• Member Since 11th Nov, 2017
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Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do study history are doomed to watch other people repeat it.


Years have passed since the Great War. A retired Twilight Sparkle visits the grave of one of Equestria's fallen heroes and sits down to rest and converse.

This story is part of the AU canon "War's Generation," but may be read as a standalone.

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Cover art is a public domain image from Free Images.

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 19 )

Is this a sequel, or is it based off of the Sombra Timeline from The Cutie Re-Mark Part 1?

I really enjoyed this. Thank you. I felt the sadness, saw the field, and heard the wind.

Actually, it's completely separate. I have an idea for an alternative canon that picks up somewhere before the Season 3 finale (more because logistically having Twilight as an alicorn would be a hassle than anything else) and features several allegories to the World Wars. It may be some time before I put them out, but I have one medium length fic planned for the Great War that Twilight fought in, and another one planned for a war around two decades later where she was the PM. Who knows when I'll actually get them finished, but if you liked this one I hope you'll see at least one of the others finished within the year.

I'm glad you enjoyed this. Trying to evoke specific emotions and ambiance, especially with a dialogue heavy story, is always a unique challenge, and I'm happy to see that it had that effect. Thank you.

This was a very emotional experience. I need to read your other work when I have the time.

As much as I love action and conflict, I always appreciate the stories that show the ripple effects that can have on individuals.

Everyone reacts to trauma differently. Some break down, others don't. Some completely lose it, others are melancholic.

Not every wound is one you can see.

I'm glad you like it; always good to have feedback.

One day I hope to expand on this particular AU and show more in-depth the wars that Twilight's generation has faced, and those will be more on the action side of things, but I wanted to ground this AU first in the soul of the soldiers.

I think often about Tolkien, who survived the horrifying Battle of the Somme that 'The Green Fields of France' references. I can't help but wonder how much of him was present in Frodo's musing: "How do you pick up the threads of an old life? How do you go on, when in your heart, you begin to understand, there is no going back?" Trauma need never be the end. But we'd be fools to pretend that it doesn't change things.

Thanks again for the feedback. Hope to hear from you again.

8672298 Be careful with Pony War fics. Remember, they have magic... when you truly consider the horrors magic could unleash in war, it makes nuclear annihilation look like children lobbing water balloons.

Physics limits what we can do. Take away those bonds... can you even imagine what could be done? They can change physical structure, use telekinesis, form shields, alter minds, teleport, fire magical destruction beams.. and that's just the basics. Think of magic applied to make poisons more deadly, diseases more virulent. What could be done to hone the effects of Poison Joke towards more horrific outcomes?

Starlight Glimmer nearly destroyed the world all on her own, with nothing but basic time travel. Had Twilight not decided to believe Tirek would keep his word and let them go (which for some reason he did... which no actual self-respecting villain ever would once he had all the power) they'd have been blasting each other indefinitely and vaporized a good portion of the planet in the meantime.

And they have LIBRARIES worth of spells, an entire wing devoted to a single unicorn! Can you imagine all of that magical knowledge bent toward killing? They'd never bother with guns, save those that could shoot spells (think a Caster Gun).

In the anime "Outlaw Star", only a small number of beings could use Magic in a universe almost depleted in its source (mana). In Equestria, magic is EVERYWHERE, seemingly limitless, and beings which would be called 'gods' in our world number at least a dozen in canon. Equestria would never survive a full-fledged war. They have too much power if they put it all toward aggression. It would result in the Dead World.

It's why I tend to be very hard on stories with ponies familiar with brutal warfare: the stories have to prevent the ponies from every really considering what they could do with their magic, constraining them for the sake of the plot. Inevitably, in any plausible setting, they'd destroy themselves. Even a treaty to avoid using magic would only last until one side started outright losing. MAD is the only actual logical outcome of a large conflict. It's why I think they'd all try very very hard to avoid a war between magical races, the same as nuclear powers here on Earth.

Playing devil's advocate, a number of people have theorized that most unicorns don't have a ton of magic except in cases like Twilight or Starlight. As a result, while there would be some horrifying spells used broadly in war, only a few would likely to be able to use them. The great leveler (assuming it was invented) would be the gun, which is like having a pocket unicorn wizard in terms of stopping power, and it takes either one very talented unicorn casting a shield or several trained normal unicorns casting one to block even some bullets. Problem is, the bullets can chip through eventually, and you need to cast before the enemy shoots or else you won't beat the muzzle velocity. So long as stories account for this (like NCMares' excellent Night Mares fic), I'll suspend my disbelief for the sake of a good story.

That said, I totally get being skeptical. The difficulty of averting disaster would be quite difficult in a world like this, which would go a long way to explaining Celestia's long-term peace policy.

8813723 Yeah, that's not even theory. A theory at least needs some solid data. This is at best a 'hypothesis', which we can take with a grain of salt because the show hasn't outlined an 'average' for unicorn ability very well... or anything else in the world, for that matter. After 8 years, you'd think SOMETHING would start fitting together.

We have no idea how much power is required for each spell... and let's be honest, general spells to kill wouldn't require much. Think of what Rarity could do with all those sharp things she can levitate all at once. And teleporting a stone or other small object inside somepony's head wouldn't be hard either. There's a reason the CIA deeply investigated even the remotest possibility that a tiny trace of supernatural power could exist, you know. The advantages of it for espionage and assassination are staggering.

Anyway, we keep getting 'exceptions' like Starlight and now alicorns can be born... I can't buy into the notion of anything being consistent with Equestria. If the show writers needed them all to be Super Saiyains, I suspect they would be. And without explanation, as usual.

Fortunately for us, there's fanfiction. The advantage there being that the author can clarify things up front to explain the need for weapons beyond spells. E.g. combat spells take a lot of mana to perform throughout the battle; a gun achieves the same results, but ammunition is more plentiful than mana and can't be shut down or stolen by enemy magic (think Tirek). And, while it's true that the show's lack of clarity can complicate things by muddying the waters too much, the lack of clarity has the advantage of lending a certain measure of artistic license for the sake of exploring a modern war in the MLP setting if a modern war is the best vehicle for the story. I, for instance, have spent a lot of time studying WWI and WWII, and have dealt personally with a lot of Vietnam and Iraq I and II veterans. If I want to tell a story about a character dealing with Shell Shock or symptoms of PTSD consistent with a modern conflict, I can set the terms and conditions that would allow for the creation of guns as long as I establish them up front. Now, whether or not the reader accepts these conditions is up to them, but I prefer to err on the side of more options for storytelling. And, given that a few veterans have let me know that they appreciate my take on such stories, I consider it to be personally worth it even if it does stretch the imagination. But I get that it's not for everyone.

8816062 I just prefer not to leave out the magical aspects, since magic is so utterly integral to the structure and function of their entire planet. It's stranger for them NOT to make use of magic in warfare. It would be akin to us trying to invent magical weapons while ignoring the conventional technology we have all around us.

People use what they know best. And ponies know magic.

And that's why for the stories that I'm working on where guns are used, I try to integrate magic into adaptive tactics. E.g. short bursts of shields against salvos, telekinesis for throwing up cover from rocks during a charge, things of that nature. The gun is the great equalizer of war in that any idiot can use it, but on the other hand a skilled strike force integrating the proper application of magic with firearm proficiency would be more effective. And seeing how the different soldiers react to the changes in tactics and what the changing scope of war does psychologically is, itself, a part of the story.

Though, ultimately, I admit that I'm more trying to make rules fit a theme rather than a theme fit rules. One thing that I've found beneficial about this conversation, though, is that you've persuaded me to take another look at my outlines for my gun-using war fics (most of which are still in development) and reconsider the tactical application of magic and how it could be expanded within the theme that I'm trying to create. As a result, they're becoming stronger and more magically inclined, so I guess I owe you a hearty 'thank you' for that. :ajsmug:

8818042 I shall only be pleased if one gun fires magical bullets and is wielded by a pony named 'Starwind'.

Actually... holy crap, a crossover that actually makes sense! :pinkiegasp:

Fair enough. Though I still thank you for making me take a second look at some of the practical elements of these stories that I'm developing.

I read this for context on your latest story. Beautiful work of tragedy, regret, and hope as Twilight tries to reconcile the paradox of fighting for peace that has defined her life. Though part of me can't help but think...

I can’t help but wonder how things might have been different, how we all got this way, why we choose to hate when we can love, how if a single moment could change we’d...

She may be on to you. Hopefully she never learns who to blame.

In all seriousness, thank you for this. On to the next entry in this continuity.

It's best if my characters never know that I am the author of all their pain.

That was powerful. I liked the emphasis on the alliances and friendships that Twilight is responsible for brokering, the little glimpses of what all our favorite characters did for the war effort (dear heaven above, Fluttershy would make the best chaplain), and especially the role that the magic of Twilight's friendships plays in her healing. No real gripes here.

Thank you. I was particularly proud of that aspect of the story.

This is really good. I'd go on, but I'm on mobile, and need to brood on what to say.

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