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What threats to its citizens has Equestria weathered in the past, before the Elements of Harmony were given to mortal ponies?

Who did the Princesses turn to in their hours of need?

Why does Big Macintosh talk the way he does?

First Published
29th Aug 2012
Last Modified
29th Aug 2012
#1 · 238w, 6d ago · · ·

This is apple bucking amazing:ajbemused:

#2 · 238w, 6d ago · · ·

I don't think I've ever enjoyed something written like this before. This was very well done and I hope to see more of your work in the future.

And thanks Chuckfinley for linking me to this.

An have a Big Mac:eeyup:

#3 · 238w, 6d ago · · ·

I...DAMN!!!  Long live the Apple Family!  Well done! :eeyup:

#4 · 238w, 6d ago · · ·

That... That was beautiful. Well done.

#5 · 238w, 6d ago · · ·

This is a great story! World building is my favourite thing about fan fics and you have pulled it off very well. No overly long explanations or boring passages, just quick notes and stories that suggest there's more happening in the background that we can't see. Like Apple Cinnamon's story. What did he do, anyway? My favourite was the story about Chainmail. You don't know what he is, or what he's doing down there, but they still try to understand him.

If I may make a suggestion - in the story about Nightmare Moon, AJ didn't kick the Manticore in the face, Rarity did. But AJ rode him like a bronco, so there's that. That's all the criticism I have to offer; other than that, it's an excellent fic. Nice job!

#6 · 238w, 5d ago · · ·

>>1184170 >>1185423 >>1185495

Thank you all so much. You have no idea how much more these comments mean to me than a simple thumbs up.


I don't think I've ever enjoyed something written like this before.

That's an interesting thing to say. What else have you read that's "written like this", and why did you enjoy this over those other things?

This was very well done and I hope to see more of your work in the future.

:twilightsmile: Thank you!

And thanks Chuckfinley for linking me to this.

This reminds me, I should thank that guy. He sends me his stuff in advance and thanks me for it; how weird is that?

An have a Big Mac:eeyup:

:pinkiegasp: I shall treasure this for always. :yay:


This is a great story! World building is my favourite thing about fan fics and you have pulled it off very well. No overly long explanations or boring passages, just quick notes and stories that suggest there's more happening in the background that we can't see.

You there. You get me. Brohoof to you. /)

Like Apple Cinnamon's story. What did he do, anyway?

Come on, man. I gotta have some secrets.

My favourite was the story about Chainmail. You don't know what he is, or what he's doing down there, but they still try to understand him.

I wanted to have one classic "monster" in this rogues' gallery I was creating for Equestria, and the handy thing about that was that I got to showcase a key difference between Celestia's system of government and any system that's ever been in a monster movie- that is, when you show up to the barricades claiming to have a key insight about the monster, they let you through.

If I may make a suggestion - in the story about Nightmare Moon, AJ didn't kick the Manticore in the face, Rarity did. But AJ rode him like a bronco, so there's that. That's all the criticism I have to offer; other than that, it's an excellent fic. Nice job!

... yeah, because anypony in Ponyville would believe that Rarity kicked a manticore in the face. :unsuresweetie: Still, "rode a manticore like a bronco" is pretty impressive too. I'll think about changing this.

#7 · 238w, 5d ago · · ·


Not sure how to quote certain parts of text, but in regards to other stuff written like this, I can remember a web story(not fan fiction) and a couple short stories that were similar. All of them were moderately to severely boring. Can't remember the names of them (I read a book every day or so up to about a year ago, and that's not even counting the online content.

I'm glad you like your Big Mac.

#8 · 238w, 5d ago · · ·

Well then.  

Good work.

Apple Cinnamon's story calls for a re-read.  I'll be back.

#9 · 238w, 5d ago · · ·

Well, I solved Apple Cinnamon.  He didn't.  He just lived his life, and passed down the family heirloom when it was time.  I think most stories are like that, really.  These are just the more relevant and/or interesting ones.

I liked Chainmail.  I wanna see more of him.  I'm such a world-builder :pinkiecrazy:

[Speaking of, I have this idea that Equestria is much less of a utopia than (brony we)we typically make it out to be.  This (well, this entire fic really) fits in perfectly.]

Also, stealth fluttermac at the end :yay:

#10 · 238w, 5d ago · · ·


I think most stories are like that, really. These are just the more relevant and/or interesting ones.

Read it again and pay attention to the names at the beginning and end of each story. No one gets skipped; the pony who gives their name after finishing their predecessor's story is always the one whose story is told next. If there were boring/irrelevant stories, they'd be in here, too.

Hmm. More Chainmail, you say? I'll have to think about that.

... yeah, I won't deny it. I made sure it's only there if you're looking for it, though- there are a number of mares who could fit what's actually stated about Apple Butter's mom, especially given the Cake family as a lesson in pony genetics. And as Dan Shive would say, authorial intent means nothing- if it's left to the imagination, it's left to the imagination.

#11 · 236w, 3d ago · 1 · ·


That's an interesting thing to say. What else have you read that's "written like this", and why did you enjoy this over those other things?

in regards to other stuff written like this, I can remember a web story(not fan fiction) and a couple short stories that were similar. All of them were moderately to severely boring. Can't remember the names of them

Edensbane is correct -- partially.

You probably know this already but others may not so...


The epistolary story/novel genre was the first style of published fictional prose in the Western world. For the first 250-300 years of fiction writing in Europe, (and consequently, in the Americas as well) all prose stories were told through series of letters or journals--as you've done here. Not until Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1811) was the tradition broken and what we think of today as the "modern novel" was born.

As such, epistolary stories, to most modern audiences--please note, I do say most--smack of something archaic, and take a bit of mental gear-shifting to enjoy (particularly in our "microwave," "instant-everything," culture of today). Therefore, to most modern audiences, who likely either don't have the time, or the skills, to do said gear-shifting, these stories are filed under "boring" in their heads and promptly forgotten.

For those few of us still in existence who actually like the genre--even a little--the fate is even worse. This is because publishing companies--for the most part--don't want to publish epistolary novels because, simply put, they won't make money doing it. So, we devotees are "stuck" so to speak, either reading old works from the 1600's-1850's, or trying to write our own.

The difficulty, at this point, comes in in the fact that most of us who attempt such things have, by necessity steeped ourselves so much in the old works, that our new ones begin to sound like the old ones, and are therefore written off as "boring" by modern readers as well.

[PROFESSOR MODE DIENGAGED--We now return you to your regularly scheduled comment]

What you have effectively done here, Ms. Digby, is to give us the best of both worlds--You have kept the form of the epistolary story, without lapsing into the old style of epistolary stories past--thus giving us a rare treat, a modern epistolary story.

Congratulations. Well done!

#12 · 236w, 3d ago · · ·


Nope. Didn't know any of this. Interesting, though! And I definitely appreciate the compliment. :twilightsmile:

Nobody has solved Apple Cinnamon, by the way. Not even Big Mac. :twistnerd:

#13 · 236w, 1d ago · · ·

I think this story has some real potential. I keep a file of ideas that I might name-drop in future fanfics (properly attributed, of course--I'm a stickler for endnotes), and "Evermore" as the original name for Everfree is definitely going in there.

There are two cosmetic flaws I see that will keep this story from becoming more popular. First, the paragraphs are all shoved together. Having blank lines between paragraphs and tab characters before each one is the "house" style for FIMFiction.net (and the way I'm writing this comment), and not following it might mean the difference between a potential reader skimming the first couple of paragraphs to see if this story is any good, and the same reader skimming the first five—a much bigger chance for reeling him or her in. I was able to generate the corrected BBCode in less then five minutes...take a look over here.

Secondly, there's no title illustration. Those are real easy to put together even for somebody with zero artistic skill (i.e. me), and a good one does a lot to lure readers in (look what I got just by putting a circle around somebody else's Vinyl Scratch!). In this case, I think the best illustration would have been Big Mac's yoke all by itself, but I couldn't find any existing art of that anywhere, so instead I took a screenshot of Applejack and Big Mac from "Applebuck Season" from the MLP:FIM Wiki, cropped Applejack out, and wound up with this.

You're the author. Feel free to take it or leave it. If you do use it, however, please copy it to your own PhotoBucket account or what have you.

Getting on to an actual critique of the story, I had one problem with it while I was reading it, but now I hesitate to say it, seeing the way you wound up taking the story. Instead, maybe you can think of what you're about to read as an alternate universe version of your fanfic.

My problem was that I was getting these stories about the Apple family from two levels removed (which means yes, I fall right into Storyteller27's trap about modern audiences not appreciating epistolary literature). See we had these exciting stories about Big Mac's ancestors, but these were contrasted with Big Mac leading a thoroughly dull life. I figured it would have been much more interesting if "Little Mac" was sent out by Princess Celestia on an adventure—let's say at the same time as Applejack is living in Manehattan—and his character evolves as he hears these stories every night. He might even pick up some trick from an ancestor that gets him through a narrow scrape. I figure that this storyline should wind up in a dead end—he had been sent out to get some sort of instant cure-all for Princess Luna that Celestia had just found out about, but it turns up to be broken or stolen.

The nice thing about this is that a few years later, Applejack emerges as the hero of the Apple family, and then you get to write about a crisis of conscience for Big Mac. All this time he thought he was going to be the secret hero of the family, and it turns out that she's the super-obvious hero of the family. He'd eventually realize his worth, but I think the crisis deserves at least a paragraph or two of study.

But like I said, this is an alternate universe take on your story, because you decided to focus on the strength of family, and how being there is a heroism all of its own. And that kinda makes my fantasy version look a little silly.

A couple more thing before I go: First, you trot out all of the monsters from Generation 1, and you don't even hint at Megan? For shame! :ajsmug: Of course, this is coming from a guy who never watched that show.

And second, I wish you had said even less about Apple Cinnamon than you did. I love the fact that we don't know quite what he did. I don't even mind the hint that it might have been something terrible—the fact that the later generation turned out alright lets you get away with that smidgen of darkness.

Well, I've prattled on long enough. Nice story. Keep up the good work.

#14 · 235w, 6d ago · · ·


Your cosmetic recommendations are good thinking and will be implemented.

The thing about Mac's life intertwined with the stories is this: Mac finishes hearing the stories inside of two weeks- and the stories are oral history, not play-by-play; they're never going to reveal specific tricks. And say what you will about Celestia, but she would never send a foal that age on an adventure, especially one in his situation- he's got a family that's relying on him, he just lost his parents and found out about this big secret and needs emotional validation. No. That would be terrible and manipulative, and she's already got a plan for Luna anyway- that thing she had Zap Apple looking for has been found, remember? (There are a lot of things in this story that get half-told in one place and half-told in another like that, especially because of the anachronic order. I enjoy that- it feels like telling a secret.)

Of course I didn't mention Megan. Celestia is Megan. (Luna is Megan's siblings, who only showed up just in time for the Smooze.)

#15 · 235w, 6h ago · · ·


Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, what.

I stopped by to ask about expanding on one of the older stories here as another fic, and I see Celestia is Megan?  Celestia is Megan?

What the Hay are you on, lad?

I gotta go re-read this.

#16 · 234w, 5d ago · · ·


It goes like this:

Megan is ridiculous. Megan is wish fulfillment for the kids watching the show. Megan is the "me" implied by "My Little Pony"- and that's nuts! Who is this kid that all these ponies suddenly find themselves about to swear fealty to just because Firefly went over the rainbow to ask for help and this is who she brought back? No. That's dumb. But how can we make it less dumb? We can't just have the ponies stand up on their own and take care of things all by themselves- that would change the whole story. But we can do the next best thing- replace Megan with someone who'd be a smart choice to ask for help, someone with the power to get shit done, stop Tirek&etc., and generally watch over the ponies and keep them safe afterward.

Celestia, in essence.

So in this version of Equestrian history, all the actiony stuff of G1 mostly happened, but rather than some random kid from another world being in charge of dealing with it, it was Celestia. Because that makes a ton more sense.

tl;dr- Celestia is not in fact Megan, but she plays the roles in this story that Megan did in G1. And it fits.

#17 · 234w, 5d ago · · ·


... that actually makes a ton more sense than what I was thinking.

headcanon updating...

[[Error: patch applies to canon not currently installed.

Saving patch for later.]]

#18 · 229w, 5d ago · · ·

Very beautiful.It gets really confusing though when the journal entries areskipping ahead of the stories. That;s my only criticism. Bloody beautiful stuff.

#19 · 228w, 5h ago · 1 · ·

I am a sucker for literary framing, and for legacies and long tales.  This story is truly epic.  I loved what you did with Uncle Cinnamon, the uncertainty and the story that was eventually told.  I really, REALLY liked the Braniac cameo, and the destruction of all computers; I did NOT see that one coming, but it makes sense out of the schizo-tech shown in the series.  (The video game cabinets being played during Hearts and Hooves are the highest level of tech allowed, it seems?)  I liked the unique villains, each worthy of their own story, and the consistency of the Apple family.  I like the implied risk of how much he talked during Ponyville Confidential, especially because of the threat the courageous young reporters posed to the Apple Project.

In short: is this a good story?

Eeyup. :eeyup:

#20 · 228w, 2h ago · · ·

Brills, bro. That ending was the real kicker though.

To be honest, woulda broken up each Story and Journal Entry into separate chapters. This would have helped pacing. But you've already nailed it as it is, so good work.

#21 · 227w, 6d ago · · ·

You evil shipping person, you! :pinkiehappy:

I liked all the G1 stuff that you mentioned, I'm still a sucker for that kind of history and world building. The whole Braniac thing was a bit over the top. It works with the setting but it just didn't click with me.

#22 · 227w, 2d ago · 2 · ·

THIS FANFIC IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THE APPLE FAMILY OF ANYTHING EVER! But it makes me REALLY hate Celestia because of the banned A.I's part:twilightangry2:

#23 · 227w, 1d ago · · ·

Brilliant story. Like all the implied details and worldbuilding.

#24 · 227w, 1d ago · · ·

“That weren’t the end of it, though. From what the Princess an' her advisors found out about that thing, they said if we kept all these smart machines around, all talkin’ to each other ‘n’ whatnot, it could come back- or even just somethin’ like it, maybe somethin’ nastier that wouldn’t bother shrinkin’ us first. They put together a spell they wrote after lookin’ at the Archivist, that found anythin’ smart enough to hold somethin’ like it or talkative enough to send it somewhere else, and teleported it all straight into the sun. Then they made a new law to be sure nopony would build or sell something that thought or talked for itself without royal supervision the whole time. Now we can’t watch the news from Fillydelphia the same day in Las Pegasus or nothin’ no more, but we still got newspapers. Can’t carry around a thousand albums in your pocket no more, but you still got gramophones, ‘n’ records to go with ‘em. There were a lotta ponies complainin’ at first, but we got by. An’ one day we’ll have fillies ‘n’ colts growin’ up that don’t even know what a computer was, just like before. So I think we’ll do all right.
Have you read the Dune series? Because this section gave me Dune flashbacks.

“This is gonna sound silly, but... Uncle Cinnamon told me exactly what to say here, an’ I’m gonna say it, ‘cause it’s all I know for sure is true.

“He was an Apple.

“He held down the fort.

“That’s all.

Wow. Sometimes the short to the point sections are the most powerful. Just wow.

It is a travesty that this has so few views/likes. This is...actually hard to come up with an appropriate adjective for. Let's just go with amazing+inspiring.

#25 · 226w, 6d ago · 3 · 1 ·

This was good.  Very good.

A Big Mac for you, sir.:eeyup:

#26 · 225w, 2d ago · · ·

I love you.

#27 · 218w, 6d ago · · ·


That out of the way, nice job! The stories of the Apples were all dead interesting and you could tell what was going off. Having two characters called Applejack was confusing at first, but hey ho. The explanation of why Mac can't really speak was carried pretty nicely. And of course, the fact that the Apples seem to contain all the common sense in Equestria, stonewalling their way through everything the world throws at them.

And, well, Apple Cinnamon. Whew, I wish I could pace something out like that. That was a masterstroke.

#28 · 210w, 2d ago · · ·

So. Um. Apparently this was reviewed by Seattle's Angels, way back in November. That's... wow. That is pretty amazing. And they liked it, which is even better. In retrospect it looks like that's where a lot of you commenters came from, which is also awesome. I just... I'm really shocked by the fact that I didn't know about this, is all.

>>1612584 Oh man, you basically describe everything I was trying to do with this story. So. Awesome. :rainbowkiss:

As for the aftermath of Brainiac's incursion... it's not that any technology has been banned outright, just that all tech of a certain level of processing or communication capability was destroyed at once, and subsequently all research and development in either of those directions had to be monitored by royal authorities for the purpose of advance warning in case something like Brainiac happened again. This is, yeah, mostly intended to explain how ponies have electric lighting and steam engines and gramophone records and video game cabinets and whatever Twilight keeps in the basement of the library but no telephone network. I imagine the development of the game cabinets did have to be supervised under the new regulations, but the process was fairly straightforward and didn't require any intervention- they're not all that smart and they don't connect to anything else.

>>1613611 Thank you!

I considered breaking it up, but I'd originally conceived of this as a one-shot, so I didn't have any reason to post one piece and hold the rest back, because I'd made sure to have the whole thing written before I posted anything. Also that would've made for a whole lot of really short chapters, and I think I prefer having the whole thing on one page so you can just scroll back and forth to put together some of the layered revelations rather than having to click around from one page to another.

>>1614479 Muhuhahahahaha. :rainbowwild:

G1 has so many awesome monsters, man! When I got to the idea of "the Apple Family is descended from G1 Applejack" I went to Wikipedia and read the list of episode descriptions, and... wow.

I admit Brainiac's not really for everyone, but like I said, the types and levels of technology we've seen in canon, combined with the number of simple things we haven't seen, felt like it needed an explanation to me.

>>1637218 Wow, really? Thanks!

In fairness to Celestia, AIs weren't completely banned. The text says she and her advisors "made a new law to be sure nopony would build or sell something that thought or talked for itself without royal supervision the whole time". That is, ponies are still allowed to pursue this field of study, but if they want to put anything into practice, either a Princess or a duly appointed representative thereof needs to be present to make sure nothing goes horribly wrong and endangers Equestria.

>>1644595 >>1659426 Thank you. :twilightsmile: Even short comments make me smile.

>>1645613 I have not read the Dune series, but through osmosis I have picked up some knowledge that allows me to see what you mean. And thank you! If you want more views for this story (I know I do) I recommend telling your friends about it.

>>1726491 Wow, I thought I would have to write a lot more (and probably better) before I'd get comments like this.

>>1971302 You make a good point about the two Applejacks- I didn't see a problem at first when I was writing it, because they're so far removed from each other chronologically, but looking at the actual story, Zap Apple goes right from telling his version of the first Applejack's story to mentioning our Applejack in describing his part in the legacy, and that could definitely be more clear. :twilightblush: As for Mac... I don't like to think of it as being unable to speak, because that would cast it in a very different light with regard to parents passing it down to unsuspecting children and whatnot. It's more like a very strict non-disclosure agreement. And presumably there would be an option to refuse the job and have the yoke passed to a sibling or cousin or something, if you don't think you can handle it, but I definitely could have been more clear about that in the story... if I'd thought of it. :twilightsheepish: (In fairness, apparently this has never actually happened- the Apples are pretty good about tradition and family loyalty and whatnot- so I can at least claim that Zap Apple just never considered that his son might refuse.) Anyway, it's not so much that Mac can't talk more than he does, it's that he's required not to as part of the job, which he accepted willingly, and has had for so long that if he gave it up tomorrow he probably still wouldn't suddenly be more talkative, because he's learned to get through life this way and to say a lot with a few words. Which I clearly haven't. :derpytongue2:

In closing, thank you!

#29 · 210w, 2d ago · · ·


You know what? I think I will tell my friends about it.

#31 · 191w, 4d ago · · ·

Ah. Good show. Good show indeed.

#32 · 190w, 6h ago · · ·


Oh good, I wasn't the only one who noticed parallels to the Butlerian Jihad.

In any case, a fantastic story of the past, present, and future of a family more noble than any of the elbow-rubbers up in Canterlot. Fantastically done.

#33 · 190w, 4h ago · · ·


I think it would be pretty plain to anyone who's read Dune.

#34 · 185w, 6d ago · · ·


#35 · 180w, 4d ago · · ·


That was epic.


Like, not just in the modern sense of "really good"; it spans centuries, and you FEEL the centuries, and it is ALSO really good.

I wish I could fave this story more than once. It's just... perfect. Well, maybe not PERFECT -- I'm of the opinion that nothing on this world can truly be perfect, merely approaching that goal, to various degrees of success -- but as perfect as any MLP fanfic I've ever read has been. I literally cannot think of a single thing that should be changed, a single word that wasn't appropriate, a single sentence that didn't flow beautifully.

#36 · 152w, 5d ago · · ·

Excellent work, very evocative. :eeyup:

Only thing I'd change about this story is sticking another generation or two in there; with an average time between each entry of 150 years (very generous, I'd say) it comes a few hundred years short of the thousand between Nightmare Moon's defeats.

#37 · 124w, 5d ago · 2 · ·

FlutterMac is alive. Long live the Apple family.

I can't help but be amused seeing Tirek in here, considering he only became G4 canon after S4. All things considered, even two years later it holds up surprisingly well against show canon. I wonder how Mac felt knowing that Tirek had come back.

Reading this fic was like going back in time. Not just in the sense that we were peeking into the past of the Apple family, but also back to the days when we didn't know much about MLP G4 lore. In some ways those days were magical, and people were coming up with all sorts of interesting explanations to the history of Equestria.

I have to say, this is probably my favorite approach. I love the exploration of lore and how you tied G1 into it all. G1 AJ as a great ancestor to the Apple family is brilliant.

In general, the execution here is wonderful, incredibly massive in scope despite the fact that the story stays pretty grounded. Just a big deconstruction of how a vast and unimaginable ancestry can impact a single pony.

Makes me wonder what kind of insane things my ancestors must have been up to.

This gem was an utter pleasure to read.

#38 · 121w, 19h ago · · ·

Wow...that was so touching :fluttercry:

#39 · 41w, 5d ago · · ·

This is good.

Author Interviewer
#40 · 7w, 2d ago · 1 · ·

Really an amazing story also best ship :3

#41 · 6w, 6d ago · · ·

I just want to say, that was fantastic.

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