Soldier of the Night is a comedy-drama slice-of-life adventure fan-fiction written by Skyfire Storm, released on August 7, 2014, on FIMFiction, and on December 29th of that same year on FanFiction.net, Soldier of the Night, or SoTN, is by far Skyfire's most well-received story to date. The story is currently on hold but is expected to be completed by December 2019-January 2020.
|Soldier of the Night|
|Date published||8/7/14 (FiMFiction) |
|Type/genre||Dark, romance, drama, AU, slice of life|
|Related to||Under the Moonlight |
The Veins Run Deep
The Veins Run Deeper
As a high-ranking and valued member of the Lunar Guard of Equestria, Stormfire's day-to-day life generally revolves around protecting the ponies he holds close to his heart, as well as the Night Princess herself from any possible threats. But just how far will he go to carry out his guard duties? And why does he want to protect them in the first place?
This is his story to tell, just like everypony else has one of their own.
This is his life.
Chapter 1 begins in January of 1988 in the city of Gryffsvale on the border between Itaily and the Griffon Empire, where our hero is born. His father, Blazefire is a soldier stationed near the city, while his mother, Equinox works on the city's weather team, being the one of the only two Pegasi on a team made up entirely of Griffons. At the height of the First Griffon War, Blazefire is sent to the battlefields hundreds of miles away to replace a fallen soldier, and leaving a tearful Equinox and their yet-unborn foal behind.
Soon enough, a month passes since Blaze's departure, and Equinox, though she still misses her husband dearly, tries her hardest to move on and prepare for the birth of their foal. With the help of two of her friends, a female Griffon named Ava and a Pegasus mare named Buttermilk, she manages to make sure that her due date for the foal goes as planned. While at lunch at Ava's home in the outskirts of Gryffsvale, Equinox begins to feel strange, but she dismisses the nauseating feeling she experiences as just cramps. After excusing herself from the dinner table, Equinox goes upstairs to the bathroom, but along the way, the cramps become more intense, and eventually she feels pain. However, before she could react to the pain, she is noticed by Buttermilk's young son, Corn Cob, who asks her if she is alright, to whom she fibs that she is. However, suddenly, she feels a sharp pain in her abdomen, which spreads across her body in seconds. Letting out a shrill scream which alerts her friends downstairs, Equinox is flown to the hospital by Ava's husband, Vortex, a hospital worker, followed by Buttermilk, Ava and Corn Cob in a carriage. After arriving at the hospital's maternity ward and going through a long, stressful and painful labor, a heavily sedated Equinox manages to give birth to a blue Pegasus colt, whom she names Stormfire, the 'Storm' part of his name coming from her occupation, and the 'Fire' part of his name coming from the name of the foal's father, Blazefire. Watching as the small colt nuzzles against her, she caresses his tiny mane with her muzzle, tears of happiness rolling out of her eyes as she does so. She is now a mother and that is whom she'll be til the end.
The chapter ends with Equinox being taken home by Vortex, who works at the city hospital, in a wheelchair along with her sleeping colt. On their way home across town, they discuss Stormfire's future and whether or not Equinox will be a good mother. Vortex points out that Storm may end up being a future genius beloved by everypony, like what Einspone or Starswirl the Bearded had become, but Equinox admits that she would rather have him follow his dreams. Upon arriving home, the mother tucks her young son into his crib upstairs, before opening an envelope that came in the mail from the Equestrian Military, which stated that her husband was found dead on the battlefields. The chapter ends with her breaking down in tears, collapsing onto the floor with the letter in her hooves.
Several years pass, and the mother and son adjust to their life without Blaze, especially Equinox, who came to terms with her loss early on. The six-year-old Storm, meanwhile, is completely oblivious to the fact that his father was killed in action, having been told by Equinox that Blaze went on a 'business trip', and goes on to start school at the Griffsvale Junior School. There he befriends a young Griffon named Sharpbeak and a Pegasus filly named Rainwynd, whom he grows close to in the space of a few hours. He also finds himself picked on by a Griffon named Lightning Wing, a former friend of Sharpbeak in pre-school who seemingly holds a strong grudge against ponies, though at first Storm doesn't take this too seriously and instead goes about with his schooling.
As the years go by, the three friends grow closer and closer, but ten-year-old Storm's self-confidence wanes after crashing into a tree branch during a botched game of 'aerial tag'. It is then revealed that Storm had been taking flight lessons since age 5, but to no avail seeing as he still cannot concentrate properly whilst in-flight despite the fact that some of the best flight coaches around were hired to teach him all there is to know. A despondent Storm tearfully asks his mom at the dinner table about his father's whereabouts, leading her to finally come to the conclusion that her 'business trip' excuse was not going to work much longer.
That evening, Equinox makes her way upstairs to Storm's bedroom, where the young colt is reading an ice hockey magazine. His mom walks into the bedroom and tearfully proceeds to tell him about what really happened to his father, effectively bringing Storm's world to a crashing halt. The colt grows understandably angry with his mom but calms down when she tells him the story of how the two met at high school in Cloudsdale. It is revealed Equinox spent her high school career studying to become a meteorologist, which led her to become highly unpopular with the 'cool kids' at school, who frequently made fun of her looks and introverted, nerdy nature. One day, while walking down a hallway to her next class, Equinox bumped into Blazefire, whom she admired from afar, and fell in love with him. Bringing the story of how she met and married her one true love up to present-day, Equinox finishes on a rather somber note by explaining what happened to Storm's father, bursting into tears shortly thereafter. Storm is furious at his mother for keeping it a secret for so long instead of telling him the truth; Equinox admits that she did it to protect his innocence and make sure that he 'doesn't go through the same pain' that she went through on finding out what happened to her husband, before apologizing. Storm appears to forgive her, crying into her coat and asking her about the reason he died; Equinox, not being able to answer the colt's question, explains to him that 'things like that just happen', before admitting that if Blazefire was still alive he'd be proud of his son, just as she is. The mother and son soon reconcile, Equinox offering one final apology to her son for what she did.
Walking home from school, Storm ponders over his mother's sudden revelation, which still remains fresh in his mind;
- Stormfire - the main protagonist of the story: a tall, muscular, dark blue-coated Pegasus stallion with a troubled past trying to make it in the Cloudsdale Lunar Guard and later in the Zodiacs. The story is centered around his dark past and his quest to find a place he can call ‘home’.
- Storm is somewhat well-known in both the Cloudsdale and Canterlot Royal Guards for having picked up the skill of archery during his deployment in Ajeristan; this results in him being scouted by the Zodiacs as an archery instructor.
- Blue Night - Storm's marefriend and eventual wife, a music teacher at the local high school originally from Mareami and the daughter of Storm's flight coach in Cloudsdale. She is a beautiful, kind-hearted, yet very shy and meek Pegasus mare with prodigious musical talent, whom Storm met on his first lesson at flight school. She is musically-inclined, but despite her professional achievements Blue struggled with making friends, having been rejected at one point by the only friend she had due to her initial lack of a cutie mark, until she met Storm, with whom she started a blossoming relationship not long after she befriended him.
- Blue was originally a weather mare but Skyfire changed her eventual occupation to that of a music teacher at the local high school because the ‘musician’ aspect of her character was initially underdeveloped.
- Equinox Moon - Storm's worrisome, yet supportive and loving mother, who raised him single-handedly for over ten years after his biological father was presumably killed on the battlefield during an ambush until she married an old flame from high school, High Wind. She is hugely devoted to her son and stepchildren but is fearsome when angered.
- High Wind - A rough and tough, yet ultimately good-hearted and caring weather pony from Cloudsdale. One of Equinox's closest friends in high school, High Wind fell in love with her the moment she and Storm moved to Cloudsdale and married her almost a year later, despite still reeling from the sudden death of his wife in a tornado. Although it took a while for Storm to get used to High, he’d eventually accepted him as his stepfather after saving him from a gang of local bullies. Storm's relationship with his stepfather is complex from the start and full of ups and downs.
- Gust Wind - Storm's elder stepbrother, a struggling guitarist whose life is turned around and improved by Storm's actions. Later on in the story, he begins work at a music store and later takes ownership of it after its previous owner retires, marrying the owner’s daughter also.
- Mist River - Storm's younger stepsister, an excitable and ditzy, yet kind-hearted and wise weather mare who helps Storm stick to the right path.
- Thunderblast - A Royal Guard whom Storm befriends during training in Canterlot, despite having initially met him several years before at a sparring session hosted by the Cloudsdale Royal Guard.
- Hurricane Force - Hurricane was, prior to becoming Storm's best friend, a cruel, heartless and sadistic bully who continuously tormented Storm and his friends, but over time, his feelings towards Storm softened, and he ended up apologizing to the stallion during a flight lesson. Both Hurricane and Storm serve together in the Marine Corps later on in the story, and their friendship is thus strengthened.
- His initial hate and distrust towards Storm stems from the fact that he lost his own father, a Royal Guard, during the Great Griffon War at the hands of a Griffon soldier.
- Solar Flare - Another Guard who is close friends with Storm.
- Singer Case - Storm's friend in high school, an aspiring singer and musician originally from Canterlot, whose backstory is explored in Auto-Buscus' Finding Home (2013).
- Violet Petals - Storm's other friend throughout his schooling. Her backstory is also explored in Finding Home, albeit to a lesser extent.
- Originally both these characters were meant to play much bigger roles in the story, but this idea was scrapped when Skyfire Storm feared that Soldier of the Night may turn out to be too similar to his previous fan fiction as a result, the highly negatively-received Blue Skye's Story, in which the title character's two closest friends were Singer and Violet. Regardless of this, Skyfire is still on friendly terms with their creator, Auto-Buscus, and is open to the possibility of a cameo appearance for these two characters in a future chapter.
- Night Shadow - Another one of Storm's friends in the Guard, a half-bat half-Pegasus stallion implied to be from a bat pony city close to Vanhoover. He has a cameo role in one of the later chapters of the story as one of the high-ranking Lunar Guards who is present at Storm's Medal of Honor ceremony, and his friendship with Storm is featured in The Veins Run Deeper.
- Tornado -Storm's former boss at the Cloudsdale weather factory and a former soldier himself, now suffering from PTSD and depression after the loss of his brother during the Griffon War.
- Blazefire - Stormfire's biological father, a soldier who is killed by a Griffon on the battlefield in the prologue.
- Lilli- a female weather pony from Vanhoover, whom Storm befriends in Chapter 27 upon moving there. For a short while soon after, they become a couple.
- Rainwynd- an old friend of Storm from the Griffon Empire now living in Detrot, MI. Implied to have moved to Equestria several years after Storm and his mother moved there themselves, she becomes a famous actress almost overnight after auditioning for a blockbuster film which earns millions at the box office. It is strongly implied that Rain had harbored a crush on Storm ever since they were kids.
- Skylar - Storm and Blue's daughter.
Soldier of the Night has to date received exceptional critical acclaim, having garnered 48 likes and 4 dislikes as of October 2019. It also currently has close to 1,650 story views and over 24,000 total views. The story has been praised for its character development and expansive, immersive nature covering several decades but has received some minor criticism for its plot and the amount of time often taken between chapters.
- Skyfire considers Soldier of the Night to be his 'masterpiece', despite not holding a very high opinion of the story himself. He also considers it to be what his previous OC-centered fan-fiction, Blue Skye's Story was meant to be all along.
- Most of the characters featured in the story are OCs that Skyfire either created or ones that belong to his friends. Canon characters will appear in the story, however, they won't play as big of a part in it as the OCs do.
- SoTN is set in the Pegiverse, an alternate universe devised by both Thunderblast and Skyfire Storm where most forms of modern technology do exist, with the notable exception of automobiles.
- Most, if not all, of the Equestrian cities featured in this story are depicted as being much larger both in terms of area and in terms of population than their canon counterparts are implied to be, with Canterlot being roughly the size of Washington D.C. in terms of population, and Cloudsdale about the size of Philadelphia, PA. Ponyville, which has been featured previously in the story and is anticipated to be featured again in a later chapter, is similar in size to a town located north of Columbus, Ohio, and despite suburban developments taking place on its outskirts, the downtown area at least still retains much of its rustic, medieval-style look and charm, as seen in the show.
- In this alternate universe, Equestria is heavily modeled on the late 20th-early 21st century United States whereas the Griffon Empire is initially based on several Central and Eastern European nations, most notably East Germany, Poland, and Russia.
- The story is set in the same universe as Under the Moonlight, its sequels, The Veins Run Deep and Millennia: Beginning, due to the fact that Skyfire and Thunderblast, who authored said stories, are good friends and often cooperate with each other while writing. Thunderblast's OC of the same name appears in this story as a Guard whom Storm befriends in Canterlot. Soldier of the Night will contain many references to these stories and some of Thunderblast's other alt-universe fanfiction as well.
- Originally, Skyfire Storm wrote each chapter in FiMFiction's built-in text editor, before copying and pasting the finished product into an OpenOffice document, which was then reformatted properly and uploaded onto FanFiction.net as its own chapter. Finding the process of publishing a chapter on said website tricky, instead of copying, pasting and reformatting the chapter, Skyfire had begun downloading .html files of new chapters and transferring their contents into an OpenOffice document. Future stories will end up being published on FiMFiction only, though Skyfire has stated he will continue roleplaying on FF forums pertaining to MLP.
- As of July 2017, SoTN is mainly written in Google Docs, and chapters are instead transferred to Microsoft Word.
- According to Skyfire Storm, the idea for the story came to him while spending a week of his summer break at a friend's house. After noticing the sheer amount of dislikes on his first story, Blue Skye's Story and its ill-fated sequel, he began to consider writing a completely new story, combining elements of Blue Skye's Story with a much darker, more mature storyline, a departure from the light-hearted tone of the former story. This idea eventually grew into SoTN not long after, which to his surprise, received very positive reviews not long after the first chapter was published, though due to the fact that he was using his cell phone to type up the chapter, some parts initially appeared rushed.
- The chapter has since then been heavily polished and refined, as have several others.
- Unlike Blue Skye's Story, SoTN does not feature dates at the start of each chapter, though the story is confirmed by its author to be set from 1988, which is when Stormfire is born, to 2015.
- Dates will be brought up in passing by characters, or generally implied by factors such as advances in technology or societal and cultural changes taking place.
- Skyfire believes that one of the reasons why his previous story was so negatively received upon completion was the fact that each chapter started off with a date.
- Storm was originally going to be called Lonestar, however, Skyfire Storm changed his mind. This name was later recycled for the character of Blue's brother, a sailor in the Equestrian Navy who makes an appearance at Storm and Blue's graduation.
- The original title for the story was simply Stormfire, and only while writing the second or third chapter did Skyfire come up with the title Soldier of the Night, both a reference to Storm's career in the Lunar Guard and the fact that in the later chapters of the story he is deployed into a foreign war zone as part of the Lunar Marines.
- The idea of Storm working in the Weather Factory in Cloudsdale (and later Vanhoover for a while) before enlisting in the Guard was lifted directly from Skyfire's previous story, Blue Skye's Story, where the title character worked as a weather pony prior to becoming a Guard, albeit with some differences, two of which are listed below.
- Unlike in Blue Skye's Story where Blue Skye chooses to become a weather pony in order to follow in his parents' hoofsteps, Stormfire is suggested the idea of joining the Weather Factory by the high school's principal, impressed with the flight skills that he had developed over the summer break. After spending some time contemplating it, he joins up, not looking to impress his parents but to earn some easy money, and hopefully improve his flight skills.
- Another element that was not present in Blue Skye's Story was that of parental pressure. In SoTN, after growing bored of weather work and immediately in the wake of discovering his cutie mark after rescuing a tourist from a pair of thugs, Storm begins to contemplate quitting his job at the Weather Factory and hopefully enlist in the Royal Guard. However, his stepfather, a high-ranking weather pony himself interferes in his plans and hopes to have Storm be the best weather pony he can possibly be. In chapter 17, however, High Wind's attitude towards Storm changes for the worse immediately after he discovers his cutie mark and from that moment on, Stormfire sets out to improve relations between himself and his now-estranged father. Both of these elements were not present in Blue Skye's Story, where Lightning Fast (Blue's father, who served as a base for the character of High Wind, Storm's stepfather) gives his blessings for Blue to become a Guard.
- Several subplots within the story, most notably one which explains what happened to High Wind's wife, were either tweaked several times or revised entirely, including the entire third act of the story, which originally involved Stormfire and two of his friends in the Guard being sent to the Griffon Empire to take down a bat pony soldier building a powerful weapon posing a threat to national security.
- The new third act of the story will feature Storm and Hurricane Force being sent out as part of the Marine Corps to intervene in a civil war in Ajeristan, fighting an autocratic dictator alongside rebel factions, and thereby experiencing war first-hoof just like his own father did. A couple of years pass, and he returns to Equestria, battle-hardened and stricken with PTSD and tinnitus. A guard psychologist recommends that he takes at least a couple of weeks' medical leave or even quit the guard altogether, but Storm declines and goes on to receive the Medal of Honor for his valorous actions on the battlefield. He also marries his sweetheart Blue and starts a family with her, before he is deployed into the Griffon Empire at the end of the story, thus tying it in with Thunderblast's fanfiction War Never Changes.
- Skyfire believes this change in the plot will enable the story to live up to its name, and although he was enthusiastic at first about the previous third act of the story, he now deems the idea over the top and 'cartoony'.
- The political situation between the Griffon Empire and Equestria in this story is inspired by Skyfire's fascination with American-Soviet relations during the Cold War, although the Cold War thankfully never escalated to a full-scale war, unlike what was depicted in the story.
- According to Skyfire Storm, the story's theme song is Dream Theater's 'The Dance of Eternity'. This song, as well as a few other Dream Theater songs, are referenced in the story as Skyfire Storm is a huge fan of the band and has consistently ranked them as one of his top five musicians/bands.
- Moviemaster5810's fanfiction Worlds Apart (2012) has often been cited by Skyfire Storm as an influence on several aspects of the story, most notably the 'musician' characters of Gust and Blue; Gust starting work at and eventually taking ownership of a Cloudsdale music store is a reference to the character of Ian Carlington from Worlds Apart, a musician and music store owner who by sheer happenstance stumbles upon Shining Armor and Princess Cadence and helps them get back to their world.
- Subtle differences exist between the FiMFiction and the FanFiction.net versions of the story; perhaps the most obvious one is numerous grammatical errors within the FanFiction.net version, as well as some plot points which differ from the FiMFiction version of SoTN.
Skyfire Storm has stated several times before that he may or may not do a sequel to Soldier of the Night once the story is over and done with, though he has also stressed that he'd be more willing to write side stories to SoTN first before starting serious work on a sequel. He has also expressed interest in rebooting Blue Skye's Story eventually, as well as in working on fanfiction pertaining to canon characters.
One possible idea for a sequel features Storm and Blue raising their daughter while the former also struggles with post-traumatic stress, although Skyfire, as of July 2017, is yet unsure as to where he wants to take this idea.