The Royal Road is an AU (Alternate Universe) collaboration about a darker Equestria.
Three empires have grown in land of Equestria, founded in the beliefs of Celestia and Luna. One to the east, named Solaris, praising the goddess of the sun and the bounty of the desert. One to the west, named Nocturne, praising Luna and beholding the sea's bounty. One to the north, praising both sisters and at peace with the land, named Harmonia. At the center of the three empires lies the Holy Land, former home of the First Kingdom and its capital of Canterlot.
Centuries ago, it was the start of all pony civilization, with Celestia and Luna leading their little ponies. Then, Discord came into existence. Disharmony, chaos, pain, death, plagues, and misery laid in his wake. Celestia and Luna created six powerful artifacts to defeat and contain him in stone: the Elements of Harmony.
Soon after his defeat, and after the First Kingdom was in its second era of glory, Luna's heart was twisted by ambition spurred by the lies of a priestess. The priestess sought out the power of the goddesses, hoping to turn them on one another and gain the Elements of Harmony while they fought. Nightmare Moon was born. Celestia defeated her sister in combat, purging her of the darkness that took hold of her, and ending the priestess's plans before they could awaken Discord and break his prison.
The two, who were unsure of themselves as leaders, and as keepers of the world, locked the Elements of Harmony into a field of stasis around Discord. The two moved in separate directions, founding Solaris and Nocturne, before reuniting to found Harmonia. Solaris and Nocturne gained independence, but praised their respective patrons still.
Since these fabled times, the three empires have been fighting over land, commodities, economy, and beliefs. The empires remain at a stalemate, with none of the leaders seeking to attack one another out of mutual self-preservation, though tensions remain at an all time high. The one event that ties the three churches who reside in the three empires together is the Sacrifice. This ceremony keeps the Elements of Harmony functioning by sacrificing six virtuous ponies to the artifacts.
For the first time in a thousand years, this ritual has failed, and Discord has reawakened. A third alicorn has appeared to be the cause. Young and inexperienced and completely ignorant of the ways of the world, he has undone, by the slightest of chances, a thousand years of relative harmony. With three nations on the brink of war, with no need for peace between churches, and a cult to the dreaded draconequus Discord coming out of hiding, the tides of history in Equestria shall forever change.
Rules for Joining (applicable to pre-readers and editors):
1.) Message Gancolt the Grey with your application, informing of which position you want (editor or pre-reader).
2.) If you are a writer or editor, try your hardest to stay in contact with everyone else, especially Gancolt, via the IRC Chat and/or Channel (depending on if the channel #royalroad is accessible or not). For Skype connection information, PM Bridgebrain or Silverness.
3.) Writers will be given two Major Arcana characters to write for. Minor Arcana are shared NPCs meant to be used at the writer's discretion. However, since fics will be crossing over at some points, be sure to reference the document on how they have been/are being used.
4.) While there are no deadlines, all tasks should be taken care of in a reasonably timely manner.
5.) All chapters are to go through at least two rounds of editing before posting. This applies to all writers.
6.) There will be a minimum of three days between each story publication. This is purely for controlled release of fics to limit the number in the Featured Box if it's popular when published. If your fic's good, you can wait a few days to be in the Featured Box. We don't want to beat down other writers with this collab.
7.) Any other issues that require attention should be noted to Gancolt the Grey.
Major Arcana Pairs and Current Publishing Queue
Updated as of 5/12/13
The Fool and the World - Gancolt the Grey
Strength and the Moon - TeaPartyCannon
The Hermit and the Sun - Paleo Prints
The Chariot and the Wheel of Fortune - Silverness
The Hanged Man and the Devil - J.Xayph
The Empress and the Hierophant - Bridgebrain [coauthor spot open]
The Lovers and the Star - DocDelray
The Magician and Temperance - ToixStory
The Emperor and Justice - Daedalus1776
The High Priestess and the Tower - Deathscar
Death and Judgment - Alexstrazsa
List of the Major Arcana
The Fool - Derpy Hooves
The Magician - The Great and Powerful Trixie
The High Priestess - Vinyl Scratch
The Empress - Princess Celestia
The Emperor - "Big" Macintosh Apple
The Hierophant - Princess Luna
The Lovers - Rarity
The Chariot - Rainbow Dash
Justice - Applejack
Tempereance - Cheerilee
Strength - Fluttershy
The Hermit - Zecora
The Wheel of Fortune - Silverbuck (Silverness's OC)
The Hanged Man - Octavia
Death - Silver Spoon
The Devil - Discord
The Tower - Gilda
The Star - Twilight Sparkle
The Moon - Pinkie Pie
The Sun - Doctor Whooves
Judgment - Diamond Tiara
The World - Numen (Alicorn OC)
Note: once all 11 writers are filled, that is the end of applications for writers. No more will be added thereafter.