• Member Since 6th Jul, 2012
  • offline last seen April 20th


A Midwest brony who enjoys writing about adorkable unicorns and alien invasions. Come join me for XCOM 2 livestreams!



This story is a sequel to Stardust

Everyone knows the story of Hearths Warming Eve. They know the tales of the three pony tribes and how their strife brought the Windigoes upon them, and how the Fires of Friendship saved them from their frozen fates. For countless generations the tale has been told, but how has it changed over those years?

Or is any of it true in the first place?

Only one pony knows, and Celestia would prefer that the past stay forgotten.

(Based on a 'What If' line of thought that was born from the Stardust storyline. While some familiarity with Stardust and Mente Materia doesn't hurt, this story can be enjoyed on its own)
(Coverart available soon from the amazing FoxInShadow!)
(Many thanks to Arzoo, BradTheBrony, Vandenbz, and Setokaiva for prereading!)
(Complete with it's own TVTropes page as part of the Stardust continuity)
(Character tags will be added as chapters are added!)
(Possible spoilers in the comments! BEWARE!)

Chapters (12)
Comments ( 668 )

Afternoon folks!

This is a placeholder for the moment, I'll fill it out a bit more later!

First things first, this story started out as a series of 'what if' questions as I was writing Stardust and Mente Materia. As things grew I saw folks were speculating on just these very things. I had hoped to get this posted by Christmas but that didn't exactly work out, so here we are!

Second, the framing device. Boo, hiss, I know. I've got my reasons for including it here.

Third, this will also be a bit of an experiment for me since I intend to explore using smaller chapter lengths and restricting the perspective to just the main character (mostly). I hope everyone bears with me as I get the hang of things!

5661830 I gotta ask: haven't gotten the cover art yet?

Edit: and now pic's up, and it is awesome!

Ahh... backstory... excellent! Now... how does Luna fit in with this? Curiouser and Curiouser...

I'm curious what the first experimental group was, the one given the single command and blown completely out of control...

Perhaps the entire 'present' day conflict is nothing more than all of the 'Traveler's' eggs coming home to roost?

! Solaria! :pinkiegasp: :pinkiehappy: Holy buckeroni!


FoxInShadow actually livestreamed it earlier today. Just waiting on the final product. :)

Love Solaria´s reaction at the end. Gods are usually petty spoiled brats under their mask of power.

5662710 Sweetness!

5662688 I cannot divulge anything about Moonbutt at this time, but I am happy to talk about the Traveler. The real question we should be asking about this 'discordant' alien (of extradimensial quality, obviously) is: what does he have to gain from these "experiments" as well as doing what he did to Solaria?

Also, notice the shape of the particular appendage that changed her? *devilish grim*

This story starts with the illustrious Queen Solaria, and the day she made peace with the dragons…

Call it a hunch, but I think she opened that dragon / pony peace summit with this line.


Just a hunch.


I have seen Sith Lords more cuddly than Queen Solaria!

Okay, new information has been revealed! At the end of the Wrath chapter, Queen Solaria seemed to be afraid of the enforcer and fled by teleporting away. What does this mean for Celestia's/Queen Solaria's character?

This might mean that she's terrified of facing retribution for her actions or experiencing pain now that she's defenseless from an offensive standpoint.

This new inability to "punish" or offensively protect herself might have been the foundation for her change from the ice-cold mega bitch (pardon my harsh language) that is Queen Solaria to the kind and benevolent Princess Celestia that everyone now knows her as. Now that she can't petrify or kill anything, she has to change her ways to fit her situation, and all of us will have to see what happens from here ("here" being the Wrath chapter) as Arad updates the story.

Arad, if you even see this, I just have to say that you're handling of the plot so far is fan-TASTIC. The way you portrayed the newly-defanged Queen Solaria as terrified and almost helpless is spot-on for how she'd react in that situation.

I mean, think about it: A harsh ruler that has run their nation with an iron fist for hundreds or thousands of years now has absolutely zero means of attacking or harming anyone, let alone their subjects. Now they have no means of preventing their subjects from rising up against them, even though their subjects haven't realized that yet. What would that ruler do once they realized that fact?

The answer: Do something similar to what Queen Solaria did and basically panic, followed by fleeing for their safety. In Solaria's case, however, her subjects are pretty much oblivious to her new circumstances and are still terrified of her. Unlike other rulers who experienced the same situation, she still has a chance to adapt and save herself by changing how she acts and how she rules her country.

I am eagerly awaiting your next update for this story, Arad, and I bet that the next chapter is going to be just as good if not better than this one! (Oh, and sorry for the super long post here. I just got carried away.)

5662966 An Ice Queen quite literally.

Well, I just figured out what will happen in the Mente Materia based on this chapter, I also know what will occur come this story's conclusion... and both are frighting to say the least.

The Traveller has an entire race like him? I wonder what's become of them...

Arad #15 · Feb 24th, 2015 · · · Wrath ·



5663060 Oh fine! Damn assholes... *storms off*

Arad #17 · Feb 24th, 2015 · · · Wrath ·


*Imagines Bradford stepping into the Situation Room* "Lets make this quick, AdmiralTigerclaw updated Arrow 18 for the first time in over a year and I could not care less about aliens at the moment."

Hold on, Solaria is ice blue in coat colour. Celestia is white and Luna is dark blue. Could Celestia and Luna be the result of Solaria undergoing mitosis?


Well, that's one theory on alicorn reproduction. XD

And here I thought Solaria couldn't possibly get more terrifying! Dear God, where to start?

First off, it seems the scientists at XCOM thinking the cutie marks were a form of social engineering and control were more right than they could possibly imagine. Combined with the caste system she had in place and you've got the MLP version of 1984 with Solaria as a living, nigh-indestructible incarnation of Big Brother. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, indeed. The fact that she had the power and potential motivation to exterminate all life on the planet just to start over was equally unsettling.

Then there's the mismatched eldritch horror himself. Even though we've seen him go full-on Lovecraft a few times already Discord seems to genuinely care about the lives of mortals, even if he finds the ponies of Solaria's system too organized. His constant tinkering with life on other worlds could be seen as a fun hobby for an elder god, but the philosophy he has behind introducing obstacles for different races to overcome makes me think he's trying to help them advance and avoid stagnation and death, much like Solaria seemed to be enacting. Discord's parting line to Solaria instantly brought this classic Star Trek moment to mind:

What's more interesting / unsettling about Discord, though, is that he isn't the only one of his kind in the universe. Makes you wonder if he's doing these experiments on their behalf or if he's an anomaly among his kind. Perhaps he's doing this to prepare the races he encounters for if / when others of his kind take notice of them.

All in all, I'm loving the friction these two seem to generate just by being in the same plane of existence. Their clashing natures of absolute order and total chaos has a certain element of Greek mythos to it with the Gods, all-powerful beings though they are, being slaves to their own nature. In that sense, I could see Discord envying mortals for their freedom to choose how to live instead of being compelled to do so.

there are other tools that work just as well if you're willing to put in the efford.


I always wondered why the Canterlot statue garden was so extensive. And... lifelike.

Also, one pony knows? And this particular pony just tells it to any kid who'll listen? ...Well, I suppose Discord isn't technically a pony... But a security guard? :trixieshiftleft:

Arad #22 · Feb 24th, 2015 · · · Wrath ·


Fridge logic right there. It's not a statue garden. It's a trophy case.

5663127 Ah, so you noticed that (the deceased) Joel and Kim from Stardust were somewhat right about the marks being social engineering, but how long it remains that seen. I am glad someone else picked up on that (had noticed it when proofreading but didn't want to just ruin all the fun for everyone else as I prefer hearing your theories and speculations).

5662935 :facehoof: Seeing as it is a human hand and arm, unless you've been watching hentai about bellyrubs and brushies, then I don't wanna know.

5663098 *Is about to give him the correct answer, but then notices Arad perched on some high ground with a plasma sniper rifle pointed at him... and just his luck, is not in any good cover, so just keeps his mouth shut*

5662984 Actually, Discord (the Traveller) gave her two things since his "touch" that a sociopath like her never had... though I will tell you what those things are NEXT chapter! :trollestia:


At first I thought you were trolling me, but I had to look, damn it! THANK YOU, I DID NOT KNOW, PRAISE THE SUN

5663078 5663283
I let out quite the manly squee when I saw Arrow 18 pop up on my feed, almost as much when Qwapdo came out with a new chapter of "Hail to the King" last month. Now if Loyal2Luna comes back and updates Shades of Twilight soon, I might just go into a giddy coma!

5663078 HELL yes.


hentai about bellyrubs and brushies,

You do realize what site yer on, right? :pinkiecrazy:

5663491 We're on the site that is, quite literally, devoted to presenting and discussing interesting plots.

Sorry for the frequent over-analysis, but this bit from Discord just caught my attention.

“I did have several irons in the fire so to speak, but I had to give up on a few of them. I gave them one simple command and they blew it all out of proportion.”

What kind of command could Discord, embodiment of Chaos, give an entire species? And what could they have done to make him abandon them?

My guess; he was trying to make the Ethereals (or perhaps a small portion of them) ascend to another level of existence. During the final encounter in-game the Ethereal leader explains that they were the greatest failure of all. They failed to ascend, were discarded and left to leech off the psionic lifeforce of other races that they encountered. If, in the Stardust-verse, Discord was the one who gave the Ethereals their directive and cast them out after their failure, then we could be looking at a potential father / son hate relationship on par with Shinji and Gendo Ikari.

That would be an entertaining (and terrifying) reunion. The neglectful elder god father figure and the spurned children who've had dozens, if not hundreds, of millennia to prepare their revenge. Perhaps they'd still be powerless against Discord, but something tells me that wouldn't be the case. After all, Discord told Celestia during Stardust that the Ethereals have as much chaos and power in them as Solaria did at the height of her reign. If Solaria was powerful enough to nearly resist and thwart Discord's first attempt at cursing her then what kind of defense could he muster against a psionic collective comprised entirely of millions of minds as powerful (if not more so) then Solaria?

The answer is probably nothing. Discord may have mastered the chaos of reality but order still trumps him (i.e. Elements of Harmony). His chickens have come home to roost, and he knows he can't survive the oncoming storm. That's where humans enter with their imperfectly balanced approach to life and a desire to overcome any obstacle. Whether or not Discord (or Celestia for that matter) survive this conflict intact it seems both Earth and Equestria will have proven something to both the embodiments of Order and Chaos; there is a middle ground and we can achieve it.

P.S. - I can only imagine the upheaval Twilight would have if she learned Celestia, the kindest being ever and former genocidal tyrant, and Discord, manipulative chaos god with somewhat good intentions, have been playing with mortal lives like they were disposable toys for millennia. Perhaps by that point she'll have reached their level of power and influence and be able to look upon them with pity for their inability to ascend beyond their own constraints. The apprentice surpassing the master, in a sense.

In any case, feel free to ignore my ramblings. They're the product of an English major who's written too many analysis essays of modern poems and literature.

Hmm world building backstory, I can never get enough of this.


Ascension Call also updated The White Rider yesterday. First update in over two years.

Were we given a physical description of Solaria in any of your stories Arad?


Not prior to this one.


And if I was to ressurect Scootamom?

If I were you, I'd remove that "this is a sequel" tag. This story seems like it's enough of an AU to be its own independent story, and telling people that it's a sequel up front like that sends the message that they need to read another story before reading this one, which can a major turnoff for many curious readers. Especially those who don't want to read an XCOM crossover but might be interested in this story. And the 'framing device' prologue you have doesn't make any sense if you haven't read your other stories. At all.

Then again, what I should really be criticizing you for is the extremely unoriginal "carpenter on a stick" line.


Unfortunately, I don't have a way of directing people's attention to this story from Stardust without the sequel tag. I will, however, add a note in to point out how this relates to the storyline.

And thank you for sharing your opinion. If you have anything constructive to add to the criticism, feel free to do so.

5664077 I certainly would smile THIS big! :pinkiehappy:

5663541 Hah, "plots"! It's 'punny' because it works on two levels! Molestia would approve!


Ah. Good.


5664239 Meh, I got this story, Mente Materia, a few other tales, and Evolve, so I ain't crushed.:moustache:

Since you're basically my favorite author on the site, I'll read everything you publish. But I don't understand the necessity of setting it in the stardust universe.

I just finished checking on them, and for some reason they think it’s some great and significant act to nail a carpenter to a piece of wood. I imagine if they don’t all kill each other then they could become pretty interesting in the future.”

Hot damn! Weapons hot, shots fired!

It would be interesting to see her transition from tyrant to more benevolent ruler. Switching from terror to adoration as a tool of enforcing loyalty can't have been easy for her even is she didn't have any choice..

Oh (cold) SNAP!
This is great. And it makes 100% sense to have Discord create humanity and why he desperately wants to have them saved.
And thank you so much for the explanation of the 'no kill' condition and the beautiful sculpture garden.

5663625 Love that analysis, don't stop being awesome :raritywink:

5664077 No single world could hold my glee.

5664239 that was mean :fluttercry:


So is that what Discord was talking about when he was alarmed by Celestia breaking something "too soon" by banishing the alien assault into the sun? She was breaking the block he put on offensive uses of her power?

Whelp, another story to add instantly to my Recommended folder. Framing device once again is remarked as the Princess Bride framework, and the guard knows way more than what we've seen so far, so I'm in the betting pool that he's Dissy. Black and White Steel, eh? Wonder which clan Spike came from. Trophy case? Wonder if there's anyone that's a fighter in there that would be released. Wonder how long it will take for rumors to go about of Solaria not insta-petra-ing someone, and for some groups to become boldened to seek vengeance. Sad to remember Kim and Joel, but they were spot on with the social engineering gig. Now to figure out how she did that in the first place.

Traveler seems like a nigh-omnipotent being, but not all powerful. Reminds me of the Xel-Naga and the Zerg, with the Pony Protoss (Would Starswirl be Tassadar and Twi be Zeratul?). Could explain why he's the only one left apparently.

Pet theory at the moment is that Solaria is going to split into Celly and Lulu via magic mumbo-jumbo, and try to smurf as new characters in the political game. Unknown events occur to drive Lulu to madness. Maybe resurging memories or personality? Hmmm.

Meanwhile, on the mothership...
"Alright, delay the terror missions. Arrow 18 just updated and none of the Mutons are going to do a damn thing until they've read it."

I believe the term you're looking for is fridge horror. Especially since as far as I can tell Celestia remembers being Solaria and knows exactly what those "statues" are.

That guard is going to leave Tommy with a lifetime of nightmares. Poor kid just wanted to know about some stained-glass windows, and now he's hearing about a bloody alien invasion and that the foundation of Equestrian civilization is a lie sugarcoating some kind of behind-the-scenes slaughter.

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