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Petrichord


Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?

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  • 5 weeks
    JINGLEMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS 2021!!!

    Yeah, I know, I'm like a week late with this announcement. I'm aware that I've been getting more and more scarce on here, but that doesn't mean that I'm not interested in some Fimfic events from time to time - and this is certainly, certainly no exception.

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  • 13 weeks
    Commissions are closed

    I was in a strange mood yesterday, forgive me for that.

    Still don't know what I really want to do with my writing anymore. Still struggling.

    Sorry about this, y'all.

    2 comments · 59 views
  • 14 weeks
    Open for Commissions!

    Need something to kick my butt into gear, and I figure this is the best way to hold myself accountable.

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    5 comments · 58 views
  • 14 weeks
    A Brief Break from Brief Histories

    Went to start touching up my Brief History of West-Equestria before posting it.

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    3 comments · 58 views
  • 15 weeks
    A Brief History of Ost-Equestria

    Depending on how you define it, the history of Ost-Equestria is either very short - a mere twenty-four years - or quite long indeed, a saga spanning back since the dawn of ponykind. The races of Ost-Equestria tend to take the latter interpretation; in other countries on Equus, the former interpretation is generally considered the correct one. But, whatever the case may be, the causes leading up

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Aug
23rd
2021

A Brief History of Ost-Equestria · 5:03pm August 23rd

Depending on how you define it, the history of Ost-Equestria is either very short - a mere twenty-four years - or quite long indeed, a saga spanning back since the dawn of ponykind. The races of Ost-Equestria tend to take the latter interpretation; in other countries on Equus, the former interpretation is generally considered the correct one. But, whatever the case may be, the causes leading up to the civil war known as The War in The Heavens can be traced back to the foundations of Equestria as a diarchy, if not older.

The traditional narrative adopted by the ponies of Equestria was that of the unification of the Three Tribes - earth ponies, pegasi and unicorns - the expulsion of Windigoes from Equestria and the founding of pony civilization. In truth, there was a fourth tribe: the thestrals, more commonly (and coloquially) known as batponies. Unlike the other three tribes, they were nocturnal, preferred to live in caves and mountainous regions over fabricated housing and grasslands, and demonstrated more devotion to Princess Luna than Princess Celestia. After all, Princess Luna was the guardian of the night, watching over her thestral subjects with the same scrutiny that Princess Celestia watched over the other three tribes and sought to protect diurnal ponies from haunting dreams and other night terrors without expecting their worship in return. To the other three tribes, of course, Celestia was the more important princess: she watched over three times as many ponies, fought back against the tangible dangers of the night with her light and showed careful guidance in encouraging the development of pony civilization.

Ultimately, while the fourth tribe bore superficial resemblances to the other three, its culture was distinct and alien from that of their daytime cousins. Lacking the desire nor the need to band together in the face of a historical daytime foe, thestral communities retained a distinct tribalistic bent that the daytime tribes quickly discarded. The preferred habitation of thestrals - cave complexes and structures integrated within them - enabled reclusion from the outside world when desired and impaired the need to construct housing wholecloth in order to find somewhere to live. Inter-community trade rarely took place due to the lack of nighttime trading partners, which led to publicly-shared property never really being phased out in favor of private ownership and enterprise (ironically adopting communist structures millennia before Stalliongrad did.) Thestrals tended to stick to high lands, while the other ponies preferred low lands; Thestrals had their own weather management teams in their own personal spaces during the nighttime, where pegasi never bothered to maintain the weather; differences in audible ranges and vocal chords made the Thestral’s native language even more confusing to outsiders; and so on.

Were the meeting of the thestrals and the other three tribes millennia later after they first met, then perhaps mutual tolerance would have been on the table, as it had seemed the ponies were adopting from other races at the beginning of the 11th century. Alas, they came from a simpler time, when rumormongring was not officially fact-checked and safety was more of a concern than diplomacy. Despite Princess Luna’s repeated pleas for Celestia to directly intercede and demand racial integration and equality, Celestia reiterated constantly that the role of a princess was to guide, not enforce.

Had Celestia more directly cracked down on her subjects, the course of history might well have turned out entirely differently in ways that are impossible to predict. But by refusing to do so, one of the oh-so-easily predictable events was the withdrawal of thestrals from the rest of Equestrian society and the sowing of the first seeds of antipathy towards Celestia in Luna’s mind. Still, for the short term, the issue was quietly dropped as the thestrals migrated east and let the ponies live in peace.

In a vacuum, that would have been the end of things. But pony society didn’t grow in a vacuum: as it grew, it expanded outward, with sprawling farmyards and bustling towns covering the fields of Equus and pushing ever eastward to make room for its expanding empire. It was inevitable that the two races would make contact again; on this “second contact,” Luna once again urged Celestia to take a more hardline stance on enforcing integration, and Celestia once again refused. To her credit, she made several speeches in the following months of contact praising the expanding relations and a “truer unity” among the ponies of Equestria. Still, ultimately, words aren’t the same as mandates, and Celestia’s efforts were little more than a spit of rain in the ocean.

Integration attempts were a resounding failure. Equestrian - the language of the three tribes - quickly became treated as the only viable language for cross-communication, which angered the thestrals and proved exasperating to ponies forced once again to explain that they didn’t have the appropriate vocal/audial range to speak or understand the Thestral’s language. Attempts at trade were stymied by the thestrals’ lack of tradable goods, angering thestrals who were subsequently expected to labor for the ponies in order to get the goods and resources they wanted - an issue exacerbated by ponies providing thestrals (who lacked legal protections) with unequal, much poorer working conditions than with other ponies and expecting them to work during daytime hours (a part of the day that they were ill-suited for.) Despite Celestia’s attempts at encouraging harmony, love and tolerance between the species, all the tribes were able to create between themselves were negative stereotypes: the three tribes saw thestrals as shiftless, self-absorbed and barbaric, while the thestrals saw the three tribes as greedy, dishonest and elitist. Neither wanted anything to do with the other, but were forced into increasingly close contact with each other through territorial expansion and Princess Celestia’s refusal to take more direct action, despite increasingly insistent pleas from Princess Luna.

On October 31, 1 BLB (Before Lunar Banishment,) a group of roughly a dozen thestral squash farmers, angered after an extensive history of verbal abuse from the pony property manager employing them, abruptly and systematically destroyed approximately 80% of the ripe squashes on the property in a campaign of systematized destruction. In retaliation, a group of approximately thirty ponies in hooded garments stormed into the caves the thestrals and their families lived in that evening, killed and mutilated their bodies with assorted farming implements, dragged their remains into the town square and immolated the corpses while chanting anti-thestral slogans, an event in which the town guard refused to interrupt.

Equestria erupted into violence as thestrals clashed openly with the other ponies. Celestia finally interfered with the process by mobalizing the appropriate guards to break up fights, sending in her royal guards when necessary to forcefully end violent conflicts and detain “notable agitators”. Luna, incensed, demanded that Celestia take responsability for refusing to acknowledge the escalation of tensions and take action against anti-thestral sentiments. Celestia refused, stating that her prior actions were repeatedly designed to de-escalate tensions and that “The Squash” was an unforeseeable attack on the thestrals, before accusing Luna of displaying “Pro-thestral bias deliberately empowering inflammatory sentiments between the four tribes.”

Furious, Luna abandoned her dream management duties among the three tribes. While she did not actively participate in the conflict - likely by the threat of Celestia also personally intervening in the war - she made several outspoken speeches about “the necessity of equality” and “the banishment of hate” that were quite clearly slanted against the three tribes. Galvanized by the tacit support of one of the princesses and the lack of directly pro-pony sentiments from Celestia, the thestrals continued to resist pony incursions into their territory and disrupted pony organizational efforts as much as possible.

The climax of the extended revolt came on June 19, 0 ALB. Despite galvanization, the Thestrals were clearly beginning to lose all direct conflict against the ponies, who were simply better equipped and better organized to deal with a protracted military conflict. Desperate for a breakthrough, the closest thing to a military commander the thestrals had - a leader named Chiron - led the vast bulk of the thestral’s fighting forces on an attempted surprise assault on Canterlot, aiming to overthrow the palace, depose Princess Celestia and elevate Princess Luna to the position of the One True Princess.

The assault failed spectacularly. Information about the assault was leaked back to the three tribes by a reconnaissance unit, who had time to warn the Canterlot Royal Guard and prepare an ambush by the time Chiron was able to finish mustering his forces and move in to attack. Approximately 75% of the thestral forces were killed, including Chiron, before the survivors surrendered piecemeal and were taken into captivity. The following morning, the Canterlot Royal Guard had the captives hauled before town square, read the survivors a list of their crimes and - judging by the testamonies of the guards in combat with them - were either jailed, jailed and assigned penal labor or executed then and there. The town square was clearly visible from several of the numerous windows in Canterlot Castle, allowing both Luna and Celestia to watch the makeshift trial from different parts of the castle.

A visibly pregnant thestral named Emballon was tried for “assisting in the murder of a guardspony,” sentenced to execution and decapitated. The process took under a minute, with the same sort of grim finality that had accompanied all of the prior executions. For Luna, it was the last straw. An abrupt and unplanned total solar eclipse blocked out the sun as Luna’s dwindling emotional stability was finally shattered on the rocks of grief and rage, and dark mists enveloped her body as she unthinkingly teleported into the middle of the town square mid-transformation. To the horror of Celestia and the ponies and the astonishment of the Thestrals, Luna finished her transformation into a dark, powerful entity who referred to herself as Nightmare Moon.

Within seconds of completing her transformation, all the shackles and bindings on the surviving Thestrals spontaneously shattered. Overwhelming waves of lunar magic erupted out of Nightmare Moon and lashed out as the new queen began to effortlessly tear every non-thestral within sight to shreds. As pony blood splattered onto the cobblestones and the air was filled with screams, Celestia finally took direct action and teleported into town square to do battle with the creature that had once been her sister. Powerful magics lashed out at each other as the two entities - the closest thing to divinity that the ponies had - tore the town square apart and ruptured nearby buildings in their no-holds-barred struggle; throughout it, Nightmare Moon screamed all of Luna’s stifled accusations at Celestia, calling her an apathetic, sanctimonious coward whose refusal to get her hooves dirty resulted in said hooves being stained with the blood of tens of thousands of innocents.

As Nightmare Moon screamed invectives against Celestia while attacking her with all of the considerable power at her disposal, Celestia began to falter - whether this was due solely to Nightmare Moon’s might or whether Nightmare Moon’s verbal assault was beginning to affect her is known only to Celestia herself, who has refused to elaborate on the issue. Still, minute by minute, Nightmare Moon began to gain the upper hand, and things seemed bleak for Celestia - and by extension, Equestria as she knew it. Taking a gamble, Celestia called up a series of powerful artifacts that she and Luna had discovered long ago - the Elements of Harmony - and unleashed their power, unsure of whether that power would be directed at Nightmare Moon or herself.

It paid off. The power of the Elements of Harmony banished Nightmare Moon to the great lunar sphere she controlled, and a voice spoke directly into Celestia’s mind - in a language unknown but unnervingly recognizeable, alien but uncomfortably familiar - stating that Nightmare Moon would remain trapped there for the next thousand years. The voices faded, and Celestia - alone in a ravaged city, surrounded by blood and death - wept.

Without any figure to rally behind or any higher cause to fight for, the fighting effectively ended then and there. Surviving thestrals either withdrew into more secluded areas, regardless of the hospitality of their climates, or were assimilated (sometimes forcefully) into pony culture. Celestia, still in a state of protracted shock over the emergence of Nightmare Moon, passed a series of laws preventing species discrimination, outlining punishments for terms of offenses and both held constabularies accountable for enforcing the law and created the first of many ministries, the Ministry of Law, to recurringly evaluate the actions of constabularies and criminals in order to make sure the law was upheld. It was stronger legal action than Celestia had taken in quite some time, and while nopony would overtly defy the queen there were many who ignored the laws when it was convenient or focused on less pressing issues - including not only the constabularies but the Ministry of Law itself. The head of the Ministry of Law, Bed Fort Fortress, was particularly lax about prosecuting anti-thestral crimes despite having been appointed for the position due to an excellent track record; had Celestia appointed a different pony as the ministry head, perhaps thestral persecution might not have persisted for a millennia. As it was, thestrals never received equal treatment and learned to never expect equel treatment, being regarded as second-class citizens at best and subpony savages at worst.

Such was the status quo for over nine hundred years, with thestrals - by and large - accepting their fate with grim stoicism. With one exception: the Disciples of Night, a secret society venerating Luna as the one true princess and that their role was to “aid in the perpetuation of thestral culture until her return.” To this end, the Disciples engaged in the archiving and discrete distribution of significant cultural elements in pre- and post-war thestral culture. More commonly - and more infamously - they engaged in numerous acts of murder and destruction against particularly abusive ponies and equestrian institutions, as well as particularly racist politicians. By modern standards, the vast majority of non-thestral equestria considered the Disciples to be a terrorist organization with mystical trappings, and while numerous individuals and several bases were purged over the course of history, the Disciples seemed to always return; it is possible that there may have been numerous organizations throughout history that labeled themselves as and functioned as the Disciples, including the possibility of multiple organizations operating under that name simultaneously. Regardless of their organization or their current state of activity, the Disciples were by far the biggest cause as to why knowledge of Luna existed among any of Equestria’s denizens, as - over the course of centuries - the stories of Nightmare Moon faded from fact to story, story to legend, legend to myth, until Luna and Nightmare Moon were only remembered by conspiracy theorists as the deranged ramblings of a bunch of lunatic extremists. Celestia, for her part, refused to enforce education about Luna or Nightmare Moon to her subjects - and while the reason for doing so has never directly been confirmed by Celestia, it is considered likely that guilt over her role in Nightmare Moon’s genesis caused her to suppress her feelings by attempting to paint Luna out of history’s picture.

One thousand years passed. The prophesied time drew near. The ponies of Equestria, save for the Disciples of the Night (and Princess Celestia’s overly curious protege) were unaware of Nightmare Moon’s very real existence. To the Disciples, however, the prophesied day was nigh, and they watched and waited for signs of Nightmare Moon’s return.

And she did return.

And then Twilight and her newfound friends resummoned the elements of harmony, cleansed Nightmare Moon from Luna’s personality and reunited the two princesses.

The Disciples were thrown into complete disarray by the reversion of Luna’s personality. Some of the members quit the organization then and there, stating that they had believed that they had been led by lies and falsehoods into accepting a princess no better than her negligent sister. Others believed that the Princess Luna that had returned was a fake, and that “The Real Nightmare Moon” was either somewhere else or had yet to fully return. The majority of the Disciples, however, quickly recovered from the unexpected development and the failure of the prophesied day to manifest and maintained a new set of beliefs: that Nightmare Moon’s return wouldn’t automatically release their chains, and that it was now up to their efforts to uncover the scales from Luna’s eyes once more and allow her to reclaim her rightful place.

Operating under much more tangible goals, the Disciples returned to work. This time, instead of assassins and curators, they reforged themselves as activists: distributing classical thestral literature to open-minded ponies, encouraging counterculture movements in universities, exposing the abuses of various businesses and institutions to an increasingly inquisitive press, and so forth. By 1007 ALB, “Thestral Studies” had turned from a disrespected curiosity into a genuine cultural phenomenon, copies of traditional Thestral stories began to hit mass production and show up on bookshelves, and modern takes on old Thestral songs started to break into top radio charts. Thestralmania had come in full - and with it came the reignited topic of civil rights and species discrimination, a topic that Celestia was unprepared to discuss and which slowly enlightened Luna as to how little had actually changed for her people.

On November 1, 1007 ALB, Luna proposed an extensive series of welfare, educational and legal reforms to Princess Celestia, the end goal of which was to end inequality and discrimination between ponies and thestrals and ensure equal protections and rights between all citizens of Equestria, including more meaningful protections of free speech and freedom of expression. They bore no small amount of similarities to the social reform policies suggested by Stalliongradian governor Nickel Bucking, which Celestia had tried to downplay and mitigate. This time, however, she suppressed her natural instinct to prevent any “rocking the boat” and gave Luna full unconditional approval, stating that “It was time for reform to be given where reform was due” and that Luna “was unequivocally best suited to elevating all thestrals to be truly equal among ponies.”

It was a massive step towards progressivism in the country. And were it not for the Disciples of Night, it might have led to genuine reform and a stronger, more united Equestria. Unfortunately, the Disciples of Night weren’t after equality between thestrals and ponies. They wanted Nightmare Moon. They wanted a night that would last forever. They wanted ponies to become subjugated as they had been subjugated, for Equestria’s ponies to know despair, for a country enshrouded in darkness where the tribe of their moon and their goddess would finally receive the respect they deserved.

The Disciples shifted tack once again. Sabotage was the order of the day again - specifically, “false flag” sabotage that incited pony-on-thestral violence or outright framed other ponies for crimes they didn’t commit. Targetting areas of Equestria known for having race relation issues, the Disciples exacerbated tensions between the two groups, until thestral discrimination was once again propogated by ponies tired of being accused for things they hadn’t done and willingly embracing “their heritage of pony pride.” Agitators stirred up crowds in the more progressive areas of the country, galvanizing thestrals enjoying their freedom of speech and encouraging them to turn their attention toward criticism of the country’s apparent endorsement of hate crimes. And pro-thestral radicals of all species were discreetly, but increasingly, encouraged to take arms against their oppressors should push come to shove.

Luna was, ironically, left in the dark about the Disciples’ actions. Instead, all she saw was pony society erupting in chaos over her choice to push racial reform. Between the escalating police crackdowns and violent crime in historically contentious areas to student riots on multiple parts of the political spectrum in Equestria’s biggest cities, upticks in violent crime, vandalism and theft - including government equipment, reportedly - Luna saw an Equestria that loved thestrals as a concept but not a neighbor, an artistic movement but not a demographic, as living creatures but not as fellow ponies. And as Luna pushed further along with her reform proposals and went on a speaking tour throughout Equestria to drum up public support for her reforms, all she felt - despite any applause her speeches actually earned - was that Equestria was a country that didn’t want to change, even after a thousand years, and which would never want to change.

1008 ALB was a year of considerable political turmoil in Equestria. Race relations continued to disintegrate, not only through the actions of the Disciples of Night but autonomously. Thestralmania permutated and resulted in a wave of reactionary works, darker takes on Thestral themes from all sides of the racial spectrum and further divergences from conventional works of music, art and literature. The explosive growth of prosperity and popularity of Socialism in Stalliongrad - kicked off by a coup-countercoup in the summer of ‘07 that was largely drowned out by the other cultural upheavals rippling through Equestria at the time - sent aftershocks through Equestria’s east coast, further decreasing support for the crown and increasing support for a different leader, if not a different way of running things entirely. Olenia, Equestria’s trading partner to the west, was abruptly invaded by a changeling army of unprecedented size and rapidly annexed into the country. And Celestia, her attentions dragged in many directions at once - from the rioting to widespread property theft to abruptly very pressing need for military reform and a massive expansion of Equestria’s armed forces - grew distant from her sister once again, simply not having the time to keep close ties with even her sister as the increasingly overwhelming demands of keeping Equestria together ran her ragged.

The Elements of Harmony, too, were scattered and ran ragged by the recent demands of trying to keep Equestria together. Twilight Sparkle’s initial plans to open a trans-species academy being bogged down in discussions on the merits of “academic internationalism” and abruptly shunted her off into overseas discussions with multiple different nations over student emigration and the materials covered under “Friendship Studies.” Applejack and Pinkie Pie were sent to resolve different diplomatic crises far away from Canterlot - Applejack to talk with Equestria’s increasingly seccessionist-leaning southwest territories, and Pinkie Pie to try and keep the fractious Las Pegasus region united and loyal to Equestria. Rainbow Dash was called away to reform the wonderbolts from a performance troupe into an elite flying force, as well as guide the formation and training of Equestria’s combat airplane division: the Princesses’ Air Force (PAF.) Finally, Fluttershy and Discord were last seen in Vanhoover on October 4, and their whereabouts have not been known since. Only Rarity was around to help Luna, alternatingly providing counsel on her affairs and trying to help Luna manage her stress as the princess slipped closer and closer into despair-induced rage.

On October 31, 1008 ALB - exactly one thousand and eight years since Princess Luna had first became Nightmare Moon - Luna arrived in Manehattan, the last city on her speaking tour. Prospects were hopeful for her and Rarity alike, as Manehattan was a large, racially diverse city that was still very loyal to the princesses and which had so far managed to avoid any racially-motivated crime. Exhausted in more ways than one, the duo stepped in front of the podium assembled for them in the city’s central park, facing a loud, supportive, ethnically diverse crowd: the very thing Luna had hoped to see and inspire since she first drafted and proposed her reforms nearly a year ago. Breaking out into a genuine smile for the first time in months, Luna took a deep breath and opened her mouth.

And then the bomb under the podium went off.

It is very difficult to kill an alicorn with conventional weapons, but it was enough to render Luna prone, reeling and thoroughly incapacitated for a few minutes. By the time she came to her senses, it was to the sights - and sounds - of dozens of ponies gunning down everything in reach, particularly thestrals. Lying on the ground a few meters in front of Luna was Rarity, charred, body twisted at an odd angle, not breathing.

And as sirens blared in the distance and gunfire opened up from outside the park - as thestrals swarmed out through the city streets, ambushing the terrorists that had been carefully hired on by the Disciples - Luna snapped once more. In an explosion of arcane force no less violent than the one she had unleashed thousands of years ago, the Nightmare Moon side of Luna’s personality reasserted itself; this time, perhaps forever. Surrounded by the dead and dying, Luna’s first act was to throw up a force field around Rarity, protecting her from any stray bullets or rubble that may have fallen her way.

Her second was to tear the terrorists into bloody bits.

As law enforcement and the media approached, the Disciples came out of hiding at last, as the thestral “counter-terrorists” revealed themselves. Introducing themselves as a benevolent conspiracy that had been keeping faith in Nightmare Moon alive for over a thousand years, the thestrals informed Nightmare Moon that, on her signal, the combined resources, clout and thestralpower at the organization’s disposal would rise up throughout Equestria and help Nightmare Moon take back what had long since been her due.

The dwindling vestiges of Luna’s ego made one final request to Nightmare Moon: keep Rarity alive and keep Rarity safe. Nightmare Moon, content with protecting a potentially powerful subordinate, agreed. And as the eyes, ears and long hoof of the law witnessed Nightmare Moon’s dark energies flood into Rarity, the alicorn grinned wickedly at the slack-jawed masses and declared war.

A thousand years of groundwork, coupled with a decade’s worth of careful planning and targeted manipulation, did not allow Nightmare Moon to take the country for itself in one fell swoop. It did, however, let the eastern half of the country - the half where the Disciples had consolidated their resources - to rise up and establish the Lunar Equestrian Empire (LEE), a massed collective of Anti-Celestia thestrals, socialist revolutionaries led to believe that Nightmare Moon’s society would be more amenable to socialism, political dissidents, foreign mercenaries and - of course - the disciples themselves. As Nightmare Moon’s will continued to assert itself over the eastern half of the country, Celestia waged war on her sister, hoping against hope that her newly-reorganized and better-equipped army would be able to crush Nightmare Moon’s machinations before they went too far.

Both sought a quick and absolute victory in the war; neither got it. Celestia’s initial hopes that the conflict would be able to be resolved with minimal bloodshed were dashed as the professional foreign soldiers and dilligently trained Disciples proved to be far more dangerous of an opposing force than a simple mass of rioting civilians would be. The Disciples put all of their weight in the initial uprising, assuming that Equestria would be utterly unprepared to handle a military conflict and quickly surrender - but while underprepared, the army reformation and accelerated training programs celestia put the Equestrian army through in response to Olenia’s annexation allowed them to manage some degree of control in battles.

Four months of conflict followed: four bloody months of two supreme leaders inexperienced at handling warfare letting their generals throw great hooffuls of troops at each other with predictable results. Of course, even with all the Disciples’s preparations, Nightmare Moon simply had less possible soldiers to field for the conflict. And even as the Disciples carefully helped manage the wartime effort to ensure that the vast majority of Nightmare Moon’s dead soldiers weren’t part of the disciples and ensuring that they still held a degree of control over the country’s narrative, the LEE was clearly beginning to falter by the beginning of February as the fledgling empire discovered that all the planning in the world couldn’t fix their lack of supplies.

Abruptly, on the evening of February 6, 1009, Celestia reached out to Nightmare Moon by deliberately expanding her dreams - dreams she had kept so carefully guarded since the start of the war - to allow Nightmare Moon to reach out to her in her sleep. It was an invitation to talk silently, privately, one-on-one, and it was an offer made at a place in time where the Disciples couldn’t monitor Nightmare Moon’s actions. The exact details of the conversation are unknown to anypony but the two of them - all that both sides of the conflict knew was that, by the morning after, official declarations started filing in on both sides of the conflict that Celestia and Nightmare Moon had reached an indefinite cease fire. As armies were recalled and immigration controls were put into place, a border was erected slicing Equestria into two halves down a jagged line, ensuring that certain territories belonged to certain countries - Canterlot, of course, remained part of Celestia’s New Equestrian Princessdom (CNEP). In terms of a general military conflict, neither side had achieved total victory; from the perspective of a civil war, however, Nightmare Moon and the LEE had achieved total victory.

A victory which solved no problems and left everycreature unhappy.

The Disciples and their loyalists, as well as Luna’s other radicalized supporters and Pro-thestral extremists, were quietly furious. Nightmare Moon was not beholden to their counsel, as they had never intended for her to be beholden to anycreature, but they still had expected that she would lead the country down the path of glorious conquest instead of brokered peace. The Celestial Loyalists trapped on Nightmare Moon’s side of the border were vocally furious about having no control over their new fates, loudly clamoring to migrate back to their “homeland,” much to the consternation of border control officials who were commanded to vet every single incoming or outgoing thestral or pony as a counter-espionage measure. And as Nightmare Moon began to structure her country along the lines of an empire - as was intended - the eastern socialists grew more and more aware that their voices and opinions would not be heard any more under Nightmare Moon’s banner than they had been under Celestia’s.

Even with their country helmed by a goddess and overseen by a fanatically loyal cabal, the actual management of the LEE proved to be a nightmare. Luna had learned some practical governance skills over her eons of existence, but never as much as Celestia had - and the world which she returned to after a thousand years of banishment was much larger and much more complicated than the world she had left behind. Meanwhile, the Disciples were used to managing a comparatively small group of thestrals who all had the same goals in mind, and the management of a much larger group of much less loyal creatures with much more diverse opinions and motivations kept them out of their depth, despite their increasingly draconian suggestions to Nightmare Moon as methods to ensure loyalty.

Any hopes of a stable consolidation of power in the LEE were dashed when the Großeswechselndes Reich invaded the CNEP on March 15, 1009 ALB. The attack was large-scale and overwhelmingly powerful, forcing Celestia to commit virtually all of her military to defending her Equestria-Changeling border. Seeing the assault as a perfect opportunity for the LEE to destroy its former oppressor once and for all, Nightmare Moon’s advisory circle publicly announced on March 16 that they would be encouraging Nightmare Moon to do the right thing, muster her military again and overrun Equestria once more.

On March 17, not one, but two different factions in the southern LEE declared independence. The first faction, led by a mare who believed herself to be the storybook hero Daring Do and centered in and around the rich southern trading city of Stableside, was the Celestial Free State: a faction of Celestia Loyalists caught on the wrong side of the continent who refused to be instrumental in the defeat of their princess, and who were now willing to fight to the death in order to overthrow Nightmare Moon’s new order. The second faction, led by a stallion who believed himself to be the storybook villain Dr. Cabellron and centered in and around the isolated jungle city of Tenochtitlan, was the Aztlan free state: a collection of thestrals, ponies and other races who were sick of being sent to die in the name of conquest and who wanted to be left alone to live in peace. Enraged by the insubordination of “the ungrateful wretches in my magnificent empire,” Nightmare Moon turned her attention to the south and summoned up her armies once again to crush the resistance and see to the execution of everycreature who opposed her rule.

As a result of that ill-constructed phrase, Baltimare seceded from the LEE, declared itself the Baltimare Republic and began to annex its own territories around the city. Its history strongly rooted in socialist traditions and trade with Severnaya/Stalliongrad, Baltimare and the Baltimare region had evidently come to the conclusion that the only way to secure a true socialist revolution was to stop shipping themselves off to die for an empire that didn’t care about them and take matters into their own hooves. As the LEE’s armies marched southward, so did the socialists, isolationists and Celestial loyalists, bringing with them whatever weapons and supplies they could carry in support of their growing revolutions. Meanwhile, though it never officially declared independence, many socialists on and near the Stalliongrad border began to flee en masse into Stalliongrad, where they were processed and hastily pressed into service in Stalliongrad’s suspiciously neutral army. To top it all off, the mercenary forces that the Disciples had hired on for The War in The Heavens refused to sell their services to the Disciples again, partly after taking note of their casualty rates in The War in The Heavens and partly out of the belief that, even if the LEE won, it wouldn’t be able to fully compensate them in the wake of their economic devastation. Suddenly, Nightmare Moon’s mighty army - once strong enough to hold their own against Equestria for three months - was a fraction of the size of its former self, losing a significant chunk of the best troops at its disposal and forced to fight in dense, dangerous jungle territories to suppress multiple revolts at once.

Once again, the LEE threw most of its weight behind an initial assault into enemy territory, hoping to crush the resistances while they were small. The plan failed badly on every front. Though never on entirely friendly terms, the Celestial Free State and Aztlan free state collaborated with each other well enough to constantly frustrate dedicated LEE offensives and made full use of the jungle terrain to their advantage. The Baltimare Republic lacked favorable terrain, but had a larger industrial base and sizeable military garrison to work with; capped off by a large naval base dedicated to protecting Baltimare and its territories from invading LEE ships, and the military assaults that the LEE waged against Baltimare republic territory felt less like the quashing of a rebellion and more like the invasion of a small but well-armed country.

The first six months of LEE’s planned invasion got them nowhere; recognizing that further offensives made in the same manner as their initial push would prove even more fruitless and even more costly to the LEE, Nightmare Moon ordered her troops to simply guard the borders. The wars never officially ended, as the LEE held their lines from future incursions and made occasional probing attacks into enemy territory; however, the scaling back of their offensive push allowed them to refocus some of their production on repairing infrastructure that had been damaged during The War in The Heavens and establishing an iron-hooved dominion under the loyal parts of Nightmare Moon’s empire. A fair amount of the success of Nightmare Moon’s economic reinvestments were due to Nightmare Moon’s powerful and loyal (if brainwashed) ally: Nightmarity, a fusion of Rarity and the dark essences that empowered and were embodied by Nightmare Moon. Capable and financially clever, Nightmarity quickly established an authoritarian capitalist economic system and incentivications to reward loyal citizens while keeping the majority of the LEE’s citizens disempowered and slightly impoverished. Coupled with a focus on glamorizing the state and its leader to make the LEE seem not only righteous and powerful, but fashionable and personally desirable, Nightmarity recaptured the loyalty of quite a lot of thestrals and ponies that would either be conflicted about or ambivalent to the state. While “Rarinomics” re-empowered the state at the expense of its citizens, Nightmare Moon kept the remaining elements of the LEE unified through magnifying her cult of personality and applying her considerable personal charisma in speeches, decrees and public appearances to keep her loyalists fanatically devoted to her.

Nightmare Moon’s empire never became more than the fourth-strongest power in Equus in the following years, but it stabilized. It cemented its power, solidified its culture and gradually built its military back up as its growing industry allowed for the expansion of her military-industrial complex. With the fringe elements of the empire largely splintered off, Nightmare Moon could properly focus on keeping the rest of the country united on solid principles: worshipping the God-Queen of the night and her loyal aide, opposing the harmonists and leftists and everything they stood for, and supporting the racial superiority of thestrals and discrimination against all non-thestrals, especially ponies. Meanwhile, resistance from the Celestial and Atzlan free states was beginning to crumble: unlike Nightmare Moon, they had little industrial base to sustain themselves off of for more than a few years without imports, Celestia’s attentions were fixated almost entirely on the war against the changelings, and the armies of the free states were as ill-suited to attacking in jungles as Nightmare Moon’s troops had been. In a direct assault, the aggressor was doomed to lose, but in a war of attrition the side with the most resources won - and as months turned into years, Nightmare Moon demonstrated that she and her empire very much had resources to spare on the war effort.

The sharpest blow in the next few years came with the rebranding of Nightmare Moon’s empire. The term “Ost-Equestria” hadn’t come from her - why would it? To Nightmare Moon and the Disciples, the Lunar Equestrian Empire was the true empire, the true important part of Equestria - nay, in all of Equus. And had they not bothered to engage in trade with Stalliongrad, they might have resided comfortably in that delusion for the next decade or so. But fertile as all of Equestria’s lands may have been, they had always lacked aluminum, and the LEE - with half the country’s resources at its disposal and less overall infrastructure than their western cousins - felt that problem acutely. One of Stalliongrad’s allies, meanwhile - a group of violent, left-worshipping griffons who called themselves the NGUR - had plenty of aluminum but a dearth of crops that Stalliongrad was struggling to make do with on their own. Granted, trade and exchange with a demi-capitalist was something of a betrayal of principles, but Nightmarity was quickly able to reassure the NGUR’s leader - a physically sickly but iron-willed griffon named Grigori Scapularvich - that the survival of socialism was both a physical and philosophical affair. Scapularvich begrudgingly agreed, and trade relations began on April 22, 1011 ALB - and were almost immediately halted when Nightmare Moon went through the official documentation and discovered that the various different agreements were listed as between the NGUR and the OE.

A rapid follow-up meeting between Nightmare Moon and Scapularvich clarified that the trade deals were made out to Nightmare Moon’s country, of course - the country of Ost-Equestria. While not the name that Nightmare Moon had attributed to her country, Scapularvich irritably explained that the Großeswechselndes Reich, Stalliongrad, her allied countries and West-Equestria were stable countries with a longstanding history, in comparison to Nightmare Moon’s fledgling and unstable country that - as far as they were aware - was still battling multiple different seceding countries and had no way of guaranteeing to the other countries in Equus that they would continue to exist throughout the year, much less the decade. Ost-Equestria was a useful regional term for the country, easily understandable by the other major powers in the continent and would not require changing in the event of the collapse of Nightmare Moon’s country.

Nightmare Moon was furious, and demonstrated her fury with a lengthy string of invectives, curses and threats. Scapularvich seemed no worse than annoyed by Nightmare Moon’s demonstration, and waited until she had finished before explaining that he did not create the term - it had filtered in from the Großeswechselndes Reich before anyone else adopted it, was accepted as a matter of convenience and was used for casual, handy parlance instead of being enforced by party policy. Save for mandating the use of the Lunar Equestrian Empire across all of the nations on Equus - something that wasn’t in his power to do nor the power of anycreature else - there was no point in fighting the trend or attempting to take retributive action for using the designation accepted by almost every other country.

The trade deal was maintained, for the good of the LEE. Nightmare Moon returned home, humiliated from the ordeal, and quickly announced to her subjects that internal use of Ost-Equestria to describe her country was banned and would be prosecuted heavily among those who deliberately perpetrated its use. Phrased in a particularly impassioned speech that implied that the creation of the phrase “Ost-Equestria” was created as an attack on LEE values and that it was the sort of attack that was anemic and which couldn’t discredit the glory of the country turned the situation from an internal scandal to a rallying call around patriotism that, largely, managed to help unite the country over a revelation that should have disunited it. It wasn’t entirely successful, however; the few in Ost-Equestria who weren’t devoted to Nightmare Moon took the creation of the term “Ost-Equestria” as a sign that Nightmare Moon’s reign will eventually fade, and were slightly re-moralized by the affair. More importantly, though, was the opinion of the Disciples. Even among Nightmare Moon’s loyal subjects and advising cadre, they were beginning to demonstrate aggressive and reactionary attitudes that outstripped even those of Nightmare Moon herself, and argued that such an assault on the country couldn’t go unanswered and that it was Nightmare Moon’s duty to her subjects to declare war on the NGUR. When confronted with the counter-argument that the country was already waging war against three other rebellious states, the Disciples proposed a “sensible” policy: spend whatever was necessary to acquire the most powerful explosives, incendiaries and chemical weapons that could be manufactured by the Großeswechselndes Reich, burn down all the jungles and forests in the southern LEE and turn the occupied areas of the LEE into a poisoned, scorched wasteland that would not be inhabitable for years afterward. The costs of adopting such a plan were astronomical, the death toll among insurgents, innocents and loyalists alike was calculated to number over 3 million citizens - roughly an eighth of the entire population of the LEE - and the internal damage would render a good deal of the country’s former infrastructure irrecoverable, even before the LEE could take military action against the NGUR. The Disciples, of course, expected Nightmare Moon to go along with it - all of their other advice had been “useful” and “necessary,” their loyalty was unquestionable and their proposal “was the only way for the country to purify itself and its enemies.”

Nightmare Moon refused. Stunned, the Disciples’ core representatives attempted to press their case, only for Nightmare Moon to dismiss them with prejudice and threaten to personally punish any thestral or pony who argued in favor of autogenocide.

It was the first major political crack in Ost-Equestria’s empire. It was also necessary: had Nightmare Moon attempted to follow through with such an utterly disasterous proposal, the country would have collapsed in on itself for any number of reasons and likely ended the Ost-Equestria’s prospects permanently. Still, it was the first true dissenting action that Nightmare Moon had taken against her most ardent supporters at the time, and a sign of future political friction to come. Ost-Equestria refrained from attempting to invade the NGUR, further isolated the free states from any possible interactions they may have had with the outside world - including strengthening blockades and increasing nighttime aerial patrols around the forest to track possible escapees - and dedicated themselves to waiting the situation out. To make sure that the Baltimare Republic didn’t interfere, Ost-Equestria offered a cease fire with the territory and provisions to discuss the Republic’s independence from the country in exchange for its neutrality over the free territory affairs, a proposal that the Baltimare Republic was all too happy to accept. The siege campaign was successful, and the second-in-commands of the Celestial and Aztlan free states - a certain Qibble Pants and Quick Quip, respectively - officially surrendered to Ost-Equestria on February 18, 1012 ALB. Disappointed by her inability to capture Daring Do and Doctor Cabellron, Nightmare Moon personally executed Quibble Pants and Quick Quip and sent in Ost-Equestria’s armed forces to annex the territories and reestablish control.

Though not a particularly difficult task in terms of resistance, the re-integration of the free states became an emotionally draining exercise. Though the harmonist and isolationist opposing forces technically ceased fighting and quickly learned not to overtly dissent against Nightmare Moon’s rule, the majority of the occupied population - while pliant and fearful - failed to autonomously demonstrate support for Nightmare Moon’s rule in the same way that her other subjects did. The Celestial Free State’s infrastructure was ill-maintained or broken as a result of the continued war effort, its factories run down and its future prospects looking stagnant at best; meanwhile, the Aztlan Free State not only lacked even basic infrastructure, but offered paltry resource extraction opportunities in the jungle compared to the costs of excavation and clearing away errant survivalist camps who refused to concede defeat. Nightmare Moon may have won the wars, but given the victory prize it was clear that it hadn’t been worth the effort taken to launch the military campaigns at all.

And while reviewing two separate budgets detailing the cost of reconstructing and renovating Stableside’s Harbor and building a transcontinental railway down to Tenochtitlan, Nightmare Moon realized that her ego was getting in the way of her empire. She may have started with half a country’s worth of military support, including virtually every thestral in the nation, but if she kept throwing it away on costly wars for little to no gain she would have no armies left if Ost-Equestria was ever invaded by Stalliongrad or West-Equestria. She needed her armies if she was going to rule over a united Equestria - but if she tried to use her armies now, or even in the near future, she wouldn’t be able to rule over anything even if she won.

Everycreature was expecting the ceasefire to be terminated by Nightmare Moon marching her armies into Baltimare Republic Territory. Instead, what they got was Nightmare Moon sitting down with the current leader of the Baltimare Republic -  a syndicalist military commander named Golden Delicious - and negotiating terms with him behind closed doors and in absolute privacy. While there aren’t any transcripts or recordings of exactly what happened behind closed doors, both eventually emerged from the room looking satisfied. While the complexities of the agreement were vast, the general gist was simple: the Baltimare Republic would remain part of Nightmare Moon’s empire for the purposes of empire-wide laws and services (e.g. taxes, public works projects, restricted conscription policies, etc.,) but would be allowed to govern themselves and dictate their own rights and policies as they chose. The Baltimare Republic’s citizens rejoiced at the ending of the war and the earning of their freedom, while Nightmare Moon quickly assured her population that ridding the great empire of the insidious socialist menace while watching their little socialist experiment fall to pieces would be the sweetest victory of them all. The response outwardly seemed to please most of her subjects, but there was a fair amount of grumbling beneath the surface - grumbling that Nightmare Moon was not unaware of.

The next two decades of Nightmare Moon’s reign were technically peaceful, unmarred by any sort of political incursions or grand warfare, but which betrayed greater undercurrents of civil unrest and possible revolts with every passing year. Ostensibly, the public - save for the pony population, which was treated like second-class citizens at best - all supported Nightmare Moon. However, it was growing clear that their definitions of who Nightmare Moon was and what she meant to them differed wildly. The largest population, the Loyalists, were “moderate” fascists who wished for Nightmare Moon to continue her reign as an all-powerful ruler and develop Ost-Equestria peacefully and in isolation at the expense of the well-being of all non-thestral races. To their political left were the relatively large Futurists, who supported the idea of Nightmare Moon as an absolute monarch but quietly pushed for desegregation, limited reforms for non-pony rights, relaxed restrictions on the free market and increased trade with the Großeswechselndes Reich. To the Loyalists’ political right were the Nationalists, who wanted to crack down on “perverse” leftist sentiment, escalate the military budget and make more aggressive “diplomatic” negotiations to seize limited amounts of land from West-Equestria, Stalliongrad (now part of a hideous socialist coalition that referred to themselves as the Severnyy Soyuz) and the Baltimare Republic.

And then, of course, there were the fringe elements in society, and chief among them were the Disciples of Night: now an out-and-out bloc of ultranationalists who headed a disproportionately large presence in both the country’s official police force (the Ost-Equestrian Security Force, or OESF) and the secret police (the Ost-Equestrian Surveillance Officers, or OESO.) The Disciples of Night demanded increasingly loudly that Nightmare Moon violently purge the country of non-thestrals, go to war with their neighbors and take back the lands that they deserved - namely, all of Equus. Privately, the Disciples believed that Nightmare Moon had failed them and was too corrupted by a “harmonist-leftist conspiracy” to create the thestral utopia Equus deserved, and believed that she needed to be forcibly re-educated to come to her senses or even overthrown, executed and replaced with a thestral more deserving of that mantle, namely the thestral in charge of the Disciples of Night - a radical clergythestral named Malcontent Riddle. On the other extreme of the Ost-Equestrian political spectrum, while there was no organized socialist presence (as they either chose to or were forced to relocate to the Baltimare Republic or the Severnyy Soyuz,) an underground and most definitely illegal sect of Harmonists was beginning to grow; while unable to make any direct political statements, they distributed subversive materials and contraband luxuries in private while trying to nudge the country towards accepting equal rights, economic reform and an alliance (or even reunification) with West-Equestria.

Finally, in 1032, something gave - namely, the Baltimare Republic. On September 30, First Comrade Golden Delicious retired, and preparations were made to replace him with the most popular potential candidate, the former military advisor and authoritarian populist Whinnyta Crushchaff. Whinnyta stayed in office just long enough to officially pass the title of First Comrade down to Grazer Casanova, the chief of police, before suddenly vanishing; Whinnyta was never seen or heard from again, and rumors of his assassination and erasure by Grazer’s associates have never been disproven. Grazer’s opening act as First Comrade was to violently purge the cabinet of any individuals who disagreed with him, filling their positions with loyalists from within the army and police; his second act was to rename the Baltimare Republic as the Baltimare State and begin to violently purge the Baltimare State’s population of all citizens considered insufficiently loyal to Grazer and the State. Citizens fled for the borders as Grazer launched his campaign of autogenocide, desperately seeking asylum in Ost-Equestria; Nightmare Moon responded by allowing Thestral refugees to enter her country but barring all other species from entry and mobilizing the Ost-Equestrian army to help guard the borders of the Baltimare State. Riots erupted across the Baltimare State and were put down with prejudice until a united rebel front emerged: the Confederation of Anarchic Communes (CAC), a marginalized group of anarchist radicals which had been secretly smuggling in and hoarding weapons and other survivalist supplies for when the day came to overthrow the government and bring true freedom and prosperity to everycreature in the Baltimare Territories. Decentralized but unified, the CAC began launching guerilla strikes across the state, targeting government and military institutions as they gunned down Grazer’s loyalists en masse and liberated any useful equipment “in defense of all true ponies of Baltimare;” seeing the CAC as the only viable alternative to Grazer’s firing squads and gas chambers, syndicalists of many stripes flocked under the CAC banner and joined the fight against the state.

As the jungles burned and the estimated death toll from the purges and State-CAC conflicts climbed into the hundreds of thousands in under a month, Nightmare Moon sat up and took notice. Ost-Equestria, meanwhile, erupted in unsanctioned protests and political tensions of all stripes boiled over. The Futurists demanded that Nightmare Moon relax her border restrictions and let non-thestral natives (even ponies) flee a country in Equus that was butchering itself at an unprecedented rate; meanwhile, the Nationalists demanded that Ost-Equestria finally invade Baltimare and indiscriminately wipe both the state and the CAC off of the map. In response, Nightmare Moon cracked down on the protests in her country and waited, declaring that while the Nationalist’s hearts were in the right places it would be more advantageous to wait until both groups had killed themselves off as thoroughly as possible before moving in to retake their territories. Meanwhile, Nightmare Moon quietly permitted border security to let in some non-thestrals (even ponies!) into the country, provided that they were Equestrian- or Thestral-speaking skilled workers willing to permanently renounce citizenship and the ideals of Baltimare and pass loyalty tests to ensure they would be subordinate to Ost-Equestria.

The year is 1033, and Ost-Equestria teeters on the edge of permanent change, for better or for worse. The ostensibly fascist country’s permissiveness towards social divergence among its thestral citizens has led to dissent, encouraging calls for reform from the left and a crushing of said left by the right. The Disciples, once Nightmare Moon’s most loyal and ardent supporters, are turning against her, and a coup may very well be on the horizon. And Nightmare Moon herself is beginning to feel increasingly constant pangs of remorse, sympathy, even regret for some of the things she’s done. And if parts of Luna’s old personality start to come back to Nightmare Moon, nothing will be the same anymore - not her, not Ost-Equestria, and possibly not even the world.

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