You’re destined to like tonight’s story.
[Tragedy] • 3,322 words
Prophecy is a dangerous game; meanings which are obvious can become obscure in an instant, and fates are laid bare only in hindsight.
After the fall of Discord but before the rise of Nightmare Moon, a dragon breaks the peace between its race and ponykind, and Princess Luna flies to mete out justice.
FROM THE CURATORS: Longtime RCL curator Chris recently took a step back from pony fanfiction, but he’s built a long legacy — not just of story reviews, but also of quality tales of his own. While there were no shortage of feature candidates in his catalogue (“Going Up was a wonderful tale of Best Pony at her best,” FanOfMostEverything noted), the sheer ambition of Wyrmlysan gave it a narrow edge. “This is how you make ‘epic’ happen in a short wordcount,” Present Perfect said. “Every word is steeped in grandiosity, in portentousness.” FanOfMostEverything elaborated: “At its core, Wyrmlysan is wonderfully mythic in tone, with beings far beyond mortals parlaying over pacts made in the mists of time. Luna is awesome in the original sense of the word, and the way the story foreshadows Nightmare Moon provides a chilling counterpoint to Luna’s actions in service to her ponies.”
And while we found ourselves dancing around the specifics, the tale accumulated unanimous praise for the fine handling of its narrative. “This is a clever and deceptive story, and saying much about the plot would be doing it a disservice,” Soge said. “Suffice to say that it is very subtle in its presentation, smartly hiding or showing things in order to mislead the reader, but never outright obscuring relevant information.” AugieDog — whose 2014 Nocturnes contest prompted the story — found that a strength of the author in general: “Chris’ finesse in setting up my expectations and then flipping them sideways is just plain lovely. The flip in ‘Going Up’ when Derpy explains her invention to Carrot Top is as joyful a moment as I’ve had from a story in a long time, while the flip at the end of ‘Wyrmlysan’ is shattering.”
And the story pulled that off while juggling multiple pieces of a richly layered tale. “This deftly interweaves two solid stories — one about confronting one’s immutable destiny and one about the build-up to Nightmare Moon — in a way that enhances both,” Horizon said. “It’s telling that the interplay with Luna’s guards feels tenser and more fraught than her fight with the dragon, and the story uses that tension to great effect.” It all added up, as RBDash47 said, to a piece that not just stood the test of time but transcended it: “The lore created here is really something incredible, especially considering that it was published a full two years before ‘Gauntlet of Fire’ aired,” he said. “And far from the usual fanfiction fate of being Jossed by later canon, it’s actually enhanced by it.”
Read on for our author interview, in which Chris discusses brain bugs, hipster glasses, and Golden Harvests.