• Published 12th Jan 2013
  • 4,312 Views, 368 Comments

A Song of Storms: Snow and Shadows - The 24th Pegasus



With the onset of the windigo curse, Commander Hurricane and the other tribal leaders leave in search of new lands. They aren't the only ones to face challenges, as the tribes inch closer and closer to ripping each other apart with each day.

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Epilogue: Castle Black

Epilogue: Castle Black

A metallic clang echoed off of stone walls. Something heavy shook in response, followed by a solid thwack. The hissing of dust and ash dropping from cracks in the bricks filled in the void between impacts, and then, for a brief moment, everything became quiet again.

With the painful grinding of ancient and frozen metal, the halls shook with noise again. Ice splintered off of ancient hinges as a pair of massive doors creaked open. A sliver of gray light, as blinding as the sun in the complete darkness, pierced through the veil of dust and shadows inside of Castle Black for the first time in millennia.

Twilight stuck her head in first, sweat running down her forehead for brief seconds before it simply froze to her fur and muzzle. She drew her heavy winter coat tighter around herself and carefully stepped inside. Rainbow Dash hesitantly followed her friend with the edges of her wings angled outwards in worry. The two rebels, Safe Haven and Yóumín, entered last, with the prowling tigress taking up the rear. Bracing themselves against the doors, the four intruders forced the doors open a little wider. The dull gray that passed for ‘light’ in Stalliongrad flooded into the crypt that was Castle Black.

“Creepy…” Rainbow Dash muttered as she looked around. Ghostly banners of ancient silk and gold hung limply from the ceiling, torn with holes and chewed up by fires long since extinguished. As she walked along, Rainbow accidentally brushed into one, yelping in alarm as if some specter had tried to grab her shoulder. The banner came apart easily as she jumped away, the silk dissolving into dust before her eyes.

“Wow!” Twilight whispered, her eyes glittering with excitement. “Would you look at everything? This place feels like it’s been preserved for thousands of years!” She bounced a few inches off the ground, her hooves crunching the ancient dust and ash every time they hit the ground. “We’re standing in something that’s been untouched since the age of Star Swirl the Bearded!”

Reaching into his saddlebag, Safe Haven fumbled with numb hooves for a few seconds before pulling out some torches. “How about we light it up so we can see a little bit better,” he suggested. He hoofed over the torches to Yóumín, who grasped them in one paw and held them up to the stone bricks. With her other paw, she extended her claws and scraped across the stone, creating a shower of twinkling sparks that set the torches ablaze. She then passed the three lit torches back to Haven and began to prowl ahead, her tail swishing back and forth behind her.

“Uh, don’t you need one?” Rainbow asked as she clenched a torch between her teeth and began to walk.

Yóumín shook her head. “Unlike ponies, we tigers can see perfectly fine in the dark.”

Twilight began to walk forward as well, instinctively clutching at the torch with her magic before wincing sharply and collapsing against the wall. “Right…” she grunted to herself. “Void dust.” After recollecting her breath, she turned to where Rainbow was anxiously watching her and waved her hoof. Stumbling down the hall, she made it over to Safe Haven and grabbed the torch he held ready for her. Together, the three ponies walked down the dark corridors, trailing Yóumín’s black and orange pelt.

They advanced together in silence, taking in glimpses of the shadowy scenery decorating the castle. At some places along the hall it was easy to tell that the bricks were actually gray, not black, but the thickness of the ash covering the rest of them cared little. The farther into the castle they delved, the more signs of a fire they saw: half-burnt books, blackened beams of wood, heavy piles of ash, and warped metalwork. Twilight was so preoccupied with taking in all the details she could that she missed the pile of blackened bones until she tripped and fell right into them.

“Oof!” she gasped as she slammed her shoulder into the bones underneath her. They cracked and splintered into tiny gray and black fragments which rattled across the stone floor. When she opened her eyes, Twilight could see an ancient femur rolling away from her, clattering until it came to a stop by Safe Haven’s hoof.

“Are you alright?” he asked as he hooked a hoof under her foreleg and pulled her up. Twilight blinked her eyes several times to clear the dust out of them and spat out the granules of bone meal that had made it into her mouth. They left an acrid, gritty taste behind, like a combination of ash, sand, and spider webs.

“I’m fine,” she answered him when she finally stopped gagging on the taste. The entire left half of her body and winter coat was covered in tiny shards of bone and flakes of ash. Grimacing, she tried wiping them off to little success.

“Yeesh,” Rainbow Dash said as she walked over to the bones. She could see half of a skull staring at her with empty eye sockets, its teeth and brittle jaw open and hungering for flesh. “Whoever burnt this place out didn’t really clean up after themselves, did they?”

“That they did not,” came a voice inches away from Rainbow Dash’s ear. The pegasus squeaked and jumped to the side, hugging Safe Haven for dear life. Turning her head, she saw Yóumín standing next to her, amusement stretching across her face from whisker to whisker. Smiling sheepishly, she let go of Safe Haven and dropped back between him and the tigress, trying to calm her racing heart.

Haven cleared his throat and looked further down the hall. “Let’s get going again, then. The sooner we’re done with this little field trip, the better.” Placing a hoof on Twilight’s back, he ushered her down the hall.

“I shall try and give you more warning next time,” Yóumín said as she passed by Rainbow Dash. She flicked the pony’s ear with her tail, leaving the pegasus behind. Rainbow quickly galloped forward so that she was back with the rest of the group, shaking her head as she went.

They soon entered what must have once been the grand hall. Twilight found herself imagining it as the home of grand feasts, roaring fires, and plentiful company. Now, however, it was home to frozen hearths and barren tables, dead banners and dead bodies. Several pony skeletons lied slumped over in their seats or across the floor. Occasionally, the group spotted a pegasus skeleton still clad in ancient Cirran armor, but those were few and far between. By the time they made it to the center of the hall, Twilight was practically bursting at the seams, itching to rush over and document everything.

“Calm down, Twi,” Rainbow said as she steadied her friend with a hoof. “One thing at a time. We don’t wanna go falling into any more skeletons, despite how funny that might have been for some of us.”

Twilight spared barely a millisecond to glare at Rainbow before trotting over towards one of the armor-clad skeletons. “Look at this, Rainbow! It’s Cirran armor, completely intact and everything! Why, this is in even better condition that most of the armors I see in museums! You could almost fight in this, if it weren’t such a valuable relic.”

“It looks pretty swanky,” Rainbow said as she walked over to Twilight’s side. With a hoof, she poked at the metal, feeling its chill yet also its strength as well. There was hardly a speck of rust on the skysteel, and even the wingblades still clung to the skeleton’s bony crests. It was strong steel, and undamaged, too. A splintered arrow wedged in the vertebrae of its neck was all that remained of the wound that had killed it. Rainbow had the urge to try on the helmet, but she eventually pushed it away as Twilight lost interest and went to some other find.

Looking around, Rainbow walked towards one of the tables. Yóumín and Safe Haven were talking in Stalliongradi off to the side as they examined a surprisingly intact tapestry. Twilight was busy collecting samples of bone and ash in a plastic bag she had produced from somewhere. Yawning slightly, Rainbow set her hooves down on the table and looked lazily over a charred pile of books in front of her.

Brushing the ash off of the bench underneath her with her tail, Rainbow sat down and pulled one of the books over to her. Opening it, she winced at the splintery crack of dried parchment splitting in two. Much more carefully this time, she used the primaries of her wings to gently nudge the pages open one at a time. Most of the ink was faded and unreadable, and the symbols that weren’t didn’t make much sense to her. Grumbling, she set the book aside and pulled out another one, only to be greeted with the same result.

She was just about to abandon the search when she saw something red sticking out of the side of the book on the bottom. Raising an eyebrow, she pushed aside the other books on top of it and pulled it closer to herself. The binding was strong and the pages sturdy; already she could tell it was in much better condition than the books on top of it. Locating the red thing, she opened the cover to the page, and gasped when not one, but two feathers fell out. One was red as blood and slightly frayed with age. The other was a creamy blond and smaller, though its edges were smooth and crisp.

“Uhh… Twilight?” she called, unable to take her eyes away from the feathers. “I think I found something… again.”

The hurried clopping of hooves on stone brought Twilight over in a matter of seconds. “What did you find, Rainbow? More…” she stopped as she saw the feathers Rainbow had in front of her. “…feathers?”

Picking the feathers up with a hoof, she held them to what little light there was to examine them carefully. Soon enough, her eyes widened and widened until Rainbow was sure she was going to blind herself somehow. “Twilight? What is it?”

“These are…” she gently set them aside and reached for the book, which Rainbow gave to her. She gently nosed the pages around, and Rainbow could see her eyes sliding back and forth as she read the pages. “Incredible.”

“Mind filling me in?” Rainbow asked, turning around in her seat so she could face Twilight directly.

Twilight cleared her throat and began to read off of the page:

“By writing these words, we hope that we can honor the spirit of our father, and remember him in the way that he truly was, not in the way that Celeste and Lūn wish to remember him. Long after we die and the world moves on, what really happened will have been forgotten to time, but as long as this last piece of evidence remains, the truth can still be separated from history’s ‘truth’.

May our father, Hurricane, the only Commander Maximus of Cirra, rest in peace, knowing that we remember him and, through us, others may as well.

Ante Legionem nihil erat, et nihil erit post Legionem.

Commander Typhoon and Commander Cyclone."

Comments ( 33 )

I love the fact that this was "finished" and the next one was published on the same day (Jan 12th) that S&S was first published.
On to the next! :yay:

Rainbow Dash, proving beyond a doubt that pegasi make the best (or maybe luckiest) archeologists.

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My reasoning behind it is that it's not made out of "ground steel", per se. Swift's weapon is made entirely out of nimbus skysteel, which is the heaviest of the steel types and is magnitudes heavier and denser than ground steel. All that mass is very useful for strikes, and don't get cracked over the head with it; it'll break something.

Comment posted by BlackStealth08 deleted Feb 4th, 2014

Just finished your story and i have to say it was expertly written. Amazing job sir 10/10.

Thank you for amazing story !

However it left me with some questions:
1) I do not get the Jewel character. Why did he torture Typhoon if he new that Cyclone never intended to harm his family (and possibly would want to revenge his sister) ? It seems unbelievable that knowing Cyclone for so long he did not know it. I do not believe that level headed conspirator would torture her. Beat the hell out of her for some reasons - yes, torture and spoil relations with Cyclone - no. And if Jewel was psychopath and did not care - why did he leave her practically intact (no broken bones, did not get raped, wings intact etc) ? I do not believe that psycho would stop there and I do not believe he did not know date of the attack.
2)

several days of intense starvation and dehydration

. I do not question how was Typhoon able to fight - it could possible that after release from the prison she was able to make her way on will only. But how was she able to fight able-bodied and more experienced opponent like Cyclone ? No matter how good she was - she was starved, dehydrated and physically weak. Or did she spent less time in the dungeons ?
3) I understand why Hurricane spared his son, but why did he spare three pretorian commanders ? I mean there was a lot of death sentences to lower level conspirators, so why spare these three while killing the rest ?
4) Did you use english-russian google translate ? :pinkiesick:

Anyway - thank you again. The story is awesome :twilightsmile:

Well now that the story is finished, I have no words to speak. That is the end of this story, and soon I will begin the next.

I would say more, but I don't know how to.

I would leave praise, if I could think of a proper way to do so.

Words do not often fail me, but they have.

You are quite the talented author, and have the ability to make me connect with the characters. Of course this also leads to tears when you kill of my favorites and tears of joy when you kill of the ones I hate. I want to dislike you as an author since you insist on torturing Hurricane so much, but I'm sure I wouldn't enjoy the story quite as much if you didn't. Perhaps I enjoy the emotional pain you cause even if I don't want to admit it. I must admit I am wondering if you'll stop torturing hurricane and if not who is the next of his friends and family to die (I really hope it isn't Twister, I like her a lot).

Oh man if there is a scoring system 1-10 it would be...uhhhh 11/10...yeah that's feels right.

4465552 My mouse doesn't actually have a middle mouse button, for some reason it's on the side. Weird.

Oh... my original comment from chapter three did go through. Sorry for that double comment. :twilightsheepish:

~SolidFire

Now, I've already made my "end of story" comment back on chapter... the chapter before the Author's Notes, so I'll stick with a normal comment here. This epilogue is cool. It appears that Cyclone and Typhoon worked together over the years to do much like Hurricane did and document history. With the end of one journey, another begins. I can't wait to read the final story. Best of luck in writing it!

~SolidFire

I would like to say, that, while I enjoyed this story, I personally disliked your characterizations of the founders. :unsuresweetie: It may be just my personal preference, but I kind of felt that you made Commander Hurricane the only founder willing to look at things reasonably. You took many of the other founders' rude words word for word, but you gave Hurricane more reasonable statements. Even when the Windigoes finally attack, you made it out that Commander Hurricane was going to escape from his icy prison with or without help, and he was the one who proposed the idea of unifying and won the others over to it in the first place.

I really liked the story, but wasn't a huge fan of the characterization.

5140691 Kind of true, but remember; all of the what happened in the past, from Commander Hurricane's perspective, is being told from his journal. So, despite him saying that this is the unbiased version of history, it is still his thoughts.

At least, something like this was mentioned a loooong time ago in the comments and it can make sense, so that's what I'm going with.

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I was wondering about this during the last story. Is there a cultural reason for this? I was looking for one last story but I didn't see any.

Cirra counts in base-8 instead of base-10 like we (or the other pony races) do.

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OHHHH!!! A different number base was actually the first thing I tried. But I only tried 4(legs) and 6(all limbs). I didn't think of trying 8. Dangit.

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I think it has something to do with the number of oposable primary wing tips, given how much more dexterous pegasus wings are than those of birds.

Again, I found myself awed by your story writing... and again... I found myself laughing and crying along with the characters. So much to think about, and so much to imagine. This iteration of the ponyverse has to be my favorite so far, even surpassing the Past Sins-verse. I am now eager to start on the next act.

S&S was certainly a golden achievement and is the second story I've ever read that I would give a perfect 10 out of 10 to. Well done.

And done with the second story; this was a most worthy successor of the grand tale you started in the previous one. I especially liked the occasional inserts of Twilight's and Rainbow's adventures (which raised some questions of its own, but more on that later) that formed a connection of sorts between the past and the present - it goes very well with the fact that Hurricane's story is, in fact, a journal being read by Twilight, as opposed to a real-time following of the events (and it shows by the whole thing having somewhat of an embellished depiction of the Pegasi as opposed to the two other races, for all of the journals claims it's unbiased - there is always a little bit of bias depending on the writer, though it's certainly better than Clover's memoirs, heh).

Once again you did an immaculate job with your cast of characters, and the strong and consistent characterization of your cast is a joy to witness through the events leading up to this more realistic depiction of how Hearth's Warming came to be and the politics leading up to it. I especially liked some of the small touches you added to the races that are unique to them (like the hollow bones for Pegasi and their temperature-measuring feathers, and how Unicorns are naturally faster/more observant thinkers - which makes sense considering the amount of spatial awareness and information processing speed required for simultaneous telekinetic manipulation of multiple objects).

The inclusion of Crystal ponies was an unexpected and pleasant surprise, and dang, did it ever come from a direction I didn't expect - crystal barbarins that raided the lands, terrorized the populaces and built massive fortresses and unmatched siege engines? Awesome. Certainly comes as a surprise considering their culture in this day and age, but then again that's what Jade's quest was all about - it's only a shame she never got to meet Hurricane, I wonder how that would have went down.

And speaking of Jade, while the assault on the citadel was awesome, what I really liked about the ordeal (and the events leading up to it) was the growth of Platinum's character - she might have started out as little besides a spoiled brat (though amusingly enough, the pegasi don't exactly come across as any less self-entitled or arrogant during the failed talks) that whined about most things, but I guess most people would show their true colors when the chips are down and the going gets tough - and Platinum, against all odds, proved to be a diamond on the rough that just needed the right situations to scrape some of that dirt and grime off. She's certainly a different person than what she was before leaving on her journey, and that's a good thing.

Oh, and speaking of the assault on the citadel, Diadem was awesome (she may well be my favorite character, despite her short appearances) - talk about a rambunctious filly :rainbowlaugh: There is just something a little bit surreal and smile-inducting about such a spirited and positive foal amidst all that doom and gloom; watching her in action as she bounced up and down in the ballista's seat was both heart-warming and amusing at the same time, with a touch of morbidness as she supplies the targeting vectors for mowing down hordes of barbarians. I hope we get to see more of her in the third story, because I instantly fell in love with the type of mood she provided to the scenes she was in. I'm also going to guess she is an ancient ancestor of Twilight's, given her intense magical power.

On a less cheerful note ... Cyclone. Ouch. Since his introduction it wasn't hard to pick up on the fact that he was going to cause trouble at some point, but I never quite expected the scale of it - betraying his family, organizing a rebellion and executing a coup with dreams of grandeur while being barely twenty years old? I wonder what exactly drove him to such lengths or led such intense hatred towards gryphons in him that he would be willing to organize a crusade against them, even if he had to step over his own family to do so - I can easily imagine any number of Cirrans wishing for such, but Cyclone himself has never even seen a gryphon in his whole life. Not to mention how stupid the whole thing is anyway at this point in time - the Cirrans had almost a million troops during the war they lost, now their whole population probably doesn't number one million.

And damn, did he ever screw the pooch - and, I imagine, made the founding of Equestria all the more difficult. I was almost surprised that for a while it was looking like Equestria was going to happen pretty smoothly - after all, no bloodshed had yet broken out between Pegasi and Unicorns and the three leaders had managed to smooth things over and things were looking up ... so of course something had to go terribly wrong.

And what could have been a relatively peaceful transition (relatively), I imagine will be nothing short of a nightmare of interracial tensions, suspicion and hostility thanks to the slaughter Hurricane's greedy and ambitious son managed to orchestrate. Trust (however little there was) in the pegasi military will be abysmal and I can easily see plenty of even the loyal pegasi for resenting Hurricane for arranging that Cyclone lived - after all, thousands of families would have lost their loved ones thanks to the fighting in Cloudsdale, and the main pony responsible was ultimately allowed to walk free. Yeah, I can see Hurricane's popularity dropping rather steeply after this.

Speaking of the attack though, damn, do the Diamond Guard suck or what - it's almost a wonder the unicorn kingdom didn't fall to the barbarians beforehand if this is their level of showing - telekinetic grips weak enough that their weapons can be batted aside with even pegasi wing blades (even for a supposed high rank like Jewel)? Being either too unimaginative or too unskilled to wield several weapons at once, which would readily enable each guard to outduel a pegasus by attacking from different directions at once? No one using telekinesis to grab and twist the wings of the pegasi, which would immediately send them in to the shock and would be amazingly effective against them? I wonder if this is one of those places where things are recounted through a bit more pegasi-tinted glasses than they actually were, or were the Diamond Guards truly that incompetent and ineffective.
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Speaking of Twilight and Rainbow Dash, like I said, it was pretty neat to see their little adventures and rediscovering the past on the side. Though I'm left somewhat confused about Staliongrad and its surrounding cities - does this still count as Equestria? I was getting some mixed signals on that front - seeing how they were referred to as "Equestrians" at several points and the different language, I'm going to say no. On the other hand, at one point Twilight remarked how things shouldn't be that bad because the princess looks after all the ponies in all corners in Equestria, which is at odds with the previous points - and worrying about some sort of a criminal record for being caught up in strange affairs in a foreign country seems dubious (granted, this is Twilight being a silly worrywart, so perhaps not the best place to draw conclusions from). And such a rebellion against Celestia's government seems dubious.

But then again, Haven did recognize them as the Bearers, which would hint towards being Equestrian - I doubt they would easily be recognized abroad. But if Haven did, then what passed for the local authorities should too - and attacking Twilight, who holds both a connection (distant, but still there) connection to Equestria's royal family through Shining's marriage with Cadance and a close personal relationship with the Princess, being her protegee, seems suicidaly stupid. That's as close as you can come to striking against the royal family without getting at one of the direct members of it.

I mean, in this darker and harsher version of Equestria, it probably means that the Royal Guards would crash the place soon enough and Celestia would have everyone's heads on pikes. And since the two are bearers of the Elements, meaning being critical for the national security of Equestria, this doubles as treason and sabotage. It would be dungeons for all as the minimum. Or heads on pikes. For this same reason, it would be nuts for a foreign country (especially one as crappily off as Staliongrad) to attack the bearers - considering their critical role in Equestria's defense against supernatural threats (and again, Twilight's proximity to the royal family) that might be instant cause for repercussions of all sorts, up to and involving military action if need be.

So yeah, I'm sort of confused as to what Staliongrad and its surrounding lands are - a different country altogether? Some cesspit corner of Equestria that no one cares about for some reason? A protectorate/client state of some sort? I realize it's likely located in the old Compact lands, but it's connection to the modern Equestria seems a bit unclear to me - and what would prompt them to think that attacking two of the element bearers, especially Twilight, would be in any way smart and survivable, should anything happen to them.

Oh yeah, and before I forget - in the void dust filled town, shouldn't Twilight be capable of pushing past the magic draining effects? After all, as we saw with Diadem, with enough power it's possible - and Twilight shouldn't be lacking for power (or is the dust, dispersed over a large area, worse than a single concentrated stone for the purposes of creating interference?)

--
Anyways, this was a wonderful story, just like the first, and I am looking towards catching up with the third. I just hope that after I am done I am still capable of reading the other stories in this universe - these stories set so high of a bar that I feel myself being spoiled and wondering if the others can hold a candle to the tales being woven by you :rainbowwild:

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Man, I love commentators like you. You guys are the absolute best.

Replying to everything in your comment would take a fair while, but I'll address a few key things:

Diadem: Rest assured you'll see much more of her in the third story. I liked her a lot as well, so much to the point where she has her own scene break denoting her as a central character.

Cyclone: There's a lot to Cyclone's story that wasn't addressed here, but that's why it's being addressed elsewhere: my partner LoyalLiar is writing a story named My Father's Shadow, which is all about Cyclone growing up in the shadow of his father, the legendary Commander Hurricane. It should answer most of your questions.

The Diamond Guard: No, the Diamond Guard do not suck, but there's a reason that the pegasi are remembered as the ones that defended the other two races; they're simply that much better natural fighters. Unicorns have an advantage with a slow and static enemy like the Crystal barbarians, because they can utilize the full arsenal of their magic against them, but pegasi are simply too fast for much of a unicorn's magic. The reason why they can't tear their wings off in mid-air is because they can't get a good grip; telekinesis is not so much a sudden manifestation of force as it is an ethereal hand that strengthens over a very brief moment. It'd be akin to trying to catch a fastball with your bare hand; it's simply not going to happen. And again, in close quarters, a pegasus is simply too fast and too skilled of a fighter for a unicorn to last long enough to do complicated tricks and fight them off with their magic.

Stalliongrad and Twilight: Stalliongrad is what is considered a "domain" of Equestria, a semi-autonomous state that answers to Canterlot for matters such as taxing and Principality-wide laws, but is for the most part left to its own devices. The rebellion is domain-central, which is why Celestia hasn't gotten involved in it (she's an extremely passive ruler), and as for Twilight and Rainbow Dash, the ponies involved in the fighting didn't really recognize them as two of the Bearers, and were not trying to kill them because of that. They just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

More on modern day Equestria can be found in the sister stories to ASoS, Where Loyalties Lie.

I hope that clarifies a few things, and I look forward to seeing your comments in the next story soon!
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Well, I do have a tendency go be long-winded, though I guess in these situations that works out for the best for all involved - and when a setting proves immersing I tend to find a lot of stuff to ramble about, and to say that your work is immersing would be an understatement.

Very glad to hear that there will be more of Diadem - she was a real bundle of joy, so I'm looking towards what sort of shenanigans she manages to get herself involved in again.

For Diamond Guards, I wasn't so much thinking of straight-out tearing the wings off, as giving one a tug or a jab - it was established they are very sensitive after all, so I'd imagine a sudden "punch" to the wing would still throw a pegasus off-course and send him faceplanting in to the ground, after which you can spend more time to line up something nastier. Or is even that too much from most of the Guard?

Though I suppose they are used to fighting the barbarians, so this is a pretty big and sudden change in doctrine, and it was established that they aren't as drilled or as disciplined as the pegasi militaries of the time, so I suppose it's understandable they'd fall apart in the sudden situation they found themselves in.

I was also going to comment more on the very weak grip of their TK (even Jewel gets his sword knocked about by the wing blades), but then I figured that we don't really know how strong the average unicorn is with TK. I imagine Clover is considered well above average, and she couldn't even lift a log (and barely managed with Platinum's help), so perhaps the average unicorn has weak-ish TK ? (I suppose I was projecting a bit too much of a Twilight in my expectations, since she is the only one in the show we see doing much with TK, and she could probably juggle two dozen of those logs without too much issue, which likely colored my expectations a bit ... got to remember there is a reason Celestia calls Twilight the most potent unicorn she has ever seen and that she isn't to be used as even a remote benchmark :P)

Ah, so the KGB guys (speaking of which, I assume you used google translate for much of the Russian? I do read the language, though I'm somewhat rusty, and it was a bit weird :P) simply didn't know who they were attacking? Gotcha. I wonder if they got chewed out for that later - I imagine the local government wants to avoid Canterlot's gaze as much as possible, seeing it's pretty darn shady itself, and much as Celestia might like to be passive, harming two of the elements would probably bring her (or Luna) down on the province pretty quickly (along with Shining Armor, heh).

On another note about Twilight (I promise I won't pester you more after that, I just want to understand the mechanics involved, since Void Stones seem a pretty important story element :P) - about her stay in Coltpenhagen, shouldn't she have been able to overpower the draining effects of the Void Dust, like Diadem did? Or is it easier to content with one stone as opposed to the dust which has less dense of a presence but is more all-encompassing?

And yeah, I plan on checking out Where Loyalties Lie after I finish catching up with your stories - though like I commented on Of Skies Long Forgotten (don't know if you saw the comment), I'm not certain in which order to pursue all the stories of this universe (I checked out the Price of Loyalty group, but there doesn't seem to be a read order mentioned) to avoid some chronological issues ... any tips on the correct reading order? (And I imagine stories like "Commander Hurricane Fucks Every Mare In Cloudsdale" aren't essential reading material :duck:)

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the main 'verse consists of A Song of Storms and Where Loyalties Lie. After you get caught up to date on Summer Lands, hop over to Where Loyalties Lie: Honor Guard, followed by From Stalliongrad with Love, and then Where Loyalties Lie: Ghosts of the Past. Almost all the stories on LoyalLiar's page are PoL-centric, and the oneshots can be read in any order and however you feel like reading them. There are also side stories:

Wind and Stone, which follows the Red Cloud War (and beyond) from the perspective of Pathfinder and his friends, and offers another unique telling on everything that happened in that war.

My Father's Shadow, which as I mentioned before, follows Cyclone growing up, so it's chronologically between OSLF and S&S.

Gold Wins Wars is a sidestory written concurrently with the plot for Summer Lands, just focusing on a different region of the new Equestria. It's a good read, and I recommend it thoroughly.

There will also be a story that follows the Red Cloud War from the griffon perspective coming out soon enough. Go follow Sigur024 so you get notified when it's released.

As for that other Hurricane story... I'm probably going to remove that. Somebody else in the PoL group put it there, and I've never supported it being there. It taints my legacy, as it were.

Thanks for your interest in the group!
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They're most likely dead links to songs on youtube. The channel I used for most of my in-story music got killed about a year ago, so most everything is dead

Hah, once again I stand triumphant!
The second story of Hurricane's trilogy has been completed.

Like the story before, this one was an epic tale. Hell, it pretty much left where the previous story left off and kept the pace running high. What made it even better was that the events in this story were so much more familiar. After all, it directly relates to the episode we saw in the show.

Anyway, as I mentioned in my review of the previous story, you have done one hell of a job with your characters. We have the old guard going strong as well as a wealth of new characters and every single one was well developed. Each had their own weaknesses and strengths. To me, Princess Platinum stood out the most. Every single one of her lines was annoying to read. Not because of poor quality, but just how annoying that spoiled brat was. However, over the course of the story she had a wonderful character development. While I do not doubt that she is still, to some degree self-entitled, at least she is much more likable. Smart Cookie and Diadem were also fun to read. Smart Cookie because of his annoying boss and Diadem, because she brought childish joy into this gloom world.

And I have to say, the world certainly is a bleak one. All three tribes were practically at each others' throats, bickering and arguing about every single thing. Of course, considering how they preferred to keep to their own kind, it's understandable that seeing things from the perspective of others will be quite difficult. This was especially true once the blizzard started and things began to go down the spiral pretty quickly. Inter-tribal conflicts escalated, which only made the blizzard get worse, which, in turn, further intensified the conflicts.

A very big surprise was the presence of crystal ponies. Not only that but you made them the bad guys. Okay, not all of them, but it was unexpected, especially when you consider how they are in the show. Then again, it seems that the main point of the story is that all the tribes have a couple of skeletons in the closet. History is rarely nice and clean. It also shows just how amazing Jade was. She managed to find and unite the ponies who were tired of the warlords and even went so far as to take out all the warlords that threatened her dream of a unified tribe. It would be interesting to see how things would have turned out if she made contact with the earth ponies and unicorns before the pegasi arrived. Perhaps she would have found a way to unite the two tribes? She certainly had the charisma and skills to do so.

I will admit, I had no clue what Cyclone was planning to do until he actually started doing it, by leaving his sister behind. I was expecting that rogue Legate to be the big villain of the story. The Jewel did have the potential to take that place, but he never struck me as the main villain type. He was a tool. Nothing else.

Anyway, back to Cyclone. He is a fine example of that old saying "the road to hell is paved with good intentions". He, like many others, had a dream. To reforge the empire. The presence of that dream was evident throughout the story. I think almost every pegasus had a moment where they looked to the east and reminisced about the old glory days. And, though I understood Cyclone's desire to retake the homeland, I knew it was a pipe dream at best. Especially for someone like him, who had never seen, much less fought a gryphon. I had a feeling that, even if he managed to pull off his coup, the invasion would have been a failure. Granted, we do not know what happened to gryphons, considering that Magnus, their emperor, was killed, so yeah.

Of course, the invasion never took place, because Cyclone messed up in a spectacular manner. His plans ended up with Cloudsdale nearly burning to the ground and, even worse, his mother dead. There are so many ways, he could have done things differently, but because of his impatience, perhaps also immaturity, things fell apart. His mother died, thousands of Cirrans died, hell, thousands of unicorns, including their king, died, his sister was tortured and, if my suspicions are correct, she was also raped, and all for what? For a wild dream? Yeah, he has some major problems.

You know, considering that I am at the point where Cyclone attacked the unicorns, I will use the opportunity to address a pretty major problem in this story. You really have to tone down the pegasi are portrayed. Yes, some of it can be written off as the whole tale being told from Hurricane's point of view, thus automatically painting everything in a pro-pegasi color. But even with that in mind, the issue is still there. One of the problems is the level of magic pegasi seem to be able to use. Yes, they do have a certain amount of magic in them, which allows them to control the weather and so on, but when you have pegasi freezing other ponies to the ground, burning down buildings and so on, the line between the unicorns and pegasi becomes hard to see. They are flinging elemental spells back and forth without any effort. Seriously, if I didn't know any better, I would think this was a story about unicorns.

Speaking of unicorns, I was surprised just how much they sucked. I was expecting them to do so much more against Cirrans when Cyclone attacked their castle. While you have pointed it out that warfare is what pegasi bring to the table, that does not mean other tribes do not know how to fight. From what was mentioned in the story, the unicorns have been fighting the crystal pony barbarians for a long time, even before Cirrans arrived, so it's not like they do not have any experience. in fact, considering that they can afford to be a nation of artisans and philosophers, despite the raids, should be enough of an indicator of how capable they are at defending themselves. Think about it, they are a wealthy nation, that spends a lot of time crafting all sorts of wondrous things. They even gave Cirrans the crossbow. As such, many of them can afford to have excellent education and the ability to conduct various experiments to further their skill as artisans. When applied to warfare, this could mean sophisticated war machines, advanced weapons, golems that are powered by magic and so on. They can afford the finest armor and the finest training. And that is before we touch upon their inherent TK abilities, something newborn foals know how to use.

Sure, not every unicorn has the magical firepower of Twilight Sparkle, but when the entire world is your projectile and even the shortest knife is a ranged weapon, the only limit is your imagination. By all logic, unicorns ought to be absolute monsters in combat, if not because of how powerful they are but the myriad ways they can do things. This could be balanced out by unicorns having a very small military. Sure, one unicorn can cause havoc on the battlefield, so you don't need as much of them, but because of their small numbers, they cannot afford to wage war of attrition on the scale Cirrans can.

Yet we see them practically helpless in combat. Barely able to do anything else that wave around a sword or do simple blasts of magic. I mean, how did they survive for so long? How weren't they defeated by barbarians or earth ponies?

I understand that this is a story about pegasi by pegasi and they should be the main heroes, but I think it could be done better. You make the pegasi look good, by making other tribes suck.

Anyway, rant over. Where was I?

Ah yes, Cyclone's failed dream.

I'm curious, just how much more can Hurricane take? He lived through the war with gryphons, experienced the death of his parents and his nation, worked hard to rebuild the lives of his own family and Cirrans, only to see his own son stab him in the back and lose his wife in the progress. I am amazed he can still function after all that crap life has thrown at him. I am also interested to see how his decision to spare Cyclone will go with the general population. Sure, he spared his son's life at this dying wife's request, but what about all those thousands who lost their own loved ones? How will they react when they see the one responsible walk free just because Huricane had a soft heart? How can they trust someone like that? It will not end well and I think Cyclone's head will end up on top of a pike as soon as Hurricane leaves for Equestria.

A very nice touch on this story was that I basically got two stories for the price of one. The adventures of Twilight and Rainbow in Stalliongrad were just as interesting to read as the founding of Equestria. Turns out everything is not so nice and wonderful even after the three leaders decided to work together - crappy regional governors with gangs of personal enforcers, fighting a growing rebellion. Things were interesting regardless of the time period, though I wonder if the situation is so bad, why hasn't Celestia brought in the Royal Guard to lay down the law? Surely, she wouldn't ignore something like this? Or is she unaware of what is going on in what seems like a very remote region?

Anyway, two stories done and one more to go. At least that's what I think. It seems there's more stories that are if not directly tied to this trilogy then at least related to it.

I thought a sequel to Of Skies Long Forgotten would be contrived problem after contrived problem in a desperate attempt to measure up to the glory of its predecessor.

Holy fudge was I wrong.

Before I read this, what is the Gore and Dark tag for ?
And how bad does it get ?

This will be my last comment on this story. First off, this was an amazing ride. Beautifully written with incredible characters. Hurricane is amazing, the way he trudges onward through whatever life throws at him. Cyclone learned a hard lesson, but it seems he will make the best of the forgiveness that he's been offered (I'm going to assume Swift really was singing to him from Heaven, letting him know she forgives him.) Typhoon didn't let them break her. She's awesome.
All in all, great story

PaulAsaran
Site Blogger

Oops! I was setting up my template material for the review of this story and accidentally hit 'Post Comment.' Silly me.

This is what I get for setting my links on the story comment section. Perhaps I'll replace this later with the link to the actual review, rather than make an entirely new comment.

So where did the summer lands chapter go? Everything I click on the link it says 404 error or page not found. Is it Somewhere else in the sight? Maybe under a different name? Can anyone help?

Oh... This is one of the best stories I've ever seen. I would easily put this into my MasterPiece list along with the prequel but it's not something I'm likely to reread. I usually put stories I might come back to read again some time and stories that I have/will/am guaranteed to reread multiply times.

I bucking loved this. My one thing is you kept using "man" here and there.

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