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The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:10 pm

(suck text wall, hinds!)

Sunbeam didn't want status for its own sake, but she wanted power. It was her intention to craft a powerful empire that would last millennia. What Shadow did, she did for Celestia, so that her commander could be safe and secure in her rule. What Sunbeam did, she did for the empire, so that it could be safe and secure.

Sunbeam wanted power, as Celestia somewhat grasped, in order to use it. Celestia seemed not to grasp the purpose of the power, though. The way she scoffed at Sunbeam, I felt like she thought Sunbeam just liked being able to do anything she wanted. Sunbeam, however, specifically stated it was to be capable of answering to their enemies and, essentially, to be able to benefit the empire. She sought out power to be effective in her role, not for her own sake, but for future Equestria's (in accordance with what she felt Equestria needed, of course).
The three empires were tenuous and unstable, completely impossible to confuse with the one empire she thought they needed to be. Her goal was always to reform the governments under the unicorn empire, and the only way to do that was to spark a revolution. Sunbeam never thought the pegasi would just give up their self-governance and I can't imagine she felt any differently about the earth ponies.
I saw nothing in her constantly antagonizing, disrespectful demeanor that ever suggested she wasn't attempting to pick a fight with the pegasi at EVERY possible opportunity. She is intelligent-enough to ensure she knew her enemy before picking a fight, and any research into pegasi culture, traditions and mindset would have told her exactly how to pick such a fight. They are aggressive and stuck in their ways. The only way to foster change in them was from within. It was always more than like that, if push came to shove and she got Celestia to put her hoof down, Celestia would be removed from her position as commander. The resulting situation, in which Celestia was no longer even commander of the pegasi, could never have resulted in the pegasi abandoning their old ways. They would be all the more stubborn, if anything, and now feel threatened with the possibility of no longer being guaranteed support by the earth ponies. With no monetary system to fall back on in order to be able to trade with the earth ponies, they would have to essentially "exploit" them, continuing to defend their empire while taking what they needed from the earth ponies (but now without their allowance to purchase the food and goods legitimately with).
Which would lead to unrest, which would lead to war... just less quickly than Shadow's actions brought about.

While Shadow's complete lack of any serious attempt to forestall war and her added defection to Celestia's side before the war even began certainly didn't do anything to stop the war that was coming, it was Sunbeam's actions that brought the war to pass. Entirely hers, since her absence in this story would have resulted in no lunar rebellion whatsoever. This war WAS Sunbeams.
Shadow just utilized it and replaced Sunbeam's position as grand vizier (well, her actual title appears to have been "grand protector", but she still essentially replaced the position).
The only condolence is that Sunbeam could be confident that her plan worked out, pretty much. The empires WERE broken and the grand empire of all ponies DID rise. She just no longer had any part in it.
...which was less than optimal, but certainly not terrible. After all, she still got what she wanted.

...all of this assuming that the Solar Empress story operated under the assumption that Sunbeam hadn't gotten kicked out by Celestia (IE, that was the point of divergence, Sunbeam no longer having her position within the government). If it turned out Sunbeam HAD gotten kicked out, then somehow made it back into Celestia's good graces during the war to the point where Sunbeam became grand vizier once more, then perhaps Sunbeam eventually ended up with everything she wanted.

Actually, I can easily see Sunbeam getting back into Celestia's good graces. Sunbeam is just too effective and, in the end, competency is more important than morality, in Celestia's eyes. She would not "forgive" Sunbeam, but she would likely fall back on her if Sunbeam's replacement for top magi was less effective.

Celestia clearly has the extremely bad habit of electing people simply due to familiarity rather than following any kind of formal process. Rather than trying to find a suitable replacement should that new top magi either be less effective at this kind of wetwork in such a dynamic political environment, let alone if the new top magi simply got killed due to the war or other "mysterious circumstances", I would actually expect Celestia to re-elect Sunbeam "temporarily" for the duration of the war.

Anyway, I only kinda-sorta agree with your assertion regarding that theoretical command to kill half the population of Equestria. Shadow, feeling she knew better than Celestia, would try to get her help her while appearing to go through the motions of having half the populous killed. Sunbeam, however, would directly attempt to remove the mad princess ASAP.
A better comparison would be if somehow it was known to Shadow and Sunbeam that either Celestia or Equestria would have to fall. A kind of prophesy, I suppose, stating that one or the other would die.
Shadow would damn Equestria (secretly, probably blaming it on someone else) to ensure Celestia's survival and continued closeness to her. Sunbeam would topple the princess without a second thought. One pony, no matter how great, is nothing compared to the empire, in her eyes.

Oh and, additionally, I've no doubt Sunbeam already has plans for how to remove Celestia if there was need. Unlike the plans in her office that Gale was able to steal, however, the only copy of THOSE plans is probably kept tucked-away in the relative safety of her mind.

I strongly feel BOTH Shadow and Sunbeam wanted a war to break the nations and reform them into a new empire, they just were NOT working together. At most, they were working in parallel, with Sunbeam's efforts starting the process and Shadow's ending them after successfully having Sunbeam usurped.

Oh, and I'm willing to bet Shadow knew that Sunbeam worked only to reform Equestria, caring nothing for the pony that was at its head. It's for this reason that Shadow worked so hard to remove Sunbeam NOT for any moral reasons, but because she was never concerned with what was best for Celestia. Shadow probably expected that Sunbeam would attempt to overthrow Celestia should that ever be what Equestria needed most, and Shadow wouldn't stand for someone so potentially disloyal to her commander standing by her side.

...and one last thing, I suppose. I adore Sunbeam, here. She is adorable. When she was so focused on getting her daughter Lady Buttoneyes... that was just perfect. I got a ripple of emotion from that.
Moreso than even when, her daughter in her arms and (possibly) already listening in on her conversation with Celestia, she stated that if her daughter turned evil then she might be driven to seek out a non-lethal action.
Sunbeam is just such an appealing narrator. I liked her in Shadow's fictional accounts, but loved and adored her in her own.
If the author goes on to elaborate on the "canon" rebellion and aftermath minus Sunbeam's ascension I really look forward to seeing what Sunbeam does. I will certainly be rooting for her.
I am, again, of the opinion that her plan is still progressing on schedule despite her removal. Thus, she undoubtedly has plans for this rebellion, and I want to see her shine.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:33 pm

swicked wrote:(suck text wall, hinds!)
:)

swicked wrote:Sunbeam didn't want status for its own sake, but she wanted power. It was her intention to craft a powerful empire that would last millennia. What Shadow did, she did for Celestia, so that her commander could be safe and secure in her rule. What Sunbeam did, she did for the empire, so that it could be safe and secure.

Sunbeam wanted power, as Celestia somewhat grasped, in order to use it. Celestia seemed not to grasp the purpose of the power, though. The way she scoffed at Sunbeam, I felt like she thought Sunbeam just liked being able to do anything she wanted. Sunbeam, however, specifically stated it was to be capable of answering to their enemies and, essentially, to be able to benefit the empire. She sought out power to be effective in her role, not for her own sake, but for future Equestria's (in accordance with what she felt Equestria needed, of course).
I agree with you so far.

swicked wrote:The three empires were tenuous and unstable, completely impossible to confuse with the one empire she thought they needed to be. Her goal was always to reform the governments under the unicorn empire, and the only way to do that was to spark a revolution. Sunbeam never thought the pegasi would just give up their self-governance and I can't imagine she felt any differently about the earth ponies.
I saw nothing in her constantly antagonizing, disrespectful demeanor that ever suggested she wasn't attempting to pick a fight with the pegasi at EVERY possible opportunity. She is intelligent-enough to ensure she knew her enemy before picking a fight, and any research into pegasi culture, traditions and mindset would have told her exactly how to pick such a fight. They are aggressive and stuck in their ways. The only way to foster change in them was from within. It was always more than like that, if push came to shove and she got Celestia to put her hoof down, Celestia would be removed from her position as commander. The resulting situation, in which Celestia was no longer even commander of the pegasi, could never have resulted in the pegasi abandoning their old ways. They would be all the more stubborn, if anything, and now feel threatened with the possibility of no longer being guaranteed support by the earth ponies. With no monetary system to fall back on in order to be able to trade with the earth ponies, they would have to essentially "exploit" them, continuing to defend their empire while taking what they needed from the earth ponies (but now without their allowance to purchase the food and goods legitimately with).
Which would lead to unrest, which would lead to war... just less quickly than Shadow's actions brought about.
Hm… No, no, I think that I'll disagree here. Pegasopolis didn't have a monetary system to use to trade with the earth ponies, but it didn't need one. The Warrior's Privilege never depended on Celestia or Unicornia; it's a deal between the governments of the pegasi and earth ponies. Even if this wasn't the way it already worked, it would be quite simple to strike a deal along the lines of "Okay, you pay us collectively in credit for weather work, and then pegasi in your lands will draw from that account to pay your people for things. The actual money never even has to leave your hooves." That's the problem, and it's one that I've mentioned before: the pegasi and earth ponies need each other (the pegasi needing the earth ponies slightly more than the reverse), but neither of them really need the unicorns. Magic makes things easier, sure, but they could do without, or look into foreign magic, such as alchemy, which earth ponies and pegasi can use directly. Celestia can't stop moving the sun and moon just for the earth ponies and pegasi, and she almost certainly wouldn't even if she could. She also would do everything she could to keep Unicornia from attacking the pegasi and earth ponies if they broke away peacefully. In manipulating a war into being, in other words, Sunbeam would face a reasonable probability of the pegasi and earth ponies seceding as one or two separate nations and maintaining relatively peaceful relations with Celestia and Unicornia. She would also run the risk of, even with a "successful" war, engendering so much bad blood and resistance that her reforms wouldn't go in during her lifetime anyway among a great many other possibilities.
In short, war would be very, very difficult to control; I have great difficultly believing that she'd include it in her plans.

swicked wrote:While Shadow's complete lack of any serious attempt to forestall war and her added defection to Celestia's side before the war even began certainly didn't do anything to stop the war that was coming, it was Sunbeam's actions that brought the war to pass. Entirely hers, since her absence in this story would have resulted in no lunar rebellion whatsoever. This war WAS Sunbeams.
Shadow just utilized it and replaced Sunbeam's position as grand vizier (well, her actual title appears to have been "grand protector", but she still essentially replaced the position).
The only condolence is that Sunbeam could be confident that her plan worked out, pretty much. The empires WERE broken and the grand empire of all ponies DID rise. She just no longer had any part in it.
...which was less than optimal, but certainly not terrible. After all, she still got what she wanted.
Shadow could easily have prevented the war. I view it as Shadow seeing a great opportunity in Sunbeam's actions, taking it, and running with it, and then Sunbeam did the best she could with the result.

swicked wrote:...all of this assuming that the Solar Empress story operated under the assumption that Sunbeam hadn't gotten kicked out by Celestia (IE, that was the point of divergence, Sunbeam no longer having her position within the government). If it turned out Sunbeam HAD gotten kicked out, then somehow made it back into Celestia's good graces during the war to the point where Sunbeam became grand vizier once more, then perhaps Sunbeam eventually ended up with everything she wanted.
Oh, yes, Midnight's Shadow confirms that she got back in in the main universe. Unless she got back in in two different ways, I'm assuming that she was vizier again no later than a year after the Rebellion. I don't know just what the Phoenix Empress PoD was, but it was almost certainly after the start of the story.

swicked wrote:Actually, I can easily see Sunbeam getting back into Celestia's good graces. Sunbeam is just too effective and, in the end, competency is more important than morality, in Celestia's eyes. She would not "forgive" Sunbeam, but she would likely fall back on her if Sunbeam's replacement for top magi was less effective.
Aye.

swicked wrote:Celestia clearly has the extremely bad habit of electing people simply due to familiarity rather than following any kind of formal process. Rather than trying to find a suitable replacement should that new top magi either be less effective at this kind of wetwork in such a dynamic political environment, let alone if the new top magi simply got killed due to the war or other "mysterious circumstances", I would actually expect Celestia to re-elect Sunbeam "temporarily" for the duration of the war.
Interesting point, given this quote from the Life and Times of a Winning Pony TVTropes page:
The story weaves reasonably well into actual episode screentime, and also is unique in pointing out some of the cronyism inherent in Equestrian society

swicked wrote:Anyway, I only kinda-sorta agree with your assertion regarding that theoretical command to kill half the population of Equestria. Shadow, feeling she knew better than Celestia, would try to get her help her while appearing to go through the motions of having half the populous killed. Sunbeam, however, would directly attempt to remove the mad princess ASAP.
Good point, probably.

swicked wrote:A better comparison would be if somehow it was known to Shadow and Sunbeam that either Celestia or Equestria would have to fall. A kind of prophesy, I suppose, stating that one or the other would die.
Shadow would damn Equestria (secretly, probably blaming it on someone else) to ensure Celestia's survival and continued closeness to her. Sunbeam would topple the princess without a second thought. One pony, no matter how great, is nothing compared to the empire, in her eyes.
Agreed. :)

swicked wrote:Oh and, additionally, I've no doubt Sunbeam already has plans for how to remove Celestia if there was need. Unlike the plans in her office that Gale was able to steal, however, the only copy of THOSE plans is probably kept tucked-away in the relative safety of her mind.
And agreed again. :)

swicked wrote:I strongly feel BOTH Shadow and Sunbeam wanted a war to break the nations and reform them into a new empire, they just were NOT working together. At most, they were working in parallel, with Sunbeam's efforts starting the process and Shadow's ending them after successfully having Sunbeam usurped.
And still disagreeing (which ought to still make you happy :)). Shadow may or may not have wanted a war to begin with (it's extremely hard to tell, given that she could have effectively kept such early work very well hidden), but she certainly leaped on the idea as soon as it presented itself. Shadow was good at war, her position ensured that she could make it a full-blown rebellion rather than a peaceful succession, and her goals would not be significantly hindered by collateral damage.
Sunbeam could not force a full war, nor could she easily control one once it got going. Her goals would be significantly hindered by large amounts of collateral damage. Conflict, yes, she may very well have wanted that (and, in any case, Shadow was the one giving us our account of her exact actions in Cloudsdale; Sunbeam may actually have been less belligerent than portrayed, though some the details (the manner of that investigator's death, for instance, and Sunbeam's cruelty in the duel) likely could not be altereed), but war?

swicked wrote:Oh, and I'm willing to bet Shadow knew that Sunbeam worked only to reform Equestria, caring nothing for the pony that was at its head. It's for this reason that Shadow worked so hard to remove Sunbeam NOT for any moral reasons, but because she was never concerned with what was best for Celestia. Shadow probably expected that Sunbeam would attempt to overthrow Celestia should that ever be what Equestria needed most, and Shadow wouldn't stand for someone so potentially disloyal to her commander standing by her side.
Well, yeah. :)
I think that they must have eventually settled into a truce, though.

swicked wrote:...and one last thing, I suppose. I adore Sunbeam, here. She is adorable. When she was so focused on getting her daughter Lady Buttoneyes... that was just perfect. I got a ripple of emotion from that.
Moreso than even when, her daughter in her arms and (possibly) already listening in on her conversation with Celestia, she stated that if her daughter turned evil then she might be driven to seek out a non-lethal action.
Sunbeam is just such an appealing narrator. I liked her in Shadow's fictional accounts, but loved and adored her in her own.
If the author goes on to elaborate on the "canon" rebellion and aftermath minus Sunbeam's ascension I really look forward to seeing what Sunbeam does. I will certainly be rooting for her.
Very much agreed! :)
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:57 pm

First of all, one of the foundations of all this is the simple fact that Sunbeam takes the violent solution over anything else more often than not. Case in point: when she was jailed, she stated directly to Celestia that were she to of had the use of her legs she would have killed those jailers on the way out for being incompetent. She wasn't kidding, she would have.
Celestia was right about one thing regarding Sunbeam... she sees violence as pragmatic.

That's the problem, and it's one that I've mentioned before: the pegasi and earth ponies need each other (the pegasi needing the earth ponies slightly more than the reverse).
EXTREMELY debatable. Without the pegasi, the griffins would immediately swoop in and subjugate the earth ponies. The earth ponies really, really couldn't defend themselves against those pony-eating bastards.
Oh, and weather. Let's see earth ponies farm without weather :P
They needed each other in different ways, but they strictly NEEDED each other.

I don't think Sunbeam honestly felt like the pegasi would have been a threat to magi. Case in point, with a single thought, she burned off that one pony's wings in her duel. Sure, she's supposed to be the most powerful of the magi, but without the element of surprise (something far from easy to consistently obtain, especially against magic-users) the pegasi had no chance. Squads of mage hunters were needed against singular dark mages. An entire army of mages working cohesively? Not a chance, even before almost all of the pegasi mage-hunters defected. Way too many competent mages, way too few prepared warriors.
It's like longbows vs. knights, here.

I don't think Celestia could have forestalled this war, to be honest, if the pegasi and earth ponies defected. Additionally, you seem to think that all of the earth ponies even would. There seemed to have been quite a split in the votes. I think the earth ponies dissolved more into anarchy than they did simply defect. A clean break wasn't possible for that barely-organized rabble.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 1:26 am

swicked wrote:First of all, one of the foundations of all this is the simple fact that Sunbeam takes the violent solution over anything else more often than not. Case in point: when she was jailed, she stated directly to Celestia that were she to of had the use of her legs she would have killed those jailers on the way out for being incompetent. She wasn't kidding, she would have.
Celestia was right about one thing regarding Sunbeam... she sees violence as pragmatic.
On a personal scale, yes, but there is a difference between "I am going to attack you" and "I am going to get two large armies, one of which I'm on the side of, to attack each other".

swicked wrote:EXTREMELY debatable. Without the pegasi, the griffins would immediately swoop in and subjugate the earth ponies. The earth ponies really, really couldn't defend themselves against those pony-eating bastards.
Oh, and weather. Let's see earth ponies farm without weather :P
They needed each other in different ways, but they strictly NEEDED each other.
Oh, agreed. I was just pointing out, for the sake of accuracy, that Pegasopolis would probably have a slightly harder time finding another food source than the earth ponies would have dealing with natural weather and defending themselves. Both would be in very bad straits.

swicked wrote:I don't think Sunbeam honestly felt like the pegasi would have been a threat to magi. Case in point, with a single thought, she burned off that one pony's wings in her duel. Sure, she's supposed to be the most powerful of the magi, but without the element of surprise (something far from easy to consistently obtain, especially against magic-users) the pegasi had no chance. Squads of mage hunters were needed against singular dark mages. An entire army of mages working cohesively? Not a chance, even before almost all of the pegasi mage-hunters defected. Way too many competent mages, way too few prepared warriors.
It's like longbows vs. knights, here.
Fighting a single warlock is a different matter. Consider: Sunbeam would have assumed that Shadow would not defect. That means that the Kicker Clan, with its mage hunters and its leader talented in asymmetric warfare, would be on the side of Pegasopolis. Against all of Unicornia, the pegasi won't need to kill individual magi. Attack supply caravans. Launch strike-and-fade attacks that, while they don't kill, wound. Send dangerous weather against unicorn positions. And that is, again, assuming that there's even a war in the first place.

swicked wrote:I don't think Celestia could have forestalled this war, to be honest, if the pegasi and earth ponies defected.
Why not? Unicornia has no legal way to remove her from power, and do you really think they'd try to force her out? The only reason I can see them doing that is so that they can take over the sun and moon again so that they can without the celestial cycle as a negotiating tactic, and Celestia won't allow that due to the massive damage it would cause.

swicked wrote:Additionally, you seem to think that all of the earth ponies even would. There seemed to have been quite a split in the votes. I think the earth ponies dissolved more into anarchy than they did simply defect. A clean break wasn't possible for that barely-organized rabble.
Hm, now that's a point. However, imagine that you're a magnate and Apple Tree has just won the election. The earth ponies and pegasi have seceded from Equestria. What does this mean for you? Apple Tree will be trying to strip you of most of your wealth, sure, but you might still be able to outmaneuver him; you have, after all, more experience in government. Relations with Pegasopolis are pretty much unchanged; they still buy food from you in return for weather work and military protection. Sure, you're not technically the same country anymore, but everyone knows that that's basically been the way things are for decades anyway. And as for Unicornia, well, if anything, now you can negotiate higher prices for your goods; it's now international trade, after all, and they need to eat more than you need their magic. And when the next election comes around, you can try to vote Celestia back in if you've not managed to improve your position.
Or, conversely, you could start a fight. Hey, the unicorn battlemagi will be on your side! The battlemagi who are all the way in Unicornia, as opposed to all the big strong farmers right outside your door and the swift-winged warriors who have pledged friendship with the legitimate government of the earth ponies.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:05 pm

Reading Midnight's Shadow.
I have a great deal of appreciation for a parent able and willing to devote so much of their life into raising a child. Teaching them and having such a clear, strong affection for them.
Sunbeam has her faults, but she has never been an unfit parent. Gale actively attempting to distance Midnight from her mother, plus her utter incompetence in allowing a knife to be put against Midnight's throat, letting the inexperienced magus enter that store with no further coaching than "take all those bits and ask the shopkeep for the tomb"?

Not to mention her clear intention being to kill that contact. She took him out while he was fleeing and made sure to only incapacitate the others. I imagine this to be something she knows Sunbeam would never do in return.
Sunbeam no doubt knows all of Shadow's contacts, but killing one would lower the mare's effectiveness at securing the realm, so I imagine she would never retaliate similarly and Gale is amused by that knowledge.

I already disliked Gale for more than enough reasons. This amoral, manipulative brat needs to go. She is far from an ally of Midnight if shes cares so little for her safety and happily causes her such emotional distress by trying to drive a wedge between her and Sunbeam.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 5:39 pm

Agreed. You've noticed even more here than I did. :)
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:24 pm

I realize they are currently pretty far outside their status quo, but I don't see what Midnight likes in Gale, exactly. At least, as an equal.
Gale smiles a lot and comes off as friendly to Midnight (sort-of), but she's manipulative. She's dominant. She tells Midnight what to do, and Midnight does it, no matter how unpleasant it is to Midnight... so she's irresponsible and apathetic, too.
Sadly, since Sunbeam is pretty darn dominant, she didn't know how to raise Midnight to be dominant. Growing up, she told Midnight what to do, and the mare did it. She would tell Midnight that a great magus needs to have a strong force of will, Midnight would immediately agree, and Sunbeam would be pleased... not really grasping that the Midnight knows what she said but hasn't actually learned any of it. Midnight is submissive and obediant to a fault. Seriously, to a fault.
She is really trusting and unsuspecting and expects everything to go as it is stated to, thus why Gale is able to trick her so often. I keep getting this feeling, reading the story, that they are friends mostly because Gale has told Midnight they are friends, to which Midnight nodded and agreed.

Gale is entirely dismissive of Midnight's feelings 100% of the time. She simply knows better and Midnight should "trust" her. It's disgusting and is, actually, kinda abusive.
One could argue that Gale still has Midnight's best interests at heart, but... those best interests are as defined by Gale.

I would agree that Midnight would do well with some physical training, but given her telekinesis is apparently stronger than most other magi she knows, I think her training should focus on that. She will never be able to hit, throw or grapple as strongly with her hooves as with her horn.

Given how short they are on time, this training should be focusing on refining her strengths to fit her needs, not developing new skills from scratch. They are being narrowminded. If only Midnight was less of a follower and adept at lateral thinking, she could tell them this directly.

...
One more concession. Midnight is pretty bratty, herself. She thinks glaring will get her anywhere, and constantly backtalks. It's really just a sign of her age, though, so I don't fault her for it. She's writing these memoirs at the age of 20, so she's clearly in her teens now. It's good for her to have an authority figure to challenge her and help her strive to be great. That authority figure, however, should be her parent, teacher, trainer... maybe this bodyguard, on occasion. She could do with learning how to haggle.
Gale wants to be Midnight's friend, though. Despite the age difference, they should be treating each other as peers and equals. Midnight thinks of Gale as a sister, after all.
Gale, however... she really seems to think of herself as actually capable Midnight from Sunbeam. She wants to be her caretaker, cuddling her at night, teaching her the ways of the Kicker clan...
...I don't like her. I don't like Gale at all.
The first thing she did, days or a week after first meeting Midnight, was use her to steal documents from her mom's office in order to defame Sunbeam and have her thrown in jail. I hope, when Midnight is finally emotionally and mentally mature, she'll remember that... and then everything else. Every single time Gale used their friendship strictly to try and hurt Sunbeam, up to and including arranging for her to play a role in the slaying of one of her mom's contacts. Gale just uses Midnight and loves it. She is a bad, bad "friend".


Reading a bit more. They're teaching Midnight martial stances. I'm certain Midnight's been trained in how to dual with other magi. She has to have her own forms of stances for doing things like maximizing her field of view, being quick to respond to spells from multiple directions... likely actual spells to help aid in keeping distance from one's foes and the like, too.
Again, teaching her how to modify stances like that would be so much better than teaching her new ones.
Oh, and you might think the fact that she doesn't mention anything like this to be indicative of there NOT being anything similar for magi, but I expect otherwise. Midnight does what she's told and she's not very creative. If they told her to learn a thing, she tries to learn the thing, not compare it to what she already knows.



"and those Pegasoplian clans who had remained loyal to Princess Celestia had all been consolidated under the Royal Guard"
...wasn't every clan but the kicker's disbanded?
If so, and some of the clans remained loyal to Celestia... wow. Shadow just plain got rid of ALL of them, huh?

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 8:25 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
Spoiler:

swicked wrote:First of all, one of the foundations of all this is the simple fact that Sunbeam takes the violent solution over anything else more often than not. Case in point: when she was jailed, she stated directly to Celestia that were she to of had the use of her legs she would have killed those jailers on the way out for being incompetent. She wasn't kidding, she would have.
Celestia was right about one thing regarding Sunbeam... she sees violence as pragmatic.
On a personal scale, yes, but there is a difference between "I am going to attack you" and "I am going to get two large armies, one of which I'm on the side of, to attack each other".

swicked wrote:EXTREMELY debatable. Without the pegasi, the griffins would immediately swoop in and subjugate the earth ponies. The earth ponies really, really couldn't defend themselves against those pony-eating bastards.
Oh, and weather. Let's see earth ponies farm without weather :P
They needed each other in different ways, but they strictly NEEDED each other.
Oh, agreed.  I was just pointing out, for the sake of accuracy, that Pegasopolis would probably have a slightly harder time finding another food source than the earth ponies would have dealing with natural weather and defending themselves.  Both would be in very bad straits.

swicked wrote:I don't think Sunbeam honestly felt like the pegasi would have been a threat to magi. Case in point, with a single thought, she burned off that one pony's wings in her duel. Sure, she's supposed to be the most powerful of the magi, but without the element of surprise (something far from easy to consistently obtain, especially against magic-users) the pegasi had no chance. Squads of mage hunters were needed against singular dark mages. An entire army of mages working cohesively? Not a chance, even before almost all of the pegasi mage-hunters defected. Way too many competent mages, way too few prepared warriors.
It's like longbows vs. knights, here.
Fighting a single warlock is a different matter.  Consider: Sunbeam would have assumed that Shadow would not defect.  That means that the Kicker Clan, with its mage hunters and its leader talented in asymmetric warfare, would be on the side of Pegasopolis.  Against all of Unicornia, the pegasi won't need to kill individual magi.  Attack supply caravans.  Launch strike-and-fade attacks that, while they don't kill, wound.  Send dangerous weather against unicorn positions.  And that is, again, assuming that there's even a war in the first place.

swicked wrote:I don't think Celestia could have forestalled this war, to be honest, if the pegasi and earth ponies defected.
Why not?  Unicornia has no legal way to remove her from power, and do you really think they'd try to force her out?  The only reason I can see them doing that is so that they can take over the sun and moon again so that they can without the celestial cycle as a negotiating tactic, and Celestia won't allow that due to the massive damage it would cause.

swicked wrote:Additionally, you seem to think that all of the earth ponies even would. There seemed to have been quite a split in the votes. I think the earth ponies dissolved more into anarchy than they did simply defect. A clean break wasn't possible for that barely-organized rabble.
Hm, now that's a point.  However, imagine that you're a magnate and Apple Tree has just won the election.  The earth ponies and pegasi have seceded from Equestria.  What does this mean for you?  Apple Tree will be trying to strip you of most of your wealth, sure, but you might still be able to outmaneuver him; you have, after all, more experience in government.  Relations with Pegasopolis are pretty much unchanged; they still buy food from you in return for weather work and military protection.  Sure, you're not technically the same country anymore, but everyone knows that that's basically been the way things are for decades anyway.  And as for Unicornia, well, if anything, now you can negotiate higher prices for your goods; it's now international trade, after all, and they need to eat more than you need their magic.  And when the next election comes around, you can try to vote Celestia back in if you've not managed to improve your position.
Or, conversely, you could start a fight.  Hey, the unicorn battlemagi will be on your side!  The battlemagi who are all the way in Unicornia, as opposed to all the big strong farmers right outside your door and the swift-winged warriors who have pledged friendship with the legitimate government of the earth ponies.
I think this is a point the author should be asked about, because I honestly cannot understand your argument at all.
Sunbeam was endlessly antagonistic to the pegasi. There's nothing more I can say about that.
You feel that she was just trying to get Celestia to see... what, exactly? Could you walk me through Sunbeam's original game plan?
How would the pegasi empire have come to be a part of the singular, stable equestria? I realize you've already stated "slowly", but I don't understand what reforms could be made to systematically dismantle their system of government.
So what, specifically, was supposed to happen?
Because simply "opening Celestia's eyes" to the fact that the society was very likely ritualistically culling their weak foals from their strong would only, at best, resulted in Celestia ensuring that didn't happen anymore. Was that really all you think Sunbeam was after?


The pegasi would have had a somewhat difficult time finding a means to feed themselves besides, raiding, I suppose... though it's likely most of the earth pony communities would be more than willing to continue supporting the pegasi. Probably not enough to support a city like pegasopolis, though. They might have had to become ronins and, basically, mercenaries (of a sort). No single concentrated seat of power or uniform governance of the military culture.
If the earth ponies weren't near water sources they would have no means of obtaining water other than well water, and trying to water fields a bucket at a time would have resulted in a very wasted harvest. Plus, again, they would be being attacked and abducted, so they might be tempted to simply abandon their lands, retreating to the city. Lots of rioting, then.

I'm still going to side with the group with the alicorn wielding the mantel of the sun, here.

What would Celestia do? The unicorns appear to be pretty darn useless from the perspective of the other races. The other two DON'T particularly need them. Their entire way of life would be threatened. Even lacking any open rebellion, I'm not sure I can see the unicorns not responding at all to this.
What would Celestia have arranged, really, if the entire pegasi and earth pony empires rejected the unicorn empire entirely?

Oh, if Apple Tree had won entirely, solidly, and without dispute? IE, something that didn't even happen? Then the earth pony nation would have had him for a president. I'm not sure how much power presidents have, though... I realize he was confident he could arrange for the earth pony nation to join the side of the pegasi, but he was anything but politically savvy. Doing something like that might have required a majority vote from an earth pony congress :P
I was operating more from the standpoint of Apple Tree having "tied" with Celestia, as he did, then been assassinated.
Additionally, if ALL of the farmers supported Apple Tree, I doubt the election would have ever been close. While we don't know the final count, I think they implied pretty heavily that the outcome was far from a sure thing.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:53 pm

swicked wrote:I realize they are currently pretty…already knows.
:)

swicked wrote:"and those Pegasoplian clans who had remained loyal to Princess Celestia had all been consolidated under the Royal Guard"
...wasn't every clan but the kicker's disbanded?
If so, and some of the clans remained loyal to Celestia... wow. Shadow just plain got rid of ALL of them, huh?
I left a comment on this, but I've not gotten a reply yet. Oh, hm, actually, though, it looks like there's some inconsistency regarding this, given these quotes from The Life and Times of a Winning Pony:
Anyway, Cloud Kicker’s family was one of the only pegasus clans didn’t join the Lunar Rebellion.
Cloud Kicker, every pegasus clan in Equestria backed the wrong pony in the Rebellion except for yours.
I'm inclined to give priority to the second, later one, though.

A few more choice quotes:
My family is very proud of the fact that we’ve stayed loyal to the Princess for nine hundred years, that we’ve served her loyally for longer than any other pegasus clan out there.
Plus, while the Kickers might still be very conscious of our past thanks to sticking together as a clan, the Doos went a different way. Not that they’d had a lot of choice when it came to having their clan broken apart. While there were plenty of ponies with Doo DNA, most of them didn’t carry the old clan name, and even the ones that still did usually didn’t know much about what being a Doo really meant.

Oh, hm, and this one is interesting:
Not to mention that Cirrus was the first Doo to actually bear arms in centuries, unless you counted the descendants of the ones who'd gone into exile after the Rebellion.
Methinks that this ties in with some things mentioned in The Incredibly Valuable Contract of a Sellsword Changeling…

swicked wrote:I think this is a point the author should be asked about, because I honestly cannot understand your argument at all.
How do you think we might best go about asking the author in a way that would get a reply?

swicked wrote:Sunbeam was endlessly antagonistic to the pegasi. There's nothing more I can say about that.
You feel that she was just trying to get Celestia to see... what, exactly? Could you walk me through Sunbeam's original game plan?
How would the pegasi empire have come to be a part of the singular, stable equestria? I realize you've already stated "slowly", but I don't understand what reforms could be made to systematically dismantle their system of government.
So what, specifically, was supposed to happen?
Because simply "opening Celestia's eyes" to the fact that the society was very likely ritualistically culling their weak foals from their strong would only, at best, resulted in Celestia ensuring that didn't happen anymore. Was that really all you think Sunbeam was after?
Firstly, Shadow would naturally want to make Sunbeam look as antagonistic as possible, and most of the other actual witnesses were either loyal to Shadow or "untrustworthy rebels"; it's quite possible that Sunbeam was less antagonistic than Shadow portrayed her.
Secondly, if Celestia believed the status quo to be even adequate, she'd resist the reforms. She needs to be made to see that her current policies are not working. There were three possible results of the investigation: the investigators do indeed discover recent clippings, the investigators do not find clippings but an incident occurs, or the investigators do not find clippings and no incident occurs.
In case 3, Sunbeam has gained nothing, but she has not lost much; it has only been shown that things are well on this one issue, and she can think of something else. Moreover, by selecting investigators who are both good at their jobs and likely to upset the pegasi, she can reduce the likelihood of 3.
In case 1, Sunbeam could use it as a strong argument that Celestia has been too hooves-off. It's not just "You need to stop this particular thing from happening", it's "These are the sorts of things that ponies may get up to if you're not watching for it"; this will help Sunbeam not only weave Pegasopolis into Equestria but allow her to sow doubt in Celestia's mind about hidden abuses among the earth ponies. Pegasopolis would also have been weakened by being caught in a massive lie.
Case 2 is the easiest to bring about but the trickiest to deal with. There are, however, a great many approaches that could be taken. "This was caused by confusion between differing sets of laws; we should try to standardize." "This was caused by rising tribal tensions; we should try to encourage mingling." "This demonstrates how quick the pegasi are to use violence; we should try to educate them and keep a closer eye on them in the meantime."
The first step isn't integration, it's making Celestia believe that integration is necessary, or at least that it would be beneficial. With Celestia's support, Sunbeam would have a much easier time, and Celestia supporting it drive work to continue even after Sunbeam's death. Once Celestia is behind the plan, then the details can be worked out. And that Shadow mare, well, she might be a bit abrasive, but she seems intelligent and loyal to Celestia; she can probably help insure a smooth transition among the pegasi…

swicked wrote:The pegasi would have had a somewhat difficult time finding a means to feed themselves besides, raiding, I suppose... though it's likely most of the earth pony communities would be more than willing to continue supporting the pegasi. Probably not enough to support a city like pegasopolis, though. They might have had to become ronins and, basically, mercenaries (of a sort). No single concentrated seat of power or uniform governance of the military culture.
If the earth ponies weren't near water sources they would have no means of obtaining water other than well water, and trying to water fields a bucket at a time would have resulted in a very wasted harvest. Plus, again, they would be being attacked and abducted, so they might be tempted to simply abandon their lands, retreating to the city. Lots of rioting, then.
…Why? The unicorns don't grow food. The unicorns don't manage the weather. Removing Unicornia from the equation does not change the Pegasopolis/earth pony relations. What do they lose? A common name, a common flag, and a common in-name-only leader. The status quo is highly and obviously beneficial to all earth ponies and pegasi and would not be necessarily harmed by breaking away from Equestria; why would it not be maintained?

swicked wrote:I'm still going to side with the group with the alicorn wielding the mantel of the sun, here.
The sun is not a precision weapon. The sun and moon work for everyone on the planet or they don't work for everyone on the planet; even ignoring the character judgement of Celestia, it would be a very bad diplomatic move for her to use them as weapons. "Causus Belli with to every other state on the planet" bad.

swicked wrote:What would Celestia do? The unicorns appear to be pretty darn useless from the perspective of the other races. The other two DON'T particularly need them. Their entire way of life would be threatened. Even lacking any open rebellion, I'm not sure I can see the unicorns not responding at all to this.
What would Celestia have arranged, really, if the entire pegasi and earth pony empires rejected the unicorn empire entirely?
If the pegasi and earth ponies seceeded peacefully and seemed quite willing to keep up trade relations with Unicornia (And why shouldn't they? Apart from the diplomatic aspects, unicorn-enchanted goods are quite useful.), what is Unicornia supposed to do? Celestia won't start a civil war when diplomacy seems to be working fine. She'll try to work peacefully. And she's an absolute monarch who can't be legally removed from power. The unicorns either accept the situation and keep the Sun Queen on their side, or they stage a coup. Either they somehow kill her, in which case everyone declares war on them and nine hundred years later, assuming they survive, they have to deal with a Nightmare Moon and Luna who are both rather displeased with them (Luna for obvious reasons, Nightmare Moon because the world is hers, not theirs), or they simply get her to leave. In which case she, still bearing the Mantle of the Sun, almost certainly heads over to friendly earth ponies and pegasi and admits that they may have had a point about the unicorns. And then what are the unicorns supposed to do?

swicked wrote:Oh, if Apple Tree had won entirely, solidly, and without dispute? IE, something that didn't even happen? Then the earth pony nation would have had him for a president. I'm not sure how much power presidents have, though... I realize he was confident he could arrange for the earth pony nation to join the side of the pegasi, but he was anything but politically savvy. Doing something like that might have required a majority vote from an earth pony congress :P
I was operating more from the standpoint of Apple Tree having "tied" with Celestia, as he did, then been assassinated.
Additionally, if ALL of the farmers supported Apple Tree, I doubt the election would have ever been close. While we don't know the final count, I think they implied pretty heavily that the outcome was far from a sure thing.
Chancellor. And I suppose we don't know the details of the earth pony government, but I'm not really sure what you're trying to say here.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 9:59 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:*massive post*
:)
*throws rocks*

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:00 pm

Basically, I see Sunbeam as trying to take a more difficult but ultimately, by her metrics, significantly more profitable path than war. We've seen her overestimate herself multiple times, after all. If she doesn't push far enough, nothing will happen. If she pushes too far, the other two tribes will break away. Maybe peacefully, in which case her plans are ruined. Maybe in a civil war, in which case, yes, Equestria will probably win and will probably be unified as a result, but war is unpredictable, difficult to control, and high in price of blood and treasure. If Sunbeam pushes just the right amount, though, she ought to be able to get her reforms moving without any highly expensive and uncertain conflict.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:01 pm

Oh, sorry, misread.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:04 pm

The problem there is that I don't have much to say about that block of text other than "I think that you have made some very good points here and I am in complete agreement with them! You have also noticed some other things which I did not, I think, and for this I commend you!"
Since I've been saying that sort of thing a lot here recently and you like argument, I shortened it to a smily face and saved my typing for where I was debating you.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:10 pm

Firstly, Shadow would naturally want to make Sunbeam look as antagonistic as possible, and most of the other actual witnesses were either loyal to Shadow or "untrustworthy rebels"; it's quite possible that Sunbeam was less antagonistic than Shadow portrayed her.
Secondly, if Celestia believed the status quo to be even adequate, she'd resist the reforms. She needs to be made to see that her current policies are not working. There were three possible results of the investigation: the investigators do indeed discover recent clippings, the investigators do not find clippings but an incident occurs, or the investigators do not find clippings and no incident occurs.
In case 3, Sunbeam has gained nothing, but she has not lost much; it has only been shown that things are well on this one issue, and she can think of something else. Moreover, by selecting investigators who are both good at their jobs and likely to upset the pegasi, she can reduce the likelihood of 3.
In case 1, Sunbeam could use it as a strong argument that Celestia has been too hooves-off. It's not just "You need to stop this particular thing from happening", it's "These are the sorts of things that ponies may get up to if you're not watching for it"; this will help Sunbeam not only weave Pegasopolis into Equestria but allow her to sow doubt in Celestia's mind about hidden abuses among the earth ponies. Pegasopolis would also have been weakened by being caught in a massive lie.
Case 2 is the easiest to bring about but the trickiest to deal with. There are, however, a great many approaches that could be taken. "This was caused by confusion between differing sets of laws; we should try to standardize." "This was caused by rising tribal tensions; we should try to encourage mingling." "This demonstrates how quick the pegasi are to use violence; we should try to educate them and keep a closer eye on them in the meantime."
The first step isn't integration, it's making Celestia believe that integration is necessary, or at least that it would be beneficial. With Celestia's support, Sunbeam would have a much easier time, and Celestia supporting it drive work to continue even after Sunbeam's death. Once Celestia is behind the plan, then the details can be worked out. And that Shadow mare, well, she might be a bit abrasive, but she seems intelligent and loyal to Celestia; she can probably help insure a smooth transition among the pegasi…
Celestia could be brought around to see nearly anything she could want, there'd still be no legal way to dismantle the pegasi government. Her position as commander was well-defined within their government and she had no powers granted to her position that would allow her to do this.

The sun is not a precision weapon. The sun and moon work for everyone on the planet or they don't work for everyone on the planet; even ignoring the character judgement of Celestia, it would be a very bad diplomatic move for her to use them as weapons. "Causus Belli with to every other state on the planet" bad.
I did not mean to imply she would use the sun as a weapon. It just makes her ridiculously powerful, immortal and potentially unstoppable as its power feeds her own on a cosmic scale.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:12 pm

Oh, and I'm now drafting a comment on The Life and Times of a Winning Pony; if it doesn't work, we can ask another way.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:21 pm

Posted:
A friend and I, in the course of a debate, noticed a line in Midnight's Shadow about other pegasus clans having sided with Celestia. My inquiry into this eventually led me back here, where I discovered the following discrepancy:
Chapter 5:
Anyway, Cloud Kicker’s family was one of the only pegasus clans didn’t join the Lunar Rebellion.
Chapter 16:
Cloud Kicker, every pegasus clan in Equestria backed the wrong pony in the Rebellion except for yours.
I'm currently assuming that the latter and later one is the correct one, but we'd appreciate clarification.
I must say, it's quite fun digging into the Winningverse like this, though, unless we have been astonishingly perspicacious, you'd likely think us mad for the nature of our speculations.

swicked wrote:Celestia could be brought around to see nearly anything she could want, there'd still be no legal way to dismantle the pegasi government. Her position as commander was well-defined within their government and she had no powers granted to her position that would allow her to do this.
If Sunbeam's plans had been actually illegal, rather than just unpopular, surely that would have been mentioned. It would have been too good an attack and justification to leave out.

swicked wrote:I did not mean to imply she would use the sun as a weapon. It just makes her ridiculously powerful, immortal and potentially unstoppable as its power feeds her own on a cosmic scale.
And short of Celestia personally saying to everypony else "Stay back, I'll handle this" and wading into combat, what is she going to do? And has Celestia shown any inclination to do that sort of thing? No; she has done quite the reverse. To give only one example, she tried to prevent her soldiers on the borders from chasing down raiders attacking her people.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:24 pm

O. Hinds wrote:The problem there is that I don't have much to say about that block of text other than "I think that you have made some very good points here and I am in complete agreement with them!  You have also noticed some other things which I did not, I think, and for this I commend you!"
Since I've been saying that sort of thing a lot here recently and you like argument, I shortened it to a smily face and saved my typing for where I was debating you.
Come on, you have to be able to elaborate a little. Are you really saying I catch everything you do and interpret it in either the same, or a more extensive, way? o_O

Oh, and for those quotes regarding whether or not there were other clans... WHO was saying them?
Because these things we're reading now are meant to be historical texts. The average modern-day kicker might just ignore anything that wasn't written by another kicker, the words of sparkles of highly questionable morality being easily dismissed.
Besides, the early part of the story directly states that the text was confiscated immediately and didn't see the public eye for more than a few centuries.
Seems like it would still be a controversial text many might doubt the word of. In fact, I think one of the author's notes states that several of its accounts are actively contended.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:40 pm

O. Hinds wrote:In which case she, still bearing the Mantle of the Sun, almost certainly heads over to friendly earth ponies and pegasi and admits that they may have had a point about the unicorns.  And then what are the unicorns supposed to do?
I suppose it just matters what the status quo would resolve as. If it turns out all the nations can work together perfectly well with or without having a singular leader over them all, then that's likely what they would do.
I was mostly operating under the assumption that pegasi break off trade relations with Celestia because they hate her, and earth ponies follow suit because she hires child murderers.
If so, there'd be a fairly quick descent for the unicorn empire, nearly everypony from nobles to craftsponies suffering in the economic decline. If Celestia was unable to regain trade relations there might have been a coup within a few decades' time. I don't particularly know.
I don't think, if the unicorns did remove Celestia from power, the other nations would accept her, though. She also accepted the loss of the pegasi as her personal failure to lead and understand them, so I think she would consider losing the rest of the nations to be all the more her failure and would leave them all be. Her original goal was, after all, to unite the three in peace under a benevolent ruler. Having failed them all, she would probably just accept the state of things and move on, I'd wager.

No idea what she'd move on to, but Celestia's awesome. She'd figure something out. Maybe simply trying to safeguard the ponies more directly, for a time, would work... until they all came to trust her once more and wanted her to rule again.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:42 pm

swicked wrote:Come on, you have to be able to elaborate a little. Are you really saying I catch everything you do and interpret it in either the same, or a more extensive, way? o_O
Well, in that bit, yes (obviously not on everything). What I wasn't agreeing with at the start I was by the end.


Oh, hey, I headed over to FIMFiction to research a reply to your next bit, and we've already got a reply (a far cry from my still-unreplied-to-comments on Midnight's Shadow)!
Chengar Qordath wrote:Well, I would point out that Rainbow (Who delivered your second line) is not the best source for any academic information that's not weather-related.
As far as clan loyalty goes, the Kickers were the only full clan that backed Celestia from the start. However, there were later defections, and later on in the rebellion new loyalist clans were founded to take care of clanless pegasi and/or individuals who'd defected from rebel clans. Most of those newly formed clans wound up breaking apart once the war was over, or just transitioning into noble houses instead of sticking with the old ways.
My reply:
Wow, thank you for your prompt reply!

I had indeed considered the source, but I assumed that Cloud Kicker would have denied it if it were untrue; she denies that the other clans are doing well, after all. On that note, how do the details of Cloud Kicker's denial fit with there being other clans for long enough for them to break apart or become noble houses?
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Thu Feb 13, 2014 10:55 pm

swicked wrote:Oh, and for those quotes regarding whether or not there were other clans... WHO was saying them?
Because these things we're reading now are meant to be historical texts. The average modern-day kicker might just ignore anything that wasn't written by another kicker, the words of sparkles of highly questionable morality being easily dismissed.
The first one was said by Blossomforth and the second by Rainbow Dash (though the latter was said above just now).

swicked wrote:Besides, the early part of the story directly states that the text was confiscated immediately and didn't see the public eye for more than a few centuries.
Seems like it would still be a controversial text many might doubt the word of. In fact, I think one of the author's notes states that several of its accounts are actively contended.
My apologies; I do not remember that and cannot seem to find it. Might I trouble you for some quotes?

swicked wrote:I suppose it just matters what the status quo would resolve as. If it turns out all the nations can work together perfectly well with or without having a singular leader over them all, then that's likely what they would do.
I was mostly operating under the assumption that pegasi break off trade relations with Celestia because they hate her, and earth ponies follow suit because she hires child murderers.
If so, there'd be a fairly quick descent for the unicorn empire, nearly everypony from nobles to craftsponies suffering in the economic decline. If Celestia was unable to regain trade relations there might have been a coup within a few decades' time. I don't particularly know.
I don't think, if the unicorns did remove Celestia from power, the other nations would accept her, though. She also accepted the loss of the pegasi as her personal failure to lead and understand them, so I think she would consider losing the rest of the nations to be all the more her failure and would leave them all be. Her original goal was, after all, to unite the three in peace under a benevolent ruler. Having failed them all, she would probably just accept the state of things and move on, I'd wager.
Oh, well, firstly, I think that we may have been confused about when we're thinking of; for Sunbeam's original plans, after all, none of this has happened.
Secondly, I don't think that the pegasi hated Celestia at the point you seem to be working at (they nominated Shadow for Commander in large part because of her positive relations with Celestia, after all), and the earth ponies were angry at Sunbeam; Celestia being struck and wounded would have escalated the riot if she had been the target. If she conceded the election gracefully and particularly if she was seen to give Sunbeam some punishment, I think that the matter could have been smoothed over.
Thirdly, I agree that they wouldn't take her as ruler. That doesn't mean that they can't grant her political asylum as a private citizen; the ones who like her will want to help her and the ones who don't like her will enjoy seeing her begging them for help. And from there, well, Celestia's immortal. She has time to work, to ingratiate herself, and, of course, to correct the faults in herself that lead to this state of affairs in the first place.

swicked wrote:No idea what she'd move on to, but Celestia's awesome. She'd figure something out. Maybe simply trying to safeguard the ponies more directly, for a time, would work... until they all came to trust her once more and wanted her to rule again.
Or something like that. Celestia has many good options. :)
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:07 am

O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:Come on, you have to be able to elaborate a little. Are you really saying I catch everything you do and interpret it in either the same, or a more extensive, way? o_O
Well, in that bit, yes (obviously not on everything).  What I wasn't agreeing with at the start I was by the end.
I wouldn't mind seeing your follow my thought process, or at least elaborate when you say I "notice more". What am I seeing, exactly, that you are not?

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 4:11 am

O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:Besides, the early part of the story directly states that the text was confiscated immediately and didn't see the public eye for more than a few centuries.
Seems like it would still be a controversial text many might doubt the word of. In fact, I think one of the author's notes states that several of its accounts are actively contended.
My apologies; I do not remember that and cannot seem to find it.  Might I trouble you for some quotes?
Chapter 1 of Midnight's Shadow wrote:As a result of the accuracy of this account, I suspect this work will only see the public eye long after I have passed from this world, given the inflammatory and controversial nature of some of the subjects I am to cover. (3) Such I find to be a necessary evil, and while my contemporaries will likely not live to see a full account of my adventures, future generations should gain from my wisdom and experience.

3: This was, in fact, true. This unabridged version of Midnight Sparkle’s memoirs were seized, due to being considered a threat to national security, and placed within the confidential records of Royal Archives. They were not seen again until CR 428, when an accounting error resulted in the memoirs being released to the public.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:15 am

swicked wrote:
O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:Besides, the early part of the story directly states that the text was confiscated immediately and didn't see the public eye for more than a few centuries.
Seems like it would still be a controversial text many might doubt the word of. In fact, I think one of the author's notes states that several of its accounts are actively contended.
My apologies; I do not remember that and cannot seem to find it.  Might I trouble you for some quotes?
Chapter 1 of Midnight's Shadow wrote:As a result of the accuracy of this account, I suspect this work will only see the public eye long after I have passed from this world, given the inflammatory and controversial nature of some of the subjects I am to cover. (3) Such I find to be a necessary evil, and while my contemporaries will likely not live to see a full account of my adventures, future generations should gain from my wisdom and experience.

3: This was, in fact, true. This unabridged version of Midnight Sparkle’s memoirs were seized, due to being considered a threat to national security, and placed within the confidential records of Royal Archives. They were not seen again until CR 428, when an accounting error resulted in the memoirs being released to the public.
Oh, I thought that you were talking about The Lunar Rebellion! Sorry about the confusion. And yes, Midnight's memoirs were classified for centuries (and only released that early by mistake)? What a shock. Though I note that it says "this unabridged version"; I'll bet that the abridged version credited one "G.K."…

swicked wrote:
O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:Come on, you have to be able to elaborate a little. Are you really saying I catch everything you do and interpret it in either the same, or a more extensive, way? o_O
Well, in that bit, yes (obviously not on everything).  What I wasn't agreeing with at the start I was by the end.
I wouldn't mind seeing your follow my thought process, or at least elaborate when you say I "notice more". What am I seeing, exactly, that you are not?
Okay… I'll see what I can do…
Dividing the section I emoticon-replied to into its core topics:
1-Gale's "friendship"
2-Midnight's submissiveness
3-The nature of the training and Midnight's skills

Oh, before I get into the details, two things:
swicked wrote:as actually capable Midnight from Sunbeam
You've missed a bit here, though it's pretty easy to figure out.
swicked wrote:She's writing these memoirs at the age of 20, so she's clearly in her teens now.
Something seemed off about this, but last time I read it I just shrugged. This time, in an effort to cover your points in detail, I went back and checked, and I think that you may have misinterpreted. The line from the chapter is "Midnight begins her memoirs when she was twenty years old, and is believed to have written her accounts sometime during the latter part of the 2nd century CR. ", which I think pretty clearly (sorry) indicates that she is twenty at the start of her memoirs ("begins her memoirs when she was"; note the tenses) and that the writing took place later (given that the Rebellion was approximately at the turn of the century, Midnight would certainly be more than twenty in the latter part).

Anyway, getting into the points, I think that I shall tackle them in reverse order.
3:
It didn't occur to me at all that Midnight might have a physical combat education; I'd only been thinking of her spellwork. It makes sense, though.
2:
This also did not occur to me, and it also makes sense. If Sunbeam told her daughter to have a strong will, "Whatever you say, Mother" does sound like the probable essence of Midnight's response. And this, unfortunately, would likely extend to less scrupulous individuals. Oh, not to random shadow ponies in the street, certainly; Midnight may be submissive, but she's not stupid. But cheerful, friendly Gale Kicker who's been doting on Midnight for the past decade and surely has her best interests at heart? Oh, sure, their mothers have issues, but Gale's always made sure to stay out of those where Midnight's concerned… whenever Midnight was looking. :D This, of course, leads into…
1:
Most of this I had not noticed. I just don't seem to pick up on this sort of thing very well. Oh, I knew that Gale was not a nice pony, and I noticed a few places where she was clearly using Gale in the service of Shadow. I'm afraid, however, that she's been playing her role well enough to mostly fool me as well as Midnight; while unable to convince me that she's not a treacherous, genocidal, nearly-or-totally-amoral spymaster/secret police chief/whatever, she concealed from me the true nature of what she was doing to Midnight. I was surprised at how well she was behaving…

Sadly, we probably won't ever see much of a reckoning, unless Midnight decides to be very clever about it (which would make it all the more awesome). Directly confronting Gale would likely be a good way to accidentally fall off a tower onto some knives or some like fate.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:37 am

I'll get to responding to the rest of your post in a bit, but I think one of the most frusterating things is that Midnight's two bodyguards are insisting on building up her ability to physically respond to threats, stating it's to be used when there isn't time for spells.
That is not Midnight's problem. With a look, similar to her mother, she can cast darkness or protective walls while enemies charge at her or shortly after she has been thrown across the room.
What Midnight needs is instinct and initiative. She's not used to the chaos of real battle. She needs to learn tobe wary of and respond to threats at any time. I'm willing to bet she's a very competent battle mage on any training ground, she just doesn't expect a knife to appear at her throat while reading (even if it is in a black magic shop) or other such threats. She needs someone like Gale to tell her what to do when her mind is blanking.
Their excuse of having her more in shape so that she won't get caught by her enemies when exhausted doesn't make sense. It relies on the assumption, I suppose, that no kicker has ever been killed due to being similarly exhausted, right? It might take them a bit longer, but it still happens. There's advantages to improving her stamina, but it won't significantly improve her defense. Not at all.
If they let her rely on her natural talents as much as they rely on their own, especially considering Midnight is something like a third the size of Stalwart and will NEVER be a physical threat to anyone, they could be making some serious progress. Her magical muscle is what she's trained with and they're basically treating her like that doesn't count.

I really wish Midnight had the strength of will to get fed up dragging that stupid cart with the kickers on it and show them how far she can throw the thing with her mind alone. What they are doing now is just attacking any shred of confidence she still has in herself as her mother's daughter, and that's far from helpful.

I'm reminded of a line in the phoenix story. "Don't worry, I've taken into account the fact that she is not a pegasus." was something Gale said in regards to her training Midnight with the kickers at the kicker compound.
The only thing she's taken into account, then, is the fact that she doesn't have wings, NOT that she is a unicorn. I suppose they just skip anything that requires flying, then? Unicorns are not going to be the physical threat pegasi or, particularly, earth ponies can be. Gale, for all her intelligence, is REALLY narrow-minded regarding what a warrior should be.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Feb 14, 2014 6:15 pm

swicked wrote:Gale, for all her intelligence, is REALLY narrow-minded regarding what a warrior should be.
Hm, I'd disagree, and I think that your post already contains the reason:
swicked wrote:She needs someone like Gale to tell her what to do when her mind is blanking.
swicked wrote:What they are doing now is just attacking any shred of confidence she still has in herself as her mother's daughter, and that's far from helpful.
Far from helpful to Midnight. But, of course, who could possibly benefit from keeping Midnight submissive and dependent on Gale rather than a confident and strong-willed mare like her mother?
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:01 pm

I empathize with you from earlier. It's hard to keep in mind that Gale doesn't actually want Midnight to be competent in battle what with her insisting she does all the time.
Stalwart is a pretty great accomplice, too. The guy's so set in his ways he probably forgets he's talking to a magus half the time. Everyone should follow the same teachings that have kept him alive for so long, in his opinion, so why shouldn't this tiny mare? It's not like she has anything to make up for that lack of physical superiority...

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:15 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
Spoiler:

swicked wrote:
O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:Besides, the early part of the story directly states that the text was confiscated immediately and didn't see the public eye for more than a few centuries.
Seems like it would still be a controversial text many might doubt the word of. In fact, I think one of the author's notes states that several of its accounts are actively contended.
My apologies; I do not remember that and cannot seem to find it.  Might I trouble you for some quotes?
Chapter 1 of Midnight's Shadow wrote:As a result of the accuracy of this account, I suspect this work will only see the public eye long after I have passed from this world, given the inflammatory and controversial nature of some of the subjects I am to cover. (3) Such I find to be a necessary evil, and while my contemporaries will likely not live to see a full account of my adventures, future generations should gain from my wisdom and experience.

3: This was, in fact, true. This unabridged version of Midnight Sparkle’s memoirs were seized, due to being considered a threat to national security, and placed within the confidential records of Royal Archives. They were not seen again until CR 428, when an accounting error resulted in the memoirs being released to the public.
Oh, I thought that you were talking about The Lunar Rebellion!  Sorry about the confusion.  And yes, Midnight's memoirs were classified for centuries (and only released that early by mistake)?  What a shock.  Though I note that it says "this unabridged version"; I'll bet that the abridged version credited one "G.K."…

swicked wrote:
O. Hinds wrote:
swicked wrote:Come on, you have to be able to elaborate a little. Are you really saying I catch everything you do and interpret it in either the same, or a more extensive, way? o_O
Well, in that bit, yes (obviously not on everything).  What I wasn't agreeing with at the start I was by the end.
I wouldn't mind seeing your follow my thought process, or at least elaborate when you say I "notice more". What am I seeing, exactly, that you are not?
Okay…  I'll see what I can do…
Dividing the section I emoticon-replied to into its core topics:
1-Gale's "friendship"
2-Midnight's submissiveness
3-The nature of the training and Midnight's skills

Oh, before I get into the details, two things:
swicked wrote:as actually capable Midnight from Sunbeam
You've missed a bit here, though it's pretty easy to figure out.
swicked wrote:She's writing these memoirs at the age of 20, so she's clearly in her teens now.
Something seemed off about this, but last time I read it I just shrugged.  This time, in an effort to cover your points in detail, I went back and checked, and I think that you may have misinterpreted.  The line from the chapter is "Midnight begins her memoirs when she was twenty years old, and is believed to have written her accounts sometime during the latter part of the 2nd century CR. ", which I think pretty clearly (sorry) indicates that she is twenty at the start of her memoirs ("begins her memoirs when she was"; note the tenses) and that the writing took place later (given that the Rebellion was approximately at the turn of the century, Midnight would certainly be more than twenty in the latter part).

Anyway, getting into the points, I think that I shall tackle them in reverse order.
3:
It didn't occur to me at all that Midnight might have a physical combat education; I'd only been thinking of her spellwork.  It makes sense, though.
2:
This also did not occur to me, and it also makes sense.  If Sunbeam told her daughter to have a strong will, "Whatever you say, Mother" does sound like the probable essence of Midnight's response.  And this, unfortunately, would likely extend to less scrupulous individuals.  Oh, not to random shadow ponies in the street, certainly; Midnight may be submissive, but she's not stupid.  But cheerful, friendly Gale Kicker who's been doting on Midnight for the past decade and surely has her best interests at heart?  Oh, sure, their mothers have issues, but Gale's always made sure to stay out of those where Midnight's concerned… whenever Midnight was looking.  :D  This, of course, leads into…
1:
Most of this I had not noticed.  I just don't seem to pick up on this sort of thing very well.  Oh, I knew that Gale was not a nice pony, and I noticed a few places where she was clearly using Gale in the service of Shadow.  I'm afraid, however, that she's been playing her role well enough to mostly fool me as well as Midnight; while unable to convince me that she's not a treacherous, genocidal, nearly-or-totally-amoral spymaster/secret police chief/whatever, she concealed from me the true nature of what she was doing to Midnight.  I was surprised at how well she was behaving…

Sadly, we probably won't ever see much of a reckoning, unless Midnight decides to be very clever about it (which would make it all the more awesome).  Directly confronting Gale would likely be a good way to accidentally fall off a tower onto some knives or some like fate.
Thank you, I can respond to this FAR better than I can ":)"!  Dash clapping 
as actually capable Midnight from Sunbeam
You've missed a bit here, though it's pretty easy to figure out.
At some point I really need to figure out how to type as fast as I think.

"Midnight begins her memoirs when she was twenty years old, and is believed to have written her accounts sometime during the latter part of the 2nd century CR. ", which I think pretty clearly (sorry) indicates that she is twenty at the start of her memoirs ("begins her memoirs when she was"; note the tenses) and that the writing took place later (given that the Rebellion was approximately at the turn of the century, Midnight would certainly be more than twenty in the latter part).
Ah, okay. Begins != began. I misread a couple letters. She's certainly a late-bloomer, though. Her angst and general emotional immaturity is at mid-teen level. I'll tell ya now, at 20, I was over glaring at people that annoyed me... though I was never one to glare at the back of someone's head. Waste of energy and hardly makes you feel better.
Her mom should have forced her to interact with more her own age. Not to make friends or anything, necessarily, but one can always gain from understanding other viewpoints. Different priorities. Hearing about others' lessons in order to have a better grasp of the merits of her own. Sunbeam undoubtedly benefited from the existence of her competition when they were not actively trying to kill her. Midnight doesn't seem to have any competition, rivals, etc. If she did, she'd have probably mentioned she did at some point, trying to figure out how her latest training would help her surpass some magus or another.
There is nothing so detrimental to progress than a complete lack of context and the apathy toward it that inevitably results.
complete tangent having nothing to do with the current topic:
...I wish we had more (or any) philosophers on this site. I feel like debating the concept of self-betterment. Back in college I was part of a philosophy club  that was kinda-sorta fun. They were all kinda... shallow. We would watch videos like Gattaca that are relatively deep and talk about the major themes, but more often than not they all agreed on something and I would just continue to debate them while they fell back on stating their opinions "felt right" or otherwise just simply "didn't understand" my point of view no matter how much I might try to explain it. They also liked falling back on the old questions of the meaning of life, what is happiness, do we have free will, etc. that I would have hoped they would have figured out by their twenties. It's just not the sort of thing to put off, in my opinion. I'd rather debate the nature and relationship of love and hate, what a particular religion or custom says about the culture it developed in, etc.
...
My kingdom for some deep thinkers. I hope I'm not coming off as too arrogant or judgmental, but I have never understood how so many people can just shrug and move on when presented with questions like these that form the basis of our nature as human beings and our relationship with the world around us. Life feels so much richer when you strive to understand it, whether scientifically or philosophically...

Tangent over, back to responding.

It didn't occur to me at all that Midnight might have a physical combat education; I'd only been thinking of her spellwork. It makes sense, though.
Per the phoenix story, sometimes her training consisted of Sunbeam and Midnight running about firing spells off at each other, practicing dodging the projectiles and forming defensive barriers. She's familiar with how to fight when it's relatively formalized and she's prepared for it. She's just not used to be taken by surprise. I'll bet she's crazy formidable if only someone or someones were to walk up, face her, declare that they were attacking her, and then do so. At least, if she is paying attention at the time and doesn't have her face stuck in a book, for example :P

Oh, sure, their mothers have issues
I think that eventually calmed off, especially by this Midnight's Shadow story. Sunbeam wants the realm to be great and Shadow wants to do Celestia's will... and her will is that the realm to be great. They have relatively identical goals and so are as much allies as any could be allies with Sunbeam.
Sunbeam doesn't want Shadow's job and Shadow knows better than to provoke or order around Sunbeam despite the mare having a lower rank than the royal protector.
The only conflict now is between Gale and Sunbeam, though I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe Gale just likes trying to pick on Sunbeam, knowing the limits to Sunbeam's retaliations. As Midnight observed, Gale loves to hide behind her mother, both literally and figuratively. Her pranks just involve killing ponies and putting the prankee's daughter's life at risk, is all.
I mean, clearly, Gale really dislikes Sunbeam. She IS trying to steal Sunbeam's daughter away and intentionally uses Midnight in ways she knows Sunbeam wouldn't approve of.
I think Midnight is just useful in general to Gale, though. Sunbeam is making every effort to ensure Midnight one day becomes the royal vizier, but the talented, submissive, high-raking magus is useful in dozens of other obvious ways, too.

Directly confronting Gale would likely be a good way to accidentally fall off a tower onto some knives or some like fate.
Probably only as a last resort. Midnight will always be useful to Gale in one way or another so long as Midnight never grows a backbone and/or decides she doesn't trust Gale and considers her an enemy of sorts. After that, if Midnight decided to start making it difficult for Gale to operate the ways she desires (particularly against Sunbeam), Gale would likely feel the need to remove Midnight's ability to interfere. Maybe not killing, though, unless she could kill Sunbeam, too. Gale might doubt that Sunbeam truly cares about her child, seeing the mare as a sort of monster, but I would have a hard time believing she wouldn't kill Sunbeam as a precaution just in case the most powerful magus alive were to pursue revenge. It would be a severe underestimation if she thought her mom would be all the protection she'd need, in such a case. If Midnight died, Sunbeam's spy network would inform her pretty quickly. Sunbeam would inevitably be able to figure out who was responsible for the death and that pony, being Gale, would find every bit of their exposed flesh had been burned down to the bone, her mother being royal protector or not.
Sunbeam does not entertain revenge (other than answering slights with slights, because she cannot appear to be a pushover). There is no point in it. What happens, happens. It's best to use the sense of guilt and duty being wronged develops to manipulate the one who wronged her.
Midnight overrides this concept, as well as many of her other sensibilities. Sunbeam is decidedly irrational when it comes to her daughter. As Midnight herself once noted, if she were to die, Sunbeam would be thrown into a rage. In my limited knowledge, seeing what she is already capable of and the sheer breadth of ability and knowledge she's accrued, I figure it would be unlike had ever been seen in a warlock before her. I've no doubt none but Celestia could stop her and Sunbeam likely has a way to, at the very least, incapacitate or avoid the princess long-enough for those that lead to the death of Midnight to be found and dealt with horribly painfully.
...and, of course, maiming would likely carry a somewhat similar response.
Sunbeam is one hell of a mama bear.

More tangent:
Oh, and maybe I should apologize for the overload of text, here... as well as my annoyance when you don't respond with your own thoughts and musings and, instead, simply "save energy" by posting a smilie face. I mean, I'm not actually sorry at all, but maybe I should apologize, despite. I've just been so starved for the exchange of musings and ideas, lately. The PH topic has died all but entirely in regards to speculation, no one in the chat thread would ever entertain an extended discussion on anything whatsoever, and your settings thread is so firmly built upon pages and pages of headcanon that I've failed to read that I can hardly make heads or tails of it. It's no longer about any published fic I can talk about the lore of, but about these places, characters and groups you've made up. A bit too hard to get into, for me, without a compelling narrative to color in the lines.
No offense, of course :P

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:17 pm

O. Hinds wrote:Oh, well, firstly, I think that we may have been confused about when we're thinking of; for Sunbeam's original plans, after all, none of this has happened.
Secondly, I don't think that the pegasi hated Celestia at the point you seem to be working at (they nominated Shadow for Commander in large part because of her positive relations with Celestia, after all), and the earth ponies were angry at Sunbeam; Celestia being struck and wounded would have escalated the riot if she had been the target.  If she conceded the election gracefully and particularly if she was seen to give Sunbeam some punishment, I think that the matter could have been smoothed over.
Thirdly, I agree that they wouldn't take her as ruler.  That doesn't mean that they can't grant her political asylum as a private citizen; the ones who like her will want to help her and the ones who don't like her will enjoy seeing her begging them for help.  And from there, well, Celestia's immortal.  She has time to work, to ingratiate herself, and, of course, to correct the faults in herself that lead to this state of affairs in the first place.
I think I'm going to need a little more help understanding Sunbeam's original plan.
Sunbeam's plan, from what I can see, was to defame the pegasi's ability to govern themselves, showing how corrupted, brutal and backward they are, in her eyes. She did this avidly and directly, having her investigators blatantly disrespect every major and minor house in Pegasopolis. It was never likely to end without some kind of incident, though I'd wager she expected a few investigators being beat up rather than one being killed over words. The implication that Doo had killed his wife was out of nowhere and doubt Celestia would have blamed him if he had responded by knocking the investigator's teeth out.
This would have likely been spun to make the investigator the victim in the eyes of the unicorn public, with or without Sunbeam having a hoof in it, while Doo's actions would be defended by every pegasi. Thus, the relationship between pegasi and unicorns would strain all the more while the earth ponies remain ambivalent.
Still, I really think Celestia being removed for this insult was a far more likely outcome than was the pegasi accepting their government taking even a single step toward being reformed under the unicorn system, not that she would have likely gotten a chance to try anything like that after the investigation was botched and she refused to call it off. Their constitution, as written down in a book forged of steel, was entirely binding. It had not changed since it was made law. I don't think even a single clause could be revised without significant resistance.
So... Sunbeam's plan was really very weak, in my opinion. The most likely result of it was always that the pegasi would remove Celestia from office but maintain friendly relations with the other two empires. Time would pass, maybe Celestia would eventually be forgiven, etc... but it would still all be a pretty wasted effort on Sunbeam's part. Sure, Celestia might eventually end up as the commander of the pegasi again, now more committed to governing them, and might really work toward reforming the pegasi government under the unicorn one step by painfully-long step, but yeah... I dunno. Sunbeam would be long, long, long dead by the time any progress was made.
The war, as dangerous and terrible as it was, resulted in the one grand empire well within her lifetime. Within ten years, in fact. That just sounds a little more like a Sunbeam plan, to me. Brutal, direct, successful.

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by swicked on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:25 pm

Lastly, I read the third chapter of Midnight's Shadow.
Midnight groans about having to perform this investigation herself, interviews the mayor and is annoyed the mare couldn't just tell her why the ponies were missing (she asked her if there was a connection between those missing, Carrot said she couldn't think of one, and Midnight basically declared her to be unhelpful).
She then talks about how it was probably some monster that ripped them apart, which is dumb because a monster wouldn't hide the freaking bloodstains or remaining entrails. Even Gale points out it'd be hard for a monster, of all things, to make so many disappear without ever being seen or leaving any trace.

Then, after all this complaining about investigations, she just goes and casts a tracking spell.
Why didn't she do that in the first place? Tell the mayor to get some remaining bits of biological material of the ponies, then cast the spell. Easy.

Though I must admit, the idea of her taking shade in her own shadow is quite amusing. Vaguely poetic :P

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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

Post by O. Hinds on Fri Feb 14, 2014 9:57 pm

swicked wrote:I empathize with you from earlier. It's hard to keep in mind that Gale doesn't actually want Midnight to be competent in battle what with her insisting she does all the time.
Which is, of course, exactly the idea. :)

swicked wrote:Stalwart is a pretty great accomplice, too. The guy's so set in his ways he probably forgets he's talking to a magus half the time. Everyone should follow the same teachings that have kept him alive for so long, in his opinion, so why shouldn't this tiny mare? It's not like she has anything to make up for that lack of physical superiority...
I've not been sure exactly what Stalwart's motivations were (though he's clearly on the Kicker side), but that works.

swicked wrote:Thank you, I can respond to this FAR better than I can ":)"!
Sorry again.

swicked wrote:At some point I really need to figure out how to type as fast as I think.
I have that problem too. My mother claims to be able to type faster than she can think, but I'm not sure how that works.

swicked wrote:She's certainly a late-bloomer, though. Her angst and general emotional immaturity is at mid-teen level. I'll tell ya now, at 20, I was over glaring at people that annoyed me... though I was never one to glare at the back of someone's head. Waste of energy and hardly makes you feel better.
Her mom should have forced her to interact with more her own age. Not to make friends or anything, necessarily, but one can always gain from understanding other viewpoints. Different priorities. Hearing about others' lessons in order to have a better grasp of the merits of her own. Sunbeam undoubtedly benefited from the existence of her competition when they were not actively trying to kill her. Midnight doesn't seem to have any competition, rivals, etc. If she did, she'd have probably mentioned she did at some point, trying to figure out how her latest training would help her surpass some magus or another.
There is nothing so detrimental to progress than a complete lack of context and the apathy toward it that inevitably results.
Aye, between Sunbeam and Gale, well…

Reply to Tangent:
swicked wrote:...I wish we had more (or any) philosophers on this site. I feel like debating the concept of self-betterment. Back in college I was part of a philosophy club that was kinda-sorta fun. They were all kinda... shallow. We would watch videos like Gattaca that are relatively deep and talk about the major themes, but more often than not they all agreed on something and I would just continue to debate them while they fell back on stating their opinions "felt right" or otherwise just simply "didn't understand" my point of view no matter how much I might try to explain it. They also liked falling back on the old questions of the meaning of life, what is happiness, do we have free will, etc. that I would have hoped they would have figured out by their twenties. It's just not the sort of thing to put off, in my opinion. I'd rather debate the nature and relationship of love and hate, what a particular religion or custom says about the culture it developed in, etc.
...
My kingdom for some deep thinkers. I hope I'm not coming off as too arrogant or judgmental, but I have never understood how so many people can just shrug and move on when presented with questions like these that form the basis of our nature as human beings and our relationship with the world around us. Life feels so much richer when you strive to understand it, whether scientifically or philosophically...
Well, I don't think that I ever bothered to try to figure out what happiness was, since it seems to me to be kind of fundamental. I certainly addressed the meaning of life and the existence of free will, though, and I'm interested in the sort of cultural things you mentioned.
I do sort of understand the shrugging and moving on too, though, since that's basically what I did with regard to another classic piece of teenage inquiry (figuring out my sexual orientation).

swicked wrote:Per the phoenix story, sometimes her training consisted of Sunbeam and Midnight running about firing spells off at each other, practicing dodging the projectiles and forming defensive barriers. She's familiar with how to fight when it's relatively formalized and she's prepared for it. She's just not used to be taken by surprise. I'll bet she's crazy formidable if only someone or someones were to walk up, face her, declare that they were attacking her, and then do so. At least, if she is paying attention at the time and doesn't have her face stuck in a book, for example :P
Right. Do not challenge her to a duel, but the problem is that skill on the firing range is not the same as skill on the battlefield.

swicked wrote:I think that eventually calmed off, especially by this Midnight's Shadow story. Sunbeam wants the realm to be great and Shadow wants to do Celestia's will... and her will is that the realm to be great. They have relatively identical goals and so are as much allies as any could be allies with Sunbeam.
Sunbeam doesn't want Shadow's job and Shadow knows better than to provoke or order around Sunbeam despite the mare having a lower rank than the royal protector.
The only conflict now is between Gale and Sunbeam, though I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe Gale just likes trying to pick on Sunbeam, knowing the limits to Sunbeam's retaliations. As Midnight observed, Gale loves to hide behind her mother, both literally and figuratively. Her pranks just involve killing ponies and putting the prankee's daughter's life at risk, is all.
I mean, clearly, Gale really dislikes Sunbeam. She IS trying to steal Sunbeam's daughter away and intentionally uses Midnight in ways she knows Sunbeam wouldn't approve of.
I think Midnight is just useful in general to Gale, though. Sunbeam is making every effort to ensure Midnight one day becomes the royal vizier, but the talented, submissive, high-raking magus is useful in dozens of other obvious ways, too.
Oh, relations have certainly improved, but I think that there's still tension there. I think that Gale and Shadow are still working together on this and playing roles. Sunbeam isn't going to like Gale anyway, because Sunbeam can see at least some of what Gale is doing to her daughter… so why not, when Shadow and Gale have a problem with Sunbeam that they need to confront her about, have Gale work on it? And if Shadow and Gale have something that Sunbeam will really like or a favor to ask of her, have Shadow do it. Sure, Sunbeam might suspect, but there's at least some degree of plausible deniability.

swicked wrote:Probably only as a last resort. Midnight will always be useful to Gale in one way or another so long as Midnight never grows a backbone and/or decides she doesn't trust Gale and considers her an enemy of sorts. After that, if Midnight decided to start making it difficult for Gale to operate the ways she desires (particularly against Sunbeam), Gale would likely feel the need to remove Midnight's ability to interfere. Maybe not killing, though, unless she could kill Sunbeam, too. Gale might doubt that Sunbeam truly cares about her child, seeing the mare as a sort of monster, but I would have a hard time believing she wouldn't kill Sunbeam as a precaution just in case the most powerful magus alive were to pursue revenge. It would be a severe underestimation if she thought her mom would be all the protection she'd need, in such a case. If Midnight died, Sunbeam's spy network would inform her pretty quickly. Sunbeam would inevitably be able to figure out who was responsible for the death and that pony, being Gale, would find every bit of their exposed flesh had been burned down to the bone, her mother being royal protector or not.
Sunbeam does not entertain revenge (other than answering slights with slights, because she cannot appear to be a pushover). There is no point in it. What happens, happens. It's best to use the sense of guilt and duty being wronged develops to manipulate the one who wronged her.
Midnight overrides this concept, as well as many of her other sensibilities. Sunbeam is decidedly irrational when it comes to her daughter. As Midnight herself once noted, if she were to die, Sunbeam would be thrown into a rage. In my limited knowledge, seeing what she is already capable of and the sheer breadth of ability and knowledge she's accrued, I figure it would be unlike had ever been seen in a warlock before her. I've no doubt none but Celestia could stop her and Sunbeam likely has a way to, at the very least, incapacitate or avoid the princess long-enough for those that lead to the death of Midnight to be found and dealt with horribly painfully.
...and, of course, maiming would likely carry a somewhat similar response.
Sunbeam is one hell of a mama bear.
Agreed.

Reply to More Tangent:
swicked wrote:Oh, and maybe I should apologize for the overload of text, here... as well as my annoyance when you don't respond with your own thoughts and musings and, instead, simply "save energy" by posting a smilie face. I mean, I'm not actually sorry at all, but maybe I should apologize, despite. I've just been so starved for the exchange of musings and ideas, lately. The PH topic has died all but entirely in regards to speculation, no one in the chat thread would ever entertain an extended discussion on anything whatsoever
Oh, it's quite fine, and understandable.

swicked wrote:and your settings thread is so firmly built upon pages and pages of headcanon that I've failed to read that I can hardly make heads or tails of it. It's no longer about any published fic I can talk about the lore of, but about these places, characters and groups you've made up. A bit too hard to get into, for me, without a compelling narrative to color in the lines.
No offense, of course :P
None taken. :) I'm aware that I have some somewhat esoteric tastes.

swicked wrote:I think I'm going to need a little more help understanding Sunbeam's original plan.
Sunbeam's plan, from what I can see, was to defame the pegasi's ability to govern themselves, showing how corrupted, brutal and backward they are, in her eyes. She did this avidly and directly, having her investigators blatantly disrespect every major and minor house in Pegasopolis. It was never likely to end without some kind of incident, though I'd wager she expected a few investigators being beat up rather than one being killed over words. The implication that Doo had killed his wife was out of nowhere and doubt Celestia would have blamed him if he had responded by knocking the investigator's teeth out.
This would have likely been spun to make the investigator the victim in the eyes of the unicorn public, with or without Sunbeam having a hoof in it, while Doo's actions would be defended by every pegasi. Thus, the relationship between pegasi and unicorns would strain all the more while the earth ponies remain ambivalent.
Still, I really think Celestia being removed for this insult was a far more likely outcome than was the pegasi accepting their government taking even a single step toward being reformed under the unicorn system, not that she would have likely gotten a chance to try anything like that after the investigation was botched and she refused to call it off. Their constitution, as written down in a book forged of steel, was entirely binding. It had not changed since it was made law. I don't think even a single clause could be revised without significant resistance.
So... Sunbeam's plan was really very weak, in my opinion. The most likely result of it was always that the pegasi would remove Celestia from office but maintain friendly relations with the other two empires. Time would pass, maybe Celestia would eventually be forgiven, etc... but it would still all be a pretty wasted effort on Sunbeam's part. Sure, Celestia might eventually end up as the commander of the pegasi again, now more committed to governing them, and might really work toward reforming the pegasi government under the unicorn one step by painfully-long step, but yeah... I dunno. Sunbeam would be long, long, long dead by the time any progress was made.
The war, as dangerous and terrible as it was, resulted in the one grand empire well within her lifetime. Within ten years, in fact. That just sounds a little more like a Sunbeam plan, to me. Brutal, direct, successful.
Hm… I am wavering, but I still have doubts. You say, for instance, that the possible teeth-outknocking of the investigator would be spun to make them the victim in the eyes of the unicorn public. Why? It seems to me more productive to spin the incident as a sign of how bad relations have gotten, that the investigator thinking that plausible enough to say was an indicator that the tribes were too separate. After all, they would not have said that to another unicorn. Start a cultural exchange and education program, and, while you're at it, bring in the earth ponies; sure, you've not heard about any problems over there, but you'd not heard about problems with the pegasi, either. And once you've got the cultural exchange up and running, maybe tighten up and formalize some trade agreements…
You have a point about the Pegasopolian constitution being written in steel, but I still have difficulty believing that something so destructive and hard to control as a civil war would be Sunbeam's first option. She'd do it if she had to, certainly, but to go to it first?

swicked wrote:Why didn't she do that in the first place? Tell the mayor to get some remaining bits of biological material of the ponies, then cast the spell. Easy.
I'm not sure. Midnight seems to have a rather ingrained low opinion of the locals, though.
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Re: The True Story of Shadow Kicker (and other Winningverse speculation)

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