• Member Since 24th Sep, 2012
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The original Sunburst!


  • EScent of Roses
    A call for help from an old friend takes Rainbow Dash to a place she'd rather have out of her life... but her business there isn't finished. She'll have to discover how to resolve and close a painful chapter of her past for good.
    Winston · 36k words  ·  68  2 · 819 views
  • TBorn in Equestria
    After three years, Rainbow Dash comes home to Ponyville. The war's won and she's back, having served Equestria with honor. But after what it's taken out of her - and left lingering - is it so simple? Can she come home again so easily?
    Winston · 29k words  ·  129  2 · 1.5k views

When Rainbow Dash makes a startling revelation to Twilight Sparkle, it sparks a serious discussion about painful events in the past, what the future holds, and self-realization and the nature of destiny.

Featured on Equestria Daily on December 14, 2011!

"Equal parts heart-wrenching and beautiful. The author has managed to portray Dash in a way I never thought possible."
- EQD Pre-reader #R107

UPDATE: The final edition is written and published as of October 12, 2015!

The sequel to this story, Scent of Roses, is now complete!

The other sequel (although chronologically a prequel, technically), Born in Equestria, is also now finished.

Chapters (2)
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Comments ( 47 )

Also available on deviantArt at http://fav.me/d4ivifh
Featured on Equestria Daily a while back and was pretty well received, but I didn't know much about FIMFiction until recently, so I decided to try releasing it here, too.

This story carries a lot of personal significance for me. It wasn't very easy to write, but there were some things I needed to say. I guess that's the essential driving force behind its creation. As such, with that kind of investment in it I'm always a little nervous about how it comes across. I'm still new and pretty inexperienced as a writer, any comments and feedback are appreciated.

A sequel expanding on the hints of events mentioned in here is currently in progress. It will be much longer and much more complex. It'll be released once it's fully written and all revision and editing are complete and it's sufficiently polished up for reading by the general public.

This was a very good read. I personally enjoyed reading it a while ago, and when I saw this published here, I wanted to put in my two bits. And now I can drop it in my favorites. :pinkiesmile:


I read this a year ago on DeviantArt and loved it. That feeling has not changed. :heart: Great story!

Ah...this story.

You know, I've seen this story in a lot of places, and however many times I read it, I still get chills. So, great read!

Goodness. This was one of the first stories I ever read when I first got into the fandom; kind of took a little trip down memory lane with this one. I wasn't that familiar with the mane six and the other ponies, but it didn't stop me from reading through it and taking in every bit of it. I enjoyed this story and it's nice to see it here where I can track it down easily. You've put together a fantastic story and you can bet I'll be reading the sequel when it comes out. :pinkiehappy:

This seemed familiar, and now I know why. If it was on EqD and DA that'll be how I know it. Still, a good read either way.

One of my favorite stories to date.
Albeit I might be a little biased since you mirrored my headcanon RD almost perfectly.
Still excellent premise and well-written.
Have a static.fimfiction.net/images/icons/thumb_up.png ,
a gold star,
and this special gift.

I've got to say, you did an excellent job with the dialogue between Rainbow and Twilight. It sounded just like them, but... you know, more mature, more fitting for a fic like this.

One thing bothered me, though... what was this "war" they kept talking about? I know it's not really necessary to go into details about it for this story, but still, the whole time I was reading this I was thinking about the possibilities of why there was a war.

But anyway, like I said, great job. I rate you six out of five mustaches. :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

It's a lovely story and strangely in-character. Yes, Rainbow Dash is the sort of person who would throw themselves in front of a bullet for anyone and, inevitably, it is the hero's fate to die before those he or she defends. Of course, that seems to be a deal that Rainbow is happy with.

Of course... Twilight's warning is prophetic and perhaps a foreshadowing. Knowing the future often changes things radically. I can really see Twilight Sparkle spending months, maybe even years trying to ensure that Rainbow will be magically protected when that day finally comes. Maybe she might even end up trying to take Rainbow's place. No greater love hath a man... or a pony... after all.

I read this. Then I spent a good thirty minutes briefly thinking about my life. There was some crying somewhere in there too. Also why has this not been featured yet?

1336697 As I understand it, a story getting into the featuring system depends on a combination of views and faves versus total time a story is up for. I guess it'd need more of those things to get featured. I'd be thrilled if it did, but that's really up to the community.

Anyone who wants to try to spread the word and get this some more views, I wouldn't object to, but I'm not out to try and force my way on there. ;)

I am glad it helped you to reflect on your own life, by the way. I've gotten that response quite a bit about this story.

Thanks. The sequel still has quite a bit of work left to do, but I like how it's turning out so far and I think it should be even better than this story.

Glad to hear that it has some lasting power!

1340396 I know it takes time to get to the featured list, i was just being silly.

Hey, I remember this story. Love it, and its really well written, but it feels like an MLP fiction in name only. Curious to see where you take the sequel.

You might want to fix this bit of text though.

Her mane was almost the same color, just the teensiest shade darker, more tan, and her cutie mark was Rainbow Dash explained.

a dark grey raincloud.

Thank you! The text is fixed.

I have gotten a few comments from people on their feeling that the story didn't need to be in an MLP format to be told basically as-is. I agree, actually. That was one of the difficult points of writing the whole thing as one conversation - there's not a whole lot of worldbuilding external to the characters that's really possible to use to set a firm definition that this *must* be Equestria. It was also sort of hard to do with the characters themselves, at least in the way some people see them written here, because they've departed somewhat from how they may have been in the series. That's deliberate, though, not the result of just writing different personalities into familiar names. I had to make my best attempt to extrapolate how the experiences they describe may have changed them, particularly Rainbow Dash. It's resulted in sort of an odd mix - I've had people disagreeing with my assessments of those changes tell me that Rainbow Dash feels out of character, but on the other hand even more who tell me that after thinking through the kinds of things she talks about, they feel like she's absolutely dead on for what they'd expect her to be! It's an open field for contention, I suppose. I just tried to do the best I could.

The sequel has much more dynamic to it for these things to emerge in, so I suppose feedback from that may tell me less ambiguously whether I'm succeeding or failing.

Read this a long time ago on dA. Faved it then, and I'm faving it now. Excellent story. :twilightsmile:


For what it's worth, I don't think Rainbow Dash feels out of character, given the circumstances she talks about having lived through. Under those circumstances, I think its a fair intrepretation of her character. Not the only one, but a fair one. It's just the conflict that feels out of place, because we have no context for it outside of Rainbow's point of view. As you said, there's no reason why this story MUST be equestria. Change the names and drop any reference to them being ponies and I could see this as a conversation in virtually any war story.

Still an excellent story though and I'm looking forward to the sequel.

Do you know how ridiculously good this story is? I don't think you do. I think I'm going to write a review. A glowing one. All my like, take it ALL.

Well... Thank you! I'm glad you liked it.

1377959 Absolutely no problem. I thank you for writing it in the first place.

For anyone waiting for the sequel, you can read about its progress in the journals I've written on my deviantArt journals. (http://wdeleon.deviantart.com/)
You can also see my MLP fanart there in the gallery, too, if you're interested.

Oh, I remember reading this before on deviantart! I loved it then, and still love it now. I think you did a really good job getting Rainbow's thought processes across - it really seems like something she would think about (if this series took place in a more mature world, of course). Wonderful job - this really should have more likes. Also, looking forward to the sequel you mentioned :pinkiehappy:

I remember this!!!! :D :D :D

Excellent. I still like it.

And a point or three for the Marcus Aurelius quote.

I'm another one of those people who read this quite a while back (in my case, when I started reading FiM fanfiction).

Still just as awesome as I remember it. :pinkiehappy:

The characterization, the atmosphere, and many more things are just so well-done. Have a long-belated like and favorite! :rainbowdetermined2:

I ain't never been a soldier but I can empathize with the view points in this story. I have been to some bad places and letting go really is the best medicine. Whether your trying to move past a horrible past or just get back up on yer feet, letting go is hardest part but it is what you gotta learn to do. I applaud you for this story and award you a few staches :moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache::moustache:

Woah... One Word: Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

This was sad...but happy...hmmm...this is hard to explain
The context was uber sad...but the what the story plays out isn't
Kinda like "this is really depressing...but every thing is going to be okay."
Something like that

Character Analysis/Development to the MAX! Lots of good food for thought. This... works so very well. Sorry if i'm a bit short on words for reviewing the fic. I'm finished reading the fic, but i'm not entirely sure if I'm finished processing the fic, if you know what I mean. Good work. Rest assured that this content will probably linger on my mind for many hours, even when I do sign off fimfiction for the day.

The following review is brought to you by Zero Punctuation Reviews.

So I've finally begun to watch Game of Thrones because I'm an idiot and don't get onto fan bandwagons until three years after everyone else. I did that with Final Fantasy VII in 2000, the Lord of the Rings films in 2006, The Walking Dead in 2013… and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic the same year, strangely enough. Yeah, I know I haven't talked about "First" yet, but bear with me - I'm sleep deprived. So any-who, you know how every single one of all those big, epic tales all start with piles and piles (episodes and episodes in Game of Thrones's case) of expository dialogue with characters spouting, "Oh shit, it's this character - here's their backstory and why you should care," before the actual plot part happens? Yeah, "First" is that but like a whole story of it.

So here you are at "First" 'n I hope you're thirstin' for some dialogue because that's really all you get. It's unquestionably fantastic and contains everything I expect from dialogue; propels the story forward and reveals character and all that. Rainbow Dash gets some pretty hefty lines here, and wdeleon's interpretation of the character is pretty fucking remarkable. Twilight just sits back the whole story lapping up Rainbow Dash's words like they're that keeps her alive and adds absolutely nothing to the story, but whatever - I can dig it!

But where shit starts to get on my tits, if you'll pardon the horrific mental image I just gave you, is that wdeleon couldn't think of a better way to express his/hers/its neat-o interpretation of Rainbow Dash other than attaching some arbitrary and out of place war story onto her character like that'll just automatically make her sympathetic and tragic. Hey, Hitler was in a war and we don't really feel sorry for him, now do we? We don't even get to see any of it happening, everything revealed about said arbitrary war story is told in flash-black dialogue drug through a sentimental filter so blatantly I can actually see a little man in the corner of my computer screen holding up cue cards that tell me what I'm supposed to be feeling.

I can't help but feel like the 'story' part of this story has already happened and I've just been thrown the chewed bones of a hefty, delicious feast. The characters keep talking about that war thing like I'm totally supposed to know all about it, and all the sentimental conversations fall flat because I wasn't there for the actual story, I've just been shoved in at the end and expected to care. You've got to invite readers into your wonderfully sad world, not perch us up at window looking into it while shouting, "Look how sad everything is! Look, Look! Are you feeling things yet?"

Those analytic motherfuckers among you that search for patterns will now recognize that the dicking about portion of my review is over and I'm ready for my true criticism: I often analogize quote-unquote "sad" stories to a punch in the stomach and the effectiveness of that "sad" hit is entirely dependent on the wind up beforehand. I joked earlier that "First" feels like a story that's already happened but I think I was on to something - "First" is the punch without the wind up. It's a delicious meal at a 5-star restaurant when you're not very hungry. It's a beautiful maiden with blue eyes, long golden hair and a pair of tits that could smother a bear but you've just recently got your balls chopped off. If you're a straight lady or a wonderfully gay man, it's like a tall, handsome fellow with abs that could cut glass but he's also your father. What I'm saying is that "First" is kind of a truly wonderful thing but I couldn't give any less of a shit about it. Did that come across?

For those of you that saw the "At the end of the day…" shit coming, start feeling all smug and superior because here it is: At the end of the day, "First" is good but I'm not entirely unconvinced that the very fact that it’s good isn’t itself the main problem. It's good but it's such a bland, safe and unchallenging kind of good that's ultimately unsatisfying; It's an assembled-on-a-conveyer-belt-sold-for-cheap-at-Walmart sort of good. But still, it's got some decent characters and dialogue and the lack thereof has been enough for me to condemn stories in the past, so I suppose the inverse is true. I just wish that the really good parts hadn't been presented in such a placid-toned and lifeless manner. Picture a beautifully crafted statue in some museum your grandmother dragged you to. You know that it's a wonderful piece of artwork that someone must've put a lot of time and effort into, but the way its presented is so arduous and unappealing that all you want to do is go home and stick your head in the toilet.

3830449 Sorry I didn't get to this earlier, but thanks for the review! It's been a while since I wrote this, and do want to say that over time I've come to agree with the negatives you've pointed out.

Getting feedback helps me a lot with future writing projects, so I do appreciate your taking the time to read this and give me your thoughts on it.

Like 2016576 said I remember this back from dA.

I cannot believe I have not noticed and fave'd this story for this long.


Can you believe that this was the first MLP fanfiction I ever wrote, way back in 2011? :twilightblush:

I like to think that I've come a long way in my writing since then (I know I have in my grammar and technical skills, at least), but whenever I go back and read this again, I find that I still like it just as much after all this time as I did when I wrote it. I also have a lot of good memories of this story making it up onto EqD and the overwhelming amount of support I got and the new friends I made were very important to me at a rough time in my life because the story reflects a lot of difficult things I was dealing with. It was my way of talking about things when I had no one and no other way.

I guess that in the long run, that's how I know the story's been a success. Thanks for reading and commenting! :pinkiehappy:

I have to be honest: I feel like a heel for letting this linger on my RiL list for so long. But, the blog post about the 'remastered' edition spurred me to fire this up while I ate dinner.

My dinner lost a lot of its flavor midway through. BUT not for the reasons you might think. Rather, it lost flavor because my mind was wholly consumed with the story and, more specifically, how to formulate a response to it. Dinner has settled, but I'm still crunching the story, trying to let it soak in.

On the one hand, this shouldn't surprise me. If this story is even a partial reflection of the author's experiences (as it seems to be), then I certainly have no personal basis upon which to interpret the story. Yet, the writing is so rich and evocative (or, to borrow from another user, 'so Winston') that I feel compelled to react, to formulate some feelings and empathy for the characters and their circumstances. And to that end, I am heartbroken for RD; for the things she saw, did, and endured. For the friends she lost, and the innocence that seemed to perish along with them. Further, I also feel Twi's initial pain. Were I in her horseshoes, I too would feel guilty, thinking that I had missed so many chances to do something, anything, to help a friend. Twi's not wrong on that, imo, but Dash is also right. This really was a personal journey that only she could take, and only she could effectively reach its conclusions.

But, there was a wisdom in what she said. A profound sense of recognition, of understanding, that I can tell is there but can't yet bridge it to my own mind. And perhaps that's okay. If it took RD a long time to 'see the light' per se, then I can hardly expect to get it in ten minutes.

Still, this fic will leave me thinking and pondering for a long while. I hope I'll eventually dig up a bit of the wisdom that RD did for myself. Perhaps I won't. But it'll be interesting to try. :)

Winston, thanks for writing this and sharing it with us all. You did a wonderful job.


It was a beautiful story then
And it still is

That was beautifully elegant. I for one have always feared death, so seeing this new light was extremely fascinating to me. And it's very much in Rainbow Dash's character to think this way.

You know, usually I'm very jealous of other author's success and fame.

But after reading that author's note, I'm not. This was earned, not given.

You could tell it was written from real life experience. You could tell.

Aww, you made me cry. SO HARD... I know I have a shelf called Tear Tales... But this was the only story that actually made me cry.
In some comments, I may lie about crying, but I Pinkie Promise I really did cry for this. It's just amazing.

That was very powerful. This is a new favorite, I'll be reading the others.

How do people keep stealing my emotions but I never cry? Nevertheless, awesome story, really fluffy and cute, glad I read it. :twilightsmile:

Stories like this are gems. The value they have runs beyond simple words, they run deeper then anyone can ever truly know to those with an open mind. It's stories like this that help give a push to better oneself, or to help another. As for me... I keep my eye open for gems like this, and I have to say well done. Masterfully done. One more thing... Never stop writing, friend.

I know the feeling, I think. The one you mentioned in the A'sN. I have a 'Journal of Art that Secretly Sucks'

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