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The Tale of Encore

The family trotted into the Gymnasium of Baltimare High School looking around proudly. There were four of them all together; a muscular unicorn stallion with a shiny puce coat and a haughty demeanor, who was unmistakably the father; a slim periwinkle pegasus mare with a long purple mane who trotted with her tail closely intertwined with the puce stallion; and two young colts.


The older of the two colts, whose coat was a deeper shade of purple than his younger brother's lavender, and whose name was Kickoff, was shoving the younger unicorn around, laughing, and chanting demonically, "Blank Flank, Blank Flank, Dimeback is a Blank Flank." The parents were pointedly ignoring the mistreatment of their youngest son. So far, he had disappointed them.


The family was very invested in the realm of physical sports, you see. The father, Endzone, was a very successful hoofball player, and had a set of goalposts as his cutie mark; now that he was retired from professional play, he ran a very successful company that sold horseshoes and saddles for players. The mother, Pom-pom, had been a cheerleader on Endzone's football team, and had pom-poms, rather obviously, as her cutie mark. Their two older sons, Jumpshot and Kickoff, both also had sporty cutie marks as well. However, despite all their best efforts, Dimeback was just not living up to their expectations. They had tried everything. They had had him play Netball with Jumpshot, and when he failed at that, Hoofball with Kickoff, and when that failed too, all the other sports they could think of. Pom-Pom and Endzone were proud parents, and could not bear to believe that one of their line were as clumsy and weak as Dimeback was.


Kickoff shoved his brother again, prodding him in the ribs this time. Dimeback, who was much smaller than his brother, and most ponies his age, merely sighed, and endured, fighting back the tears that he knew would only egg his brother on.




The game was over, and Jumpshot had proven the MVP of his netball team yet again. Jumpshot was the oldest, and most mature of the three brothers; his popstar red coat and dark purple mane, his streamlined, strong figure, and magnificent wings made him rather popular with the fillies; he had a tendency to sneak out at night to go to parties or meet up with some secret marefriend of his, or else to drink far too much cider with his buddies on the netball team. Despite all of this, he always treated Dimeback kindly, or at least more kindly than anyone else in the family did.


Endzone and Pom-Pom did not say a word when Jumpshot did not accompany them, Kickoff, and Dimeback home. They had a tendency to overlook any shenanigans on Jumpshot's part, including the unacceptable bond he had with his uncoordinated youngest brother. Usually he was allowed free reign, and it was not until late that night that he returned to the family house in the heart of Baltimare, rather intoxicated from the after-game party. The Hero of the Baltimare Netball Team had to share a drink with all of his admirers, after all.


As soon as they got home. Kickoff had started harassing Dimeback, humiliating him over and over in a one-on-one game of hoofball, always allowing him to claim the hoofball, and always knocking him to the ground immediately after. This was their nightly ritual, after all, and more often than not Dimeback would go to school with a black and blue coat than a lavender one. Endzone always turned up his nose at the behaviour, saying it was 'character-building stuff' and maybe that Dimeback would rise up and pound his brother right back one of these times, and get his cutie mark.


But how could Dimeback possibly do that? Kickoff was twice his size! Dimeback hated them all. He hated them all, except maybe Jumpshot. It was from Jumpshot only that he ever recieved any kindness. Even in school, he was picked on. Jumpshot was literally his only friend. And his life was indeed a miserable one.


As Kickoff found himself distracted by the arrival of his idolized eldest brother, Dimeback retreated into his room, and only then did he allow the tears to spill, as he cried himself to sleep.




Much later



It was a week into Dimeback's own entry into Baltimare High School, a cruel and judgmental place. And he still didn't have his cutie mark - an oddity. Most fillies and colts found their cutie marks at least by middle school. Dimeback was a nobody, and ponies in passing would always whisper - isn't he Endzone's son? THE Endzone? Blank flank... He's a failure, he has no potential, he's a disgrace to his family's name.


As such, where Dimeback walked, he walked alone.


One day, Baltimare High School was visited by somepony from Canterlot Music Academy - and, as it always is with big important schools like CMA, the entire school was required to attend. The students of the school managed to squeeze themselves in the large, heavily graffiti-ed auditorium, where they babbled incessantly. Dimeback could hear his brother Kickoff, who was only two years older than him, say over the din, "This is pointless."


After the harried-looking teachers managed to silence the crowd to a respectable level, a grey earth pony walked out onto the stage. She was clearly the representative of Canterlot Music Academy - her tender hooves looked perfectly suited to gently hold the bow of a violin, and her dark mane was elegant and simple, living up to the standards of Canterlot. On her flank, Dimeback eyed a pink cutie mark of a symbol he didn't recognize.


The pony spoke of the Music Academy, and of how only the most talented students were accepted. She spoke of the fantastic careers that one could forge for themselves there, and, at a lesser length, of her own experience there, how she was a senior at the moment, and of the violin and cello she played, confirming Dimeback's suspicions. She spoke of the wing choirs and the applications of phonic magics, and of many other things besides; even by the time most of the students had gotten bored and began to speak of other things, Dimeback remained inexplicably enthralled. He'd never had much to do with the world outside of sports, yet, he felt an inexplicable yearning audition for this Music Academy anyway.


Why? He'd never even touched an instrument in his life, and the only music he was familiar with was the chants his mother would perform to cheer on her sons at their netball and hoofball games. He didn't know why, but he just felt it was the right thing to do. At any rate, no matter how unlikely it was he would make it into the Music Academy, if there was even a chance he could escape this place, he would happily take it.


The mare onstage stated that tryouts would be taking place the following day, and departed the stage. Not that anypony else in the auditorium was listening by that point.



The next day



Dimeback arrived at the auditorium early. It seems only two other ponies had bothered to show up. They spared him a somewhat surprised glance before returning their attention to the impassive Academy representative before them. It seems they had not expected one of Endzone's bloodline to show up.


If the Academy rep was disappointed by the turnout, she did not show it. With an elegant gesture of her hoof, she beckoned for the first pony to accompany her to a soundproof room for tryouts. Twenty minutes later, she came back for the second. Dimeback was nervous, not sure what to expect, yet it was not long before he was claimed.


He found himself in a small, cramped room, alone with the elegant Canterlot mare. He noticed she had donned a pink bowtie today, which somehow fit well with her rigid demeanor.


"And what will you be playing for me today?" she said, in a refined voice. He could tell she was looking him over and passing judgement based on appearances alone, and that she did not expect much. In fact, he thought he could detect the faintest sneer when she noticed his lack of cutie mark, but it had disappeared from her lip nearly as quickly as it had appeared there.


Dimeback realized, too late, that he ought to have at least made himself look presentable for the occasion. His mane was a mess, as always, and he still looked rather roughed up from a recent 'training session' with Kickoff. He briefly lamented the fact that Jumpshot had left for college before saying, "I don't really... Have anything." The mare sighed, and began to shuffle through her papers. "What do you play, then?" she asked in a bored voice. "I don't." She gazed at him for ten full seconds before asking, "Then why are you wasting my time?"


Before Dime could respond, she went on, this time impatiently, "Just use this. Let's get this over with." She thrust a long, shiny brass instrument into his unexpecting arms, and sat back, gazing at the colt with a harsh expression. Dime took a moment to experiment with the slide, that seemed to be the way to change pitch, before raising the instrument to his mouth. He blew. No sound came out. He tried again. Again, no change. The mare began to scribble impatiently on an evaluation form in front of her.


Dimeback began to panic, and he desperately blew on the horn again. This time, he felt something change. His lips vibrated, and out of the horn came a long, beautiful, pure, resounding note. The mare flinched almost as badly as Dimeback did. Neither had expected the note to actually come out. For the first time, the mare returned her attention to Dimeback in full, her mulberry eyes contemplative, and said, "Do that again."


Dimeback complied, and the pure, resounding note sounded again, loud and clear. A flicker of a smile crossed the mare's face, and she instructed, "Try moving the slide." Dimeback did so, and as he did the pitch shifted. After a moment of experimentation, he began to get the hang of how the slide changed the notes played.


"Try blowing faster." Confused for a moment, Dime hesitated, then complied, blowing the air faster through the horn. The pitch shifted up a half an octave, and the mare clapped. "Not bad," she said. "Now impress me."


Rising to the challenge, Dimeback tried his hardest to provide a strain of music that the mare would be able to follow. He was actually surprised at how easily he provided such, and looking reasonably impressed, the mare scribbled on the paper. Dimeback played and played until the mare held up a single hoof, and said, "That'll be enough. I'm pretty sure I can guarantee you a spot at the Canterlot Music Academy. Even with a substansial scholarship! You've got talent like few others." Dime held up his head pridefully, before the mare continued, "All you need to do is get permission from a parent or guardian, and after that, you can simply take the train to Canterlot and expect us waiting with open arms." As she stood up and opened the door to the room, she looked over her shoulder at the stunned Dimeback, and said, with a slight smile, "Check your flank. And have a good day."


She left the room, and Dimeback, bemused, indeed looked back, and his jaw dropped. His cutie mark had finally arrived. It was some maroon musical symbol he didn't recognize, but nevertheless, he laughed with excitement, happy it was finally here. After his initial jubilation, his spirits sank. His parents wouldn't approve. They'd never let him touch an instrument again, and they'd never let him go to Canterlot...



That night



When Dimeback arrived home, covering his flank with his tail apprehensively his parents and brother took no notice of him, for Jumpshot had arrived home, on break from college. Dimeback didn't complain, and slipped past them all into his room, where he sat, in the dark, to lay unhappily on his bed, staring at the ceiling sullenly. He'd never get to nurture his newly discovered talent...


With a faint knock on the door, Dime heard Jumpshot's deep voice. "May I come in?" Dime mumbled in assent, and Jumpshot trotted in through the door, and turned on the lights. Jumpshot immediately noticed the new cutie mark, and said, "nice one. What's it mean?" His voice was heavy and tenative, as if he recognised that Dime was upset. "Music." "Oh." The brothers were silent for a second, before Jumpshot said, "How'd you get it?" And before Dimeback knew it, he was spilling all his disappointments and fears to his eldest brother, who was tactful enough to listen and not interrupt. "And I'll never get to live up to my talents. Mom and Dad... They won't..." Dimeback fell apart into sobs, and Jumpshot patted him on the back. "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll think of something," he said. "We?" "Yeah, we. You should get to do what you love, and I understand that."




Indeed, they did think of something. Jumpshot managed to get Endzone and Pompom to sign the form without even reading it, telling them it was required for a scholarship, and even escorted his youngest brother to the train station the day he was destined to leave. "Mom and Dad don't know, remember. I'd suggest picking a different name to go by up in Canterlot. You don't want them following you there." Dimeback nodded in agreement. Despite the fact he was sure they wouldn't care about the disappearance of their youngest son, if he could help it, he didn't want his parents to find him. "Thanks for everything, Jump." "No worries. Now get on the train! You'll miss your chance."



Years later



At the end of three very successful years at the Canterlot Music Academy, which provided all the same classes as a normal high school, with more emphasis on music, Descant - as now he was called - found himself as first in his class, flourishing in the absence of his oppresive family. It was his graduation, as he gave the speech thanking his classmates for the time they had spent together, that he was found. It was only Jumpshot he spotted immediately in the stands, watching him graduate, but little did he know, his family was there as well. For after the graduation, when Jumpshot was congratulation his younger brother, Endzone and Pompom converged upon him, and caused quite a scene as the screamed at him about running away, and about what he'd been doing with his life, and about what a disgrace he was to the family name.


Needless to say, Endzone was neither the most passive nor the most sensible pony.


Descant went on from there to go to even further lengths to try to escape his parents. He even had to cut off contact with Jumpshot as he traveled abroad. He was simply paranoid they would find him again.


As he traveled, he became acquainted with the strange cultures and hierarchies and aristocracies of many a foreign nation, and became familiar with many a foreign language, including, among others, Germane, Camelutian, and Cervidish. Eventually, he met a pair of rambunctious twins in the city of Barceleona, capital of Catalonia, named Rag and Tag, who were travelling with a circus. They became friends, and Descant followed the circus for a while before deciding to settle in the small town of Ponyville, back in Equestria where things made sense. Rag and Tag settled with him, and he decided to change his name again, this time to Encore, in hopes his parents wouldn't bother him again. He met up again with his old acquaintances from the Academy, and has since been working to make his name well known again as it once was, and as his father's once was, in the land of Equestria.







This is the first of a series I hope to make going into detail about the origins of each of my RPing characters. This may very well not be the finalized version of Encore's tale, either; there is much I'm unhappy with in this telling, but do not have time to fix or achieve.


Please, if you have read this all the way through, tell me what you think, or else, ways you think I can improve upon the work I've already done. Thank you.


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