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Fanfic / Frigid Wings and Burning Hearts

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A My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic. Found right here.

After a thousand years of being sealed away as the Mare in the Moon, Princess Luna was finally freed — not just from her prison, but from the jealousy that once blinded her. Nightmare Moon was purged from her body, courtesy of the Elements of Harmony.

One year later, thanks to a careless remark from a self-absorbed 'noble', she learns exactly what her dear Celly has taught the world about her.


Frigid Winds and Burning Hearts is not your typical heartwarming tale of Luna rediscovering her place in the world and the love of her sister and subjects. It is not a story about a dorky princess fumbling with all the advancements the world made without her. Nor is it a grimdark tale of a fiery reformer waging war against her tyrannical sister.

And it is certainly not a tale of Luna blindly begging forgiveness and immediately reconciling with her sister.

For Princess Celestia has spent many of those thousand years entrenching a system Luna never approved of — and reinforcing it with tales painting a quite different account of ancient history than what Luna remembers.

Yet Celestia is not portrayed as an unsympathetic monster, nor is she fully responsible for the main conflict of the story. For her plan to let her sister be 'redeemed' and reintroduced back into the society she worked so hard on seems to have had its side effects... To make matters worse, after their very public argument, the public seems convinced Luna has reverted to her old, evil ways... including a smug Captain of the Royal Guard eager to prove himself a 'hero' by getting rid of the Nightmare Moon threat once and for all. And even that guy isn't as much of an unsympathetic Jerkass as he first appeared to be...



This My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Fan Fic contains examples of:

  • 0% Approval Rating: Despite her 'redemption', Princess Luna isn't trusted by the public. Prince Blueblood exposes this Elephant in the Living Room after she accidentally knocks a bowl of hot soup into his face.
  • A Lighter Shade of Grey: Thanks to giving most of the screentime to Luna and having Celestia's side be primarily represented by the Jerkass Captain Braveheart, the story is heavily on Luna's side for most of the duration.
  • The Atoner: Celestia is heavily implied to hate herself for everything she's done. Luna is starting to regret her actions as well.
  • Anachronic Order: Chapter 6 jumps back in time to show events that occurred framing Chapter 3 that are focused on a different part of the cast.
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted when Captain Braveheart shoots Big Macintosh with a crossbow.
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  • Anyone Can Die: The story certainly gives this feeling via the Darker and Edgier take on the setting described below, although the canon characters make it out with only presumed mental scars at the end. The introduced OCs aren't so lucky.
  • Armies Are Evil: Zig-zags between chapters.
  • Author Vocabulary Calendar: Grey Prophet is addicted to the word "welkin" when describing the sky.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ajax towards anyone he perceives as being loyal to Luna/Nightmare Moon, or against Celestia. Which, after about 1000 years of stewing about the war, is pretty much everyone but Celestia.
    • It ultimately gets to the point where even Celestia herself can't talk any sense into him (Ajax believes her to be Luna in disguise), and he winds up accidentally impaling himself on her horn in a blind rage. Fluttershy later points out that he had major blood loss and was missing an eye, which certainly couldn't have helped his already total lack of sanity.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Big Macintosh. Although nothing short of outright harming his friends and family will piss him off, you really don't want to be on the receiving end of his kicks when he is. Even while facing five royal guards at once with a crossbow bolt sticking out of his leg he can hold his own, albeit not by much.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Philomena in chapter 11.
    • Storm Cloud in chapter 13 gets Ajax to retreat by ramming Celestia's sword into his eye, but is too late to save Braveheart.
  • Blue Blood: As Luna attempts to reveal to Prince Blueblood and later to Twilight, this concept is a complete lie fabricated by Princess Celestia; she wanted an upper class that would still defer to her, and allowing them to believe they're special because they share a bloodline with her was a convenient tool.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Played with; Luna acknowledges that her long imprisonment drove her mad, but Celestia messing with her mind to make her assume the role of Nightmare Moon didn't help, either.
  • Break the Cutie: Twilight struggles with the idea that her beloved mentor might be a Manipulative Bitch, in no small part because she'd already uncovered aspects of history that just didn't add up. To make matters worse, in Chapter 4 she reveals Lt. Lightning Strike, one of Braveheart's soldiers, used to be a close friend....
  • Broken Aesop: The author has stated that two of the major themes of the story are that neither of the Princesses are wholly right or wrong, and that it is the responsibility of an individual to face the consequences of their past actions. It hasn’t really held up terribly well as the story has worn on.
    • Celestia’s actions have increasingly seemed those of a stereotypical Machiavellian despot, clinging to power through any means necessary. The nobles of her court remain the decadent would-be tyrants they’ve always been. Her fanatically loyal guard’s behavior towards her subjects is less that of a policing body or defensive army, and more that of a hostile occupying force. Her former right-hand man is a murderously insane dragon who was abandoned once his usefulness expired. Actually, chapter 14 reveals Celestia banished him to the Everfree Forest due to his barbarism.
    • During the middle portion of the story as it currently stands, it was revealed that Luna was not the wronged innocent she had initially portrayed herself as. Her plan to leave Equestria was born of her own desire to be free of the responsibility and frustration of governing its inhabitants. The nobles who had backed her merely wanted to seize power and enslave the lower classes, and Luna herself was fully aware of it. Despite casting aspersions upon Celestia for the bloody civil war she fought to retain control, Luna justified her attempt at selling the masses into servitude by predicting that they would eventually win their freedom through violent revolution. While she did briefly seem to regret her past actions and recognize her own role in the missteps of the past, it doesn’t seem to have taken. The reservations about her own beliefs acquired in earlier chapters are tossed aside with ease, accompanied by a mental noting that Celestia’s methods and philosophies have proven themselves useless. Her ancient adviser and confidant Morning Star, introduced as a self-serving manipulator and mastermind of the attempted coup, has been revised as a benevolent reformer whose proposals are recognized as flawless even by those who hear them second-hand and lack any knowledge of the matters involved.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The Elements of Harmony stripped Luna of some of her powers, most noticeably her immortality. She is still capable of holding her own.
  • The Bully: Braveheart is more or less one. He insults and attacks others to make himself feel better and abuses his power.
  • Berserk Button: Celestia was rather fine with Luna's ideals, until she finds out Luna's plan would result in generations of the common pony being oppressed by nobles and bloody wars with Luna seeing it as "a small price to pay".
  • Catapult Nightmare: Luna does this after a lengthy nightmare about Celestia becoming openly tyrannical.
  • Children Are Innocent: Apple Bloom is thrilled to meet Luna, having not yet made the connection between her return and that of Nightmare Moon.
  • Child Soldiers: Lightning Strike was forced into the military academy after his cutie mark appeared. Braveheart was pressed into service as the Captain of the Royal Guard's page for two years and then enrolled in the academy as punishment for entering Celestia's personal chamber unannounced and without permission.
    • Ajax fought in his first battle at 15.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Braveheart, after the failed attempt to capture Luna and Twilight at Applejack's farm, goes on quite the swearing spree outside Rarity's boutique, waking her up. She promptly goes outside to scold him, only to be ignored at first, then insulted directly when she finally gets his attention. She gets arrested as soon as Braveheart realizes she's a friend of Twilight.
  • Died Standing Up: Morning Star in her final battle with Ajax.
  • Deadly Decadent Court: Luna has never been a fan of 'nobility', much less the methods her sister used to set up the system in the first place.
  • Democracy Is Bad: Or at least that's Celestia's opinion, though Luna's reforms supposedly killed countless ponies through war or famine, so she might have a point
    • And it would have killed more if Luna had her way.
    • Luna points out the flaw in Celestia's logic in the very first chapter, pointing out a successful democracy does currently exist apparently, one encompassing a nation of griffons. Celestia refuses to realize her sister has a point. It's also stated by Luna herself in a later chapter that Luna seemingly expected a democracy to evolve after the nobles at the time she tried to get Celestia to join her in leaving for the heavens would try to oppress the general populace, believing that the nobles would one day be overthrown and a democratic nation would arise in the place of a nation ruled by nobility.
      • The reedited changes this, Celestia is fine with democracy (as long as she's head of state).
  • Dark Fic/Darker and Edgier: Nopony is safe from realistically-played serious injurynote , and while the Mane 6 survive, most of the major OCs introduced die and Rarity's escape plan is inadvertently responsible for the death of a foal.
    • The broader setting is also treated similarly, with many factions and historical characters either acting under the assumption that Hobbes Was Right or having their ideals blow up in their face, as well as civilian panic and the necessity of riot suppression being taken to likely unrealistic extents, and said riot suppression involving some nasty Police Brutalitynote . Overall, the setting very much gives the impression that the Equestrian Sapient Races Are Flawed.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Celestia thought she had it all planned out... But didn't consider the possibility that the Elements of Harmony might actually have adverse effects on Luna, like stripping away her immortality. Luna, of course, assumes she was aware and calls her on it.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Large amounts of Equestria's magical nature are stripped away in this story. The Everfree Forest, haven to creatures of myth and much-feared by all ponies, is presented as just a really big wildlife preserve, beset by poachers. Equestria's manual seasons and weather are revealed to be Celestia's doing. Chaos God Discord is shown as just a tyrant that briefly overthrew the goddesses, and the Windigos are nowhere to be seen.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: Turns out that, contrary to what Celestia hoped, the general public is mostly aware that Princess Luna was the "dreaded Nightmare Moon".
  • Evil Gloating: Captain Braveheart, upon catching up with Luna, gleefully taunts her, and Twilight as well.
    • It happens again after he shoots Big Mac in the leg with a crossbow bolt.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Braveheart's "court martial" by Prince Blueblood in Chapter 8. The reader has a hard time deciding who to root for.
    • Braveheart vs Ajax. Ajax mortally wounds him by frying and savagely crushing him, though Braveheart manages to cut holes in his wings and stab him in the chest.
  • Fantastic Racism: The pegasus Braveheart dislikes unicorns.
  • From a Certain Point of View: The history books aren't that far off from what really happened. However as chapter 13 reveals, this is apparently because CELESTIA was playing the role of Nightmare Moon as part of her smear campaign against the ideals of her own sister and those among the nobility, and possibly the peasantry who wanted Celestia to step down from her position of power.
  • General Ripper: Captain Braveheart hasn't found a problem yet that he can't somehow blame Luna for. He's hell-bent on protecting the citizens of Equestria from her, no matter how many of them he has to hurt to do it.
    • Ajax was one when he fought in the civil war after Luna's banishment.
  • Giant Spider: A variant of these attacks Rainbow Dash and Applejack in Everfree. Rainbow Dash emerges victorious over the tarantulion but is wounded during the struggle, the beast having slashed her with its lion-like claws and poisoned her with its irritating hairs.
  • God Empress: Celestia is the quintessential example, Luna far less so.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Celestia raised Ajax with the intent of making him an excellent soldier (and also to be friends with him). He wound up becoming a bloodthirsty knight templar, ultimately causing the Lunar forces to surrender due to his barbarism. Even after a peace treaty was signed, Ajax wiped out a griffon village, which finally caused Celestia to banish him to the Everfree Forest, where he stayed until he was woken up by Rainbow Dash's sonic rainbow.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Captain Braveheart, the callous and snide commander of the Royal Guard, has a cigar dangling "grotesquely" from his mouth, and wastes no time establishing himself as an utter Jerkass.
  • Gravity Master: Luna
  • Gray-and-Grey Morality: Neither sister is painted as completely in the wrong... nor completely in the right. Mistakes were made on both ends, and are only exacerbated by Poor Communication Kills.
  • Hanlon's Razor: Luna apparently isn't aware of this, assuming that Celestia knew the Elements of Harmony would steal her little sister's immortality and was counting on it as part of a plot to get rid of her for good, as opposed to it being a completely unforeseen side-effect that Celly's just as horrified to discover as Luna herself.
    • Captain Braveheart also follows this, assuming anyone who so much as says the wrong word to him must be a traitor and dealt with like a war criminal.
    • In a meta way, most of the problems the story has is the result of the writer being inexperienceand and Genre Blindness.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Braveheart, surprisingly enough, in chapter 11. After Nightshade leads him and his men to Zecora's hut, Braveheart gets an up close look at Luna's injuries after pinning her to the ground with the intention of running her through with Celestia's sword, capable of killing immortals. Luna recognizes the sword and is noticeably terrified of it, which Braveheart also notices. Luckily, Philomena bursts in and allows her and Twilight to escape, and gives Applejack an opening to buck him in the face. Finally, Pinkie convinces him to listen to reason (with s'mores), and he ultimately decides to help everypony track the trio after getting input from his men, though he still hates Luna personally.
    • The Mane Six sans Twilight attempt this on Ajax, and fail miserably.
  • Hero Killer: Ajax, who takes out Braveheart and Philomena. Of course, Philomena's a phoenix.
  • Hobbes Was Right: Princess Celestia is the Leviathan of Thomas Hobbes. Combating the forces of discord requires a strong, centralized government and an unassailable sovereign. This is in stark contrast with her sister's beliefs and is a source of considerable tension between the two.
  • Honor Before Reason: Morning Star's end. Rather than surrender to Celestia, she instead chose to insult her and challenged Ajax to a duel. Ajax won, although Celestia states that Morning Star held her own pretty well, and even died on her feet while delivering a final reason you suck speech to her before expiring. The Princess had her ashes buried in Canterlot Garden under the "victory" statue.
  • Hypocrite: Luna, despite all her talk about how much she hates the Deadly Decadent Court and loves free will, was working with them to give them the nation when she stepped down.
    • Justified in that she assumed the general populace would eventually overthrow them and find a better way to govern themselves. Presumably through democracy. She even says as much in the flashback when we see the events that lead to her banishment. Of course she's still a hypocrite, as she doesn't really care what the general populace wants or what happens to them.
  • Informed Attribute: The story attempts to give us a darker, more manipulative Celestia though one who wishes to protect Equestria while making Luna someone who tried to fight against her sister's rule but suffered from her own flaws. Unfortunately, this story has gained a great deal of notoriety for claiming to be a lot more even-handed than it actually is. Celestia never gets to speak in her defense; she's absent after the first chapter. Luna's flaws are never presented for the reader, at least not without an immediate argument in her defense. As a result, it started coming across as a bog-standard Tyrant!Celestia story.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Braveheart has a knack for leaping to conclusions. Twilight protests his attacking Luna? Nevermind explaining why, she MUST be a traitor and should be arrested and tortured! Rarity is Twilight's friend? Just because she doesn't have a clue what's going on doesn't mean she's not automatically a traitor, too! Arrest her!
  • On the way to the princesses' old castle, Applejack argues with Dash over her unreasonable loyalty to Luna, eventually deciding that she no longer trusts her judgment enough to continue following her sense of direction. She chooses one of the possible paths before them and leaves Dash behind, eventually finding that she has made the correct choice. As she celebrates, a sudden gust of wind snatches her hat away and deposits it at the entrance to a cave occupied by a giant spider. Somehow, this convinces her that she's been wrong all along, and that her view of Luna has been colored by irrational hatred and mortal hubris.
  • Dash then catches up with her and defeats the spider, proving to her the need to forgive Luna for ever having doubted her.
  • In what may be the only sound logic in the entire chapter, seeing Dash make an immediate recovery from the wounds sustained in the fight against the spider causes Applejack to realize that Luna's immortality has indeed been transferred. It doesn't last, however, as she immediately believes this to mean that everything the Princess has told them was truthful, and that she should join her friends in accepting her every word doubtlessly.
  • Jerkass: Captain Braveheart, a bigoted Smug Snake who believes his position gives him free reign to treat everyone else like utter crap, cheerfully abusing his power and angling to find more glory and recognition.
    • Even he doesn't hold a candle to Prince Blueblood. During their brief encounter in part 8, Braveheart ends up hating Blueblood more than he does Luna.
  • Karma Houdini: In-universe, Princess Luna is viewed as one, for despite being 'saved' by the Elements of Harmony, many innocents were killed in the stampedes and riots that occured during the temporary 'eternal night' she tried to lay upon the land. And these innocent victims — including foals — were not brought back to life after she was 'rescued'.
  • Killed Off for Real: Philomena, at Ajax's hand. Being a phoenix, she presumably got better quickly, such being the only explanation for why seemingly no one cared it happened.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Luna sees Celestia as this, to the point that she can't wrap her mind around the concept of her sister doing something without an ulterior motive.
    • Celestia believes Luna's old adviser was one, and believed she turned Luna against her. Luna is starting to have some doubts about it as well, but still believes that even if she had been manipulating her, she still had the right reasons for it due to her own views of Celestia.
  • Meaningful Name: Celestia's distrust of Luna's adviser is more understandable when you realize that the Latin word for Morning Star is Lucifer.
    • Ajax is derived from the Greek word "Aias", which in turn is from "aia", meaning earth. Ajax views himself to have a relationship with the earth akin to Celestia's relationship with the heavens. Mikhailovich is Russian for "Michael's Son", which implies that Ajax is similar to the archangel Michael.
    • Ajax's father is revealed to have indeed been named Mikhail.
  • The Medic: Fluttershy steps into this role when required, having already filled this role for her animal friends.
  • Most Writers Are Human: The writer injects human mindsets and beliefs into a world where there shouldn't be, such as sexism against women despite being a female dominated world. Braveheart compares Big Mac to André the Giant, who doesn't exist in this universe).
  • MST: Currently underway here.
  • My Greatest Failure: Celestia has Morning Star (a Twilight-esque personal student that revolted against her), Ajax (a Spike-esque dragon companion that became a bloodthirsty knight templar who practically worshiped her), and Luna (banished her to the moon, causing her to become the monster she later portrayed her as).
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Chapter 6, Lightning Strike undergoes one, coupled with a brief blue screen when he notices that a young colt died during his attempts to quell a riot started by Rarity, Applejack, and Pinkie Pie in order to escape custody at Rarity's boutique. Even before this his men lacked confidence in him due to his focus on Twilight instead of the mission at hand, but afterwards he readily signs a contract handing jurisdiction back to the previously missing Captain Braveheart. Time will tell if Rarity, AJ, and Pinkie react the same way when they realize they indirectly killed somepony.
    • Rarity finally finds out when Storm Cloud tells her about it in chapter 13. She reacts about how you'd expect her to, with extreme guilt and horror, especially since she had very recently designed a little wedding tux for him. She about heads into a blue screen before Storm Cloud notices, and pulls her out of it knowing she'd be useless that way. AJ and Pinkie have no reaction, as Storm Cloud only mentioned it to Rarity.
    • In Chapter 7, Applejack has one when she realizes her telling the guard that Luna was at Sweet Apple Acres led to Big Mac's injuries.
      • Same chapter Luna has a minor freak out when Ajax tells her all her actions did was cause a bloody civil war that only ended thanks to Celestia.
    • Applejack has another in chapter 11: she gets angry at Rainbow Dash due to her willingness to give Luna a chance, berates her, and finally abandons her in the Everfree Forest. Not long after, she regrets her decision, but Rainbow isn't the Element of Loyalty for nothing...
  • Nephewism: Lampshaded when Luna meets Prince Blueblood, and a major plot point: he isn't her nephew. Or even remotely related, to her or Celestia.
  • Never Say That Again: Fluttershy does not appreciate Twilight mentioning the Philomena incident. Rarity, likewise, dislikes hearing any mention of Prince Blueblood.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: In Chapter Ten, a wounded Lt. Nightshade flies more quickly than a healthy Rainbow Dash. The character whose defining trait is her speed, no less.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The tragedy of the past came about because of both Celestia and Luna's actions:
    • Celestia, ignoring her sister's wish to return to the heavens, set them up as God Princesses and created the Deadly Decadent Court, which entailed letting the members lie about being related to the Princesses to justify their superiority.
    • Luna, believing that Celestia intended to rule forever as an eternal tyrant, then allied herself with several nobles to stage an upheaval, trying to force her sister to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence with her and leave the court to rule instead. She knew this would cause further strife, but believed it a necessary sacrifice to 'fix' her sister's mistakes and ultimately leave the mortal world free of their endless reign.
      • Later Celestia's dragon flat out tells her that her side were a bunch of evil monsters who killed thousands. However, since history is Written by the Winners and there is some indication Luna may not have been all that off the mark in believing Celestia was a Manipulative Bitch, his word is suspect on the matter. The fact that he believes Luna was leading the charge against Celestia is a good indicator of the fact that he may be an Unreliable Expositor. Particularly since, by Luna's account, she was banished long before the Civil War he fought in happened, yet she is referenced in several history books as a monster who committed countless crimes, and Ajax himself was more than willing to believe it.
    • In Chapter 6, Applejack, Rarity and Pinkie Pie spark a riot so that they can escape custody. This causes the death of a colt, and Lightning's BSOD and decision to try and get Braveheart back.
    • The whole story is the result of Luna's "Reason You Suck" Speech at Celestia in chapter 1 caused the older sister to enter a Despair Event Horizon.
  • Noble Savage: Played with. Luna seems to think that the ideal society is one with minimal government and a strong spiritual connection to the Earth. This view is challenged by Zecora's revelation that her tribal lands are characterized by instability and conflict.
    • Despite this, Luna goes right back to praising her views, as if this never happened, in Chapter 11.
  • Not So Different: Twilight accuses Luna of being just as guilty of manipulating and misleading others after overhearing her keeping Apple Bloom Locked Out of the Loop. Twilight never stops to think that Luna is doing this because she doesn't want to see Applebloom lose her innocence about the world at such a young age, or get caught up in the mess that she and the rest of the adult ponies among the cast are dealing with. Granted, Twilight is very emotional state at the time, but it still gives her a brief Jerkass moment.
    • A thousand years ago you could say she was worse.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The reason why Braveheart acts like this.
  • Pet the Dog: Braveheart gets two cheering his men up when they found out their orders are to take Luna, which they thought was going to get them killed. And trying to bring a foal back to life who was killed during the panic caused by Luna's return.
  • The Plan: In addition to the one that backfired rather horribly in the long run, Celestia also pulled off one when she deliberately exhausted all her royal magic in a seemingly futile fight against her sister — because their goddess powers wouldn't work alongside the Elements of Harmony.
  • Police Brutality: Braveheart's preferred methodology: storm in, tear everything apart, and threaten anyone who protests with trumped-up charges of conspiracy that 'justify' his beating them into compliance, all in the name of Princess Celestia.
  • Precision F-Strike: By Braveheart in Chapter 3, when Luna reveals her plans for him.
  • Prince Charmless: Prince Blueblood, yet again.
  • The Prince: In the story it is a suppressed book written by one of Celestia's past students detailing the Princess's political philosophy and methodology.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Not only between the sisters, but in Chapter 2 Celestia's version of events only complicates matters further, as the Royal Guard assumes that Princess Luna has reverted to her evil ways and must be stopped by any means necessary. Particularly since Celestia has apparently vanished, and hasn't taken the time to raise the sun...
    • In Chapter 7, Celestia's old dragon companion Ajax believes that Luna cursed Celestia with nightmares that caused her to cry out in pain every night, when Celestia was actually grieving for her lost sister.
  • Purple Prose: The entire story is heavy with it, but the greatest offenders by some margin are Luna and Lightning Strike, both of whom are so overly florid that they think in purple prose.
  • Revenge by Proxy: After Luna and Twilight first manage to evade him, Braveheart sees nothing wrong with arresting Twilight's friends simply for being friends with a 'traitor'. The fact that Rarity and the others clearly have no clue what's going on just makes it easier in his opinion.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Luna's own personal philosophy. She believes that her subjects are predisposed towards good and that political society is a necessary evil to combat discord. Like Rousseau, Luna's ideas are more abstract, and laced with emotion than Celestia's more calculated and defined prescription for society.
  • Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time: Celestia's choices concerning how to handle her sister were... somewhat ill-thought out in places.
    • Likewise, Luna's plan to make her sister give up her eternal rule had its flaws... such as trusting the power-hungry nobles.
      • Turns out it wasn't even her plan, she was just following the power-hungry nobles lead.
      • She claims she expected the general populace to overthrow the nobles at some point. So this is a case of the reader's personal opinion when all is said and done.
  • Ship Tease: In Chapter 3, between Big Mac and Princess Luna.
    • It ultimately goes nowhere.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: In full display here, as Big Mac does his best to rein his sister's stubborn temper in.
  • Smug Snake: Captain Braveheart.
  • Snowball Lie: Celestia's rewriting of history and establishing lines of nobility by creating false bloodlines has resulted in snowball lies with a thousand years or so to build up steam.
    • Luna also gets caught up in one herself while trying to shield Apple Bloom from the full horrors of what her family and friends have gotten caught up in. It backfires when Twilight overhears and thinks she's lying to her as well.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Braveheart's unit is made up of Type Ones caught up in a deadly mixture of their captain's Royal Guard Brutality, Patriotic Fervor and the belief/fear/paranoia that Luna is becoming Nightmare Moon once again. Despite this status, Luna, Twilight and the others understandably do their utmost to avoid killing them.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: The prose comes off as this.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: A pretty decent chunk of the story focuses on Braveheart and his squad. He even more or less becomes the protagonist from the end of chapter 11 to the end of 13, when he's killed off. Hoof, just take a look at how much the fic's trope articles mention him.
    • To a point were the author apologized for spending so much of the story on them.
  • Standard Royal Court: Celestia wanted one of these. Luna didn't. Celly got her way.
  • Start of Darkness: For Captain Braveheart, witnessing the tragic aftermath of Nightmare Moon's return. Mainly, the foals and other innocents who were killed in the mad stampedes triggered by the masses' fear... and the fact that Princess Luna was never punished after being 'saved' by the elements.
    • Although he was pretty brutal beforehoof, Ajax doesn't truly become a psychotic butcher until after Celestia grants him absolute authority over her armies. Even after he causes the Lunar army to surrender, he still wipes out a griffon village after the peace treaty is signed, leading to Celestia banishing him.
  • Straw Feminist: Storm Cloud's introduction involves her giving Rarity a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for being too stereotypically 'girly'. According to Word of God, this wasn't about sexism at all (an absurdity in patently matriarchal Equestria), but about Screw Destiny and You Can't Fight Fate, as pertains to social roles: Storm is annoyed that Rarity allows herself to be defined by a very narrow understanding of what a "lady" is, while Rarity replies that she's chosen her profession when, at the base, her Cutie Mark only showed that she was good at finding gems, something that's more optimal for a miner than a tailor: Storm, on the other hand, assumed that since her cutie mark represented a weapon she was destined to be in the Guard, and has never looked back since. Basically one subverted her expected gender role while the other subverted her expected profession.
  • Straw Misogynist: Braveheart is openly contempteous towards Luna, describing her as a errant filly who needs a good spanking, and is equally dismissive of Twilight and the other female leads. He downplays their talents and potential threat level, even while gloating about how they're going to be punished for their defiance. When they do mount an effective resistance, he calls them witches and worse. According to Word of God, again, this is merely a matter of Braveheart being an insecure orphan Street Urchin who uses whatever means at his disposition to belittle, insult, and make himself superior to any opposition he's confronting. He's really equal opportunity when it comes to this standard procedure, it's just that he's had to face more females than males so far.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: The Mane Six (sans Twilight) try this on Ajax in chapter 13, after he confronts them in Everfree Forest. He resists every single one of them, most notably Pinkie. She seemingly gets him to start laughing along with her when she tries to throw a party, but it turns out he's laughing AT her, then proceeds to coldly inform her that he considers friendship to be a weakness that distracts from duty and hinders warfare readiness, and prepares to finish her off with his claws. Fluttershy steps in by scolding him and staring him down, but he escapes by tossing her into a tree with his wings, and then attempts to claw Pinkie to death again. Braveheart, having been moved by the five's attempts at diplomacy, finally has to step in with Celestia's sword and challenge him to a duel.
  • Team Dad: Just as his sister AJ tends to serve as Team Mom for the Mane Cast, Big Macintosh shows his talent as a caretaker.
  • The Men First: Captain Braveheart cares more about the security of the young Pegasi under his command than about that of the citizens he's supposed to protect, to the point that he thinks his duty is to preemptively and violently incapacitate any threat before they get the slightest chance of hurting them. His line of thinking is far closer to that of a soldier rather than a law-enforcer.
  • The Quiet One: Big Mac's 'talkativeness' in Chapter 3 is Lampshaded when he lapses into silence and Luna asks why:
    Big Mac: Ah don't talk all that much, only when Ah really need to. In fact, I don't think Ah've talked this much in months, but it ain't everyday that a goddess pops up outta nowhere askin' me fer help an' the sun don't rise.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Ajax kills Braveheart by scorching him with his fire, and then slowly crushing every bone in his body. However, it still takes awhile for him to actually die.
  • Retcon: The reedited version changes a lot. Ex Braveheart and the guards act far more like a professional police force than armed thugs in the original.
  • The Reveal: The final chapter reveals what happened to Celestia: it turns out the entire ordeal was a test she concocted for herself to see if she could hold off from intervening in a disaster scenario, and also if she possessed any of Luna's "hooves off" ideals. She transferred her power into Philomena and allowed the night to last, and she chose this scenario because an even worse version of it happened right after Luna's banishment. In that case an entire year's worth of night occurred, and after the populace began to revolt against her, Celestia was forced to invent the Nightmare Moon persona and focus on battling Morning Star's forces. In the present, Celestia states that her powers were to either transfer back to her after 24 hours, or immediately through Philomena's death. She was tempted to do the latter many times before angrily tossing the phoenix out (leading to her showing up at Zecora's), and finally states that she would have failed her test if Luna and Twilight hadn't showed up.
    • It's also revealed that it took Celestia years to master raising the moon, and that it was done via dark magic. The spell also somehow connected Celestia to Luna, forcing her to experience some of her sister's constant agony in her dreams every night (validating Ajax's claims that Nightmare Moon invaded her dreams, albeit from a certain point of view).
  • Undying Loyalty: The dragon Ajax to Celestia since she hatched and raised him. Twilight's heart goes out to him because he reminds her of Spike. Braveheart to Celestia as well: he was a Street Urchin in the slums of Canterlot before before finding purpose via the military academy and service to the princess. This seems to be a recurring theme with Celestia's pupils and captains, except for Morning Star, who tried to get Celestia and Luna to leave Equestria to the mortal ponies to rule and govern on their own. Whether this was done out of malice or genuine desire to provide ponykind with the chance to chart their own destiny is up to the reader at this point..
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Played with: Braveheart honestly is grateful after Pinkie Pie calms down the rioters, but can't ignore the fact that she's friends with Twilight, and he's already declared that all of her friends are to be arrested on suspicion of being 'traitors' as well. When Pinkie hears about this, she's confused, but tells him she'd rather be arrested and be with her friends than have to deal with a 'meanie' like him.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Prince Blueblood is responsible here for informing Princess Luna precisely how she's been painted in the public eye, out of both idiocy and malice.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Grey Prophet apparently doesn't know that, when a line of dialogue's attribution follows it, you use a comma and not a period in the dialogue proper. He also doesn't like to use commas between narrative text and dialogue when the attribution precedes it. This is a very talky story.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: While Braveheart isn't very good at making first impressions due to his brusque, chauvinistic and cruel behavior, he and his men are still trying to prevent any more riots from breaking out.
    • 2000 years ago, Celestia became a borderline one to prevent the chaos seen during Discord's reign from ever appearing in Equestria again.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Luna does not approve of how Celestia has handled things thus far.
    • And later Celestia gives one to Luna in a flashback, when she finds out Luna, despite hating nobles, has no problem working with them to giving full power when she steps down, knowing full this is only going to make thousands die and suffer for years, but not caring so long as it allows them to leave.
    • Inverted in that Luna knew what the nobles might do, but had realized well ahead of time that the masses would end any oppression they might attempt eventually. This was why she was willing to go along with Morning Star's plan. She knew from the outset that tyrants breed their own defeat. Or at least that's what she was apparently hoping for. The fact that she saw Celestia as both a well intentioned tyrant and a slave to her own interest in being the power behind Equestria probably also went a long way towards convincing her. It's worth noting that Luna points to a number of griffon nations on the planet that have had no divine rulers or protection for...possibly ever, and they do fine. One of those nations she also points out, is a successful democracy. Celestia just plain didn't give a damn about this, however, still insisting that she was right and Luna was wrong. That attitude leads into the events that set off the plot of the story in the first chapter.
      • Played more straight after the story was rewritten. Celestia's real problem (other than the fact she rather enjoys being around mortals) is that Luna plans will result in centuries of oppression and war before any democracy, the fact Luna's being fine with this is "who cares mortals die", didn't convinced her
  • Witch with a Capital B: Applejack's favored insult for Luna. Captain Braveheart also uses this several times, though he's not afraid to use the B-version as well.
  • You Got Spunk: Braveheart says as much to Twilight when she steps up to defend Luna. He also says he looks forward to torturing it out of her.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Luna's support was key to Morning Star's plan to dethrone Celestia. How unwitting she really was is up for debate however, since she seemed to be of the belief that attempts to oppress the general populace would result in the eventual overthrow of the nobles.
    • The final chapter seems to indicate it as a combination of both.


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