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  • E Royal Business

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The "Shadow Wars"

The machinations of the Cosmic Concepts have shaped the history of the Ponies for ten thousand years.  But now their mistakes have cracked the Cosmos, and the Shadows seep through to claim our own Universe for their dark and predatory purposes.  If they can gain a bridgehead on Equestria's Earth, this will be but the first step in a war of extermination against our continuum, a war which will end in the destruction of all life in our own Universe.

Can Celestia lead the defense of the Earth and save, not only her little Ponies, but all Earthlife, from utter annihilation?  Can Luna be redeemed from the Shadows and return to her former greatness?  Will Discord prove a powerful ally, or betray them all to damnation?  Can a new generation of powerful beings aid them enough to bring victory?  Or will the Earth die, drained of its vitality by the sinister Shadows?

List of stories in the Shadow Wars universe further down the page.

Now with its own master TV Tropes Page!

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The Flutterarc

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  • Fluttershy Is Free Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy go to see a butterfly migration. Mid-Season 1, immediately after "Call of the Cutie." by Jordan179 10,460 words · 892 views · 80 likes · 1 dislikes

List of Stories in the Shadow Wars Series

Here are the stories of the Shadow Wars, roughly in order, including major incomplete and projected works:

Corruption at Nightfall (incomplete):  Takes place over a thousand years ago.  The tale of Prince Crimson Quartz and Lady Tourmaline of the Crystal Empire, and Princess Luna of Equestria; and how the Empire fell into darkness.

All the Way Gone (projected):  The story of how Princess Luna of Equestria fell into the Nightmare.

Collateral Damage (complete, 32,231 words):  In YOH 1481, some 19 years before the start of Season 1, ex-Guardspony tries to deliver a vital package from Appleloosa to Canterlot -- but unknown to him, an elite Changeling Infiltrator is on his trail!  Characters include Falcon Punch, Princess Ceymi, and a 9-year-old Cheerilee.  Dark tragedy, with gore and (very limited but horrifying) sexual content.

Pinkie Sense and Sensibility (incomplete):  The birth and early life of Pinkie Pie and her sisters.

Nightmares Are Tragic (complete, 32,976 words):  S1E1-2, June 21-22 YOH 1500, The Elements of Harmony, from Luna's perspective.  The core story of the Shadow Wars continuity, introducing its interpretation of the Mane Six and especially of Princess Luna and the true nature of the Shadows.

An Extended Performance: (complete, 26,639 words) S1, June YOH 1500: Side-story to Nightmares Are Tragic, detailing how Trixie defended her show against the Shadow Coven in Manehattan on the Longest Night, and what Celestia was doing while all this was going on.

A Long Night at the Hippodrome (incomplete) S1, June YOH 1500:  Side-story to An Extended Performance, detailing how Trixie's old friend Piercing Gaze dealt with the Longest Night at his theater in Baltimare.

His Mark On History (incomplete, S1, June YOH 1500:  Can First Strong Messenger make his mark on history by striking a blow for the freedom of the South Speaker Ponies of Taura?

The Romance of the Open Road (incomplete) S1,  YOH 1500:  The Great and Powerful Trixie leaves Manehattan and takes to the road to win her fortune -- a road that will lead her to Ponyville.

All the Way Back (incomplete) S1, YOH 1500:  How Princess Luna, purged of the NIghtmare, recovered her power and sanity, making a place for herself in the strange new world of modern Equestria.

Least Noticeable and Little Flappy (incomplete):  S1, YOH 1500, contemperaneous with E5 "Griffon the Brush-Off"  How "Least Noticeable" Claire Pie, Pinkie's gigantic invisible twin sister, saved a little flappy creature and made a new friend.

Dragonshyness (complete, 38,854 words): S1, YOH 1500, contemperaneous with E7: "Dragonshy."  The most terrifying day of Fluttershy's life, as she must finally face the creature she most dreads -- a full-grown Dragon.

Royal Business (incomplete): S1, September YOH 1500, a bit after E7 "Dragonshy."  Spike is called away on royal business to meet with Celestia, but he winds up spending a while as Luna's guest.

A Robust Solution (complete, 11, 859 words):  S1, YOH 1500, just before E12 "Call of the Cutie."  Fluttershy reveals a shameful secret from her past to Rarity, who helps her friend understand and surmount its emotional legacy.

Fluttershy Is Free (complete, 10,464 words):  S1, YOH 1500, after E12 "Call of the Cutie."  Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash go to see a butterfly migration, and Fluttershy reveals a dark secret of her origin.

"A Meeting by Moonlight" (complete, 2,932 words): S3, YOH 1503.  Princess Luna visits Twilight Sparkle one night and tells her a tale of the Age of Wonders, revealing more than she means to in the process.

"Feeling Adrift"  (complete, 4,938 words):   S3, YOH 1503,  right after "A Meeting by Moonlight."  Princess Celestia tries to help her sister deal with her feelings of alienation and loneliness.

Divine Jealousy and the Voice of Reason (incomplete):  S4, November YOH 1504, right after "Equestria Games" and before Twilight's Kingdom.  When Discord discovers he has a rival for Fluttershy's love, he consults his inner Voice of Reason for advice.

Substitute Mentor (incomplete):  Pony Earth segment is between S4 and S5, January YOH 1505, while the Nightmare Delusion Humanoid Earth segment is AD 2016 and the Angel of Illusion Humanoid Earth segments are AD 2010 to 2016.  Can the Humanoid Trixies be saved from madness and their worlds from devastation by the Humanoid Piercing Gaze?

Love Amongst Monsters (incomplete):  Starting YOH 1508, concluding YOH 1512.  Ill Wind, a brilliant Pegasus scientist, works to complete a vital engineering project for High Commander Windvane, and may find romantic as well as professional success.

"Twelfth Equestriad Interview" (incomplete):  June YOH 1548, 48 years after Luna's Return and 24 years after the final victory in the Shadow Wars, Luna and Twilight are interviewed on TV on the night of the Summer Sun Celebration.

Oct
24th
2014

Spike the DRAGON · 4:03am

A surprising number of fanfic writers seem to regard Spike as fairly helpless -- as a harmless little creature whom some enemy might easily overpower and employ as a hostage against the Mane Six, or simply abuse for nefarious and sadistic purposes.  They see him as being no more dangerous than a colt his size, and do not seem to grasp that he is physically quite formidable in his own right.

What I think they are misisng is that Spike is not, biologically, a Pony at all.  He is instead a Dragon -- a member of a species which is considerably tougher than the Ponies, even the Earth Ponies.  To quote a Dragon from another fictional universe (but the one which most directly inspired the MLP Dragons):

"My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"

(Smaug, The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien)

Now at this point, one may cry "foul."  Smaug was the greatest Dragon of his day, a kaiju who destroyed at least three cities before going down.  Spike is only a "baby" dragon, only around the size of a Pony colt.  Spike is far, far weaker than a full-sized Dragon.

Indeed he is.  But he's a lot tougher, pound-for-pound, than even an Earth Pony.

I. Tenfold Shields

To begin with, he's armored.  This includes both thicker and structurally stronger bones than possessed by a pony (absolutely necessary or his muscles would tear apart his own skeleton at maximum effort).  His diet includes far more minerals than those eaten by Ponies (remember all the crystals?) and a lot of this probably goes to reinforce bones, ligaments and exterior scales.  His scales are partially metallic and attached to a mesoderm which I would expect incorporates silica and polymer webbing.  

He's essentially clad in a composite of light chainmail and Kevlar, with a subtle microstructure such that it feels soft and flexible to the touch (as Rarity knows) yet sheds most light Pony-portable weapons (*).  I'm guessing one would need something like a longsword, lance or heavy crossbow to reliably penetrate his hide -- and this is possibly only because he is still a young dragon.  A bit older, and he'll be able to stand up to Princess Luna's sparring games.

Could a bucket to the head knock him out?  Maybe!  One thing that armor resists poorly is crushing weapons, because even if the shock is spread out evenly by the armor the inertial shock can cause damage.  A blow to the head is effective even if the skull is unfractured, because it rocks the brain inside its casing, beating it against the interior of the skull.

But one should consider that Spike belongs to a species which has evolved to be able to take tremndous crushing impacts, such as Dragons would routinely deal one another even in play-fighting, let alone serious combat.  The chances are that the brain is also better-cushioned than that of a Human or Pony.  Why not?  Mundane Earthly rams (male sheep) and other horned ungulates have such an anatomy, such that they engage in mating combat displays by literally smacking their heads together with all their might.

A really powerful Pony such as Applejack or Big Mac might be able to knock out or kill Spike by bucking him to the head.  I don't think that an early-adolescent filly could do it with a blow from a bucket delivered with the forehooves.  

II. Teeth Like Swords

Spike has jaws of immense strength, equipped with teeth sharp as hard or harder than diamonds.  He has been shown, in canon, as being able to crunch crystals or bite right through solid rock.  The significance of this is that he could do an enemy a lot of damage if he or she was stupid enough to put any part of his body within reach of his mouth (he actually attempts to do this to Discord in Twilight's Kingdom), and that anyone attempting to keep him bound by ropes or chains would be wise not to bind him in such a way that he could bring these bonds up to his mouth.

Spike has the anatomy one would expect of a creature with such capabilities, too.  Aside from his greater strength (pound-for-pound, I would estimate, greater by at least an order of magnitude than a chimpanzee), he has a pronounced sagittal crest (the ridge along the top of one's head -- we humans have a much reduced version of that sructure) to which the appropriate jaw muscles might attach.  

III. His Claws Spears

Unlike Smaug (or Red Haze), Spike's claws are far too small to literally impale Ponies.  However, they are sharp and strong enough to tear through stone or score armored steel.  What they could do to Pony flesh and bone would be pretty gruesome, and the implied strength is such that if he instead chose to merely grasp a foe, this grip would be unbreakable by normal Pony muscles.  

What this means is that any enemy would also want to stay out of Spike's grasp; and any bonds would have to be organized so that Spike couldn't get hold of them.  Even steel chains would not last long against the sort of force Spike can concentrate on the tips of those obdurate, sharp claws.

IV. My Breath Death

It is odd how many writers don't get that Spike can breathe fire -- and not only the mage-fire (which he uses to teleport small objects) but also hot fire.  In canon he can use it as an area effect blast capable of turning a good-sized mass of foamed ice to steam, as a thermal lance capable of making armored steel run molten, or as a precise jet which can light a row of fireworks without detonating their pyrotechnic heads.  In-show we've never seen him breathe fire on a living being, probably because the effects would be too horrific.

What this means is that Spike has a ranged weapon with which to fight foes, and one which is flexible and precise enough that he could use it to drive back or put down a whole group of foes with a cone of flame, destroy a single focus that an enemy was using, or anywhere in between.  He could also use it to free himself from captivity by burning or melting through most likely bonds.  Oh, and since one of the magic effects he can do with his mage flame is to send a letter to the Ruling Princesses, he could call for some pretty heavy-duty help with his breath weapon.

V.  Overall Might

Spike is extremely strong.

I don't know how anyone can miss this, because it's used as part of a running gag.  Both Twilight and Rarity have been known to travel with absurd amounts of luggage -- books and magical paraphernalia for Twilight; clothing and fabrics for Rarity.  When they do this, Spike is the one they call upon to carry the luggage.  Spike often winds up under what must be literally hundreds of pounds, sometimes apparently almost a ton of supplies.

Now understand, he's not pulling this on a wagon.  He's carrying this on his head or in his arms.  He doesn't like doing this, and he is not exactly graceful doing this, but he can do it, and does do it, willingly, for anypony he loves.

Spike is only around the size of a Pony colt, yet he is as strong as a full grown Earth Pony.  Clearly, Spike's muscles and ligaments develop much more power and have much more tensile stength than do those of a Pony.

This not only explains how he has the strength to crush rocks in his jaws and score steel with his talons, but also means that ordinary ropes would probably not hold him.  Spike could exert himself, stretch and eventually snap most bonds.  He might be able to deform and snap chains of soft steel, and almost certainly could break thin-steel chains such as those of ordinary leg-cuffs.

Conclusion

Spike is a tough little creature, whose toughness is de-emphasized in the show because (a) Twilight is protective of Spike and tries to avoid letting him get into dangerous situations, (b) enemies are rarely dealt with by brute physical force, and (c) Spike is a very nice creature and would never casually bully others with his superior might.  But writers should be aware that he is tough:  neither easy to overcome nor to hold, and very hard to kill.

Spike is, put simply, a Dragon.

===

(*)  Possible because it is essentially a "ballistic" material -- it reacts differently to a gentle caress delivered by a mare's hoof or muzzle than it does to a hard-driven kick or a crossbow bolt, stiffening when struck with great momentum.

Jordan179 · 61 views · Edited 5h, 41m ago · Report

Comments

#1478269 · 1d, 41m ago · · ·

>>1475249 personally i feel he would focus on canterlot and ponyville first. since he know alicorn are in canterlot and the element wielder hometown is there (And the setting to the final breaking point for twilight.) He would want to make sure that the ones who could screw him over are dealt first (he's smart when his pride doesn't get to him) that discord biggest weakness he can't help but get too bragging when he thinks he gotten a sure win or very close to sure win victory (As was the case with the vines, he was right that they would but underestimated how much time it would take to finally have the desired effect.) once he was able to take down twilight he probably to 'let loose' in more than those two areas (But still focus primarily on his capitol).

#1475249 · 2d, 19h ago · · ·

>>1475247

Interesting notion -- which leads into the question of just how wide an area Discord covered on the Day of Discord.  Is he doing some sort of limited time travel to be omnipresent and give Ponies his individual attentions?  I generally assumed that he hit primarily the Palace and Ponyville, because this seems like a huge expenditure of effort on his part, without much reason (if he thought he was going to reign for another thousand or so years).  OTOH, Discord must have had a lot of pent-up energy after over a millennium in stone ...

#1475247 · 2d, 19h ago · · ·

Even though I'm the one who wrote it, that what happened to Featherweight traumatized him to where THAT is the reason he's mute, it honestly disturbs  ME!


What do you think of the fanon that Discord turn Suri into a grinning sycophant, and Coco into a PHYSICALLY abusive boss?

#1473762 · 3d, 16h ago · · ·

>>1471892 Either that or the writers have lost the ability to make that distinction. :applejackunsure:

Actually, that does make a lot of sense, and it's something I'll have to take into account if I ever continue Temptation Waits. And indeed, she's not heartless as some portray her as, despite her... off-putting attitude.

I'll be sure to check it out!

#1472937 · 4d, 9h ago · · ·

some fanfics you might like

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/219770/1/boulder-was-hungry/rainbow-rocks-emphasis-on-rocks

http://www.fimfiction.net/story/223668/1/scootaloo-and-the-danger-death-box-4000/scootabox

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