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Omake (御負け?, usually written おまけ) means extra in Japanese. Its primary meaning is general and widespread. It is used as an anime and manga fandom term to mean "extra or bonus". In the USA, the term is most often used in a narrow sense by anime fans to describe special features on DVD releases: deleted scenes, interviews with the actors, "the making of" documentary clips, outtakes, amusing bloopers, and so forth.
So I did.
It's just shy of 1,000 words and can be found in the comments of SilentBelle's ice bucket challenge vignette. (Warning: It's unproofread and a bit silly.)
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Sharing the Night: Chapter 12 Author's Notes
It's finally done! Now I can get back to writing Twilight and Luna and the fallout of this chapter. With the reactions of my prereaders, I'm pretty confident in how this one turned out, so please, give it a chance.
Speaking of prereaders, thanks to PoweredByTea, Nharctic, Ymom2, Snowy, Reese, Obsidian, q97randomguy and anyone else that showed up. There were a few anonymous comments, so if I missed anyone let me know. I appreciate all the help.
Sharing the Night: Chapter 12 Spoilers beyond this point
A small warning
The following Author's Notes refer to the chapter in a positive nature. If you didn't like the chapter, you might do well to just skip them. There's a TL;DR at the bottom.
Okay, so, I lied. There are only three alicorn OCs in this chapter... I mean, assuming you don't count Gemini—which I don't—and that more because she's not a character here than not an alicorn (though she's not that either).
I'll tell you, though, I was inordinately happy when I finally got far enough into the flashback to nail down their personalities. As I said in blog posts along the way, I went into this completely blind, with only the vaguest of plans. For that to turn into something that I consider decent in its own right is a huge relief—I just hope that some of you agree.
It's kind of ironic, really. As scenes ended up basically writing themselves, here, I actually wanted very much to be able to go back and make Fati a proper Black (and red?) alicorn (of death!), just because I was so excited and certain that it was working out. That certainty... quickly turned to paranoia after a few days, especialy as the word count stretched on and on.
At first, my plan was to have the flashback be the middle third of the chapter, basically burying it intentionally so that it would not seem like such a "big deal." I even have several thousand words more that I didn't include here, and the point that I had originally planned to finish the chapter at is even further off still.
Somehow, though, I convinced myself to cut it off here. For better or worse, it gives the ending of the flashback more impact, and as a result the flashback's effect on Twilight gets most of the focus. That, I think, is the most important thing, because in the end it is her that is important.
Besides, my pre-readers might have mutinied if I'd sent them 20-25k words.
Alicorns as written
The difficulties of actually writing this chapter aside, I am really curious how people feel about the OCs presented here. The story is a tragedy, and they're all deeply flawed individuals, but I hope they were at least somewhat likable. It's easy enough to see Fati as the noble protagonist and Solaria as the selfish villain, but in the end, Solaria really does care, and even Fati has a certain callousness. They feel very real to me, but then, I am the author.
I admit it, I really like Fati. I've said many times that I believe anything can be written well, and Sharing the Night itself is an example of that. Back when I began writing Sharing the Night, stories with Twilight as an alicorn were... bandwagon at best, and depicting her as a goddess is to this day rather indulgent. I love being able to take something like that and make it my own.
That said, do I even have to explain why the idea of an altruistic god of death who actively tries to keep ponies out of the underworld by giving them (sometimes prophetic) nightmares makes me grin from ear to ear? It's not original, no, but it's also not the trite and typical icon of death that so few have any success in escaping or desire to do so.
Somni and Solaria mostly grew out of their interactions with Fati. Just about the only thing I knew about them before Fati was, of course, that I was going to have the two alicorns of the day become one, and that there would be conflict between the alicorns of the night.
Alicorns not written
I've emphasized several times already—perhaps too many times—how little I had decided on before going into this. It could have all turned out very differently.
I think the earliest notion I had of what was going to happen was simply that Fati would be upset over Solaria's genesis, she would go to Somni for support, they would argue and she would fall into depression. Eventually Fati would have cracked and Somni would have to stop her from crashing her moon into Equestria.
That paragraph probably sounds very strange to you.
As it happens, though, I continued on not knowing which of the two would be instigator of the ending for quite some time... almost up to the first incarnation of the very last few scenes. Fati doing it out of depression went out the window very quickly, of course—the alternate plan was, if I recall, to have her blinded by rage over what Solaria was doing to Somni, but that too no longer makes sense.
The story went through several iterations, but in the end, I like the one that I ended up with.
If you know anything about Castor and Pollux (or take the time to read the Wikipedia article), you should immediately see a number of parallels with the story of this chapter—they're associated with horses, they 'carried off' Phoebe and Hilaeira, who themselves individually represent the full and new moon (according to a footnote) and, of course, one gives up his immortality for the other, whereupon they are immortalized as one in the stars as Gemini.
I am extremely pleased with how all of this worked out, because absolutely none of it is intentional.
Not a single word of it.
I probably should not have just admitted that.
It is my sincere hope that everyone likes this little aside, but that's probably wishful thinking. At the very least, I hope that most are able to get through it—it's not THAT long and it does have some very relevant information in it. If you absolutely could not read another sentence about these alicorn OC's, though, I'll recap the facts here:
* The alicorns of Light and Fire were lovers and became one, resulting in a single significantly larger alicorn, who was the sun
* The alicorns of Dream and Fate were not lovers, much to Dream's unending disappointment. They were each separate moons, one light, one dark.
* Drama happened, ultimately resulting in the collision of the two moons, the creation of the stars and one very sad alicorn of the sun who eventually just gives up on life because she is a bad pony.
* Unicorns, Pegasi and Earth Ponies did not exist until this point, which probably means that all pony magic comes from the stars they have inside themselves. Probably.
* ...some other stuff? I dunno, look, just read it. Moon croquet—it's not boring!
They'll... leave the hole, I guess? Oh, right, Gemini. We'll see where that goes.
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If I had my way, I'd just keep tweaking it until the end of time. Chapter 12 is off to the prereaders in all its ~16,000 word...ness.
I'm actually considering opening this one to a bit of a wider group for prereading, particularly any other authors who'd like to give me their two cents. Any takers?