam fingers (maybe) will pay off and make drawing human hands much easier.

Still, I wanted to draw Spike, so he was put into the front, while Fluttershy simply stands/leans beside him, listening to what he's saying.

The picture came out nicely, if flawed. It's not the best picture I've drawn, but it is better than early Survivor Shy scenes, and Spike looks better in this latest update than the last one that featured him.

One thing I've noticed behind the scenes, where I'm writing a summary of Survivor Shy to help plan and organise scenes, is that all of the Spike-related scenes published and planned so far are very closely centred around the pair's relationship and Spike's own little story. In many ways I'm glad that I've given Spike a very good, meaningful role in the story, since I didn't plan to have him appear initially, but it also makes me worry that it'll get old or boring to have Spike scenes follow a similar formula.

And then there are shipping goggles... I'll spare you of that can of worms.

Be sure to comment your thoughts in! I don't care how massively long your comments are, or how zany they may be. As long as I can understand it, I'll read it. I don't mind questions, either.
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:iconsampea:
sampea Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2014
Wow...
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:iconspike--the-dragon:
SPIKE--the-dragon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
which one follows after this? I want to know what happens next!
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If I remember how my old draft of the story was, "I Won't Let You Down" was technically the next image the occured after this one chronologically. However, as you may notice, there is a considerable gap between the two pictures.
That's not even mentioning the fact that these images are so old that the 'official' version over here may never use any images with Spike in it, because that version doesn't have him in it.
Reply
:iconspike--the-dragon:
SPIKE--the-dragon Featured By Owner Jan 16, 2014
but they're so good! why don't you make anymore? it really adds to the story
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:iconmrspartin:
MrSpartin Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Reading and looking at this just makes me want to continue writing my own story even more! Survivor Shy has sadness and destruction but (intintionally) lacks hate and revenge. It makes writing for Illitheous all the more fun.

PS Illitheous told me to mention that the Alicorn's days are numbered.

PSS HELP ME! MY FICTIONAL CHARACTER IS HOLDING ME HOSTAGE IN MY BASEM-
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
There is very little reason for hate or revenge to be on Fluttershy's mind. Aside from such powerful emotions not naturally being a part of Fluttershy's personality, she doesn't know who or what caused the disaster that took everything away from her, and she's more focused on trying to find a way to fix everything. She did get extremely upset by the Diamond Dogs and their widespread looting, though, and actually reached a point where she lost her grip and started using The Stare on the Diamond Dogs in order to force her way into their underground city. After that short rampage, she reigned herself back in, and what happened next I haven't revealed yet ;)
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:iconsonicsatamx93:
SonicSatamX93 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Student Writer
Sweet art you drew here.

Nice job.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks
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:iconsonicsatamx93:
SonicSatamX93 Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Student Writer
You're welcome
Reply
:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
Forgot my emoticon again...
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
Damn. The picture's awesome and it definitely seems to suit the story... But this was not something I expected. I vowed to take a break from fanfactions after CG but I might just have to break that vow to read this. From what you have written, this sounds like a generally sad story and I'm always a sucker for sad stories.

But back to the picture, I'm not even sure what to say about it. It has that style I'm always looking for; it seems realistic but keeps it's animated form, how do you (and others who use this style) pull that off? It also really seems to speak to you, though that could just be the story in the desc. But anyway, this is an amazing piece of art. I think I'll definitely check out the rest of the fic. Might even read it tonight depending on the length
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Honestly, I haven't much of a clue how I do a style like this. I've just found myself drawing this way the most often. As far as I can explain, I simply practiced drawing the ponies in the show's style (and later moving on to Dragons, Diamond Dogs, Spike, and so on), but never pushed myself to make it 100% accurate, focusing instead on allowing myself to take liberties where I felt comfortable in doing so, and targeting things that I really sucked at. How I draw now has changed a lot from how I used to draw mere months ago, and that's all due to practice and trying different things.

If anything, I'd say that the generous use of shading, lighting, and shadows in this picture in particular help lend it an air of realistic quality, but by keeping everything else more or less on-model helps it to stay familiar. I wouldn't dare say it was an informed choice to do it that way, because I've barely been digitally drawing for a year as a hobby - and my "traditional" drawings were merely doodles made years ago in classrooms. Anything I choose to do in my artwork is always me gambling on it working. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

The story is available on Fimfiction, which I feel is the easiest way of reading and following it. The story originally started life here on dA, but writing story excerpts in descriptions isn't very tidy compared to FimFiction's format.

Survivor Shy is driven primarily by the pictures. I draw a scene that I have a strong image in my mind for, and when I'm done, I write an excerpt of the story based upon the image. So basically, the pictures alone are meant to be able to tell the gist of the story, but the writing provides the finer details.

This does mean, however, that I typically create scenes and upload them out of chronological order. So one day I could update with a scene that clearly takes place near the start of the story, and on another day I'll follow it with a scene that takes place much, much later. The idea is to not only allow me to feel free to draw what I want and not get stuck on a certain part of the story - which would stop updates also - but it is also to give readers something to let their minds gnaw on. I hide a lot of information in both the pictures and writing to foreshadow certain things, and also act as a thread that connects other scenes together and make the order of events clearer.

((Rambling too much))

Anyway, if you do want to read this story, then the above shall help you understand why things are so unusual with it. According to FimFiction, the fanfic is currently at 15,000 words over 24 chapters - I have some very short chapters.

Survivor Shy is by default a sad story in a dark setting. The story follows Fluttershy as she deals with a disaster that not only transforms much of Equestria into a ruin, but also causes all of the ponies except for herself to completely vanish. Fluttershy soon finds herself embarking on an adventure to recover the Elements of Harmony, while hoping to find out what exactly happened, and how to undo it. I'm hoping that by the time I finish telling the entire story, I'll have somewhere between 60 - 90 chapters/scenes, all of them illustrated, with a decent word count to boot.
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012
Wow,that was a lot of reading. Thanks for all the information though, after reading this, I'll definitely read it. I assume it's called Survivor Shy?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, the story is called Survivor Shy.

The FimFiction page can be found here, if that is what you're looking for
Reply
:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
Just to verify, the chapters are in order, right?
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, this is a one-stallion-band (oh so punny) sort of deal. I draw and write Survivor Shy.

The chapters are only ordered from Oldest to Newest, they are not in chronological order in-universe. So be prepared to jump backwards and forwards through time :P

As well as the FimFiction link, every Survivor Shy scene has a link to a FAQ (here) I quickly put together a few months ago. It's probably a little outdated, but it should still catch any queries you may have and save you from waiting eight hours for me to respond xP
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012
Keep forgetting to read this. Can you link me again? I really want to, but you probably know; school and stuff
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Check the description; all the links you need are in there, right after the story excerpt
Reply
(2 Replies)
:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012
Well, hopefully I won't need the FAQs. I'll keep the link handy just to be sure
Reply
:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012
I shall. I'll have to read it after school
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
Nevermind. Didn't have anything else to check, lol. I'll go read this. Are you the author? Yes, I seriously already forgot
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
Already confirmed
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 9, 2012
It was earlier when I said I was going to read this but I still think I will. Just have some other sh- er... Stuff to check out first. This is not shit, I use that term as a generalization
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:iconsapphire475gs:
sapphire475gs Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
Good job with this dialogue. Understanding how they cope is not an easy undertaking, but what you depicted for Fluttershy actually makes the most sense.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, dialogue has always been a weakness of mine, so I'm happy that I didn't royally mess this scene up
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:iconxxzombloxxorxx:
XxZomBloxxorxX Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
Oh look an awesome cute picture!

*Sees desc.*

Well, now I'm going to have to read this... I'll let you know what I think
Reply
:iconhaloprime:
HaloPrime Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I put this as a Read Later. This picture is beautiful and this excerpt is beautiful. Definitely interested in it, coming in with high expectations <3
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I hope I do not disappoint you!
Reply
:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Aw... Fluttershy looks so cute, doesn't she? Very nice style!
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks, I'm beginning to think I'm finding a "default" style for Survivor Shy. But I still have a long way to go with that, and I'd prefer to try different styles throughout the series.
Reply
:icondarthwill3:
DarthWill3 Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh don't you worry about it!
Reply
:icongiromcalica:
GiromCalica Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Fluttershy looks cute.

THERE, DO I HAVE TO PUT :iconraindropsawwplz::iconhnnnngplz::icontombstoneplz: TO SAY HOW CUTE FLUTTERSHY IS?
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, you just did. So... Maybe?
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:icongiromcalica:
GiromCalica Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:iconexploding-headplz:
Reply
:icondoughnutjoe:
DoughnutJoe Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
If I could offer one suggestion for the writing, Spike seems to be veering a bit into the realm of high-falutin' language, while in the show he is usually portrayed as markedly simple in his speech. I don't know when this story is set; if it is substantially after the first couple seasons of the show it would make sense that Twilight's expansive vocabulary would rub off on him a bit. But in the first episode he was baffled by the word "brink." If the story is set closer to that time, a sentence like " I mean, no doubt you realised that everypony was, uh... Gone... After a while. How did you cope with the sadness?" might be better rendered along the lines of " 'I mean, you must have realised that everypony was, uh... Gone... After a while. How did you deal with the sadness?" if not reduced to an even less poetic form.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I place the story some time after Season 2's finale. So to a point Spike's vocabulary could have become a bit more refined since the very first episode. After all, it was after Twilight moved to Ponyville that Spike began writing letters with greater regularity - and learning more words through Twilight.

That said, his speech here is probably a bit more 'fancy' than I reckon it'd typically be. But I felt that since he had been spending a lot of time just looking at the night sky, assumably finding a way to deal with the pain he feels through the loss of his friends, he might've come up with an allegory (though wouldn't have used that term to define it) to compare Fluttershy's answers to.

Spike is smart for his age, but for very complicated things, he can understand such things if they are broken down into simpler forms. So, I personally felt that him drawing a comparison between Fluttershy's "I've always been moving, never letting my own sadness stop me", to the Moon's deliberate and never-slowing movement, would be his way of trying to grasp how someone can learn to accept a tragic loss similar to the death of a sibling, parent, and best friend (in Twilight alone).

Of course, he learns from Fluttershy that she isn't in better shape than he is when it comes to dealing with their grief, and that his comparison isn't quite true. Spike is overwhelmed but trying to get through his problems, but Fluttershy is suppressing and ignoring her sadness as best as she can in fear of it making her miss her chance to right all the wrongs.

All of that being said, I will make a note to watch how I write Spike and his dialogue carefully in future, so that it avoids coming off as out-of-character.
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:iconsammykh:
Sammykh Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Student Writer
YAY an update :D
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, sorry I'm being slow with them
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:iconsammykh:
Sammykh Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Student Writer
Its ok :)
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:iconultradj4ever:
ULTRADJ4EVER Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
is this from a fic?
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yes, it's a fanfic driven by the artwork I create. The story isn't being told in chronological order, so all the chapters/scenes are a bit jumbled up. But you can read everything that has been published so far in the Survivor Shy Gallery (check description), or on FimFiction, here
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:iconsammykh:
Sammykh Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Student Writer
it is the fic ;)
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:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
"We're both creatures with emotions, but the Moon and Sun are not - they can't grieve because they can't feel pain."

I'd like to prove you wrong with the fanfic I'm in the process of writing, but knowing me it may as well never see Celestia's light. :D

Shipping goggles... You mean Spike and Shy? I have to admit that it has never crossed my mind. Not even once as Shy met Spike. :) I wonder why? Probably because I see Spike as a kid in this story and Fluttershy as something akin to maybe not his mother, but his guardian until he gets his Twilight back.
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I have some pretty big reveals in store in the story that will probably by of major interest to you. I've just got to get all of the other scenes that build up to it done and published.

I'm probably being over-cautious with the whole shipping thing. This is because I've developed a liking for FlutterSpike in recent weeks, and I'm worried about it influencing how I portray a scene in Survivor Shy.

As far as I've planned, there is no room for full blown shipping in Survivor Shy, and I wouldn't do that even if I could. My only concern is me deliberately veering into friendshipping - basically shipping but in a much more platonic way, though with a hint of tension (at least that is my definition of the term).

When I first wrote Spike in, before I developed a liking to FlutterSpike, I planned their relationship to be like what you said. Fluttershy acting as his guardian and closest friend, and Spike being somewhat the child in the relationship. Basically, their friendship is a given, and very little bonding is needed to take place.

What I'm specifically pondering over is whether it is a good idea to have scenes that show Spike and Fluttershy finding some joy in eachother's company. Things that may not immediately advance the plot or give exposition, but give a way to measure how much their relationship grows. It sounds a good idea to me, since it would give Spike scenes a different formula to follow, but it also risks being interpreted as shipping by others. "Why else would the author be devoting attention to the pair doing little things together" they'd ask themselves, and some will probably assume it is because I'm shipping the pair together. I don't want that.

I'm definitely stressing over a very minor thing in the otherwise massive story I've got more or less written down, but that's just how I do things. I scrutinise everything.

((I'll probably draw FlutterSpike that has nothing to do with Survivor Shy if I can't get it out of my head))
Reply
:iconkarach0s:
Karach0s Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012
Major interest? As in Celestia using her evil fire magic to wipe ponies from the face of Equestria? :D
Can't wait! XD

Anyway, I think the fact that I have not even once thought of FlutterSpike shipping is also the testimony of your story-telling skills. You said it yourself--you've avoided the shipping as much as you could, and it is probably because of that, that this idea hasn't even occurred in my head.

This may become the double-edged sword, though. :) Specifically, just as you said, if you give the readers even a glint of reason to go beyond the caretaker-and-kid relationship, an instant FlutterSpike ship can form just like you explained.

I would personally be against such idea, but understand that the situation that both Fluttershy and Spike are going through will surely lead to them growing more mature (not in the physical sense, of course). Which may, of course, lead to Spike growing beyond the little kid phase, and becoming more of Fluttershy's partner (as in 'sharing the same adventure', not like a dragon-boyfriend or anything :P ) as opposed to seemingly helpless companion she has to take care of he is now.

What I'm trying to say is that I will follow this great story whenever you direct it. I'm well aware that the story can change (sometimes even drastically :) ) during the process of writing. ;)
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
From the very outset I've planned for Spike to be more than a helpless sidekick. At some point in his arc I want him to reach a point where he has become stronger inside, and is able to take initiative. Basically, I don't want to pen him inside the Child status of a Caretaker/Child relationship with Fluttershy all the time. He may be young, but if Twilight is willing to let him have a lot of independence, then it stands to reason that Fluttershy would give him such freedoms, too - but only if he is clearly ready to have them. At some point, Spike should grow and shine through as a valuable companion once more, and have his own moments where he shows courage and initiative - in spite of the crippling loss he has experienced.

*Realisation*
Spike's arc follows a theme of facing and overcoming grief, and becoming much stronger in the wake of disaster because of it.
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:iconmegapatron:
MegaPatron Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
very nice!
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:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks very much!
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:iconstrider489:
Strider489 Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012
Cool
Reply
:iconmattatatta:
Mattatatta Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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