The Winter Play
By darkponyD

Prologue One

Canterlot Castle, Summer, 1002 CE

The sound of nervous hooves could be heard as a grey unicorn stallion paced along the corridor. It was the time of year when the production of the Hearth's Warming play began, starting with the selection of a story and script. Writers from across Equestria and beyond would flock to Canterlot during this time, with the hope of their story being selected for the prestigious event. Writers Quill, the unicorn now pacing in the halls, is one of said writers. The creak of the door opening snapped Quill from his pacing as the tall, regal figure of Princess Celestia came through the door. The unicorn quickly bowed before the leader of the nation. "So, what did you think?" the nervous unicorn asked, sweating bullets and looking like he was ready to collapse.

Celestia chuckled at the sight. "No need to be so nervous, Mr. Quill. My sister, Princess Cadence and I have read your story."

"And?"

The princess's notorious poker face came into full effect, betraying no thought whatsoever. "The story, for all intents and purposes, is a true masterpiece; a story of mystery, danger, adventure and true love. But what you're proposing is immense. Tell me, how would you have gone about with the casting?"

Quill had been expecting this question, after all, when he comes up with big, crazy ideas for stories, or in this case, plays, he goes all out in the planning. "In all honesty, your majesty, I hadn't planned to fill all the roles solely with ponies. I had planned to fill the unimportant roles by having unicorn spell casters, specifically your student Twilight Sparkle and her friend Skitch-Sketch, create illusions. I was going to approach Miss Sketch anyway about doing the scenery."

Celestia nods. "What about the music? Both the first song and the eighth song are large group numbers. If you plan to use illusions, how do you plan on making them sing?"

"Simple," Quill replied. "We put together a couple choirs, and use the illusions like puppets. That's part of the reason I would want Miss Sketch to be involved; her skill and finesse would be invaluable to this production."

Celestia nodded once again. "If that's the case, then I would go talk with the ponies you hope to have involved."

The grey unicorn's jaw dropped. He hadn't been expecting this. At best, he thought he would be congratulated for writing an ambitious script. "A-are you saying what I think you're saying, your majesty?"

Celestia's face quickly acquired one of the biggest grins in all of Equestria. "Indeed I am. Writers Quill, I am pleased to inform you that, not only is your proposal accepted, but you will be the pony directing the entire play. Congratulations!"


Canterlot Castle, Six months later

"Alright everypony, once more from the top!" It has now been six months since production of Equestria's most ambitious Hearth's Warming play began, with tonight being the grand reveal of all the hard work that had been put in. Skitch-Sketch, Twilight Sparkle and Rarity all stood backstage, horns glowing as they maintained the spell keeping the scenery just right, along with keeping the crowd of illusion extras looking real.

"Alright girls," Skitch says without breaking her spells. "Here comes the first song. Ready?" Her two friends nodded. "Then let's do this!"

The voices of the stallion choir swelled before the music began:

'Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining.
This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining.

So cut through the heart, cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear
See the beauty sharp and sheer
Split the ice apart and break the frozen heart.

Watch your step!
Let it go!
Hup! Ho!
Watch your step!
Let it go!

Beautiful!
Powerful!
Dangerous!
Cold!

Ice has a magic, can't be controlled
Stronger than one, stronger than ten, stronger than a hundred colts! Ha!

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining.
This icy force both foul and fair has a frozen heart worth mining.

So cut through the heart, cold and clear
Strike for love and strike for fear
There's beauty and there's danger here
Split the ice apart, beware the frozen heart.'

"And, that's a wrap!" the voice of Writers Quill filtered backstage from the audience area. "See you all tonight!"

The three unicorns backstage breathed a sigh of relief as they allowed the illusions they had been maintaining all morning to dissipate into mist. While the spells they had been using were fairly simple, maintaining them for several hours was very taxing on the unicorns. The former male human turned unicorn mare turned to her friends with a smile. "Finally! You girls ready for tonight?"

Twilight sighed. "As ready as we'll ever be. I just hope Button Mash stays focused. He has a tendency to being distracted by his Gamecolt."

"Oh, pish posh!" Rarity snorted. "Button Mash is far more distracted by my sister, and she's in the audience, so I wouldn't worry too much about distractions. Besides, I'm far more worried about Fluttershy. She's playing a central role in the musical. Remember what happened last year?"

The group visibly winced as they remembered last year's near disaster. "I think Fluttershy'll be OK," Skitch replied. "The stage is set up in a way that hides the audience from the actors. Plus, we haven't told her that it's a live performance; she just thinks we're filming it for Crystal Vision."

"I know, but it doesn't stop me from worrying, darling," Rarity countered, moving through the exit and into the cold. Skitch and Twilight shared a quick look before hurrying after the white unicorn.


Theater of the Royal Pony Sisters, Six hours later

The Theater of the Royal Pony Sisters was lit up like a star in the cold winter air, ponies streaming into the theater to find good seats. Everypony was excited for the new play, as it promised something for everyone. Backstage, however, tensions were on the rise as the actors donned their costumes, particularly in the dressing room of Prince Blueblood. Technically it was the dressing room reserved for all the stallions, but Blueblood had managed to get in first and prevent anypony else from entering. There was now a line of angry stallions pounding on the door trying to get in.

"Move aside!" Rarity called, pushing her way through the crowd, Writers Quill by her side. "Don't worry everypony; he'll come out if he knows what's good for him."

"Now Rarity," Quill responded, exasperated. "We've gone over this already; you will not, most emphatically NOT, threaten Prince Blueblood!"

Rarity rolled her eyes. "Are you going to complain about it if it's the only way to get him to do tasks the way you want him to do them? Need I remind you that before I had that little 'chat' with him, he wanted to scrap the whole musical and put on a play about his so-called 'heroic deeds'? Besides, if he knows what's good for him, I won't need to threaten him." She then took her hoof and pounded on the door.

"I already told you, you stupid peasants," came Blueblood's most hated voice. "I'm not coming out, and you're not coming in!"

"I beg to differ, Blueblood," Rarity spat in response.

Silence came from the other side of the door as Blueblood weighed his options. "If I refuse to open the door and let you pea- er, um, I mean, ponies in, will it be hazardous to my health?" he finally asked.

Rarity rolled her eyes, and used her magic to create an image on the other side of the door. Needless to say, the contents of said image were enough to make Blueblood shriek and race out the door to his starting position backstage. Quill stood there, shocked, as he tried to figure out what just happened. "Um, what just happened?"

"Oh, Rarity just showed Blueblood an image of him under a Want It, Need It spell directed towards a cockatrice, causing him to be turned to stone!" Pinkie said beside him.

"Oh, that expl-" Quill stopped himself as he realized who he was talking to. "Wait, Pinkie Pie? Where did you pop up from?! And how do you even know what Rarity did?!"

Pinkie giggled. "Silly Quill, I've been here the whole time! As for how I know what Rarity did, I just peeked ahead at the epilogue so that the author didn't have to explain it later!"

Quill opened his mouth to question her further, but was quickly silenced by a white hoof being shoved into his mouth. "Best not to question it, if you value your sanity," Rarity explained as she removed her hoof. "Pinkie, shouldn't Twilight be casting the costume spells on you right now?"


Theater of the Royal Pony Sisters, Two hours later

The lights within the massive theater dimmed, a single spot light moving to illuminate center stage as Writers Quill stepped onto the stage.

"Fillies and gentlecolts," the crowd quickly quieted as the grey unicorn's voice echoed through the hall. "We have now entered into one of the most magical times of the year; a time of giving, a time of friends, and a time of family. However, despite the spirit of the Hearth's Warming season, it becomes easy for us to forget about our family; to shut them out when we're hurting, to ignore them as we wrap ourselves up in our own little material worlds. The story you're about to see come to life on this stage is of one such situation; a young filly, hurting and fearful, shutting out the comfort and understanding of her caring sister. So, without further adieu, I present to you, Frozen!" The audience stamped the floor, applauding as Quill made his way off stage.

Once the grey unicorn was off the stage, the choir and orchestra began the opening overture, the curtain slowly rising to reveal a frozen lakeā€¦