• Member Since 11th Jul, 2011
  • offline last seen Apr 24th, 2016

Midnightshadow


Sequels1

E

Twilight is approached by Applejack with a strange request - to join her that night for a run, but all is not as it seems. Why is Applejack so nervous? What could this be about?

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 64 )

I loved this one when it was on EqD, and I still love it now.

#2 · Oct 9th, 2011 · · ·

Wow...............
I am surprised that writing of this magnitude does not warrant increased publicity.

You MUST share this to other parts of the fandom!
Publish it on fanfiction, deviantArt, whatever else you can think of!
Such art, such brilliance, must be shared.
You have changed my perception of the show, the fandom, the characters, forever.
Thank You.

This is the single most awesome earth pony story I have ever read in my life; mystical, sacred, beautiful.

Utterly magnificent.

Cheers.

27743
earth ponies don't get enough love. just trying to give them their place, masters of Equestria.

Wow.....just wow. This is really deep and powerful. Primal, even. I don't have the words!!

It reminds me of the end of 2001 A Space Odyssey. I will never forget this story. Thank you.

That was awesome, thank you for writing it :twilightsmile:

You know, I read this a long ways back. One of the first things I read for MLP. And seeing that interview today reminded me that I never said anything about it.

Still one of my favorite pieces.

masterful piece of work

good oragnal story but sorta lost my interest half way thought 4 stars you you :twilightsmile:

(Reposting a comment here, from elsewhere)

I... respect you. As a writer and a person.

But I never liked Midnight Run. When told about it the first thing I asked the friend that mentioned it was, "Wait... is this a story about Twilight getting raped by feral horses?" I compared it to All Hallow's Eve where it's ambiguously stated that Rainbow Dash was raped by some kind of monster.

After reading it I felt almost insulted BUT LET ME EXPLAIN. I am a rationalist/empiricist. I tend to see toucht-feely nonsense as some kind of hippie junk. I recognize the primitive hindbrain. But feel that the solution is not to basely embrace it, even in moderated doses (that would be a net negative; much like releasing anger makes you MORE aggressive, releasing that primitiveism would likely make it easier to do it more) but to violently suppress it and try to learn to be better than that.

Also, in Equestria, magic is science. Twilight should have been out there with a team of Thaumato-Socio-Psychologists, a team of geomancers and heavy equipment to measure the effects of the run.

I hope this doesn't kill any cool points. I still think you're awesome, and like that you like Bad Apple. But I had to tell the truth.

249882
Well, I don't have much truck with touchy-feely myself, but in a magical land like Equestria? Well, it made sense. I embrace that - all the huggy, wishy-washy crystals junk which is just bullshit here is bonafide medicine and magic over there.

I wanted, specifically, that earth pony magic was something not so cerebral, more innate, and therefore part of some inner spirit-magic that unicorns can't imagine (at least not as unicorns). The idea of a geis, a promise to hold her tongue and by this be permitted a place in such an ancient rite, spoke to something in me. The idea is that without being able to embrace that atavism, an earth pony cannot work the necessary magic.

I like the idea of ancient secrets, lore passed down by word of mouth, being all the more ancient and fragile because of it. Twilight to break that promise would be to step outside the herd, and it is the herd that gives her that place. It's not something she can take, she has to be accepted and to belong.

I cannot envision taking the story and quantifying such earth pony magic, packaging it up in spell books and distributing it, that's not the vision I have. That it goes against everything a scientific mind should hold sacred is part of the narrative, which is why I gave that role to Twilight - the token egghead.

You don't have to like it, that's fine, and in fact if you feel strongly enough about it to write a comment then I take that as a success, even if you didn't like it. This piece was supposed to highlight and pit against each other the id and the intellect, with the id winning out for the magic to work.

250179

Which I find... dangerous. Destructive. Potentially horrible. That's like saying that getting drunk or wasted on drugs and then going on a rampage is great if it makes flowers bloom. There could be other ways that hurts no one and doesn't require that ponies get a "get out of crap I did" card like some kind of frat boy.

I get what you were going for. Frankly, I feel strongly against that, too. "Old ground", "old magic" "old spirits" are nonsense. All ground is as old as any other save where there have been impact events where older or younger material is laid down (though all particles are equally old). Old magic is still MAGIC. There's still a base energy system that can be examined. If it can't be examined in any way, it's literally can't exist (if it has no effects then it doesn't exist, if it has effects you can indirectly measure and quantify it by inference.) Same with spirits, if such exist.

This is the problem with empiricism. When I come across something like this I get very steadfast. :twistnerd:

250620
You're dealing with a magical world, with its own, internally consistent magical rules.

These rules may not follow empirical logic. Pretending they do is one form of writing, pretending they don't is another.

I'm sorry you don't like it, but in this case you don't have to. I know why I did what I did it, and (unlike the scientific method, which I treasure), magic does not necessarily need to follow such rules as you want them to, especially not in my story.

I actually want that body-horror to rear its head at you - I want it to be frightening and somewhat repulsive. I want Twilight to shed her analytical, intelligent, sentient self and just be an animal, and I want that telling to make you feel something.

I think I did that, and that makes me glad, even when you don't like that feeling.

I'm not pretentious enough to call it art, but I think I understand artists, sometimes.

250795

Knowing what you were going for, I certainly understand it now.

250822
If you understand it, that's more than enough. I'd be interested in hearing how you'd write something like this, to be honest.

250954

I sort of said it up there. It would be a combination of "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain" and "Turns out there really is no Santa Claus." Twilight would be disturbed and horrified (and likely to call in the police: the potential for sexual and aggravated assault is tremendous and as no one signed a waiver arrests and lawsuits are naturally to follow.) She'd go out next time with research teams and equipment. Because, as I said, if it has an effect, even if the cause is unknown, the effect is still measurable and demonstrable. Yes, less magical than yours, but as I said: magic is science to them. And as the Tropes say: Magic A is Magic A.

I really like the way you present the effect of crowd psychology: Loosing oneself in collective greater that the single person. When ever that happens on earth it's time to be extra cautious, because someone will come for you. If your lucky they'll only ask for money, if your unlucky it'll be political or even religious.:twilightoops:
It just makes me more envious of a world run by a immortal sun-goddess alicorn.:raritywink:
I'm not really happy about Twilight burning the letter to Celestia, I feel that there is a strong friendship between those two, extending the teacher-pupil relationship. If this midnight-run is strong enough to even pull her away from Celestia, how can she be friends with ponies that do not join the run? No Pegasi and I can't imagine Rarity in this either. Or did you intend this story to be "semi-dark"?

418608
Oh! thank you for this comment on an older story - it's always nice to find out your older stories are still being looked at.

As to Twilight burning the letter: it's not meant to be indicative of the midnight run itself having some cultish hold over her, it symbolizes that this experience wasn't something she felt could be rightfully shared with the princess. Part of "the experience" was its sacred nature - the biggest lesson in the story (and not one you need to agree with) is that sometimes friendship requires sacrifices. In this case, the sacrifice was that it remain a secret. She can't be a good friend, or worthy of what she partook in, if she reveals it.

She can be friends with any pony, it wasn't an "us vs them" scenario. Many ponies will never learn of and never be a part of the Run, that doesn't make them any less her friends.

I still come back to this story from time to time. And I still consider it my favorite.

Some how... show how I see Celestia knowing about this. Knowing that Twilight wrote the letter then burned it. Something which made her proud.

581628 that's my theory too! sshhh, don't tell anyone :trollestia:

581746
Okay! I won't tell anyone about the comment you said in full public where anyone can read it! The secret is safe with me!

So the ponies went full retard?
jk
jk.

So a story about surrendering to the primal call of nature and giving oneself up to their ancestral roots. I like it.

SO. DAMN. FLAVORFUL.

I am a big fan of that whole "unassuming power of earth ponies" deal, I'd probably still want to be a unicorn more, but I always felt, well, a bit like how you described Twilight's opinion of them! :twilightblush:

Have you experienced this before?

This is... simply beautiful. :ajsmug:

Creepy. Creepy creepy creepy.

Reading this made me feel intensely uncomfortable, but in a good way. I've only read one or two other fics (Xenophilia comes to mind) that actually acknowledge and go into the differences between ponies and humans.

Hmm...

Okay, Middy, can I call you Middy? I am completely with you on the "earth ponies need more love" argument. Being strong, connected to the Earth, holding your own against beings who can fly and use magic. What's not to love?!

But, this somehow felt... stupid. Like, okay, they want to connect to nature, I get that. That's why I love going to aunt and Uncle's farm in Brenham, TX. Get away from the technology, sleep under the stars for a few days. And yes, when I do, I leave the cell phone, the iPod, all the modern trappings. But, I don't run around screaming at bushes, clubbing women on the head, and fighting my brother to the death for breeding rights. I get in tune with nature, but I don't act like a caveman, which is kind of what they're doing here. They're not just enjoying nature, they're acting like lower life forms. If I walked into the primate exhibit at a zoo and began preening a chimp, that wouldn't be some spiritual thing, it'd be a sign of mental instability. It'd be one thing if they just had a campfire, no magic, lived off the land for a few days, but this seemed a bit excessive.

More than that, I can't help but feel Twilight, young scientist and realist that she is, would agree with me. For crying out loud, she uses a BOOK to tell her how to have a slumber party! She would look at this and say, "I'm not biting your mane? Do you have any idea the number of bacterium that live on the equine scalp?! And why are you sniffing my rump?! That is so unsanitary!"

Believe me, I get what you were aiming for, and I actually would love to see it. Come to think of it, I kinda did, when Applejack talked to Twilight after the Running of the Leaves. She expressed it, but she purposefully left it vague for the sake of this silly ritual. Through our discussions on TAS, I understand your mind set of, "the natural state of the pony is the herd." And exploring how this shows itself in modern pony society would be a very interesting thing to read. But making it THIS literal, they walk around not talking, eating grass, and preening, and suddenly have some massive spiritual insight, it's... well, silly.

1666182
Yeah, this story is a hit and miss for a lot of people. Some just don't get what I was after, others do but scream Twilight would never act like that, others (like you) don't think they would act like that.

For me, I was trying to express that the atavisms you see in the story is the earth pony way of generating and controlling their magic. It's less like you acting like a caveman and clubbing a woman on the head and dragging her off by the hair for a good mating rape, and more like serious business folk over in America going out into the woods, painting their faces up and getting shitfaced in a sweat-lodge and doing a raindance.

Sorry you didn't like it, allow me to refund your purchase price.

1667222

more like serious business folk over in America going out into the woods, painting their faces up and getting shitfaced in a sweat-lodge and doing a raindance.

Hmm...

When you put it like that... I kinda get it. It makes a bit more sense, at least with how serious they take it. But, I think now that I see it that way, it seems even MORE silly than it did, I just get why they do it.

Actually... wait, no. If this is some hugely important thing, like they way they HAVE to use their pony magic, that's kind of an insulting way to frame it. The drunk businessmen aren't getting anything out of it, unless you agree with the tree-hugging nonsense that you say you don't, they're just acting like... well, assholes. I still say a better way for it to have happened is the ponies simply go camping or something. There is a difference between connecting with the Earth and acting like an animal. Again, it's a very interesting concept, I just think it's a very awkward and stupid way of exploring it. PLEASE don't take that as an insult. Every Metallica has to make a St. Anger, every Tarantino a Death Proof. :raritywink:

Either way, I STILL say that Twilight wouldn't do it. Not that she wouldn't WANT to, but she COULDN'T, she wouldn't be able to shut down her scientist brain long enough to get with it. In fact, now that I think about it, that would have been a great scene. Twilight comes in and tries to analyze the situation, asking questions and whatnot, but all the other ponies ignore her, at like, well, animals. She gets frustrated and leaves. Next day, she goes to Applejack and gets pissed, and AJ just says, "Sugarcube, ya jes' don't get it." Then, Twilight asks around, but no one will explain it. Finally, she breaks down and tries again, this time doing what you had her do above. Would have been cute, and a bit more in character... but still silly.

You can hold the refund. Remember, I'm a Drill Sergeant. I love being overly negative and critical. :pinkiecrazy:

If this is what it's like to be an earth pony... I shudder at the sheer powers of PINKIE. :pinkiecrazy::pinkiecrazy:

Wow. Just found this via linksurfing, and I'm glad I read it. This speaks to such a hidden depth in the ponies. It'll stick with me.

I find interesting the strength of reaction it's inspired from some of the self-described rationalists that have spoken up. It seems awfully shortsighted for them to talk about violent suppression of the id, and to call even brief descents into primality dangerous and a sign of mental instability. You know the saying "keep your friends close and your enemies closer"? How the hell can you ever hope to master your instinct — rather than sublimate it until it sees its opportunity, grabs a shovel, and hits you on the back of the head — if you blindly refuse to understand it?

And you don't understand it, you can't understand it, if you refuse to ever let it rule you, even for a moment, even among friends. It's like reading a book about LSD and claiming you understand altered consciousness. It's like reading a religion's holy book and claiming you understand what makes people religious. It's like memorizing The Elements Of Style and claiming that makes you a great fanfic writer.

Of course instinct is dangerous. That's exactly the point. Twilight's learning experience in this story had nothing to do with the nature of earth pony magic, or what instinct does; it was why — despite the danger, despite the terrifying loss of control — ponies choose to give themselves to it.

The magic here is on both the metaphorical and literal levels. Intellect can steer us, but it's instinct that moves the world.*

--
* Yes, yes. Blah blah technology, self-transcendence blah de blah. If you cling to any delusion that the human race can somehow kick instinct like a smoker kicks cigarettes, go read some Transmetropolitan. You'll hate that future too, but so does Spider Jerusalem, and you can live out your vicarious curmudgeonry through him.

1796403
I wish I had more time to answer some of the earlier comments (particularly 1667794 and the preceding one, for example) because I need to do a better job of both the reply as well as the story.

I meant the story very much in this vein - Twilight's inner nature is, for a talking horse, essentially horse as for us it is ape. Giving in to that inner atavism brought forth the earth pony magic, but that very other-ness of the experience is what separates them as well as binds them together. It's not something that can be explained, it has to be experienced, and it is an integral part of the world they live in.

Take it as romanticizing filthy dirty hippies if you want, but in a really magical world, that kind of behavior isn't just valid, it's genuine and productive.

Yes, it's scary to take your intellect and place it on the shelf... that's why I made Twilight experience it, and why, after it, she burns the letter. It's supposed to make you worried, perhaps even scared, but it's not supposed to be something evil and bad. These are ponies, they are not predators. They are herd creatures, and belonging to the herd isn't just the monkeysphere like with us, it is their very mode of being. Taking that ancient bond and utilizing it for something more profound and powerful is just what they do. Horses do not come alone.

1799072
Hmm. I feel like you're crossing the streams a bit. You keep talking about magic, which is all well and good, but this is dealing with evolution, something biological. If the only way for them to use earth pony magic is to revert like this, then why did they evolve in the first place?

Okay, it sounds like you're looking at this through human eyes, that magic is something mystical and mysterious. You have to remember that to them, magic is science. It's quantifiable, something you can measure and predict, Pinkie Pie breaking the 4th wall not withstanding. But more than that, you've contradicted yourself a bit in how you framed it, I think.

Okay, so this is something intrinsic to earth pony magic. If that is the case, then why has Twilight, a student of magic for anywhere around or more than a decade, never heard of it? By her burning he letter and acting like its some big secret, it reaffirms the idea that it's just these select few ponies who do this, furthering the idea that this is a bunch if ponies acting like idiots. But if this is such an important part of pony magic, then why do no others know about it or practice it? Honestly, a bunch if ponies running around in the middle of the night acting like lower life forms, you'd think someone would have noticed it by this point. If this is so important to earth pony culture, it should be documented by now, not some deep secret that only certain ponies can ever know about.

What would have made this all okay is if they had been talking while doing it. Eating grass, drinking from the lake, running around. It would have been closer to what you were thinking, as I see it, them doing something that harkens back to the old days. Imagine AJ turning to Twi mid-run: "Do ya FEEL it?!" She turns to AJ, panting, sweating, but with a wide smile. "Yes! Yes, I do!" Imagine if this was a known thing, but Twilight had never done it before, only heard of it. She wanted to experience it, but it's a very personal thing to earth ponies, not something you invite just anyone in to, kind of like how Muslim's don't normally like non-Muslims in their mosques(at least in Iraq they didn't). But after so long, Applejack finally feels she trusts Twilight enough to invite her. I'm sorry, but all the secrecy just made it, like I said, look really stupid. And honestly, it feels... kinda creepy, like this is some cult that Twilight is now in. "One of us, one of us, we accept her, one of us, gooble gobble, we accept her." :derpytongue2:

Or, maybe even if they actually DID revert to wild animals! Like, this is some kind of "battery recharge" for earth ponies, something they need to do once a year or something, and they actually DO become lower life forms for a night. They go to the place, do some ritual, become normal ponies, then wake up the next morning with no memory, just warm, fuzzy feelings.

But actually PRETENDING they are lower life forms... Like I said, kinda silly. And... a little insulting when I think about it.

"So, how do Unicorns experience their magic?"

"Oh, they practice for years, and hone their skills in halls of learning."

"Okay. And how do Pegasi experience their magic?"

"They forge the weather, soar through the sky, and walk on clouds."

Oh, wow! And, how do earth ponies experience their magic?"

"Oh, they act like mindless animals, run in fright at the slightest sound, and shit anywhere they want."

"..."

"What?"

1799316
I know I've contradicted myself a few times - I regret it. Specifically,

more like serious business folk over in America going out into the woods, painting their faces up and getting shitfaced in a sweat-lodge and doing a raindance.

Came out entirely wrong. I'm going to try to do better, but it's difficult.

In this particular instance of the world according to Twilight Sparkle, everything natural in our world is controlled (or at least driven and given impetus by) the ponies in theirs. Luna and Celestia as alicorns control the primal forces and the heavens above. The pegasi control the weather. The unicorns are in charge of the things between, and the earth ponies... well, in the show the earth ponies aren't really shown as doing anything. In the context of the show as it was presented, earth ponies don't have magic, they are literally just the serfs that toil the land and grow food.

I repeat: they just grow the food. They till the land, plant the seeds and harvest the crop. That's normal for us, since our world is natural and evolved.

However, the niggling thought remained to me: how can this state of affairs be normal in a magical world where it was specifically stated that even "clouds moving by themselves" in the Everfree was "not normal"?

So that's the status quo: earth ponies have no known magic, but not being magical is not normal. See the dichotomy this was designed to address? Obviously, earth ponies do have magic, and for some reason it is a tightly guarded secret (much as the unicorns have their Starswirl the Bearded Wings of the Royal Canterlot Archives).

What better way, I thought to myself, than to have something which can't be written down because its very nature is something that has to remain a secret? And thus the Midnight Run was formed. It's not just a secret club for ponies to go around "...[acting] like mindless animals [who] run in fright at the slightest sound, and shit anywhere they want...", it's a real, necessary, sacred and secret rite of the earth ponies vital to the survival of Equestria. They really do

...revert to wild animals! Like, this is some kind of "battery recharge" for earth ponies, something they need to do once a year or something, and they actually DO become lower life forms for a night. They go to the place, do some ritual, become normal ponies, then wake up the next morning with no memory, just warm, fuzzy feelings.

That is, essentially, what happened to Twilight. She didn't understand it at first, but by the middle of the story her analytical mind has cleared and she's allowed herself to take part in this strange, atavistic ritual dance which is an integral part of controlling the seasons in Equestria. This isn't a one-off thing, it's regular, same as the seasons come and go. Actually, precisely as the seasons come and go. This was the magical version of the running of the leaves that prepared Equestria for winter. Without it, winter would not have come. The running of the leaves is the socialized, public version of the ancient rite, much as the maypole in spring is for us, only in their world the magical version not only still fully exists, but has to for the world to function.

Hmm. I feel like you're crossing the streams a bit. You keep talking about magic, which is all well and good, but this is dealing with evolution, something biological. If the only way for them to use earth pony magic is to revert like this, then why did they evolve in the first place?

Who says they did? This is an intrinsically magical world, you really have to step out of ours to be able to get it. As stated in the show, everything depends on the ponies. That's not a world where evolution need exist, and in fact probably doesn't.

1803303
See, this is why I love this fandom. Here we are, having a deep, philosophical argument... about pastel-colored talking ponies. We are awesome beyond words. :twilightsmile:

In the context of the show as it was presented, earth ponies don't have magic, they are literally just the serfs that toil the land and grow food.

To my knowledge, this has never been said in cannon. They don't grow the food because they are lowly earth ponies who have no choice because they are lorded over. According to the show, and less/more importantly Word of Faust, they grow the food because they are the only ones who can. This is further shown by the fact that we have never seen a pegasus or unicorn grow crops in the show., If earth ponies grew food because they were lowly serfs, then shouldn't there be at least one or two of the other races? You mean to tell me that there are NO poor pegasi or unicorns?

This was the magical version of the running of the leaves that prepared Equestria for winter.

Okay, then I say again, why all the secrecy? It just doesn't make sense to me. I understand your view that this is sacred to earth ponies, and I agree. This sounds like something you wouldn't invite just anyone to view. But still, in the several thousand years of pony civilization, not one non-earth pony has seen this? And I don't mean participated, we see several unicorns in the mix in the story. I'm talking about no one noticing a giant herd of ponies running around in the middle of the night. No one ever noticed that?

In Luna Eclipsed, Twilight is annoyed that none of her friends get her Starswirl the Bearded costume. This proves that it's not a big secret. She's upset because Starswirl is a famous guy, like Copernicus or Newton. Now, even if it is a cultural thing, it still doesn't add up that she has no idea, or that it's something she needs to keep a secret. I'm sure some amazing things came from outside my culture that I have no clue about... but I could find out pretty dang quick. Even if I didn't have Google, a trip to the local library, and I have access to African history, Middle Eastern and Asian culture. The fact that no one has seen this ever just doesn't add up to me. Again, if this was something that was known, just not talked about, I'd be fine. Even if the earth ponies held the same attitude, they acted a bit holier-than-thou about it, that the other races weren't worthy of knowing, it'd be cool, because at least they KNEW about it.

If you haven't guessed by this point, my problem isn't the Run itself, that actually makes some sense, even though them insisting on behaving like lower life forms seems very silly. My issue is that this is portrayed as some huge secret. The way it's presented, it furthers the idea that none of the tribes truly get or trust each other, which makes no sense. Again, with how you showed us, Twilight being blindfolded to keep the site hidden, her being rebuked so harshly when she didn't immediately conform, is sounds like the earth ponies don't want anyone to know about this, that they feel the other tribes, as a whole, aren't worthy to know. It adds an element of class-strife and racism that have never been shown in cannon beyond Hearths Warming Eve, which showed us how the USED to not trust each other, as opposed to now, when they do.

Two earth ponies, Mr. and Mrs. Cake, have pegasi and unicorn children. So, to me, this means that they are going to look up everything they can about pegasus and unicorn culture, to make sure they're ready for the challenges of raising them. So, obviously, this means that somewhere down the road, a unicorn or pegasus must have had an earth pony child. So, I say again, how does no one know about this?

1803735
Well, I'm going by the show for the roots of this story. From the show itself, it's often essentially presented (I don't believe I've seen it stated otherwise directly) that earth ponies don't have magic. If you look at the words to Winter Wrap-Up, Twilight's refrain is "...how do I fit in without magic, help the earth-pony way?"

I haven't seen it stated that non-earth ponies cannot grow anything - though I have seen it inferred and heavily fan-speculated - but I have seen a certain degree of separation between the races as well as each having their own domain. The real reason that the Midnight Run is secret is because it's not known about in the show - that is, I wanted to explain why earth ponies appear to have no magic in a world where not having magic is not normal. For it to make sense canonically, something like the Midnight Run would have to be kept secret. I'll not lie about it either though, I like as a story vehicle the idea of secret societies, especially when presented as part of a generally feudal-age society like Equestria is often displayed as (especially season 1, when this was written).

I kind of expect to see (and did, in the Hearth's Warming episode) guilds as well as factions and petty rivalries, all which help to hide and lose information (keeping Equestria in a relative dark-age). I imagine that such "secret societies" as exist in that particular Equestria would share quite a lot of knowledge, but not everything; not their most secret, sacred rites. It's kind of like the freemasons, actually. They have secret rites which you aren't supposed to talk about when you become one or progress. It's kept sacred by almost everyone, and the oaths they swear are very old and somewhat scary (from what I hear, I'm not a freemason though I do know a few, and they wouldn't talk about their freemasonry). If you've not read Iluminatus! you should do, but I digress, the information on the Midnight Run would be there, somewhere, but very hard to get and probably wrong, and most ponies take it as writ that earth ponies have no magic, so the whole thing doesn't even concern them.

Twilight's doing what she thinks is right - the Midnight Run as such cannot be written about, it can only really be experienced. For that time, you become an animal, and then less than an animal, and yet infinitely more. The ponies that take part become a part of the all-encompassing everything (I lack the vocabulary for it), and may not in fact be running through normal space-time (or whatever passes for it in Equestria). I actually see it as a kind of "Wild Hunt" like the fairies are supposed to have constantly, but most people never get to see one. It's the idea that there's this whole other world next door to our own. The Midnight Run essentially leaves Equestria proper and enters "the spirit world" as they work their magic. They kind of move like Santa or the Easter Bunny are supposed to, through the spaces between. In their element, the earth ponies are at least as powerful if not moreso than Celestia and Luna.

Twilight's burning the letter is because she understands that trying to explain it would negate her ability to take part, and without it doing what it is supposed to do. The magic is inarticulate, it's not expressable by rational thought. It's also futile, in a way, because there's no way that Celestia and Luna don't know about it (seeing as, in the context of this story, they are literally gods incarnate). I actually planned a scene where one of Luna's feathers is found by Twilight as she examines the location the next day, but I never wrote it. Much as another scene involving some more adult atavistic behaviour was axed as it served no real narrative purpose.

It's not that parents like Mr and Mrs Cake can't know about the Midnight Run, but it's not that they necessarily do either. They also might not know about certain storm-based rites that the pegasi perform. I could easily (and I would love) to play with the idea of even powerful, evil storms being created by pegasi, not because they're bad ponies, but because weather has to be wild at times, there has to be some sort of balance.

That's actually part of the reasoning - balance. Earth-ponies have to have magic, and it's not known about, ergo it's secret, ergo there's a reason for it to be held secret. It's secret because it can't be properly written about, and it's a sacred thing. Pegasi are left out because the earth isn't their domain, the sky is. Likewise, very few unicorns are "indoctrinated" because their natures lead them towards more intellectual and right-hoof-path behaviour rather than left-hoof-path behaviour.

I see it as something very old, older than the story of Hearth's Warming, and I actually see it as being backed up by the idea of Hearth's Warming: during the conflict, as it were, I can see the earth ponies refusing the perform the Midnight Run of Spring, leading to an eternal winter. There's so much I could play with there...

The Run isn't something that all ponies know about, not even all earth ponies - it just has to be enough ponies, so it's not like every and all earth ponies as well as a great deal of unicorns are secretly these crazy types that slink off to eat grass and shit in fields, but the rites have to happen, and they do, but with a very small subset of the available as well as "eligible" population.

1806146

Illuminati, Freemasons, and the like

And here's where we reach an impasse. If this is where you're coming from, this is where you're basing you views on this on, then we will never agree. I loathe secret societies and elitism in any form. I can't help it. Even though I'm in my own pseudo-elite group, the military, it just awakens that skinny, long-haired teenager in my listening to Rage or Overkill. I hate the idea that someone behind the scenes is controlling life for people who don't know. The idea that I'M not good enough for whatever reason you deem, and therefore I can not take part in something that "special." Why isn't Rarity good enough for this? And hell, why not pegasi? Sure, their domain the the sky, but what about Fluttershy? She hates the sky, and she loves animals! She'd love to be a mindless creature for a bit. Hell, she'd probably be a bit more brave! :derpytongue2:

And then there's your statement that only certain earth ponies get this. Well, that just makes me even more angsty. With the way you showed us this, this is something that is more magical than anything ever. Who gets to decide who gets to participate? Is there a lottery? DO you have to know somepony who knows somepony? The idea that, "Oh, the only reason you get to eat is because we can do this thing. And you are pitiable because you will never get it." Makes me want to put on some Hatebreed and overthrow something.

I'm sorry, I just can't get over that this has never been documented, no one ever did it, then said, "Wow, that was cool! I'm gonna tell my friends!" Or, again, no one ever noticed a giant group of ponies running around in the middle of the night?

And even barring all of that, I can't buy that Twilight would just roll over and accept this. Remember Feeling Pinkie Keen, how far she went to understand the Pinkie Sense. Now, before you even start, yes, I know the lesson she learned there was somethings you just can't explain(which is a real crap lesson, IMHO). However, this isn't one quirky friend. This is something MAJOR, that effects all of Equestria! As you said, without this, the world would wither and die! With everything we know about her, there's no way she would just say, "Well, I lost control of my intellect, while discovering an entirely new form of magic that is vital to all life on Earth. LOL LETZ FERGET IT HAPEND!!!" She'd be back there with Spike and a stack of parchment, studying every blade of grass. Remember, even if some agree with the whole mysticism thing, Twilight doesn't. She's a student of magic, and learning of an entire new field of it would not be something she would just say, "Meh, no one needs to know."

1806607

I loathe secret societies and elitism in any form. I can't help it. Even though I'm in my own pseudo-elite group

I'm not passing judgement on the existence nor the character of these groups, just stating that as a part of the world, I like the idea that they exist, that as a story element it's apt. I think it more than fits.

Why isn't Rarity good enough for this? And hell, why not pegasi? Sure, their domain the the sky, but what about Fluttershy? She hates the sky, and she loves animals!

...I didn't actually name all (or even any) of the ponies which are in there, but I implied plenty. You might be surprised if you knew. As for Fluttershy, she's probably the one flappityhorse who could take part. I should say it's less that pegasi can't take part, but more that there haven't been any so far who would fit. It's more like the freemasons and their not having women. Why don't they allow women? Nobody really knows, but they don't and that's just about that.

And then there's your statement that only certain earth ponies get this. Well, that just makes me even more angsty. With the way you showed us this, this is something that is more magical than anything ever. Who gets to decide who gets to participate? Is there a lottery? DO you have to know somepony who knows somepony?

Well, how many people have joined the royal order of the buffalo? Or the freemasons? Or the skull and bones? Or the bilderbergers? By it's very nature, it's not going to include everypony... but again, this secret club isn't exactly the worlds greatest secret, it's just something that doesn't advertise. It's actually very close to the freemasons - if you want to be a freemason, you need to ask one to sponsor you. Seeing as Twilight, an outsider AND a unicorn, was asked, it's likely this is actually relatively big and inclusive, for all it is secretive.

I'm sorry, I just can't get over that this has never been documented, no one ever did it, then said, "Wow, that was cool! I'm gonna tell my friends!" Or, again, no one ever noticed a giant group of ponies running around in the middle of the night?

I like to think that it's documented relatively thoroughly... somewhere. I also like to think that it's mostly unknown of outside of myths and legends, and that few in terms of the population of Equestria know what it is actually for or that it still exists. In a world without Wikipedia, information is going to exist, but it's going to be hard to find. After all, everypony everywhere apparently totally forgot that Luna was Celestia's sister after only a thousand years. That's a much bigger thing to me than some relatively unknown secretive rite being totally forgotten - after all, you're talking about the only other alicorn (at the time, at least) who was sister to the still-extant ruler of Equestria.

Also, there's that Ponyville is in the arse-end of nowhere, and during the period it was written, Manehatten was unknown of and the world was essentially the feudal walled city of Canterlot (remote), the flying city of Cloudsdale (remote, and in the sky) and... Ponyville. And countryside. It's not like they'd have to treck through paved streets and speed cameras...

without this, the world would wither and die! With everything we know about her, there's no way she would just say, "Well, I lost control of my intellect, while discovering an entirely new form of magic that is vital to all life on Earth. LOL LETZ FERGET IT HAPEND!!!" She'd be back there with Spike and a stack of parchment, studying every blade of grass.

I think you're partially right, but I also think she'd be more than ready to investigate it from the inside. That, and you don't betray family. I like to think that she's been given a gift that she doesn't want to betray, and that to study it she would have to do so under its own rules. I see it as a zen-like other form of magic. You can't actually point and say "this is what it is", you can only try to compare it to other things and say "this is what it isn't".

I get that you don't agree with it, that you think it's silly. There's not much I can do, sadly. I'm not going to change my vision to conform with your expectations on the matter, the best I can do is attempt to explain my own what, how and why. I wish I could do it better, but really the best way I have of explaining it is the write it, and I already did that.

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I'm not going to change my vision to conform with your expectations on the matter,

Oh! And please don't think for a second that I want you to! Hell, if you did, I would lose a lot of respect for you as an author. I'm merely trying to articulate, as best I can, my thoughts on the story and the concept.

I feel I must say this again. You, more than any author on this site, continually rustle my jimmies in the worst ways. Between this story and the slavery aspect of The Ambassador's Son, I should, by all rights, hate you and never read again. But you just had to go and present those concepts in dynamic, engaging ways!

MIDNIGHTSHADOW, Y U WRITE SUCH GOOD STORIES?!

awesome and deep

W:pinkiegasp:w

Nice. Very well written. Added to Twilight's Library.

This is one of my favorite fics of all time, and I just read it. And now I want to draw some nice, tame fanart of it, if that's alright. ^-^;

2516465
If my little ditty inspires you to draw, then I am honoured.

I liked this story, but it just seemed too out of place to me. Equestria is a world where everything natural is artificially controlled. And this just doesn't fit in with that.
~ Danger Beans

2619423
You see Equestria as having no "natural" seasons/weather, and don't see it making sense that Equestria needs earthponies to change the seasons?

2619598
Well, in "Sonic Rainboom" we see the Pegasus Making winter. So... Yes i do.

2619650
No, the pegasi just make the snowy weather, the season is much more than that :pinkiehappy:

It's not very often that I come across what could be described as poetic on this site, but you very well may have it here. Well done.

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