The Quest for the Sapphire Stone (Daring Do #1)

by BookeCypher

Chapter 1: Foreword

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Few stories in the history of contemporary Equestrian literature have managed to achieve the level of success and acclaim, as the venerated Daring Do series.

First published fifty years ago, the adventures of the intrepid archeologist's pegasus across the world have captured the imaginations of ponies and non-ponies alike with little regard for age. Its stories have become one of the most widely translated documents in history and its characters a part of the public consciousness. It, almost single hoofed, defined a genre. For its publisher, Polo House, it has become a franchise juggernaut and spawned countless adaptations, versions and most notably spin-offs. From Twilight Velvet's critically acclaimed and award-winning Nachtlicht Saga to A.K. Yearling's 'Tenochtitlan Cycle' – the only spin-off series to even approach the success of the original books, to the point that they are often referred to as simply 'the Yearling Canon'.

The question is though – why are they so popular?

Some ponies attribute it the period in which they are set – the years just after the Third Griffon-Diamond Dog War, a time when Equestria as a nation had yet to settle into its modern stance of careful neutrality, when the sight of non-ponies was a more regular occurrence in the cities of the land. Others attribute it to the varied locales – the depths Hayan jungles, the remote Himineighen Mountains, the far-off plains of the Marengetti. Of course, some argue that none of it matters without the characters that many of us have now grown up knowing. Daring Do and her brother Darrin or her sister Derring, Storm Talon – possibly the single most famous griffon in all of Equestria – Ghoul S. Dachshund, Bravado, and of course Ahuizotl among others. All arguments have their good points, and in a sense all are right. But what might be the greatest attribute of the stories is how they treat the reader. They do not coddle them, they do not shield them from anything. Perhaps that is why they prove so popular among the younger readers – they remain accessible to them, but do not treat them like children. It gives them a real story to be pulled into. As for the older readers – well, adults are only foal's grown up, as the saying goes.

Of course, every great series has to start somewhere. For Daring Do, that starting point has always been the quest for the Sapphire Stone. Often retold, regularly rewritten and rarely told the same way twice, The Sapphire Stone has become something of a traditional starting point for many of the side series. It is the single most often re-imagined entry in the series, with numerous authors changing protagonists, settings, perspectives and styles, but each telling their own version of the story. But one author has yet to reimagine it – Teal Roper themselves.

Possibly one of the greatest mysteries in all of literature – if not Equestria – is that of the creator of Daring Do. Named for the rope used to bind the first few manuscripts, discussion of his or her true identity is a common pass time among fans and theories are numerous – some suggest that she is Celestia, or Luna. Or Nightmare Moon. Others suggest that she's a griffon. A common theory these days is that the name is simply passed down and that Roper is in fact multiple ponies – a handy way to explain still writing after half a century. Whoever they are, it seems that they are in a reflective mood. The story you now have in front of you arrived at Polo House with a simple note – a plain piece of paper with one sentence on it and a signature;

'Once more, from the top – Teal Roper'

Despite being a rewrite, much remains the same from the original version – including many of its most oft cited shortcomings. But, many would argue, these are as much part of the story as the plot and the characters. And this is not to say nothing has been changed. Along with the most common edits from prior versions being included, some of the more out-dated terminology has been updated, and attempts to improve the story's flow are apparent. Deciding how successful these changes are is an exercise left to the readers.

So, with that, I shall leave the reader to his reading. For some it will be a return to familiar ground. For others, the first steps into a new world. To the latter I simply say welcome.

- Booke Cypher, Editor, Polo House Publishing

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