Rant of Valakut: Magic Ponies Holiday Special Ben Iverach-Brereton December 10, 2018 Rants of Valakut Magic Ponies: Gathering Friendship is back, just in time for the holidays! So come in out of the cold and settle in with a nice cup of cocoa. The plane of Mareodin awaits! Episode 1: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 Above: Spirit Shield, Stormsurge, Plague Wind, Lightning Dart, and Woodvine. SCENE 1 The shot opens with a blue sky and falling snowflakes. Festive music plays, primarily brass and bells. The title card fades in with a crescendo: Magic Ponies: Gathering Friendship The Perfect Solstice A gust of wind blows snow across the title card, leaving only blue sky and snow behind. The shot pans down and over, following a snowflake dancing in the wind. Behind the snowflake the shot slowly pans across an aerial view of Mareodin. It is winter, and there is a gentle blanket of snow over everything. The opening credits fade in one at a time. The festive music continues. The snowflake eventually lands on the ground near the edge of the great forest. The music stops with a pleasant tinkling of chimes. There is a brief moment of silence. The view remains low to the ground, centered on the snowflake. The silence is broken by the approaching sound of voices, and of hooves crunching in the snow. A black hoof steps on the snowflake and the view cuts to Plague Wind and Lightning Dart walking along a snowy path. The forest is behind them. They are bundled up in scarves, toques and coats. Plague Wind I really do think Spirit Shield’s gone crazy. Lightning Dart That’s not it, Plague Wind. She’s just excited for the Solstice holiday. Plague Wind She tried to wrap me the other day. Lightning Dart What? Plague Wind I got too close when she was working on presents. She bundled me up and put a ribbon on my head. It took me an hour to get the tape out of my mane. Lightning Dart snickers. Plague Wind Don’t laugh! She’ll be covering everyone in paper and bows before you know it. Lightning Dart gestures dramatically. Lightning Dart Beware of Spirit Shield, the Dreaded Gift Wrapper! Tremble in terror at her coloured paper! Fear her mighty rolls of string and ribbons! The two ponies laugh. Plague Wind I have to admit, Lightning Dart, all of this Solstice preparation seems strange to me. We don’t really celebrate it in the dark swamp. Lightning Dart Oh no? Plague Wind I usually spend this time of year alone. Lightning Dart Well, not up in the great mountains! We have a big party every year. Before I left last week, we all got together for singing and dancing and games and stuff. There is a jangling clatter approaching the ponies from behind. The ponies haven’t noticed. They continue their conversation. Plague Wind That sounds exhausting. Lightning Dart Not at all! …Ok, maybe a little, but it was still fun. Spirit Shield crashes through Lightning Dart and Plague Wind carrying a giant pile of decorations. Lightning Dart Ib! Spirit Shield Careful! Watch out! Plague Wind Spirit Shield? Are you alright? Spirit Shield pokes her head around her pile of stuff and looks around. She looks frazzled and exhausted; Her toque is on crooked and her scarf is tied oddly. Spirit Shield Hm? What? Oh, yes. I mean, no. Woodvine said she’d help me with decorations, but I can’t find her anywhere. Lightning Dart Sorry, we haven’t seen her. Spirit Shield Well if you do, let her know I’ve started setting everything up without her. Plague Wind Uh, sure. Lightning Dart Spirit Shield, is there anything we can— Spirit Shield interrupts, distracted. Spirit Shield Great. Thanks. Spirit Shield clanks off down the path. Lightning Dart …do? Lightning Dart and Plague Wind look down the path after Spirit Shield. They look confused. Plague Wind tilts her head towards Lightning Dart, but is still looking toward Spirit Shield. Plague Wind See? I told you she’s gone crazy. SCENE 2 Cut to a wide shot of the exterior of a wood cabin. It is early afternoon. There is a banging noise, like a hammer on wood. It stops after three hits. Cut to the interior of the cabin. Stormsurge is sitting in a wheelchair in a large, cozy looking room. There is a large fire in the hearth next to her. She is bundled up in a blanket reading a book by the firelight. The title reads “Jockeyemdae Tome“. Her fish tail is visible at the edge of her blanket. The banging noise from outside repeats, only this time it is louder. Stormsurge glances up at the ceiling with an annoyed expression. She goes back to her reading, but there is another loud bang. Stormsurge frowns and holds her book closer. There is a series of three quick bangs, each louder than the first two. Stormsurge sighs and puts down her book. She wheels her way over to the window. The shot cuts to a tight view of outside the window. Stormsurge pulls up the window and leans out, looking up to the roof. Stormsurge Can you keep it down up there? The shot cuts to the peak of the roof and the banging stops. Spirit Shield pokes her head over the peak and looks down. Spirit Shield Sorry, Stormsurge! Just setting up decorations. Stormsurge Is that really necessary? Spirit Shield Of course it is! It’s almost the Solstice. You have to have decorations for the Solstice! The view cuts back to a tight shot of Stormsurge. The loud banging from the roof resumes. Stormsurge Actually, according to historical records, the practise of decorating a house for the Solstice only dates back about a hundred years. Before that ponies would— Spirit Shield Watch out! I’m going to drop down some garlands! Stormsurge’s eyes go wide. She ducks back inside and closes the window with a small yelp. A heavy string of decorations thuds down right where Stormsurge was. The view cuts back inside. Plague Wind and Lightning Dart enter and begin to take off their winter gear. Plague Wind Hi, Stormsurge. Stormsurge Hi, Plague Wind, Lightning Dart. How was your walk? Lightning Dart It was so pretty! You should’ve joined us. Stormsurge Oh, no. I didn’t want to slow you down. Plague Wind We would have liked your company. Stormsurge Well… maybe next time. Lightning Dart Hey, was that Spirit Shield up on the roof? Stormsurge sighs heavily. Stormsurge Yes. She’s been driving me crazy with all the noise. As if on cue, the loud banging resumes from the roof. The ponies all look up. Plague Wind She said Woodvine was going to help her. Have you seen her? Stormsurge Woodvine? She hasn’t been in all today. Lightning Dart That’s strange. I wonder where she is. Stormsurge I think she said she had a project to finish. She must have lost track of time. Lightning Dart Project? What project? The banging stops. There is silence as the ponies wait. Plague Wind It sounds like Spirit Shield is done. Stormsurge Oh, good. Maybe now I’ll be able to concentrate on my book. Spirit Shield opens the door and drags in a box with more decorations. Spirit Shield I’m all done outside. Time to decorate in here! Stormsurge sighs heavily again. Wry music plays. Cut to the title card from the opening. Bells jingle. Narrator The Magic Ponies will be right back after these messages. COMMERCIAL BREAK The title card reappears. Narrator You’re watching The Magic Ponies. SCENE 3 The shot opens once again to an exterior shot of the cabin. It is evening, and snow is falling heavily. Cut to the large room in the cabin. Lightning Dart and Stormsurge are sitting drinking cocoa in the cabin. The room is lit from the glow of the hearth fire. The walls and ceiling are now covered in elaborate decorations. Outside the window the snow is still falling. Lightning Dart …and then we dance for hours. Stormsurge Plague Wind is right, that does sound exhausting. Plague Wind enters with a mug of her own and joins Stormsurge and Lightning Dart. Plague Wind See? I told you. Lightning Dart Oh, fine. My family’s traditions aren’t for everypony. But hey, what about the sea ponies? What do you do for the Solstice? Stormsurge Normally we all swim south before the rivers freeze. If Spirit Shield hadn’t invited the group of us to stay with her this year I would be there. Lightning Dart How far south do you go? Stormsurge Usually right to the ocean, since my herd likes the salt water. They almost always find a place to stay near the Seacolt Coast. Plague Wind It sounds like you don’t enjoy it. Stormsurge It’s not that. I like the trip, any my herd is really nice. It’s just that I like trying new things, and our trips south always feel the same. Lightning Dart Don’t you miss everyone? Stormsurge A little, but I know I’ll see them all in the spring. Plus, being apart gives us a chance to swap stories when we meet again. I’m looking forward to that. The ponies fall silent. The fire crackles pleasantly. Stormsurge I do wonder what Woodvine’s been doing. Lightning Dart You said she was working on something? Stormsurge She never said what it was. Woodvine suddenly enters loudly from outside. She is wearing a heavy cloak covered in a thick layer of snow. She starts banging off the snow from her hooves and shakes off her cloak with a shiver. Woodvine Arashi, Kaseto! It is cold outside! Lightning Dart Woodvine! We were just talking about you. Plague Wind We wondered where you’ve been. Woodvine My apologies for my elusiveness. I have been preparing for the Solstice. Lightning Dart You and Spirit Shield, both. She’s been working non-stop for days. Woodvine looks around at the decorations. Woodvine She has evidently done a great deal of work. Plague Wind It doesn’t make much sense to me. She invites us all here for the Solstice, but then isn’t around to enjoy it. Lightning Dart It would be nice to spend some time with all of us together, that’s for sure. Woodvine It is no small undertaking to organize an event such as this. Stormsurge We aren’t disagreeing with you, Woodvine, but Lightning Dart and Plague Wind have a point. Since arriving we’ve hardly seen Spirit Shield at all, and when we do she basically ignores us. Woodvine I, too, have been absent. I do not see the need to be concerned. Plague Wind You weren’t the one who asked us to be here. Lightning Dart One of us should just go talk to her about it. Woodvine That is likely a wise course of action. Plague Wind Why don’t you do it, Lightning Dart? Lightning Dart Why me? Plague Wind It was your idea. Lightning Dart narrows her eyes at Plague Wind, who sticks her tongue out. The two of them break into giggles. Lightning Dart Oh, okay, fine. I’ll talk to her tomorrow. Woodvine Good, good. And while you are speaking with her I would like the rest of you to come help me finish my project. Perhaps we could make it a surprise for Spirit Shield. Spirit Shield calls from the other room. Spirit Shield I have cookies! Woodvine Yeva! Has she been here the entire time? Plague Wind It’s ok. I bet she won’t even notice you. Spirit Shield enters with a tray of cookies. She is wearing an apron and chef hat. Spirit Shield Ok, everyone! Enjoy. I’ve got to get back to the kitchen! Spirit Shield sets the tray down and turns to leave. Plague Wind Hey, Spirit Shield, look who’s here! Spirit Shield glances back. Spirit Shield Hm? Oh, hi, Woodvine. Sorry, I can’t stay and chat! Lots to do! Spirit Shield leaves. Plague Wind turns to Woodvine with a flat expression. Woodvine looks like she was about to say something to Spirit Shield but is frozen in position. Plague Wind Ta da. The music moves into a minor key. Cut to the exterior of the cabin. It is still snowing heavily. The shot pans back slowly and fades to black. The music ends on an unsettled note. Cut to the title card again. The same bell music plays. Narrator And now, a brief word from our sponsors. COMMERCIAL BREAK Narrator We now return to the Magic Ponies, brought to you in part by Kiki-jiji. SCENE 4 The scene fades in to another exterior shot of the cabin. It is daytime. The snow has stopped falling, and the sun is shining brightly. Cut to the interior kitchen. Spirit Shield is in the kitchen frantically mixing batter. Her chef hat is askew and her apron is crooked. She is covered in clumps of dough and there are dark circles under her eyes. Baking is piled everywhere. Spirit Shield is talking to herself. Spirit Shield Ok, that’s just about ready…. I still need to pull out the last of the cookies, so that will just leaves the muffins, pie and cake. Or was it cupcakes? Hang on, didn’t I do the pie already? There is a soft knock at the door and Lightning Dart enters cautiously. Lightning Dart Um… Spirit Shield? Can we talk? Spirit Shield doesn’t look up from her work and continues to ramble to herself about baking. Spirit Shield …I know I made the butter tarts, and I would have made the crust for that. If that’s the case, then the pies must already be done, too. But where did I put them? Lightning Dart Have you been here the whole night? Spirit Shield is not paying attention. Spirit Shield …I wanted to make the cake and cupcakes at the same time, so that must mean I– Lightning Dart SPIRIT SHIELD! Will you stop and listen? Spirit Shield freezes. Lightning Dart You’ve been ignoring us! Spirit Shield I… what? No, I’m not ignoring you, I’ve just been busy getting everything ready for the holiday. Lighting Dart You invited us all to spend the holiday with you, but you’re never around! And if you are you’re just focused on your decorations and stuff. Spirit Shield I’ve been working really hard! I want this Solstice to be perfect. There’s a lot I still need to do, though, so if you’ll excuse me, I need to keep these cookies from burning. Lightning Dart The Solstice will be here with or without your cookies, Spirit Shield! We appreciate your hard work, we really do, but what we’d really like is for you to spend some time with us. Spirit Shield But… Lightning Dart You invited us all to join you this year, and we were really looking forward to it. But it wasn’t for the decorations, or the baking, or any of that. We just wanted to spend the Solstice with each other, and with you. Spirit Shield starts to tear up. Spirit Shield I…. Oh, Lightning Dart! I got so nervous when you all said you’d come! I wanted everything to go just right, like the Solstices was when I was little. We’d eat cookies and exchange presents, and the house would be so pretty with its decorations… I wanted you all to have the same kind of holiday I did, the way I always remembered it. But if it didn’t go just right — Lightning Dart We wouldn’t think any less if you, Spirit Shield. You should know that by now. Spirit Shield wipes away tears. Spirit Shield Yeah, but I wanted it to be perfect for you. Lightning Dart Tell you what, why don’t you go and get some sleep? I’ll wake you up in a little while and we can go for a walk. Whatever you have left to do, just leave it. The rest of us can do it, whatever it is. After all, you should be able to relax and enjoy the holiday, too. Smoke starts spilling out of the oven. Lightning Dart and Spirit Shield haven’t noticed yet. Spirit Shield That sounds really nice, Lightning Dart. Thanks. I should just — Oh, Sram! The cookies are burning! Lightning Dart Here, let me help! Lightning Dart and Spirit Shield scramble to the oven. Lightning Dart knocks over the mixing bowl of dough and several plates of finished cookies. Everything spills on her. Spirit Shield gets the burnt cookies out of the oven and turns around to see the mess Lightning Dart has caused. There is a moment of silence before Spirit Shield starts snickering. Both ponies begin to laugh. Spirit Shield Thanks for the offer, but maybe you should leave the baking to me? Lightning Dart and Spirit Shield keep laughing. Cut to the title card again with the usual bells playing. Narrator Don’t go away. The Magic Ponies will be back! COMMERCIAL BREAK The title card appears again with the now familiar bells. Narrator And now, the conclusion! SCENE 5 Fade in to a clearing in the woods. Several plants are growing through the snow with ice sculptures placed around them. In the center of the clearing is a large spruce tree. Woodvine and Plague Wind are carefully moving an ice sculpture. Stormsurge is sitting in a sled off to the side doing calculations. All three are bundled up for the cold. Stormsurge Wait, sorry! It needs to come back this way a little bit. Plague Wind is panting heavily. Plague Wind Are you sure, Stormsurge? Stormsurge Yes… yes, I have it right, now. Sorry, I just forgot to account for the other sculptures when figuring out where to put this one. It was a complicated puzzle. Thanks for letting me figure it out, Woodvine. Woodvine Thank-you for your expertise. Stormsurge I’m happy I was able to help. Plague Wind finishes moving the sculpture into position and looks up. Plague Wind Hey, I think they’re coming. Woodvine Hallar! That is excellent timing. Lightning Dart and Spirit Shield walk into the clearing. They look clean and rested. They are both bundled up in toques and scarves. Lightning Dart gestures to the clearing and Spirit Shield looks around in wonder. Lightning Dart We’re here! Spirit Shield Oh, my… this is…. Woodvine, did you do all this? Woodvine Some of it, yes. Though everyone did assist. Spirit Shield It’s all so beautiful. Lightning Dart Woodvine did say she’d help you with the Solstice decorations. Woodvine I realize now that this may not be what you had in mind. These gardens are a tradition in my herd, not yours. Spirit Shield begins walking through the garden, still in awe. Spirit Shield It’s lovely. Thank-you for sharing this with me…. with us. Spirit Shield stops and turns to address all of the other ponies. Spirit Shield I’m sorry I was so distant with you all. Lightning Dart We understand. Woodvine Indeed. Your preparations were no small undertaking. Plague Wind Yeah. Thanks for everything. Stormsurge looks behind her towards the setting sun. Stormsurge Woodvine, it’s almost time. Woodvine Ah, yes. Everyone, please come here. Stormsurge gestures for some help, and Plague Wind pushes her sled next to Woodvine. Plague Wind moves to stand beside the sled. Lightning Dart and Spirit shield go to stand on the other side of Woodvine. All five ponies are in a row facing the sunset. Spirit Shield What’s this? Woodvine One moment. The sun sinks down low. After a few seconds a shaft of light pierces through the treeline. It strikes the closest the ice sculpture, then refracts through it to all of the other sculptures. The entire garden is suddenly illuminated in a sparkling rainbow glow. The ponies all gasp in awe as they look around at the light. Spirit Shield begins crying tears of joy. Spirit Shield It’s breathtaking. Lightning Dart This isn’t exactly like it was when you were little, is it? Spirit Shield No, Lightning Dart. It isn’t. This is so much better. Cut to a wide shot of the five ponies standing together watching the sunset in the magical glow of the garden. Fade to black. END CREDITS I hope you enjoyed this very special episode of Magic Ponies: Gathering Friendship, brought to you by your friends at The Mana Base. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for such a great year. From Eldrazi Hordes and Horoscopes, to Soundtracks and Classifieds, it’s been a lot of fun writing these articles, but it would be pointless without my readers. You’re the reason I get to keep doing this, and I want you to know that I really appreciate it. Rants of Valakut will be back one more time before the end of the year, so please join me then. And of course I hope you’ll also join me next year for even more Rants. I wish you all the best, and have a safe and happy Solstice! Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName Email Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.