• Member Since 7th Sep, 2012
  • offline last seen May 27th

Dark Avenger

"Un bon mot ne prouve rien." (Voltaire)



Hearth's Warming Eve. The wondrous celebration of friendship, warmth and joy, held during the most cold and unforgiving days of winter.

Everypony wishes for something on this day: presents, good fortune, excitement, perhaps even true love. Whatever it may be, above all, they wish for nothing but happiness.

Every year, by the end of this day, some of them will find that their wish had not been granted.

(Submission for Las Pegasus Unicon fanfic contest)

(Featured on EQD and included in Twilight's Library)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 43 )

Congratulations, you gave me feelings! What a great read! :pinkiehappy:


Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! :raritywink:

No character tags? Interesting...

Interestingly, I was kind of expecting more plot to this whole story. It was a true slice of life, that's for sure. However, I did not find it very sad, to be honest; despite the apparent relation between the events that were talked about. Hm, maybe I'm just not very sympathetic. :applejackunsure:

I definitely felt something with the conclusion. Great story.:twilightsmile:

The realization at the end hit me like a ton of bricks. Good job.

This was fantastic! Thank you for making this great piece of fanfiction!

Kamelot - Serenade

Sigh... :pinkiesad2:


No tags for Pony Joe (as far as I know), and it's way too short to mention "OC ponies," or anything...

1899198 Could do "other" :rainbowwild:

Okay, I might as well write a little review.

I'll start with nitpicks. In the show, we get a glimpse of Joe's place, and it (to me, at least) seems pretty obvious he runs a cafe, not a bar. You went with the latter, and that led to the setting that has 'bar attributes' - drunk ponies (how unexpected!), generally more vulgar language and Joe being a bartender. The latter interferes with my headcanon, but serves well here, so I let it slide. Another thing I could mention is formatting, namely the very beginning - usually, the epigraph is put on the right side of the page, and there's no break following it.

Now, to less subjective matters.
I think I didn't really get the message, but let's assume it was to show that there's still a dark side even to such a celebration as Hearth's Warming Eve.
Then how you went about it would be showing all the ponies coming to a bar to drown their misery in alcohol, show how Joe tries to help it, and then... I don't get it. Did that colt went off after that mare to kill her, so she tried to escape and crashed in the narrow streets? Okay, it's probably me being stupid (and sleepy), but I think the ending needs some more clarity.
Back to the message - it was pretty abstract, and by that I mean I really didn't get what were you going for - it isn't that strong, you aren't really making a point, but rather just show us a series of events. If you wanted that dark edge to the holiday - it wasn't all that dark; if you wanted to show that every encouragement, even from a stranger matters (I have no idea where I got this from) - then it's even less clear. Here, Joe tries to help someone who is drunk and in torment - pretty much the same as trying to control 200 kV electricity currents with a metal stick - you have absolutely no control.

What I'm trying to get to, is that as a story, this is a pretty solid piece, but as fanfiction it lacks substance.
I'll assume you tried to go full Hemingway, but, well, you're not exactly Hemingway, so trying to send a strong message in such a short notice is kind of a futile task. Don't get me wrong - write more, just don't limit yourself. Lastly, congrats on the EqD feature:pinkiesmile:


Thank you for the review.

I'm kind of a noob at properly formatting a story, so I don't mind any nitpicking. I'll do my best to clear it up next time. Also, Hemingway is way above anything I could ever cough up. I just wanted to experiment with something similar, and this quote just came to mind somehow. :twilightsheepish:

As the very first line might suggest, the setting was partly inspired by the ending of "The Best Night Ever." Yes, it might come across more as a "pub" rather than a cafe, and the latter might indeed be more appropriate. To that, I'll only reply: note the time.

There isn't any distinct message that I try to convey with this story. There is a central theme (which I think is painfully obvious), and while I do have my own interpretation, I leave it completely up to the reader to decide what it means to them. So far, your "version" is the one that I least expected, but it's interesting to see these kinds of reactions. :raritywink:

As for my feature on EQD, thanks alot, but... well, I'll just let someone else explain: :derpytongue2:

“I’ve finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun. This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt.”
(Kurt Vonnegut - Slaughterhouse Five)

1899696 Well, regarding the whole 'message' ordeal - it is more or less something I'm looking for in fanfiction; literature is not among the arts I like to be abstract
I'm actually curious about what you were expecting, care to share?:twilightblush:
Regardless, I blame any stupidity on my side on the time - it's 5:40 around here, and I'm not exactly wide-awake...


It's funny: the more I think about your interpretation, the more I'm convinced it works almost as well as my own (or any other, really)... :pinkiecrazy:

I don't really want to give away why everything is written as it is, though. Not just yet. I never really expected anything either, to be honest. Maybe that some would like this story, and some would not, which is fine by me. It only gets really interesting once they describe why they liked or disliked it, or were at least interested by it.

My interpretation is that the girl who died was rushing to meet the colt at Joe's place. Of course, she doesn't make it; she's dead. That's why the colt can't just 'forget it' and move on, like Joe wants him to. It's not just his crush not meeting up with him on Hearth's Warming, it's someone very dear to him dying (and therefore NEVER being able to meet up with him again).

This part I'm a little less sure about, but again, my personal interpretation: After the death of his love interest, the colt tried to drown his sorrows in alcohol/hot chocolate. My opinion is that he committed suicide at the end of the fic, but I'm of two minds on what part Joe's store played. Was the colt there to get really drunk so dying wouldn't hurt? Or was the drinking 'removing the pain', and once he'd decided to leave the store, the only way to get rid of the pain was to die? I think I prefer the last interpretation, at least, I prefer the idea that it was Joe's well-meaning encouragement that in actuality made the colt end his life. And when Joe hears the news about the filly, those pieces slot into place; finally, he realizes why the colt's determined look of 'morbid acceptance' haunted him so much.

Pony Joe wants to give people a place they're 'wanted', to make people happy. He thinks he's doing good by sending the colt out into the cold, but his help is really more damaging in this case.

On a more abstract level, the story itself sends a message about how the story you think you've seen 100 times before may not be the story this time: Joe assumes he's seeing a young man who's been stood up, but what he's really seeing is a deeply depressed colt who's just learnt somebody he loved has died trying to reach him.

1903786 looking back, I might've gone overboard with dark undertones, but oh well. I guess the whole reason why the story isn't exactly clear is because we don't have much knowledge about the timeline - the guard came in half an hour after the colt's departure, and there's plenty of ways how all of the ponies involved could spend that time. Note to 1900250: if those events would be clearer, we'd have a more, eh, centered theme.

Still though, It's interesting to see this story from another angle:twilightsmile:


I like the way you think. :raritywink:

I would like to mention that the setting of Pony Joe's place - and the role of Pony Joe himself - had two major "inspirations." The first was, as I have mentioned before, the scene at the end of "The Best Night Ever." The other was a scene from a short movie that I saw a while back. The conversation between Pony Joe and the colt is more or less based on this scene, although the original is far more vulgar, and (as far as I know) doesn't have any kind of tragedy at the end.

The short summary is: "kid walks into a bar, looks miserable, bartender is sick of seeing people like that, gives the kid a couple of free rounds, tells him to stop whining and move on." The scene is actually far more interesting to watch than to read my sloppy abridged version, and seeing it would probably help make it look less like I just "copy-pasted" it, but unfortunately I can't find an english version anywhere.

One thing I might suggest when trying to find an interpretation is: don't focus on the "plot" so much. The important stuff is in the details, as scarce as they may be.


This was originally a submission for a contest, and the word limit was at 3000, thus part of the reason why I chose to leave so much "beneath the surface."

One free review as promised.

Grammar mistakes I found:
Smaller mistakes: 0
Sentences with major flaws: 0
Overall: I didn't find anything wrong :yay:

Plot and pacing:
Didn't seem rushed or slow. Good idea, carried out well.

Distinct ponies, well thought out.

Probably one of the best oneshots I have read and the poeple who downvoted it wouldn't know a good fiction if it crawled down their throat and bit their intestines. They should be banned from the site.
9.5 out of 10
(That it probably a little biased but oh well)

p.s. Do you like my new review style?


Thank you for the review!

Personally, I think every reader is entitled to their own opinion. They definitely don't deserve a ban for keeping me aware that no matter how good I might think I am, I could always be better...

As for your review: This style appears to be a bit more stripped down and to the point, which, I suppose, is more practical. I guess the only thing I lack would be pointing out any specific highlights for you in the story (if there were any... :raritywink:) It feels a bit "technical" this way, a somewhat rigid approach to something as soft as prose... :duck:

Other than that, though, it's a good review! :twilightsmile:


Am I reviewing reviews now? :derpyderp2:

Well it would be more in depth if there was more that I had to say about about your story. I just didn't find anything wrong with it and thought it accomplished its purpose.

I was being a little dramatic about the people who down voted your story. Maybe just a tad...:twilightblush:

And for the record you did just review a review :raritywink:

Okay, Honest review/Feedback coming up:

So where to start... The story itself is pretty good. The characters behave naturally. Thought at the beggining I could not understand how were the ponies at the Joe's store got drunk off hot chocolate untill you said that he mixed rum in it.The twist at the end was unexpexted and was really executed nicely. Basicly there is not a whole lot to tell about the story. It was a good and solid read.

Overall: A nice short story that is totally worth reading.

Final verdict: 7.5/10.

Best Wishes, Zelos:twilightsmile::twilightsmile::twilightsmile:.

The songs would have been more effective without such a wonky syllable count.

(Try thinking of them as poetry, it makes them fit into prose better.)

Overall it's got plenty of heart.

Well done.


You mean the song (not plural) that the children are singing? That's from the show... :raritywink:



That is true, but also irrelevant.

A song that works well in an animation might not work as well in writing.

Think about it.

When you listen to music, the beat instantly gives you the rhythm and stress of each syllable.

But in prose (just as in poetry) all you have are the syllables themselves, caesuras, and whichever meter you choose.
(And a few sneaky tricks as well, but I'll keep this simple.:raritywink:)

Here's an example of a song written specifically for a book, extracted from chapter 1 of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien:


Right from the first stanza, a pattern is established: each line has exactly eight syllables.

However, if you watch the same song being sung in the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the overall prosody of each word changes dramatically, causing some lines to have more beats, while some have fewer.

The first line, for example, seems to have ten syllables in the movie, just because of how it was performed, and other aspects of the soundtrack that were used.

Bottom line -- the fic would be better if you gave writing poetry a shot. :raritystarry:

I know it's unreasonable to expect you to go to all that extra effort, but I'm just saying -- it would be better.

Hell, you might even have fun with it. :rainbowlaugh:


1) I already did some poetry in another fic of mine... :raritywink:

2) The song is taken directly from the show, exactly the way it is. I can't really change that, nor did I intend to at all. Structurally, it might indeed not have been the best choice, but I'm quite certain that the intended effect does not depend upon that.

Thank you for your input, though! :duck:

1899559 I think Dark Avenger meant that the mare was the depressed colt's marefriend and the colt knew. He wasn't chasing her. She was trying to be on time.

Was this supposed to be a pony version of "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place"?


What the fu-- :pinkiegasp:

I swear I never actually read that one before (despite Hemingway otherwise being a huge influence on "Warmth"), but I'm less than a paragraph into it and... wow... :derpytongue2:

So... is that a good or a bad thing? :twilightblush:

Also, it's actually a pony (and slightly more morbid) version of this: (link)

I've read plenty of material, seen plenty of characters go through suffering for the sake of plot. This is just plain sad. :fluttercry:


Awkward wording you got there... :unsuresweetie:

So does this mean it was worth your time?

4470450 Oh, indeed it was. I meant it was heartbreakingly sad, tragic. Like seeing a puppy out in the rain.

4470450 Or even, 'The Little Match Girl' sad.


Thank you! :twilightsmile:

All it takes is a cold winter day to come up with this stuff, I suppose...

Well, it's believable when you consider that when I hit page down to scroll past the banner (I need large font to read comfortably), I completely scrolled past the "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn." at the top of the page :twilightblush:and thought the first line was "Hey, Pony Joe! Another donut!" So, I thought you sounded like Hemingway without seeing the quote. I guess that's a good thing? :pinkiecrazy:


How does the saying go? "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery"? :twilightblush:

Or was it "bad artists imitate, good artists steal"? :trollestia:

welp, i had this safely put under 'read later' for a while, and now, after finally reading this, i have to say that that was a mistake in my own accord. two weeks of leaving it in the back burner was a bad decision. it's an incredible read and i mean it. the pacing is even and steady throughout, the dialogue is as natural as natural could possibly get, and the characters are only as flowed out as they are needed. overall, it is, as i previously stated, amazing.


Thank you for your kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :raritywink:

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