• Member Since 5th Apr, 2012
  • offline last seen September 14th

Cloud Wander

Be kind. For everyone you meet, life is a hard battle.


The Ponyville Playhouse presents a bold and inspiring new interpretation of the immortal classic, Hearth's Warming Eve. Music! Adventure! Intrigue! And a few surprises!

During the pause between Seasons Three and Four, let's remember where we began and how much our friends have grown.

Chapters (6)
Comments ( 170 )

This is a little new to me, publishing an incomplete story. Trust me, I have the full story, whole and complete in my head! But I'd appreciate any early feedback.

This is my first attempt at a "Mane Six" story. Actually, I'm rather pleased at how many characters I've managed to include or at least name-drop here. But this is just the first chapter. As Egg Shen said, "That's always how it begins. Always small."

So, you're going to examine how everyone has changed? A very interesting idea. :pinkiesmile: And so far it's pretty good, specially how you experiment with the fact that Twilight is now a Princess, and the responsabilities that come with it.

I'm really curious to read the rest of it. I'll be waiting for the next chapters. :twilightsmile:

Derpy imprinting on the pony version of Leonadas of Sparta? No, nothing good can come of this. :derpyderp2::twilightoops:

Interesting argument on Rainbow's part but, if there has to be a villain, don't let it be a real historical character who (apart from being a lunatic who once tried to give everypony a beard) was essentially a good guy. There's no need to play around with history and taint somepony's memory and legacy - create an OC instead, it's not as if a twirling-moustachioed villain has to be a particularly complex character to write...


Unless you prefer using canon characters and then playing around with them? Have I just tagged Rainbow Dash as a writer of AU fanfics?

It would just be ironic if it turns out that somehow Rainbow Dash is right. I've got a feeling that some strange magic is at work in this.

Interesting concept even if Rainbow's argument is specious at best. Sure you can have a villain, but not in a piece about history.

This is a very interesting fanfic so far. I like how you're combining Hearth's Warming Eve with the old G3 special. Let's just hope you've got a better ending.

My only crticism is that Twilight's thoughts seem a bit... strange. They seem a bit too sad, like Twilight is looking back at her friends after a LONG time, not just with them standing there talking to her. I think it might be the fact that she's apolgizing to them, which suggests that she can't actually do anything to change it. Also, I don't think the residents of Ponyville would be so quick to treating Twilight like a princess, especially if they see that she's obviously uncomfortable about it.

I like it so far, though, and I'll be looking forward to see how this goes.:pinkiesmile:

Well, nothing good for Ponyville, at least. Good things for us, on the other hand...

But as much as I would love to wear a potato sack in front of all of Ponyville, I am far, far too busy to properly represent the role.

Oh, Rarity. :duck:

Derpy definitely has the attitude right. :twilightsheepish:

Yup, that's a pitch-perfect Rarity right there.
As for bringing in a villain... I think Dash can make it work. The pageant obviously has its basis in factual history, but it's also obviously a stylized piece of national myth. If she uses the villain properly, it will enhance the meaning of the story even if it goes against historical truth.

Stay tuned. There is more to this "villain" business than you might guess. Rainbow knows what she's doing.

Huh. Sounds almost like Dash is calling Twilight a villain. :unsuresweetie:

Oh, this is going to be fun. :pinkiehappy:

Hm. I hope this fic doesn't fall into the classic "Idealized Dash" trap. She's grown, yeah, but she's hardly become a scholar. The fic hasn't tripped up so far, but I tend to be a little paranoid about this sort of thing.

Otherwise (and even including, since, again, no trip-ups yet), this is all pretty strong so far. I agree that casting an existing historical figure (especially one few ponies otherwise know about) as a villain is a terrible idea. But we'll see how things work out.

I think I've got a fairly good handle on Rainbow Dash. She's approaching Hearth's Warming Eve with more enthusiasm than scholarship.

And regarding Star Swirl the Bearded: have a little faith in Rainbow. She knows what she's doing. (I believe in the Blue Pony!)

2252463 Rainbow Dash knowing what she's doing? Is this an AltVerse fic?
Kidding, of course. I'll have faith in both Rainbow Dash's portrayal of Starswirl and your portrayal of Rainbow Dash. :raritywink:

Wing hugs are indeed the best thing about having wings. :derpytongue2:

Rainbow Dash explaining that the audience needs a villain to experience catharsis is probably my favorite part of this so far. I believe in her! :rainbowdetermined2:

"Marigold" is my own name for Madam Mayor Mare.

"Belle" might be the feminine diminutive for "Bellerophon," for pegasus parents at least.

I hesitated to put an "elephant joke" out there. In Equestria, this might be problematic, as Rainbow indicates. Is "ethnic humor" acceptable in Ponyville? (Earth Ponies walk like this, while Unicorns walk like that! Amirite!)

Hmm.. I thought Rainbow's middle name of Miriam.

It's Rainbow Miriam Belle "Danger" Jennifer Abigail Dash.

Ah, this brings back memories of when I was in drama class at the school. The assays were long and hard, but very funny to do. Good times.

But why does nopony appreciate the moustache? :raritydespair:

I think having stared Death in his grinning, ugly face probably changed Platinum's world-view forever. You can't watch your entire species flirt with extinction and not come out at the other side a profoundly changed pony.

However, I find it interesting that Platinum, at least, was still using the name 'Unicornia' for their new home. I wonder how long it took until these last echoes of the divisions between the three races of ponykind were smoothed away? I'm wagering it wasn't until after Discord's fall and the alicorn sisters being acclaimed Princesses.

For some reason, I imagine that Rarity would delight in feisty old Granny Smith.

Patchy Belle's Canon is a ponification of Pachelbel's Canon, which I think would be perfect music for Hearth's Warming Eve.

I imagine that Discord's relationship to Fluttershy is something like Q's relationship to Picard: he's an enormous challenge that she has only the weakest handle on.

(This might amuse you: in my personal head-canon, I imagine Discord lives in Fluttershy's cottage, in a tiny hole-in-the-wall, and enjoys "adventures" with Fluttershy's critters, much like Urd in Adventures of Mini-Goddess. Wunathesdaze, I'll buckle down and write "Ah, My Little Goddess" for all you fans of Kosuke Fujishima.)

...I really want to see the adventures of Mini-Discord now.

"Oh, she dotes on you!" Ehehehehe. I believe it. AJ might not believe it, but I do, and I believe Granny does.

"You might never guess it, but Big Macintosh sings."
I believe it. Even better, it forms a nice little loophole within that story I wrote about him. Hot damn.

... I really should have expected Discord. Or at least not been nearly as shocked. This is a story about how far we've come since the beginning, after all. Still, the idea of just having him walk in and sit down like any other character (or at least as close as he can manage) is pretty brilliant. Any number of authors might have made "Discord shows up at this year's HWE pageant and everyone questions how serious he is about being reformed" the entire plot of their story, but this feels much more in line with the world of Equestria and the attitude of the show. After all, at the end of the opening two-parter Celestia comes back to Ponyville with a depowered Nightmare Moon in tow and the residents send their kids forward to give her flowers.


I want to second this idea of Discord being treated as normal (or as normal as possible: this was the right level of weirdness and confrontation) as being appropriate for the setting. It's very interesting. It's downright daring to treat him with anything resembling normality, but in a good way.

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*affixes poster to the wall of the comments section*


*quietly exits*

You know, I'd bet Rainbow Dash has put in plenty of cold swarming evil, if the earlier chapters are any indication.

I've just realized that Discord would be a great pal to go the cinema with. He can make popcorn appear out of thin air. You would never run out of popcorn! :pinkiehappy:

Should be interesting to see what Discord and the Princesses (who likely knew them) think of Dash's re-interpretation of the characters from the play!

You brought up an interesting point.

The history of Equestria is very flexible at this point. Hearth's Warming Eve, canonically, predates the rule of the Princesses, but where does the Reign of Discord fit in?

In my head-canon, I think of the G1 series as the Reign of Discord. (Oh, for crying out loud! What now? Witches? Evil Zebras that steal dreams? Lava monsters? Gimme a break!)

In my own mind:

Steven Magnet is the Eldest, the Lord of the Old Lands, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. He has grown childish and vain, but he is still a power in the Free Lands.

Discord is the child of Typhon and Echidna, prisoners of Tartarus. Echidna has produced so many children, no two the same, that she hardly remembers Discord. (I have a story about this.)

I think it touching that so many other writers have depicted the young Discord, Celestia and Luna as friends.

FWIW, My headcanon is that Celestia and Luna were born towards the very end of G1 (possibly the result of the very last wish for a foal before Queen Majesty's magic finally faded away) and may have known Megan, Molly and Danny personally. However, they remained just humble commoners for many generations. Humble immortal commoners but content in their anonymity. Discord had always been a presence - he had been the real power behind Tirac and a lot of the Chimeric beasts, including the Windigoes and Changelings, are his creation. However, it wasn't until centuries after the Hearth Warming Night events that he openly revealed himself, having tired of subtly playing with the ponies like some draconic Loki.

After Discord had destroyed all hint of the old rulership, had turned the laws of nature on their heads and everything looked hopeless, Celestia and Luna made their appearance. They had spent centuries as wandering scholars, teachers and mages in the style of the Istari in Lord of the Rings and had led a band of heroes on a quest to find the Elements of Harmony. Then they engaged Discord and his forces openly, progressively destroying or driving into the wastelands his monster army before facing the Lord of Chaos himself.

In the post-war anarchy, Celestia and Luna took direct control of the nation as 'a temporary measure' until the pre-Discord government was restored but, somehow, that's never happened. The ponies have got too reliant on them (Celestia especially).

So, yeah, in my headcanon, the Celestial Sisters and Discord knew the principals in this drama. In the case of the alicorns, maybe some of them were even friends of theirs.

Approximate and Abridged Timeline
3000 years before present - Megan walks Ponyland (G1)
2000 years before present - Hearth-Warming Night
1500 years before present - Age of Chaos; alicorns take throne in aftermath of fall of Discord
1000 years before present - Sombra disembodied; Nightmare Moon exiled

2274707 Personally I have it so the princesses knew the founders, but only in the old world before they went to Equestria. The lost touch becasue Equestria is on another continent, not nothing, like they probably kept in touch with Clover. We do know Clover was Starswirl's student, and that Luna at least knew Starswirl personally. Discord then showed up, wiping out most of the history of the nation up to that point, albeit not on purpose, and enough time passed no one really remebered things right either. Thus you get the current flag in the play instead of the old one since Luna and Celestia never knew what is was.

I love your insights into Twilight's mind, there. Also, Ponyville is now doomed by Commander Derpy. :derpytongue2: Nice job, Twi! :p

2252463 At least one of us does. :rainbowlaugh::rainbowwild: I kid, I kid!

Of course that bit about Star Swirl and the spell... *Tamps down rage* Should be interesting to see what she does with him.

Oh, thank goodness that boondoggle was stopped at the last moment! Applejack, Pinkie Pie, get to your proper places!

Ah, Discord... down in front! :p And good on rarity to get Granny Smith out of the cold.

Soon, in your offshored theater: Hot Swarming Evil
A chaotic spectacle written, directed & produced by you favorite Discord: draconequus himself!

Minuette is the official name for the pony popularly known by fans as "Colgate." (Hence, my reference to her smile.)

What I wanted to do most with Derpy was defeat expectations.

O... kay. That's worrying. I'm not worried that Derpy has got too in-character, I'm worried that maybe, just maybe, some ghosts are hovering around a little too closely at the moment. Maybe somepony wanted the unintentional lies and distortions of the millennia cleared away. Maybe that somepony has 'borrowed' Rainbow. It would explain why Twilight Sparkle for a few moments, a couple of chapters back, was thinking as if she was Princess Platinum. It might explain why Derpy was acting as if she was Commander Hurricane. What if their ghosts were looking for a chance to tell their real story and, perhaps, apologise for their real failures?

Discord, I'm looking at you right now but I'm not convinced this is malicious in intent. As I commented before, he almost certainly knew these principals and what he said to Celestia about the cruelty of petrification when he was freed in "Return of Harmony" suggests that, paradoxically, he has a strong sense of natural justice. Maybe he's decided that he wants these remarkable ponies' real achievements remembered and he maybe wants to break Twilight's worshipful reverence of a pony who she should have realised from the effects of his last spell had been driven mad by his pursuit of knowledge and power.

The gods move in mysterious ways and never forget that Discord is a god. Someone like Discord will always have a long-term agenda; we just don't know what it is yet.

... I keep rereading Hurricane's plea to the monsters.
I keep getting chills.
Damn. That resonates.

On the other hand... Rainbow Dash's dialogue when she talks about the characters. I can imagine Dash thinking those thoughts- I can even imagine her writing them down- but I have trouble picturing her speaking them, in those words. I'm going to see if I can write a version that sounds more like her to me, and you can tell me what you think.

"You understand," whispered Twilight Sparkle, in the shadow beside the stage, "that there were no real cloud monsters. Hurricane made no mention of them in her Apologia. They were the invention of later writers."
"Of course not," Dash replied, not taking her eyes off the stage. "I told Scoots that- it's been in all the rehearsals. Hurricane sees the monsters. The audience sees the monsters. But Pansy doesn't, 'cause they're not there. Commander Hurricane is so great at fighting, and she's got so much to fight for, but she's never had a fight like this. She's never had an enemy that couldn't surrender. Couldn't die. She's scared, and angry, and she needs something to fight, but all she can see is clouds, and all she can think about is losing. So she fights clouds, 'cause she might lose, but she sure as hay isn't gonna give up."
Twilight looked at her friend. "You've thought a lot about her, since you played the role," she whispered.
Rainbow Dash nodded. "At first I just wanted to write this little story about Hurricane and Pansy. About the two of them, together, at this moment.
"The're so much that says they should be different," Rainbow Dash said softly, spreading her forehooves. "Rank. Class. Caste. All kinds of stuff. But they've done everything together- they know each other like family. How the other eats, how they sleep, how they fight. If you watched them together you'd think they were sisters or something. And now Hurricane is going off on this crazy quest that's probably going to get her killed, because she has to, because if she doesn't she knows it'll be even worse for the ponies she cares about.
"And Pansy follows her. She doesn't complain- doesn't say anything. Just... follows her into the storm.
"Hurricane doesn't know where to go, but she goes anyway, because she has to. And Pansy follows, because she can't let her do it alone."
Rainbow Dash shrugged. "That sounds... really romantic, to me. But I stink as a writer. So I went back to a re-telling of Hearth's Warming Eve. That's close enough."

I agree that what you wrote sounds very much more like Rainbow's usual speech than what I wrote.

But what I was trying to suggest was that, when she forgets to put up a front, Rainbow is more thoughtful and more passionate than she usually lets on. Once she set her mind to the task of writing, she brought to it all of the focus and enthusiasm she uses for racing and stunt flying. And while she might cringe at the thought of being "girly" or an "egghead," there's a lot more to her than "fighter jock."

One of the overarching ideas I wanted to get across in this story is that, yes, Twilight Sparkle has certainly changed since she first came to Ponyville. But her friends have changed as well. Contrast Twilight's initial reactions in the first chapter to Rainbow's play and Derpy's role to how she reacts now.

Twilight Sparkle is on a journey. But she's not leaving her friends behind. They're all coming along with her.

(This was one of the reasons I subtitled the story, "A Princess Promenade." If you've ever seen that G3 movie, you recall its final message: You, yes you, are a Princess, too!)

The more I read that, I wonder if Rainbow is trying to tell Twilight something but, lacking the eloquence and self-confidence to say it directly is instead trying to infer it in her art.

2294741 I see your point, but... the point of this passage is to get across that Dash has thought a lot about these ponies and the circumstances surrounding them and how they feel about each other, right? If I'm understanding you, that's the change in her since the start of the series that this passage is designed to show- that she does more thinking and is less afraid to admit it. That makes sense to me- it fits with what we see from her in canon in episodes like Read It and Weep, Dragon Quest, Hurricane Fluttershy, and so on.
The change in how she talks, though, is still jarring. It doesn't sound like anything we've heard from her, whether in The Ticket Master or Games Ponies Play- and if the change in her diction and phrasing is supposed to be Dash letting a facade drop, I have to wonder why she does so now if she didn't during Hurricane Fluttershy, or any other moment when she was surrounded by nopony but her closest friends. And I think we've agreed that what I wrote conveys the change in how Dash thinks and what she's willing to reveal without changing how she speaks. They're both her expressing ideas she wouldn't have had (or expressed) at the start of the series but does now. The difference is in her voice- one version changes it and the other doesn't. So I'm trying to understand why you would make that change, in addition to the one you set out to make, despite not having to and not (as far as I can tell) providing any justification in the story. I love your writing and that's not going to change; I'm really just curious as to how you came to that decision.

2296826 Like she sees herself and Twilight in the characters, or something along those lines? Hmm. Personally I got the impression from the original that Rainbow sees a lot of herself in Hurricane- this mare going off on impossible missions because she feels she has to, pursuing her passion to the utmost and reaching a point where it fails her, doing completely nutty things and yet somehow never losing the trust that her closest friends place in her. Awesome but crazy. Crazy but awesome. Giving her all no matter what, and not always thinking about what that means for those around her.
And if Rainbow is Hurricane, then Private Pansy? Hurricane's quiet, mysterious, lifelong friend who's closer than a sister yet distant at the same time, who follows her into everything, never asks why, and watches out for Hurricane when Hurricane doesn't watch out for herself? I think that has to be Fluttershy. (Arguments could be made for some of the other members of the mane six, or even Scootaloo, but I think Fluttershy fits best- she's known Rainbow the longest and is one of the least forthcoming about her own life.)

To me, it's the other way around - Twilight Sparkle is and always has been the mare with a mission, even when that mission doesn't seem to make sense to anypony, even herself. Her sense of responsibility to Celestia and her friends will get her in a lot of trouble and she will certainly suffer because of her need to take the lead in solving any problem.

Like Pansy, though, Rainbow will be right there with her, following her into the dark, even if it is a nightmare created only by her own insecurities. Why? Is it just Loyalty or is it something more?

2298158 The problem with this idea is that nopony ever follows Twilight as far down the rabbit hole as she sometimes goes. Ever. We've seen that over and over- Lesson Zero, part one of A Canterlot Wedding, even Feeling Pinkie Keen. I could see a case being made for Twilight as Hurricane, but only Spike even comes close to playing Pansy for her. (I'm not saying this is a bad thing. Acting rationally in the face of craziness, even craziness from someone you trust, can be a very good thing to do. I'm just saying it doesn't fit the relationship we're looking at here.)

Well, you never see anypony follow Twilight "down the rabbit hole" in the series because Twilight and her friends are bound by Roger Rabbit's rule: "only if it's funny." If Applejack faced down Twilight and told her to just calm the buck down, you wouldn't have a story in Lesson Zero. (For that matter, that's why Twilight forgot she can teleport in Feeling Pinkie Keen.)

I softened Rainbow's voice here to show that she was speaking from the heart. The play means a lot to her. I think you may be right: I may have overdone it. But that was my idea.

But don't worry! Rainbow will be doing a lot more squealing and laughing before the story ends. :rainbowkiss:

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