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All Carrot Top wanted was a vacation, but when the Tyrant Sun appears and lays siege to the industrial city of Stalliongrad, the simple carrot farmer finds herself in way over her head. Trapped far from home, with only a few friends beside her, Carrot Top must help marshal the city's defenses and keep the civilians safe--both from the implacable monster outside the walls, and the increasingly unstable chaos within them. Between dwindling supplies, a Discordian anarchist, insane sun cultists, and a city government that refuses to believe the walls could fall, the farmer will have to overcome a host of problems in order that the innocent ponies survive the coming disaster. But overcome them she must, because the coldest city in Equestria will otherwise go up in flames... and will take one million ponies with it.

Lunaverse story, set at the end of the 'Winter' portion of Season 2. Note that RDD has reserved judgement on whether or not this story is canonical.

Chapters (5)
Comments ( 64 )
Comment posted by Walabio deleted Jan 3rd, 2014

Wow, that's a little more death and destruction than I was expecting. I'm really curious about how different the overtones will be once the story gets back to the opening scene.

Looks interesting! Definitely a good setup.

Though, as a cautious reminder...this isn't likely to make it into canon due to the war setting.

3726085 : A pegasus-kind of creature from Chinese mythology.

I think Spec Ops is a weird choice of influence for a Lunaverse fic but I'll hope for the best. Hopefully Corona's still real and not an hallucination by Carrot Top to justify that time she burnt all those civilians.

This seems like an action movie and I'm super digging that. I really enjoyed that in media res approach and that this has such a different tone from the others in the pseudo-canon line-up this season. Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

Well that was a suitably apocalyptic start.

Carrot Top running for her life, Raindrops crashing a weather factory (It's probably on fire despite being made of clouds).

Interesting to see how things get that bad, how long do you think this will be, I'm guessing it'll be your largest work so far going by the cast list and the complexity of the flash forwards.

Never played Spec Ops: The Line, but this certainly felt like a solid, intense start to something akin to The Expendables. I'll be very interested to see how this one progresses. I certainly like what I've seen so far. Yeah, this is more serious in tone than most Lunaverse fare, but then, you can't have a large scale battle like this without it being serious. You can't really pull your punches much with scenes of warfare, otherwise it comes off as highly unrealistic. I suppose that's why RDD kind of wants to avoid this kind of circumstances cropping up often in the Lunaverse in the first place, but I personally don't mind it that much. Omelettes and eggs and all that. I'm intrigued enough to want to see how this pans out at any rate. Since this takes place prior to the story I'm working on it'll be important if this turns into canon, for me to know what kind of combat experiences CT, Rains, and Lyra end up with from this, as it'd factor into how they act in Contest of Champions.

3729589 : Let me know if you want to know anything in particular about the combat. This one's going to take a while to write (I'm predicting around two months), and I'd hate to hold you up, so I'm willing to share any specific information you need in the event RDD declares the story canon (which I'm still hoping for, since it covers some ground I think would be very useful to the L-verse... I'll go more into that once we actually get there, though).

Glad you are enjoying things so far!

3727939 : I think that's a safe bet. There's a lot of ground for me to get through... but I'll do my best to get through it!

Hmm, well I wouldn't say it'll hold me up, but since one of the major points of Co... (just realized what Contest of Champion's acronym would be... *ten minutes of laughing later*)... okay, uh, thought train back on track. Ahem, one of the major points of Contest of Champions is our knightly L6 coming face to face with what other nations have for champions, most of which are highly experienced warriors in comparison to Trixie and company. That said, it would affect how Carrot Top, Lyra, and Raindrops act if they've been in some serious combat situations in Stalliongrad, perhaps being able to keep their heads better than Trixie, Cheerilee, and Ditzy can because they've gone through what amounts to a real battle. I mean, I know the L6 have fought thugs, and the golems in Tambelon, but there's a difference between small skirmishes like that... and well, a full on large scale battle like what's presented here. So while its not necessarily a huge game changer for me, it will affect just the general way I have Carrot Top, Raindrops, and Lyra carry themselves and react to the Grand Melee portion of the Contest of Champions where the different champion teams are pitted against each other in a kind of capture-the-flag style field battle, and the other champions really don't pull their punches. Also might affect conversations, as some of the champions would be affected. For example one of them is a Cervid skald named Andrea, who is all about collecting stories of heroism and valor, so she'd be all over Carrot Top to hear the tale of the Siege of Stalliongrad so she could immortalize it in song; which Carrot Top may or may not want depending on how this story turns out I imagine.

3730986 : Hmm... if you'd like, I can PM you a list of the fights the Elements will be getting into in this story. And if you have specific questions (e.g., "Andrea asks Carrot Top about the story of the Siege, how does she react?") I can answer those too.

That said, in the interest of not developing vast disparities between the L6 members, I wouldn't expect CT, Lyra, and RDS to become experienced soldiers that can go toe to toe with armies or anything. They'll have a tough time ahead of them, but it's not like they'll be gaining fighter levels every couple of days. They'll get stronger in some ways--as do the Elements in any story that has them in it, I'd hope--but not so much stronger that they don't fit with the other L3 members anymore.

Okay this is all kinds of crazy and badass and really exciting stuff. It's already better than most action movies cranked out by Hollywood :rainbowlaugh:

But no way in heck is this thing fitting into canon in the way we're planning on going forward. Corona is basically razing that city to the ground! Plus it really feels kinda dark and opressive. The cold weather, the Radiomare self-depreciation, the assured death and Bon Bon's existential crisis there... yikes. :twilightoops:

This siege, as impressive as it might be, just can't work if we're going to get Celestia to atone within our L6's lifetime!

"Zombies?" Raindrops wrinkled her nose. "I had to talk with Snails the other day. Apparently he'd been pestering Twilight to teach him a spell to zombify dead bugs. And then Trixie showed him how to make illusions of zombie bugs. That was a weird evening."

Snails the necromancer? Cool!

After being refused training by Twilight and Trixie he turns to Grogar.

The idea of the Clinics seems nice.

Are we going to find out more about General Gloriosis and why he's joined up? He does seem to just pop up from nowhere.

3726688 When I do an image search for longma, the first thing that pops up is this: http://weremagnus.deviantart.com/art/Longma-354554085

I'm guessing that's not what these ones look like. :unsuresweetie:


I'm sort of in three minds about this and canon

1) Against canon - It doesn't really fit into the general tone of the Lunaverse.

2) For canon - It makes Corona seem to really mean business, she wants to take back her kingdom and knows she's going to have to break a few eggs to do that, its certainly not going to be bloodless. It sort of raises the stakes and makes the general plot seem more urgent. Up to now Corona's been out there but there's be no urgency to actually deal with her.

3) Sort of in the middle - However, once she has broken those eggs its not going to be easy to redeem her in the eye's of the rest of Equestra, at least within most of the casts life times. It does leave a lot of space for interesting future stories but maybe makes true redemption unlikely within the scope.

3731578 : Yeah, we'll learn about him.

3731611 : Corona's motivations will become clearer as the story progresses. I'm also paying close attention to what Corona does (as opposed to, say, what ponies in the city, or renegades under her command, do without her knowledge or approval) to avoid issues like that.

3731583 : No. They're like this.


I suppose the problem can be that even if Corona says something like 'Go an capture all the ponies over there, no lethal force' and then her army goes on a murdering rampage she's still going to get blamed for it, they are fighting in her name and from the point of view of the pony on the street she might of well have ordered it. Even from the point of view of her own troops they might think that some of what she says is 'plausible deniability' 'Of course she means kill the trouble makers she just doesn't want to go out an say it, it'll look bad.' Even if her minions recant later some people are going to believe she meant for bad things to happen.

What I'm trying get across is that it doesn't matter exactly what Corona says apart from her own perspective she's still going to get blamed for what happens and that is what's going to make her hard to redeem. It does make it rather more tragic though, she's not actually done anything that bad but she still has to deal with it all.

On a completely different point, how do you normally write stories? You normally put out stories with about 6 chapters of 3-5K words released one every day or two. I've always assumed you wrote up the whole thing in advance and then publish them over time with a bit of rewriting for each based on feedback. Is that correct or are you actually writing each chapter in a day or two? And is this being written any differently given it's length and complexity?

3732769 : I would just say, regarding the first point, to bear in mind that we don't know the whole story of what's happening in the first chapter yet. (It is actually happening, the twist is NOT that it's some dream or hallucination because that would be dumb, but there's more context there). I'm writing this story with an eye towards not letting anypony that we care about do anything completely 'unforgiveable' once all the context is known.

(That said, it's already canon that Corona has razed at least one other city--the Crystal Kingdom's capitol, death toll in the hundreds of thousands--so I suppose it's still in bounds that she could raze this one without being worse than she was before).

As for writing, it varies. Most of my fics before were written ahead, then tweaked, but this one I'm writing as I go. I did try writing it all out several months ago, but I ran out of steam halfway through, and then I found that draft had enough problems that I needed to start over.

I have, however, outlined the story to make sure all the important stuff gets in.


Fair enough about the crystal empire capital and if you were looking at it totally logically it wouldn't be anything different. However, from most ponies perspective a hundred thousand casualties a thousand years ago is just some numbers in a book. A hundred thousand casualties right now is an atrocity.

This sounds like a very promising and interesting story. For some reason, I have the poem from the Battle of Demon's Run going through my head now.

Demons run when a good man goes to war
Night will fall and drown in sun
When a good man goes to war
Friendship dies and true love lies
Night will fall and the dark will rise
When a good man goes to war
Demons run but count the cost
The battles won but the child is lost


(That said, it's already canon that Corona has razed at least one other city--the Crystal Kingdom's capitol, death toll in the hundreds of thousands--so I suppose it's still in bounds that she could raze this one without being worse than she was before).

So then why do any of us care about her doing anything unforgivable if she already has?

3726085 A pegasus covered in dragon scales n_n

Interesting but I couldn't help but notice that you omitted the Djs in your character list.

3725285 I'm kinda hoping it does...

Anyway, insane opening. Good lord that is one hell of an in media res. Is it good or bad I want that DJ to die messily?

Whoops, forgot to follow this story. Sorry!

Mostly a setup chapter, but I actually like those; they tend to contain vital background or plot information.

Looking forward to more!

:rainbowhuh: Svelte 'Lord' is female?

I'm still for this to be canon. Great setup. As for Corona... *Snort* She's pretty much past redemption for me.

Interesting bit of world-building there. I wonder just how many versions of the Hearth's Warming story are out there.

Stalliongrad gleamed.

So it's not completely based on Russia after all...

found themselves in what certainly was the ruined courtyard of an ancient castle that had sunken into the ground.

Interestingly, there's actually a couple other ways for this to happen besides earthquakes.

Carrot Top opened her mouth, then shut it again. She wasn't sure what to say to that.

Were this a slightly less serious story, I'd actually kind of imagine a funny scene with Corona incoming...

Corona: No, you're not a descendent of Platinum; she never bore nor adopted children, and the crown passed to her neice. And you're not descended from her, either. There was never an earthquake in Stalliongrad; the land's tectonically inert, for Faust's sake, any Diamond Dog could tell you that. It IS, however, built on a swamp. I tried to tell them not to build their castle on a swamp, but nopony listened. And you look nothing like the regents ever did! The traditional outfit of the region was PINK, though I never could fathom why...

3810576 : There was originally a bit in which Fiddlesticks mentioned a Cloudsdale version (it's like the version we saw on the show, except that the aides were warned that the windigos were coming by a pegasus who used a sonic rainboom to get ahead of them), but it didn't work with the pacing of the story. I like the idea, though.

Huh. Now I'm wondering what the Trixie version would be like.

3810582: Heh.

Hirsute: But... but it's here in this book! In Clover's book!
Corona: Isn't that book part of the 'Equestrian Filly' series, which features fictitious diaries from historical characters written at an eight-year old's level to teach them about history?
Carrot Top: How did you know that?
Corona: Look, when you're trapped in the sun for a millennia, you have a lot of time to kill.

As for Rushia, or at least Stalliongrad, it's not a perfect analog of the actual Stalingrad, no. What I'm going for is a mix in the city between rural Rushia (historical district), communist Rushia as it was supposed to work (big downtown buildings that are very efficient in terms of space used, massive factories to produce stuff, everything very brisk and calculated), and maybe a little of Czarist Rushia (the opulence inside Castle Stalliongrad and a couple places we haven't seen yet). But I freely admit I don't know all that much about historical Rushia, so I apologize for any glaring errors.

Interestingly, there's actually a couple other ways for this to happen besides earthquakes.

Aw, you'll ruin Hirsute's fantasy of the mighty Princess Platinum heroically levitating all the ponies out of town with the power of her awesomeness. :-)

Well, there was voodoo mentioned in the Neigh Orleans version. This means that zombies would be involved somehow.

and even an amulet that could give one vast magical power (though it had a label reading, "Caution: may contain evil.")

Oooh! She should buy one of those for Trixie

You'd think Carrot Top might comment on how Fiddlesticks looks like Octavia, although I don't suppose Carrot Top actually interacted that much with Octy.

In Trixie's version, the aides realize they're all about to die, so they decide to get rip-roaring drunk as a last hurrah. When the Windigos closed in, they found out that the aides were all very friendly drunks, which allowed them to break the barriers of prejudice between them. The awful karaoke they were singing reverberated throughout the cave, damaging the Windigos' icy forms enough to drive them off when Clover accidentally ignited a bottle of bourbon, the flames billowing up in the shape of a fiery heart.

:facehoof: ... No... No, Trixie, that is NOT how it happened... Equestria was founded on love and tolerance, not binge-drinking!

:trixieshiftright: You have your heroes, Sparkle, I have mine. *hugs Monsieur Bourbon*

3810576 If its like the Anglo Saxon Chronicles then at least three. Although the mayor mentions more.

...wait a second;

10,000 strong. :trixieshiftleft:Where have I heard that same quote before:pinkiegasp: Oh. My. GOD!

:rainbowkiss:Stalliongrad is Helms Deep, except this place is a prosperous city.

:pinkiehappy:Keep up the good work!

I've always taken Hearth's Warming as one part historical truth, one part supposition, one part hypothesis, three parts 'making shit up' and five parts 'it sounds good!'. And I think that's always how I'm gonna see it.

Dang, yo.

Looot of story elements. Can't wait for them all to mix it up!

And not surprisingly, I dislike Fisher. Like, a lot. A lot a lot.

It's kind of no wonder that in the Mane Six's world, the aristocracy has been effectively neutered. Reducing them to the status of chatting heads who don't do anything means that jerks like this aren't as dangerous.

I'm... kinda hoping Taks dies a horrible, pain-filled death. Is that good or bad?

3817206 : What, because he calls Fisher out on his tribalism ?

3817531 No, because he's very annoying to me and just screams, "I'm a complete flankhole!"

3817552 Most tabloid journalists scream that, just not as subtlety as Taks.

Looking very good so far.

Fisher takes his Lawful Neutral alignment to an extreme doesn't he? He's actually very frightening, even when trying to be nice, even more given than some of his idea's are very seductive.

Efficiency above and if a few ponies get caught in the gears well that's useful lubricant.

3818130 : I have a feeling that people's opinions of Fisher's morality will depend heavily on whether or not they'd want to live in Omelas. But I'm glad you find him frightening, since that means I'm writing him right. :-)

Some of my favorite books are based on sieges.I hope now that Corona's forces are advancing we'll see some action, I'm very interested in the City's anti-air defenses, as so far they just seem to talk about their walls.


Is this story supposed to happen before The Return of Tamberlon? because in chapter 9 Corona has a temporal breakdown after being praised by Tirek himself as the Tyrant Sun, plus discovering neither Luna or the Elements were corrupted. After determining the ponies´ action were merely misguided, Celestia claims the Element of Magic and vows to take the country with as little bloodshed as possible. It´s still unknown if she will manage to keep the EoM after Grogar´s defeat. .

3864875 : Yeah, this is supposed to take place after Tambelon. As for the rest, it'll come up later in the story.

It's not as if she has the consistent habit of underestimating the intelligence, courage and deviousness of her little ponies or anything. Nope. Thinking of them the helpless infants in need of micromanagement is definitely not her fatal flaw.

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