• Published 30th Dec 2011
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Gratuitous Pony Battles - You Shall Not Pass

Ponies throughout history beat the hell out of each other.

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The Blizzard, Part One: Earth Ponies vs. Pegasi

Since becoming a brony, I have pondered how our normally peaceful ponies would fight. Rather than write an essay or two, I thought it would be much more fun to write some short fics about ponies in battle. As the title of this story implies, this work will mostly be a compilation of unrelated one-shots, each with just enough plot to explain why each side wants to kill each other to death.

The first three chapters will concern pony combat circa ye olden tymes depicted in “Hearth’s Warming Eve.” Beyond that, I am open to suggestions as to what to write, so feel free to comment with a desired matchup and time period/technology level!

Story image comes from the Christmas episode, with the interesting subtitle courtesy of YouTube’s gloriously inept transcribe audio option.

Anyway, enjoy “Gratuitous Pony Battles!” Um, if you’re into that sort of thing, I mean…

The Blizzard, Part One: Earth Ponies vs. Pegasi

The negotiations with the Pegasus Tribe in the middle of the snowy field were going as well as they possibly could – rather badly.

“Now that’s silly!” Chancellor Puddinghead exclaimed. She leaned forward and looked at the pegasus commander dead in the eyes. “You can’t take all of our food away from us. We’d starve to death, and with no more farmers, then you’d starve to death!”

Commander Hurricane too leaned forward, so her frosty black helmet ruffled the front of the pink earth pony’s hat. “There’s still not enough food for everypony thanks to this blizzard, but if someponies have to die, it sure isn’t going to be us! We’re taking the food, whether you like it or not!”

“Don’t bite the hoof that feeds you,” Puddinghead quipped, “that would taste really gross!”

The cyan pegasus stamped her hoof, which had less than the desired dramatic effect owing to the grassy ground and the ankle-deep snow covering it. “Enough of your kooky talk!” she yelled impatiently. “I’m bringing my army tomorrow, and you better have all your food ready for us! If you don’t, we’re just going to take it from you, and I don’t care how many of your ponies we kill to do it! Do I make myself clear?”

“Clear as mud!” the earth pony chancellor said brightly, hopping a pace away from the pegasus leader.

“Good!” Commander Hurricane flapped her wings and hovered over the snow. “Have all the food ready for us in the middle of this field at noon tomorrow, and don’t keep us waiting! Come, Pansy!” She flew off, but her pale yellow companion hung back to give an apologetic look before she too left.

Secretary Smart Cookie brushed some snow off her hat and sighed. “Ah sure hope you know what yer doin’, yer Excellency.”

“Of course, Cookie,” her superior assured. “We’re going to fight them!”

The orange pony winced. “Uh... how? None of us earth ponies are fightin’ sorts, yer Excellency. We’d be cut down like wheat by them pegasus soldiers. Ah respectfully suggest we just give the pegasi enough food to appease ‘em, and hide the rest and keep foragin’ to make up the slack.”

Chancellor Puddinghead shook her head vigorously, spraying her assistant with flecks of snow. “No, no! It all ends tomorrow!”

“So yer planning mass suicide?” Smart Cookie deadpanned.

“Interesting thought… but nopie dopie! ‘Cause I’ve got a brilliant idea! Secretary Cookie, spread the word! Tell everypony to round up burlap sacks and cut down little pine trees.” She reared on her hind legs and struck a dramatic pose. “It’s MONTAGE TIME!”

“…Sirs and Madams, you have your mission,” Commander Hurricane addressed to her chosen captains inside the relative warmth of the war hall. “I don’t think we’ll have any resistance from those ground dwellers, but if they refuse to hand over the food, you have permission to use deadly force to ensure their compliance. Understood?”

The room rang out with affirmations.

“Good. Now, get the farriers ready – tomorrow, we put on warshoes!”

“Here they come,” Secretary Smart Cookie gulped at noon the next day. The Chancellor at her side stared skywards impassively.

Visibility through the falling snow was poor, but there was no mistaking the dark cloud approaching the dense C-shaped formation of earth ponies. The cloud grew larger and larger, and all too quickly Cookie could discern individual pegasi and the flapping of their wings.

Commader Hurricane burst through the rain of flakes and skid to a stop in front of Chancellor Puddinghead. The earth pony leader stood at the mouth of her tribe’s formation, and directly behind her was a large mound of burlap sacks. The pegasus chief’s top subordinates landed next to her not a second later.

“What’s with all the pine trees?” Hurricane asked, bewildered. About a quarter of the earth ponies were standing on their hind hooves and holding upright young pine trees, each about four pony lengths tall and with the lowermost branches removed. What had previously been a flat, snow-covered field now had an artificial forest.

“Oh those? We thought you’d be cold in your chilly crazy cloud city, so we got some firewood for you!” Chancellor Puddinghead answered cheerfully.

The cyan pegasus mare’s eyes narrowed. “Then why didn’t you cut off all the branches and chop them into little logs?”

“Well, duh! We didn’t have enough time, silly! ‘Noon tomorrow’ is a pretty tight deadline.”

Commander Hurricane seemed to accept that explanation, since she switched to a different track. “I see you have all the food ready,” she observed, looking at the mound of sacks in the middle of the earth pony crescent formation. The peasants seemed arranged that way so they could all get one last look at their livelihood before it disappeared.

“Yep!” answered the earth pony chancellor. “We didn’t try hiding anything anymore, since we figured you’d murder us all if we tried. So here’s all the food!” She dragged a sack from the pile to the pegasus and untied the knot keeping it closed, revealing frozen oats.

Hurricane leaned her head in and took some experimental bites. Everypony watched with bated breath…

“It’s good,” she announced after she swallowed her bite. “You saw sense, dirt dwellers. Captain Pansy! Gather your ponies and load up this food!”

The yellow pegasus meekly saluted and trudged through the snow over to the pile with her detachment delegated to porter duty. Their steps were more labored than usual, since their serrated war horseshoes were half-inch plates of iron and very heavy.

Chancellor Puddinghead and her companion got out of the pegasus detachment’s way, and the soldiers busied themselves with lashing the sacks to their pack saddles. “This is insane,” Secretary Smart Cookie said under her breath to her boss.

“Yep! And that’s why it’s going to work!” the earth pony chancellor answered in what was not quite a whisper.

Commander Hurricane’s ears perked up. “What’s going to work?” she asked suspiciously.

“THIS!” Puddinghead shouted, abandoning all pretexts of secrecy. Smart Cookie would never know how her superior managed to hide a burning torch in her ruff, but the earth pony chancellor whipped out said torch and tossed it onto the pile of sacks. Almost as if it was planned that way (which it was), a sap-soaked burlap bag ignited, and not a moment later, a second sack was alight.

The leader of the pegasus tribe shrieked in terror. “GET THE FOOD!”

After the initial shock, all of the pegasus soldiers rushed to the pile to rescue the food from the growing fire. To her credit, Commander Hurricane had stayed focused on her objective and ordered her ponies to rescue the food, rather than retaliate.

Unfortunately, it was the wrong decision. If she had been more observant, she would have found it suspicious that none of the earth ponies were the least bit distraught when the mound of sacks was set alight. For that matter, the peasant ponies should have also looked much more upset over giving away all their food in the first place. None of the pegasi had the time to ponder that.

“HAAAAAAAMMER TIIIIIIIME!” Chancellor Puddinghead had also somehow managed to conceal a sledgehammer in her poofy doublet. All of the other earth ponies uncovered their weapons, which were simply hidden under an inch or two or snow. Armed with a motley assortment of knives, sickles, hammers, pitchforks, clubs, scythes, and pine trees, they all charged the pegasi as a single screaming, furious mass. The pegasi, packed around the sack pile and desperately trying to save as much food as they could from the encroaching flames, presented an irresistible target.

Some were hacked down before they realized what was happening. A pegasus weighed down by combat horseshoes, armor, helmet, and one or two sacks of food needed a running start to get airborne, but there was almost no space to do so in the crushing melee. The pegasi, already outnumbered three to one, were nearly completely surrounded and were being slaughtered.

Smart Cookie already knew the chancellor was likely insane, but the ensuing carnage showed her and everypony else a side of Puddinghead never seen before. She was a demented, hyperactive pink whirlwind of grizzly death. She twirled her sledgehammer with blinding speed, and with each furious blow she crushed armor and smashed the skulls, ribcages, and pelvises underneath. And despite having to hold the sledgehammer’s handle in her mouth while using her fore hooves for extra leverage, Chancellor Puddinghead was laughing loud enough to be heard over the battle.


Commander Hurricane’s kick connected with an earth pony stallion’s face, and she felt his skull crack even through her thick horseshoes. From the front, she easily defended herself with a sword she held in her mouth – the onrushing earth pony peasants were very obliging targets for a swordspony as skilled as her. But for all her success, she could see that her troops were being hacked to pieces.

Not having the time or space to properly sheath it, she hatefully spat the sword out of her mouth and took off. “FALL BACK!” she hollered at the top of her well-practiced lungs from above the battlefield. “SOLDIERS, OUT THIS WAY!”

A few unencumbered pegasi managed to take to the air and escaped the melee. For their comrades pressed against the attackers on the ground, reaching safety was a much more difficult proposition. With the order to retreat, they all rushed towards the gap where the earth pony pincer had yet to fully close. More pegasi were cut down in their haste to break out.

Captain Pansy had the good fortune to be outside of the earth pony crescent when the battle began, but she felt far from relieved. She was in fact, frozen in terror. Her legs felt like lead and her wings were locked against her sides and refused to move, or even look at the carnage. “Pansy! Get your useless flank moving, or getting demoted to private will be the least of your worries!” Commander Hurricane yelled as she flew past. The other worries turned out to be the screaming pine forest charging in Pansy’s direction. Sack-laden Pegasi who couldn’t gallop and take off fast enough were swallowed up by the onrushing earth pony wave.

“Eeep!” the yellow pegasus squeaked. Acting on pure survival instinct, her wings acted on their own accord and lifted her out of the snow. She and the other stragglers fled to where their comrades had rallied about a mile away at the far end of the field.

“Get those packs off the wounded!” Commander Hurricane ordered. “We need everypony ready to return to Pegasopolis in five minutes!” She surveyed her survivors and spat distastefully. By the looks of it, she had lost maybe a quarter of her force in that terrible ambush. Yet despite the losses, it was still a victory for the Pegasus Tribe. They had all of the food now, or at least all that hadn’t gone up in flames.

Pansy, meanwhile, was helping the wounded. She relieved a stallion with a broken rear ankle of his heavy sack and offered him some of the contents. The injured pegasus gratefully ate, but almost immediately spat it out. “These aren’t oats!” Other soldiers were making the same discovery, and throughout the pegasus host, panicked shouts rang out as ponies inspected the bags and discovered–

“Sawdust? SAWDUST!” The enraged pegasus leader rounded on the quivering yellow pony. “I gave you a simple job, Captain Pansy! You were in charge of collecting the food! You should have noticed it was a trick!”

The Captain shrank into the snow and turned her head so her long pink mane would hide her tears. “B-but you checked–”

“No excuses! I’ll deal with you later!” Hurricane flew up and called out to her soldiers, who had shed the now useless sacks of sawdust. “Those dirt ponies must pay for their treachery! They’re hiding the food somewhere, and we’re going to beat the answer out of them! Form around me, and show them no mercy!”

The remaining pegasus soldiers – those that were still capable of flying – gave a vengeful shout and took to the air. The earth ponies now outnumbered them by an even larger margin than before, but they no longer had the element of surprise, and without it, those peasants would surely be pounded into paste in a fair, straight-up scrap.

Pansy glumly watched them disappear into the blizzard, and went back to tending to the wounded.

A dark smudge loomed through the snow. “They’re comin’ back!” Smart Cookie warned to the ragged circle of earth ponies. She was amazed at how well the ambush had gone off, but now the real test was upon them. She was fairly confident that they were now thoroughly bucked. “Well, beats slowly starvin’ to death…”

As always, Chancellor Puddinghead was mindlessly optimistic. “Okie dokie, everypony! Get ready to kick some pegasus flank! PLANT TREES!”

The bottoms of the pine trees had been sharpened into stakes. With grunts of effort, ponies settled them into the dirt beneath the snow, and burly stallions with mallets pounded on the lower branches to drive them in as far as they would go.

Smart Cookie still had no idea what purpose the pine trees were supposed to serve. She conceded that they were better than no weapons at all, provided that one’s definition of ‘weapon’ was generously broad.

A cone of black-armored pegasi parted the snowstorm and burst into clarity. “HOLD FAST!” Chancellor Puddinghead screamed.

The slingers at the edge of the circle of earth ponies managed a single volley of stones before they retreated to the safety of the mass. Most of the stones missed, but one pegasus fell out of the sky.

Then the pegasi were upon them. The flying formation shot overhead, and a rushing gale of wind and snow followed in its wake. Some of the pine trees blew over, but that was as far as the damage went. The cone of flyers climbed into the air, turned around, and charged from the other direction, skimming the tops of the trees. One pegasus misjudged her height and smacked into the artificially positioned foliage, and tumbled into the pack of earth ponies and was promptly kicked to death. Again and again, the pegasus formation sped over the circle of ground dwellers as low as they dared.

Commander Hurricane was not happy. A dense formation of pegasi could create a fearsome tempest, and each pass was supposed to literally blow holes in the dense mass of earth ponies. But instead of pushing the enemy apart to make them easy pickings in melee, the pine trees buffered the impact of their little cyclones, leaving the peasant circle intact.

She had enough of this farce. It was time to commit in full. The cone of soldiers formed up behind her climbed higher and higher above the body of earth ponies, and at her order, they dived.

Snow wasn’t the only thing falling from the sky. Those pegasi who hadn’t lost their javelins in the ambush flung them down ahead of their diving formation. Some hit empty snow and others got tangled in pine tree branches, but the few that found their marks pierced clean through their unlucky targets and pinned them to the ground. Their screams were unbearable.

“CHAAAAAARGE!” chorused the onrushing pegasus leader and the host of soldiers behind her.

“HOOOOLD!” answered the earth ponies, taking cover underneath the trees.

CRUNCH! Pine trees snapped under the impacts of a few wayward flyers. Earth pony spines also splintered underneath serrated, iron-shod pegasus hooves, but those casualties were few. Since the earth ponies shielded themselves with the branches of their artificial forest, most of the diving pegasi were funneled into the gaps between the trees and only pounced on snow.

The earth ponies chose that moment to swarm the armored attackers before they could take to the air again. Earth ponies all around kicked, slashed, and dragged pegasi down by biting their tails. Chancellor Puddinghead laughed and bounced into combat, and her bloodied sledgehammer connected with a pegasus’ face.

Secretary Smart Cookie knew she wasn’t a fighter. She ran a pear orchard before working for the chancellor, and her most violent experiences simply involved cutting off diseased and dying branches with her pole-mounted billhook. To her morbid surprise, that turned out to be perfect training, and the inward-curving blade she used to lop off pear tree branches could just as easily cut through pony flesh and bone. A nearby pegasus leaped into the air, but Smart Cookie snagged one of his wings with her billhook and pulled. She sliced into bone and a second tug tore the wing clean off, and the luckless flyer fell into a mob of earth ponies and met a predictable, bloody death.

The rest of the pegasi took off, reformed the cone, and dived straight down a second time. The earth ponies again retreated under the pine trees and reemerged to hack down a few pegasi before they all flew away to regroup. They struck again and again, but each successive charge came in weaker and less coordinated, and each time more flyers were picked off for a comparable number of peasant casualties. For a force as outnumbered as the Pegasus Tribe’s, that ratio was unacceptable.

They changed tactics. Instead of striking together all at once, the pegasi spread out and rained down from multiple directions and angles. If they wanted a confused melee, that is what they got.

“Come on, pigeon brains! Who wants t’ mess with ol’ Cookie?” the secretary challenged. Whether answering her provocation or not, a pegasus swooped down through the trees and headed straight at her with hooves ready to strike. Smart Cookie dodged aside and swung her billhook, catching the onrushing pegasus’ wing and shearing it off. Before the orange earth pony could finish off the downed flyer, something hit Smart Cookie’s head hard and all went black.

No more games of cat and mouse, thought Commander Hurricane with satisfaction. With no predictable sequence to the pegasus attacks, the dirt dwellers could no longer retreat and reemerge from under the trees en masse. Now there were always targets to be found.

The cyan pegasus dived. Her rear hooves landed a glancing blow on somepony, but her front hooves crushed a skull. One pony down, maybe two… She swung her weight back and spread her wings to catch more air and gain altitude, and she dived again. Dive, pounce, climb, and repeat. She lost count of how many times she did this sequence and how many peasants she killed or wounded, but suddenly it didn’t matter. She spotted that pink pony, and launched herself at her.

“YOU!” she snarled, focusing all of her hatred at the pony who had the gall to not only resist, but kill so many of her soldiers with absurd effectiveness.

“ME!” Chancellor Puddinghead affirmed cheerily, her voice somehow not muffled at all by the bloody sledgehammer in her mouth. The earth pony chancellor skipped out of Commander Hurricane’s way when she streaked past, but the pink pony too missed her hammer swing.

Hurricane climbed, turned, and dove at her again. “YOU’RE MINE!”


Chancellor Puddinghead’s flying sledgehammer smacked into Commander Hurricane helmeted forehead.

“Get the Commander!” a pegasus captain shouted. Dozens of pegasi flew over and landed where their leader had crashed and paid no heed to the mass of earth ponies who dragged many of them down to be bludgeoned or hacked to death. The rescue team suffered grueling casualties, but they managed to get Commander Hurricane’s lithe body onto one of their backs and fly off. With that, the rest of the pegasi abandoned any further thoughts of fighting and fled.

Earth ponies were not supposed to resist the Pegasus Tribe’s demands. It was impossible for grounded peasants to defeat the warriors of sky. Yet they had fought, and they had won.

Chancellor Puddinghead smashed a wounded pegasus straggler’s face in with her sledgehammer. She dropped her weapon, it and herself now covered in blood and bits of brain. “Hey, you know what this calls for? A PARTY!”

A/N: I based Puddinghead’s pine tree tactics on Ming Chinese general Qi Jiguang, who did something similar with bamboo trees (not against flying enemies, of course). The bamboo trees offered concealment, some overhead protection from projectiles, and when held horizontally they entangled Japanese pirates, allowing other Chinese soldiers to poke and chop them to death.