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  • 87 weeks
    Lore: Ponies & The Celestial Sisters

    Princess Celestia Stella Pelor Amaterasu Vkandis Skinfaxi Etheria von Equestria, Sun Master and Moondottir, Sovereign Of Sunshine, Lady Of Light, Bringer Of The Day, Peacemaker Of Equestria, Shining Mane, Dawnflower, Bergvereinsamung The Lonely Queen Atop The Mountain, Magnanimous Unbridled Sun, [derogatory: Whose Whispers Rein, Corona, The Burning Judgement, The First And The Favored Daughter,

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  • 87 weeks
    Lore: Ponies & The Celestial Wheel

    (This Lore was largely crafted before season seven and the movie)

    The Part Where I Throw A Bunch Of Names At You
    (Maybe Skip This Bit, I Dunno)[1]

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  • 293 weeks
    Fanon Clarified: Who Do The 6 Like To, erm, Cuddle?

    A peer and pre-reader of mine pointed me to a blog post that went into as much detail about what makes the Mane 6 :ajsmug: "tenders their loins" as I do, but as a blog post. Since I wrote a story where my fanon on the subject was a big chunk of it, I've now decided to clarify these details in my

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Oct
27th
2020

Lore: Ponies & The Celestial Sisters · 3:28pm Oct 27th, 2020

Princess Celestia Stella Pelor Amaterasu Vkandis Skinfaxi Etheria von Equestria, Sun Master and Moondottir, Sovereign Of Sunshine, Lady Of Light, Bringer Of The Day, Peacemaker Of Equestria, Shining Mane, Dawnflower, Bergvereinsamung The Lonely Queen Atop The Mountain, Magnanimous Unbridled Sun, [derogatory: Whose Whispers Rein, Corona, The Burning Judgement, The First And The Favored Daughter, Xenofillia, The Pale Horse]

Princess Luna Nox Artemis Tsukoyomi Lupercal Hrimfaxi Eternia von Equestria, Moon Master and Sundottir, Sovereign Of Somnia, Monarch Of The Moon, Mare Of The Night, Warmistress Of Equestria, Frost Mane, Night Candle, Silver Princess, Starry-Maned One, Bodhisattva Anointed In Black Skies, The Dark Horse That Twists The Stars, [derogatory: She Who Trots Behind, Devouring Dark, Nightreaver, The Queen Of Dreams That Terrify]

The ageless daughters of Laurel Huf, The First Alicorn, sired by Harmony, Spirit Of Love, Empathy & Friendship and Moon, and fathered by Order, Spirit Of Order, Safety & Tyranny and Sun, the spirit siblings respectively. The former found her special talent gave her dominion over the physical realm of her uncle, and the latter over the realm of her aunt. Though, talent and unicorn wizardry alone didn't hand them the keys to the Celestial Wheel. That took some doing and requires some history.

Before The Sisters, The Death Of Stars & The Rise Of Discord & Strife

It is known by Tiamat The Destroyer, Mother Of Dragons, Eldest Of The Ageless, that once the twin suns danced with each other across the sky. In the short bouts of wakefulness, she relates this tale to younger immortals, including the Sisters, telling them how the many worlds danced around the suns like foals around their parents until the eldest sun died and did so violently.

The spirits, more primal and mighty in these early days, hurled themselves forward to protect the world of sapient lives that spawned their conceptual cribs. Without thinking, feeling, beings, concepts like friendship or chaos wouldn't exist. Harmony hurled herself atop the dying star, shielding the single world of life with her transcorporeal body and was shattered by its death throes. Her brother, Order, anchored the remaining star in place.

Their remaining siblings, and all their cousins, worked tirelessly to make sure her sacrifice was not in vain and that the world that sustained them continued on. The depleted corpse sun was sent far out, opposite of the younger Sun from the surviving World. Harmony's tomb was Moon, erected from the remnants of destroyed worlds and placed directly between the surviving World and the corpse sun. Stellar gas, shot through with Harmony, became mistakeable for stars by the inhabitants below. Physical remains of Harmony are scattered across the World, forming the Elements and other artifacts, such as the Crystal Heart.

What's more, the Celestial Wheel is established. The spirits' intervention severely altered the natural flow of the cosmos, so it became necessary to set the remaining Sun spinning around the World. The corpse sun was used as a counter-mass, the rotten stellar innards filled with strange non-matter and stranger physics was used as a catalyst to grease the Wheel, so to speak. Moon was used as a lever of sorts to guide the distant corpse sun across its journey through the void.

The duty of maintaining the Wheel was passed on to mortals, and has been passed from group to group throughout the ages. In fact, the conventional wisdom is that each age is marked by whomever moves the Wheel. How much is actually remembered of each age is limited, as the passing of an age and the proverbial torch is often marked by a small-scale apocalypse. The last age was presided over by the sphinxes, the diamond dogs and the minotaurs, and ended by pride, greed and hate.

During the last age, modern ponies were finishing developing. Cutie marks were appearing, the tribes were forming and the earliest nations of the new ponies emerged. At the end of that age, ponies were poised to take over the Wheel. Before the Celestial Sisters, three immortal brothers and a sister emerged to spearhead the project of ponies becoming the new masters of the Celestial Wheel. 

Born of the earthly elements, the three kings and princess could not touch the Wheel themselves, but they were learned in the magic of their respective tribes and so taught the mortal ponies to do what they could not. This served as the basis for the most secretive and powerful class of the early new pony societies, the magi, the wise.

The earth pony, or arion as they were called then, magi or druids erected stone circles over ley line intersections that aspected with the heavens. With that they outlined a path for Sun and Moon to follow. The pegasus magi, or shaman, flew up to where Sky ended and Heavens began and pleaded with Order and Harmony to see the path laid out for them. 

The unicorn magi powered a massive beacon to guide Sun and Moon on their path. Unlike the workings of the other magi, this beacon demanded constant attention, as much unicorn wizardry does. The wizards fed their lives into the beacon and began to drop like flies. There simply weren’t enough unicorn magi to support the beacon. 

So Clover The Clever broke the unspoken pact between the pony magi and sought to spread wizardry to the unicorn masses. She opened schools to educate large numbers of gifted students, churning out the numbers needed to sustain the beacon. The magi of the other tribes saw this as a betrayal, especially the druids, and the other tribes thought the unicorns were becoming full of themselves. 

Things came to a head among the ageless kings as they disagreed on how the mortals should be ruled. The earth pony king argued that the mortals should rule themselves, democratically even. The unicorn king wanted to stay a true king, he argued that mortals required their direct guidance. The pegasus king presented himself as a moderate voice, but in actuality espoused ideas of spirituality, discipline and a meritocracy that the other two rejected. 

The sister princess attempted to mediate with her brothers but their ego, vanity and pride deepened the divide between the tribes and they all went their separate ways[1]. The princess became the sole ruler of Paradise Estate, the last major front of a united pony kind. Later, when the mistake of their decision becomes apparent, it will sour ponies to the idea of male rulers. 

[1] An aside, what exactly were the positions of the three kings after the split. Only the unicorn king, Aequor, placed himself as an absolute monarch, the high-king of Unicornia. The pegasus, Caelum, set himself up as a priest-king, and headed the chaplaincy branch of the Pegasopolis Junta. Technically subordinate to the commander, he held considerable influence on who ascended the ranks. The earth pony king's title was officially ceremonial, a powerless figurehead in the Earth Pony Republic. In practice, his words held great weight among the populace and its politicians.

What's more, it's notable that the sister, Flamma, was initially called a queen. After the divide, she changed her title to princess. Publically, she said that it was a mark of shame for letting the divide happen, and an acknowledgment of Paradise Estate's significant reduction in populace and power. Privately, she claimed it was to assuage her brother's egos as she attempted to mend that divide. Her decision would influence future leaders of pony kind.]

Generations come and go and the relationship between the three monotribal nations deteriorates further with each passing as the grudges of the past are kept alive by immortals and the reasons are mythologized rather than forgotten. Their discontent and unrest finally brings forth the wayward siblings of Order & Harmony, Discord & Strife. 

Discord, Spirit Of Chaos, Freedom & Havoc, and Strife, Spirit Of Hatred, Selfishness & Conflict, the remaining siblings of the “Cardinal” family of spirits besides powerless Accord, Spirit Of Balance. Since the departure of their brother and sister to Sun and Moon, they have been terrible influences on one another. They have taught each other that suffering and disorder may go hand in hand and they touch down upon the pony lands to do both. 

Discord was more liberal with his boundless power, and rampaged across the skies of the Pegasus Junta and the territories of the Unicorn Kingdoms. He characterized himself as a conquering king, though he had no interest in holding territory or administering subjects. In each of the villages and outposts he visited, he played games with the inhabitants. If some champion bested his challenge in spite of rampant cheating, he would bow and leave them be.

Strife husbanded what power she possessed, lurking in caves as if she were a monster ready to strike. Instead, she set forth her minions, the windigo, to spread misery far and wide. She set her sights on the lands of the Arion Republic and the ponies of Paradise Estate, whispering sweet lies in unwary ears, rigging elections, exposing said fraud and sowing intertribal conflict. She too played games, subtle ones designed never to be beaten. All too often, however, she unwittingly orchestrated the means of her own downfall. She was a sore loser, tormenting those who ruined her plans. 

Rise Of The Sisters & The Fall Of Luna

Before the invasion of mad and malevolent spirits, an orphan came to Paradise Estate. This strange filly, who appeared to be an earth pony, was a throwback of the pony species. No tribe, she didn't even have the magic or extra organs of an earth pony, no capacity to gain a cutie mark. The princess took her in and said that all she had were her hooves, so she was named Huf.

The little filly was a determined one, however. She had no instinctual magic, but she still possessed the living energy. So, she undertook the perilous studies of sorcery, the practice of magic outside of instinct, and studied the magics of the three tribes. The princess aided her in this endeavor but more so Huf's friends. With their help, she mastered wizardry, shamanism and the druidic arts. Finally, she combined to enact a grand ritual working that transformed her into the first alicorn.

She gave herself a cutie mark, a quill and ink pot, to signify that she wrote her own destiny and added to her name, Laurel Huf, to signify her victory over adversity. It wasn't enough for a determined and ambitious mare, however, and she set out with her friends to make her teacher proud by using her new found power and status to forge peace between the warring tribes. She was less than successful in this initial endeavor.

Many ponies reacted in horror to her new form, and those who didn't reacted with derision towards her message of peace and togetherness. The three kings in particular were obstacles. The earth pony king made a speech to the arion senate that Huf was a destabilizing influence. The pegasus king urged the commander to treat her as an abominable enemy. The unicorn king simply exiled them from his kingdoms. They resented Huf, as they knew only one pony that could simulate the power of all three tribes, and then only one at a time. They viewed Huf less as their sister's student and more of a mocking usurper of her power, and theirs.

Huf's lowest point was during one of the worst battles between the three tribes as disagreements in trade and tribute escalated into grudges and blood feuds. Even here, the three kings tried to call for calm, offering to settle the matter in a personal duel between the hardy immortals as they regularly did. In this case, not even the absolute authority of the unicorn king could order back the hatred in their hearts, and so they went to war.

Huf and her friends attempted to personally intercede in this battle. It went disastrously as overeager and jumpy soldiers leapt at the chance to bring down the alicorn aberration and the tribal traitors that accompanied her. Half of her friends died in that confrontation, the other half were captured and brought back for trial, charged with betraying nations they didn't belong to. Huf escaped, just barely, and two wicked spirits heard the collective call of calamity.

Adrift and alone, Huf wandered the wild places when she came upon an abandoned stone circle one night. A key component to the pony's control of the Celestial Wheel, it had become neglected in the war and, unknowingly, by the spread of Strife's influence. Unknowingly indeed, Strife had built the means of her and Discord's downfall. Huf repaired the stone circle, flew up and sang to Sun and Moon, lighting a beacon for them to follow. Order and Harmony did more than listen, they paid close attention to her.

First came Harmony, drawn by Huf's tears and battered heart, her shattered self reformed long enough to attempt to comfort the mortal mare before leaving her with foal. A year and an amazing filly later, Order found Huf and also made an attempt. By this point, Huf was far less in need of comfort, but she was still an ambitious mare attracted to power, for all that she loved peace and love and friendship too. So Huf was left with another foal and a prophecy to boot. With an immortal demi-spirit filly and another on the way, Laurel Huf returned to Paradise Estate and the princess.

Celestia and Luna grew up in a cold and war-torn world beset by mad and malevolent god-like spirits. They were groomed for the roles Order predicted they would be ideal for, to find Harmony's Elements, put a stop to Discord & Strife and unite pony kind, succeeding where Huf had not. They were actually destined for it, or at least given a far above average success in that endeavor over other ponies.

With friends from Paradise Estate, Twilight, Applejack and Firefly, and boon companion they gathered from the three other nations, Pansy, Smart Cookie and Starswirl(a), they executed the first half of their destiny admirably well, up to stopping Discord and trapping him in stone for a thousand years as a Harmony's power clashed with Strife's influence he allowed within him. They were too late with Strife, however.

(a) This lore posits that the commonly known history is wrong in a detail, that Starswirl was rather the student of Clover.)

Discord's rampage through the Unicorn Kingdoms and the Pegasus Junta, and a number of outlying territories, was brought to an end. Strife's reign of terror through Paradise Estate and the Arion Republic ramped itself up as she felt her brother's demise. Not out of vengeance but panic, as she too saw her days were numbered. Better than to take what joy she could before the end. So open and blatant were her actions then, they drew the immortal leaders of her tormentors upon her position and she once more brought doom upon herself.

The Sisters and their companions were too late to stop Strife as the princess of Paradise Estate beat them to it. For the first and last time she imitated the form of an alicorn and then the heartbeat of a star when she embraced the Spirit Of Hate and force fed her all of her love. This warmth of the heart banished the Windigos and scattered Strife across the World, though she could no more be truly killed than Discord or Harmony.

The princess of Paradise Estate gave her life to drive away Strife[2], but the pony nations were still in shambles. The unicorn king bent knee to the Sisters, the pegasus king declared them divinity sent from the Heavens, much to their chagrin to this day, and the earth pony king made a speech to the senate that joining the growing Equestrian Alliance under the guidance of the Sisters was the right thing to do. The transfer of power was not instantaneous, it was a few generations before Equestria proper was established and hold outs remained for centuries afterwards[3]. Broken stallions each, as soon as they felt the Sister were settled, the brothers left on self-imposed exile and have not been seen since.

[2] As her last act, she named the earth pony king "Inheritor Of The Flame" so the element wouldn't be lost.]

[3] A persistent conspiracy that continues in some underground groups today is that the Sisters summoned Discord & Strife to destroy the pony kingdoms so that they may conquer them afterwards and be treated as saviors. Mostly tribal purists that to this day don't care for neighbors that have different magical parts than they do.]

Celestia and Luna didn’t immediately take over. They headed the Equestrian Alliance, which covered not only the Arion Republic, the Pegasus Junta and the Unicorn Kingdoms, but the myriad of smaller forgotten pony states. Entire small nations were outright absorbed into the Alliance as refugees.

Celestia and Luna outright took over Paradise Estate from their mother who had taken the throne from the first princess. It served as the basis of the Alliance and eventually merged with it to form the Principality Of Equestria. Their continuance of the Estate’s principles of inclusivity and acceptance combined with absorbing so many nations accounts for the hodgepodge nature of Equestria’s culture. 

Equestria gradually took over the duties and powers of the other nations, first riding a wave of popular opinion and then using Celestia’s charisma, time and Luna lurking in a shadowy place to do the rest. None of the old tribal nations were ever fully absolved, but instead absorbed into Equestria and desegregated, creating vestigial branches of government. 

The Sisters also took over the Wheel and that was less gradual. They outright usurped the unicorn wizards in lighting the beacon, their rapport with Sun and Moon was unmatched by any pegasus shaman and their grasp of celestial geomantic principles rendered the earth pony druids obsolete. The pony magi were knocked from their privileged position, rocking many political institutions and furthering the Sisters’ rise to dominance. 

Unicorn wizardry survived through their schools, and the continuance of those institutions allowed them to consolidate what power they could[4]. The master-apprentice system of the earth pony druids and pegasus shaman did not. Without the allure of prestige, fewer and fewer gifted foals sought the arduous process of apprenticeship. Some attempts were made by a few of the pegasus magi to mirror the success of the unicorns, disseminating select secrets pertaining to larger scale and complex weather working than what the average pegasus could do on their own. Some earth pony magi started families and passed druidic knowledge through the blood alone. Many more took their secrets to the grave, and pony magic was rendered lesser for it. 

[4] Trying to suck up to Celestia by re-naming a school after her and placing her in charge didn't necessarily help, but it didn't exactly hurt either.]

The Sister similarly dominated the culture via their example. They had rather fond memories of their mother and her foster, and rather less fond memories of the three kings, influencing ponies' view on gender and leadership[5]. Aggression and brawn were cast as foolish destruction, and gentleness and diplomacy were where power should lie. They similarly influenced the concept of marriage and family. Celestia absorbed the ideals of pegasus pair bonding, and championed coupling as the romantic ideal. Luna imitated the herding of the earth ponies and exalted that instead. In turn, ponies chose whichever suited them.

[5] Truthfully, ponies, intelligent ponies, often leaned towards the matriarchal with the kings acting not so much as an exception as an example. In their semi-sapient days, the mares and a single stallion ruled the herd and the rest of the stallions existed on the periphery. The fate of the three kings more confirmed a previous bias.]

The Sisters divided their duties in accordance to their interests, in particular diplomacy and propaganda to Celestia and warcraft and espionage to Luna. Celestia often counseled patience, waiting out holdouts with their immortality and meeting a more pliable generation with honeyed words[6]. However, some holdout threatened to undo their work, necessitating Luna's less gentle touch.

[6] "How arrogant we were then. We became assured of this idea that mortal lives would pass before us in the blink of an eye. That any objections to our just conquest would be dust and ashes, shouting at us silently from the Shadowlands."]

Luna wielded Equestria’s greatest weapon, Celestia. Together, they devised a working where Celestia would fly to the edge of Sky where its faint ley lines would meet and form minute cracks in the upper edge of the atmosphere against the void. She would goad Sun’s gaze and conjure lenticular lenses to focus light into a single coherent beam.

Down on the Globe, Luna would declare, “Smite them from the Heavens!” In a flash of light, armies could be vaporized. Celestia trusted Luna to use this power wisely, using it rarely, when all other options were exhausted and casualties were minimized. Luna was dubbed the “keeper” of the Flare weapon. In later years, Celestia would remember it as cowardice, burdening her sister with those deaths and metaphorically keeping her hooves clean. 

This was the carrot and the stick method, whereas Celestia told those recalcitrant to their rise could deal with her or with her younger sister. There came a pithy saying among the opponents of the Celestial Sister, "And lo, I beheld a Pale Horse, and Death followed behind her."[7] Luna was the weird, quiet princess but was fast becoming the menacing one.

[7] In time, after Luna's banishment, this was misremembered as Celestia being both the Pale Horse and Death, marking the time Celestia began to quietly inherit a shadow of her sister's grim reputation.]

At least once, the Sisters orchestrated a bluff where Celestia insinuated Luna had gone rogue, allowing her to act freely while Celestia was covered diplomatically. Such a two-faced operation toed the acceptable ethical lines of those more desperate days, and perhaps worked too well as it left something of an even nastier stain on Luna reputation.

Before the days darkened and Luna spiralled into madness, a number of pressing dangers were addressed and dealt with. The Reindeer Rebellion, or the Caribou Uprising, and the defeat of Dainn The Despoiler at the Battle Of Coldharbor[8] was one such action. The policies that lead to Rebellion was perhaps an early demonstration in the flaw of Celestia's plan to simply wait out the opposition. Their hooves were forced then, especially at the urging of the minotaurs, to hurry the emancipation of the remaining caribou slaves. Luna remained silent in her criticism then, and would regret it later.

[8] annotation missing]

Early in the reign of the diarchy, along with their boon companions, destroyed the Dark Heart Of Tambellon. It cost the lives of Pansy and Cookie, and it cost Starswirl

girls its me

the old goat

save me

you cant

im still here

and Grogar was banished, Starswirl's soul was finally at rest(b).

(b) A reminder that this lore ignores the canon of Season 7 onwards)

Luna was overlooked from the start, though in part because she never enjoyed the spotlight and fawned over by her few devoted followers, her loving herd and her ever loyal thestrals[9]. In time, as the foundation of Equestria settled, Celestia proclaimed that Luna would no longer need to carry out her cloak and dagger duties. To Luna, the insinuation she heard was that Equestria would no longer need her

[9] annotation missing]

It was becoming apparent to Luna that fear was not a palatable substitute for love. Motherly Celestia, physically and socially the pinnacle of marehood. Luna was often derided for acting and looking like a colt, especially when standing next to her sister. As her insecurities ate away at her over centuries, multiple tragedies hit her one after another that sent her over the edge. 

First, the infiltration of her herd by an insidious character. A pegasus shaman serving one of the shards of Strife, and empowered by Hate. He betrayed Luna dramatically, murdering the rest of the herd so that he made feed upon the hate of a demi-goddess. She hunted him for years, and her obsession only made him stronger. Finally, she turned his magic against him, undoing the safeties in his magic that protected him from hate’s poison. She stood and watched as it ate away at him, mind, body and spirit, over long hours. His name is forgotten, wiped away from all records under mysterious circumstances[10].

[10] It was Verbal Gospel, a name that made more sense in its time. Historians retelling this sad stretch of history often call him Keen Edge.]

Before, Luna chose herd mates from the common ponies. Acknowledging her sister’s superiority in reading others, she allowed Celestia to help her vet potential lovers. However, one time too many did Celestia suggest accepting a noble pony or non-pony[11] into her herd for political gain. Luna quit taking her sister’s advice and her entire herd was murdered. She refused to form another herd after that, losing a valuable emotional support.

[11] Celestia was the xenophile of the two, half of her spouses throughout the years being non-ponies, hence her epithet[12]. She didn’t marry for political gain, but thought since her sister took so many spouses at once what was one more? She could be a little insensitive to her sisters sometimes.]

[Now Celestia never said “I told you so” or anything to that effect, she wasn’t quite that insensitive, but Luna could tell she thought it and it filled her with unfiltered rage.]

[12] Which makes some of her other epithets and the future tales around them so bizarre.]

Next was the infamous Mythril Mines Mishap. It started with a baron turned merchant prince, Silver Tongue. Disgraced and stripped of his royal titles, Silver Tongue used hidden funds and insider information, a similar scheme that led to his demotion in the first place, to invest in a dried up mine that hit a mythril deposit, turning him into a magnate practically overnight. Not satisfied with reacquiring his previous level of comfort, he wanted revenge against the powers that cast him down in the first place.

With charisma and capital combined, he began fomenting and funding anti-royalists groups, the so-called Loyal Opposition that even persists today. He painted himself as a fallen angel, cast down by uncaring goddesses for radical pro-proletariat protesting. But he pulled himself back up by his bootstraps and so can you, but not under the current regime. He used his growing fortune, as well as skullduggery, to buy up the few other mythril mines until he had a veritable monopoly. He consolidated a great deal many other businesses, put quite a few other out and spread propaganda saying it was the fault of the nobility and the princesses.

Luna moved to strike back against him, crafting the earliest anti-trust laws to break up the growing economic danger. Silver Tongue declaimed the legislation as striking against the common merchant and any common pony who wished to rise above their means. He stoked the mistrust and fear ponies felt for the Night Princess and took advantage of early stallionist movements to mock Luna as frightful of a colt in power. This completely ignored how colt friendly Luna was, and that her influences fueled these early stallionist movements.

Luna asked for the backing of Celestia and the senate, but neither wanted to touch that PR nightmare, and the former advising her sister to wait it out and fight propaganda with propaganda. Indeed, Celestia was already on that, constructing and disseminating a masterful counter-narrative to Silver Tongue's. Luna told her it wouldn't work fast enough.

Silver Tongue suddenly stopped paying his workers, closed down his mines and other business and evicted ponies from the tenants he owned. Force fed his propaganda whilst working and living under him, they were primed to believe him when he told them that it was the princesses' fault. Riots erupted, the economy ground to a halt and the problem rippled outwards through Equestria and beyond.

Luna urged immediate military intervention, Celestia, the senate and the nobility decided to try diplomacy first. Silver Tongue came to Canterlot to list his demands. He wanted to be made into an immortal, all-powerful alicorn and declared the unquestioned King Of Equestria. Celestia spent the meeting explaining to him that's not how anything works and explain to Luna that, if they just killed or took him now, he'd be a martyr.

Silver Tongue went back to tell his followers that the princesses refused to share the secrets of immortality with the common pony. Luna and the Guard followed behind him. He dared her to kill him, it would make him a martyr like Celestia said. She took his dare and killed him on the spot. It made him a martyr and the riots worsened with a fervor. Luna declared martial law, and several dozen ponies were put to the sword until the survivors were cowed, forced to work at spear point in an effort to get the economy back on track. Luna felt like she was done foaling around.

This only worsened the situation throughout Equestria, and the surrounding lands. The Sisters scrambled at cross purposes, with Celestia trying to assure everypony that they were not going to crush the citizenry beneath their iron hooves and Luna crushing fools beneath her iron hooves. Eventually, the eldest was forced to confront the younger and censure her sister. A great many condemned her as a wicked tyrant, but Equestria was particularly fractious. The common pony, the merchants and, to her chagrin, the nobles had those who spoke of Luna as a strong savior who stepped in when things needed to be done, putting down unruly elements - especially elements from different classes of society. These were all narratives she recognized as specially crafted by Celestia to unite support for her sister in these trying times[13].

[13] It'd be more succinct to say that Luna already had a number of scattered supporters at this time, or more that Silver Tongue had a disjointed opposition. Celestia crafted a coherent and unified narrative afterwards for them all to cling to that portrayed Luna as the hero.]

The last strike down against Luna started out promising for her. Morbid and acerbic Midnight Sparkle(c), a daughter of humble glassblowers, a prodigy at Celestia's School. It was common for Celestia to take in a promising student as her personal apprentice, mirroring the old ways of the magi. On one such trip to her school to meet that possible candidate, Luna had decided to accompany her. Upon meeting Midnight Sparkle, she took one look at the Night Princess and unprompted gave an emotionless summation of the Mythril Mine Mishap, one that was both scathing and praising of Luna in the same breath.

(c) Reference to Ponibius/Chengar Qordath's Winningverse, in particular its Nightmare Rebellion Era)

After that, Luna decided to take her on as an apprentice herself, much to Celestia's relief and delight. The filly was a sponge of knowledge and Luna loved her, the hole in heart from her missing herd filled ever so slightly. To her growing pride, the mare never grew to stay her tongue or her harsh opinion of the upper classes, winning her few friends in those quarters. Luna passed on to Midnight Huf's notes after the filly expressed curiosity in the magics of the other tribes. She would come to regret this decision.

Midnight's friends started as study partners, ponies from the other two tribes to aid her studying, a member of a pegasus military clan and an orphaned earth pony abandoned by her unicorn purist noble father(d). In time, they became close friends, even if it was hard to tell with constantly flat-toned and morbid Midnight. The trio unlocked old, forgotten magic and eventually attempted Huf's ritual of ascension. Midnight was the only success, the earth pony something less than a success but still alive and the pegasus wisely deciding to back out after that.

(d) Estree's Triptych)

Though still mortal, Midnight lived in a society that regarded alicorns as nigh-divine authority figures. Luna was all too eager to encourage that and Celestia only privately objected. Midnight used her newfound authority to help Luna push her agenda, developing laws to limit the power of the nobility and reign in the merchant class. That would be why those same groups orchestrated her assassination, cutting her throat as she slept.

Luna rooted out the direct conspirators and against her sister's urging for rationality had them burned at the stake so that she may have the satisfaction of watching them scream. After that, she pushed for her reforms all the harder and began a purge of shadow and terrors against anypony that objected against it on the grounds that they were sympathizers of her apprentice's assassins. The nobility and merchant classes threatened to rise up in rebellion if she didn't stop, many of the commoner class rumbling agreement as Luna's purges knew no boundary. They were demanding Celestia oust her sister from the throne.

While Luna was not without supporters, Celestia convinced her that public opinion was turning too strongly against her. Celestia sent Luna on sabbatical until the whole thing blew over in a few generations. Instead, Luna left Equestria to plot how she may gain enough power to take over. Between Silver Tongue and Midnight's killers clearly Celestia was far too soft to put the monsters in pony skins in line. Luna plotted to make herself queen of Equestria, with her older sister remaining as a princess beneath her. All she needed was the raw power to make her rule unquestioned.

So everypony knows how well that didn't end for her but here are the details of exactly how the disaster ball got rolling.

Luna explored the deeper underlying psychoplane beneath the dreamscape, the spirit world where her dam came from, as well as her old foes, Discord & Strife. Other spirits lived there, such as a family of emotional spirits like Melancholy, Rancor and Jubilation. It came to Luna's notice that Fear had not been claimed by any spirit. She figured since she was responsible for banishing the night terrors of ponies and other creatures, it was her right to claim the power of Fear for herself.

Using the magic of all three tribes over several years, she mapped and tapped the fey lines of Fear's domain, tamed its lesser spirits and finally cast the spell to channel its power into herself. She found out when it was too late to abort the spell that Fear actually had a spirit, albeit nascent and incomplete. A screaming infant entity, forcefully shoved into the gullet of Luna's essence whether Luna liked it or very much not. Two minds never meant to merge were forcefully fused and the mad amalgamate that resulted called herself Nightmare Moon. She was the incarnation of everything everypony feared Luna would become, lashing out at everything Luna feared would hurt her.

For a time, Nightmare Moon pretended she was Luna or more forgot that she wasn't. She returned from sabbatical, seemingly more ready to "get in line". It was a turn of phrase that relieved many but worried Celestia. She was glad to have her sister back after so many years but desired to help retrieve the fire she seemed to have lost. Hints to warning signs of clues that something might be wrong were ignored.

With magical disguises and projections, Nightmare Moon gathered allies and fomented rebellion. She reignited the movement started by Silver Tongue, stirred the lingering sympathies of Midnight's killers and taught cultists the hate magic of her herd's murderer or variations befitting different tribes, feeding off the growing turmoil and resentment. She called her thestrals and many answered because their parents had and their parents and theirs and so forth. Some thestrals, magi whos magic called to shadows and lies, saw through Nightmare Moon's. She cursed these traitors to be actual bloodthirsty monsters, never again to know the kiss of the sun without burning, shunned by pony kind, creating the first vamponies.

The Nightmare War, as it came to be called afterwards, started with no clear leader, not to the loyalists. It was a well organized guerilla rebellion with seemingly members positioned in every city and every class of society. It carried with it hints of all the past crisis Luna had claimed and feared would resurface. However, she refused to address them, stating Celestia would resolve the rebellion with diplomacy. She then proceeded to sabotage all those attempts with her insider information, forcing Celestia to face all of Luna's fears.

Finally, Celestia begged for Luna's military intercession. Luna nodded, disappeared and came back leading the rebel forces in a siege of the capital. If it sounds like Nightmare Moon gave up an advantageous position within the heart of the capital for the sake of a dramatic reveal, than good, you're paying attention. In fact, she gave up a number of advantages and kept pressing disadvantages she should have tried to circumvent.

Luna was the Warmistress, Equestria's master of all matters martial. She fought wars with layers of carefully laid subterfuge, she won losing battles by changing the victory conditions. Now she was sieging the Capital and as the siege became a losing prospect for her previously guerilla army, a successful tactic at the time, Luna responded by doubling down and sieging some more but with feeling this time. Celestia laid an obvious trap to lure her sister into a direct confrontation. The fact that she flew right into it confirmed to Celestia that her sister was not in her right mind, if all the betrayal didn't hint at that already.

Celestia tried to reason with Luna, Luna transformed fully into Nightmare Moon and summoned Moon to block out Sun, even as Harmony struggled against the grasp of the thing using her niece's power. Nightmare Moon declared the night would last forever, with even odds on whether she meant that literally, bringing about a global apocalypse, or if it were a metaphorical statement on the nature of her eventual conquest. She wasn't super sure herself but she knew that she wanted to kick Celestia's face in.

Celestia was the Peacebringer, a veritable pacifist compared to her sister. Luna was her martial better, a more skilled and canny fighter. However, pound for pound, thaum for thaum, Celestia was stronger. Luna could still roll over her in most circumstances but Nightmare Moon tried to outmuscle Celestia in a direct confrontation, resplendent with beam-o-wars and galloping charges. The kidnapped Fear spirit had yet to fully awaken to her power, and Nightmare Moon had yet to fully master that.

Celestia actually had to put in effort not to kill Luna. Nightmare Moon refused to go down, buoyed by madness and Celestia was unskilled enough to overpower her without lethal force. Celestia was unwilling to put her sister down for good, so she lured her into the chamber where they kept the Elements. Harmony took back her wayward niece and entrapped her within her embrace.

The Reign Of Celestia & The Return Of Luna

Much of Luna's army broke and surrendered with her defeat. Many more simply scattered, returning to guerilla tactics that haunted the principality for years to come. Celestia took in the vamponies, finding alchemical cures for their hunger and by their own volition they repaid her by hunting many of the guerilla fighters themselves. She found trusted commanders, Shadow Kicker[14](c) being the most famous, to carry out more formal operations and negotiated the surrender of quite a few rebels, integrating them back into society. Equestria healed and rebuilt.

[14] Midnight's pegasus friend, in fact. Older and tempered by tragedy herself.]

Celestia took over Celestial Wheel completely. She set out to stone circles and attuned herself to the lunar energies, even as they burned like ice through her veins. She moved Moon across the sky, even as it felt like shoving a spike of chilled void through her heart. She flew up to where Sky ended and Heavens began, to speak with Moon's spirit in its domain of cold and darkness. There, Harmony whispered to her daughter a secret, a secret of a thousand summers and the shortest night, when the stars will aid in her escape. The journey nearly killed Celestia but she came back happy.

With Luna gone, the more masculine of the two, Celestia was now an unrivalled influence from that front on the culture of Equestria. Herds became uncommon, coupling became the norm. The already matriarchal pony society adopted further feminine ideals. Stallions were further relegated to back breaking hard labor or soul crushing accounting, or forced to join the guard to seek any sort of power. The failures of the Three Kings was largely forgotten but the attempted evils of Silver Tongue was still remembered, and oft cited in the narrative surrounding the position of stallions in pony society.

Celestia was not unsympathetic, she was more unaware of how truly deep it went. It took until Political Franchise's public chastisement to bring the problem to her full attention. Immediately after that, laws were put into place that, in theory, made stallions closer to equals. More importantly, Celestia groomed and pruned the unconscious herd to actually treat stallions as equals. That took several generations of careful social manipulation.

Celestia dealt with other troubles. As she gave more power to the senate, to aid her with the burden of power now that her sister was gone, she spurred resurgent anti-royalists sentiment. The rebellion here was a colder one, more of a closed doors and back alley affair. Celestia managed to keep it that way through calm words, tracing the source of the rebellion to some of her senators.

Celestia traced it even further to a far more secretive group, one that managed to disturb her. Anti-republic extreme royalists that wanted to spur Celestia into dissolving the senate and taking sole authoritarian power. When she confronted the group, they accused her with words that sounds so much like Luna's, of her being soft, weak and cowardly. That as the benevolent and wise goddess that she was, she should be the sole and unquestioned ruler, not greedy and short-sighted mortals.

To the west, the United Griffon Kingdoms rose beneath the auspice of Griffonstone, prospered, lost their proverbial magic feather and fell into ruin. Celestia tempered her ponies from simply stampeding over the disunified gryphon lands but she could not completely stymie the westward expansion. Instead, she did her best to rein in the worst excesses of colonialism[15] and making sure the gryphon natives were not simply crushed underhoof. Equestria was already a blend of many cultures, integrating one more if even just on the western front was thought to be no problem.

[15] An unfortunate and unanticipated side-effect of this came from many nations in that part of the World taking selective cues from Celestia. Colonialism was harmless, the Pale Horse proved it, and the would-be empires could wash over the less powerful nations guilt-free. Those were... those were bad times.]

Equestra made it fairly deep, buying[16] up a fifth of the gryphon lands to the west before their efforts were stymied by a unified effort. These gryphons were not the same gryphons of the old border, who nearly welcomed pony resources and the Pale Horse's carefully enforced kindness and generosity. To the north, the Argent Empress[17] and her army glided across the skies, uniting them under her bloody claw. To the south, the remaining kingdoms united against the dual threat of two immortal conquerors, no matter how much gentle coin one had.

[16] Celestia's decreed that the conquerors may only conquer by the consent of the conquered, which is a really weird way to put it. Celestia and agents directly or indirectly blessed by her cut lucrative deals with the native gryphons to annex their lands. Many of these deals were even quite fair for their time! For their time. And a few were grossly exploitative. Good times.]

[17] annotation missing]

This finally came to a head with the Battle Over Griffonstone. The Argent Empress sought to control the old capital of gryphon culture to legitimize her rule over all gryphons. The gryphons of Griffonstone feared they would be put to task and sword for the failure of their ancestors, but the consolidating federation to the south was too far to rush to Griffonstone's aid. So Griffonstone petitioned Equestria for protection.

The polity of Equestra feared the possibility of a fully reunited gryphon nation but more than that Celestia wished to put an end to the bloodshed. Griffonstone's petition was accepted and Equestria prepared for war. Without the Warmistress Of Equestria, Celestia sought counsel for war, Shadow's descendants who sought Shadow's shade, and others. With living generals and necromantic relays with bovine aid[18], Celestia devised a plan.

[18] annotation missing]

Over the skies of Griffonstone, Celestia challenged the Argent Empress to single combat. More martially inclined, the Empress cleared the skies[19] with Celestia but it was all a ruse. The duel was a distraction as hidden Equestrian forces took the flank of the distracted gryphons and routed the army. When the Argent Empress sought to execute Celestia for reneging on the terms of their duel, one Captain Steel Song(e) lead his strike team of immortal killers to send her fleeing.

[19] Or wiped the floor with her, as ground bound races would say.]
(e) Viking ZX's Dusk Guard)

Celestia has dealt with the Argent Empress over the centuries. As the young immortal has matured, the two have come to an understanding. The Argent Empress remains jealous of Celestia’s ability to make lasting, positive change with seemingly no difficulty without understanding the constant compromising involved. The two ageless leaders often have intersecting goals but very differing methods. Far too many of Celestia’s careful foreign plans to relieve suffering abroad were destroyed by the Empress’s heavy clawed approach. 

The worst part perhaps is how much the Argent Empress reminds Celestia of Luna, but without any firm restraining hoof to balance her out. On the other hoof, the gryphons immortal makes a reliable propaganda piece. They showed what few, but persistent, anti-royalists what a real immortal tyrant would look like[20]. More importantly, it showed the pro-royalist, anti-democratic faction what a real immortal tyrant would look like[21].

[20] As Celestia would be the first to point out, lowering the bar does not a proper defense make.]
[21] It didn’t work as well as she hoped, her fascist fans certain she’d be a wise and benevolent autocrat.]

Celestia handled Salazar and the Reavers(c), she broke the Brotherhood Of Converts(f) and she prepared for her sister’s return. As a thousand summers neared to a close, she attempted to prepare a champion to free her sister. Miscalculations were made with the first filly, who ran away to distant lands to become the Equine Emissary of Summer Titania[22](g). 

(f) Conversion Bureau)
[22] annotation missing]
(g) A reminder, the canon of this lore doesn’t use EqG, but it mines it for inspiration.)

Success is had, another takes up the mantle, Luna returns. 

As Luna recovered her strength, Celestia moved to restructure the government to place her sister as her equal upon the throne. Once again, Luna saw her sister’s weakness, unwilling to take power when she should to prevent treachery, and went behind her back to address it. Luna went to the senate and found that she and they were of common thought. Without Celestia’s input, Luna’s political power was neutered. She was Celestia’s equal in name only. 

Celestia was unhappy with this for a few reasons. Selfishly, she wanted an equal to shoulder the burden with her. Luna’s constitution made her open to have power delegated to her, but it wasn’t the same. Also selfishly, she wanted things to be the same as before. Luna wouldn’t allow it. Less selfishly, Celestia worried about Luna’s mental well-being[23]. 

[23] Statements like “I shall be Equestria’s leashed hound,” hardly helped that worry.]

All indications are that the spirit of Fear, now calling herself the Nightmare, has returned to the Astral Plane. She is now complete, a being of the same class as her siblings and cousins, like Discord. Her form is similar to Luna’s, modeled after Nightmare Moon, and she is filled with a simmering hatred for the Night Princess after what Luna almost made her do. The Tantabus is a spirit of the Nightmare and Luna, created from their shared connection and as much a spawn of the Nightmare’s hatred and desire to see Luna tormented as Luna’s guilt and desire for the same. 

At least one shard of the Nightmare Moon amalgamate survived their separation and it was gathered by a secretive cult. Intending to resurrect their dark mistress, they built her a new body through a trans tribal ritual over the course of eleven months. At the ritual’s climax, a group of adventurers consisting of one Maud Pie and Trixie Lulamoon and lead by Daring Doo, raided the cultists’ lair.

Disabling the cult leader before he brings down the knife and “free my mistress from this infantile shell”, the trio bring the baby alicorn back to Canterlot and the Celestial Sisters. Luna now has a daughter to raise and Celestia ponders the ramifications of Nyx. (h)

(h) Pen Stroke’s Past Sins)

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