• Member Since 24th Jul, 2013
  • offline last seen Apr 16th, 2019


Just a simple pegasister who likes world building.


This story is a sequel to When it Rains

The mighty Everfree Rangers. Once they protected pony kind from the monsters of the Everfree Forest. Now most of the order are branded as traitors for siding with the mad alicorn known as Chroma.

It is up to Lightning Dust to rebuild the lodge that she once pledged to. But with a collection of eclectic recruits on her hooves and a mysterious events dogging her efforts, will she be able to save the organization that means so much to her?

Chapters (9)
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Comments ( 71 )

Great work on this chapter.

Hmm. A Lightning Dust story. Trackiiiing.

I really don't know how you do it, but you do. Without even actually mentioning it at all, you have actually incorporated a key part of what gave these organizations of antiquity their character: Heritage.

Being an Everfree Ranger is more than just belonging to some kind of guild. It's more, even, than belonging to some kind of extended family. It's why old institutions are so resistant to changing, and I don't think a lot of people really understand that. The individual, even though they remain an individual, nevertheless becomes an extension of the organization. Slights and insults against the organization become the same against the individual. Saying that the organization is out-of-touch or obsolete is saying the same about the individual.

And, for as much as Lightning Dust knows that she did more than her part, she can't help it:, and every time she acknowledges that the Black Rooks failed the Heartlands, she can't silence that voice in her head that immediately corrects her: "I failed the Heartlands."


Thank you!


I hope that you'll enjoy this little AU take on Lightning Dust! :twilightsmile:


Yeah, Lightning Dust really does consider the lodge as her home and family, as it were. That heritage and legacy was something she really clung onto once she joined up.

It makes sense that she did. That heritage allowed her to become something greater than she was without it. Sure, she's got a fancy necklace now that basically cements her as greater than she is without it, but it's hard to forget where it is you came from.

Looking back on the chapter, now that I've had some time to digest it, each and every Lodge should be grateful that Sombra is even giving them this chance, because it means they aren't pulled into a larger conflict with the noble houses. At the same time, having the degree of civic loyalty they do is working against them, because the fact of the matter is that they are actually in control of these "negotiations." Say they refused to go along with this scheme. What then? They get imprisoned or disbanded, and then there will be no Rangers at all. And where will that leave the Heartlands? Undefended, that's where, because the alternative at that point is to have the various noble houses — that are, don't forget, actively and blatantly trying to undermine Sombra's and Chrysalis' rule — provide their own private militias for unchecked rebellion defense, and we all know how that would work out.

It really hammers home the frustration that Lightning Dust has to be feeling at... everything. It's obviously a power play by the nobles, who are obviously trying to undermine their rulers and put themselves on the throne, and nobody can do anything about it because it would just make things worse, so they have to play the game and somehow beat the odds. The Wolf Hearts have it easy; they don't even need to do anything. Not so for Lightning Dust.

And now we all eagerly await the next chapter in the tale of the Last Rook.

The queen’s expression was much harder to read than that of her husband’s.

This feels awkward, but I can't remember for sure if it explicitly breaks a rule of grammar. There are two easy, though mutually exclusive, edits that could be made in order for it to flow better.

1: than that of her husband.
2: than her husband's.

Again, this could just be me picking at what I think is a nit that turns out to be nothing, but it just irked me for some reason.

I thought I had noticed another error while reading, but if I did I forgot to mark it. I'd suggest having an editor give this a quick examination to see if they can catch it.

Yay, the continuation of the rainverse is here.:pinkiehappy: Now to wait patiently for the next chapter.


At some extend, I sympathize with Spitfire and her group: For how long did the Everfree Rangers protected Equestria while the nobility did nothing to help and Sombra&Chryssy washed their hooves? How many brothers and sisters in arms did they buried while their rulers played power games?
It's no wonder so many of them sided with Chroma when she offered them a permanent solution to their problems.

Well, the issue then becomes, "What were Sombra and Chrysalis supposed to do?" They saw, after all, what happened to the six Consuls. Even if we assume that there is a larger game at play here and they are not everything they seem to be (seems likely), it hasn't been that long since Roam fell. It's been short enough time that everyone remembers what happened, even if they weren't there to see it.

If the Crown starts to exercise too much control, the noble houses would have no problems at all whipping up an opposition force drawn from the peasantry, and the resulting clash would leave everything in an even worse position than present. This is largely the same reason they kept the Rangers barely able to operate: Because it served their goal to consolidate of power, and now they're threatening to bury the Rangers because, again, that serves their goal to consolidate more power. Everything those oldest houses do comes down to trying to get themselves on the throne, and this is the way it's always been.

They're going to have a hell of a time trying to dismantle the Everfree Rangers, though. The Lodges furthest from Ponyville had basically no contact with Chroma, and so are basically safe. One could argue that Gloriosa Daisy is incompetent, but that's about all; not a strong enough position to take over that Lodge outright. The closer they get to the Black Rooks, the easier it would be to take over those Lodges. But the current Rook Captain is Lightning Dust, who bears one of the Elements of Harmony: They can't question her ability to lead, because she was the least senior Ranger at the Lodge and was not leading anyone, and they can't question her loyalty to the Heartlands and to Equestria, because her loyalty is literally unquestionable. Her accoutrements have seen to that.

That's all I'm going to say on this topic. I know what I would do with that information, but I'm eager to see what she does with it.

Well, how does the old saying go? Oh, yes. "Be careful what you wish for... because you might just get it." Lightning Dust is in way over her head. She just doesn't realize it yet. I just hope Lightning Dust mentions Baroness Harshwhinny to Adagio in someway and that Adagio knows what her 'professionalism' is like. And I'm not surprised that Aria is joining the Black Rook. I wonder if Indigo Zap is going to try out for the Rangers or is she actually going to stick to cooking?

She may as well have ended with, "Defeat that Hulk!"


I'm not surprised at all that Aria would get along better with birds than she does with other ponies. If she joins the Rangers, she can definitely take care of the birds.

“Hmmm. I wonder if that’s one of the reasons Sombra has this Harshwhinny mare-”

Adagio almost choked on her wine, sputtering as she spewed half the glass of red across the table. Everypony stared as she tried to recover her dignity. “Harshwhinny?” she croaked, gasping for breath. “The Bloody Battleaxe is in charge of this inspection?”

The Bloody Battleaxe? Woooooow.

“She’s completely uncompromising. You either meet her standards, or she wants nothing to do with you. And those nobles stupid enough to actively cross her, deceive her, or run scams in her territory? She eviscerates them with the law. She knows every loophole, every proclamation, every decree and every precedent. And those that she can’t get with the pen? For them she has her judicial champion.”

“A judicial champion? Like...trial by combat style judicial champion?”

A curt nod was Adagio’s only response.

How come I have the feeling that Lightning Dust will need to fight this champion.

“Yes. I did. Because if that situation happens, I’m clearly the best option for Lightning Dust’s sake. Especially compared to that buffoon Count Copper Coin-”

I actually think that Adagio won't be allowed to run the Everfree Rangers in Ponyville. Conflict of Interest. And I think control will more than likely go to Count Fancy Pants instead.

I think Aria is right. Lightning Dust may have been a Ranger but she has never been in charge. Things are going to get ugly soon enough.


It was fun seeing a different side of Aria like that.

I wonder who the judicial champion is?

Maybe one of the Cloudsale bullies? Of given you've mentioned Copper Coin (who I think is L-verse only) maybe Fisher?

The next morning the crowd of perspective rangers-


Lightning's certainly has her work cut out for here. Great work by the way.


Whaaat? It's just one minotaur! :derpytongue2:


That's a whole lot of guesses and speculation there. I suppose that we'll see how they play out. :twilightsmile:


I really wanted to flesh Aria out a bit, since she didn't have much characterization in Rainbow Rocks besides "the grumpy one". So having something she could gush and squee over felt like a natural progression.

Especially considering her hawk.


You'll see. You'll see!

But I can say this. He's very troubling.


Thanks again for the sharp eye Vol!


Lightning is facing a bit of an uphill struggle here. But I think that she can handle it! ....Hopefully she can handle it.

Honestly, I think that Barricade assuming that Adagio would deliberately try to sabotage one of her best friends for her own gain, even if that meant milling other ponies through negligence, says an uncomfortably large amount about him and what he thinks about his "friends."

But what do I know?


Adagio needs to take a look at all the laws "she" passed and see what she can just get rid of. She's got a bit of a temper, and she's not completely selfless, but she's really trying to be helpful.


Or about most nobility's usual modus operandi. Business as usual.

Okay. The Coin fellow needs to hit the bricks and serve some time. Unfortunately, that idiot may cost Adagio the deal she made with Count Copper Coin. I hope whoever caused the fire gets caught. It also looks like Starlight is going to have to help undo some of the damage those bogus laws did to Adagio.

Once again great work. Nice use of canon secondary characters. Andthe bit between Lightning and Iron Will, always entertaining.

But questions remain,

1. Who or what started the fire?

2. Was that dream a premonitions of things to come?


And I’m getting seriously tired of ponies thinking I passed those moronic laws Fancy Pants kept sending out,”

You think Starlight would make a public announcement about that.


50-50, I'd say. Adagio has a reputation as does the Heartlands nobility. He's also something of a cynical old guard on the other side too.


Technically speaking, they have been gotten rid of, as Starlight never even bothered to enforce them in the first place. But gossip got around Ponyville from ponies working in the mayor's office and so that the town was aware if the insane proclamations, even if they were never enforced.


There is indeed some of that involved.


Really, Bit o Coin is far too much of a looser to bother locking up. :derpytongue2:


Yeah, Starlight should make an announcement. She's been letting herself get distracted by other things like the other evil alicorn that escaped and the Elements of Harmony.

She will get on it though!

It only just now occurred to me, but for all the misery she brought, Chroma was the nice evil alicorn when you really get down to it. She was extreme, but at the very least, she offered a path to a life that, while likely extremely restrictive, was at least a life. Living under, say, her or Bitterroot would've at least been possible, and maybe under Luster, Echidna or Midnight too. But life is not possible under Harlequin: She will just come out and murder you, and think nothing of it as long as you die happy.

Yes, I just said that Chroma, who really only lost because our heroes got lucky, was easy mode. Easy mode.

Real Dark Rains begins now.

I should ask. About Harlequin's little prank, was that something you came up with completely on your own, or were you inspired by the dancing mania of Strasbourg 1518? Apparently mass outbreaks of hysteric dancing (sometimes with lethal results) are not exclusive to Equestria.

Other than that, great chapter and great story so far! Looking forward for more.


The Harlequin dream was largely inspired by a track from the Final Fantasy 6 soundtrack, Dancing Mad. I love that name and fully intend to use it as the title for the inevitable Harlequin fic.

....That being said, the fact that I also happened to reference a historical event by accident is a happy coincidence. :pinkiehappy:


That's a very interesting take on the matter. Very interesting indeed.


“Alright everypony! Grab yourself a paintbrush on a stick, pick a paint color and load up your brush!” Lightning shouted.

:rainbowlaugh: AHAHAHAHAHA...

The doors to the barracks slammed open and Iron Will came barreling across the field, a paint soaked mop in both of his hands. Lightning dropped back behind her recruits with a lazy flap of her wings.
“Mares and gentle stallions?”
“I WILL BEAT YOU LIKE A DRUM!” Iron Will bellowed at the recruits.
Lightning Dust grinned to herself. “Defeat that minotaur!”

...HAHAHAHA!!! :rainbowlaugh:

You know, I get the feeling I’m missing a lot of references here. On the other hand, it can be kind of nice not knowing these ponies from their Celestiaverse incarnations, it means I get a better feel for their actual selves.

There is a traitor in the midst, but I am unconvinced that it’s Barricade.

I’m also not going to say that it’s not Barricade. You’ve fooled me too many times in the past.

And at that exact moment, Starlight’s necklace began to glow. In the next moment, a heavy twang echoed through the alley. The knife was knocked from the cloaked pony’s mouth. It had been a very close call too, an inch closer and the projectile would have probably buried itself in the pony’s head.

“Halt, criminal scum!”

Barricade came hammering down the alleyway, his mail armor clinking in time with the impacts of his hooves on the cobblestones. Two more militia members were at his side, while a third hung back, the crossbow he had fired still in his hooves.


I'm hoping I'm wrong, but I think that Firefly was the Chroma sympathizer. I also believe that Barricade, or one of the militia with him, was responsible for that fire.


I'm not telling! At least not right now.


I do like my references. :)


You'll just have to wait and see! :pinkiehappy:

Oh, you'll tell us alright, but it's only going to be after everything is already on fire.

Great work as always. Sorry for the late comment, didn't realize that this story had been updated.

Kudos on the Elder Scrolls reference.


...WELL THEN. Did not expect that.

Holy :yay: I did NOT see that coming.

I'm confused. How is Lightning Dust being a bad leader? How is her training confusing?

With regards to the training, hers is tonally confusing. She's trying to fall back on how Spitfire ran her Lodge, because that what she knows works, but it doesn't really fit her and her own personality emerges at times. Because the difference in the two is so stark, the recruits can't get a feel for who as a person their commander is and they can't figure out how to interact with her.

With regards to her leadership, it is very much lacking. For example, the argument between Scootaloo and Icy Mist. The instant Scootaloo started throwing jabs at Icy Mist, Lightning Dust should have stepped in and put a stop to it with a firm reminder that the Lodge their are in belongs to Lightning Dust and Lightning Dust alone, and anyone who is inside the Lodge obeys her orders.

The leadership issue, mind, does not stem from Lightning being incapable of leading; she's actually very capable at it. But Firefly is right: She is so desperate to get back her family that she is making a bunch of mistakes that are undermining her leadership. She's trying to be their friend when what they need is her to be their Lodge Master. You can really see that when she's in her office despairing over the way that things are going.

Firefly has been trying to lead by example for the other recruits, and at the same time has been trying to get Lightning into shape as a leader, but that's the way things are, and looking at it, yeah, this is the way things need to go: Lightning Dust won't listen to Firefly, but she will listen to Chroma.

Let's get down to business!

Something tells me not informing Sombra and Chryssy about "Firefly" is going to come back to bite them later.

True. However, right now, their focus is on Black Rook, an assassin, restoration of Ponyville, and a one-eyed caprataur beastlord.


Training montage time!




Yeah, this fic already has a lot of moving parts in it. Probably best to not add anymore.


A potion made the former Element bearers alicorns? Huh. That's definitely unexpected.


Scorpan was up to some hinky shit, what can I say.

Well that was one heck of a chapter.

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