Greetings, my little ponies. I am Princess Celestia, and I will be recounting today's tale to you. Please, make yourself comfortable and forgive me for being so formal. There are parts of this tale that you are most assuredly better off NOT knowing, but I feel you have a right to know. I’ve asked Luna to arrange this chat within your dreams, where your heart will decide what to remember.
Recently, the world as you know it suffered a pair of grand rewrites. The first twisted the world into a mishmash parody of every bleak, vile, and horror for horror's sake idea and worldline in existence. I am surprised spell-bombs were not dropping at the end, but I suppose there's no futile struggle in being vaporized or melted by unspeakable weapons. Maybe they'd intended it for 'Act II?'
The second grand rewrite was placed in the hooves of a filly who had seen the worst side of the darkness, and had been told how effortless solutions led to an empty world. She remade the world as best she could, not only repairing the damage, but removing the 'meaningless suffering for meaningless suffering's sake' that Tragedy had infected the world with before.
There were still tragedies that Apple Bloom could not undo without completely unmaking the world she herself knew, but she'd done her best to undo pain that was there just so the world could shout, 'See?! Take me seriously!'
With so many tragedies to deal with, it was far too easy to have some slip through the cracks, forgotten, even though some of them were not merely 'unfair', but outright cruel in ways that defied all logic.
But with the world in a liquid state for that precious moment stretched out to forever, those aware of what was happening, with a strong heart and pure desire, were able to petition reality for this one and only time.
And there were two souls who had originally been part of a whole, souls with memories from before they were born, determined to challenge a cruelty that truly flew in the face of all reason. An absurdity that was there for suffering's sake.
Sweetie Belle and Princess Cadence both dreamed. At Rainbow Falls, and in Carousel Boutique, both ponies dreamed memories they had never lived, but felt like they belonged to them all the same.
Brightglow the Pegasus, legendary for her unique ability to illuminate herself like a nightlight. Born in the Age of Wonders. Three of her fellow concepts of reality had chosen to appear as avatars, 'imaginary friends' who would help her understand her special magic but never interfere directly in her life.
You’ll probably find this difficult to believe, but the Pegasi of this era believed that nothing lay below the cloud layer, that it was either a vast nothingness, or just a barren wasteland. When the ‘stars below’ began to appear, in truth the lights of growing Earth Pony cities, Pegasi took this as more proof that the world below was like the heavens high above, beautiful but empty, just oddly colored clouds incapable of supporting life.
How did Pegasi support themselves if they never touched the ground, and yet were overtly dependant on Earth Ponies during the age of the three tribes? In case you forgot my little pony, MUCH was lost after the disaster... including farming techniques in the sky that have yet to be rediscovered or recovered.
As Earth Pony technology advanced, stories of metal monsters piercing the clouds began to crop up, but as the tribes had settled in separate areas of the world, they did not overlap enough to trigger first contact.
Even I don't know why exactly the tribes separated and grew ignorant of each other following the war of the witches. Never mind humans, minotaurs, and countless other races who were still in the world before Discord's rampage. It should not have happened. It made no sense, but it happened anyway. My only guess is one of the witches left a final farewell curse ... or the various tribes decided to separate and hyper refine their magics in case the witches 'ever rose again' with an intent to meet again... only to become fixated on this, and forgetting even the reason they'd done so.
All in all, Patch discovering Paradise Estate was a gift, as it allowed the five tribes to be reunited on peaceful terms. As they advanced, the tribes learning of each other again was an inevitability. It would have been a disaster if the Pegasi had attacked one of these 'metal monsters' that had violated their territory. Contrary to the popular beliefs of some, the other tribes had NOT been sitting on their flanks while Earth Ponies advanced.
While Earth Ponies nearly lost the ability to recognize their own magic, the other tribes refined theirs to levels that even now Equestria is only beginning to finally catch up with. These were not childish parlor tricks, tsunamis and hurricanes that could obliterate target cities were well within their reach.
I don't know if the ruling bodies of the various tribes were actively keeping their people ignorant... but I doubt it. There was far too much wealth to be had at trading with one another, for those with power to waste wealth on keeping their peoples ignorant of each other.
... I just realized it, rather amusingly, Patch had ensured the reunification of the pony tribes had happened in the best possible way... she'd patched them back together... she'd used her special talent in a way even she'd never realized.
Brightglow defied what was considered common sense and tradition and law for her day and age, and ventured beyond the cloud layer. And so the UFO reports started in Ponyland, in particular Ponyville. Her imaginary friends were with her, and together they saved two wingless ponies from being eaten by sharks: the Bon Bon of the Age of Wonders, and Patch.
But her imaginary friends had overstepped their bounds. Brightglow should have saved the pair on her own, not had the others do the saving for her. They were banned from being with her again.
Worse, Brightglow’s impossible tale of ponies without wings below the cloud layer combined with her imaginary friends got her parents to put her in a mental ward until she was nearly convinced she'd imagined it all, and nothing changed when the tribes were revealed to each other. Brightglow was simply KEPT THERE ... maybe the doctors were afraid of being sued? Or some other nonsense?
She wasn't released until the day the Wish Spell was cast. The world split in two paths, one where the spell worked, and Brightglow in the new world became Sweetie Belle. And in the other, where the world was destroyed, and Brightglow blamed herself for sparking Patch's wanderlust and causing the discovery of Paradise Estate, and Brightglow was ashamed and believed Patch would blame her for the end of the world.
So she became as Patch's unseen guardian angel ever since a self styled sultan Film Critique captured her. Yes, I know you read all this before my little pony, but so much has happened since then I felt a recount was in order.
In the thousands of years that civilization existed, and the millions of years life existed, adding small kindnesses and undoing one life's cruelty had no grand cosmic meaning, but for these ponies who lived those lives, there was plenty of meaning to be found!
Nopony remembers the names of my family during the Age of the Three Tribes' great blizzard, or even the name of my village where I was born when I was sentenced to experience the suffering my bullheadedness had brought to your world.
We weren't recorded in any records or history books, we were just among the many faceless ponies who died because of the Windigos. I bitterly refused to accept Patch and Brightglow's help. I died cursing the one who'd brought this upon us, and thus I unwittingly cursed myself. That is a sin I am so grateful that no other Celestia has to bear. It's naive and stupid to think that is somehow my only sin, my own burden. I'll never understand why tabloid writers and revisionists are so fixated on INVENTING failures and selfish acts of mine, when I already had so many. Luna, Sunset, Cadence, the king of another world who was as wonderful as this world's version of him was terrible... I failed them. Then again, perhaps I do understand the muck rackers' need to create tales of 'Molestia' and 'Tyrant-lestia': 'Celestia who couldn't see her own sister was slowly losing her mind' isn't as catchy, and isn't much of a villain to rise up against.
Listen to me, selfishly rambling about my own burdens, when I'm supposed to be speaking of Brightglow's. Forgive me. My point is, regardless of how inconsequential a pony's life might seem, it's usually quite important to them!
And while their brains could not remember what they experienced before they were conceived, Sweetie Belle and Cadence's souls did. And they made that one two punch to let reality know that if things were up in the air, they were not about to let such mindlessly meaningless misery for misery's sake go unopposed.
And so... fate changed... both greatly and practically not at all... this paradox stubbornly refused to surrender, and the universe as it was being rebuilt was made to accept it. Fate has always despised paradoxes, but here, for once, she allowed it, if only because one little filly at the time had command over all causality.
The changes, as I said, were very grand, and yet not that grand at all. It broke some rules, but all rules were suspended when the changes were made, so it was a loophole abuse that only in this moment stretched to infinity that Fate would allow it.
Brightglow... was not the only one of her kind. The 'Glow and Show' ponies became a magic based mutation that appeared in her family tree. Thankfully unlike in the comic books, pegasi were not paranoid lunatics about somepony who was born slightly different. The Glows now had a larger family. Starglow and Happyglow and... the shockingly born Alicorn Dazzleglow.
This was the new truth of things, and reality had to run with it. Thankfully, Apple Bloom in that infinite moment was still there to help avoid the worst case scenarios. No secret government vivisections, mutilations to protect the status quo, or conscripted death squad mutants here. This didn't stop pegasi from wondering if her mother had been impregnated by aliens, but testing later proved she was her parents' foal, and the previously thought of 'junk traits' was in fact traits of the other tribes. No pony knew how these traits had no awakened before her.
Dazzleglow's birth easily overshadowed those of her siblings, including Brightglow. She effectively shattered modern Pegasus preconceptions of what was and what wasn't overnight! This made their integrations much easier. Contrary to anything any new history books say, Dazzleglow was NOT a princess! She was a pony. This suited Brightglow just fine, preferring the freedom of being 'just' a Glow and Show pony. Dazzleglow had to suffer the trouble of being a celebrity, and having powers with no pony to teach her how to use them.This made the reunion with the unicorns a precious gift to her.
Some storytellers suggest she eventually settled down and married a Zebra, but I seriously doubt that one, as the dates simply do not match up. Though I do believe she found a way to kill herself, excuse me, I mean remove her immortality and die of old age, sorry. When you have forever before you, finite years become like the blink of an eye. She may have waited until I and Lulu were born, but that was not something recorded. She had quite the cult following after the disaster, others rightfully guessing she was more than a mishmash of the different tribes. I might have her to thank for the cultural ground work for various churches built in my honor.
The four of them weren't born with their stars and heart pattern coats... they were seen as simply unique ... pegasi tease for weakness, not for the crime of being different. But in this revision of the world, they were not born with their bioluminescence my little pony. So how did they becomes the 'Glow and Show' ponies, as they were dubbed by the pegasus news groups?
They were the first ponies outside of Paradise Estate to speak to the stars in a thousand years. The stars understand ponies as well as we understand them. Every star is unique, but every constellation is its own entity, as is every galaxy. Hard to understand? It is hard for them to understand that herds are not collective beings.
They didn't even realize what they were doing, it was an instinct buried deep within them that had found its way to surface, maybe the stars simply FELT like listening that day, or maybe Dazzleglow and her herdmates had a collective magic surge that got the stars' attention. But whatever the cause, they'd been skipping jump rope while singing.
"Milky Way, Milky Way start on your way," Happyglow sang first. Then Brightglow sang. "Please be so kind as to visit us today."
While stars and even some constellations can visit ponies, the Milky Way itself could not set hoof within itself... so it did the next best thing, and allowed these four ponies it saw as a constellation of ponies the light of the stars ...
And Happyglow and Brightglow shined with their starcoat patterns.
Without even thinking about it, Dazzleglow and Starglow sang next. It was as natural as breathing. "Big Dipper, Little Dipper, visit us too, so we can have stars, just like you!"
Why yes... one of the other names for the Big Dipper and Little Dipper is Big Bear and Little Bear... I see your eyes widening... I see the realization in yours eyes. Yes, stars are very unpredictable, but never malevolent.
But as they sang, they too began to shine like stars and with a new heart and stars pattern coat that felt as natural and as true to themselves as their cutie marks! And a meteor shower, or rather star shower that hadn't been on any charts happened then and there, lighting up all of Ponyland, above and below and beyond with starlight.
Their cutie marks? How astute of you to take note that as ponies they would have those! What were the cutie marks of these gods in pony form, destined to live and die?
Happyglow's was a trio of blue pointed party hats... yes, Happyglow was a party pony. Theirs is a profession thousands of years old, though it has vanished and reappeared in the world more than once.
Starglow... is an interesting case. There is actually a second story about her in particular on how she became what she was. Her cutie mark, was an abstract yellow piano, with a stool, a three piece candle stick, and a crescent moon. Was she a pianist? Technically speaking, but her talent went beyond that.
She could actually HEAR the stars' music! Something even Dazzleglow couldn't hear!
As this version of the tale goes, as a naive filly, she flew up to visit with the stars and ask them to show her how to play the tune she heard. Then supposedly the stars asked her to teach them how to fly so they might fly down and visit her. The tale goes she played the tune they taught her the next night, and the stars came down to visit her.
The stars laughed, saying "You sound like us! You should look like us, too. We'll make you glow in the dark." And they transformed her into the first of the Glow and Show ponies.
Clearly these versions contradict each other, and both can't be 100% true; sadly I don't know the complete story myself. And I know stars had visited the Paradise ponies before that. But I do know Starglow's talent was indeed playing music she heard from the stars. Nursery rhymes, lullabies, the most uniting of romantic pieces. She truly did know how to play the music of the heavens.
Personally, I have a theory, if we accepted both stories as partially true, which is hardly necessarily the case: that perhaps Starglow transformed first, and taught her friends the very song they used that lead to the rest changing together that very night. You will have to decide the truth for yourself my little pony.
The stars? Save for the Ursas and those like them, they became too scared after Discord's rampage to return... They did see Discord slay their goddess after all... poor Galaxia, my sister. Do not be tremble so, my little pony, Galaxia's spirit isn't gone, otherwise the stars themselves would have never existed. Maybe one day the stars will come back and speak with ponies, just like it happened long ago.
Brightglow? Oh yes, her cutie mark was two white doves touching beak to beak with their wings outstretched... her special talent was being a peacemaker. More than that, she helped others FIND peace. That is a talent that all incarnations of her have kept.
And finally, Dazzleglow, the Alicorn, the natural show stealer. What was her great cutie mark? What was the symbol that defined her destiny? Heh... three normal ordinary umbrellas. Yes you heard me right, three yellow umbrellas. Let me get that jaw for you my little pony.
After she began to gain... followers, many ponies argued that her cutie mark symbolized meteor showers, that her magic was based on shooting stars! ... Dazzleglow, the alicorn, tried to correct them several times that her talent was weather magic, something rather 'unexceptional' for a pegasus some would say, or rather, the ignorant and the superficial would say, those who think every pegasus can do weather magic with expert precision. But ponies WANTED her special talent to be related to shooting stars, so that is what they said.
Of course, all this meant that Brightglow was never trapped in a mental hospital for her beliefs and experiences. It also meant when the tribes were reunited, Patch and Brightglow actually got to spend some happy years together.
Happyglow actually worked WITH Surprise on an occasion or two seeing her as a fountain of knowledge as perhaps the first party pony, and actually got to know her, she did not share Surprise and Patch's passion for pranks however.
Starglow worked with Melody -once-, their musical styles... did not exactly compliment each other. Ironically Medley got along with both of them. She tried to work with the Dazzlings, they managed to produce a few works, they actually complimented each other's talents brilliantly, but they wanted glitter and glamor for their presentation, while Starglow did... not. This surprised Aria given Starglow's 'glittery' appearance.
Dazzleglow was made an ambassador to the others tribes, and she didn't like it at all, she had no political experience, she made so only because she had 'a horn sticking out of her head like them'. She stepped down as soon as she could and went back to weather work, and was happy to coordinate with Earth Pony farmers, and became on good term with the Meadowsweet family, Teddy's cousin, remember?
Bright Eyes and Moki couldn't resist being the ones to introduce REAL 'flying ponies' to Moki's father. The Sunbright family of Tropical Island were a wake up call to the other tribes, as they found out that the others tribes DIDN'T have a single culture (just like themselves).
Patch and Brightglow were still separated when the Disaster happened. But Brightglow went on her own quest to find Patch, similar to Patch's quest to find Starlight, but Patch was still alive. The two joining up when Brightglow found her, but Brightglow still being the one who broke the shard of the Rainbow of Light's hold on her, saving her from Film Critique.
Starglow and Happyglow chose to stay with Dazzleglow when Brightglow went on her quest. They died of old age, decades later, part of Dazzleglow's 'cult' that had done a surprisingly good job of keeping a fraction of pegasus culture in one piece. She also had to deal with paranoids who blamed ALL magic for what happened and wanted it all destroyed and to disappear forever, thinking this would (ironically) magically undo all the damage done by the Disaster. Which sadly laid the foundations for the Age of the Three Tribes.
Dazzleglow was happy to have Brightglow for those extra thousand years, even if she almost never visited, the Paradise Ponies would return Brightglow's body to her after her quest was complete. Dazzleglow never attentioned her divine memories, or divine power, her power remained at the level Cadence had before she became one with her previous selves.
Equestria as it is today, didn't really change that much from the additions of a glowing Alicorn, two more glowing pegasi, and a glowing pegasus not having to endure years of being a prisoner of an asylum. Patch and Brightglow still completed their quest, most of the secrets of the Age of Wonders still need to be recovered piece by piece the hard way, my sister and I are still remembered as the first pony Alicorns, with others before us being only rumors, myths and legends... but for Sweetie and Cadence in their heart of hearts ... it meant the world. And for Brightglow's friends, parents, sisters... it was simply wonderful.
Both Sweetie and Cadence awoke from their slumber, not sure what had happened, but having the strangest sense that some great wrong had now been righted. Neither of them saw the ghost of a faded orange Earth Pony mare with a patch cutie mark as she faded back into the realm of the dead, her moment from that one infinite moment spent. Neither of them 'heard' her, but both felt a sense of comfort of a lifetime friend that they didn't understand, maybe didn't need to.
'Have a great life Brightglow, don't worry, it'll be just a moment for me, I'll be waiting for whenever yer done. Good luck, and be happy, may this world be grander than the one that came before it! Heh! But seriously, you'll do great! Both of you.'