By Kendell 2
Hello. My name is Octavia, or Octavia Pie to my friends and family. I must say, I’ve been interviewed so many times, but never in quite this…peculiar a fashion before.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): You mean the filly?)
That is certainly part of it. But I mean you three didn’t so much as make a sound entering the room. It was as if you just appeared out of thin air.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Unicorn): Um…we’re quiet…)
Indeed…Hehe, I am just joking. Pinkie’s ‘Giggle At the Ghosties’ creed is something I learned from the same place she did. And…even though I have overcome what our ‘Great and Really Great President For A Day’ put me through, it still helps to make jokes about sound, to help me appreciate it a tad bit more.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Um…Miss Octavia, would you mind telling us a bit about that?)
I suppose I could…I have only really told Vinyl Scratch and Pinkie…
I grew up on a Rock Farm. Yes, it surprises most ponies. One of the most well know classical musicians in Equestria grew up on a Rock Farm. All I heard most of the time were pick axes and small explosions…but even then, I’d always loved listening to the beat of them. There was a rhythm to it, it wasn’t just noise. The same was true of the rain on the roof or the wind blowing through the trees…That was the first music I had ever heard. And considering how dull and boring a Rock Farm can be, you can assume that it was welcome.
I earned my Cutie Mark when someone visiting the farm complained of the noise. Being it was beautiful music to me, I took this personally. I decided to change his mind on the subject. Not only did I manage to organize my siblings to be more efficient, the result wasn’t just noise, it was music. Pick axes swinging at just the right pace, the rock busting blasts going off at just the right time. I didn’t so much change the beat as turn it into something everypony could hear. I brought it forwards to the forefront so others could appreciate it too.
And that’s how Equestria was made.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Huh?)
Hehe, sorry, I couldn’t resist. No, that is how I earned my Cutie Mark. I will admit, it might sound strange, but my talent is not playing music, it’s rhythm itself. I have an impeccable sense of it, I can hear it in nearly everything. From the wind to a busy street. Everything has it’s own untamed rhythm that you can hear if your ear is attuned to it. The harmony that exists in everything. And I can hear and appreciate it.
Normally, this is a blessing, a constant source of enjoyment for me…but like most pony’s beloved gifts, Discord had a way to turn it into a curse…
It had been a normal gig, simply playing for a crowd as I always did. It was always a pleasure to me. Not only could I enjoy my own music, I could enjoy the rhythms of those watching me in the lulls in it. Most never noticed, but I often incorporated those rhythms into the very songs I played. Pony putting down their plate. A waiter lifting it up. A foal crying when the noise startles her. A pony simply trotting across the floor to sooth the child. To everypony else, it’s just random noise, to me, they come together to form a melody. That’s part of why most ponies I think enjoy my music so much; there’s something familiar to it that they can’t consciously pick out…I will admit, that often makes me feel a little lonely…that no pony can hear my songs like I can even if they are loved, I know no one understands what I‘ve created like I do…that they don’t mean as much to everypony else as they do to me…or so I thought.
I lifted my head, seeing a mix and matched…thing in the audience wearing a suit. I hadn’t noticed at the time, but looking back he’d already driven a few of the audience members mad or transformed them. But I was so focused on his unique body that I didn’t notice. Even in a chaotic mix mash, there was a rhythm.
He teleported forwards and bowed. “Discordance Apophis Typhon, the Great and Really Great Spirit of Chaos and Disharmony and Crown Prince of Chaos! Delighted to meet you.”
He gave me a rose…that kept changing colors at random intervals.
“…Yes…well, thank you…again…If you‘re the Spirit of Chaos, why would you be a Prince?”
“You’d think I’d be king, but Father insists there can only be one King in the family and it’s Him…Anyway, you know, my dear, I’m actually a music lover myself. Guilty pleasure of mine,” the creature told me, giving a chuckle. “I had some wonderful singing fish a long time ago but they kind of…died. I’ve never been a good pet owner…But your music has something unique to it.” He looked at me like I was somewhere between a beautiful flower and a songbird he could cage. One thing I noticed quickly was his ability to be simultaneously enjoyable company and utterly terrifying.
“Yes, every song of yours is unique, it isn’t the same, boring song again and again,” Discord told me, seeming more excited by the moment. “You incorporate the chaos around you and spin it into a beautiful masterpiece. Oh! It’s almost as good as the Sea Ponies’ songs! Especially when you’re like me…”
My heart skipped a beat. “What do you mean?”
“I sense chaos differently than anything else in all of creation. It’s a part of me, it resonates to the very fiber of my being. So when I hear your music born from the chaos around you, oh it‘s…well, music to my ears! Finally somepony who can combine my true joy with my guilty pleasure!” He took my hoof and kissed it. “Congratulations on doing what I thought impossible and making the random chaos around you even more beautiful, my dear!”
I didn’t quite know what to say…he could appreciate my music consciously in a way I thought only I could…maybe even more than that. I couldn’t believe it! Someone who understood the true nature of my music! “…T-thank you. Considering you’re the Spirit of Chaos, I suppose that means a great deal.”
Discord chuckled. “Yes, yes it does! Now, my dear, I have a little offer for you,” he said, teleporting up on stage and putting a his eagle claw on my shoulder. “You see, I’m renovating the castle, and considering my singing goldfish died out, I need a new source of delightful music. I’d like you to come and be my personal little songbird, what do you say? After all, no one can appreciate your lovely music like I can. Why not play it for the one equus who will enjoy every note like it’s a glass of fine wine?”
I was about to answer…maybe even accept his offer. Then I realized something… “Renovate?”
I looked around…the castle was a complete madhouse. Things were happening that defied all logic, all reason! The members of the audience had all turned into complete maniacs at best! It was…bedlam! It was like some kind of horror movie!
“You…you did this?”
“Yes, what do you think? I’m sure you could make a lovely song out of it. I‘m dying to hear it!”
I know it sounds strange…but it was like I’d fallen from a skyscraper…the one being to ever see my music for what it really was…was a complete psychopath…And he wanted me to turn his crimes into music for him to enjoy.
“No…I’d…I’d never make a song out of this Tartarus!” I yelled, glaring daggers at Discord…but inside, I wanted to cry…
He just sighed. “Oh well, I so wanted to do this the easy way, but you ponies always want to do it the hard way! I mean I have to threaten to dry up an ocean just to get a few hit songs made for me! And of course music comes from the ‘heart,’ so it‘s only good if given willingly! Why is it the good stuff is always on the wrong side!…Ok, Octy, we’ll do this the hard way.”
He snapped his fingers…and it went from a simple snap to a bolt of thunder exploding in my ears!
But that was only the start! The screams! The torment of everyone! My heartbeat! Discord’s heartbeats (yes beats)! Even thus dust falling! It was all roaring in my ears! The worst part was I could STILL hear the rhythms! But now instead of being a pleasant hymn underlying all things, it was like a hundred hammers beating away at my ears!
I crumpled to the stage and covered my ears so tight it hurt, screaming in agony.
Discord lifted my hooves off my ears. “Little Octavia, I’ll be back later. We’ll see how you feel about my little offer later, my sweet…” he said, somehow managing to whisper so low my ears could tolerate it and block out all the other horrible noise as he spoke.
I laid there in a puddle of my own pain induced tears, squirming in agony for hours! I was begging my eardrums to burst so it’d finally be over! I wished I’d never been in Canterlot that day! That I’d never left the rock farm…that I’d never gotten this horrid Cutie Mark…that I’d never even been born…anything to make it stop…Well…almost anything…
“Well, my dear, what now? Will you come and be my little songbird?”
I couldn’t…even in the unspeakable torment I was in…I just couldn’t bring myself to use other’s suffering to make a song…I couldn’t stand the thought of it…I wouldn’t write the song that could save me in the blood of others…
Finally…after Celestia knows how long…it was over…Discord had been defeated…Returned to his statue prison…And it was so quiet…
The first thing I did was try to rip my own ears off…my band mates stopped me. I followed that by running to my room and finding the industrial strength earmuffs I’d been given by a concerned friend to help me sleep on train rides…I couldn’t bear to hear the rhythms I’d once found so lovely after…after Discord had enjoyed them. Had wanted me to play them for him…My own music now sickened me…
The few times I had taken the earmuffs off, I had gone into a screaming fit at so much as a bell ringing…Even once that stopped, I wrote everything out…I even tried to spend all my hard earned savings on a sensory depravation chamber just so I wouldn’t have to listen to anything, but my band mates talked me out of it…Playing music wasn’t even something I could consider…even if I could bear playing the music only a monster like Discord had ever truly understood…
Then I got a letter…I’d recognized the name ‘Applejack’ as one of Pinkie’s friends.
‘Dear Miss Octavia Pie
I am writing you to say I know what Discord did to you. How he tortured you. But is giving up what you love really the best way to handle this? Or is it letting that
With love, Applejack.’
I could tell she was trying to force a Manehatten style of writing, but what she said did resonate with me. Yes, that chaotic tyrant had enjoyed my music, seen it for what I saw it as…but did that mean there was something wrong with my music…or with him?
I looked at my reviews and noticed a common theme. Everyone had mentioned some hidden, underlying quality that made each song that much more enjoyable…they didn’t understand it, but…they heard it…
Nightmare Moon had sought to bring eternal night upon Equestria, but I truthfully find nighttime beautiful. The rhythms are completely different than those of the day, and that makes the difference…I remember hearing a story of a blind little filly who could hear the twinkling of the stars and snow. Legend has it that is how snowflakes came to be. That story had always inspired me, the idea of being able to hear something no one else could, understand it in a way none ever had…and make something unique and wonderful each time they hear it. It always made me feel like I wasn’t alone.
Would that filly have given up the twinkling of the stars and snow just because Nightmare Moon loved them?
It hadn’t entirely destroyed my mental blockages, but it made me at least start practicing again…but I still couldn’t find inspiration anywhere. That is until I decided to stop by Ponyville one day. Pinkie was still recovering from her multi-day party at the time…
I know I wasn’t the only one to hear Applejack’s news, I could see it in others. A green unicorn and a cream Earth Pony reconnecting, two twins learning to look at one another, two colts helping each other rediscover what their Cutie Marks meant and appreciate them again, and so on. I listened quietly. It may have been eavesdropping, but I heard the chattering. I heard the healing.
And slowly, my hooves began to tap out a rhythm on the table in front of me. The rhythm I was picking up…the rhythm of healing. I couldn’t resist it’s pull any longer.
I asked the restaurant owner if I could perhaps play for his guests for free. He was ecstatic to have ‘the Great Octavia’ play for him…which admittedly made me blush.
Getting up on a makeshift stage, I began to play. I began to let the rhythm surrounding me play itself out, forming a song all its own. Forming music. And it was so beautiful. A song of healing hearts, of helping one another overcome our pain…And of a passion in my heart being reignited. Everypony present loved it. And I think I gave them some measure of peace by letting their healing hearts be heard…and mine too.
I knew what I wanted to play again! I wanted to play THIS. I wanted to give the rhythm of these ponies’ mending hearts a voice, a song! And there were so many healing all over, and I could give their hearts a voice as well! I had my passion again! I could PLAY again!…And others could enjoy it again.
I was free…
Uh? Oh, right, how I met Vinyl…Actually, would you mind asking her for that detail? I think she has a story to tell too, and if there’s one thing this has taught me, it’s that every heart, every story should have a right to be told. Plus, her’s is a bit more interesting a side of things. I just walked up at the right moment, she…well, I won’t give it away, please ask her yourself.
(Interviewer’s Notes (Pegasus): Sounds like a good idea.)
(Interviewer’s Notes (Earth Pony): Thank you for the interview, Octavia.)
It was my pleasure, little one. Come back any time.