Wrap yourself in today’s story for an unusual take on a princess’ tale.
In Amber Clad
[Drama] [Slice of Life] • 1,484 words
Forged in fires of magic and charcoal. Worn with pride, damaged in battle after battle in times when ponies were no strangers to war. Repaired again and again. A regal mare’s suit of armour tells a small but significant part of her story.
FROM THE CURATORS: We’re always on the lookout for exemplars of the wide range of stories that can be told through fanfiction — which put this unusual examination of Princess Luna’s rise, fall, and rehabilitation right in our sweet spot. “This is a nice historical piece, giving us a first-hand view of Equestria’s lengthy litany of conflicts, great and small, and it’s all told by Luna’s armor,” Present Perfect said. “An interesting concept, and probably the thing that really makes this shine, no pun intended.” He wasn’t the only one to note the piece’s ambitious scope. “This walks the reader admirably from a pre-Equestrian time all the way to show (and comic) canon,” Soge said.
Much of our debate on the story, oddly, centered on the story not feeling unusual enough. “This is less ‘what would a set of armour think/feel/believe’ and more ‘a well-known story told from a different angle’,” Chris said. “Still, this story does combine a ‘faithful servant’ theme with the general plot of Luna’s ascension/fall/redemption.” Soge was among the dissenters: “While the voicing of the armor isn’t particularly unique, I’d argue that the things it chooses to focus on are.” And Horizon found that compromise a strength: “It manages to make a potentially gimmicky story feel comfortable and plausible,” Horizon said. “And while it felt like a triumph of idea over execution, the prose didn’t get in the way of the idea.”
What tipped the story over the top were the little touches of worldbuilding that showed us MLP’s cast from a different angle. “I also like the characterization provided through little touches like Luna’s reasoning for the armor’s form — which economically tells us a lot both about the narrator and the princess,” Horizon said. Present Perfect agreed: “The armor even gets a little characterization when it encounters the armor Luna wears as Nightmare Moon,” he said. “If anything about this story sticks with me, it’s that scene.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Word Worthy discusses diplomatic rifts, inside-out hats, and X-Files research notes.
Give us the standard biography.
Not much to tell! Am a 21-year-old pharmacy technician away from the internet and have been involved with the fandom since the great ol’ year of 2013 when I was first drawn in by bizarre curiosity stemming from the Flutterdragon and other hilarious MLP mods in Skyrim. A very, very small number of readers of this might recognise me from the mass-editing work I did for a long while until just early last year.
The first episode I actually ever watched was Magical Mystery Cure, and then Too Many Pinkie Pies wherein Pinkie Pie’s joking jab at the previous generations of MLP had me falling out of my chair from laughter. Been hooked ever since!
I was already into fanfiction before joining the fandom, and once I discovered first MLP stories on FanFiction.net and then FiMFiction proper … well, the rest is history!
How did you come up with your handle/penname?
I actually started writing MLP fics under the penname of “Izanagi” during my earlier years of East Asia and anime fascination. Word Worthy I eventually devised in the middle of 2015 as a permutation of the character Noteworthy’s name — a background pony that I like — and I found it so catchy and meshed well with my tendency towards wordy paragraphs laden with probably too much detail that I stuck with it to this very day.
Plus folks tend to call me Words. I find it oddly endearing … heh.
Who’s your favorite pony?
Was once exclusively just Twilight, long long ago. Can never have just one though, as I have so many primary favourites — though if it had to be just one, Princess Luna all the way! (All Princesses are best Princess though!)
What’s your favorite episode?
That is a close tie between Twilight’s Kingdom Parts One and Two and … dare I say, Magical Mystery Cure.
What do you get from the show?
To say “quite a lot” is an understatement, as the show itself singlehandedly resurrected my ability to write that had been dormant since elementary/private school. Even more importantly, the show spawned a fandom that has gifted me with the closest and most dearest friends I have ever had. Cliche, I know, but the show has really taught me a thing or two about friendships, being a better person, and seeking more out of life in general.
What do you want from life?
Once, I wanted to be an astronomer, then it shifted to so many other aspirations that it’s not even funny. Now, writing and video game design stand at the forefront of things. It is my goal to move to Canada, having been born and grew up in the US but with a significant chunk of my closest friends being Canadian. Overwhelmingly, the motivation of why I am moving is to be with the good friends I have made up there, and the move marches ever closer.
After that, I will have a clean slate and will be able to lead a more adventurous life whilst also gearing up to begin laying the groundwork for my first novel series.
Why do you write?
The impulse is always there in the back of my mind — even when I am zoning out and facing writer’s block, ironically enough — to brainstorm new ideas for vague characters, settings, plot points, etc. It is a raw urge to worldbuild and create that underlies my passion for the art of writing.
When I find the energy to ignite that passion, though that might not always happen as frequently as I wish it could, my keyboard always ends up smoking from overuse and I wind up with chapters of ridiculous proportions in word count. It is essentially instinct to want to create these new things, these new worlds, and then populate them and make them vibrant — and since I am as of yet a terrible drawer/illustrator, let alone painting or animation, writing is my medium.
What advice do you have for the authors out there?
Starting with a universal one: write for fun. Fame second, recognition second, money second. You have to write for yourself first before you write for any other reason. The story almost always stems from your subconscious and everything it gathers from your day to day experiences and overall knowledge, and if that subconscious is not having fun with what it is weaving, sooner or later it will begin to tire out quickly and you might just bottleneck both your creativity and your productivity.
Furthermore, if you have a terrible memory like mine, outlines and story notes are usually your friends. They don’t need to be so ridiculously elaborate like mine that you would mistake them for Agent Fox Mulder’s personal investigative files and research notes, but just enough that they work for you and help you keep what you produce from moments of inspiration before they can slip away and be forgotten or misremembered.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly: never be afraid to experiment and try new things! If something you try fails, try not to be let down or beat yourself up! Learn from it and use that data/findings to grow as a writer!
What were the challenges associated with writing from the perspective of an inanimate object?
The true challenge was word choice that Luna’s armour would have used. I asked myself, “How would you describe the world, or your superiors, or such and such if you were an inanimate object in that world?” I got really picky prior to writing the story in full over just how exactly the armour would “phrase” things, and ultimately it all came together to overcome that narrative obstacle by me focusing upon the opinion and “feelings” this suit of armour would have towards its master that has cared for it for so long, designed it, fought in it, cried in it, so on and so forth.
I chose a very reverent, poetic, and adoring type of language for the armour to use when speaking of Luna, and I ended up very satisfied with how it turned out.
Are all suits of armor in this world sentient? Is Nightmare Moon’s? What about other objects?
Personally, I consider the vast majority of suits of armour — and any other object in which magical sapient creatures like ponies (even humans, were they a species in this world) place intrinsic value and have emotional attachment to — can in effect give that object a soul. This is especially true when they forge, enchant, or otherwise help in the creation of this object, since they are proverbially putting a part of themselves into its fundamental makeup.
Nightmare Moon’s armour is most definitely no exception to this line of thinking, and it very much would have a soul. In fact, the possible interactions it would have with Luna’s armour fascinate me, the more I think about it.
What’s your take on Equestria’s military history?
I personally view Equestria’s military history as never one of perfect peace. It was invaded and has invaded other nations many a time, before and during the Princesses’ rule, for one reason or another. Most of these conflicts were grey, and in conflicts where morals really did show, Equestria usually was the side of more even-tempered and harmonious thinking, caring more about ending war as quickly as possible and encouraging the mending of diplomatic rifts over matters like conquest, settling old scores, or prestige. This was not always the case though, for even Celestia and Luna were young and naive once, and before them, there is always the fact that ponies are people. They can destroy just as surely as they can create.
And in line with all that, old fashioned magic, blade, and arrow has given way to magic-gun-blade during Luna’s long absence and the gradual and mixed industrialisation of the kingdom, and then to gun-magic-blade-war machine as of a century and a half at least before Twilight Sparkle and the Mane Six were born. I build this headcanon partly off of the tiny little fun tidbits we get in the show, like Granny Smith’s old combat helmet seen in Family Appreciation Day, ‘tank’, ‘bullet’, you name it!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I would like to thank all my readers, past, present, and future who humble me by taking the time to read my works, and just as importantly I want to thank all my good friends who help me achieve and grow, especially Rain Fire of RF and AG, whose epic writing inspired me for the longest time. Without her, I would be wearing my hats upside down or inside out, and all of my work after In Amber Clad would pale in comparison to how it turned out with her friendship to propel me. All of you, you know who ya are, give my writing meaning and push me to do greater.
I would also like to extend my gratitude for being offered this wonderful platform. It is an honour and it absolutely blew my mind when I received word of this interview. I am glad that In Amber Clad inspired such enjoyment and thought! To think, that the beautiful name of a starship from the Halo series could drive me to write about Luna’s armour.