News Archive

  • Friday
    MaxKodan's "Dappled Shores" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story warns about the hidden dangers of "shows, don't tell".


    Dappled Shores
    [Romance] [Comedy] [Drama] [Equestria Girls] [Slice of Life] • 4,640 words

    Rarity and Sunset are having their third weekly Dappled Shores marathon.

    And then Sunset ruins everything.

    Read More

    6 comments · 1,156 views
  • 1 week
    WishyWish's "Sugarcube in the Corner" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    An unlikely crossover source mashes up with pony in today's story.


    Sugarcube in the Corner
    [Drama] [Sad] [Slice of Life] [Tragedy] • 8,069 words

    Enter Painless — a young resident physician at Manehattan East Side Memorial Hospital who drew the short lot, and ended up working through Hearth's Warming. With the city caught in the grips of a blizzard that weatherponies are still trying to get under control, the night is boring, the decorations contrived, and the coffee is as bitter as his sensibilities.

    Tonight, Painless has a single, pointless task assigned to him — to keep the company of a lonesome, unconscious stallion who is essentially already dead. In so doing, a young doctor will learn that medicine is about more than scalpels and technique.

    It's also about mending broken hearts.

    Read More

    5 comments · 2,595 views
  • 3 weeks
    The Albinocorn's "Firebird Dahlia" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    An explosive sibling rivalry is at the center of today's story.


    Firebird Dahlia
    [Drama] [Slice of Life] • 48,819 words

    Life is looking up for Sunset Shimmer.

    With her grandstanding at the Battle of the Bands, Canterlot High has taken a new approach to her. Amends have been made, friendships have been restored, and Sunset is on the fast track to becoming a better person.

    But even now, there are still apologies that have to be said.

    For her Spring Break, Sunset returns to Equestria to make up with her estranged family: the parents that raised and provided for her, and the sister she left behind. But a lot has changed since then, and some wounds won't heal by just saying 'I'm sorry.'

    Read More

    11 comments · 3,052 views
  • 4 weeks
    forbloodysummer's "Why Are You Here, Your Majesty?" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is here for a very good reason.


    Why Are You Here, Your Majesty?
    [Drama] • 8,405 words

    Immortals are few and far between in Equestria, and they are all known to each other. Two of them are about to get to know each other a little better. Because one has just turned up uninvited in another’s private chambers. Maybe it’s time they had a chat?

    Read More

    8 comments · 3,452 views
  • 5 weeks
    Rocket Lawn Chair's "Star-Crossed" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a tale of love written in the sky.


    Star-Crossed
    [Romance] [Slice of Life] • 2,968 words

    A thousand years ago he was turning Equestria into a hotbed of mayhem.
    Five years ago he was growing moss and lichen on his shoulders.
    Today he's asking Celestia out on a date.

    Celestia didn't know such a creature as Discord would be able to change so radically without it being part of some elaborate prank. But what's more unsettling, she didn't know she'd be able to change just as drastically. As she finds new feelings for the Master of Chaos, she begins to have doubts toward the integrity of her desires, and suspicions of her sister's possible involvement.

    Read More

    0 comments · 3,111 views
  • 7 weeks
    Fiddlebottoms' "Discord's Ant Farm" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    In today's story, take a trip into the future with one of My Little Pony's ant-agonists.


    Discord's Ant Farm
    [Sad] • 2,619 words

    That wacky Spirit of Chaos is at it again...

    Except, there's no ponies in the audience.

    There's nothing, really. Just an empty, post-apocalyptic expanse.

    Nothing, and some ants.

    Read More

    21 comments · 3,759 views
  • 8 weeks
    FrontSevens' "Fun in the Summit" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story is a foray into diplomatic impunity.


    Fun in the Summit
    [Comedy] [Slice of Life] • 7,774 words

    Trade negotiations. Board meetings. Formal garden parties. Not the definition of a fun weekend for Princess Celestia at all.

    However, Celestia has a plan. Rarity’s going to join her this year, and by their gossiping powers combined, they may be able to turn this upcoming convention into something a little more unconventional.

    Read More

    6 comments · 3,183 views
  • 9 weeks
    cursedchords' "The Legend of the Scorpion Queen" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story about Equestrian harvest legends will grow on you.


    The Legend of the Scorpion Queen
    [Romance] [Sad] • 16,226 words

    On the eve of the Day of Reaping, the start of the Equestrian Harvest, it is traditional that a legend be told over supper: the legend of how the traditions surrounding the Day of Reaping came to be. It is a story of love, ambition, and vengeance.

    Long before Equestria, a grand Unicorn King maintains a splendid garden. On one of his travels he brings a scorpion back to live within it. That scorpion, resentful of being removed from her home, sets out to have her revenge.

    Read More

    6 comments · 5,135 views
  • 10 weeks
    Pen Stroke's "Morsel of Truth" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Sink your teeth into today's spooky story.


    Morsel of Truth
    [Slice of Life] • 4,349 words

    There is a bit of truth to every legend, though the ravages of time can bury it deeply. Myths and lore become twisted, melded, and torn the longer they are around. One of Equestria’s oldest legends is that of Nightmare Moon. It is the core of Nightmare Night and the excuse for children to go out asking for candy with a single, common rhyme.

    Nightmare Night, what a fright. Give me something sweet to bite.

    Read More

    5 comments · 5,534 views
  • 11 weeks
    Hap's "The Donutier" [Royal Canterlot Library]

    Today's story will éclair-ify what it means to truly have friends.


    The Donutier
    [Slice of Life] • 13,097 words

    My name is Twilight Sprinkle, and my passion is donuts—from the delicate morsels I serve at elegant cocktail parties to the hearty pastries enjoyed by hard-working ponies who get up early. I don’t have friends, I don’t have books, and I sure as the sun don’t have any wings. I don’t care whether you’re here for revenge, for romance, or for a favor. My name is Twilight Sprinkle and I’m not who you think I am, so either buy a donut or get the hay out of my store!

    Read More

    76 comments · 5,029 views
Mar
10th
2017

Author Interview » KingMoriarty's "This Isn't War" [Royal Canterlot Library] · 1:58pm March 10th

Old soldiers never die, they just feature in today's story.


This Isn't War
[Alternate Universe] [Slice of Life] • 1,548 words

Rainbow Dash was the Iron Wing. She was a war hero, the Slayer of Shadows, the Liberator of the Crystal Empire, the Wrath of Celestia. And depending on who you ask, she still is.

But the war is over. There's little need for a pony like her in peacetime. So she keeps telling herself that she needs to adjust, that she needs to find a new role to fill in the world that she saved. But Equestria seems content to let her remain what she has become, even though they have no need of a warrior.

"This isn't how it's supposed to be", is something she keeps telling herself. But every time she says it, the only thing she can reply is, "so what should it be?"

One whole year after the close of the war, and Rainbow Dash still doesn't have the answer.

FROM THE CURATORS: When the Season 5 finale offered us glimpses of its broken Equestrias, it spurred quite a bit of compelling writing from the fandom — including this fic.  "This is a short, punchy piece about the Rainbow Dash from the King Sombra timeline dealing with life after the war's over," Present Perfect said in his nomination, and we found a lot to appreciate in its short length.  "I very much liked the voice here, both the way that echoes of the Rainbow Dash we know keep bubbling up throughout and the way that she's such an unreliable narrator," AugieDog said.  "It gave me the impression of a character trying to express her feelings without really knowing how to do it."

Another element singled out for praise was its treatment of its core concept.  "It's a war story which is respectful of its topic," Chris said, "which neither glorifies brutality nor sinks to edgy posturing nor resorts to cheap melodrama to try and hammer home the psychological toll." Other curators agreed.  "I'm not really qualified to evaluate this piece in terms of what war veterans have to deal with, but as a somber look at post-war trauma and readjustment to civilian life, it's believable and powerful," Present Perfect said.  And Chris seconded the story's believability: "I know two friends, at least, for whom Dash's financial arc is basically accurate."

Interestingly, while we found this an effective tale, we disagreed on what part of the story contributed most to its strength.  "I was entirely sold on this story for most of its (short) length, but I don't care for the ending," Chris said, and Horizon disagreed: "I thought that the ending was the best part of this, grounding the story firmly in the Rainbow Dash we know to emphasize the contrast in her character."  And while AugieDog found the ending a matter of interpretation, he ultimately praised it: "The more upbeat interpretation of the ending — which I'll take every time, thank you very much — gives her a full character arc and sends her sailing on into a brighter future."

Read on for our author interview, in which KingMoriarty discusses societal breadcrumbs, dragon dismemberment, and pre-holiday hydration.


Give us the standard biography.

I was betrayed, my suffering at the hand of a cruel hunter bought for pocket change and continued in a vicious cycle of madness and despair for many a year. By the time I thought to ask my tormentor why, it had been so long that he had forgotten, the blood money long since spent. His pursuit had driven me to such acts of desperation as throwing a chair across a crowded room with the intent of breaking a man’s skull, coming within inches of stabbing a kindergartener in the leg with a pair of scissors, and gnawing on my own arm in the name of precious sanity.

But enough about my time in elementary school.

I’m twenty years old, and I enjoy what I tend to think of as a fairly normal, sedate life in Canada. I’ve stood three feet above water in the Bermuda Triangle on All Hallows’ Eve at midnight during a full moon. The correct form of address is ‘milord’, but I try not to be a stickler about it because I’m so rarely wearing anything lordly. I’d sooner fill my head with dragons and princesses and epic sagas of fictional history than do just about anything, up to and including writing said epic sagas.

Also, I’m not a veteran. Seriously.

How did you come up with your handle/penname?

I had very recently been introduced to BBC’s Sherlock when I was making my account. Watching the episodes over and over again, I kept coming back to this absolutely brilliant scene where Jim Moriarty breaks into three of the most secure locations in London in the space of a few minutes. When the police catch up to him, he’s sitting in the Tower of London, wearing the Crown Jewels and listening to his tunes. The scene just really defined what a cool villain was to me. I took a screenshot of Moriarty wearing the crown, called myself king, and never looked back.

Who's your favorite pony?

See, that’s an amazingly difficult question. With My Little Pony, you basically get two characters for the price of one: there’s the pony strictly as portrayed in the show, and there’s the pony that the fandom created. I utterly love the fandom’s goofy surfer-dude Shining Armor, but find the show’s version to be rather bland and forgettable. On the opposite end, I have a base revulsion to the one-dimensional homophile that the fandom made Lyra into, but I found her subdued quirkiness in Episode 100 to be quite charming. The worst part is that most people make no distinction where canon ends and fanon begins, so it’s basically impossible to actually have this conversation without having to rebut the same incredibly stupid statement seventeen times.

On balance, I guess I’d have to say ... Rarity. She’s got style, she’s got artistic integrity, and she casually threatens to dismember dragons for being rude to children.

What's your favorite episode?

Rarity Investigates. It’s got an actual mystery with proper clues, Fashion Horse being Attractive Mystery Horse, and Sherlock cameos. That, and it gave us Spitfire’s mother and Wind Rider. Always nice to see wrinkles getting some representation in pony.

What do you get from the show?

Probably the most fascinating and complex world-building exercise that any author could hope for. The show provides a beautifully elaborate framework of firmly established fact, then peppers itself with various background details and subtle mannerisms that are never fully explained, but can be heavily inferred. Everything from the local architecture to a single use of an innocuous phrase that nevertheless is perfectly in line with consistently shown attitudes can serve as breadcrumbs that spiral out to form a more complete picture of Equestrian society.

And then of course there’s the effect that new episodes have on all of this. While most of the fandom will gladly drown itself in shed tears over the destruction of their beloved headcanon, I applaud and exult the revelation of new information. For every door the show closes, it opens five more. I am one that delights in the tinkering of headcanon, the pondering and mulling over of questions, even the bittersweet deliberating over whether to mark an old fic as AU or simply let its date of publication speak for it.

What do you want from life?

I want to be able to stand at the end of life’s great road, and not be afraid of turning to look at where I have come from. I want tomorrow, not because I tire of today but because I do not consider it an option to simply exist without advancing in some way. I believe in the green light, “the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter — tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther ...” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Why do you write?

You may as well ask why birds fly, or why fish swim. I write. To conjure an image of a sun-swept desert with no more ink than that found in the common pen is its own glorious reward, and all the accolades of all the self-important reviewing cliques in the world can’t equal the overwhelming thunder of the drums in my heart if I can read something I wrote the other day and say to myself that it is good.

What advice do you have for the authors out there?

Read, constantly. Read as many different styles as you can, different genres, and (as far as you can tolerate) different levels of quality. Even if the only lesson you take away from reading something is “a paragraph shouldn’t be so horrendously structured that I can actually smell how bad it is”, you’ve still learned something. It’s the same reason why you should rewatch things you think you know, because more often than not you’ll find that there was something there that you didn’t see the first time, or that you’ve come to appreciate more with time.

Listen, incessantly. If people praise one aspect of your story, then that probably means you’re good at it. If a load of people are pointing out something that they think went massively wrong, you might want to check if they’re right. Yes, they won’t always be helpful, and they definitely won’t always be nice about it, but never take that as an excuse to stop listening. I speak from experience, one can often find a kernel of helpful advice in even the most scathing, personally biased hate-comment.

Write, passionately. If you write the most world-changing, genre-defying brilliant story of all time, but your heart isn’t in it, then you may as well have spent the last year of your life doodling in the sand for all the worth that that experience has to you. There should be drive, there should be desire, there should be motivation to write whatever you’re writing, to inflict it upon the unsuspecting populace. In short, when you write, you should feel something.

What inspired “This Isn’t War”?

I was in the kitchen getting a drink of water when I noticed that the next day was November 11. I decided to commemorate the occasion. As it was the first Veteran’s Day since the Season 5 finale, and my previous two stories with those characters had been reasonably successful, I elected to write about how Rainbow Dash might choose to spend a day set aside to remember the loss of war.

Seven hours later, I pressed Submit and passed out. I think I cried into my pillow at least a little bit.

You’ve written several stories about the Rainbow Dash from the alternate “Crystal War” timeline.  What draws you to that setting and that character?

The setting of the Crystal War is honestly what I’d point to as one of the finest moments for the show’s creative team. It not only perfectly captures and translates the horror and transformative nature of war for a younger audience, but it also captures the logistics of war. Things like Sweet Apple Acres becoming an applesauce cannery, the mass production of serviceable clothing, even the very harsh truth that putting an alicorn on the front lines isn’t going to solve the war overnight, paint a more complete and real picture of this aborted timeline than six seasons have done for the main world. That, and it has this one shot that basically confirms Equestria had child soldiers.

As for what draws me to the Rainbow Dash of that timeline, that’s a little more complex. You see, I’m not normally a massive fan of RD, and I’ve never really understood why the fandom saw her as the go-to vehicle for any awesome badass stunts. She’s also fairly under-utilized in the show, mostly being used for a token show of ‘Problem X Cannot Be Punched’. Before this episode, the most interesting thing about her was that one time it turned out she has an eidetic memory while flying.

All of that changed when I watched The Cutie Re-Mark the first time. During that war scene, every second of build-up is used masterfully. You might just be able to spot a metal wing among the heavily armored pegasi as they do their first fly-by, then there’s these three shots of a pony with a metal wing kicking flank and taking names, and your eye doesn’t follow the tail because it’s too busy on the wing, and trying to process if you’ve ever seen prosthetics in the show before. She comes to a stop, one of Sombra’s thralls leaps onto her back, and then she throws off her helmet and your brain explodes.

For me, Rainbow Dash of the Crystal War is pure, unadulterated awesomeness. Without saying a single word, she shows you just how different she is in this timeline, and makes you really grasp just how personal the stakes are in this conflict.

That, and she just feels like a spiteful response to all those wing-angst fics. “You think cutting off my wing is going to stop me? BEHOLD THE WONDERS OF SUPERIOR EQUESTRIAN TECHNOLOGY!”

Do you prefer planning a story before you begin writing or having it take shape during the writing process?

The latter, definitely. Every time I’ve ever planned a story, it ended up going wrong. The characters would go left instead of right, ask questions instead of just shooting the guy, and on at least one occasion come to a complete halt in the middle of outer space and wonder aloud about how long their oxygen supplies could last, and if they’d suffocate before the impending apocalypse.

For me, it’s not really a question of preference. It’s a question of if I really want to wrestle uber-powerful mages and terrifying werewolves into following a very narrow path laid out in front of them, or if I’d prefer to let them sort out their own lives while I sit on the sidelines and transcribe their awesomeness.

Why go with the ambiguous ending to the story?

A happy accident, for a given value of happy. There are certain limitations to a first-person perspective, particularly in a timeline where certain events didn’t happen and so no frame of reference exists for them. Also, if I had continued past the point where the story ends, it would have been massively tonally inconsistent and wouldn’t really contribute anything to the main themes of the story.

Ambiguity was not my intent. It was, however, incredibly funny to watch all those sad little monkeys weeping over an entirely imagined tragedy in the comments.  

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

я машина.

You can read This Isn't War at FIMFiction.net. Read more interviews right here at the Royal Canterlot Library, or suggest stories for us to feature at our Fimfiction group.

Comments ( 10 )

This story is exceptionally well done for a seven hour writing session. It takes me forever to write, and even when I can get it done, it's nothing I'm proud of. I guess I'll take KingMoriaty's advice and start reading more.

It's the second KM story i read when I decided to read his stuff. He's a solid writer, and it shows in every one of his stories, but this is still my favorite - it's excellently crafted and punchy as hell, with no wasted words or wasted space. Glad to see that it got a highlight.

Now this is an interview.

Majin Syeekoh
Story Approver

That second to last question is so you:rainbowkiss:

Dayum, good going, dude!

~Skeeter The Lurker

Congrats!

For every door the show closes, it opens five more.

My brother.

This is the third Iron Wing story I've read, and I've liked them all, this one being right up there. Definitely worth reading the lot, as I think you get more from this one if you've read the others. Must admit, though, that I didn't see the ending as ambiguous at all, and was rather surprised when others did. Maybe I just lack imagination. :P

я машина.

So . . . you're a car? What make, may I ask?

Another one that was in my list somewhere (stop looking at them!)

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