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Apparition of War

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— Why do we always seem so dour? Hah... Good question, my little pony. Let me tell you. It is because War is always near.

Right there, just beyond this veil of sunshine, fresh air, fine food and happy ponies you take for the sum total of reality, it stands, it paces, it waits, ever gazing at us. We've looked into its face more than anyone in this world, we have seen it clearer than any of you ever could, and we know this  it is always ready to tear through this haze of life and charge forth, and War will not stop its gallop until all in its path turns to ash... or until those who know its true nature force it back beyond the veil.

The Griffon Kingdom has united our many lands at last, but it hasn't been long since the times when that nightmare was loose among us. War comes quickly, out of nowhere, and those thinking to use it as a tool soon find themselves becoming its corporeal form, racing across the land, their minds set on bringing ruin, death, loss, hate and despair on a massive scale, adding fuel to this dark wildfire obliterating all, and in the end, being trampled under its hooves themselves as it is finally forced back out of life - but it is never truly gone. It is always near, just a step away, gazing at the world, ready to charge once more.

You ponies have encountered division, natural and magical disasters, you've dealt with villains confounding your hearts and your minds, you've confronted ambitious individuals seeking magical power, you've faced monsters, crime and piracy—but you have never dealt with entire societies, composed of ordinary beings just like yourselves, believing that you should be wiped from the face of the world for whatever reason, being perfectly comfortable with that and acting on this conviction of their own free will. We griffons have.

This is why we are not as cheerful or carefree as you are. This is why our Kingdom's fledglings are now taught peace above all. And this is why we stay under arms and train ourselves for defense and readiness. We cannot forget that War is always near, ready to tear our world to shreds. We always feel its harrowing gaze upon us. We bear it through all of our lives, and we know it well. Pray that you will never have to.

 Duke Michael Krylov of the Eastern province of Griffon Kingdom, addressing an assembly of students at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns as part of an ambassadorial delegation, five years before the Great Changeling War.

So, this was supposed to be some light practice of a semi-realistic equine form. I wanted to practice the general shape of it, above all the basic look and structure of the legs, seeing as they are the ones most useful for drawing ponies and the rest of the pony form is different from human world horses. However, I didn't want to make it a detailed picture, as my OCD would force me to strive for great three-dimensional detail on things like shoulders and exact curves of the ribcage and it would kill the piece for me, like it has many others before. Then I found an elegant workaround—make it a minimalistic silhouette picture! And thus, this here happened—I went about making not a "real" horse, but an equine-like shape that would look purposefully off and shaped "wrong", thus also excusing myself from the correct minutiae of how thick a horse's stomach should be or how much it should curve. Oh, the great cheater that I am.

And of course, yes, it has to be pony. Deal with it. That's how I want it to be. Since the picture itself is not obviously pony, my habitual picture caption had to bring that side of it up. If you wonder why a griffon would invoke an image of an equine—let's not forget that a normal mad horse is half a ton of muscle with rock-hard hooves that can kick clean through armor and jaws that can tear off flesh, and its speed and sheer power are awe-inspiring, and while FiM griffons, alternate universe or not, are not in contact with human world horses, they know what it can be like from ponies and much more horsey Saddle Arabians and so on, and furthermore, the griffon in question is an educated individual speaking to a pony audience and would deliberately invoke images ponies could better understand from their experience; while they are not familiar with particularly monstrous griffons, they know what a powerful equine can be like.

It turned out to be similar to traditional depictions of a "nightmare", and the nightmarish thing about it was all the edge-smoothing. I spent hours hunting down those pesky pixels and still didn't get all of them. I just gave up after a certain point. Sue me for those rough edges and botched lines... or better don't, I don't like being sued.

Anyway, this is just practice. Don't judge this harshly, I'm still a mediocre artist at best and I know it full well myself.

I really should stop writing such huge descriptions. I know you guys wouldn't read them, but eh, I just feel like it myself.
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anonymous's avatar
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DarkNazawrath's avatar
looks like the Hound of Baskervilles
TwilightIsMagic's avatar
It does. I think it might've been one of the unconscious inspirations for this.
DarkNazawrath's avatar
Zachary-Swift's avatar
Very good description
TwilightIsMagic's avatar
Thank you very much!
BengalOfSilver's avatar
Black for death, red for injuries, thinness for famine. You've done a great job expressing war in this character! I loved the story in the description, too. Very deep and meaningful!
TwilightIsMagic's avatar
Thank you very much! I love it when people take notice of the description stories. It was inspired by/adapted from something I'd read that was nicely evocative and moving in this way. And I did want to convey as much as I could with as few individual details as possible, which is the idea behind minimalism. The solid black body and the dark red gaze were indeed that and more, as you have noticed yourself. Thank you again for taking your time to write the comment, too!
BengalOfSilver's avatar
It's alright! :) Anytime.
kilarbos's avatar
well that's not very nice. sure dogs are scary but that doesn't mean you cn call thm brutal warmachines :(:(:(:(:(:(
TwilightIsMagic's avatar
Er... I don't get it. I did no such thing.
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