FimFiction Link - Short ID: 535410/the-old-mare
Published: May '23
'The Old Mare' is a one thousand and nine hundred-word oneshot. An elderly Applejack talks to a filly on the riverbed.
Firstly I'd like to confess that I haven't read the fic this is a sequel to, if you think this invalidates the rest of my opinion about the story, you're more welcome to do so, but I feel there is merit in talking about how the story stands on its own legs. The answer? Depends on how far you're willing to stray from the 'mood' of the canon.
What do I mean by this? Much of the story hinges on the idea of "old gods" who are implied to be unrelated to the mythical figures we're familiar with and (the loss of) religion. If the idea of AJ lecturing a filly about religion in fairly human terms irks you for this or that reason, you'll probably not have too much fun.
Beyond this, however, the story was nicely written. The prose flows nicely and AJ's speech makes her sound positively ancient, even without the descriptions about her appearance. The way she elaborates on the "games she played" was also pretty well done, with how it paints a gruesome enough image while hiding all of it behind flowery language. Most of all though, I like the ending the best. There is little you can do with this few words, so I'm still pretty impressed by how ambiguous it manages to be.
Overall: 6/10 Personally I found the way the story approached religion jarring (mostly because of how "humanly" AJ talks about it, it felt clashing with Equestria), but the descriptions are nice, old-AJ feels and sounds old, and the story manages to be both depressing and uplifting at the same time. I suppose if you're into the 'Wicker Man' or the first installment of this story, my recommend is a stronger one, but as-is it's not a bad story to waste a few minutes on.