• Member Since 5th Dec, 2018
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I like writing about the worst day of a character's life; it lets us see the mettle inside. (Pronouns: RB/20 )


A nurse has seen it all. A combat medic has seen even more.

Princess Celestia sends her elite Household Battalion—"Celestia's Own"—south, far beyond the borders of Equestria, to break the slave trade and to free the oppressed. Medic Redheart, a young rookie among the Guard's hardened veterans, is with her Battalion every step of the way.

She's never told anypony her story. Until now.

A side story/prequel to my The Ponies in the Caves and A Story to Relate To, but reads independently.

This story is fantastic. There wasn't a single chapter that didn't give me chills or bring a tear to my eye. The way you describe the selflessness of the soldiers, and Redheart's unrelenting drive to save them, no matter the personal cost, was exemplary. I look forward to more of your work.


Has a Black Company feel to it with the medic POV. Great story so far!


Cover art by Pabbles, by commission. Thanks!

With massive thanks to the folks in the Discord for comments and advice, and Totallynotabrony, Raleigh, Sledge115, and ChudoJogurt for detailed pre-reading, in whole or in part. Any remaining errors are fully my own.

Author's notes and commentary blog, with big spoilers.

Chapters (11)
Comments ( 352 )

I'm in for such a ride. And yeah that was sneaky of her, but there is no dishonor in being carried off the field of battle after keeping her word. If anything Redheart does earned those medals. I hope they stallion she saved made it out.

Living ponies make better copy in the newspaper."

Dead ones make sensationalist covers in the tabloids, but I guess Equestrian press didn't go there yet.

Celestia willing, they won't!



Long have I waited for this :twilightsmile: Will be following this veery closely.

awesome chapter keep it up:pinkiehappy::twilightsmile:

"Yeah, Nurse Snowheart is sick. After my shift, I'm covering her prenatal class—"

KABOOM! Rainbow Dash blasted in through the emergency room doors with a flash of colors, screaming, "Help her! Help! Help! Help!"

And off we start off the plot, with a bang. Expect no less from Rainbow Dash.

"Doc," Rainbow Dash said, pointing a hoof, her voice plaintive, "she's bluer than I am! Do something!"

I've said this before, but it bears restating that this is such a Dash thing to say and the context... :fluttercry:

Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle shouted, screeching as soon as the noise of the teleport faded. Their shrieks added to the bedlam that reigned over Ponyville Hospital's Emergency Room. Discord appeared with another teleport. "I was sensing some wonderful chaos and—oh my!"

Is everyone here?

"No." Redheart shook her head. "Not this time of year. Too many of my old friends need her tonight, too."

Redheart's smirk fell. "Yeah. My friends, the ones who died. They deserved the medals more than me. The Guard likes to hang decorations on living ponies. Living ponies make better copy in the newspaper."

You can feel the weight sink in as this goes.

Now, as an aside, AP's segment is much too long to quote here, but he's shown himself thus far to be a wonderful, supportive husband :twilightsmile: Redheart chose well.

All in all, an excellent start - I hardly can wait to see where the story goes next here. And into darkness we shall go.



Story is 100% written. It will be marked complete soon.

awesome keep it up cant wait for the next chapter

As someone in EMT school right now, starting clinicals in about a month, if I end up managing to be half as good as Redheart here, I'll be proud of myself.

Panicky, actively unhelpful bystanders plus cyanotic patient due to an airway obstruction is a bad combination, and she rocked it. If it weren't for the whole ponies thing the ER scene wouldn't have been out of place as a textbook scenario.

Thanks for the kind words! This is actually outside of my wheelhouse, so I had to do some research. Glad to hear you liked it!

I love the concept so much

Holy crap this is awesome. That intro segment was intense as all hell, and I love what you did with Redheart's family. And as for her story? I understand basically none of the medical stuff but everything is written really well. I'm on board for this whole ride.

What really scared me: I wasn't even shaking from the adrenaline letdown. Less than a month before, I'd dealt with a dire medical emergency. A twelve-year-old filly after she suffered a nasty fall. I gave her a field tracheotomy, saving her life, and I shook and vomited for hours after the surgeons took her from me.

Excellent, continuity!

But, sitting in front of that campfire, wrapping up my own hoof, I just felt... hollow.

Ah, already at the cover art, are we now? :derpytongue2: But jokes aside, this scene is a good establishing insight into our resident combat medic - her priorities, worries and all.

Speaking of this scene, I'm gonna take an aside to say you have an uncanny knack of making it squeamish to read - not that it's bad, no, not at all. I'd say it does it well - the sense that this is just another day, from the matter-of-fact delivery.

I'm not quoting it here, naturally, because the imagery is quite vivid :pinkiesick:

Anyways, yeah - I do like the voice you've given Redheart here. Even as a recruit, she's already a bit jaded and all (though certainly still with her touch of idealism - save everyone, she thinks), and knowing that this is just her start, well, that really doesn't bode well.

"You can't walk."

"Watch me."


I couldn't walk.

Honesty, check.

"Second Riverine isn't Celestia's Own, but I'm no coward."

"You're... what? Ten years older than me? Wife and foals, I bet?"

He nodded. His face turned green and he swallowed twice.

"See you somewhere," I said, and started crawling north-east, towards the noise.

"See you around." He smacked my butt with his good wing, and started crawling west.

I never saw him again.

No, no no, don't talk about your family! It's a death sentence! Sad to see him go so soon, but that's war. Or rather, scraps.

His horn glowed for a moment, and then his entire body burst into demonic flames. I staggered backward, gasping, and turned my face away from the heat, holding my bad leg up to shield my eyes.

He trotted a few steps away and I lowered my hoof, peeking over it. Wood Smoke placed his foreleg into a cast-iron cauldron. It steamed, the water boiling instantly.

With a flash, he returned to his kirin form. "Ready to help our commander?"

I swallowed a few times, recovering from the transformation. What was that creature?

I'm gonna guess Fluttershy and Applejack didn't get the memo, many, many years later, or Redheart forgot to mention it in the after action report.

Overall, a good followup to a the first chapter. A proper introduction to Redheart - in her own words, too. Long have we heard of her from others, and hearing her story firsthand (hoof?) is quite pleasing :twilightsmile:

"That's good," AP said. "But you're trying to change the subject on me."

Smoothly at that. I hardly noticed.

I would be disappointed at the behavior of Applebloom's family and friends, but I can't blame them, can I? It's only natural to be worried, and they're ponies, ponies of the Apple family at that...

Poor AP though. He deserves an apology. Trampled wing. :fluttershyouch:

Oof. Caltrop.

Makes sense, though. I think they were used to deny cavalry, so denying ponies would work just as well. I also imagine it hurts like hell. Lego: War Edition.

Continuity from what? Another story?


Sock's Redheart previously featured in two of his other stories, The Ponies in the Caves and A Story to Relate To - the moment I mentioned was in the latter story.

I like how the story is going, I read the ponies in a cave a while back and liked your style and this one looks to be as good

Shining Armor sat down in front of me, and put a hoof on my shoulder. "Redheart—we've got to get your hoof treated, or you'll lose it."

"Will not!"

His voice turned very soft. "You're the medic. Tell me the truth. Tell yourself the truth."

There. This is what elevated the story for me, two chapters in. The very start of when Redheart's healing has to turn inward. And you take your time with it too, in a way I so barley do and always envy.

I really like the story man. Thanks for letting me see it.

Bloody good story writing.
I see the story in my mind's eye as I read.

Thanks! I appreciate that. I worked very hard to try to ensure the writing worked.

Holy hell, this story’s awesome! Great job, i can’t wait to read more! :yay:


Big thanks! It's 100% written so no worries about update schedules.

A badass medic is the best kind of badass.

Oh, sweet. Guess it’s time to wait patiently :pinkiecrazy:

U.S. Army, 91C Clinical Specialist...

"Oh, Lord I ask for your divine
strength to meet the demands of
my profession. Help me to be the
finest medic, both technically and

If I am called to the
battlefield, give me the courage to
conserve our fighting forces by
providing medical care to all who
are in need.

If I am called to a
mission of peace, give me the
strength to lead by caring for
those who need my assistance.
Finally, Lord help me to take care
of my own spiritual, physical, and
emotional needs.

Teach me to trust in your
presence and never-failing love.

~The Combat Medic's Prayer

This story...is us...

If there is more...I would like to read it...


P.S...My eyes are not watering from emotion. Foreign body near the inner canthus...


Oh lord.... an actual been there done that? I suddenly hope I've done my research well enough!

Thank you for your service and rest assured, the entire story is written and will be published. I'm planning a two-chapter drop once a week.

Not quite been there, I fit in between Grenada and Gulf 1...

But many of my instructors at Sam Houston and Fitzsimmons AMC were in The Nam...and you get a feel for them. You wouldn't DARE shame them and yourself by not EXCEEDING the standard every time you could...

They were my guys. The sergeants and the ell-tee just borrowed them for things. They belonged to me, and as much as the other inspections covered, you wanted them to be as ready as their equipment...

You're doing justice, from the pony perspective.

Don't stop.



Big thanks! I hope the later chapters will not disappoint.

I love how technical this is. This has been one of my favorite war story openings so far, and that’s saying a lot. It’s up there with Firesight’s ‘Rise of Firefly’ series.

Usually I don't like 1st person but his is nicely written

Well I already know I'm going to be crying more and more as this updates

Can't wait.

Turns out there isn't a redheart emoji... there should be.

Hook, line and sinker. I am fully invested into this story now. What will happen given that she got a parole, or did she? I really hope Cadance didn't go against her wishes. I would personally refuse as well, if I was in RedHearts hooves, however I would also go against her wishes, if I couldn't renegotiate for her life and just take the parole.

As RedHeart, I would completely ignore the parole, under the fact that she had successfully stated she did not want the parole. I wonder how she does get around this?

As you can hopefully see, I am very interested in seeing where this will go. The whole concept is very clever, I wonder how far this can go.

Thanks! No worries, it's 100% written and will be published in regular drops.

I like the story a lot... however I am saddened by the fact you are just going to pander to the feature box by releasing a couple chapters a week for a story that’s apparently already 100% written. I am probably just going to wait until it’s all out rather than have to wait for weekly updates. Still a great story. Oh well.

The fishy creatures had bows and swords, the abyssinian held a rapier, and the kirin... had no weapon at all.

The kirins are natural-born flamethrowers, of course they don't need weapons.

Well, nopony had ever doubted the Home Guard's bravery.

Murphy’s Laws of Combat 31: Professionals are predictable, it’s the amateurs that are dangerous.

holy shit. im gonna like this. i love a good war story, and this sounds like its gonna be a damn good one.

Emphasis on bloody, but considering the setting of war, it fits. It is a good writer who can truly illustrate the pain and horrors of war without coming across as merely trying to gross us out ala Grimdark horror. This is definitely going into my fimfiction library.

I love that series, if you are in the market for more excellent wartime fictions I'd be happy to give you names of authors who really deliver.

100% written! Will update two chapters weekly (or so) for a total of ten chapters.

Why not upload them all at once?


Two reasons. One, comments often give good ideas that can easily be incorporated. Two, the update column gets many eyeballs and I want to be sure people who might enjoy get more chances to see it.

Hahahahahahaaaa yup!

Big thanks

Good storywriting can sell almost any premise.

Particularly, I find that their own headcanon and worldbuilding adds enough hooks to draw the reader into the story, without losing them in an AU world.

Don't be hatin' on AU's now XD I have read some real gems.

Joking aside, I agree, some of my favorite stories are heavily detailed in terms of world-building and history of Equestria.

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