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Twilight floated a second fritter up to her mouth when she realized the first was gone. “What is in these things?” “Mostly love. Love ‘n about three sticks of butter.”

T

A decade after uniting with the other tribes under the banner of Equestria, there are some fading traditions that the warrior pegasi cling to. One of those is an honor foal for the most commendable female officers; an opportunity to bear a foal of their line while remaining counted as on duty, with full support of the tribe in its care and upbringing.

When Major Pansy is granted an honor foal, she sees it as a chance to offer the strength of her line to the future of Equestria, despite having let her service to tribe and country prevent her from ever having found a suitable mate. But she knows just the pony she wants for its father: a strong pony, a brave and skilled soldier, a wise commander, and the dearest of friends. Considering it, she may want even more from him than a sire for her foal.

But Commander Hurricane has always protected his emotions with a stony mask and an armor constructed so that nopony can pierce it. Especially not the one pony he holds above all others in his esteem: the hopeless soldier who once stood before him for discharge with the true spirit of a pegasus shining through her.  


Set in the same continuity as Sun and Hearth and Respect and Respectability, but neither are required reading.

Thanks to GhostOfHeraclitus, bats, Themaskedferret, Axis of Rotation, and Merc the Jerk for prereading.

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 47 )

Excellent, Book. I'm glad to see you got this uploaded!

Such a fast release schedule too... Are you trying to spoil us all?

Cookie and Clover snarking is always good snarking. The history and lore is superb here too, though a bit subtler, I would think - it suits Pansy's character well and sets the atmosphere nicely.

The honor foal concept is an interesting one, and one that I'm a bit surprised that you'd tackle. It's probably just due to my worries about what could be done with the concept by a less scrupulous writer. Instead, you're doing a good job of framing a romance story in the framework of a society where such stories are going to be more restricted in nature. Indeed, the rigid structure of Pansy's life is what makes the idea of her acting like this is her first crush so believable. I look forward to more.

Also, is Compass Rose a reference to Daetrin's Cartography of War?

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I love how immersive it is to hear hurricane's dated thoughts and idoms. These are two characters who are not used to communicating these emotions which will make for an awesome anime story.

Always happy to see more of this setting, especially since now we're getting a pegasus story to balance out the other two. Eagerly anticipating how two feathered Spartans deal with the whole "emotions" thing.

8468260
No, I'm trying to taunt you. It's done, but I like making readers squirm.

Actually, I think 26k all at once would scare off a lot of people (I know it would scare me off.) So releasing it over a few days was my compromise.

8468411
Thank you!

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The honor foal concept is an interesting one, and one that I'm a bit surprised that you'd tackle. It's probably just due to my worries about what could be done with the concept by a less scrupulous writer.

This is interesting. I feel like this describes a lot of the stories I've written -- Best Young Flyer, Wet Feathers, Good Ponies Don't, Maidens Day. I seem to have the mind of a less scrupulous writer, but with extra scruples.

Also, is Compass Rose a reference to Daetrin's Cartography of War?

No, I've actually never read that one. Though I'm not surprised it's been used before, it's a great pony name.

8469015
You're welcome! It made my day seeing this in my feed, so I just had to comment.

8468879
The pegasi are excellent at dealing with emotions! I mean, they deal with them by hiding, burying, repressing, and avoiding them, but that's technically dealing with them, right?

8468673
Now communicating them... yeah, that's another matter.

8469077

The pegasi are excellent at dealing with emotions! I mean, they deal with them by hiding, burying, repressing, and avoiding them, but that's technically dealing with them, right?

Hey, works ok for the Irish.

These are early because there was one word I was on the line about, and I realized I was in serious danger of spending the entire night changing it, changing it back, bothering my prereaders, deciding to rewrite the whole sentence, and then changing that back and trying to decide what to do about the original word, all over one word that literally none of you will notice.

So, getting it published seemed like a good way to maintain my sanity.

8470930
I'm curious to what the word is. And I can see why it would come to that. Writer problems are strange ones.

If Commander Hurricane and Private Pansy were voiced, what would they sound like?

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In the cave, when Clover gets snarky about the tribe leaders' negotiations, I couldn't decide if Hurricane thought of her as a unicorn or a stick head in that sentence. He tended to use the slurs more often in the abstract or when a pony from another tribe was being troublesome. I couldn't decide if that was disrespectful enough to warrant the slur, and how the magic fire and the fact that Clover was technically a diplomat in that situation fit into it.

8471041
'Stick head' is always welcome in these stories. Creative insults are obviously what makes a story good. Nothing else.

Guess what?

I'm still enjoying this story. It's clear now that though this story has romance in it, it's more of a coming of age story than straight romance. It's like Pansy somehow managed to take those budding highschool emotions and bury them deeeeeeeeeep inside her, and now we get to see how this stoic military mare handles herself when she can no longer deny that they're there.

I can't wait for the eventual breakdowns. Especially Hurricane's. Oh please let him have a super dramatic breakdown, please please please! :pinkiehappy:

Hurricane shot back pretty soon after Pansy called him attractive...

Got my theories, but I'll just wait :ajsmug:

Anyway, i'm loving this story. I respect the way how you pace it. Consisting mostly dialogue with minimal but necessary action in between. And when you explain the inner thoughts of characters or other outside details it's brief and I love that cause it doesn't slow the story down.

Anyway, keep up the good work my good man :pinkiehappy:

If Commander Hurricane and Private Pansy were voiced, what would they sound like? If you don't know, then just say so.

It's no wonder Puddinghead has Cookie around if she's saying things like that to a friend.

8475392
I'm sorry, I've been trying to think. I know what they sound like but I'm having a hard time coming up with actors. Miranda Otto as Eowyn in LotR isn't far off for Pansy, if it helps.

...six thousand and one attempts later...

Well, I guess we know the name Puddinghead is literal, now.

You know, even though this ended happily I STILL can't get over the fact that he can't father a foal. As a man, that really stings me, especially since I DO want kids. Just had to say it.

Anyway, this was great writing still.

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I totally understand. To be fair, it took Hurricane 30-odd years and the love of his life damn near bashing him over the head to get over it, and he's still happy that Clover might be able to offer them a way.

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Yeah, that's definitely true and I am happy about that.

It's just that I watched movies, read books and even stories on this site where a girl is infertile and has to deal with it.
And even THEN I still really feel their pain. This is pretty much my first time seeing a story where it's on the man's side and... it just REALLY got me.

scared of spears now O_O

Regardless, this really was great writing man, gonna read another story of yours, keep it up :pinkiehappy:

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Just fyi, I've got no problem answering to "man" (and I do regularly,) but I'm actually female. :ajsmug:

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:pinkiegasp:

O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O O_O

Uummm... I... uh...I uh... um... well uh... I just um... :ajbemused:

I'm sorry :twilightblush:

I'm honestly kinda touched with what you wrote now.
God Bless :scootangel:

Well, that went in a direction I wasn't expecting. Very nice.

It has been a while since I last read a chapter that well written.

I do love a couple whose flirting could find a home in scholarly journals.

...she’d organized a campaign against the griffons so bloody that it led to a treaty which lasted three whole months.

I love how that speaks volumes about pony-griffon relations at the time.

In any case, a wonderful romance and meditation on strength and weakness. I'm glad I prioritized this story on my catch-up lost. Thank you for another fantastic bit of early Equestrian history.

Congratulations, you have another fine story here. I definitely didn't expect infertility to play a part in this story, and embarrassingly it wasn't until all of the characters announced this revelation aloud that I realized what was going on. I guess because I have no desire to have kids the impact didn't hit me very hard, but the amount of time that the story built up the Pegasi idea of continuing the line did make up for that. This really isn't a theme that I would have expected from you, but it is important and you did a good job.

This is simply magnificent, from start to finish. Well done :twilightsmile:

...liquid pride:raritycry:

This was gorgeous, and far more than I expected. The turn was so surprising, yet obvious in hindsight.

Thank you for this. (And also for including it on your “best stories” list, without which I might never have read it)

So they're all sitting there comfortably, stuffing their smug faces while they talk smack about Pansy's love life. Just like every third nerd-klatsch I've ever been to.

Suddenly I don't really like these ponies. Or myself.

So your pegasi are basically Romulans with hooves and wings...

...actually, that's pretty clever :rainbowdetermined2:

This is like a Russian novel in miniature. Because the characters are all Ideals, or at least ideas, and they spend most of the time arguing about their proper relationships with one another. It can be great stuff if the setup's good and the dialog's interesting and it doesn't run on too long. Which in a Russian novel it always does. So that "in miniature" obviates the issue.

It also reminds me of when I was seventeen and I read Dostoevsky's The Idiot (I was trying to prove what a big strong brain I had) and I realized "Hey--I know these people!" I could have told you who was Natassya Filipovna and who was Rogozhin. And I--Prince Mishkin! Of course I made us all tragic romantic heroes because I couldn't believe anybody would write a 600+ page book about about a bunch of railing twaddling useless bores. Plus, teenage vanity.

But I was right (or more likely Dostoevsky was). I did know all these people. And they all did, eventually, turn out to be railing twaddling useless bores.

Comes now The Spirit of a Pegasus and its ruthlessly perceptive ear for dialog. Specifically for the kind of dull repetitive verbal cruelty served up as wit whenever nerds turn to the topic of sex. And I think, "Hey--I know these people!"

And "Hey--I'm one of them!"

Well, not lately. At least not so much. I did take part in this kind of raillery once but that was in the past and things have changed--the world of last Tuesday was a very different one, as I'm sure you'll agree.

And then remember
Not to forget
That you do it
And do it yet.

Other things:

I like how you address the matter of geriatric sex. It points up the unfairness of the situation in the story, and in life: these old farts trifle with it because they have it in abundance, yet the young who could put it to good loving use are denied it, or at least the full measure of it.

But the B&D inference is a nice sop to toss to us nerds (who still think Rocky Horror is SO 3DGY) before you rap us on the knuckles with the conclusion of the story: sex doesn't solve everything. Love and duty solve everything. Or at least enough things to go on to the next problem, which is all any solution ever does.

(Sex, by the way, does not solve any problems. Sex just creates new problems. That is the whole point of sex. The choice, as always, is between the problems you'd rather and the ones you'd rather not).

Yet in the end you're kind. Kind to the characters and kind to us nerds. Kinder than any of us deserves, except maybe Pansy. But in a real Russian novel she'd be dead at the bottom of the River Moskva before the story was halfway through. That's one reason I've never read another Russian novel (I prefer to read about them. It's like mountain-climbing).

I've gotten into the habit of ending my screeds with a coda, a little piece of music that sort of sums it all up. So let me follow your example and finish with something kindly. Yes, Warren Zevon can be kindly, but there's a vaguely martial air to the tune here which I think is also apt:

And thank you for telling me a story! :twistnerd:

L'Envoi

I think I've got Hurricane's anthem--

Come my brothers
Come all fighting men
Come together while we may
We ne'er may meet again
Come you soldiers
Sing out proud and brave
Each man fallen
Stirs now in his grave...
We remember

And in fact his complete commute jam:

One question, what is the g-word? :rainbowhuh:

Loved your story! Very well written and sweet. Thank you for the read. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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