• Member Since 25th May, 2012
  • offline last seen Sep 2nd, 2020

Twilight is Magic


Trouble is brewing in the Unicorn kingdom as the royal castle is suddenly cut off from the outside world. Mysterious disappearances continue until an entire town is found deserted, and an attempted investigation is cut short by nightmarish monsters. Not about to let themselves be cornered, the unicorns prepare for battle. An apprentice wizard, Star Swirl, and his friends are among those called upon to defend the crown, but nopony is truly prepared for what they are about to face.

Chapters (11)
Comments ( 47 )

And so it begins.:rainbowdetermined2:

This is the very first story of mine that didn't make me want to gouge my eyes out after re-reading it, as well as my first true fanfic. Go easy on me, willja?dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/misc_Fluttershy.png

A huge lot of thanks to JohnPerry! This story is made in coordination with his fic called The Final Quest of Star Swirl the Bearded, and is set years before its events. He's also graciously agreed to pre-read this story and helped me improve this insanity to the best of his ability. You rock, John! Woohoo!:yay:

And apologies for the header image. I came very close to using MSPaint to make this (Paint.NET being the actual program used).

Just got done reading it. Not a bad start. The beginning was a bit slow but it picked up with the scene in the conference hall. I'm looking forward to how all this goes down. Having just unicorns go into battle is going to be a little weird, seeing as how all the races in the series get together whenever there's a major catastrophe.

One suggestion. You use single quotes for both thoughts and regular dialogue. It got a bit confusing trying to decipher that sometimes. I would stick to double quotes for dialogue as that the general norm.

Other than that, good stuff!

I really enjoyed this, can't wait for chapter two.

The bit about perfectly winged frogs was great.

1099830 I've changed the quote marks accordingly. Guess it looks better now.

Due to this weekend's convention craziness:pinkiegasp::pinkiehappy:, I doubt I will be able to get much editing done, but the next chapter seems to be in relative order. I plan to publish it after the conventions are over and the excitement doesn't run so high.

1105053 Heh, thanks!:twilightsmile: This is actually a reference to a recent Nobel prize winner - a year or so before winning it, he 'got' the Ignobel 'prize' for one of his experiments involving magnetically levitating a frog.:rainbowlaugh:

Sunflower has totally been replaced already, hasn't she.

Ooooh, battle time. This will get interesting next time.

There was quite a bit of exposition in this chapter. If I were to suggest anything, it would be to see if it could be streamlined a bit more, only giving the information as the reader needs it. There were a lot of characters introduced and I have a feeling I'm going to be a little lost later on trying to keep them all sorted out.

Carry on!

1137091 Yes, the story train's reached a cargo car full of exposition here. Much of it is in this part of the story in order not to (further) break up the flow of the others, because here it's still relatively calm and slow.
At least it's safe to say that this is more or less it for characters. The 'mane cast' and the vast majority of the others have all been introduced. Chapter 2 is probably the part with the biggest number of active named individuals.

Pretty well written fight scene.

If you have anything at all to say, feel free to leave comments. Feedback would be greatly appreciated, not to mention it'd make my day if it's positive. If it's not, well, it would help me improve my next work anyway.:twilightsmile:

Massive beat-down all around. It's a good thing changelings seem to take prisoners, otherwise things may have gone much differently.

Pretty intense! Nice to see that the unicorns have tactics on their side, since it appears that's all that saved them. Well, most of them...

Moving on!

It's too bad that much of Star Swirl's, and many of the others', suspicions of the castle are true. And they don't even realize just how deep the deception is...

This was definitely a cool-down chapter, so I'm looking forward to how the two groups fare once they head out to face the true enemy. If they can tell who they are...

Changelings are a pain to deal with.

Whoops, looks like my guess from earlier that Sunflower had been replaced was off. Definitely looking forward to the fight back to the castle.

hay unicrons! Changelingz r in ur cassel, impurson8ing ur doodz!

Right, now that I have that out of my system, a question for Twilight is Magic: is this Chrysalis the same one as from the Canterlot Wedding episodes? Or is it something like "Chrysalis I," "Chrysalis II," etc.?

Please do keep up the good work! :twilightsmile:

1242957 changlin plsdl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/lolface_Queen_Chrysalis.png

And that question will be answered in one of the following chapters, and perhaps will become clearer even before that.

This chapter is probably the last one of its kind. Starting with the next one, all the exposition the first half of the story is bristling with will finally start making itself useful.

1243014 It certainly does at the moment have the feel of a situation that is about to come to a boil, Sparkling Sky's (last?) stand in his chambers and Star Swirl's group about to get back.

Looking forward to the next chapter.

:rainbowhuh: *rubs eyes* :rainbowkiss: A very impressive first chapter. The characterization for all the OCs here is top notch, and (as JohnPerry said) there's lots of well done description. Looking forward to the rest of the story. :yay:

1249783 Thanks! And thanks for the favourite, too! :twilightsmile:

The first chapters may seem a bit slow, but that's because of many things in need of rapid introduction and future events being set up. I guess they're for sitting back and enjoying the scenery, because I did very much enjoy painting the world with as much accuracy to the idea in my mind as I could.

Have to echo JohnPerry's comment on the throne room scene. Very chilling to see a villain plan out her conquest and reshape all that she's conquered into her own visage.

This seems to be the darkest hour right here. There's gotta be some epic battles to be coming in order for the unicorns to get out of this one.

Looking forward to it!

This (sixth) chapter is a turning point for the story. The beast of exposition takes its one last gasp and is kicked back into the dark depths from whence it came. Metaphorically, it's all upstairs from here. If the expository passages bothered you, I think you'll find the following parts easier to read.

Do I detect a hint of No True Unicorn in Golden Bracelet's thinking?

And apparently I have a high tolerance for exposition :twilightsmile: Keep up the good work!

1270781 Possibly. Also a hint of a third of a wine rack.

Will do! Already working on bringing the next chapter up to the new standard.:twilightsmile:

Shaped gemstones. I think I just realized where that plot line might be going.

Resistance if futile!

Unless it isn't!

Heh, now that there's a unicorn in the know, I can see how the turn of the tide with the invasion will go.

Curious about where all this gemstone stuff will lead to.

Nice work!

Go Sunflower!

In addition to working on the next chapter's release iteration, I've begun a new round of mistake-sniping and cosmetic changes, starting with the first chapter. This is largely thanks to Hat, who has graciously agreed to look through the chapter and came back with lots of useful advice. I will continue to try and keep the new chapters as frequent as possible and apply the changes to the ones already up there when I feel them to be sufficient.
You won't find anything more significant than a couple added, removed or replaced words, but perhaps it looks better now. Let me know what you think.:twilightsmile:

The Changeling Queen has a very Dr. Doom vibe about her. She wants total control and feels she's the only one that can "save" the ponies from themselves.

Of course, Doom also was WAY too full of himself to notice any mistakes he made until it was too late. I have a feeling the queen will be kicking herself once those ponies that broke her will come back to bite her in the flank.

Keep it up!

It took a bit longer to update this time due to myself coming down with a fever:pinkiesick:. Better now, but it did slow me down a bit.

Not very long left until the conclusion! Thanks to everypony who's bearing with me!:twilightsheepish:

Excellent, looks like the tide has turned!

I swear there is some guy out there somewhere who makes it his entire life purpose to give every story ONE down-vote at least.


1324041 Like some sort of Stalkerloo. Perhaps they have an unhealthy obsession with this cherry-ish red colour. Regardless of the story in question, all is not right in the world unless it has that sacred strip of red.:pinkiecrazy:

1324052 An entirely creepy prospect, lemme just say...


Title drop!

Pretty intricate battles here. Changelings on one end and the queen on the other. I'm not putting any bits down on Sparkling Sky getting through his encounter. :raritydespair:

The tide is turning and I look forward to seeing how this all ties up!

In the scene on the bridge in this latest chapter, I was trying to invoke some of the feeling of this thing. I'll leave it for you to judge whether I succeeded.

Hold the line!

I think you succeeded.

A really good insight in how a soldier's mind works when at the brink of exhaustion. The things we think of when we're tired, desperate and without anything else but our inevitable futures.

Great stuff and I'm looking forward to the conclusion to this tale!

And here we are, in the darkest hour.:moustache: It has all been leading up to this one moment, when everything comes together at last.

The final confrontation was very fun to write, although it did take me a while. When I realized what the exact setup of the battle was, these things popped right into my mind. It made me go all :rainbowhuh:, although my villain here is more reminiscent of that other one.
Funnily enough, a few chapters back the same source helped me decide on which colour to make Sparkling Sky's magic. When I realized that the changelings' magic is uniformly green as opposed to the unicorns' varying colours, and that I have an elderly master wizard going against a deceptive evil sorcerer seeking to take over... yeah. The fact that this (flipped) coloration matches up with the other example above made me go :rainbowhuh: all over again.

Oh, and keep calm and note the tag 'Incomplete'.

Impressive fight scene.

I do like to encourage folks to write but honestly i got bored reading this.
For instance things like this:

Stepping into the hall, he found it no more comfortable than the outside, and the wet cloak clinging to his back didn’t make it better. Most of the torches present in the hall were lit, as well as several braziers brought out of summer storage, but even that it was not enough to properly illuminate the vast space. The windows flanking the entrance, however huge, did not help much, as the clouds shrouded the outside in perpetual dusk. It certainly was no warmer than in the courtyard. To make matters worse, a draught swept through the hall, taking advantage of the open doors. A magician in a dark green cape frowned at Opal Beam and turned towards the doors, which were enveloped in subdued yellow magic and shut themselves with a loud ‘thud’, cutting the draught short.

Essentially the hall has a draft and badly lit as Opal beam strides through it. Why use 100 words when about 20 will do?
I mean it continues like this for the next 2 paragraphs, get on with the story!
I found things like this unnecessary and hindered the flow of the story, excessive descriptions of minor details just got irritating for me.

Although the setting is interesting enough i'm afraid the style isn't to my liking.

Please don't take this as too discouraging, It takes determination to write in the first place and you obviously have the idea well sorted out in your mind (which is a major hurdle for many writers).
I wish you all the best in future.

1388323 Eeyup.:eeyup: This appears to be the most oft-mentioned failing of the story, and I can't help but agree. I was trying to establish the places in some detail, but I guess there's a fine line between 'enough' and 'too much' (:coolphoto:) which I've clearly flown across without paying any heed. Another fatal mistake was deliberately starting the story at a slow pace: I suspect that many, at the very least more than half of the now-97 readers of the first chapter, went Dashy and were on their merry way before even reaching Overcast's halfway point. While I did enjoy making all those details, which helped me bring the text closer to the pictures in my head, I guess that instead of transmitting it to the reader I ended up... well, see above.

This is the first real story of mine that I submitted for others to see, so such feedback is very important. Yours is actually the first mention of this particular problem that puts it so clearly, and this clarity helps me see the problem better. Now that I know where it lies, I will be able to resolve it more quickly. Thank you, my good sir!:moustache:

Thankfully, what already exists of my next scheduled piece of fiction has a lot less in the way of description, and will require no setting establishment. The overdetalization and 'get on with it'-itis will be a lot easier to combat in its case.

Heh, I did get a Star Wars vibe from the fight. A pretty cool way to end the battle, blowing up the entire tower!

Had a feeling Star Swirl would get his chance to save the day. And it's funny how the spell Chystallis used to get him to go away actually saved him in the end.

Nicely done!

*September's mad scientist laugh* It's done... It's finally done!

This has been a very long journey, everypony. I won't hide that I'm glad that it is over. I will give a full report in a writeup I'll put up as a blogpost later on, but for now, let me just say this:

Thank you, everypony who had the guts to bear with me and read this... whatever it isdl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/sillyfilly_Rarity.png , up there. I tried to make it presentable, but ultimately, it's your call whether I did or not. Personally, I'm not that sure. Either way, it means a super-duper huge lot to me!:pinkiehappy:

This is just the start. While this story is over, it leaves me free to create brand new works of pony fiction! :raritystarry: At some point in the future, I'm likely to go back and try to spiffy up the editing of this fic, but right now I'm simply tired of it.:ajsleepy:

Next up is a comedy work starring Rarity and the CMC! More on that in yet another blogpost, also coming soon.

P.S.: Not long before the posting of this last chapter, the first chapter of the story reached 100 views! You know what this calls for... While I know that many of those viewers didn't make it through to the rest of the story, I'm still thankful to everypony who took their time to read my work.:twilightsmile:

Ahh, well I'm guessing that answers the question of whether it's the same Chrysalis as in the show.

Not bad, not bad at all.

I made it through!

Not a bad story, and not the first of its kind that deals in heavy exposition. It's been a while, but I believe Tolkien had plenty of slow parts in his LotR novels. Heck, there were times where I was so frustrated with his detail that I nearly gave up reading them. Luckily, I trudge on and got to the the good parts.

What I'm trying to say is that there are many ways to write, but it's the type of audience you write to that determines if you are going to get readers or not. The MLP:FiM crowd are a good bunch, but generally seek quicker paced stories. That's why the EqD pre-readers stress on the Show vs. Tell so much; they know that stories like these are not going to be well received by the general public. If this story were presented as a non-pony fic and more of a generic fantasy book, it may have been more readily accepted.

However, I did enjoy this and felt it was a good look into how an adventure may go down with changelings in the FiM past. I also liked the small shout-outs to John Perry's own Star Swirl fic. The unicorns really got out of a tough spot. It's too bad their descendants will have to deal with the aftermath!

Great job!

1440440 :eeyup: This ties in with the potential reason of why that particular wing of the Canterlot Archives was named after Star Swirl the Bearded. I was trying to imply that this was the start of his interest in time magic.

1450889 Yes! You've managed to pinpoint exactly what I've been thinking of but couldn't quite put my hoof on considering the classification of the story. It is not that far from the typical fantasy novels, which, while potentially unflattering, what with the quality of some of them out there:pinkiesick:, I'm still very glad to see, because it means that I can at least string something more-or-less coherent together. Perhaps the hypothetical readers that do tolerate exposition and slow pace could enjoy this fic.

I'll talk at quite some length about this and many other things I've learned in the process of making this in a titanic afterword blogpost I'm writing. I want to give the story a proper send-off to get it out of my mind and focus on new works instead. Shorter, quicker-paced ones--the preference for them is one of the main things I've managed to understand.

Thanks for bearing with me and taking the time to finish the story! Your continued support helped me push through and complete it at last.:twilightsmile:

Huzzah! I managed to get this story up in a wider-audience place!:pinkiehappy: The team of Equestria Megathreads has graciously agreed to post it on the blog here. Don't be fooled by the name, everypony! They started out as a half-joke, but turned into the place to watch for some of the freshest brony news and cartloads of new content, although it's still considerably more laid-back and relaxed than Equestria Daily. I don't know how exactly, but they are consistently managing to post what goes up on EqD a while later, plus a lot of things that, by all rights, should have been there.:rainbowhuh:

They are, however, painfully lacking in terms of fanfiction to post.:fluttershysad: In fact, Darkest Hour is the first non-joke story that they received. They currently have a 'read at your own risk' system, which means that there is no nebulous team of pre-readers to pass the judgement—that's left for the brave readers themselves, and the quality control is, as far as I gather, done by the moderators themselves. If you, the unlikely reader of this comment, have a story you want to be seen by a few more people, give that blog a call! You can even submit things in comments to whichever post is up, as the newest ones are frequented by the same ponies responsible for running the blog.

Seeing as this happy event helped me receive a few new readers :pinkiehappy:, I went and did some minor spiffying-up, namely adding paragraph indentation for a slightly less giant-wall-of-text appearance, as well as establishing the total domination of the almighty em dash (all hail —!). It's the best I could do on short notice. I hope this helps!:twilightsmile:

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