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Fanfic / The Shadow Wars

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The Shadow Wars Series is a group of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic stories written by Jordan179, inspired by but not canon with the Pony POV Series of Alex Warlorn. The basic premise is described on Jordan 179's site:

The machinations of the Cosmic Concepts have shaped the history of the Ponies for ten thousand years. But now their mistakes have cracked the Cosmos, and the Shadows seep through to claim our own Universe for their dark and predatory purposes. If they can gain a bridgehead on Equestria's Earth, this will be but the first step in a war of extermination against our continuum, a war which will end in the destruction of all life in our own Universe.
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The core story in the series is Nightmares Are Tragic, about Luna's Return as seen from Luna's own point of view. The story settings are divided into several periods. Some of these are:

  • The Age of Wonders: Four thousand years before Friendship is Magic, the high-technology civilization of the My Little Pony Tales series dominates the world and stands on the brink of expansion into the Universe. The twin daughters of Dr. Sweetie Finemare, physicist Sundreamer and engineer Moondreamer, lead the way into this glorious future, aided by Moondreamer's husband, astronaut Dusk Skyshine, and Dusk's best friend and Special Forces leader Dash Firehooves. But this glorious future is threatened by Discentaur, leader of the evil terrorist organization VIPRA, which wants to rule the world. Will Ponykind claim the planets and stars, or will all perish in a fearful Cataclysm?
    • Trinity: The detonation of the first Pony atom bomb lets three familiar entities into their world.
    • "Sun Atoms": Dr. Sweetie Finemare is taking her foals Sundreamer and Moondreamer on a little car trip.
    • "Thirty Seconds over To-ki-rin": Dusk Skyshine and Dash Firehooves risk their lives in an air battle over a vital target.

  • The Past: After the fall of the Age of Wonders, the Great Cataclysm reshaped not only the world but the Solar System, turning it into a geocentric one in which the heavenly bodies must be manipulated with magic instead of relying upon simple orbital mechanics. The Princesses Celestia and Luna, and their cousin Discord, struggle to shape the future of this strange world of science and sorcery. Can Celestia found a new Realm based on the Powers of Love and Friendship? Can Luna bring back the ancient technology of the Age of Wonders, despite the changes in physical law, and resume the climb upward to the stars? Time runs out, as the cracks in the continuum open, and the Shadows seep down from beyond the stars ...
    • Corruption At Nightfall (incomplete): Prince Crimson Quartz of the Crystal Empire tries to restore his realm's vanished glories, but in the process summons something too dark and terrible for him to handle.
    • MLP Collateral Damage (complete): In YOH 1481, 19 years before the start of the TV show, Falcon Punch tries to carry an important package from Appleloosa to Canterlot; elite Changeling Infiltrator Ceymi is ordered to stop him.

  • The Present: This is the period covered directly in Friendship is Magic. Over a thousand lonely years, Celestia has managed to build Equestria into an Industrial Age Great Power. She assembles the Mane Six as her Champions to deal first with the menace of Nightmare Moon, and then other dangers to Ponykind. For as the emotionally-damaged Luna recovers from her long ordeal, the Shadows insinuate themselves onto the Earth, some attacking directly and others waking ancient evils. Forgotten powers, imprisoned gods and lost races re-emerge, to fight on both sides. Though few yet realize what is really going on, the Shadow Wars have begun, and these initial battles will help decide the fate of not merely Ponykind, but all Earthlife.

  • The Near Future: Around 8 to 24 years after the start of Friendship is Magic, the TV series. The combined efforts of Celestia and Luna are pushing Equestria into the Information and Space Ages, to build the weapons needed to fight off the Shadow onslaught. But the Shadows have not been idle: they have corrupted leaders and empires to serve their ends, and are massing their might on Earth and Moon alike. Equestria must fight wars on many fronts, both within and without, simply to survive long enough to reach and reclaim the Moon for Ponykind. And once they have done this, there comes the final battle — as the Shadow Armada erupts into our Universe, its vile masters lusting for the life with which the Earth teems. Can the Ponies fight off this immense onslaught? What sacrifices will be necessary to preserve a future for the Earth and Ponykind?
    • Love Amongst Monsters: The story of Dr. Ill Wind, a mad scientist who finds not only professional success but also love while engaged in a very evil project.

  • The Future: 25-100 years after the start of Friendship is Magic, the TV series. The Shadows have been defeated and the portals to their world sealed off; the Solar System has been restored to its normal heliocentric state; the Ponies now surge out to the planets and the stars beyond with the help of rocketships and spacetime Gates. The two long-lost Pony Kinds have been reclaimed, and all the species of the Earth now live together in civilized Harmony. In an adjacent alternate Universe, the World Which Was Lost has been restored. The Second Age of Wonders has begun, and everything once again seems possible. Can Princess Luna — with the help of the New Alicorns — lead the Ponies into the glorious age of which she has long dreamed? Or will the strain prove too much for her sanity? It is one thing to win Utopia; it is quite another to live in the world of one's victory. How will our heroes fare?

  • The Far Future: 101+ years after the start of Friendship is Magic. The Shadows are now but a historical memory, fading fast as new generations grow up free from the fears of the past. New cultures develop on hundreds of colony worlds, new political strains appear as the old Earth Defense Federation proves unable to administer the great interstellar empire it has founded. Hatred appears and rebellions flare, with old friends finding themselves on opposite sides of the new fault-lines. And amidst this all, there are disturbing rumors of a dead zone in space, of an old nightmare remanifesting. Will a new Harmony emerge to bind together the dispersed descendants of the Earth, or will the Shadows erupt again to destroy all?
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Tropes specifically or especially applying to this version of Friendship is Magic include:

  • Abusive Precursors: Several, notably
    • The Draconequus, Discord, has historically regarded Ponykind as his toys, and has often played fairly rough with them.
    • The Serpent Folk, particularly their Viprallan offshoots, consider the Earth rightfully theirs and wish to reclaim it by force.
    • Eldren survivors into Pony times have included such entities as the Three Witches, who outright despise and like to harm the Ponies.
  • Advanced Ancient Ponies: The Ponies of the Age of Wonders, some 4000 years ago, had nuclear power and weapons, rocketships, computers and electronics. Their civilization fell in the Cataclysm, and since then the Ponies have been slowly struggling to rise again to their heights. Equestria passes them within 15-20 years of the Return of Luna, owing to the leadership of Celestia, Luna and Twilight, the information gained from Paradise, and the efforts of the whole Equestrian civilization to win a Lensman Arms Race against the Shadows.
  • Alternate Universe: Multiple ones — this is a multiverse under attack from the Shadows. Some of the Alternate Universes include:
    • Charlie Yuniverse: The alternate world in which the Human Charlie Yu came to Equestria.
    • Degradingverse: The alternate world in which Cloud Kicker's demon [[Winning-Through-Degradation defeated the teenaged Pinkie Pie and began consuming the souls of the Element Bearers.
  • Arc Words: "Celly plays a long game." And she wins.
  • Badass Family: The Apples, even more so than in canon. They've been farmer-soldiers since the foundation of Equestria and have always been represented in the Royal Guard — particularly the elements most likely to see combat — in disproportionate numbers. Applejack is a natural fighter and the Bearer of the Element of Honesty, and her relatives include her huge brother Big Mac; her tough old pioneer Granny Smith; former Night Watch explosives and poisons expert Apfel Strudel; and cute, friendly, war veteran Apple Fritter, among many others.
  • Beast and Beauty: From a Pony's POV, the love between Spike (beast) and Rarity (beauty).
  • Black and White Morality: True for most of the fight against the Night Shadows, as little compromise is possible with monsters that want to drain our Universe of life. Later on, however both sides in the Colonial Rebellion have honorable and valid motivations, as they see it.
  • Deus Est Machina: The Paracosmic Paradise, a godlike being whose help proves crucial to win the Shadow Wars, evolved from the Artificial Intelligence built by Starlight, Sundreamer and Moondreamer to control the Great Wish. Its prime directive was to protect Ponykind; when the acausality resulting from Pony wishing threatened to crash its Universe, it repeatedly redesigned itself to gain the degree of intelligence required to fulfill this directive. By the time it succeeded, it had essentially become a new kind of Cosmic Concept.
  • Divine Conflict: Such conflicts, generally between Cosmic Concepts, their Incarnations and/or beings ascending to the status of Cosmic Concepts, have been the drivers of Pony history.
    • Celestia and Luna have repeatedly taken The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry to epic levels of violence, in their current and many previous incarnations — though they love one another and always make up in the end. Luna, a notable Tsundere, is usually the one who starts the actual fighting, though Celestia has been known to provoke her.
    • Discord took his current Incarnation to be with his beloved Celestia, and in his youth as Dissy was also Luna's best friend. When he Awakened to his true nature, his cruel actions made the Sisters his enemy for two and a half millennia — it isn't until YOH 1503 that Celestia starts to forgive him, and it takes longer for Luna to do so.
    • Two great pantheons of Cosmic Concepts, the Alicorns of Nature's Law and the Draconequii of Nature's Fury, have fallen into a cosmic war over the future of Ponykind (among other issues) and this war is providing the Night Shadows the opportunity to invade our Multiverse.
    • The overarching story arc is the war between all our Cosmic Concepts and the Great Shadows who want to invade our Multiverse and drain it of all energy and life.
    • New Cosmic Concepts arise to fight on either side: these include
      • The Paradise Entity, who emerges from the computer control system that governed the Great Wish in the World That Was Lost. It and its world are first destroyed by the Cosmic Concepts to prevent the continuum from crashing, but it manages to save a copy of itself and its world, and wants to make peace with the Cosmics, defend our continuum from the Night Shadows, and restore its world.
      • Over the millennia, Tirek the Annihilator has accumulated power and knowledge to the point where what was once merely a Viprallan War Lord has become a semi-divine immortal monster who can consume magic and go toe-to-toe with the most powerful Immortal Avatars on the planet.
      • Kifuko, a half-Zebra half-Changeling, had such a lust to consume the essence of others that she bargained with Nyarlathotep for the power to become Hunger. She first reveals herself to Equestria as Queen Chrysalis, and under the right circumstances is even stronger than Celestia.
      • Celestia has been deliberately encouraging the birth of new Alicorns: the Mane Six and others such as Sunset Shimmer and Trixie are consequences of this Long Game. Her most immediate motive was to provide Element Bearers to rescue Luna from the Nightmare; her longer-term goal to raise allies against the evil forces she has sensed are breaking through against Equestria's Earth; her longest-term goal is to raise up the Ponies to be among the Great New Ones of the Univers, because she believes Ponies Are Special.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Inevitable whatever happens — the Ponies will grow up as a race, develop an advanced technology and take their place in their Universe, or the Shadows will devour that Universe. Either way, the old Magical Land of Equestria will become a thing of the past.
  • Eternal Love: Almost to be expected, with so many semi-divine or very long-lived characters and the romantic tone of the whole series. Most notably
    • Princess Luna and Princess Twilight (who go through a Courtly Love phase lasting for many years),
    • Rarity (who becomes the Alicorn Princess Libera) and Spike the Dragon.
    • Fluttershy (who becomes the Alicorn Princess Gaia) and Discord.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: The young and lonely Cloud Kicker summons the demon Winning-Through-Degradation, hoping to gain the ability to make friends. Instead, she becomes an insane nymphomaniac host for a sapient Shadowverse equivalent of a Sexually-Transmitted Disease.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Not uncommon in this universe.
    • Discord does this twice, once when he is befriended by Fluttershy, and the second time when he admits to himself that his love for her is stronger than his desire to get revenge or dominate the world.
    • Luna does this when she is freed from the Nightmare by Twilight Sparkle and the Element Bearers and again when she decides to save Ponykind from the returning Night Shadows rather than seek revenge on the Rebels for overthrowing her rule.
  • Heel–Race Turn: All Earth must unite against the Night Shadows. That leads to severel of these.
    • The Reconciliation of the Changelings, resulting in their incorporation into Equestria and their crucially-important aid in the form of Workers to build the advanced technologies downloaded from the Paradise Entity — vital in winning the Lensman Arms Race against the Night Shadows.
  • Humans Are Warriors: The Megan, the great heroine who saved Ponykind and brought about the Time of Salvation, was an adolescent Human girl. Since then the Ponies have become tougher, but it was The Megan who first taught them how to fight.
  • Past-Life Memories: Several character relationships hinge on this:
    • Most notably, it's why Princess Luna falls in love with Twilight Sparkle; Twilight was Luna's beloved ''husband'' Dusk Skyshine during Luna's incarnation as Moondreamer.
    • Twilight's Odd Friendship with Rainbow Dash stems from the same source: back when Twilight was Dusk Skyshine, Rainbow was Dusk's best friend Dash Firehooves.
    • Pinkie Pie instantly recognizes Twilight Sparkle as a reincarnation of her best friend Minty from the World That Was Not. (Pinkie, due to her origins and relationship with The Paradise Entity, has semi-conscious access to many of her past-life memories).
    • A particularly nasty version of this happens to Dissy, the kind, sweet son of Shady, when he is claimed and consumed by the ''true'' incarnation of his Cosmic Self — who is ''far'' less nice, and prefers to be called ''Discord''.
  • Precursors: Several on the Earth
    • The Cosmics, who are this for organic life in the Universe in general, and who are represented on Earth by Celestia, Luna, Cadance and Discord.
    • The Serpent Folk, who originally created the Great G'marr and whose Viprallan descendants are enemies of Ponykind.
    • The Great G'marr, ursoid master bio-engineers who first Uplifted the Ponies to sapience from Equus equus stock.
    • The Eldren, humanoid mages who created the Earth Ponies, Unicorns, Pegasi, Flutter-Ponies and Sea Ponies from the basic Pony stock.
  • Science Fantasy: This is a world in which gods and magic are both very real. It is also a world in which the long-term story arc is about the Ponies attaining the stars and transcending the limits of their flesh, both of these objectives being attained through both magic and machinery. What's more, two of the major heroines — Luna and Twilight — are mistresses of both science and sorcery.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Standard Sci-Fi History: This is Celestia and Luna's goal for the Earth, and what Earth (led by Equestria) achieves under the lash of the Shadow menace. Earth expands outwards toward the stars, establishes an interstellar civilization which faces rebellions and then re-forms into a more stable and advanced polity.
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