Once upon a time, Equestria burned in the fires of war.

Now it falls on two sisters to reclaim what they can.

Third-place winner of the More Most Dangerous Game contest. Proofreading credits, with my highest compliments, go to Danger Beans.

Cover art by Harwick.

Reading by My name is R.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 161 )

The premise of the More Most Dangerous Game contest was to take one of the "classic" stories of this fandom and rework it.

Fallout: Equestria is, at its core, a story about hope. Hope that even though the world has become a desolate wasteland, many of the ponies have become mindless savages, and harmony no longer seems to exist, that there's still a chance that everything could be made well again.

Well I think that if nothing else, this story does a damn fine job of encapsulating that aspect of the original Fallout: Equestria.

Damn fine indeed.

I'm glad you felt this story was able to encapsulate that aspect of the original. And let me express my gratitude once again for your proofreading talent. I owe you one.

So the Capricious Crown made his move... hadn't thought that old piece of scrap would go that far. Dark indeed.
Haunting and beautiful; a great road movie kind of feel to it. And we finally get to see what Rarity's cutie mark actually meant. Not crystals, but celestial bodies.

Happy you like this offering as well. :twilightsmile:

The darkness and the hope came through very clearly for this, Carabas. Very fine entry. Very fine indeed. Rarity's struggle was heart wrenching, and her... I'll not spoil it. Generosity to the last. My word.

Ahem. So. yes. Rarity and Sweetie Belle came across quite strongly, as did the despair evident in the end of the world and the highlight of memories. All their friends gone, but the world not lost entirely. Just a small hope amidst the forever twilight, a small spark. But... Wow. You really did get that across evocatively. The little bits of the past, finding her friends gone, heart breaking.

You sunk despair into every line, it felt like, but also found a way to get hope in there, too. And the ending... I hope there is a brighter dawn.

A little curious about the corvid kind - I'm guessing something inspired by The Morrigan? The Battlecrow? Or something plucked from Moonlight Palaver that I missed a reference to somewhere?

Liked and favorited. I would expect to see this as a rising star in the competition.

I'm very glad the story worked well for you, and I'm happy that mix of upliftingness and ... downliftingness(?) came across as well. It was a balance held in the original story's core themes, and it deserved to be carried across.

The corvids are indeed a species with some Morrigany influences - and if you've got The Devil's Details on your reading list, there's a wee bit more information about them there. There was a fleeting reference to them in Moonlight Palaver when Burro and Gellert first spoke, small enough to be missed.

Well it's nice to see an entry that wasn't inspired by Cupcakes.

Good luck in the competition!

The other prompts - including the Cupcakes one - were all workable in their own way. This was the one that almost immediately inspired me, though.

Thank you! :twilightsmile:

Well that was... Interesting? It's hard to explain what I feel about this, I'll say l enjoyed it and leave it at that.

Then I'll be happy to accept it. Though even if your thoughts are critical, I wouldn't mind hearing them at all.


Well, this... certainly earns its dark rating...

I must say, I'd expected that they'd run into Starswirl's time travel spell at the end, there. Thinking about it, though, I think your ending was more powerful than that would have been...

Glad to assortedly beat/belabour/batter such an assessment out of you. :twilightsmile:

You know how glad I am to earn your good opinion, Grey. With that sort of assessment ... no idea of stopping yet.

I have been kicking around a few non-fanfic story ideas for writing and publication as it happens. We'll see what comes of them.

If the premise itself demands a degree of darkness ... well, you may as well do it sufficient honour. No holding back.

Time travel would have been an interesting twist in its own right and could have worked well. It might have been too much of a cheap 'reset button' in this case, though.

In its flurried surface, she saw hoofprints. Several, many - she couldn’t judge the number. But they was recent, that was certain.

This should be "They were recent".

Anyway, I read this story, and...

Well, I can't say that I didn't like it, but at the same time, I'm not sure I can say that I really DID, either.

It was nice. Well-executed. Pretty landscapes, pretty setpieces. And yet, I can't help but feel like I've seen it before, read it before, experienced it before. :ajsleepy:

Damn it, past-tense verb forms, you had one job. Good catch, and amended.

Glad you found it decent enough to upvote, at least. Out of interest, was there any aspect about it in particular that rang repetitive for you? Was it the general shape of the plot, or the setpieces used, or the general atmosphere, or something else altogether? For what it's worth, it's one of the pieces submitted to the Most Dangerous Game, and it's possible (though I haven't read as many of the other submissions as I'd like) others and I have had similar ideas on the approach.

It is more the general nature of the piece. Basically, it is a "small group of survivors cross the perilous wasteland in order to restore life to the world, at the cost of one of their lives" piece, and it hits on like, every trope I see in stories like that. I guess I've seen/played this story so many times before it just doesn't really surprise me very much anymore, and while this was well-written, and I wasn't like "that sucked" or "that was derivative", it just felt kind of samey to me.

It is true that another piece in the competition used the same general story structure as it used, but that wasn't the real problem - indeed, I cited that as my issue with that story as well.

There's nothing really wrong with this piece, per se, so much as it just felt like I'd read it before and played it before.

Ah, that's perfectly fair enough. Thank you for elaborating.

It's curious the way you can come up with a plot in a sudden flow of inspiration, with no conscious intention of homaging or referencing other works, and yet find yourself playing into the hands of the common tropes. Post-apocalyptic conventions have clearly dug some sort of convenient channel for themselves in my brain.

I wrote a review of this story in my latest edition of TD Hates Everything Read It Now reviews. It can be found here.

Saw it and responded there. Much obliged to you for writing it. :twilightsmile:

People have already written what I had thought, so... I'll just post

Can't wait for Mad Belle II: Roadside Dictionary. :raritywink:


Mad Belle II: Roadside Dictionary


I've only read 5-6 of the MMDG entries for the Fallout: Equestria prompt, but this is the only one I've found to completely nail the emotional aspect of the apocalypse. Giving the reader an inkling of what happened to the rest of the Main 6 really hits hard. I also found Sweetie's duel with the two slavers to be surprisingly thrilling; as the climax of the piece I think you wrote the scene very well.

I don't have a very good comment. Just really solid execution all around.

Still. Silent. Red. Red all over, with crystal growths embedded in their body here and there. She strained to nudge them with a hoof, and they didn’t respond.

I'd change the "their" and "them" and "they" into "its" and "it." The use of plurals to indicate an ambiguous gender isn't very effective and can be somewhat distracting. Besides, the foal isn't alive any more, so dehumanizing it is actually quite appropriate.

Thank you for commenting! I'm glad the piece was able to emotionally resonate that strongly, and that you think the execution was solid. Thanks also for the suggestion. The section with the foal's been tweaked accordingly.

That dumb, stupid Crown.

I would have used 'meany-head' personally, but 'dumb' and 'stupid' work as well. :twilightsmile:


I'd change the "their" and "them" and "they" into "its" and "it." The use of plurals to indicate an ambiguous gender isn't very effective and can be somewhat distracting. Besides, the foal isn't alive any more, so dehumanizing it is actually quite appropriate.

I don't agree with this. I think that the passage is completely appropriate considering the circumstances. Rarity is surrounded by dead ponies. Dead ponies are not some passing inconvenience to be stepped over. And I think that the wording does well to illustrate her unease.

Dehumanizing a dead child is only appropriate if the character in question lacks empathy or is desensitized to violence. A battle hardened soldier or street weary cop might be able to look past the essential humanity of a deceased child. But Rarity is none of these things. She's not a warrior, she's not a fighter, she's just a mare who has seen a lot more than most mares should. There's a reason that homicide cops have the highest suicide rate of all the domestic servicemen: because a person who is no longer alive is not a thing; they're a person. And it is not easy--even for the most mentally fortified of individuals--to close off that connection; to transform a person into an object.

I once had the opportunity to see a late-term aborted-fetus that had been preserved and put on display at a traveling anatomy convention. What I saw in that jar was a dead child. Not an "It."

That's a pretty fair point. Especially if she was trying to interact with them as a living child immediately prior in the narrative.

Confound these commenters, they drive me to flip-flop pronouns.

It's okay. Nobody's perfect. (Although I am pretty damn close.)

Now whenever I grumble at a politician for flipflopping on an issue, said politician will be well within their rights to turn on me and snap, "Yeah? Well, what about those pronouns on that story about ponies what you posted and repeatedly revised like the gowk you are?"

What other recourse will I have but to flee in shame? I ask you.

Being an author is a lot like being the president: no matter what you do, there are going to be people in your ear insistent that you're doing it wrong.

I have to run, so I can't write a long comment, but that's a very fair point. Honestly, the only reason I find it distracting is the use of them/their (plural nouns) instead of him/her (singular nouns). Perhaps Rarity would be close enough to determine the foal's gender?

Not even the consolation of ordering around nuclear warheads. Truly our lot is a hard one.

That would have been a neat enough solution, though the ambiguity about the foal's gender in this case is meant to reinforce Rarity's own complete disorientation at the point. I also think it's the case that them/their can be properly used as singular pronouns in cases where gender is unknown. Not the clearest of rules, particularly in this instance, though it does seem to give a bit more humanisation than 'it'.


That would have been a neat enough solution, though the ambiguity about the foal's gender in this case is meant to reinforce Rarity's own complete disorientation at the point.

Mmm, that's right. I didn't get a chance to reread it for context when I made that comment. Probably why I didn't suggest it the first time around.

I also think it's the case that them/their can be properly used as singular pronouns in cases where gender is unknown.

I usually don't mind it, honestly! It just felt weird in this one instance for some reason. Maybe I'm becoming one of those people who obsess about Oxford commas and other pedantic things.

At any rate, it was never an important issue. Mostly a matter of preference, I suppose?

"In my young day, we placed our commas before our coordinating conjunctions in lists! And we liked it that way!"

Yeah, personal preference and writing habits maybe play a role. Maybe it's a US/UK thing? Back when I wrote primarily on fanfiction.net, I used 'they' in another case of ambiguous gender, and an American acquaintance made the same objection.

I'm not sure about that since I'm Canadian, but I still say "go to the hospital" instead of "go to hospital" and "math" instead of "maths," so that could be the reason.

...Aaand now I'm reminded of when I was in Iceland and thought a Canadian tourist had a staunchly American accent. If it's any consolation, I'm a poor benighted Scot and you guys sound very similar.

There's surely an academic treatise or two that's been composed on the exact linguistics of all this.

And now I can finally post this in the comments!


This was a great take on the post-apocalyptic Equestria, figuratively and literally dark but not without hope. I loved your characterization of Rarity and especially of Sweetie!

Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed it in general, as well as the characterisation of Rarity and Sweetie Belle.

And to think, I enjoyed that crown so much in its previous showing...

Quite dark, in a rather haunting way. I was moved not only by the imagery from the recollections of how beloved characters met their fates, but also by the scarring of the land itself in quite inventive (and deadly) ways. There were moments of lightness (the traveling pines captured my imagination), but the struggle and sadness of the story really weighed me down. However, it was that very aspect that made the ending so uplifting... Well done!

People seemed to like the Crown. It's always a shame when the ones we adore turn out to be unhinged psychopaths.

Glad it worked for you, in terms of the darkness, description, and upliftingness. :twilightsmile:

Found a couple of minor glitches:

They trotted into the courtyard, everything within had long since been charred black, and passed into a building at the side.

Double space.

She supported herself, wobbling all the while, and hobbled past the fallen forms of Briar and Bracken. making for the library door.

Period should be a comma.

Other than that, I find your prose somewhat lacking in artistry, but you more than make up for it with a well-spun tale of sacrifice and hardship. It's hard to write the road less travelled and not have it come up as trite or contrived, but you've handled it admirably. You clearly have a firm grip on how to manage your conflicts and that's something a lot of authors could learn from you.

On the other hand, I think you would benefit from concentrating on how you adjust the mood of your prose to suit the pace of the plot. Your fight scenes, for example, do not notably differ in style from your travelling or daydreaming style. Consistency may be king on the technical side, but on the artistry side I think you need to learn a little more control so that you can consciously vary your tone when you need to. The lack of variance dampens the tension when it should be high.

Over all, though, a very good story. Blog post pending.


P.S. I for one would rather not have seen the crown crop up. Not that I much care, but it seems to be de rigueur to comment on it :P

Gracias. Glitches fixed.

Thank you as well for your comments on the prose. The story's overall mood and tone was a step outside of my writing comfort zone, and it's likely that I overcompensated with the prose as a result. What works for describing a landscape while sedately travelling probably doesn't work quite as well for the clash of battle. Regardless, I'm glad you enjoyed this as much as you did and that the story worked well for you. :twilightsmile:

P.S. You might be right. Head-canon shout-outs are a guilty and probably deleterious pleasure of mine. Alternatively, I could just take things to their logical conclusion. Make the Crown louder, angrier, and give them access to a time machine. Whenever they're not on the page, all the other characters should be asking "Where's the Crown?" And so on. :trollestia:

5700484 As long as you don't care what anyone else thinks of your shout-outs, then rock the fuck on!

Shall do! Repeatedly and often. To an unreasonable extent. :pinkiehappy:

Why can't all those overpowered HiE humans show up in THESE sorts of Equestria's, where they really can't do any worse than has already been done! :raritywink:

Anyway, goats and crows using dark magic nukes... at the cost of the life force of most of their citizens... huh, sounds a lot like a certain religion in the Middle East... :trollestia:

5714004 I here ya. But seriously at this point there would be no need for humans. There already nuking the entire world of equss whenever a Human shows up anyway, if you think about it.

Because then, alas, the plotline shifts from 'Almighty Human Interacts With Adorable Ponies' to 'Almighty Human Versus Basic Survival Skills'. One is less wish-fulfilling than the other.

sounds a lot like a certain religion in the Middle East

Let's stay clear of this sort of thing. It's not germane to the story, and provocative to boot.


I regret nothing.

5714120 Well, the human might accidentally make things better... you can never tell what happens when one of them shows up... cuz the plots of those HiEs are so totally random. :rainbowlaugh:

5714471 But the All Mighty Human raises his mighty fist of plenty and food rains from the skies! The ponies fall in awe of their new god, who then smites the evil Goat Empire (which is suddenly totally ruled by Satan, because goats = Satan) with fire and brimstone and Ebola and becomes even MOAR beloved!

IT'S A MIRACLE!!! :pinkiegasp:

But then it turns out he's actually a super villain who sucks out all their souls.



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