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     Last Train From Oblivion 
First Published: Aug. 03rd 2014

  • Alternate History: Another thing that went differently in TCB!Equestria is that following the Changelings' failed invasion of Canterlot, the Royal Guards went out and purged every hive they could find.
  • Anyone Can Die: Much more pronounced here than in the other stories, especially since the protagonists aren't exactly larger-than-life action heroes like Marcus, Stephan or the Dragons of the East members.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: According to "Lost in Dispatches II", every captured HLF insurgent goes completely silent when they're asked how they plan to stop The Barrier without magic.
  • Author Appeal: Trains are a subject of no small interest to the author.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: PER member Rio Deneter willingly lets herself be ponified because she legitimately thought ponification would be the answer to all of her life's problems and it would take the pain of her Dark and Troubled Past away. She is utterly dismayed (to put it lightly) to find out that even though she willingly joined them, the Solar Empire only cares enough for how she can benefit their xenocidal cause.
    Spell Configuration Daemon (speaking with Twilight Sparkle's voice): "We don't need your soul. Just the bits of it that are useful to us. Besides, this is what you wanted, deep down. Freedom from your past."
  • Big Brother Is Watching: The Baltimare segment of "A Tale of Three Cities" shows that TCB!Celestia uses "totem-proles" to simultaneously broadcast to and monitor the Equestrian population, not unlike telescreens.
  • Black and Gray Morality: Though it's a hell of a lot darker than most Spectrum-verse stories.
  • Break the Haughty: Failing a Sonic Rainboom, being put in the presence of what's implied to be the sentient embodiments of the TCB!Elements of Harmony (as in, the actual Elements such as Laughter and Generosity, etc, not the Bearers), then catapulted into an unfamiliar world, wings nearly destroyed from the pain? It has not been a good day to be Lightning Dust.
    • This also goes for Verity Carter, who was ponified while somehow retaining her personality and free will. Unfortunately, she was also a member of one of the top HLF units, and as a result, they're all gunning for her, even when she asked for shelter.
  • The Cloud Cuckoo Lander Was Right: HLF member John Birch claims to have seen ponies kidnapping people before Equestria manifested on Earth. He may or may not have actually seen this happen, but seeing as this canonically did happen, he's still correct.
  • Cool Train: The CPX-9782.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: Many in "Bloodstained Sketches of a Small Town". It mentions several HLF units, such as the Swiss 'Glanzon's Gluemakers', the Russian 'Oborots', the Serpents, the Heidelberg Brigade, Old Skinner's assortment of units, and someone named Kagan Burakgazi that's apparently almost as bad as Kraber and defected around the same time...
  • Darker and Edgier: The main story wasn't exactly sunshine and rainbows, but when you have comparatively normal human protagonists, newfoal "flesh pits" and newborn babies being ponified on-page, you get one of the bleakest side stories yet.
  • A Day in the Limelight: We get to see TCB!Cheese Sandwich and Coco Pommel on duty for the Equestrian Resistance in "The Double Hook".
  • Defector from Decadence: Apparently, this happens very often among HLF members. Reasons usually range from either growing disillusioned with the group's extremist methods, guilt, or just realizing that the HLF is incredibly ineffectual when compared to the PHL.
    • The Equestrian Resistance (aka the New Lunar Republic) is a decidedly patriotic version of this - ponies who recognize Equestria's descent into madness and wish to save it from the Tyrant's control.
  • Diesel Punk
  • Equivalent Exchange: For some reason, to be transported to Prime!Equestria, Marcus needed to be exchanged with Prime!Lightning Dust.
  • Expy: "Iron" Kreme-Brulee is one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, one of the world's largest ships.
    • One of his companions is a "Mr. Isneigh," which is presumably a pun on J. Bruce Ismay, a prominent passenger on The Titanic.
  • Fantastic Racism: Tess Jones might dislike the HLF and their methods, but the sheer amount of atrocities she's seen committed by the ponies hasn't made her well-inclined towards the PHL either.
    • Boomerang Bigot: Verity Carter is a Newfoal that used to be an HLF member, and has kept her original personality.
  • Fearless Fool: Implied with this quote from Lightning Dust:
    Not quite fear, as that was the kind of emotion she associated with being a daredevil pony and soon-to-be Wonderbolt; fear was something to overcome and destroy.
    No, this was the pain of slowly eroding confidence. Slow, rather slight, but noticeable. And when she lost that core of herself, well she'd not be Lightning Dust any more, just a useless frightened filly.
  • Fictional Document: Continuing from Calm Before The Storm's example. But it also has an entire chapter full of in-universe quotes.
  • Gender Bender: John Birch ends up ponified and turns into a mare after a particularly painful Groin Attack.
    • First Law Of Genderbending: Subverted tragically in one character's backstory. Turns out that Verity's mother Jazmin was a transwoman who took the potion to cure her Alzheimer's Disease. It only recognized her biological sex, and her newfoal form ended up being that of a stallion, and every bit as brainwashed as any other newfoal.
  • Hope Spot: Readers get treated to a flashback in Baltimare shortly after the end of the Crystal War. Ponies are celebrating, Celestia is still a princess, and Sweetie Belle and Babs Seed have been invited by Fancy Pants to attend the unveiling of the Great Equestrian airship, which is to introduce a new era of harmony and progress – then the crystal statue at the heart of the ship representing Equus's races joined in friendship (which, like all Equestrian crystals, is magically connected to its namesake country) explodes, killing and injuring several passengers. This is immediately followed by Celestia announcing that she has taken the Crystal Throne, her revealing Earth's existence to the nation, and stating her intention to "spread harmony" to this new world.
    • Day of the Jackboot: The zebra ambassador declares that Celestia is acting in violation of the Concordia Maxima by not consulting the other species of Equus on the matter of First Contact, while Sweetie, Babs, Fancy and Luna are horrified by the sudden death around them. Sadly, they are voices lost in the ocean of crowds of ponies in the streets below them that are cheering for what amounts to the birth of the Solar Empire.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Lightning Dust is downright disturbed at some of humanity's accomplishments.
    • In something of an inversion, she's also unaware that Earth does not in actuality have weather teams, causing the presence of a hurricane to make her incredibly angry and call the local weather team idiots.
  • Industrialized Evil: The totem-proles use the powers and bodies of crystal ponies as raw materials.
  • Internal Reformist: What Redd Flamel hoped to be, honestly believing he could change the HLF into something better than the PHL by bringing organization to its chaos. He gets ponified before he even gets the chance.
  • Just Before the End: While most Spectrum stories have this in their tone, Last Train deserves special mention for how much it emphasizes this. More specifically, it takes place one week before Marcus is sent to Prime!Equestria, right when the Barrier is close to touching America, which would mean humanity's defeat is very likely unless a miracle happens.
  • Made a Slave/Sex Slave/Sex Bot: PER member Rio Deneter willingly lets herself be ponified, and is programmed (read: mind raped) into becoming the fuck toy of a barrack of Royal Guards to "keep their morale up". What makes this especially horrifying is the fact that she states she was raped at some point in her past, which made her hesitant to have sex again. Ironically (and just as horrifying), it also gives her the ability and inclination to mind-control victims so she can literally rape them.
  • Mind Rape: The story shows ponification... from the perspective of one being ponified. It's incredibly unpleasant.
  • Oh My Gods!: Rather disturbingly, some ponies (but mostly Firelock) swear by Lyra's name.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Verity Carter. Though given how the PHL stated she's not actually a newfoal, there is some question as to how much of a rebel she truly is...
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Lightning Dust has a particularly bizarre dream sequence featuring her randomly inhabiting the bodies of other characters in the fic, such as TCB!Cheese Sandwich, TCB!Maud Pie, and a PER member.
  • Psycho for Hire: The HLF has more than a few of these around.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: The Famas F1's various mechanical problems are depicted accurately here.
  • Shown Their Work: Lightning Dust's flight along the New England coast can be accurately traced in GoogleMaps.
    • And all the locations shown in the fic are accurate.
  • Sinister Surveillance: The totem proles, naturally.
  • Take That!
    • John Birch is one to the John Birch Society, and Colonel Atlas Dagney Galt is one to Atlas Shrugged.
      • In fact, Galt is one to objectivism in general. Neither Fluffy nor TB3 have nice things to say about Ayn Rand's philosophy.
    • An In-Universe example - The Great Equestrian was made as one to Princess Celestia, and the beginnings of TCB!Equestria. It backfired. Violently.
    • As Kizuna Tallis pointed out, the fact that the ponification serum only recognizes the biological sex of the human convert (meaning a transman would get turned into a mare and a transwoman into a stallion) can be read as a take that against Chatoyance, herself a transwoman who has occasionally expressed Otherkin tendencies.
      • Making this funnier or more disturbing, the transwoman that this is demonstrated on was named Jason when she was male... which is widely believed to be Chatoyance's birth name. Word of TB3 states that it was all coincidental, but Vox, Fluffy, and Kizuna agree that it's funny nevertheless.
  • Temporal Paradox: Prime!Lightning was sent back in time, and she's going to die.
  • To the Pain: Mercy's speech to Lightning Dust, describing what exactly will happen if the wrong people find her:
    Mercy: "I'm going to stop you right there. There are men and stallions, mares and women out there, who would work you over for hours as you begged for mercy that would never come... Then, if they didn't believe you, they'd hand you over to people you don't want to think about. And those are the ones that don't hate ponies. If the HLF get their hands on you, you're doomed and you will die alone, grounded, and crippled. Right now, I'm urging you to dye your mane and hide away somewhere, put the name 'Lightning Dust' behind you, and just try to ride out this blood storm without getting it on your hooves. Go to the Pacific, I don't care, just do yourself a favor get as far away from all of this as you possibly can."
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Firelock, an incredibly irritable filly that works as a Child Soldier displays many traits of this.
    • There's also Maddy, a ten-year-old member of the PER who actually looked forward to being ponified. That line of thinking gets dashed pretty quickly, and even then, it's only because she felt she "wasn't ready." She also objects to Tess giving Jean-Eric a Mercy Kill to prevent his ponification, treating it like the former's Moral Event Horizon (but again, she gets called out on this).
  • War Refugees: Again, deserves special mention.
  • Was Once a Man: Verity Carter. She's supposedly a sentient newfoal, yet some hints dropped in the story (and various Unreveals in Calm and Light) point to a completely different origin.

     The Light Despondent 
First Published: Nov. 02nd 2014

  • Author Appeal/Rule of Cool: The reason steam locomotives appear so often. And dogs. And also guns. And references to Biting Elbows.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Kraber, and the HLF in general.
  • Animorphism: Besides general acts of ponification, it's mentioned that while there are natural born bat-ponies, most of Luna's Night Guards were other breeds placed under an enchantment that turned them into bat-ponies. The justification in-story being that Night Guards are rare enough, so it'd probably be hard to have an entire corps of natural-born Night Guard.
    • Gender Bender: One Night Guard, Lunar Phase, is a stallion who requested that his bat-pony form be female. It's apparently a stop-gap solution to being transsexual, as s/he still has to undo the transformation periodically lest s/he "burn out."
  • Bilingual Bonus: The title of chapter 2, 'Bosbefok', is Afrikaans slang for PTSD. It's fitting, to say the least.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Kraber's hallucination, Victory. Frequently.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece/Steam Never Dies: In response to high fuel costs, steam engines are used more.
  • Breather Episode: Seems to be in the middle of this as of chapter 13.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Much of the second arc seems to be Kraber rediscovering how to be one. Apparently, It Runs in the Family, as Kraber claims his father would put him and his siblings through training that Rivet and Verity consider to be borderline-abusive. However, his father would also take them out for milkshakes after said training.
  • Call-Forward: Kraber professes a desire to shoot Celestia with an anti-materiel rifle, particularly a 20mm one. Aegis suggests he tone it down to a .50 caliber, but judging by Kraber's wishes for a 20mm in Trust in the main story, he never quite gets over this.
    • Lunar Phase mentions that 'Diamond' Mint Jewelup is probably going to have something really terrible happen to her in Equestria Forward Operations. (Last Train)
    • "Have you seen my Heliotrope?"
  • Cheerful Child: Dancing Day.
  • Christmas Episode: Technically, the whole story so far, with the exception of the Distant Prologue. It's revealed in chapter 3 that Kraber's been telling the whole story on Christmas Eve... only for him to get beat up by Verity, and resume the story in the same hospital room as her on Christmas Day. Funnily enough, it's actually the same Christmas episode as The King's Speech, as the characters end up hearing King William's speech at the end.
  • Continuity Nod: The Thenardier Guards appear in chapter 3. Also, after her ponification, Verity's suffering a mental breakdown in the brig.
    • Button Mash is alluded to in Chapter 3, and implied to have resurrected the song Sunset City from Sunset Overdrive as an anthem of resistance.
    • Also in Chapter 3, the characters, such as Dancing Day, Vinyl Scratch, Kraber, Aegis, and others end up listening to the King's Speech from Jed R's same fanfic. Kraber and Aegis are also mentioned as having met the characters of that fic.
  • Cool Train: Train 501, a refugee train driven by a 2-8-0 steam locomotive.
  • Cowardly Lion: Nny. Stutters in fear when PER are holding him at gun-and-potionpoint... then makes good on his stuttering, terrified threat to smash a man's balls into a bloody paste. With a shotgun.
  • Creator Provincialism: According to Doctor Fluffy, who claims to have been to most of the places in the story. It really shows.
  • Crossover: Kraber manages to view the world through his Avatar of Albion counterpart at the end of "Philistine".
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: ...Many.
    • The various tortures visited on ponies, PER and PHL alike...
    • Combining an Unrealistic Black Hole grenade with a Helicopter Blender...
    • Kraber kneecapping people and beating them to bloody pulps...
    • Killing people and ponies with a Groin Attack...
    • Apparently, Nny killed a man by grinding him to bits with a steam locomotive.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: The subject of the interviews, which have raised a few mysteries in-story:
    • Why are so many of them so focused on totem-proles?
    • Who is the New Researcher?
    • Who - or what - is Gestalt?
  • Darker and Edgier: It's neck-in-neck with Last Train from Oblivion for the darkest story in the setting yet. It comes with the package given that the protagonist is the Ax-Crazy Token Evil Teammate from the main story, and the first few chapters were set before his Heel–Face Turn, where he indulged in Cold-Blooded Torture and enjoyed it, participated in multiple terrorist attacks against the nominal heroic faction, and even killed some foals (who had already been crippled by the PER, by the way).
  • Dark Reprise: TCB!Pinkie apparently sang her "Smile Smile Smile" song when she ponified the birthday guests.
  • Distant Prologue: Inverted - it starts a significant amount of time after the story starts, on a stolen steam locomotive in White River Junction.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: When Kraber takes off his shirt to use it as an improvised tourniquet, apparently Fiddlesticks is... distracted... by the view.
  • Dying as Yourself: In her last moments, Reaper, a prototypical Pretty Private, has her former human identity resurface. She uses her last breaths to admit she was wrong about ponification and begs Viktor to kill her while her soul is still mostly intact. It's unclear if Viktor is hallucinating, though another pony, Caduceus, was there to witness it, but we don't know what she thought of it.
  • Fictional Document: There are several pieces of in-universe interview quotes, excerpts from books and other pieces of the news pertaining to the situation. In particular, the HLF.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Numerous segments take place in the HLF settlement/shantytown called Defiance in the summer of 2022. Anyone remembering Case Files probably knows what the fate of the town will be. Oh, and Kraber has to live through it all.
  • Foreshadowing: Kraber often comments on future events of the fic - namely, ending up at rock bottom 3 times in four weeks. It hasn't been revealed just how this happens yet. At least one of them appears to be ending up alone in the middle of North Conway.
  • From Bad to Worse: It's already been made clear that humanity is having trouble feeding itself. But making matters worse, it's revealed that the main story currently takes place during the winter, and humanity's capacity to grow food in the face of the apocalypse is only getting worse. And nobody wants to think about what happens the winter after that...
  • Gaia's Lament: According to reports from PHL scouts, higher primates besides humans and certain whale and dolphin species are also killed on contact with the barrier. Other animals do survive but seem to react poorly to contact with the magic, and as mentioned in Calm Before the Storm, the TCB!Equestrian colonizers are committing mass extermination campaigns against predatory wildlife in the places overtaken by the barrier.
  • Groin Attack: Three, in rapid succession during "It's Another Day."
  • Gun Porn: A lot of detail is given to the various firearms in-story, fictional or not.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Kraber apparently always wanted to say "Avast! I be Kapitan Kraber!"
  • Idiosyncratic Chapter Naming: Each chapter, with the exception of "My Self-Defense Catastrophe" is named after a song. Most of them have been by Biting Elbows, a band that Fluffy likes. Word of Fluffy is that almost every Biting Elbows song can summarize Kraber's life and experiences.
  • I'm Having Soul Pains: People who avoided ponification through amputating their potioned limbs are still occasionally hit with strange and disturbing feelings and echoes of the potion's magic. Considering that the potion literally shatters the soul of its victims and binds it in chains to the Tyrant's will if allowed to do its work, this makes a lot of sense.
  • I Have No Son!: Michael Carter disowns Verity upon seeing her ponified form. Kraber was not pleased.
  • Irony: During a flashback to his college years, a younger Kraber is rather contemptuous of American gun culture (that said, a later retcon mentions him as having grown up with guns) and disgusted on how gun companies profit from paranoia. If only he knew...
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Kraber himself cracks a joke about his own ubiquity in the fanfic series, and Aegis being Out of Focus:
    Kraber: "Remember what you said about me hogging all the screen time... on interviews?"
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Impressively enough, considering that it's already part of the large Spectrum universe.
  • Mythology Gag: Apparently, Vinyl Scratch actually does have a dubstep dishwasher.
  • New Old West: Appears to be heading this way, judging by the mentions of bounty hunters in chapter 2, combined with the general vibe of the Dancing Bear pub. And of course, steam locomotives.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer: According to Kraber, the name of Sweet JP, the protagonist of Redline, is 'James Punkhead'. He wasn't kidding.
  • Obligatory War-Crime Scene/Kick the Dog: Chapter 2 is dedicated to this, showing both a highly illegal HLF checkpoint, and the HLF (and, prominently, Kraber) killing a family of PHL ponies that they rescued from the PER.
  • Pun: Kraber refers to getting 'bloutrein' on a train that's mostly red. It's worth pointing out that 'bloutrein' means drunk.
  • Reality Is Out to Lunch: When Kraber dreams, or starts hallucinating, things get... weird.
  • Sanity Slippage: Kraber gets increasingly unhinged over the course of the first eight chapters. Of course, he gets better, as far as we know, but that doesn't make it any less disturbing.
  • Scenery Porn: The bulk of chapter two is dedicated to this, culminating in an actual photo of Lake Umbagog that Doctor Fluffy himself took on a kayak trip in the area.
  • Shown Their Work: Though much of it is simple Creator Provincialism, the setting is very accurate. And, as per TB3's work, so are the various locomotives such as the 501.
  • Spontaneous Choreography: Averted. Kraber, Vinyl Scratch, and Aegis break out into singing the song Sunset City... and promptly forget the lyrics midway through, atypically for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
  • Stealth Pun: In the quotes page for Part 2, Twilight analyzes one proto-pretty-private named Reaper, then promptly rejects it. She's dismissing claims of Reapers.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Kraber gets several in chapters 8 and 9 for his violence, overall insanity, and Fantastic Racism, enough that quoting all of them would be pointless. One of them is actually done in song - 'Philistine' from No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is one for Kraber's vengeful nature.
  • Take That!
    • Besides the obvious, Clive Mudget is probably one to infamous anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy.
    • And another one to the American open carry movement, with Kraber referring to them as kontgesigs.
    • And another one to Seraph weapons from Borderlands2, with Johnny C claiming they were shite.
  • Rock Bottom: Kraber regards his current state (almost penniless, homeless, no friends) as this early in Chapter 10. That said, he gets over it by the end, realizing that he's now mostly free to do what he wants without the HLF.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Scootaloo regards Kraber's plan to visit Littleton's synagogue (which isn't far from the PHL in White River Junction) as this. For that matter, so does he. In Kraber's defense, he doesn't seem to have planned to stay there for awhile, he didn't know of any synagogues, and it was the easiest.
  • Villain Episode: Focuses on the HLF.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Lovikov promises that Kraber will die for the crime of letting ponies live at the checkpoint. Of course, Kraber's going to live through it.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Kraber finds that the PER had taken a family of PHL-affiliated ponies prisoner and subjected them to Cold-Blooded Torture and since this is his HLF days, he shoots them to death, laughing all the while. Though it's merciful compared to what he does to their father.
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     Joy To The Worlds 
First Published: Dec. 25th 2014

  • A Day in the Limelight: For Sint Erklass.
  • After the End: Takes place just after the extermination of the reindeer.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As seen at the top of this very tropes page, the author's notes describe the Spectrumverse as filled with "genocide, madness, infanticide, fanaticism and pop-cultural references".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The bad news is that Sint perishes at the end, and the reindeer almost completely exterminated. The good news is that Elsa survives (although being a piece of cloth, she can't do much unless she possesses a host), as well as the siblings Eadmund and Lucie. The story ends after he blesses the two with his powers and sends them off to Earth to aid humanity, finally passing away.
  • Christmas Episode: Well, a Hearthswarming Episode, technically. And a far darker and sadder example than others.
  • Continuity Nod: Frost Wind, the little colt that finds himself missing the Reindeer on Hearthswarming Eve, knows Aquamarine Glimmer and Comet Tail from the Asia Side Story, and is the cousin of Stellar Wind from Adrift.
  • Culture Chop Suey/Crystal Dragon Jesus: Hearthswarming incorporates elements of both Christmas and Hanukkah.
  • Defiant to the End/Last Stand: Sint Erklass refuses to go down without a fight.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Weaver successfully kills the oldest living being in Equestria.
  • Foregone Conclusion: TCB!Sint Erklass was mentioned to have been killed in the main story, while the reindeer were exterminated.
  • Genocide Backfire: Despite their efforts, the Solar Empire didn't totally exterminate all of the reindeer, and it's clear that the survivors will make them pay for what they did.
  • Last of Their Kind: For the reindeer of TCB!Equus, there's Elsa (whose soul is bound to a cloak), and two orphaned siblings named Eadmund and Lucie.
  • The Magic Goes Away: What Frost Wind feels about Hearthswarming without the reindeer.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong: Weaver, Sint's assassin, tells him she doesn't like what she is ordered to do, but will carry out her Queen's will.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Inverted. TCB!Elsa decides to stay with her dying grandfather rather than be worn by one of the two orphans.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: Frost Wind's older brother Winter Truce promised that he would be back by Hearthswarming. As he serves in the Royal Guard and going by their mother's evasive reluctance to talk about it, it's more likely than not that he was killed in action.

     Snowbound 
First Published:' February 05th, 2016''
  • Absent-Minded Professor: Kgalakgadi.
  • Alaska: The setting of the story. Word of Fluffy is that it was inspired by the long list of abandoned things one can find out there - be it abandoned trains, abandoned military installations, or wolf puppies.
  • Body Horror: Johnny C claims to have seen a man's artificial hip exploding out of his body as he was being ponified.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Johnny C, to the point of forgetting to wear a winter coat when getting out of an airplane.
  • Cool Train: The 501, a large 2-8-0 steam locomotive made for hauling cargo that debuted in Light Despondent, returns!
  • Creator Provincialism: Yes and no. While New Hampshire, and the author's family farm show up, it's very much not the focus of the story.
  • Description Cut: Henri Bartholomeaux explains how sensitive the information in his decoy briefcase is, and how it's probably safe. Cut to a PER spy screaming about something in their eyes.
  • Hand Cannon: Johnny C carries a revolver so massive it's described as "almost the length of his forearm" and he holsters it on his back.
  • In Medias Res: Combines with Distant Prologue - the story starts sometime before the Distant Prologue to Light Despondent, flashes back to pre-war, then settles in early 2022 of January.
  • Noodle Incident: Kraber claims, in the Distant Prologue, to have died before, claiming that "it hurt".
    • The story itself is an explanation of one - it was alluded to as early as March of 2015, with a mention of Johnny C, Fiddlesticks, and several others having recovered a totem-prole from Alaska. The specifics were vague, but Fluffy physically couldn't keep himself from writing it.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The incredibly irritable characters we see introduced early in the story? They end up being sent to investigate the mysterious signal found up north.
  • Rescue Romance: Suggested to be between Johnny C and Fiddlesticks, as the former shot HLF attempting to kill Fiddlesticks on the grounds of his family apple farm.
  • Shown Their Work: Fluffy did a lot of research on Alaska for the story.
  • True Companions: Johnny C and Fiddlesticks.
  • World of Snark: Everyone has a witty comment in response to everyone.

     A Sun in Winter 
First Published: Dec. 27th 2016

  • Action Prologue: The prologue takes place from the viewpoint of Lilja, a doe mage tasked with retrieving the infant alicorns Celestia and Luna.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Expands greatly on Celestia and Luna's past as Elsa's charge.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Anna Erklass, especially since the previous two Christmas Episodes focused on her sister and her grandfather.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted; Anna strongly mistrusts ponykind, and initially begs Sint to send Celestia and Luna away from Adlaborn.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The prologue feels more like a conventional epic fantasy, before the story switches over to Anna, taking a more Slice of Life tone.
  • Big Bad: The Krampus, a genderless, satanic entity imprisoned by Sint Erklass, and the figure behind the intensifying predatory attacks.
  • Christmas Special: The third one.
  • Distant Prologue: An extended one for Joy to the Worlds and the whole of Spectrum, taking place in the distant past.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Two, in fact - Anna and Elsa Erklass.
  • Fantastic Racism: Ponykind's conflicts have painted a less than stellar image for them - but the birth of Celestia and Luna throws any prejudices out the window for Sint Erklass.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Though the story takes place before things get rolling, a few things stand out, namely that Anna will become Elsa's first host after she was cursed, and the genocide is still yet to come.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Adlaborn, and its main city Vologda.
  • Lighter and Softer: The most lighthearted story in the entire Spectrumverse - contrast The Light Despondent and Last Train.
  • Predators Are Mean: The Krampus' underlings are shown to consist of predatory animals, such as wolves and polar bears. Even the demonic Windigos are implied to consume flesh as well.
  • Properly Paranoid: Anna is terrified of the possibility that outside forces will come for her homeland, with the foals inside. Given that Lilja was nearly killed in her mission, she may be right.
  • Screw Destiny: Sint Erklass denounces the idea that Celestia and Luna shouldn't be taught how to lead, in direct contrast with The Scribe's plans.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Krampus is imprisoned in a magically reinforced snowglobe, with enchanted snow keeping him from breaking free.
  • Something Completely Different: A... fairly lighthearted fantasy tale in the past, compared to the main story's contemporary tones.
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