• Published 8th Oct 2017
  • 1,726 Views, 17 Comments

The Scars of the Past - Lil Penpusher

Tempest's time had come, at last. The Fleet was nearing Canterlot, and she was the one to lead the assault. Finally, after years of training and waiting, her dream of shattering the childish delusion of friendship would become a reality.

  • ...

To Taste Revenge

The day had come. At last, after years and years of waiting, after intense training and exercise, it had come.

Tempest’s flagship was the first to lift off, leading the assault. She had been appointed Commander prior to the attack by the Storm King himself, having proven to him that she was both powerful and capable. Tempest, however, knew that he needed her. He was a coward, and a weak one at that. He had tried to bribe her time and again, at first promising her riches and fame, but later on power and even the restoration of her horn.

All of this didn’t matter, though. Tempest did not fight for the Storm King, didn’t fight for whatever he could promise her. The scars of her past, the darkness and bitterness within her... it couldn’t be undone. He could promise Tempest nothing she would have wanted or needed.

No, she was there for her own reasons and ambitions. She despised the Storm King, saw him as unfit and incompetent, and yet he was powerful and influential. He had an army, an army of almost mindless servants. And for Tempest, the King was the tool with which she could finally, at long last, take her revenge.

Following the incident in her childhood, she had fled her village after her own best friends abandoned her. At first sorrow overtook her as she walked down the empty roads of Equestria. But the longer she walked, the more bitter she grew. She began to run, faster and faster. She tried her best, and yet she couldn’t outrun what laid behind her. She couldn’t back then when she was young, and she still couldn’t now.
It was that night, as she attempted to sleep, that one of the Storm King’s patrols found her. She cried, struggled and called for help, but to no use. Nopony was there, nopony would help and save her, and she was captured.

The days in the Storm King’s realm were hard and dark. Tempest, still a filly at that time, had to watch as ponies collapsed, exhausted from the forced labour they were told to do. The guards would toss them around like toys, and if the first toss didn’t help them get back on their hooves, the second one would be lethal.
She was no exception, at first. She, too, was chained and worked in labour camps. Everytime she stopped to take a deep breath, she would hear a deep grumble from the guards. No breaks were allowed. It was a deadly cycle of one meal a day, six hours of sleep and hard, manual labour. Most ponies could not survive the first three months.

One fateful day, Tempest was brought before the Storm King himself. She had rebelled against the guards, who had stolen her daily meal. Unexpectedly for the guards, however, Tempest was far more powerful than they had believed. The Storm King applauded as he was told that the young filly in front of him had knocked seven of his guards unconscious.

What she initially believed to be her death sentence turned into her saving grace. A long conversation was had with the Storm King, and from that day on Tempest grew to secretly hate him. His way of talking and handling others, how he made fun of her... yet she would continue to contain this hatred.
When Tempest left the King’s palace, she was no longer a captured filly that was forced to work herself to death. Instead, she was under the King’s protection, and would undergo years of training to prepare her to serve him well. No longer was she ‘Fizzlepop Berrytwist’. Tempest Shadow, servant of the Storm King, was born.

Tempest remembered the years of training as she stood at the bow of her ship, the wind blowing past her. She was reminded of her very first training sessions. She failed every test, forced to do it again until she finally got it right. At an obstacle course, she would be slapped every time she failed. As she grew up, the slapping turned into punching, harder and more violent punches with every passing day. At first Tempest cried, collapsing under the sheer pressure and pain of her training. Everytime she began to tear up or break down, she would simply be punched once again, and again, and again.
And even still, Tempest continued. She picked herself up and continued on, bit by bit, improving little by little under such terrible, harsh conditions. With every failure, she became more successful, with every slap and punch, she became stronger, with every tear she became more ruthless.
This training, Tempest would come to think, made her what she now was. It made her what she had to be, in order to achieve her goal. Her goal of revenge, of vengeance.

Her training had been completed a few months ago. There was no ceremony, no praise, no nothing. She was simply told she was ready, and as such the Storm King sent her out into the badlands to expand his influence.
From that day on out, the very name of ‘Tempest Shadow’ would send shivers down the spines of the inhabitants of the badlands. Her name, her myth, spread faster than her ship could fly. Everytime she and her raiding party arrived at a village or town, the next one was already in shock, trying to hide what they could find from her.

Oh, how Tempest loved it when they tried to resist or hide. It was a challenge, she felt. And she loved a good challenge. Time and again, those who opposed her would fall, casting terror into the very hearts of anyone who witnessed Tempest.
Soon, none in the badlands dared to stand in her way. She would be known as ‘the Storm King’s iron fist’ as she continued to enforce his rule in the badlands. Nobody, not even the most daring of pirates and adventurers, would pick a fight with her.

Power. She could feel the power she now had. Much to the Storm King’s delusion, the badlands bowed not to him, but to Tempest. It was her, she figured, that kept his throne and realm safe, and his law enforced. Without her, he was helpless, and she knew so.

A loud whistle sounded onboard Tempest’s flagship. An evil, confident smile formed on Tempest’s face. They had arrived at last. Canterlot was in sight.

The proud mare turned around and began her way downstairs to make ready for her great entrance. A low laugh accompanied her as she trotted down the stairs.

The time had come. Canterlot would fall, and the childish dream of friendship with it.

Author's Note:

Hope you enjoyed the story! If you enjoyed, please leave a like and perhaps a comment about what you enjoyed or disliked.


Comments ( 17 )

She would make an excellent Sith.

After seeing your post on I Just Want A Comment, I went ahead and did a read-through on this.

It's actually not bad! You did a good job capturing the consequences of Tempest's actions and written out a surprisingly strong backstory for her. The imprisonment, the ruthless training, all of it makes sense and holds a great weight in this world. It portrays Tempest Shadow not as an antagonist, but more of a fallen hero, which is an awesome path to go along.

I feel like the greatest weakness though is in the presentation. The backstory is great; how you described and showed it to us though felt very lackluster. There was very little emotion packed into it, despite it being a very emotional and traumatic backstory overall. Instead of me feeling Tempest's pain, her struggles, or even better, experiencing it through her own eyes, it felt more akin to a summary, where events are described sequentially like a history book.

I think the biggest reason that it feels like this is because there's no conflict. There ARE subjects that CAN be big conflicts: resisting the Storm King and his guard, fellow ponies that she met and struggles alongside, the sacrifices she must make in-order to progress in power are just a few. But they aren't highlighted or focused on. Instead, it's just "Event A happens. Tempest feels so and so about that. Event B happens. Tempest feels so and so about that."

To fix this, I propose splitting up your backstory instead of dumping it all in the first chapter. Instead of using a long, drawn-out flashback, skip ahead and have the story begin with the raid of Canterlot. That not only sets up your initial conflict, garnering in your reader's interest (if done right), but it also allows the reader to become invested in your main character(s). Flashbacks are good, but many times they lack the elements required in the introduction of a story. Namely the initial conflict and the engagement of the reader. If a reader isn't invested in a character, they will not be incentived to read through their entire backstory.

As you're writing the raid of Canterlot, slip in hints of her backstory here and there. Perhaps as Tempest is staring out from her airship, she can use a line like the following.

Tempest stares out from the flagship of the Storm King, a wicked grin stretched across her face. The scent of soot and ash in the air reminded her of the camps when she was a filly, when she was weak, and pitiful, and useless.

She told herself she wasn't that anymore.

By slipping in clues and hints here and there, you also add an element of mystery to her. What's Tempest's backstory? Why does she do the things that she does? This is much harder of course, and takes a good amount of skill to pull off. But if done right, can serve as another engaging tool to keep readers hooked and coming back for your story. Unraveling her backstory, her behaviors, and her motivations could be an awesome element of this.

Tl;dr: Good backstory, but it's presented very summary-like, and thus lacks conflict, engagement of the main character, and emotion. I recommend starting the story with the raid of Canterlot and slipping hints of her backstory here and there instead.

Thanks for the read!

Wow, many thanks for the long, thought-out feedback! That’s quite rare these days.

Reading through your post, I did realise that it might have been better to split apart thoughts and memories more clearly and expand upon them, perhaps even split them up in different chapters.
As you indirectly said, the main flaw of the story is how short it is for what it tells. The entire backstory of Tempest in about 1k words... yeah. It’s a bit mashed together, on second thought.

Again, thanks a ton for the feedback! I’ll definitely keep that in mind for upcoming stories! Who knows, perhaps I’ll even edit this one in the near future and expand upon it...? :unsuresweetie:

Cheers man! :twilightsmile:

I never read the backstories but nonetheless I enjoyed this interpretation. This story seems like a prequel to another Tempest Story; Reunited

The thing with this backstory is that it offers Tempest no reason to think that the Storm King could or would bring back her horn.

Not entirely. While in this story Tempest isn’t focused on regaining her horn, the Storm King did offer her to restore said horn if she followed him, which she did.

As I said in my previous post, It would have really been a good thing to stretch out the story, as it would have made things a lot clearer. Oh well, perhaps I really should edit it. Not that I would mind, anyway, this was fun to write! :twilightsmile:

No problem!

I didn't realize it was a one-shot; I was expecting there to be following chapters to this. :P So I suppose that was partially on my fault for not seeing that, and having wrong expectations for this story.

Regardless though, even if the full story is the flashback, it could definitely be delivered better. Perhaps on the ride over, Tempest would be looking out at the sights, at her ship, at the crew members down below. She could be reminiscing on her past as she did it, how she got her crew, the similarities when she was a filly and working like that, or whatever.

I don't think the length is a problem at all! I loved the backstory; I just didn't feel any threat or conflict, thus giving me the impression that this was a prologue to a longer story. Since it was a full short story, there DEFINITELY needs to be a strong, punchy conflict, a climax, and then some ending or resolution that Tempest comes upon. Perhaps as she's looking over the ship, she gets a flashback to when she was a filly, the trouble and harm that she went through. Perhaps she could reminisce on a day where she felt truly and horribly broken, that she couldn't go on anymore (perhaps the day she got her eye scar)?

Then, she would remember what happened directly afterwards, the conclusions and the life changes she made to get through it and endure. THAT would be an incredible story. I would absolutely love to read that.

No worries though! It's far better to write something mediocre and post it for the world to see than write a masterpiece and be deathly afraid to post it. You learn an absolute ton this way, and I'm glad to see that you're brave enough to endure all the criticism.

And you're totally welcome for the long, thought-out feedback! I'm incredibly passionate about writing, and I used to work for a popular editing group here on FIMFiction, so you could see where my experience comes from. I think the bulk of it though comes from seeing the incredible potential of what people's stories are and what they become, then wanting them to achieve or reach that.

Keep on writing!

Thanks man! I definitely will! And, on second thought, I might rework this story in one way or the other later. Perhaps edit it, perhaps turn it into a multi-chapter story, who knows.

Thanks again! :twilightsmile:

In the movie, I was hopping Tempest would betray the Storm King and overthrow him. Even in the movie and prequel book, it was clear she had the respect of the Storm Creatures and the army. Kinda like how Roman Emperors were dethroned by their own generals who were popular with their soldiers.

What does she need a horn for when she could have a magical staff with all the powers of the alicorns? Her stagging a coup against the Storm King would have been epic. It would have made a great character that much better.


It's far better to write something mediocre and post it for the world to see than write a masterpiece and be deathly afraid to post it. You learn an absolute ton this way

I can absolutely attest to the truth of this. Three years ago to the day I published the first chapter of my first MLP fanfic, and got into writing again after several years of nothing. That fic is The Princess That Equestria Never Had, and I'm currently working on its sequel. If I wasn't on mobile right now, I'd link them, but I think they illustrate your point pretty well.

We don't have her tagged yet?

Knighty is always a bit behind with adding tags :unsuresweetie:

I agree. Her whole schtick with the Storm King reminded me a lot of Darth Vader and the Emperor. Even down to the heroic sacrifice!

I think revenge stories are brilliant, especially those that have flashbacks. This reminds me of my story, The Lieutenant. I really enjoyed this. :derpytongue2:

All of this didn’t matter, though. Tempest did not fight for the Storm King, didn’t fight for whatever he could promise her. The scars of her past, the darkness and bitterness within her... it couldn’t be undone. He could promise Tempest nothing she would have wanted or needed.

No, she was there for her own reasons and ambitions. She despised the Storm King, saw him as unfit and incompetent, and yet he was powerful and influential. He had an army, an army of almost mindless servants. And for Tempest, the King was the tool with which she could finally, at long last, take her revenge.

Not for a country. Not for a king. No greater good. No just cause.
All for revenge.

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