• Published 7th Dec 2015
  • 6,616 Views, 95 Comments

Grogar: A Hearth's Warming Horror Story - Jade Ring



Legend says that little ponies who don't honor the spirit of friendship on Hearth's Warming Eve will draw the attention of a beast who will take them away forever. Tonight good fillies should hide their heads... because Grogar is coming to town.

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I'm Telling You Why

Button Mash rose with a groan on unsteady hooves. He reached a hoof back and felt the goose egg already rising beneath his mane. He shook his head to clear his blurred vision and took in his surroundings. He was in a bedroom, plain and sparsely decorated. A spare Stetson on the bedpost gave the room’s owner away as Applejack.

Any further analysis was pushed away by a noisy groaning coming from above.

He looked up just in time to see the ceiling give way completely. He jumped back against the wall as debris and snow fell with a massive thud into the room. He coughed away the dust and shivered in the new cold that found its way into the house via the sizable hole in the roof.

“And Applebloom p-promised the c-ceiling wouldn’t collapse.” He muttered through chattering teeth.

The dust cleared completely… and revealed a nightmare.

The thud had not come from the debris and the ceiling had not given from the snow.

The beast that now stared at Button Mash was huge, easily eight feet tall with another foot or two added from the enormous curved horns that emerged from beneath the hood of the creature’s black cloak. The creature shifted its position on jet black hooves that contrasted with the midnight blue of the beast’s fur. A tangled white beard hung down from the chin, blowing softly in the wind. It stared at Button with eyes that burned like red-hot coals and grinned with a mouth full of dagger-like fangs.

Around the beast’s neck hung a great, golden bell that jingled softly with every move it made.

Button Mash’s mouth became dry as sand. “G…Grogar?”

The beast’s grin grew wider and it tilted its head in acknowledgement.

Button was no longer sure if his shaking was from the cold or from fear. “I… I was good this year, wasn’t I?”

Grogar seemed to pause a moment in consideration then nodded his head again.

“So… how about we trade that for a free pass tonight.”

Again Grogar seemed to consider… then shook his mighty head with a chuckle.

Button Mash’s upper lip trembled. “But that’s not fair.”

Grogar shrugged his huge shoulder and took a heavy step towards the cowering colt.

“Hey! Goat face!”

Both Grogar and Button Mash looked to the room’s doorway.

Sweetie Belle squared herself and glared, her minute horn lit with the same emerald light that had saved her from impalement. She was done being scared and was now furious that the same monster that had taken her best friend was now threatening the recipient of her first kiss. She reached out with her magic and seized the heaviest thing she could find. “GET YOUR BIG BLUE TAIL AWAY FROM MY COLTFRIEND!

Applejack’s bed, bathed in Sweetie Belle’s magic, rose into the air and swung like a huge, oblong golf club. It struck Grogar full on and knocked the ram right through the wall and into the howling storm.

Button Mash stared in wonder.

Sweetie Belle raced to his side and looked him over. “Are you okay?” Seeing his amazed stare, she grinned. “Yeah, I had no idea I could lift something that big.”

“You called me your coltfriend.”

Sweetie Belle’s pride deflated like a balloon. “What?”

“I have a marefriend!” Button Mash whooped with joy before remembering where he was. “I also might freeze to death.”

Sweetie Belle shook her head and grabbed his foreleg in hers. “Save it for later, Drake. We’ve gotta get out of here.”

Button Mash let his new marefriend pull him along with a bemused smile on his face. “Whatever you say, Scarlet Avenger.”

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

“Now ya’ll keep calm and quiet.” Applejack lit another lantern and passed it to Diamond Tiara who passed it along to Applebloom. “We’ll wait here a while and…”

The roof of the barn suddenly came crash in as an enormous form came crashing into the room. The three ponies screamed as the huge ram landed on all four hooves and shook off whatever impact had sent it plummeting into the room. He quickly focused its attention on the ponies, its hood falling back as it turned its head sharply.

Applebloom saw the horns and screamed again.

Grogar.” Applejack whispered in terrified wonder. She shook off her amazement and placed herself firmly in front of the fillies. “Not one more step, you overgrown goat!”

Grogar narrowed his burning red eyes and drew from his cloak an enormous burlap sack. The top was wrapped in chains that coiled like snakes and were adorned in jingling bells.

Whatever was in the sack was still moving.

Applejack called on her last reserves of courage and returned the beast’s glare. “You ain’t gonna take these fillies. I’ll die first.”

Grogar grinned and nodded, as though she had just described his exact plan.

“Applejack?”

The farmer looked back at her little sister, her last remaining family member, and remembered the promise she’d made to their dying mother. “I’ll take care of this, sugarcube.”

Applebloom stared at her, frozen with fear.

Applejack looked back at the beast. “You’re not a mindless monster. You can make deals, right?”

Grogar tilted his head curiously.

“You’ve already taken two fillies, my brother, and my granny. That’s a pretty good haul for you, I imagine.”

Grogar crinkled his eyes and grinned. His teeth glistened in the lantern light.

“If I make it a nice round five, and I go willingly, will you leave these two alone?”

Applebloom’s paralysis broke and she darted forward. “Applejack, no!”

A quick thinking Diamond Tiara snatched her tail in her mouth, holding fast. She stared at Applejack with complete shock, that this mare would sacrifice herself for her.

Grogar’s grin faded and he curled his lip in obvious distaste for the deal.

“It’ll work out for you in the end. These two will tell everypony what happened here tonight. You’ll be more feared than ever.”

Grogar’s grimace faded as he considered the bargain.

“Applejack!” Applebloom screamed. She kicked wildly at Diamond Tiara’s muzzle. “Let me go!”

Applejack ignored her sister as best she could. “Well? Have we got a deal?”

Grogar’s eyes narrowed… and he nodded.

Applejack finally looked back at her sister and smiled, tears in her eyes. “I love you, sis. Be good.”

Applebloom wailed as the chains unwrapped themselves from the bag and darted out. They wrapped themselves around the earth pony and locked securely in place. The sack fell onto its side and opened wide. Within there was a great black void from which the only sounds that could be heard were wailing winds and screaming ponies.

Applejack stood fast as the chains began to drag her towards the sack.

Tears flowed down Diamond Tiara’s face as she held as tightly to Applebloom as she could. As she stared at Applejack’s approach to her fate, she noticed something amazing.

Applejack was getting… younger.

Every inch the chains dragged her seemed to take the years away from the mare. Soon she was a stocky teenager. Another few inches and she was a filly on the cusp of marehood. At the threshold of the sack, she was a filly not much younger than the ones she had just given her life to protect.

Even her Cutie Mark was gone.

Grogar watched the scene with quiet amusement… and then he took a step towards the fillies.

Applejack looked back with terrified eyes. “NO!” It was a filly’s cry, shockingly similar to Applebloom’s own. “WE HAD A DEAL!”

Grogar simply laughed and took another heavy step.

Applejack began to struggle against the enchanted chains, her honed by farm work muscles no longer at her call.

She felt her hoof touch the edge of the sack.

She looked back at the void and felt her blood freeze. Standing just inside the bag were a colt and two fillies. The colt was red and unnaturally tall for his age. One of the fillies was slate grey with a mane and tail that seemed to be as perfectly cut as stone. The other was the green of a young apple with hair the color of sunshine.

They were all smiling at her and laughing.

Tears ran from their eyeless sockets.

Applejack felt the chains loosen and turned to flee…

…and watched as the sack drew itself closed, held tightly closed by the enchanted chains

Her last wail echoed through the barn.

Applebloom screamed in agony and fell limp upon the floor of the barn. Diamond Tiara spit out her tail and sat heavily by her side.

The huge ram took another step, chuckling loudly. The bell on his neck danced and sang with every horrible peal of laughter that came from his throat.

Diamond Tiara lowered herself beside Applebloom, resigned to her fate.

“I’m sorry.” The yellow filly muttered.

“What?”

“I’m sorry I was such a crummy friend to you.” She sobbed as she met Diamond Tiara’s eyes. “I’m sorry that I held a grudge against you for so long.”

Diamond Tiara sniffled. “I’m sorry, too. I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you my problem sooner.”

The fillies embraced, their tears running into each other’s coats.

“Yer a good pony, Di. I never told you that. And yer a good friend.”

“You saved me, ‘Bloom. That’s the best thing anypony’s ever done for me.” Diamond Tiara felt her tiara fall and clatter to the floor. “You’re the best friend anypony could ask for.”

Grogar leaned towards the cowering fillies.

The lanterns all died as one.









The barn was suddenly filled with blazing light.

Grogar drew back with a surprised roar. He looked at the roof of the barn in confusion. The sun was not supposed to rise for hours yet.

But the light was not coming from outside.

Grogar looked back at his prey… and found they were on fire.

The two fillies were coated in a dancing violet flame that gave an unearthly light. The heat that came from the flame was comforting and strong but not overwhelming. The light was the light of safety and security.

Applebloom and Diamond Tiara were emitting the light of Friendship’s Flame itself.

Grogar roared in fury, determined not to be denied his prize. He reached out a hoof to grab the pair…

…and was touched by the flame.

Grogar cried out in shock and anger as his hoof caught flame. The fire spread across his entire being. He struggled against the fire’s heat and light, tried to retreat into his comforting cold and darkness, but the flame would not be denied.

Friendship decreed that Grogar had had his fill of misery this Hearth’s Warming.

The fire spread across the whole of Grogar’s enormous frame. He bellowed in defiance, but it was far too late. The light and heat grew and grew, forcing Grogar’s essence back to Tambelon for another year. The chains seemed to scream as the sack was caught as well, the bells finally ceasing their infernal jingling.

For an instant, the inside of the barn was brighter than the brightest daylight.

Then, just as suddenly as it had appeared, the light was gone.

Grogar’s final roar faded into silence. The howling winds petered out and died.

Applebloom and Diamond Tiara pulled apart and stared at each other in wonder. “Did we…?”

“Is he…?”

Wide grins broke out on their faces and they embraced again, squealing with joy.

“Hello?”

They looked up to see Sweetie Belle and Button Mash standing in the barn’s open doorway.

Button Mash was staring at the ground beside the two fillies. “Uh… is that what I think it is?”

All eyes fell on the enormous golden bell that now rested on the ground. Engraved in ornate writing along the bell’s rim was a single phrase, repeated over and over again;

For Goodness Sake

The four little ponies screamed as a small shape jumped in from the hole in the roof.

It was a filly. Her fur was grey and her mane was shining silver. She reached out a hoof and caressed the bell reverently.

Diamond Tiara swallowed. “Silvy?”

Silver Spoon looked up sharply. Her mouth was frozen in a rictus grin. Her eye sockets were empty and staring, tears still running down her cheeks.

Diamond Tiara reached behind her and carefully handed her best friend her glasses.

Silver Spoon cocked her head in confusion at first, then seemed to freeze in sudden remembrance. She lifted the cracked frames to her face and adjusted them until they were perfectly centered.

For a single instant, the old Silver Spoon was back. She smiled at Diamond Tiara with kindness in her eyes. “Thank you. I’m sorry.”

“Silvy…” Diamond Tiara started.

But the spell was broken. The grinning ghoul that Silver Spoon had become bent down, grasped the heavy bell in her mouth, and vanished out the hole in the roof and into the night beyond.

The silence that followed seemed to stretch on forever.

“Well.” Button Mash clapped his hooves together and looked around at the three fillies. “At the risk of not sounding cool in front of my new marefriend, I could really use my mommy right about now.”

/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

The blizzard had cleared completely by the time the sun began to rise. The four little ponies emerged from the barn at first light and started the trek back towards Ponyville. For the rest of the night, they’d comforted each other and did their best to get some sleep.

Now it was time to find the others and tell them what had happened.

Diamond Tiara pushed her tiara back into place and looked at Applebloom. “What’s going to happen to you now?”

“I dunno.” The filly shrugged as she walked. “S’pose they’ll send me off to Manehatten to live with Babs until I get old enough to inherit the farm.”

Diamond Tiara sniffed indignantly. “And have my new best friend leave for a few years. Nonsense. You can come live with me until the farm is fixed back up.”

Applebloom gave the rich filly a small grin. “And I suppose you’ll have no problem getting’ your mom and dad to agree to that?”

Diamond Tiara rolled her eyes. “It’s not like somepony didn’t help me understand that my special talent is getting other ponies to do what I want or anything.”

Behind them, Sweetie Belle was briefing Button Mash on what to do around Rarity. “Most importantly, do not tell her that we’re together.”

“Why not?” Button pouted. “Embarrassed of me already?”

Sweetie Belle pecked his cheek. “Of course not. But if she catches even an inkling of the fact that we’re special someponies, she’ll start fitting me for wedding dresses.”

The two ran right into the tails of Applebloom and Diamond Tiara. The two fillies were standing frozen in the middle of the road.

“I… I don’t think Rarity’s going to be a problem, Sweetie Belle.” Applebloom muttered.

Sweetie Belle and Button Mash pushed up until they could see what had spooked the other two.

Button Mash fell face first into the snow in a dead faint.

Sweetie Belle started screaming uncontrollably and raced ahead as fast as she could.

Diamond Tiara sat back on haunches and started to laugh uncontrollably, tears running down her cheeks as the sound became not that much unlike a high, keening wail.

Applebloom looked back on the night before.

“We’re here so our parents could get rid of us for the night.”

“Discarded on Hearth’s Warming Eve.”

“…we are all being punished for it."

"It ain't about what you believe or how old you are anymore! He's here now, and he will not stop until he has claimed us all."

Ponyville was ruined.

Huge icicles pierced upwards through the roofs of houses. The buildings that were still standing were either frozen solid or packed so tightly with snow that it poured from windows like waterfalls. An enormous snowdrift had buried the center of town, the Town Hall only visible by the uppermost part of its roof.

There was no sign of anypony anywhere.

They were all gone.

With a sudden stirring of wings, Princess Celestia herself landed in the snow. She took in the devastated town with shock and horror. She looked down at Applebloom and touched her shoulder with a hoof. “My little pony; what happened here? Where is everypony?”

Applebloom looked up at her with sunken eyes, her once red mane now the same white as the snow. A single tear ran down her cheek. “Grogar. Grogar came to town and punished them. He punished them all.” She grinned. "You better be good, Princess. You better be good... for goodness sake."

Without another word, she wrapped her foreleg around Diamond Tiara’s shoulders and joined her in her screaming laughter.

The sound of madness echoed in the emptiness of Ponyville.

And above that, just barely audible, was the ringing of a single bell.

Comments ( 54 )

Applejack’s bed, bathed in Sweetie Belle’s magic, rose into the air and swung like a huge, oblong golf club. It struck Grogar full on and knocked the ram right through the wall and into the howling storm.

Sweetie Belle: ...Did I just smash the Krampus.

Yeesh.

I think that's actually what bothered me from the beginning- it wasn't just Silver acting out, it was Ponyville as a whole having to take a level in jerkass to justify this setup. Heck, that's why I had no interest whatsoever in Krampus. But eh, you've gotta follow your muse, and it works for what it is.

Merry Christmas.

And that's how Equestria was sa....no, no not saved. Not saved at all. But a good story none the less! Families destroyed, children driven to laughing madness, another villain from an old story proving to be real. With how many "old pony tales" turn out to be real, I wouldn't treat anything as "an old legend". I'd treat it as "Heads up, bad things coming". Keep up the great work!

I think I just wet myself.

Holy shit. Dark but pretty freakin awesome!

“Hey! Goat face!”
Both Grogar and Button Mash looked to the room’s doorway.
Sweetie Belle squared herself and glared, her minute horn lit with the same emerald light that had saved her from impalement.

YAY :yay:


Oh. OH. Uh, well, shit.

Terrifying. Even best pony could not escape. :ajsleepy:

6788120 The Apple Bloom thing is a tradition of mine since in my big Continuity of stories I've just always written it like that.

6788487
Well if anything, at least you're consistent.

Very nice~
Always nice to see some holiday cheer being spread by good ol' Grogar

This was terrifying. Horrid. Complete with a creepy ending, and lots of death.


I LOVE IT.

I usually stay away from horror fics, since I basically never get scared by anything, but this is still a damn well written story. That said, it seems weird to me that Grogar hadn't been hunted down centuries ago.

6885937 How do you hunt what hunts you?

6886631

Uhh... they know where he lives. (I know you're just trying to be melodramatic here.)

6886729 The frozen city of Tambelon exists far past the frozen north where lay the Crystal Empire in her shining glory. Should any expedition reach the ruin, they would find only crumbling buildings and ancient texts on the walls.

Of course, that expedition would likely never return...

Disliked because the foal characters were weird with their maturity, they switched between acting like six year olds and teenagers, and the adults didn't do a better job at breaking up the conflict.

Hmm...........hehehe.........HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA....BWAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:pinkiecrazy:

WHY

DOES THIS NOT HAVE MORE LIKES AND VIEWS?????!!!!!!

Why does this not have more likes and reviews? What a freakin fantastic story!

7994665 well you're lucky now because scribbler is doing a dramatic reading of this at Christmas.

Godaaaamm. That was some intense shit. Yeah, that about sums it up. This will be a classic grimdark to remember. The story is very, very interesting and well thought out, but the only thing I feel off about is the main cast. I think you know why but that doesn't phase me the slightest when it comes to good grimdarks. Well done man, have a good one. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAH! :pinkiecrazy:

I love it, also at the very end when they see the town my head was all: "You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!"

Okay, this has nothing to do with the story, but can we talk about that spare stetson for a sec? Or stetson in general? Does anyone else find it odd that Applejack's original stetson survived hell and high water only to be defeated by a crappy lawn mower?

I would be impressed with a story of a human that is a Applejack fan would do if he arrived after this happened and he goes to save her . I have some ideas for it but I’m bad at writing so if you decide to write it that would be awesome. Ps if the human would be Anon that would be 20% cooler :pinkiehappy:

If what I read is right then everyone was taken so here is a better idea. What if after this happens Calestia finds a forbidden spell that summons 6 Champions of harmony to save the main six and the 6 Champions are all friends that are in different branches of the army so they all have a different set of skills. And their powers after being summoned are amunity to magic and the ability to summon their equipment whether it be armor, guns, meds, ammo, or aka transportation like cars or plains. Also the reason the spell is forbidden is that the summoned have no way back to their world. :pinkiehappy:

Well this was a hell of a lot darker than what I intended to read on Christmas Eve. But it's excellently written and among the best horror stories I've read on here.

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

I applaud your dedication to darkness. :D We don't need no happy endings!

At least it wasn't TiaraBloom too. :V

Comment posted by ChangelingProductions deleted Mar 5th, 2018

6886780
I know this is über late, but I have to say you might be on to something, this description sounds like the beginning of something epic. Also, would it be possible that Tambelon was a city perhaps a capitol from the pre-unification ponies?

If grogar can be thrown across sweet apple acres with enough exerted force, that has to mean he has a limit to the amount of damage he can take. He isn't an ethereal being, essentially. So if I were Celestia, (or if I were one of the surviving foals(though in this case it would require quite a lot of years training)) I would just go after him, and defeat him the old fashioned way.

Reading this again before Christmas feels great. It's still as a good a story as I remembered.

So is this based on Krampus?

8077827
There is a slapstick scene in one of the episodes where Applebloom runs through the farmhouse, a closet door opens... and 50 Stetsons and red bows avalanche out.

Any one other them me, have an overwhelming urge to mount an expedition to the frozen north and go goat hunting?

Diamond Tiara sat back on haunches and started to laugh uncontrollably, tears running down her cheeks as the sound became not that much unlike a high, keening wail.

Applebloom looked up at her with sunken eyes, her once red mane now the same white as the snow. A single tear ran down her cheek. “Grogar. Grogar came to town and punished them. He punished them all.” She grinned. "You better be good, Princess. You better be good... for goodness sake."
Without another word, she wrapped her foreleg around Diamond Tiara’s shoulders and joined her in her screaming laughter.
The sound of madness echoed in the emptiness of Ponyville.
And above that, just barely audible, was the ringing of a single bell.

I'm sure you can't tell, but my smile is big and wide and my eyes are bleeding - just from pure joy right now.

THe MaDNeSS MuST SToP CoNTiNue!

hehehehehehHAHHAAHAHAHAHAHHAhHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAHAHAHHAHA

That ending tho

Remember to always be good friends or everyone you know will get murdered, kids! Also, stay in school.

I never understood the term: Chills down one's spine, but I do know now and it's quite unnerving.
I also now understand the saying: feel a cold hand clutch ones heart, and my heart is shaken up and feel a empty void as if something is missing.
My body temperature has literally dropped and I can't stop trembling about White-haired Applebloom shrieking in Madness. My Santa Hooves perserve us.
Now, I know true horror and shock a backstabbing twist of events bring you.
Well played sir. Very... well... played.

7773655
Because pure horror isn't something to be liked or to be read. It is to be feared and told out in whispers and is tried to be forgotten, denying the fact that ever existed until it comes back for you.

Comment posted by Peace4All deleted Mar 19th, 2020
Comment posted by Peace4All deleted Mar 19th, 2020
Comment posted by Peace4All deleted Mar 19th, 2020

As crazed laugh of the two fillies cut through the air, Frozen Winds of the North blows through the dark, frozen streets of Dead Ponyville, the haunting carol of the Bells are the only grim reminder that today is the most joyous day of the year; Heart's Warming day.
[Camera slowly zooms out, the screen fades away, turns black and credits roll.]

I reread this story and while I still love, it is also the first story on Fimfiction that I feel I must critique (as little as it matters, being five years too late.

First of all, the first thing I really like that the story ended with the destruction of Ponyville. It does seem rather uncharacteristic that the rest of the Mane Six, especially of course, Rarity with Sweetie Belle and Rainbow Dash with Scootaloo, would just abandon the CMC, but I chalk it up to them being unfortunate victims of circumstance.

Honestly, with the ending and Granny Smith's story, the overall story just makes me think of this as a Heathswarming answer to the Candy Mare of "Something Sweet To Bite" (funnily enough both stories have a character called 'Pumpkin Patch'. We have a supernatural beastie for both Hearthswarming, and Nightmare Night...I wonder what other festival ghouls and proven-true myths have been made for the other pony holidays....

The parts I really like about this story is Grogar as a the pony equivalent of Krampus just fits so well (and its suprizing how his character here still fits into the canon, G4 version of him). However the idea of Santa Hooves (not Santa Clops?) just feels...weird. It just really drew me out of the story for a moment every time it came up. Grogar on his own would have worked far better, or at least just fine, in my eyes. He needs not the good counterpart.

The realistic characterizations and developement regarding Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's redemption was honestly just fantastic, especially the interactions between Apple Bloom and Diamond Tiara.

Applejack's sacrifice is so fitting and in character too, futile as it was...I did wonder how the taken ponies lose their eyes...do the other 'foals' rip them out?

And of course, Grogar takes his sweet time snatching Button Mash (honestly, I was not a fan of such a typical fan pairing in my original reading, but I've warmed up to it much more in the last four years XD), so Sweetie Belle could rescue him. I do like that scene (just the idea of this eldritch abomination being punting by a little girl swinging a bed...HA!), but that is typical of some villains and a frequent flaw of those in MLP:FiM.

Next, I have a few issues with characterization. First of all, the way you characterized Marble. She is every stereotypically negative trait about female characters - cowering in fear instead of trying to head to safety, requiring Applejack to rescue her. And that would have been fine and understandable on its on, but did you REALLY have to throw in the old 'fainting woman' cliche? And her death...twisting her ankle? Really? Really? Not to mention her not doing a single useful, interesting or helpful thing in the entire story. She could have been removed and it would make little to no difference. She was only there to be a useless, helpless victim and I hate that.

Finally, we have Scootaloo. You made her an idiot (going up the stairs, when, by this time in both canon and the situation and then, even more stupid, running/flying OUTSIDE, WHERE GROGAR IS) and why is it always Rainbow Dash and/or Scootaloo that go first in these kinds of stories...

Anyway, I know you will likely not respond to this, but I just wanted to put my thoughts down do they were not just floating around in there.

10673168

Honestly, with the ending and Granny Smith's story, the overall story just makes me think of this as a Heathswarming answer to the Candy Mare of "Something Sweet To Bite" (funnily enough both stories have a character called 'Pumpkin Patch'. We have a supernatural beastie for both Hearthswarming, and Nightmare Night...I wonder what other festival ghouls and proven-true myths have been made for the other pony holidays....

I love 'Something Sweet to Bite,' so to see it mentioned in the comments of my own little piece of holiday horror makes me feel so warm and fuzzy.

However the idea of Santa Hooves (not Santa Clops?) just feels...weird. It just really drew me out of the story for a moment every time it came up. Grogar on his own would have worked far better, or at least just fine, in my eyes. He needs not the good counterpart.

This is one of those things that I aim to rectify in the so-called "Author's Cut" of the story that I've been meaning to put out a print edition of these past few years. While I agree with your assessment (especially given how it's explicitly stated in the story that it's the adults who leave the gifts, not Santa) I prefer to think of it as a modified version of the Santa Hooves I cooked up way back in my old story 'Let it Snow.' If I may quote myself...

“Besides, she's the same age I was when my parents told me about Santa Hooves. How he stops visiting when you reach a certain age.”

Spike placed the last gift and faced his unicorn lover. “Do you know why he stops visiting?”

Rarity shrugged.

“Because when you're young, there's so much less you have to worry about. You have an innocence about you that lets you believe that anything is possible and there's nothing truly terrible in the world.” He looked at the Hearth's Warming tree, all twinkling lights and delicate baubles. “Santa Hooves rewards that innocence, that belief, with his gift-giving visit each year. But when a filly or colt starts to grow up, starts to lose that innocence... they stop believing. And they don't need Santa Hooves anymore.”

Applejack's sacrifice is so fitting and in character too, futile as it was...I did wonder how the taken ponies lose their eyes...do the other 'foals' rip them out?

Nothing I could come up with could match the horrors you could imagine.

Next, I have a few issues with characterization. First of all, the way you characterized Marble. She is every stereotypically negative trait about female characters - cowering in fear instead of trying to head to safety, requiring Applejack to rescue her. And that would have been fine and understandable on its on, but did you REALLY have to throw in the old 'fainting woman' cliche? And her death...twisting her ankle? Really? Really? Not to mention her not doing a single useful, interesting or helpful thing in the entire story. She could have been removed and it would make little to no difference. She was only there to be a useless, helpless victim and I hate that.

Marble was a late stage addition to the story, thrown in for the "I like getting coal" joke and to purposely act as the damsel. 'Grogar' is my love letter to the fantasy horror genre, and you have to have at least one traditionally useless character.

Finally, we have Scootaloo. You made her an idiot (going up the stairs, when, by this time in both canon and the situation and then, even more stupid, running/flying OUTSIDE, WHERE GROGAR IS) and why is it always Rainbow Dash and/or Scootaloo that go first in these kinds of stories...

When I wrote this, we weren't too far removed from "Sleepless in Ponyville," wherein it's shown how easily Scootaloo falls to her fears. She follows AJ as an act of bravado, but being confronted with the truth of her situation makes her break, sadly leading to her demise.

I'm glad you liked the story! I just recently posted a proper sequel/anniversary story called 'Apple Valley: a Hearth's Warming Horror Story.' You should check that out! I'd love to hear your thoughts on that one as well.

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