• Member Since 4th May, 2013
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On the Sliding Scale Of Idealism Vs. Cynicism, I like to think of myself as being idyllically cynical. (Patreon page.)


There's one week to go until the second Hearth's Warming Eve since Rainbow claimed her Element, and that week finds her in Ponyville. Where everypony is playing the same old holiday standards, over and over: gramophones in every store, carolers on every street, without mercy. Where the sheer pointless din of it all can grind against a pony's nerves after a while, at least if that pony is bright enough to recognize how meaningless all those sounds are. Ponyville just before the holiday, in a gentle snowfall, with music all around.

It's the last place in the world Rainbow wants to be.

(Part of the Triptych Continuum, which has its own TVTropes page, FIMFiction group, and a newborn character page: new members and trope edits are welcome. This story can be read as a standalone, and no knowledge of the others is required.)

Now with author Patreon page.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 52 )

Wow. Suck much?

Comment posted by Limelight02 deleted Dec 15th, 2014

5386890 Says the user who has this as his bio:

Guy Brony looking for a Girl.

That don't suck it's actually sad.

Sounds like somebody is channeling their seasonal overdose of Christmas music into productive measures.

Great! :pinkiehappy:

Your Rainbow Dash is delightfully horrible :rainbowderp:

Well, that was a charming little story. I was sorta expecting to hear something tragic and touching about Rainbow's dad at the end, from the buildup, but eh.

The thought of a dozen slightly-out-of-synch gramophones playing the same song is like a new image of hell now.

When I was a kid, I would be assigned to narrate the nativity play every year. Because I apparently had a voice for reading out loud. I was also probably the grumpiest and least religious kid in the school, so I learned to hate nativity plays on a very personal level :facehoof:

Damn it, Scootaloo:facehoof:....Way to cutie-mark block......:twilightangry2:

Yes, Rainbow Dash sounds like me during the Holidays-at a certain point, we'd like it to just BE OVER, please...

5386890 yeah says the sado who is desperate enough for attention he just can't help but make a complete ass of himself stop bullying others and get a life you sad prick.

Oh.... Oh goodness... I both hope Scoots, Belle, and Bloom never learn what Scoots did there...
Crusading is KEEPING them from their talents... not just because they aren't trying the right thing.... if they start getting it right.... they self-reinforce to KEEP them from sealing the deal, as 'twere...
Scathing commentary on societal conformity, there.

Comment posted by Darkblade16 deleted Dec 15th, 2014

Christmas carols suck but funny story don't let pricks get ya down

This fic speaks to me on a cosmic level...I feel...deeply connected to the feelings portrayed here...

Ba Humbug!

5386890 Wow seriously....just wow. Are you on your period or something? Did mommy tell you to get off your xbox? Why be such an overbearing d**k to an author that clearly does not deserve it. I would sincerely like to see you write something better.

5387032 Exactly so, The author has written other stories that point out that not only is their refusal to believe that following their talents a hurdle, their need to make sure that the group stays on the wrong target makes them fail.


'Mark-block' has now been added to local vocabulary.


I just thought that for gift buying, Rainbow would frequently be the pony equivalent of the actual-day-of-giving 2:00 a.m. twenty-four-hour pharmacy raider. You get the really big bottle of shampoo, and you get the bag of red-hots, and you get the box of earplugs because those were both on her mind and really close to the sales counter...

With the gramophones... the local Equestria hasn't quite worked out 'sound system'. I was trying to get as close as possible and realized early just how much of a mind-breaker the results would be. (Around and around and a round...)

5387071 Feel free to work it into future stories about their need to stay on the wrong course.

Me thinks some friends need to arrange for a parental holiday visit for a certain pegasus.

Also, the little rant about traditions was pretty spot on. What people did before is important as a history, but shouldn't limit the Now.

Your take on Dash always has this hidden complexity that even she seems to forget about most of the time. All of your characters have fascinating depths, but with a pony as self-obsessed as she is, it really stands out.

Great stuff here, from the Crusader crab bucket to the true nature of carolers to Lyra's personal trick (which, given her CDA story, is rather ironic.) Dash's predicament is especially well done. Confinement is a terrible thing for her, and yet she finds herself in an invisible cage, where she can do nothing but struggle.

Thank you for this. Here's hoping you aren't driven mad before Christmas.


Lyra's trick... given her local background, I thought it was the ultimate way of getting her parents to stop yelling at her. (Or at least, something which would ensure she'd never have to hear it.) It's also handy for shutting down Bon-Bon during arguments, or just about anypony else. Although I'm guessing Bon-Bon's gotten pretty good at gesture and body language by now.

(If anyone's curious: Lyra's not blocking hearing, she's negating all vibrations associated with sound. Direct conduction through physical contact wouldn't work.)

For Rainbow's confinement issues... I think on some level, she recognizes that if she does reach the level of full Wonderbolt, she'll still wind up as a reserve who only performs with them when they're within close range. The ties of loyalty can come close to being chains, and Rainbow was always the most likely to feel the weight dragging her towards the ground.


Good job, Scootaloo...!

I really do love the way you write Dash. Such a nice mix of self-centeredness and that undying Loyalty her element is named after.

I like the way you write all of the bearers.

Today was the first day I had to cycle though radio stations to find music that wasn't Christmas stuff. So, for me It Has Begun.
Time to break out the CD collection.

the only thing I can say is thank god for bayanetta ost

5387044 I don't like Joe's comment either, but on the "on your period" comment: This poster is male, for one thing. Also, dismissing anything anyone says because they might be female and might be prone to extreme emotion is probably a bad idea. Women are fully capable of rational calm while on their periods, and they are fully capable of strong emotion while off them. Reducing women's feelings to a biological cycle is dehumanizing, disrespectful, and offensive. Please don't do it.

The little crystals didn't seem to fall so much as drift in a vaguely downward direction, softly caressed by the smallest of breezes.

There is a very, very similar line in Good Omens about Crowley, a demon, and this line totally reminded me of that totally inappropriately.

Nothing wrong with the line - it is nice enough.

But man, it put me in the wrong mindset for this story.

Sweetie Belle blushed and tried to hide behind her own mane, at a success rate of 0.0001% Fluttershy.

This was a great line, and Fluttershy is a great unit of measure.

And Sweetie Belle was adorable here, but, alas, couldn't keep it up for very long.

There was quite a lot to like here, but the ending, with her not being able to go home, felt like it was a bit out of nowhere - I saw how it was being lead up to before, afterwards, but it still somehow felt a bit discordant, even though it was where the story was going. And then it didn't quite feel like it got satisfactorily resolved from an emotional point of view at the end, with me being left feeling like Rainbow Dash was just getting jerked around again, just like me, without end.

On the whole, though, worth reading.

I wrote a review of this story here.


So snow is actually an active agent of Tartarus.

...I knew it.

I tried to drop hints about the true nature of the issues, but I'm generally the worst judge as to whether they've been visibly planted or not. And as for the ending... I didn't want this one to have a real feeling of resolution, because the problem hasn't been resolved. No one gets to tie this sort of thing up with a bow and call it over: they just get to keep wrestling with the wrapping paper day after day.

Being a hero... that can be a privilege, honor, and joy. But in many ways, it's also a sentence. And the most you can hope for is to be imprisoned among those you care for.


I tried to drop hints about the true nature of the issues, but I'm generally the worst judge as to whether they've been visibly planted or not. And as for the ending... I didn't want this one to have a real feeling of resolution, because the problem hasn't been resolved. No one gets to tie this sort of thing up with a bow and call it over: they just get to keep wrestling with the wrapping paper day after day.

Being a hero... that can be a privilege, honor, and joy. But in many ways, it's also a sentence. And the most you can hope for is to be imprisoned among those you care for.

TBH I think it was the feeling of dissatisfaction I got which bothered me more than the ending not feeling like it was alluded to enough previously in the story - Lyra's speech about family seemed like it was supposed to sort of resolve things, and then it didn't end up feeling that way emotionally at all, and thus I walked away feeling vaguely dissatisfied.

Still, I liked the story on the whole despite my feelings about the ending.

I feel for Rainbow in this one (and yourself, of course - I've read the blog post).

One of the great delights of taking most of December off and not really watching TV much is that I bypass much of the plastic Christmas celebrations. I have a couple of church services to deal with, but at least there I will be singing carols for the right reasons. And they won't be plastic.

Still, the only thing missing here was the "lame" -> "not lame" progression for Rainbow's opinion of the play, However, that, as they say, is another story...

Weary and exhausting. The narrator almost feels just as stressed as Rainbow is at the good parts. I, however, felt that some bit of passivity from certain paragraphs, I can't really remember many of them.

I liked it. Just a little bit too 'thick' for my tastes, a lot of descriptive paragraphs that kind of distracted from the characters, though that might be the appeal for some other people. Pacing could be slightly better. Many paragraphs felt important but they created a 'roadbump' causing readers to lose interest at the start. The description of the snow, and how commoners fail to appreciate them, was clearly an important aspect of Rainbow Dash's struggle to stay sane during the holiday, but I felt that it should have shifted towards the middle, as it came off as a generic 'dark and stormy night' introduction as first.


Really good fic that I think really shows off your skill as a writer, since I liked it despite disagreeing with or not really being able to understand so much of the main background of it(dislike of carols, dislike of tradition, feeling separated from home)

But as much as I enjoyed reading it, I have a problem with it, at least as a story that's part of a continuity.

Rainbow Dash feels that she's being kept away from home because of her duty as an Element Bearer. When she won Best Young Flyer she went to Cloudsdale planning to be separated from all the others except Fluttershy and had absolutely no problem with it.

Gotta figure that that's more than a day trip. You fly out, you want to be rested for the competition so you don't want that to be the same day. And there's apparently afterparties so you can't just leave straight after, even if you were rested enough to do so


you could view it as that but remember, Sweetie Belle at this point is pretty much against singing. She complains about ponies expecting her to be doing the singing in their talent performance after all. Maybe it's me, but I think that actually disliking something would block the potential cutie mark. Sweetie Belle won't get a musical cutie mark, until she's comfortable having a magical cutie mark or at least no longer uncomfortable with the idea


I can explain my perspective on that like this: Season #1 vs. Season #2. (I treat each season as taking place over roughly a year.) In S1, everything's fine. Being a Bearer is almost a casual thing. The Nightmare is defeated, we're all getting to know each other, maybe Rainbow can even skip going home just the once and spend the holiday with her new friends. And a trip out for the competition is just that: a trip out. No worries.

But after Discord... that's when Rainbow starts to understand the stakes. Spike's attempt to use her Element fizzled out. She can't be replaced. Without her, the whole thing doesn't work. Every time she leaves Ponyville, she's taking a chance that there will be a crisis where she can't get back in time -- and the group can't function without her. When you take somepony with Rainbow's ego and tell them that in fact, the world may not be able to get along without you, it's going to leave an impression. And the walls begin to close in.

(I have Cloudsdale as a decent distance out and the Wonderbolts' training camp as 'Close enough for an emergency speed run.' Eventually, someone might suggest to Celestia that a teleporter escort network might be necessary to let the Bearers assemble in a hurry. Eventually.)

But that's just my perspective. And we all know I haven't been right about anything yet.

5387199 Except Applejack. Estee's only written one story focusing on her, and that was a flashback, so it's not quite our AJ.


I suppose that would work. Though someone like Rainbow Dash would find it hard to hide having her worldview affected so dramatically. I mean just look how she reacted to realizing she enjoyed reading.

Also, if Dash knowing the meters of songs, but not knowing how she knows at first a nod to season 4?

5386890 Dude. Just...don't do things like this. :pinkiesick:

Well, this has inspired me to make a "Spite" bookshelf.

There's a lot I like here, and one point in particular was where Rainbow was thinking about how there were things about being a pegasus she wished the other pony tribes could experience. The scene in Triptych where Twilight tried thinking about Rainbow's perspective while she was teaching her to fly is one of my favorites in the story so far.

Sadly, this experience is slightly marred by a why don't the characters agree with my headcanon, dammit? (also kids, lawns, etc.) moment with Rainbow Dash: while I get where she's coming from in thinking that her being missing at the time was the point of failure, I've just always thought it was a lot more likely that the Elements would work if the others weren't Discorded and Spike took her place than if the whole Mane Six were there, but five of them Discorded.

so apparently i downvoted a comment already
this is the first time i've read this
how did i downvote when i've never been on this page?

EDIT: oh, and the story was awesome, as usual

Late to the party, but I was thinking for the entire fic that Rainbow maybe had perfect pitch or something (although it turned out to be other issues, I still think she's got a hidden gift for picking out music, just based on her reaction to Sweetie Belle.)

Good fic! Her gift-buying strategy is.. I know people like that! :applejackconfused:

I really feel with our protagonist here, deeply at that. Also superb writing.
The really beautiful thing here is, as usual for you, the characterization written from Rainbows angle. It's alive and feels true.
Very well done.

This actually fits in with Ms. Faust's original vision of Rainbow: "brooding and moody...sometimes takes off for days at a time...nopony knows why."

I like this.
More than that; I'm touched by it.

This isn't a story that I read and enjoy and then immediately think about or go do something else but a story that I read and which then remains behind in my emotions and thoughts for... oh at least a few minutes afterwards.

Of course, part of the reason the story touches me is that I'm never really going to be in the same position as Rainbow Dash. I'll never go too far from home, never reach out for something further than I can see or take myself too far away from those that matter...

Except I will be.
At some point I won't ever be able to go home again because she'll be some place I can't, won't go.


You're a good writer. No matter what else might happen to you Estee, never doubt that.
Good story.

that part about conflicting loyalties reminded me of a quote:
"friends are the family you choose."

and i also get really sick of hearing crappy carols all month EVERYWHERE...one of the worst is this version of "the little drummer boy": the song is totally stupid, but that guy had to YELL the chorus because he thought extra volume would overcome his TOTAL lack of singing ability...sheesh.

So I was expecting a funny little something about how holiday music is awful, so I'm a little disappointed. Especially since around holiday time I'm the only one who seems to still be thinking it. The story itself was alright, just not was I was hoping for I guess.

You know, if you ever do get to season 4, I get the feeling the Mane 6 are going to have mixed feelings about finally being free of the Elements.

Fridge brilliance: Rainbow, a bird-pony, wants to fly south for the winter.

I'm assuming that was deliberate. Either way, it worked very well.

Thank you. There aren't many people who touch on (or even consider) the duality of Loyalty, and what it means for Rainbow Dash. This was heartbreaking in the best possible ways.

A paraphrased quote from I don't remember where.

Tradition: The reason you keep doing something once you've forgotten the reason you started doing it.

On the topic of Christmas music, I don't mind it too much, sometimes. I have a couple local radio stations that play some less overplayed varieties. Plus, I listen to CDs that are pretty good. Celtic Woman, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and some of the older stuff, like Buddy Holly. So I usually don't get too sick of anything. And as a last-ditch measure, I can always switch to a rock station, or something like that, if I really need a break.

The fact that Rainbow's instincts generally kicked in about two hours before all of Clousdale's stores closed

Ancient typo spotted.

oh, you just reminded me of that crazy story Austraeoh, where terrible tragedy struck when they gave Loyalty to Spike...

That first paragraph is literally perfect. I mean, the rest of the story is well written too, but that first paragraph is just fantastic.

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