Sequels5

  • T All The Way Back

    Princess Luna is no longer Nightmare Moon. But she is still very weak, and very alone. Can she come all the way back?  · Jordan179
    18,961 words · 1,099 views  ·  94  ·  2  · 
  • T An Extended Performance

    The Great and Powerful Trixie gives the performance of her life during the Longest Night in Eqeustrian history. Start of Season 1.  · Jordan179
    26,641 words · 1,020 views  ·  55  ·  2  · 
  • T Pinkie Sense and Sensibility

    When a young mare happens to be both her own pony and the Pink Daughter of Paradise, love and life can get complex and strange  · Jordan179
    10,311 words · 532 views  ·  24  ·  2  · 
  • T Dragonshyness

    Fluttershy endures one of the most frightening experiences of her life. (It is a testament to the utter terror that can be Fluttershy's life that confronting a full-grown Dragon counts as only "one" of the most terrifying days of her  · Jordan179
    38,857 words · 600 views  ·  41  ·  3  · 
  • T His Mark On History

    Across the Stormy Seas to the east of Equestria, on the continent of Taura, the ponies of the Running Water are oppressed by their Griffon overlords. Can young First Strong Messenger strike a blow for independence and change history?  · Jordan179
    4,405 words · 81 views  ·  11  ·  1 · gore  · 

Featured In51

More Stories25

  • T Fluttershy Is Free

    Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy go to see a butterfly migration. Mid-Season 1, immediately after "Call of the Cutie."
    10,460 words · 916 views  ·  81  ·  1
  • T Feeling Adrift

    After her emotional revelations to Twilight Sparkle, Princess Luna returns to Canterlot uncertain of her feelings, her place in the world, and even her identity. Her big sister tries to help her feel a bit less adrift.
    4,938 words · 903 views  ·  98  ·  2
  • T All The Way Back

    Princess Luna is no longer Nightmare Moon. But she is still very weak, and very alone. Can she come all the way back?
    18,961 words · 1,099 views  ·  94  ·  2
  • T A Meeting by Moonlight

    Princess Luna tells Twilight Sparkle a tale of the world's ancient past, before the Alicorn pony Princess of the Night was even born.
    2,932 words · 1,424 views  ·  131  ·  4
  • T An Extended Performance

    The Great and Powerful Trixie gives the performance of her life during the Longest Night in Eqeustrian history. Start of Season 1.
    26,641 words · 1,020 views  ·  55  ·  2
  • E Sun Atoms

    Foals Sundreamer and Moondreamer debate astrophysics, positional location, and the implications of hoof-sucking. Their mother, Dr. Sweetie Finemare, has to drive them.
    1,099 words · 335 views  ·  35  ·  1
  • E Royal Business

    When Spike is called away to Canterlot on Royal Business, he expects to have to do something for Princess Celestia. Instead, he winds up being interviewed by Princess Luna and fed a lot of gems. Life can be tough for a young Dragon!
    2,986 words · 545 views  ·  32  ·  1
  • T A Robust Solution

    Fluttershy comes to terms with a mistake from her past, and learns how to handle herself in the future, with the help of her good friend Rarity.
    11,859 words · 507 views  ·  53  ·  4 · sex

Blog Posts123

  • Friday
    Happy Birthday, Scoots2

    It's October 31st, Halloween 2014, and your birthday.  I hope you have a happy one and many more to come.  :twilightsmile:

    2 comments · 34 views
  • Tuesday
    Nearly Spotless Virtue -- Or Why I Love My Trixie

    The phrase "nearly spotless virtue," in regards to The Great and Powerful Trixie, originated as a running gag.

    You see, I first started thinking seriously about Trixie's character when I started writing An Extended Performance.  That story came from me asking the question "How did the rest of Equestria react to the Longest Night?" coupled with the thought that -- if Nightmare Moon really was the pawn of alien invaders, she might not be their only pawn.  That led me naturally to the Shadow Coven and the Nightstallion of Manehattan, the principal villain of the piece.

    I had several sources for Trixie's character.  The first was canon -- and I immediately noticed two things about Trixie that showed that she herself was not a villain.  The first was that, in "Boast Busters," she actually does nothing villainous.  She puts on a show, deals with hecklers, and nearly gets killed by the Ursa that Snips and Snails lead into town.  

    More to the point, she tries to do something heroic -- when the Ursa shows up, she could have tried to save herself or her caravan.  The Ursa, after all, was chasing Snips and Snails, not Trixie.  She's an illusionist -- she could have tried to escape under cover of one of her smoke bombs, and left the two colts to the monster.  Instead, she tries to save their lives.

    In "Magic Duel," she most definitely plays the villain.  But she does so under the influence of an Artifact of Evil -- in fact, a Ponified version of the One Ring.  Even so, she doesn't directly try to kill anypony (this is why I decided she has an actual Code Against Killing); she takes over the town, and then tries to impress everypony with her magic.

    A strong hint as to Trixie's motivations comes from her patter in "Boast Busters."  The essence of her boasts is that she is a heroine -- that she saves whole towns from monsters with her awesome magic.  And this tells me what Trixie sees herself as and what she wants to be -- a heroine.  Specifically, a Magical Girl and a high fantasy heroine.

    Another of my sources for my Trixie was the Trixie from the Pony POVerse of Alex Warlorn.  Alex's Trixie comes from a large and loving family whom she finds very annoying because she and her four sisters are almost twins (none the same age, but all very physically similar), and her sisters want them all to form a stage act together.  She doesn't want to do this because then she'd be just one among many.

    The Pony POVerseTrixie wants to be unique and special, and so she distances herself from her family:  unfortunately, in the process she also distances herself from everypony else.  She has let herself get close to only one pony in her life -- her mentor, White-Beard the Gray, who taught her stage magic but then died when Trixie was still in her teens.  It's largely because of White-Beard that Trixie has avoided becoming sociopathic.

    And the final source was the alternate Trixie of the Lunaverse, who becomes that world's Element of Magic.  That Trixie, interestingly, is either asexual or demisexual:  she does not seem capable of sexual attraction to anypony.  She also demonstrates several bad traits:  most notably a tendency to try to lie her way out of trouble.  This Trixie has led a life sheltered in some ways and precarious in others at Princess Luna's somewhat Deadly Decadent Court (Luna is far less capable at managing her nobles or her Realm  than is Celestia in the main universe, so it's a darker culture).

    Thinking about it, I can see why the writers would characterize Trixie as not a very sexual being.  In canon she's shown no sexual attraction toward anypony, even when she was corrupt and wielding a powerful artifact -- instead of seeking a harem of stallions, she torments Snips and Snails in revenge for losing her caravan by making them tow her palanquin around.  She's a tease, yes, but to her audience in public, which is a "safe" situation.  And she's constantly on the move, so she doesn't have time to fall in love with anypony.

    And there are obvious reasons why Trixie would also and additionally be somepony who would only want to be sexual in the context of strong romantic love.  She views herself as a heroine, and promiscuity isn't very heroic.  She distrusts others, and sexual intercourse puts one in a very vulnerable position.  She regards herself as superior, so who would be worthy of her?  And she dislikes most Ponies, save in the very formal relationship of performer to audience -- sex is a very informal situation.

    Putting this all together I had my Trixie.  She's arrogant, obnoxious, even a bit cruel -- not all that nice a Pony.  This was evident in her two canon appearances.  On the other hand, she's also a heroic and romantic idealist, somepony who aspires to greatness.  She has a strong moral code, based around being a heroine and a professional trouper:  this specifically includes a Code Against Killing, which I decided White-Beard inculcated in her because he was afraid of what somepony with Trixie's personality and power level might do were she a casual killer (something of which she is emotionally capable because of her sociopathic tendencies).

    And one more thing.  She's stubborn.

    Why do I say this?  Because she gives off all the signals in canon of being a stubborn Pony.  She doesn't back down before hecklers.  She tries to save Snips and Snails from the Ursa.  And more importantly, she doesn't even yield to reality -- to Trixie, her heroic fantasies take precedence over any mundane reality that tries to get in her way.

    She's not completely crazy, of course.  She wouldn't survive on the road if she was.  For instance, her first reaction when Snips and Snails bring the Ursa into town is utter horror -- she knows she can't beat something like that in a stand-up fight.  (She tries to do it, though -- to protect the two colts).  But she's a little bit crazy.  Gloriously, magnificently crazy.

    The joke, of course, comes in the apposition of these two points, one from An Extended Performance and the other from The Romance of the Open Road, regarding her own sexual experience:

    Trixie was not looking for a mate.  She was never looking for a mate.  To her, the whole messy and vulgar business of reproducing the Pony species was something she wished to leave to more common and ordinary Ponies, and thankfully.  She found most stallions boring, and the notion of a romantic relationship with one laughable; other mares were not only boring but unattractive, and the concept of mating with one more than normally absurd.

    She was not precisely a virgin.  There had been that one regrettable episode with that  theatrical promoter, a year ago in Baltimare.

    Piercing Gaze had been a minor magician himself before moving into the field of promotion:  nothing compared to herself, of course, but still a respectable talent. He had appreciated her own abilities, and  promised her great things.  He was smart and witty and kind, and in an obvious position to help her.  She had worked with him, and  they had been enjoying each other's company for a few weeks before things went so badly wrong.  The Great and Emotionally Self-Sufficient Trixie rarely needed to employ such a concept, but he had been something of a -- friend.  They had been shooting the breeze together one late night after a show, as they had done so several nights before, and things had just -- happened.

    She doesn't enjoy it.  This is for three reasons:  Trixie is almost asexual, and she's only known Piercing a month or so at the time (so she hasn't become relaxed around him to the degree that would let her demi-sexuality kick in) and they're both drunk at the time (Trixie doesn't even grasp why that last point constitutes a problem).  (*)  She is so horrified by what has happened that when she wakes up she runs out of the room, hitches up her wagon and flees Baltimare.  She hasn't, at the point of that story, seen Piercing since.

    Her single sexual experience leaves an impression on her.  It makes her feel a degree of self-loathing, for failing to live up to her own ideals.  But it also makes her wonder if it might have gone better, the more so because she and Piercing seemed to have been genuinely becoming friends, maybe good friends -- and that is a very rare thing, for Trixie.  So, inevitably, she starts wondering if she made a mistake by leaving town.  Specifically, by leaving Piercing.

    When she flees Manehattan after saving the city in An Extended Performance (**), one of the things that occurs to her is that she could head down to Baltimare and see if Piercing wants to resume their friendship.  (She is completely unaware that Piercing has, in fact, been carrying a torch for her since she left).

    Later, in a small diner, she wonders, not very seriously, if she is going to be attacked in a diner.

    She wondered worriedly if some unpleasant incident would ensue.  Would there be some resurgence of race-hatreds, perhaps led by the radical Levelers whose strength had been growing among working-class Earth Ponies?  Or would some of the stallions, driven mad by desire for her beauty, make a crude and lustful attempt upon her nearly-spotless virtue?

    Which paragraph, I think, sums up a lot of my Trixie's personality.  Her tendency to prance through the real world constantly drifting off into Walter Mitty fantasies.  Her arrogance, assuming that the diner patrons are all centering their attention on her.  Her vanity (she is beautiful, but not so beautiful that she would stop traffic).  Her self-delusions -- and her fundamental honesty, peeping out from among the thicket of her flaws -- because even in her fantasy she feels it necessary to remind herself that her virtue is, in point of fact, only nearly spotless.

    So why do I love my Trixie?  And what do I mean by "loving" her?

    Well, I don't mean that she's my "waifu."  I'm not really into that concept anyway.  And no, I would not want to marry someone like my Trixie.  I'll leave the task of dealing with her prickly, paranoid and grandiose personality on a day-to-day basis to somepony else -- such as Piercing Gaze, who has the misfortune of being the Ladykiller in Love in this particular romantic comedy.

    Both Piercings, and both Trixies, are destined to have rather stormy relationships, though their mutual love is quite genuine, and they would be very unhappy if permanently parted.  But then, they're just those kind of people.  I love both of them -- or all four of them, depending on how one looks at it -- but they are very flawed characters.

    What I love about Trixie is her courage, her dreams and her fundamental decency -- most of all, that she is so damned stubborn that she refuses to accept that there might be something she can't handle.  When the sky cracks open and demons descend upon the Earth, when the world trembles on the brink of disaster, when all hope is lost, you just know that there will be one maniacal little blue showmare screaming defiance at doom, and taking it personally that Ragnarok is daring to upstage her.

    Trixie may, indeed, be mad.  But it is a magnificent madness -- the madness of an indomitable spirit standing up to the imperfections of the Universe and daring to hope that she can achieve something better.  It is the madness that leads us to stand up to evil and oppression, to transcend our limitations, to leap from the Primal Plains to the infinite stars.

    Rock on, Trixie.  You are truly Great and Powerful.

    ===

    (*)  I think there are some inexperienced fanfic authors who don't grasp that point either.  Sexual functioning is impaired by alcohol.

    (**)  Trixie's default mode of coping with potentially-embarrassing social situations is "run away."  This is strongly-supported, for all versions of Trixie, in canon.

    4 comments · 99 views
  • Monday
    Conceptual Sources for My Chrysalis and Changelings

    (this originated as a reply in comments to The Fall of Hive Hunger-Prime, but I thought that -- especially because it credits three FIMFiction writers I admire, I should promote it to a blog post).

    >>5191853

    Eh ... the thing is, canon Chrysalis derives from two main sources, A Canterlot Wedding (TV show) and The Return of Chrysalis (IDW comic book), and she really is this bad even in those sources.  In both sources, she's not just engaging in a regrettable necessity for the survival of herself and her followers, she is positively enjoying hurting others, and in the comic book series rejects an implicit offer of symbiosis from the cat-creatures, preferring to torment and slay them.  Chryssie is not a nice ling at all.

    Going beyond canon, my main fanon inspirations for my version of Chrysalis and the Changelings are Phoenix_Dragon's three Changeling stories Fragments, Without a Hive and A New Way; Ardashir's Wolf in Pony's Clothing and Manehattan Madness; and Alex Warlorn's Not the Wedding You Remember.  All six of these are well worth reading.

    In terms of what I took from each of the stories, the characters of Princess Ceymi (who is one of the main characters of my own Collateral Damage and will be mentioned in Chapter 2 of The Fall of Hive Hunger-Prime), Nictis/Meadow Song (who has already been mentioned without naming him/her) and Spark Wheel come from from Without a Hive and A New Way, Azure Sky (who is mentioned as the beloved of Rainbow Dash in Divine Jealousy and the Voice of Reason) from Fragments and A New Way.  The concept of the Friendly Hives and Equestria's alliance with them against Chrysalis comes from Wolf in Pony's Clothing and Manehattan Madness.  Chrysalis' birth-name Kifuko, her spirit-guardian Maura and some aspects of her personality -- all to be mentioned in Chapter 2 -- derive from Not the Wedding You Remember.

    To summarize, the message of all these stories is that Chrysalis is an exceptionally-evil Changeling, and perhaps even more to the point unusually aggressive for a Changeling Queen.  The Changelings have spent most of the last two and a half millennia hiding (which is why Celestia is so utterly caught by surprise when a whole horde of them invade Canterlot in YOH 1503).  They usually only kill to protect the secret of their own existence, or take Captives to obtain love, and they are very careful about doing either.  Chrysalis, standing in Canterlot ranting about how she's going to rule all Equestria, is very, very atypical for a Changeling of any caste.

    A very good reason is adduced in Not the Wedding You Remember.  Namely, Chrysalis wasn't raised a Changeling.  She was raised as a Zebra, and she fundamentally sees her place as in the light.  The circumstances of her childhood and adolescence (which included slaughtering her entire birth-village) have left her quite pitiless, and when she fights her way to the top in the Hive which takes her in (originally as a slave) she decides that the Changelings should be a Master Race.

    She is thus very analogous to some Humans who immigrated to other countries, fought their way to the top and became dictators.  Such as the Corsican Napoleon Buonaparte, Emperor of France.  The Austrian Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer of the Third German Reich.  And the (Asian) Georgian Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili, better known to history as Josef Stalin, the dictator of the Soviet Union.

    In each case, the fact that the dictator was originally an outsider to the society they took over enabled them to internally-transcend the limitations of the cultures of their adoptive countries.  In each case, the dictator led their country to martial greatness but -- in part bcause he over-reached traditional limitations -- this greatness partially or fully led to disaster.  In Napoleon and Hitler's case, the final consequence was conquest of the country by the enemies their aggressions had aroused; in Stalin's case, the Soviet Union (just barely) avoided being conquered by an enemy he'd raised up (Stalin had enabled Hitler's own rise to military might via various agreements of which the Nazi-Soviet Pact of 1939 was only the most famous), but he murdered so many Russians and members of other Slavic ethnic groups(tens of millions!) that he crippled the Soviet Union's future both culturally and demographically, with consequences we see today in Putin's crippled and demoralized rump of a once-great empire.

    I am, obviously, making an analogy in this story between Chrysalis and Hitler.  Her path is closer to Hitler's than to those of the other two leaders, because she institutes an explicit doctrine of racial superiority (my Changelings are in fact a Lost Kind of Pony) and uses it as ideological justification to launch a war of conquest; she drives the other Changeling Hives into the arms of Equestria (her claim to rule all Changelings as High Quen makes peace or alliance with those Hives impossible); in the end the forces she raises against her are so powerful, and so enraged by the atrocities she commits, that she finds herself defending a single Hive and eventually a single bunker within that Hive, awaiting her destruction.  There are also overtones of the Imperial Japanese of 1937-45 here -- the Changelings are cooperative, hard-working and very brave in battle, and the aggressions of their leadership put them in a situation where they are confronting a far more powerful foe armed with atomic bombs, reduced to hopeless defensive expedients.

    From all three fanfic writers I get the concept of the Changelings as creepy, scary but also pathetic.  They were Twisted long ago by Discord into their current genome; over many centuries of the Long Hiding lost much of their culture and their former high estate as one of the Five Kinds; they follow a mad High Queen, and in doing so are experiencing terrible suffering and death on a genocidal scale.  They are not inherently evil:  they know Friendship, and even Love (though normally less personally and less passionately than do the other Kinds), and their eusociality is recognizably a variant of the Harmony.  Their loyalty has been given to a monster, and they are being terribly misused.

    But then, I'm an American writer of Jewish descent who grew up on stories, histories and board wargames of the Second World War, and who had as two of his main formative influences in his early appreciation of science fiction the German-produced Perry Rhodan and various Japanese animes, including Space Battleship Yamato and Macross.  So the concept of an inherently-admirable people following monstrous leaders to their own destruction is hardly new to me.

    You can plainly see my opinion of the Changelings in my version of Ceymi and my OC's of Compound, Carry and Cowl.  I'll briefly discusss these characters.

    Ceymi was a brilliant thinker whose intellect and aesthetic appreciation were too great for her rather limited birth-culture; she came to deeply appreciate and enjoy Equestrian society.  The ideology she'd learned from Chrysalis caused her to formally despise the Ponies, but at the same time she formed strong emotional ties to them, both culturally and to specific individuals.  The parents of her main Mask, Starry Eyes, became one of her main sources of emotional comfort and healing; and she fell in love with Thermal Soar.  Chrysalis saw what was happening and deliberately broke Ceymi so that she could maintain her dominance over her.  Ceymi died, around a decade later, without ever fully making the cognitive leap to appreciating that Chrysalis had betrayed her and more importantly was leading her whole Hive to ruin.

    Compound is quite simply admirable, and doesn't appreciate how admirable she is in part because she's been raised by a culture so very deeply poisoned by the tyranny of Chrysalis.  She's highly-intelligent, compassionate, and intensely loyal to her friends.  What's more, she is an analytical thinker, calm in dangerous situations and a natural leader.  Her concept of leadership is that it is something one does when a leader is necessary; she does not desire to abuse others, and she believes that a leader's job is to bear up under stress and make the right decisions for the benefit of her followers.  Hatred and vindictiveness are not prominent in her character.  She is, thus, close to an anti-Chrysalis -- and would make a far better Hive Queen.

    Carry and Cowl, the two lings she has bonded deeply with over the last month and especially the last week, in part because expecting her own death she can open herself up to them in ways she could not when she still was very frightened of arousing the attention of the Specials, love her, and she loves them back in return.  Carry is a big, strong guy; not a deep thinker but a ling who has a great capacity to care for others.  Cowl is a bit of a nebbish, with more formal education than Carry, but considerably less courage (he's the first to snap under the bombardment, if you noticed).

    None of the trio are monsters, and none of them deserve the horrors they're going through.  They are just people, and in human terms rather nice people at that, who are enduring as best they can a dying dream of madness.

    So, yeah -- sorry, but my Chrysalis is a tyrant, and a monster.  But my Changelings, as a whole, are not.  They're just a lost Kind of Pony, who got so used to hiding that they mostly forgot why they were hiding, and whose long fear and eusocial trust made them easy victims for a false leader to forge into a conquering army.

    The Long Hiding is ending; elsewhere the Reconciliation with the other Pony Kinds has already begun.  The Changelings have a great future as a race.  But here, at Hive Hunger-Prime, the suffering is not yet over.

    5 comments · 112 views
  • 6d, 8h
    "High Queen" (with apologies to Judas Priest)

    To the tune of "Tyrant," by Judas Priest:

    1st Stanza: Nightmare Hunger, aka Chrysalis

    Behold ‘tis I, the High Queen,

    Who rules you with my call.

    Resist me not, surrender,

    I’ve no Kindness at all.

    Chorus: All

    High Queen, captor of equinity

    High Queen, conqueror of all

    High Queen, hideous destuctor

    High Queen, everyling shall fall

    2nd Stanza: Hunger

    Your very lives held within my power

    I lash out and you cower down in fear

    You spineless things who belly down to slither

    To the end of all, you follow to be near

    (repeat Chorus)

    3rd Stanza: Her Subjects

    Mourn for us, oppressed in fear,

    By pheromones, we are bound.

    Freedom choked, in dread we live

    Since High Queen was enthroned,

    4th Stanza: Hunger

    I listen not to sympathy,

    Whilst High Queen in my lair.

    Withdraw your feeble ancient rules,

    Lest I smite you with my Stare.

    (repeat Chorus)

    (repeat 3rd Stanza)

    5th Stanza:  Hunger

    My Changelings, faithful unto death

    I’ll summon to my Court

    And as you perish, each of you

    Shall feed my hunger more.

    (repeat Chorus)

    (pan out on the upperworks of Hive Hunger-Prime, surface fountaining with the impact of heavy artillery shells, jets diving and strafing and rocketing the few remaining Changeling gun positions, earth heaving with the fall of tallboy penetrators from high-altitude heavy bombers, the works burning and the deep gound erupting with the occasional string of secondary explosions.  Pan down -- way down -- a mile below the surface of the doomed Hive, where there is a Royal Bunker.

    (And Hunger).

    ===

    Yeah.  The next chapter is entitled "In the Royal Bunker," and dear little Compound and her pals have dug their way out of the frying pan ...

    ... right into the fire.

    2 comments · 61 views
  • 6d, 10h
    In Secreto, Salutis

    Or, to translate from the Old Amareican to Modern Equestrian, "In Secrecy, Safety."

    This happens to be true on the battlefield.

    This is true for all levels of technology and most reasonable force matchups.  It is not true against absurdly disproportionate levels of force -- even if an attacker doesn't know which room of a house you're hiding in, he can still obliterate the whole house with an eight-inch howitzer shell and you're still toast -- the principle with which Monty Python had fun in "How Not To Be Seen" (a skit which the descendants of the Flutter-Ponies would not find amusing).  Most of the time, if there's actually a "war" (rather than just mopping-up the last survivors of a defeated nation whose leadership is simply too stubborn to admit they've lost), nopony has enough firepower to saturate every corner of the battlefield in death.

    One has to choose one's targets, and if one can't see a foe, or can get only a very hazy idea of his position, one cannot fight him effectively.  That is the principle of the submarine, of the sniper, and of the Stealth bomber.  None of these combatants were ever perfectly invisible -- a World Wars submarine provides a bearing right back to itself the moment anyone sees one of its torpedoes, a modern submarine makes enough noise that a sonar-equipped enemy can generally get at least a rough passive bearing on it; there are only so many places a sniper can hide; and a Stealth bomber returns radar signals from some angles, and instantly reveals its position should it turn on active electromagnetic emitters (which is why some Stealth designs don't even have such emitters -- they use purely passive EM as much as possible).

    But stealth doesn't have to be perfect in order to work.  It just has to be good enough that the enemy isn't sure where an attack is coming from until it's too late for them to nail the attacker (think Stealth bombers unplugging an enemy's air defense network with air-to-surface missiles), or that the attacker can escape the engagement while the counter-attackers waste their time looking in the wrong place for him (think a submarine creeping away from a burning convoy while the destroyers thrash the empty sea with their depth-charges).  Stealth can even work if the foe has a counter to it -- for instance, Equestria came up with Changeling-revealing lanterns right after the Battle of Canterlot, but the lanterns can't be everywhere, nor did the earliest models make the bearing to the Infiltrator immediately apparent, nor force shift reversion.

    The Changelings, are of course, the ultimate expression of secrecy and stealth in Pony form.  They prefer to live underground.  Their military castes can take the form of whomever they wish when they venture outside (technically, so can their Workers -- it's just that most of their Workers aren't very good at it).  They have rudimentary empathy, and their higher castes develop this toward mind-reading.

    Even after the Reconciliation, they still prefer secrecy and stealth, which is why so many Ponies of other Kinds still find them creepy even as allies.  They are weird by Pony standards even in their affections:  they have intense loyalty to their Hives, very little sense of personal space or privacy, and when they actually personally like you, are apt to be all over you.  They will literally crawl up your side, and see nothing wrong with this as long as they are not putting too much weight on you.  They sleep together in huddles and find this comforting.

    Landscape Carrot, who lived a decade amongst them, almost as one of them, understands them as well as any sane Earth Pony can (and Applejack might snort at the adjective "sane," applied to him either before or after his ordeal).  Some other former Captives grasp their culture.  Some other Ponies think they understand the Changelings because they love or are friends with individual lings, but Changelings living individually among other Kinds behave very differently (and are mostly very smart and self-motivated lings who have internalized a lot of Equestrian culture:  Nictis would be a good example of such a Changeling) than do Changelings in their Hives.

    The Equestrian way of war did not incorporate much stealth.  Yes, there was a tradition of heroes embarking upon quests, and often this involved sneaking into enemy fortresses and the like.  But this was never systematized into doctrine, and most Equestrian wars were more or less stand-up fights, either organized skirmishes or pitched battles.  The concepts of "camoflague" and "ambush" of course existed.  By Changeling standards, though, the Equestrians were amateurs -- even taking into account that only Alicorns and powerful unicorn mages can Shift.

    The Great Changeling War (YOH 1513-15) was a terrible equine tragedy for both Equestria and the Changelings.  But one of its silver linings was that it taught Equestria all about stealth.  Both how to fight stealthy foes, and how to be stealthy themselves.  The Warriors of the Friendly Hives, of course, fought on Equestria's side largely as scouts and security forces, and in this role their talents shone.  Equestrians cross-trained with and sometimes accompanied these Friendly Warriors on missions, and learned the Changeling way of war.  And after 1515, of course, the survivors of what had been the Hives of Hunger took part in the Reconciliation and were integrated into Equestrian culture.

    Here, as Wisedreamer would have put it, was demonstrated that "oft evil will doth evil mar."  For the ultimate consequence of the Great Changeling War was the wholesale Reconciliation of the Changelings with the other Three land-dwelling Kinds.  And what this meant was that, as Equestria turned to face new challenges from the lands which the pawns of the Night Shadows now dominated, it faced them with Changeling allies, Changeling bio-technology, and Changeling instructors who taught Equestrian forces Changeling Infiltration doctrine.

    On a hundred future battlefields, the forces of the Shadows would come to rue the day that Friendship reunited the Lost Kind with their kin, and Equestria would strike from the darkness to spoil many an enemy plan.

    In Secreto, Salutis -- indeed.

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Nightmare Moon spends a thousand years banished to the Moon, fighting herself and the Shadows both within and without.  She watches civilization rise and spread, a quarter-million miles away.

Can she reclaim her power?  Can she overcome the six champions her sister has sent to defeat her?

Why do three of the champions look terribly familiar to the renegade Moon Princess?  Why does the sight of one, in particular, break her heart?

And why, as the battle continues, does she increasingly hope that she does not win?

This is an expanded version of the two-part Series Opener.  From Nightmare Moon's point of view.

Now with its own TVTropes page!

If you want to find out what the Great and Powerful Trixie was doing in Manehattan, and what happened in some other parts of Equestria during the Longest Night, read An Extended Performance. The direct sequel, however, is All the Way Back.

First Published
7th Dec 2013
Last Modified
30th Dec 2013

I really hate it when someone down-votes a story without giving a reason.  This first chapter is a good start to a story that has a lot of potential.  I will fave and watch this closely. :twilightsmile:

oh and, FIRST!!

yes I'm petty but I don't care.

I'm enjoying your work so far.  Your world and stories have great potential.  I rather enjoy your brand of mythology surrounding the Sisters and continue to look forwards towards its development.

Good work, keep it up.  :twilightsheepish:

>>3589989

Thank you for saying that.  I was a little surprised when I got three down-votes out of nowhere as soon as I posted the first chapter.  I think it was because some people like to see Nightmare Moon as a cool villainess -- which of course she is, or I wouldn't be writing this -- but miss the point that she was herself (as Princess Luna) a victim, whether of something From Beyond (as my story clearly states) or of her own growing madness.  And so, maybe, they don't like my portrayal of her as internally-conflicted -- torn between Princess Luna's saner feelings and the maelstrom of hatred and vengeance that is Nightmare Moon.

Or perhaps it's the science-fantasy aspects of the backstory?  The (highly-technological) lost Age of Wonders, Luna's prior mortal incarnation as Dr. Moondreamer Finemare, a literal "rocket scientist?"  But to me, even the canon My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has always seemed to be very much in the science-fantasy genre, as in the works of Lin Carter or Andre Norton (or for that matter, H. P. Lovecraft, though the tone is much lighter).  The steam trains (and in one case a steam road-engine / mechanical cider press), the balloons, the airships -- the weird machinery Twilight Sparkle works on in her basement -- it seems very much to me like Gaslight (Steampunk to you kids!) era science fiction.  There's also magic and goddesses and monsters and demons, so it's obviously also fantasy, but that didn't stop H. P. Lovecraft or Clark Ashton Smith from writing science fantasy, so why should it have stopped Lauren Faust or Meghan McCarthy?  Or me?

I can't imagine it's the TwiLuna shipping (subtle in this story, because Luna hasn't recognized who Twilight used to be so far, just that there's a strange affinity between them; more obvious in "A Meeting by Moonlight" and "Feeling Adrift.")  Is it because I'm characterizing them as straight mares who feel a growing passion from their past lives that overrides their normal orientation?  Is everyone supposed to be gay, or at least bi, even if there's no evidence of this in canon?

Or is it because I'm developing it slowly, instead of having them come together "in an insensate explosion of lust," as Celestia jokingly puts it in "Feeling Adrift"?  Sorry, I see Luna as very reserved until she comes to like you, and even then more innocently merry than blatantly sexual, until she comes to really like you.  And Twilight is, well, Twilight.  Shy in matters of the heart, and prefers to do everything by the book, preferably with checklists.  Not that she'd necessarily do that in such a fashion, but for her it's pretty unexplored territory.  

[I don't know how Nightmare Moon would approach sex.  Probably as a form of conquest, followed by raping the vanquished.  She's basically a combination of Things From Beyond Space and Time with Princess Luna's darkest desires, so I suspect it wouldn't be at all pretty.  I don't think that "love" in any sane sense of the word would even figure into the equation].

I don't know, because whoever disliked the story never gave any reasons why they disliked it.

So I appreciated your statement of support all the more :twilightsmile:

Honestly, I doubt the downvoters read the story, because this is really good.  You really thought this out, and it comes through as a fresh look at the situation.  Looking forward to more!  :pinkiehappy:

Seeing Nightmare Moon's perspective from this has been interesting but I find your explanation for how ponies can hold things even more so. I've enjoyed the insights and how Nightmare Moon/Luna sees the situations and it should interesting of seeing why she tried the other traps.

>>3617945

To narrate the action sequences in particular, I had to pay very close attention to the in-canon choreography.  There are things that are inobvious on a casual viewing which can be seen as important when one watches in detail, such as the fact that Twilight rolled onto her belly before reaching the edge of the cliff (something which saved her life, as it let her get a firm grasp on the cliff).  IIRC, she doesn't actually do this on-camera, but it's obvious she's done this from her position from one scene to the next.  Putting oneself in her place, it becomes obvious why she did it, too!

Watching the scene where Applejack saves Twilight impressed me greatly with (1) Applejack's utter awesomeness as an action heroine (remember, she can neither fly nor telekinese, and she's from a species not as used to climbing as humanity), (2) the fact that she can only apply a fraction of her strength to grasping, compared to the capabilities of a human in her place.  This cemented in my mind that Ponies have to be grasping by gecko-grip, rather than (non-animated) additional fingers (a real horse has only one functional digit on each limb).

Thus, my little essay.  I'm glad you liked it.:twilightsmile:

>>3617993

How ponies actually hold things in their hooves is not something I've given much thought about nor have I usually seen an explanation, it just is. So thanks for a reason of the how.

Seeing the other side of the first episode has been great so far, I've been enjoying how Nightmare considers each of her plans though I think I'm more interested in why she considered the next trap a good idea especially since it does not seem as life threateningly dangerous at least compared to the cliff and manticore.

[I don't know how Nightmare Moon would approach sex.  Probably as a form of conquest, followed by raping the vanquished.  She's basically a combination of Things From Beyond Space and Time with Princess Luna's darkest desires, so I suspect it wouldn't be at all pretty.  I don't think that "love" in any sane sense of the word would even figure into the equation].

I am imagining someone trying Byron's lines on her as a distraction (I.e., 'She walks in beauty, like the night/of cloudless climes and sunless skies...'), trying to sneak out, only for Nighty to drag them back with a smile and, "Tell me more about my eyes."

But yeah, I rather doubt that the original Nightmare Moon could love anyone or thing besides herself.

And I do like your own take on what NMM was thinking back in episode one. It's very well done; and I am amused to see her be so frightened of the harmless (?) Pinkie Pie, and wondering what kind of weapons or talents the ponies must have. Especially Fluttershy and Rarity. It'll be entertaining to see just how wrongheaded NMM gets before she realizes what's actually going on.

I love how you handled the thought processes of both NMM and the manticore, and Fluttershy's bravery and gentleness. And the bit with Rarity -- it's easy to forget, but she has displayed some fine hand to hand (hoof to hoof?) combat skills through the series. One does wonder where she got them, and why. Surely not to handle overly lecherous stallions? It seems her wits would be more than enough in those circumstances.

>>3639213

I was really happy when I watched the episode in detail and realized that the fact that Nightmare Moon was embedded in the manticore (and probably linked to it) during the whole of the fight meant that I could legitimately show the manticore's thoughts without abandoning third person limited POV.

While I've of course seen all the season openers and finales several times, I have to look at them much more closely -- motion by motion, word by word, expression by expression -- to redo it well as written narrative without changing what happened.  The transcripts alone aren't enough, since they don't show choreography and intonations.  So I wind up seeing a lot of details that I missed when merely watching it for pleasure.

Heh, well Nightmare Moon wouldn't be the first person to underestimate Fluttershy.  Of course, she is essentially a slightly-immature immortal warrior princess suffering demonic possession, and not in the world's most friendly mood for that reason.  Fluttershy's powers are subtle, until you become their target.  Nightmare Moon got to actually see them work while in telepathic contact with the target.  What's more, they actually hurt the Nightmare Shadow within her.

The great part about Rarity's part of the scene is that she actually in-canon does everything I wrote down -- I didn't have to make her an Adaptational Badass.  Complete with not fully paying attention to the dangerousness of her situation until she is shocked out of it by being sprayed by its spittle.

This isn't the only time Rarity does something like this, either.  For instance, she chews out Giant Greedy Spike -- before she realizes who he is -- while he's holding her most of the way up a mountainside.  Understand, she's just been kidnapped by a kaiju-sized dragon, as far as she knows he means to do something terrible to her -- and her reaction is to confront him.  It's scenes like that which make me love Rarity.

Hmm, lecherous stallions?  Somehow I don't think that the Pony stallions are that pushy.  Though between Rarity's concept of her own beauty and its reality, I could see her worrying enough about precisely that point to justify to herself spending a lot of time learning how to fight.

The best explanation I've heard is that Rarity's dad is really into sports and tried to raise her as the son he never had, which led to her becoming really good at a variety of athletic activities -- including the Pony equivalent of marital arts -- before she finally rebelled and desided to become uncompromisingly feminine.  Rarity's concept of "feminine" is a very strong-willed one anyway:  she's right up there with Applejack and Rainbow Dash in terms of being extroverted.

>>3639123

Well, Pinkie Pie's harmlessness is a matter of whether or not she's your enemy.  It's not Pinkie's way to flat-out kill you, or even directly harm you (*), but she is a Reality Warper and she can do things to foil your plans without having to do either.

Nightmare Moon is worried because Pinkie Pie can do something that is totally beyond NMM's own capabilities, and she's extrapolating Pinkie's possible actions from NMM's own malignity if it were married to Pinke Pie's own powers.  NMM with Pinkie's powers would be something like Freddie Krueger (remember, NMM can dreamwalk).  Pinkie can't actually do all that and isn't interested in killing anyone, but NMM doesn't know that.

Nightmare Moon would be more worried if she knew from whence Pinkamena's Pinkie-ness originated, since Pinkie Pie might have a particular grudge against Luna.  If she remembered and wouldn't take an apology, that is.

NMM is also worried about Fluttershy because Fluttershy has just demonstrated the ability not only to block the Nightmare's control of victims but -- in close enough contact -- to actually hurt the Nightmare Shadow within her.  Also, Fluttershy has just shown herself to be a serious badass, which is worrisome considering just how delicate she seemed.  Yamato Nadeshiko, anyone?  Or at least Silk Hiding Steel.

Well, NMM's main false assumption is that Celestia explicitly trained the Mane Six together as some sort of elite warrior team.  She's actually quite right that they are Celestia's elite champions; and that each of them has powerful capabilities -- they've spent the whole canon series demonstrating precisely this.  What she has wrong is how Celestia did this, since the irony about Celestia and Luna is that while Celestia has the showier powers and style, while Luna has illusion and dreamwalking; Luna is actually the more direct personality.  Celestia is enormously subtle.

If Luna (any version) wanted to recruit a force of elite champions, she'd outright tell them that this is what she was doing.  Celestia has accomplished the same end by throwing them all together in full understanding of how their personalities would mesh in a crisis.

Celly plays a long game.

Oh, and the funny thing?

Nightmare Moon still hasn't realized either of the deeper threats they pose to her.  One of which -- their link to the Elements -- she's starting to get.  The second one -- just who some of them are to her, she doesn't even yet consciously suspect, though she's getting feelings about it.

===

(*)  No, nor Pinkamena's.  That was a rock farm, not the home of Leatherface's clan from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

>>3639009

Hate to disappoint you, but while I'll mention it in the next chapter, Steven Magnet is pretty much just a delaying tactic -- short of stupidly leaping upon the gigantic but otherwise unaggressive creature, which NMM assumes that Twilight is too smart to do, all his presence means is that they can't cross the section of the river where he is located (which includes the ford directly on their road).  The enchanted wood and the cut bridge are much more serious obstacles (the more so because of the mechanics of crossing or fixing the cut bridge with NMM on the other side).

>>3639596

Is Steven Magnet next or were the trees next, I always get those two mixed up order wise.

>>3639601

Ooh, now I should check to make sure I didn't get it mixed up (*looks*)  Oh yes, you're right, I'm wrong.

I would have paced it the other way, though -- put Steven Magnet in for comedy relief before the buildup through the forest and then the gorge to the big climactic confrontation with Nightmare Moon.  That explains why my offhand memory got it wrong.

>>3639612

Ah, regardless I'm still interested in finding out why the trees are labelled as such a threat.

>>3639601

Well, the enchanted forest is at a minimum under the effects of an illusion and probably also fear spell.  Plus given the illusion part of it, one might easily get lost, even if the fear spell didn't lead to them all scattering like foals through the Forest.  Which is, mind you, the Everfree Forest, with plenty of other nasties if they stumble into the wrong part of it.

>>3639123

Nightmare Moon is in part Princess Luna driven by resentment at being slighted for her more charismatic sister, so wooing her might actually work for a time.  Of course if it works, you've just won the highly-selfish and destructive love of a Mad Goddess who is probably one of the worst Yanderes in that world.  And whose revenge will be terrible if she thinks you're just trying to manipulate her.  Oh, and did I mention that she's smart?

See, Luna has some tendencies that way, but the difference is that Luna really cares about ponies.  Nightmare Moon doesn't.

>>3639441 That explanation for why Rarity is both very athletic and so very ladylike works quite well. I may use it myself in a story sometime.

And heh, now I wonder what Rarity must think about Applejack and especially Rainbow Dash disdaining 'frou-frou girly stuff' so they can focus on athletic. Rarity may have something to say to them on that score.

>>3639555 RE: Pinkamena -- Agreed. Pinkamena is Pinkie's sadder and somewhat depressed side (as was shown so well in Alex Warlorn's long-ago chapter on Pinkie's healing of her fractured personalities), not a serial killer! And I very much doubt that her family were any of the usual horrid stereotypes shown in the meaner-spirited fanon.

>>3641077

In her flashback from "Cutie Mark Chronicles," Pinkie's family appears to be incredibly dour (but remember that this is from Pinkie's perspective) but otherwise decent -- they aren't actually abusing each other, unless one considers being boring a form of abuse.  From a mainstream MLP point of view Pinkie is a Blithe Spirit born into a clan of Fantasy Counterpart Culture "Amish," who left because of the obvious incompatibilities.  

From the PonyPOV fanon POV, Pinkie Pie is of course operating according to a wholly different logic:  her soul's from a destroyed timeline in which the very laws of physics were subtly different, and she's taken some of that otherness with her.  Pinkamena is depressed because the new timeline isn't as much fun and demands compromises with the way she'd really rather be; Pinkie's insanely cheerful in part to compensate and in part how her Reality Warping talent works:  namely by Rule of Funny.

It's not surprising that her family didn't understand her.  Who does?  The fact that so many ponies, who don't understand her all that much better, love her, demonstrates that she's a good pony, albeit a very strange one.

Did I spy both a Kingdom Hearts and Mythbusters reference? Or do I read too much into this?

Anyways! Really nice to see more about some of the Mane 6's past lives, except maybe not because the wording here makes me think Pinkie is more akin to a cosmic horror, like  Yog Shogoth or any other lovecraftian abberation.

That last part of her counterspell... I've never seen someone make Pinkie's normal, pleasant behavior feel so threatening, even if it was towards a villain. Really awesome, but also just as scary (if not more so) than the things Nightmare Moon has been doing.

Seeing Pinkie from Nightmare's prespective really makes her more awesome yet also something that is to be feared.

Also grammar error a doubled word, "There had been farms, and inns, shops and and noble villas, warmth and life and happiness.", the AND between shops and noble was doubled.

>>3649965

The Mythbusters part was intentional, as I realized that Adam's famous quote perfectly described Pinkie Pie's powers.  I've never actually played Kingdom Hearts, though it's the sort of game I'd like to play someday.

... Pinkie is more akin to a cosmic horror, like  Yog Shogoth or any other Lovecraftian abberation.

Well -- ever seen G3 My Little Ponies?  Which is by far the silliest and least logical version of My Little Pony ever done as a cartoon?

If you want to read an epic and tragic version of how that series should have ended, check out Alex Warlorn's Generation Transitions and Origins, and -- regarding the Pink One Herself, here is a good place to start.  Though I warn you, you'll wind up following this at least to the end of the Pinkie section.

Cosmic Horror?  Well, she would be if she were hostile.  She can -- when in the right mood (which is very important) warp reality itself to her will, including most particularly the demonstrated in-canon abilities to teleport (in a manner utterly different than any other being in the show save possibly for Discord), to disrupt hostile magics by an effort of will (despite the fact that she knows nothing of explicit magic use), have precognitive glimpses (which express themselves in body twitches) and sometimes startlingly-accurate "hunches" about the nature of events she hasn't personally witnessed (as in Equestria Girls, where both versions of Pinkie Pie know about the other Universe).

She was, in the PonyPOV fanon, created by a wish as someone's imaginary friend.  When her own timeline -- here called "The World Which Was Lost" -- had to be erased from reality lest it crash the continuum like a buggy application crashing an operating system, hers was one of the few souls to escape its destruction, and perhaps the only one to escape it intact and with at least some of her memories of the vanished timeline.  This seems to have been due to the fact that she was one of the only Ponies of her timeline with the willpower to resist.  And -- frighteningly from Nightmare Moon's point of view -- Pinkie seems to have brought some of the acausality of the Great Wish which created that timeline in the first place with her, as if she were somehow an Avatar of the World Which Was Lost.

It's not just that Pinkie Pie is Nightmare Moon's foe here.  It's that Cosmic Luna was one of the entities who destroyed Pinkie's original world.  It has occurred to the Moon Princess that, if Pinkie Pie remembers this, the fight may be VERY personal on Pinkie's side.

Pinkie has gone toe-to-toe with an avatar of Cosmic Luna about as strong as Nightmare Moon before.  And put up a good fight, despite the fact that Pinkie Pie came from the softest and sweetest imaginable world, a world by comparison of which Equestria might as well be Hell.

This time, it's a Pinkie Pie who grew up doing hard physical labor.  And apparently is more powerful than she ever was before -- has somehow become the Avatar and Avenger of her whole lost timeline.

If you're her enemy, this is a scary thought.




>>3650038

Well, we think of Pinkie Pie as harmless because she wouldn't hurt anypony without a very good reason.  And she's generally a very kind and forgiving pony, even by Equestrian standards, so usually the problem she poses to other ponies come from her dubious grasp on normal social realities.

But imagine being her enemy.  Imagine if your strongest magics were torn apart like tissue paper by a song (not even a proper spell).

Want to know what's worse?

Each of the Mane Six has, in canon, a talent roughly equal to each other's.  Nightmare Moon has sampled Applejack's strength and agility, Fluttershy's mind control, and Pinkie Pie's reality warping.  She's so far only seen hints of what Twilight (the only one whose name she hasn't yet heard spoken), Rarity and Rainbow Dash can do.  But she knows that these six were probably selected as a team specifically to defeat her, and she's starting to get quite rationally worried.

She doesn't fancy her prospects of beating all six of them, together, in an open fight.  And she's got a good point there.

Which is why she's been trying to pick them off one or two at a time.

And so far it hasn't worked.

And it's only going to get worse for her.

>>3650050

I'm glad I got across how terrifying Pinkie Pie is to an enemy.  She's such a sweet and loveable pony that it's easy to lose sight of this :pinkiehappy:

>>3650108 So was cosmic Celestia involved in the destruction too or not? Kinda doubtful since she's never implicitly mentioned as a entity of destruction; in fact given her and Luna's juxtaposition on most everything she's probably a creation entity right?

>>3650121

Celestia had incarnated herself in the G3 world -- she fought to defend it.  Which is one reason why Pinkie has absolutely nothing against Celestia.

BTW, Alex Warlorn's speculations make even more sense if you look at "Luna Eclipsed."  Tell me that Pinkie doesn't deliberately make things worse for Luna in that episode.  And remember, in "Luna Eclipsed" we're not talking about Nightmare Moon any more, but the Adorkable Fish Out of Temporal Water we all know and love.

Heck, Pinkie's being positively cruel to Luna in that episode.  It's almost as if that was payback for something.:pinkiecrazy:

If that "something" was the annihilation of Pinkie's whole world with all her friends, that was pretty mild revenge.  But then again, Pinkie is a very nice pony.:pinkiehappy:

>>3650118 I'm aware of all of that, but while the Mane 6 are pretty capable in a fight, they clearly aren't out to hurt anyone even if they are enemies. Here, Nightmare Moon makes it sound like Pinkie tried to destroy her soul. Even if she were upset by what Nightmare tried to do, that's pretty freaking malicious.

>>3650164>>3650164

Well now -- Pinkie Pie was certainly trying to destroy someone or something.  You maybe should be asking yourself just who or what was her true target. :pinkiesmile:

And Pinkie will cheerfully prank people she loves.  What makes you think she's particularly inhibited from scaring the crap out of someone she has absolutely no reason to like?  She's a very nice pony, but she's not perfectly good.  :pinkiehappy:

>>3650141 But wasn't it something Luna had to do? You implicitly said

[the world] had to be erased from reality lest it crash the continuum like a buggy application crashing an operating system

And I'm trying to decide how to best word this without sounding like Eichman or whoever is cited as originally saying this but, she was "doing her job", so Pinkie has no reason to be angered? I mean, yeah she can't know that there is (reportedly) a reason for it, but if she did I doubt she'd be as vindictive. Well, vindictive is the wrong word, she just goes out of her way to troll Luna but yannow.

Also why would Celestia side with the G3 ponies if she's a cosmic entity and probably knew the world was slated for termination? Do their incarnations selectively not have memory of their real forms? Or is she just totally opposed to the idea of destroying entire worlds?

>>3650120

A fun pony she might be but she is one of the two main characters who literally scare me in the if they ever go crazy and decide you are the enemy way, now there's more reason to fear her as if her in Pony POV in general is not enough.

>>3650177

But wasn't it something Luna had to do?

Yes, it was.

She could have been nicer about it, though, which is a point that Cosmic Cadence makes in the original Warlorn fanfics.  And just because it was something that Cosmic Luna had to do doesn't mean that Pinkie Pie was entirely happy about it, even later when she understood why it had to be done.

... she was "doing her job", so Pinkie has no reason to be angered?

She's actually far less angry about it all than you or I would be in her situation.  I said that Pinkie Pie's not perfectly good, but by human standards -- indeed by most pony standards -- she's more or less a saint.  A very SILLY saint, to be true, but saintly nevertheless.

I mean, yeah she can't know that there is (reportedly) a reason for it, but if she did I doubt she'd be as vindictive. Well, vindictive is the wrong word, she just goes out of her way to troll Luna but yannow.

Well see -- trolling Luna (in "Luna Eclipsed") is exactly what Pinkie does in canon.  With no justification given except that it was "more fun to play along" with everyone's misperceptions of Luna.  This is just taken in the episode as Pinkie being Pinkie.

Pinkie Pie is actually being nicer in PonyPOV fanon, since she actually has the kind of grudge against Luna that would lead many sapient beings to want to hunt Luna down in every future incarnation and make her life miserable in each one of them -- but all she does is prank her, and then in a later story actually forgives Luna to her face.  If most humans thought like Pinkie Pie in this regard, our history would be utterly bereft of wars.

Also why would Celestia side with the G3 ponies if she's a cosmic entity and probably knew the world was slated for termination? Do their incarnations selectively not have memory of their real forms? Or is she just totally opposed to the idea of destroying entire worlds?

In order:  because she was incarnate as Star-Catcher (one of the more powerful and mystical ponies of the G3 world); yes, a non-Cosmic Avatar does not always have complete access to its Cosmic self's memories (using my terminology, not Warlorn's); and yes, in general Celestia doesn't like destroying entire worlds -- though if she'd understood what was at stake here, she might have reluctantly stepped aside and let it happen anyway.

And, in case it isn't obvious, it is not Princess Luna who Pinkie Pie is trying to destroy.  Does that make it too obvious?


>>3650197

Oh, you want something scarier than that?  What if the author of "Cupcakes" had realized how powerful Pinkie Pie really is even in canon?

>>3650171 Well, it would certainly be a different matter if she was aiming at the Shadows possessing Luna and not Luna herself. Most of what freaked me out was the idea of Pinkie deliberately trying to cause real harm to someone else - making ponies happy is what she lives for, so seeing her try to make someone hurt or miserable feels wrong, even if she doesn't like them.

Also, while Pinkie is capable of getting extremely angry, such as when Applejack broke a Pinkie Promise, she also forgives easily. Although I can see her not forgiving Luna for what happened in the past, and deliberately scaring her here, actually holding a grudge still feels out of character for her, since all a grudge really accomplishes is making things difficult for someone else.

You mentioned earlier that how Pinkie acted in Luna Eclipsed seems cruel, and it certainly does from our perspective. We see how much trouble Luna has relating to Ponyville, but Pinkie is both caught up in her own excitement and only spends a few moments near Luna each meeting until Twilight holds her down. She may never have realized that Luna didn't quite "get" Nightmare Night, or even paid enough attention to gauge her mood. Of course, aside from when Discord first broke out that was the most selfish I'd seen her. "Time is candy" and all that.

Horay! I can't wait for memory lane!

>>3650251

Well, it would certainly be a different matter if she was aiming at the Shadows possessing Luna and not Luna herself.

That's exactly what she's doing.  Keep in mind that the counterspell she used was very precisely tuned (literally, as she was singing and dancing it) as we know that her five friends were right at Ground Zero and were utterly unharmed by it.  (I took some serious artistic license by depicting it in the terms one would normally use for a tactical nuclear weapon, but -- watch "Giggle With the Ghosties" sometime -- Pinkie's final strike dispels every single remaining illusion at ONCE -- I don't think I exaggerated too much!).

Pinkie -- because she is Pinkie and has strange knowledge from outside all sane space and time -- essentially attempted a one-Element area-effect version of the Rainbow of Harmony, which is very potent against illusions and minor transformations (*).  Basically, she's laughing them out of existence, which is possible for her because she's a Reality Warper.  And she did it in such a way as to also protect her friends.  And even worse, from Nightmare Moon's point of view, she did it IN FRONT OF TWILIGHT, which means that Twilight can now work a lesser version of such a dispellation herself (NMM suspects this from what she saw of Twilight's technique).

Why is Nightmare Moon terrified?  Because it might have dispelled or at least severely weakened Nightmare Moon's own control over Princess Luna.  Generally, when I write about Nightmare Moon / Princess Luna, note just to which I refer.  Sometimes, the Princess is having an internal mental conflict and she isn't even aware of it, because the parasitic Shadow works by using Luna's own skills and knowledge, while enhancing Luna's power with its own.  Luna is kept under control by a focus on domination, hatred and vindictiveness, which are the emotions the Nightshadows share with our kind of life, and through which they can communicate and understand us.

Notice the phrasing "The Moon Princess thought [positive affect about situation].  No, the Nightmare reminded herself, [negative affect about situation]."  That's very intentional on my part.  That's Luna's core personality emerging and the Nightmare seducing, and in some cases beating, it back into enthrallment.  Luna's not even aware of what's happening most of the time, because the Nightmare convinces her that the thoughts are her own.

In Champions, this would be bought as the Power "Mind Control" with the Adavantage "Invisible Power Effects."  It's a horrendously powerful combination.

Strong positive affect, such as love or friendship, actually hurts the Nightshadow.  That's why Luna could break free of it, temporarily, when she saw something on the Earth that made her happy.  Or, really, feel anything other than hatred and the desire for revenge on Celestia and all Ponykind.  The Nightshadows have infested this world's Moon, though, and so there it would not be long until they overpowered her and regained control.

Pinkie's grudge against Luna is far weaker than ours would be for far less serious offenses.  Or, really, even than most Ponies' would be.  And the revenge she takes is also rather trivial -- she embarrasses her socially.  As I maintain, by most standards, including Pony ones, Pinkie is essentially a very silly Saint.




Now, something which Nightmare Moon does not know is that Pinkie Pie can't do something this powerful very often, nor does Pinkie have complete conscious control over this kind of large-scale effect.  

===

(*)  Thank you, J. K. Rowling, for this concept.  And no, I didn't mean "A.K." Rowling.

>>3650251

Oh ... one more thing ...

Luna ... any incarnation of Luna save perhaps a fully-mortal one like Moondreamer (and even her to some extent) is very hard to actually kill (especially by magic).  This is true for all the Cosmic Alicorns.

Which is something of which Pinkie Pie is very much aware, since she fought Luna once before, in the lost timeline.

In the actual episode, Luna is purged of the Nightmare by, essentially, the same thing that blew Tirek to teeny weeny bits in the very first MLP movie:  the Rainbow of Harmony.  The same power imprisons Discord in stone.

I think it's safe to say that a normal mortal Pony wouldn't survive such an attack.

>>3650321 There's only one thing left to say here, and that is bravo. You've clearly put a lot of thought into all of this. Sorry if I annoyed you, but this is all really interesting. I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of it.

>>3650345

Annoy me?  Do you know how happy I am when something I write triggers a ton of comments, especially thoughtful ones?

It means someone intelligent is reading it! :twilightsmile:

I do love this view of Pinkie Pie from the Nightmare and Luna's viewpoint. Yeah, it never struck me just how scary she could be to someone she honestly disliked. Then again, poor Pinkie's 'giggle at the ghostly' idea sadly didn't work so well in my story 'My Little Balladeer'. Of course it could have helped that a part of Luna wants to be beaten, while the Sunny Towners didn't have that weakness.

I also really enjoyed the early section commenting on Luna's sense of the passage of time and the passing of that village she once knew. Celestia must feel it too, but it's so much the worse for Luna since she's been gone for 1000 years. To her, it's rather like she took a day trip and came back to find so many ponies she knew gone forever. It has a real 'Poul Anderson' feel to it if that makes any sense.

For that matter your treatment of the Nightmare spirit reminds me a lot of Anderson's treatment of Hell's demons in 'Operation Chaos'. How one cannot ever deal fairly with them, because they'll always betray you. Why? Because they can't comprehend not betraying someone as soon as they no longer need to deal fairly with them. In a way the Nightmare displays 'the stupidity of evil' here; with only a little false kindness or even just patience it probably could get whatever it wants using Luna's powers. But even that is beyond it.

I do wonder about this line though: so many proud towns had been abandoned during the Time of Discord, never to be reponied 'Reponied'? Wouldn't 'repopulated' have worked just as well?

I am looking forward to the chapters where the Nightmare tries her tricks with Rarity and Rainbow Dash. We're both big Rarity fans, and I DO want to see  what it thinks of the little fashionista after it sees her real personality in action.

>>3650351 so you see nightmare moon/luna as a parasitic/demonic possession relationship, right?

>>3651551

In part.  The start of the Nightmare was Princess Luna's growing resentment and madness, but this attracted the Nightshadows to her.  The Nightshadows can most easily parasitize damaged souls, and they are most drawn to powerful souls.  Princess Luna's pain was to them a beacon.

>>3651677 I see, the reason I ask is that I think that alex warlorn sees it as more of a super powered evil side to quote tv tropes. the reason I mentioned that is that most fan fictions based off of his work tend to follow that formula. of course its your story and your right. I was just confused. It is a great story none the less. :coolphoto:

>>3651094

Then again, poor Pinkie's 'giggle at the ghostly' idea sadly didn't work so well in my story 'My Little Balladeer'.

The only illusion about Sunny Town is the cheerful guise it can wrap around itself and its denizens, to lure ponies in.  The mad ponicidal revenants, alas, are all too real.  Pinkie can do all sorts of other things, of course, some of which would have worked (I can think of a couple off-hand), but she picked the wrong attack there.

"You use 'Giggle at the Ghosties' ...

"... it's not very effective."

Which is ok.  Pinkie's powers are not unlimited, nor is her tactical sense unerring.  I think she's more awesome than some fans give her credit for being, but she's not Pinkamena God Mode Mary Sue Pie, either.  Just Pinkie.

And Chapter 6 of my tale was her moment to shine.  :pinkiesmile:

Of course it could have helped that a part of Luna wants to be beaten, while the Sunny Towners didn't have that weakness.

There are all sorts of things the Moon Princess could be doing to win these fights, mostly consisting of striking directly to kill, and doing it while her enemies are otherwise-occupied with her indirect attacks.  She's not even thinking of this, because Princess Luna actually has nothing against these ponies and is in fact rather impressed with them as honorable and skilled opponents.  The Nightmare keeps urging her to kill, but Luna pleads strategic reasons to hold back, and the Nightmare is drawing on Luna's sense of tactics because it doesn't actually understand our kind of life very well.

The same thing happened a thousand years ago, when Nightmare Moon could have struck Celestia down by complete surprise, and didn't.  Nightmare Moon also could have finished off her sister when she had the chance, and instead refrained long enough for Celestia to get the Elements and deploy them against her.  That's the problem with its parasitizing a fundamentally-good and strong-willed pony:  it's harder for the Nightmare to stay in control.

Every pony Luna knew back then, save for Celestia, is gone.  What's worse, they're so long gone that most aren't even remembered in history books.  And most of the surviving entities who would remember her personally -- like Discord and Sombra -- are enemies.  And the culture she knew has also mutated, to the point where there are only some very old traditions (like Heart's Warming Eve) in common, and in many cases the context and associations even of those has changed.

I consider it a very high compliment that you are comparing me to Poul Anderson in such a fashion.  He was one of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy who ever lived.  

For that matter your treatment of the Nightmare spirit reminds me a lot of Anderson's treatment of Hell's demons in 'Operation Chaos'. How one cannot ever deal fairly with them, because they'll always betray you. Why? Because they can't comprehend not betraying someone as soon as they no longer need to deal fairly with them. In a way the Nightmare displays 'the stupidity of evil' here; with only a little false kindness or even just patience it probably could get whatever it wants using Luna's powers. But even that is beyond it.

They doesn't understand commensalist symbiosis.  The most they can grasp is temporary co-operation, and they are constantly tempted to betray since they consider any mutual relationship as being disguised domination, with the important question being who wins in the end.  From their point of view, any attempt to answer this with "both win" would mean that the sitaution remained unreseolved, and hence still in conflict.  Their mode of communication -- even among each other -- is mind control.

(*sigh*)  "Repopulated," "reponied," "repeopled" -- I don't know ... I'll have to think about it.  ::twilightsheepish:

I wish I was going to show Rarity's encounter with Steven Magnet in greater detail.  She actually is one of my favorite ponies, the more so because she represents virtues underappreciated by most of the mainstream media.  She's a hard-working, self-defining creative artist and businessmare who completely grasps the concept of generous and enlightened self-interest.  She's a skilled social manipulator who nevertheless has very real love and loyalty, honor and integrity (there are principles she won't sacrifice to get what she wants), and she instinctively understands what the Nightshadows totally miss -- namely, that life and success are about long-term mutually-beneficial relationships.

And she very much defeats the Nightmare's trap there by Choosing a Third Option.  She neither tries to fight Steven nor accepts that she must go around him.  She instead gives Steven a good reason to like her, whereupon Steven is converted from obstacle to bridge.  (Literally:  the Mane Six wind up crossing that river on Steven!).

Unfortunately, that's the one encounter at which I can't find any evidence that Nightmare Moon was directly present.  Based on what Steven himself said, the "tacky purple cloud" flew by, cut off one of his moustaches, and was gone.  I never understood why she didn't stick around, but now that I've analyzed the encounter with Pinkie Pie, I got it -- Nightmare Moon just wanted to delay them and give herself time to rethink her tactics before the final battle.  (The same reason why she cut the bridge, which was an even more passive form of defense than ticking-off a gigantic river monster).

So Nightmare Moon will be watching Rarity's actions from a distance.  Of course, she has incredibly-good distance vision, which means I still get to describe it.

On the other hand, her encounter with Rainbow Dash is going to be very up-close and personal.  So this won't be all remote description.

>>3652211

Can't it be both?

If the Nightmare Shadows are real, why can't they flock to those Alicorns in a Nightmare state, as their perfect hosts?

Flus are caused by viruses, but once you catch them, bacterial respiratory infections often ride in through the hole in your defenses the influenza viruses have torn.

>>3652211

Oh, and -- heh-heh -- who says that the Nightshadows' list of good hosts has to be limited to Nightmared Alicorns?  Or, for that matter, ponies ...?

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