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Nothing special here, move along, nothing to see, just ignore the lump under the sheet and the red stuff...

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Merry Christmas and a Hogwarts/Sweetie Belle foreshadowing bit · 3:34am Dec 25th, 2019

Wishing you and all of yours the joy of the Christmas season. I haven’t stopped writing, but I have slowed a little (so much chocolate and cake), so I thought I should give a quick status report, along with a seasonal Sweetie Belle clip I shared two years ago below the break.
Yes, Twilight Sparkle, There is a Santa Hooves. Celestia looks back at Hearth’s Warmings of the past, and the special yearly visitor who helps calm her troubled soul. Another quality production of Neighrator Pony and associated wonderful people.

Status: My work with Tek on Steel Shoes and Sunspots (formerly titled Celestia Gets Nailed, but that seemed a bit much) is nearing completion, and several other chapters for ongoing projects are finishing up. There is a beginning on The Last Nightguard, Letters is slowly progressing, Farmer Bruener may have a chapter soon, Substitute Librarian may pop an arc through because it’s getting more Muse-power, and some loose change.

Now, the Christmas snip out of Sweetie Belle - Hogwarts Exchange Student where Sweetie brings her friends back to Equestria for Winter’s Break. As an aside, Peas and Carrots are House Elves for House Nott. Wycliffe Nott lost his mother at childbirth, and his father a month before this scene. His older brother is part of the Exchange Student program, but he's very busy in the Crystal Empire and can't take time off for frivolous things like this.
Oh, and just wait until Sparrow and Wycliffe find out that in Equestria, Santa Hooves is real.

After all of the hustle and bustle of the pony holiday was over, the presents exchanged, and enough eaten that both human beings should have fallen over into a food coma, there still was movement in the quiet darkness draped across the Canterlot castle. Oh, there were still a few Hearth’s Warming carolers audible in the distance, belting out what they thought were touching songs of the season while they staggered home, filled with holiday cheer and spiked eggnog. And, of course, the stars were out in force, blazing away in the sky in a breathtaking example of Princess Luna’s finest work, mostly ignored by the sleeping or soon to be sleeping populace. But in one particular high spot in the castle, neither song nor holiday cheer was brightening the area.

Wycliffe Nott sat on the edge of the balcony with his legs dangling over the edge, regarding the stars in the sky while shivering just the slightest. It was a sight that made Sweetie Belle shiver on the inside while she watched him from the doorway. Even for Wycliffe, he had been too quiet all this evening at the Hearth’s Warming pageant and the subsequent party with all of Sweetie Belle’s older friends. Pinkie Pie had tried her best to get him ‘into’ the party, but all he really seemed to want to do was talk with Applejack for a long time in one corner of the room until the party was over. Then after they had all been tucked into bed, Scootaloo and Apple Bloom had dropped right off to sleep, but Wycliffe had snuck out, followed by Sweetie and Sparrow.

Sweetie Belle had no problem climbing the tower steps and sneaking into a good looking-but-not-really-spying spot where they could watch Wycliffe on the balcony, but her friends did not have the advantage of their own built-in warm winter coat.

“What’s he doing?” whispered Sparrow right in Sweetie’s ear. “Is he still depressed about losing his father last month?” The young witch rubbed her bare hands together and blew on them to keep warm, but it did not seem to work from the way her teeth were chattering in Canterlot’s icy breeze. They really should have picked up warmer clothes when they left the communal bedroom, but Sweetie Belle lit her horn, floated the warm scarf off her own neck, and wrapped it around Sparrow.

“I don’t know,” whispered Sweetie. “I’m used to him being a bit of a crab, but this is an awful lot of crabby.”

“You know I can hear, right?” Wycliffe did not turn around, but he did quit kicking his legs over the precipitous drop. “I’m just… thinking about my father. I know he wasn’t what most people think of fathers, but he was all I had, and now he’s gone.”

Sweetie and Sparrow moved up beside Wycliffe, and although Sparrow hopped right out onto the balcony to dangle her legs off the edge, Sweetie kept her hooves solidly on the granite floor and made her contribution to comforting by putting her head in the young boy’s lap.

“Thank you,” said Wycliffe. “Peas, get us some blankets and… Oh, bugger. I keep forgetting our house elves are at home.” He heaved a large sigh for such a small boy. “My home is gone. It’s not a place, it’s people. Family. Every year after going to midnight Mass, my father used to sit with us on the roof all Christmas night, listening to the snow and watching for poachers. We’d wrap ourselves up in wool blankets and Peas would bring us hot chocolate. I used to pretend my mother was with us then. Just the four of us.” The boy flicked a small piece of stone and watched it fall into the darkness below. “It was the only real time we had together as family. And now he’s gone, and my brother doesn’t want to talk to me.”

“I really don’t know what to say.” Sweetie Belle nudged closer, being careful not to poke her horn anywhere she could hurt the young human. “I’ve never really lost anypony near to me.”

“I’ve never really had anybody near to me,” said Sparrow with one arm thrown over Wycliffe to hold the end of her scarf against his bare neck. “Other than mom and dad. Always thought that was a bonus, since we moved so much. No matter how much making a friend feels good, losing them tears your heart out. I can’t imagine either of them…” She trailed off and flicked another piece of loose stone out into the darkness.

“Applejack knows.” Wycliffe stifled a sniff. “Never thought I’d have that in common with a pony. She reminds me a lot of my big brother, always protective, always poking his nose into my business and looking so stern while being terrified on the inside that he’s going to do something wrong and get me hurt.”

“Elder siblings are like that.” Princess Luna’s deep tones made all three of them jump in surprise, although with such a sharp drop-off so close, Sparrow and Wycliffe did not jump as much as Sweetie Belle. The Princess of the Night loomed over them with her wings spread wide and close enough to brush her chin against the top of Wycliffe’s head. Then she brought her wings together and enveloped all three of them.

“Your sister was concerned when she found you missing, Sweetie Belle. Your distant brother frets about you too, Wycliffe Nott,” sounded Luna’s voice from the warm, feathered darkness around them. “It is far too late at night for young ones to be running around the castle, particularly when filled with regret in such a dangerous location.”

The sense of warmth around them grew and Sparrow gave out a little squeak, much as if a compassionate pony had nuzzled her face. “Hey, your nose is cold!”

“Beg pardon.” Luna gave off a quiet snort of amusement. “Sparrow Lilley, I understand you shall be an elder sibling soon, responsible for being overprotective and interfering in the affairs of a young one.”

“Yeah,” said Sparrow, sounding a lot less enthusiastic about the prospects than Luna. “It sucks.”

Luna laughed, but only briefly. “Truer words have not been spoken.” From the sounds in the darkness of Luna’s wings, she gave Sparrow another nuzzle along one ear, which made the girl splutter and complain briefly about imaginary alicorn slobber.

“There is a serious side to your concerns,” said Luna, sounding much more solemn. “Some day, your parents may no longer be with you, and your sole family will then be found within a sibling who, as you say, sucks.”

“We’ll still be your friends, even then, no matter how far apart we are physically,” said Sweetie Belle. “Hearth’s Warming is a time for family and friends. Isn’t that right, Princess Luna?”

“Verily. It is a celebration much like the human’s Christmas, although without Mass. It is a time for love and the heart, of promises kept and forgiveness, regardless of our differences.”

Luna shifted her wings so they no longer blotted out the starlit sky above, but still wrapped around the sides of the humans and the unicorn to keep them warm. They sat there in silence under the stars for a very long time until Wycliffe lifted one hand up and framed it against several stars in the sky, one of which was considerably brighter than the others.

“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem,” he said in a low, strong voice, “and they asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’”

Dipping her head, Luna continued, “And the star which they had seen when it rose, went ahead of them until it stopped where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.”

“Cool,” breathed Sparrow. “My turn.” She cleared her throat and took a deep breath.

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. The angel said unto them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

There was no noise at all on the balcony for a time, other than the distant sounds of Hearth’s Warming carolers which for the time could have been the voices of some angelic choir.

“Whoa.” Wycliffe eyed Sparrow, who was surreptitiously wiping her eyes on the corner of her robe. “That’s impressive.”

“Thanks.” Sparrow took a deep breath and pulled her legs up until she was sitting more securely on the balcony floor. “Cliff, do you want to stay out here for a while and keep Luna company? I’m dropping over, and Sweet Cheeks over there keeps jerking her head up when she nods off. That’s not exactly safe when we’re way up here.”

Wycliffe returned to looking out over the Equestrian starscape. “Yeah.”

“K. Come on, Fuzzy.” Sparrow helped Sweetie Belle get up and walked with her back inside the castle, taking one quick glance behind her at the dark princess and the young boy sitting together.

“Shouldn’t we be with them?” asked Sweetie Belle with a yawn once they were on the stairs headed back to their room.

“Naa. Luna’s cool.” Sparrow nudged open the door at the bottom of the stairs with her hip and steadied Sweetie Belle’s progress in the direction of the room she was sharing with Scootaloo and Apple Bloom for the evening. “She’s probably gonna talk about Mister Nott, and what it’s like to lose a parent. After all, I don’t see her pony parents around here anywhere, so they’ve got something in common.”

“I never thought of that.” Sweetie Belle nuzzled up to Sparrow’s side and rubbed against her hand. “You make a better friend than you admit.”

“Not really.” Sparrow hesitated, but after another nudge, started scratching Sweetie Belle’s ears like she wanted. “I mean my mother always sent me away when she talked to one of the squad about losing a parent and stuff, and I learned the bible verse from a cartoon.”

Sweetie grunted in response, but it seemed to be a positive grunt, repeated when Sparrow boosted her up into the warm bed she was sharing with a slumbering Scootaloo and Apple Bloom.

“Hey, Sparrow?” Sweetie Belle lit up her horn with a weak glow and waited until the young girl stuck her head over the edge of the bunk bed, looking a little like some hairy upside-down bat. “You’re a cool friend.”

“Yeah, I know.” The young girl grinned, showing lots of human teeth. “You’re a pretty cool friend too. Goodnight.”

“‘night.” Sweetie nuzzled down in her pillow and was sleeping in an instant.

And to show that not everything is sweetness and light in the Hogwarts story, here’s a tidbit about Theodore Nott, and his quest to clear Sombra’s influence from the Crystal Empire (which I teased in the writer’s group earlier)


"Leaf?" Theodore held himself very still in the thick hoarfrost that covered the corridor floor, trying his best not to breathe in the sharp, needle-like arctic air that was trying to slip in through every crack in his thick winter clothing. "Do you think we can make it back to the surface without setting off any of the traps?"

In front of Theodore, he could see through the cracked-open blast door down into a large open area cantilevered with crystal support beams arching overhead. The space was about large enough to be used as an indoor quidditch pitch, if not for the immense creature filling most of the central area. Hundreds of huge slabs of bone-white chitin glowed an evil green where they touched, wrapped around and fused together with Sombra's dark magic and steel devices making the general shape of an ice-crab, only thousands of times larger. If the massive monster were not bad enough, dark shadows moved inside it, flowing and coiling in constant motion that made the creature shift uneasily inside a ring of chains, most of which were broken. A chill far colder than his surroundings ran down Theodore's spine as he recognized just what it was.

The Nemisul Prison. We haven't been destroying those shadows. We've been sending them here.

A low moan cut through the terrible silence, the sound of crystalized ice sliding off Nemisul's back as it turned to look in Theodore's direction with dozens of glowing green eyes…

...and began to move.

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Comments ( 10 )

And to show that not everything is sweetness and light in the Hogwarts story

Wow, would never have thought!



Excellent stuff, and never doubted for a second you'd stopped writing.

I can't wait to see what you've got next. But that's for later.
Merry Christmas to you & yours. Eat, drink, & be merry, and hope your New Year brings comfort & joy.

Merry Christmas. :)

I mean my mother always sent me away when she talked to one of the squad about losing a parent and stuff, and I learned the bible verse from a cartoon.

Charlie Brown to the rescue.

Thanks for the previews, and Merry Christmas. Though I have to ask, what fluid is involved in midair refueling of a sleigh? Milk, eggnog, or energy drinks?

Another quality production of Neighrator Pony and associated wonderful people.

Wait, is that how you're supposed to pronounce "Georg"? He says something like "Hee-yorgue" I just pronounce it as "George"... :unsuresweetie:

Anyway! Merry Christmoose! :yay:


Substitute Librarian may pop an arc through because it’s getting more Muse-power

The good news on Letters and Farmer Breiner is cool as well.

Merry Christmas to You and Yours, Georg.

Merry Christmas!


And now I want an alicorn hug. Wings are just cheating.

And is that a giant enemy crab?

Merry Christmas!

So, I was re-reading the passage with scripture, and...well, one thing led to another, and my mind treated me to the mental image of Celestia & Luna showing up at the feast of the epiphany, Disguised as the magi (with absurdly fake beards) arguing about which one of them got to present Gold to the Baby Jesus and who got stuck giving him Myrrh.

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