FimFiction Link - Short ID: 507125/any-port-in-a-storm
Published: Jan '22
'Any Port in a Storm' is a four thousand and five hundred word oneshot. Stygian is visited by Discord and Luna to discuss the two ponies' different, yet similar corruption.
What immediately caught my eye about this story was the way it was written. The author fills every single paragraph with such character, that's rare in fanfics. Clever use of literary anthropomorphism, metaphors and just straight up flowery descriptions make this story a delight to read. The actual narrative is fairly simple, but I'm not saying this as a negative. I admit, I never really liked Stygian as he appeared in the show. He was probably one of the weakest characters in terms of establishment. While he did have a backstory, post-redemption he was basically written out of the plot and was hardly ever seen again. It's pretty hard to care about him. However, the way this story weaves this disappearance into its plot and further fleshes him out was really nice to see. This is what I would say an originally uninteresting character done justice. Still, the main star of the story is Discord. He's deeply whimsical, the author depicts his powers in creative and varied ways, yet I also appreciated that when the story turns more serious, he's turned down a notch as well and focus is put on his more serious and ancient side instead. All this in a way that never forgets what the character is like. I'm not sure if I'd call this the best Discord depiction I've seen yet, but it's definitely up there.
Luna, on the other hand, feels like the weakest of the trio. This still doesn't mean that she's bad, the way she's depicted is still fairly good, but compared to how amazing the interactions of Discord and Stygian were, I felt like her appearance threw a slight bump into the narrative. The way she recounts her corruption, while arguably necessary for the plot, feels like something we have heard for a thousand times before. The author's theory/headcanon on corruption is interesting, but the almost complete retread of S01E01's / S04E01-2's backstories felt slightly tackled on compared to everything else. I'm not sure I'd go as far as to say her inclusion was a mistake, as her other interactions aren't bad, but the fact that author only chose to include her partly into writing the fic is definitely noticeable.
Overall: 8/10 This is a character-exploration through and through. If you want high-action and a massive cast, this isn't a story for you, but if you prefer introspection and just a handful of characters under the magnifying glass, I can highly recommend this story.