• Published 9th Jul 2013
  • 1,976 Views, 242 Comments

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Stories and poems too short for individual publication (including some award-winning minifics).

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Author's Note:

An experiment in tone, language, and allusion for the "Famous Last Words" writeoff. Extended author's notes in comments below.

Now with a reading by Present Perfect!

In the time of shadow, long after the last days of her children, she called her siblings to her bedside. They came, sisters, brothers, they came; past dust-fields night-bleached, past ice-sheets summer-frozen, they came; from beyond stars and beneath stone, from the hidden lands, they came.

On a day of shadow, under a sun's languid pulse and thin, they came, and her sunken eyes had no smile to greet them.

Luna Void-Born, first-redeemed, returned first. Though her journey spanned the dream-wastes, always had she been closest to Celestia's heart. The pair sat in silence, watching the frost of morning arc onward into the chill of day. One by one they trickled in, then, and two by two. Cadance Jewel-Heart, never-fallen, with Stalwart Oath-Bound, twice-tempted, he who was once called Sombra. Discord Many-Faced, far-seeker, the eternal prodigal, holding appendages with Monarch Echo-Heart, long since emerged from chrysalis. Tirek Ever-Hungry. Scorpan Ever-True. Starswirl Age-Lost and Grendel Hoard-King and Sunset Mirror-Bound, all in all they came; with one seat left unclaimed.

Celestia beheld it.

"Sister," they said. "World-light, Invictus, Mother-of-All, first among equals. We are here."

Celestia said: "Not all."

"All who will," they said.

Celestia looked outside. The sky trembled. Celestia closed her eyes.

Celestia said: "She knows she must."

They waited, then, as the sun sank to kiss the horizon, then limned the sky anew into saffron semblance of day. They waited, until "I will go to her," Starswirl said, and they waited, until the rocks had worn into sand and the stars had winked out one by one, and two returned at the moment he had left.

The Nightbringer took her seat, stonily staring into the pale marble of Celestia's eyelids.

Celestia said: "My ages end."

There was no rending of garments, nor beating of chests. The days of mourning had occupied the Last Age. The world had outlived history.

"Sister," they said, all but one. "Whose world is next to come?"

Celestia said: "Hers."

"You bless the Unredeemed?" they protested. "The Destroyer? The Furthest-Fallen?"

Celestia raised a hoof, and harmony's dissent silenced.

Celestia said: "She is our sister," and their hearts were jewel-hard.

Celestia said: "She brought each of you to the Light," and their hearts cracked open.

Celestia said: "In the end, there is nothing but forgiveness," and they bowed their heads.

The Nightbringer did not smile. Staring only at Celestia — "very well" — she turned to leave.

Celestia said: "Twilight."

She stopped.

Celestia said: "A final word."

"I owe you nothing."

And Celestia said: "Please."

The Nightbringer's jaw quivered. She approached Celestia's bed.

"You, alone, will die unforgiven."

Celestia said: "Then so must it be."

"No apology is sufficient."

Celestia said: "And yet I am sorry."

For an age, they stared at each other, and the sun sank, sputtering and silent.

The world ended.

The Nightbringer said: "It is my time now," and her siblings trembled.

"A request," Celestia said, "for your children, when they come."

The Nightbringer hesitated, and she spoke.

"Let there be Light," Celestia whispered, and closed her eyes for the last time.

Twilight lowered her head, for an age and an age.

Then, she raised the sun.

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