• Published 26th Oct 2013
  • 12,704 Views, 378 Comments

Triptych - Daetrin

What does it mean to be a pony? A ruler? A god?

  • ...

Comes the Dawn

Celestia returned with the dawn.

She hadn’t really intended it, but the sun’s rhythms were her rhythms, even if she wasn’t the one raising it. The first morning rays struck the top of Canterlot as she passed through the gates, drawing startled looks from the guards stationed there. The seniormost one peeled off and hurried to her side. “Princess Celestia! You’re back!”

“I am indeed, Sergeant Snowbank. I hope my absence wasn’t too disruptive for you.”

“Er.” He paused for a moment, torn between agreeing with his liege and implying that he didn’t miss her.

She laughed softly. “I’ll settle for the expression on your face when you saw me arrive. Have Luna and Twilight been keeping you busy?”

“It’s been a bit hectic around here,” Snowbank admitted, stretching his legs to keep up with her casual stride. “I mean, the first night or two were about the same, but then things got a bit strange.”

“Strange?” Celestia took a deep breath of cool city air. She rarely saw the dawn in Canterlot from anywhere but her balcony, and it was a different experience to be in the streets. It was quieter than the palace, but here and there isolated pockets of noise revealed early risers; a door banging off in the distance, a sudden roar of laughter, a bubble of conversation cut short. A sleepy couple making their way home stopped and stared and then knelt as she walked by. She smiled at them, nodded, and then paused as the scent of fresh bread wafted across the road from some nearby bakery. The palace had its own bakeries, of course, but there was something different about running across it unexpectedly.

“Well, I’m not really clear on exactly what happened. Princess Twilight made a speech about something and lit up the whole audience hall.”

Celestia felt her brows climb of their own accord, but she didn’t interrupt him.

“Then she hauled in half the guard to get all the prisoners settled and the other half is off doing all these errands for Princess Luna…” He shook his head. “I’m just glad they left enough for the usual posts.”

“Princess? Prisoners? My, they have been busy.” Celestia wasn’t entirely surprised. Her sister had a habit of upending things, though admittedly not to the degree that the entire royal guard was needed to take care of it. That seemed more like Twilight’s touch. The title, though, wasn’t. The prisoners made only a little more sense, because at least for that she had some possibilities at hoof.

It was both strange and refreshing to be so disconnected from the apparatus of Equestria and the court that she could only make guesses. And yet she found herself only mildly curious. Even the most foreboding horrors of a court in chaos were nothing compared to the real worst case scenarios. She’d lost a loved one for a thousand years; she didn’t want to lose two for longer.

“Since you’re back now, Princess…” Snowbank didn’t finish the sentence, looking over at her in what he thought was a surreptitious manner.

“Will I be taking the throne again?” Celestia looked up at the towers of Canterlot Castle. “We’ll see. It’s entirely possible Twilight and Luna won’t need my help at all.”

“Even if they don’t...well, y’know, we like having you around.”

Celestia stopped and smiled at him. “Thank you, Snowbank. It’s always nice to hear that.”

Snowbank beamed. Celestia resumed her amble toward the castle where, no doubt, word was being passed to Captain Lightbeam even now about her arrival. She looked forward to the exquisitely polite scolding she’d get from him for misleading him about the nature of her trip, a small pocket of normalcy in an uncertain world.

But that would have to wait. She intended to see Luna and Twilight first, no matter how easy it would be to get distracted by other things. She could have simply stepped through light and reached the palace directly, but a deliberate approach, through the front door, felt more appropriate. At that moment, it was more their home than hers.

A few specks in the air resolved themselves into members of the Celestial Guard in gleaming gold and white, dropping down to land on either side of her. They peered around as if searching for enemies in the middle of the nearly deserted early-morning streets, giving Snowbank a professional salute only after their survey was complete. “Welcome back, ma’am,” the senior guard said to her.

“Thank you, Brightwing.” He came to even stricter attention, if that were possible, as she regarded him. “I hope you don’t expect I have so many enemies that they lurk in the very streets of Canterlot.”

“No, ma’am!” There was a glimmer of humor in Brightwing’s eye despite his brusque reply. They were used to her gentle ribbing where their protectiveness was concerned, but she also made sure they knew she was genuinely appreciative of their efforts. Most of the threats any pony faced in life weren’t physical, after all.

“Well, it’s a fine morning if you wish to join me. I’m only going to the palace, but it’s to face the most dangerous enemy of all.”


“Work.” In fact, she would rather have faced a pre-friendship Discord than what she had to, and it was hardly something her guards could protect her from.

“Of course, ma’am,” Brightwing said dutifully. With the armored pegasi on either side her presence was more familiar, and while everypony she passed still knelt, fewer outright gawked.

The first thing she noticed when she reached the palace gates was the wings.

Luna and Twilight were waiting for her, as she’d half-expected, and Luna had finally let her guards accompany her again. Twilight didn’t have her own guards - not yet - but she was matching Luna’s height, her ethereal mane, and her wings.

Celestia stared. She had given up that hope when Twilight had returned with the mantle of divinity. After all, gods didn’t change.

She set that aside, studying them more closely. They both seemed a little worn, a little haggard. Not unhappy, but overworked, and Luna had lost that dangerous fragility she’d carried for so long, while Twilight seemed to have gained some additional worries to go with her wings.

There was a moment where they all simply looked at each other as Celestia stopped in front of them, and then they all three spoke the same words at the same time. “We need to talk.”


As settings went for world-shaking conversations, Pony Joe’s donut shop was better than most Celestia had seen. Any number of rooms in the palace might have sufficed for the purpose, but Twilight had insisted and Celestia saw no real reason to object. Most conference rooms were distant and impersonal affairs, not stocked with spiced cocoa and frosted donuts. Joe, no stranger to high-profile customers, pretended not to notice three alicorns at a corner table and their guards screening them in the surrounding booths.

They traded bites of story between bites of pastry. It was not as cheerful as Celestia might have wished, but there wasn’t the angry animosity she had feared, either. If anything there was a wary tension, an uncertainty of how she would take, for example, Twilight’s accidental halting of Equestria’s clock. Or of Luna’s efforts in the court. Or, most of all, their acquisition of Chrysalis and her changelings.

As if they were afraid she would be mad at them.

Once the words had trailed into unsettled silence and the mugs had been refilled for a third time, Celestia floated a tentative conversational balloon.

“You should know,” she said. “That I am nothing but proud of both of you.”

Twilight made a half of a noise and shifted uncomfortably, but Celestia shook her head.

“Everypony makes mistakes, but you two have addressed them. Admirably so. But I have not addressed mine.

“I should start,” she said. “By apologizing. I should not have run off like that after dropping such a burden on the two of you. It isn’t a weight I can lift or undo or ever make right, but it is my responsibility. The least I can do is be here to address it.”

“So why did you leave?” Twilight blurted.

“Shh,” Luna said, a smile lurking at the corners of her mouth. “It’s not often you get to hear Celestia apologize.”

“And in this case it’s very deserved. But I can answer your question.” She looked from one to the other. “Luna, I lost you over a thousand years ago. There’s no blame, no accusations, but our relationship changed, and I don’t know if it can ever be recovered. Or should be. But I still love you, Luna, more than the rest of this whole world, and you had returned to me. I didn’t want to face losing you again.”

“And you, Twilight. I love all my ponies but you are more dear to me than you can imagine. I was not ready to face the risk that I might lose you too. I have faced the consequences of all of my actions, but when it became personal I...flinched.”

“We might have been angry, but we wouldn't have been angry forever,” Twilight protested.

Celestia took a sip of her cocoa before responding. “Perhaps. But Twilight, gods do not change. Or did not. To hold a grudge for a thousand years, or a hundred thousand, was no great strain. Second chances are rare and precious things.”

Twilight and Luna shared a look. “The question of second chances came up with Chrysalis, too,” Twilight said. “And in some ways I feel like I’m back in the Star Chamber again.” She rubbed at her forehead with a hoof. “I’ll never be happy that you manipulated me my entire life. But now, after these past few days...I think I understand. Being responsible as a pony, ruler, and god all at once is incredibly hard, and you can’t just do what you want.”

“And I’d forgotten,” said Luna. “How many different directions you get pulled in when you’re trying to do right by so many ponies.”

“I’d probably have forgiven you anyway,” Twilight continued. “Because I love you, too! But I feel I understand why you did it far more now. And that you didn’t do it for any other reason but that you had to. So I forgive you, Princess - I mean, Celestia.” Twilight smiled. “And I’m glad you’re back.”

“As am I, sister mine.” Luna leaned forward earnestly. “I understand only too well how flighty I have been in the past, and how far you must have been driven in order to lay such long plans for me. And I cannot begrudge what it has given me.” She smiled at Twilight before turning back to Celestia. “Even if I dislike the methods. So welcome back, and let there be no more veils between us.”

Celestia let out a long, slow breath. That had been far less painful than she had expected, but then she had known something had changed when she had seen the expressions greeting her.

“Thank you,” she said, feeling a great deal lighter than just a few seconds previously. “You have no idea how grateful I am to hear you say that. I was afraid my revelation might have come too late.”

“What revelation?” Twilight pounced immediately, heedless of the emotional climate, but that was simply as it should be.

“That I’d neglected simply being a pony for far too long.” Celestia pursed her lips. “That in truth I was afraid of what came with it. The relationships, the obligations, and the vulnerabilities.”

“That doesn’t sound like you,” Luna observed. “Not the first part, but admitting it so flatly.”

“Perhaps not.” Celestia gave Luna a faint smile. “But none of us are so perfect that we cannot improve. I am glad for the chance.”

“If we are making such confessions,” Luna said. “Then I must admit it was fear that held me back as well. Fear of...many things.” She dismissed the thought with a vague gesture. “But Twilight helped me face truly ruling again. And ruling more completely than I did millennia ago. I hadn’t realized how incomplete I’d been.”

“Incomplete,” Twilight said. “That’s it exactly.” She fluttered her wings briefly. “That’s why I didn’t have these before. My understanding, my commitment, was incomplete. I was avoiding stepping into the whole god thing because...well, it was unknown. There weren’t books on it, and it wasn’t anything you could really study. But once I made the decision…” Her muzzle wrinkled as she searched for a proper way to conclude her thought. “Everything changed. But you said gods don’t change.”

“They didn’t,” Celestia said seriously. “But that may no longer be true.”

“What happened?”

“You did, Twilight.” Celestia nibbled a doughnut thoughtfully. “At least, I think it is you. We are truths of how the world works, Luna and I, and we in many ways define our peoples. But you’ve stepped outside that. I think you might define truths about how we work.”

“So I can just decide something and it will be true?” Twilight asked incredulously. “That doesn’t sound right.”

“I would think,” Luna murmured. “That it’s who you are that changes things. You saved me. You’re saving Chrysalis. You let Celestia go on her journey. How many other things have you done that have changed the world?”

“That’s different! Doing what’s right and being someone’s friend isn’t world-changing magic...oh.” Twilight stopped herself. “It is, isn’t it? It’s the most fundamental magic of all.”

“You would know,” Celestia smiled. “It’s your area of expertise, after all.”

“If I have...or at least, can, change gods...then the whole world is about to transform, isn’t it?” Twilight said, daunted. “And it will be because of me.”

“I have said,” Luna smiled. “That it was your duty to do the impossible.”

“But you won’t be alone,” Celestia assured her. “You will have Luna, of course. And me, if you wish.”

“Of course I wish!” Twilight sounded surprised she would even ask. “I want you back.”

“We want you back,” Luna said. “You need to be part of Equestria again.”

“Equestria was only ever meant for two,” Celestia said doubtfully.

Twilight shook her head. “If it worked when there was only you, it’ll work with all three of us. I’m sure of it.”

“And whether Twilight and I are good or bad at ruling, I think it would be incomplete without you as well. Two is no longer enough.”

“Then I suppose we will have to see what happens.”

Celestia unfurled her godhead, reaching out for the living tapestry that was Equestria. It welcomed her like an old friend, flowing around and through her, the familiar weight settling into her being. The flare was only visible to gods’ eyes, but it flashed out from the small table, bright and penetrating sunlight suffusing every fiber of Equestria’s soul.

The balance was not the singular monopole of the thousand year interregnum, nor the circling duality of the original Diarchy. It was different. It was a triad. It was something that reverberated to the furthest ends of Equestria and back, humming between the three of them and rippling out to every living thing.

It was a new world.

Author's Note:

And that's the end.

I don't have any plans to write any further sequels. There may or may not be codas.
Also, for anyone wondering about continuity errors: I'm retconning Apotheosis to occur after the first episode of S3. That fixes everything!

Comments ( 195 )
nuew #1 · Oct 26th, 2013 · · ·

That was great! :twilightsmile:
Unfortunate about no more sequels though...

I enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing your creative talent once again.

I should not have stayed up this late to mainline the entire story in a sitting, but having finished it, I can't regret that I did. Transcendent work, if I may steal a phrase.

3400741 Haz competition tomorrow at 7:15 in the morning

Stays up to read fic


Moooooore. Need moooooooore.

Seriously, this was a damn fun read. Lookijng forward to whatever you add to this particular universe, because it's all been great stuff so far.

Simply wonderful. Thank you!


That was quite a ride. (And I never got around to reading the first story..) Not often I find explorations of the nature of divinity. Nicely done, too.

And I'm now imagining Spike and Skyshine muttering about all the work they did in setting Twilight's title to 'Equerry' being all for naught ... :raritycry:

Apotheosis, sequel!?


well, I guess it's time to re-read all the stuff from the top :twilightsmile:

No link to the original story? Fine then, I shall take my business and my favoriting thumb elsewhere! Good day sir!

you know you can see the other stories from the same author on the right column right?
you should also start from "off the edge of the map" and work your way through "Apotheosis" before jumping into this!


My hype meter. I-It's breaking. plz help

Excuse me for a moment while I proceed to FREAK THE FUCK OUT!


Okay, now that's out of the way, time to read this!

i woke up my family last night... they wondered where the high pitched shreik came from.... yeah I didn't tell them it was because this came out.


Gah, I just started reading something else... I'll have to finish it quick so I can read this, you are entirely too good at writing to not read immediately.

Great Story, - Really like your writing and even if you don't follow up this one I hope that you are inspired to write more pony in the future. Thanks for sharing it. :twilightsmile:

Well, just finished this in one sitting, just like Apotheosis and it was simply beautiful. Probably the best world building I've seen so far, and really really absorbing the whole way through. Especially Celestia's journey was an absolute joy to read, with her slowly puzzling together the answer to her questions with such unique conversation partners. The ending is also thoroughly satisfying, bringing this three stories to a conclusion, and while I will gladly devour any small additions you decide to write, I am not left wanting in the least.
And as a comment on your writing style, it is quite enjoyable, and as a non-native English speaker, it's always nice to learn new, rarely used words.
Thank you very much for this wonderful work of literature.

But I am quite upset that you had a similar idea to my own on how to handle the changeling problem. Now I don't feel comfortable writing it down and have to rethink everything

I'm too lazy to stagger chapters.

I kind of agree with what you're saying, but it's really meant to underscore the shock of having her world upended. I at least think that she'd be completely staggered and blindsided by such cold manipulations (even if they were for the best of intentions).

THAT WAS AMAZING! perhaps not as groundbreaking for me as the original but top notch quality nonetheless. I thoroughly enjoyed this to say the least. Reading it all within a couple of hours is a testment to that.

Shame that you have no sequels planned but I suppose this did kind of deal with all the issues left over from the first part. Still great work! :twilightsmile:

Hmm, there is already a story here with the same name (it's good, read it :twilightsmile:), but I think the world can survive that.

Hmmm a dude that wrote Apotheosis cam up with a new story? Ooooooh and it's not even christmas yet!. :pinkiehappy:

Will there be side stories (ie. on aquial or the other gods' pasts?)

Daetrin, you're awesome. Thanks for three fantastic stories, and here's to many more.

It's pretty darn elliptical, that's for sure. Since what they say is by definition true, they say little. And say it as broadly interpretively as possible. Don't worry, they're the most confusing and unhelpful of the gods she converses with.

There might be codas. If someone else wants to write side stories I don't really have issues with it, but I'm not likely to put much time into pony for a while. I want to write another novel or so.


Well, that settles that then. Thank you. :twilightsmile:

*does happy dance*

I loved it! Read the whole thing in a single sitting.

Good stuff Daetrin!

Even if you end it there, never revisit it... I enjoyed it. Good stuff our dear writer! Good STUFF! :pinkiehappy:

Thanks for writing this Daetrin, I think I needed this. Too bad I had something to wake up early for today, or I would have "mainlined" it in one sitting as well.


I'm fairly certain other gods can't make inept playthings of other gods if they ever got it in their head to.

Unless the god doing the playing is Discord... :twilightoops:

Not sure what else to say other than it was simply amazing.

I like the explanation Twilight gives for her alicornication during this final chapter. I wish it'd been given last chapter, when I was more immediately concerned about it. I accept and even like this explanation for her becoming an alicorn long after becoming a goddess.

My wordiest comments may not have been entirely positive, but I'll say now that this entire story as a whole was very fun to read. I know you worked on this for a long time; thank you. :twilightsmile:

Also, I notice that once again, FIMFiction has failed to notify me of responses to my comments. :twilightoops: *scrounges through comments section* ... *tomorrow, because it's 2:30am and I need sleep argh*


I absolutely loved the Zebraic gods. The idea behind them was far too intriguing, and despite being short the immersion factor was quite deep for me.

Argh, i just can't bring myself to read this without re-reading the prequel, bye bye weekend. :twistnerd:

I had considered skipping alicornification for Twilight, but given that (to my mind) it was related directly to understanding, and that was the point of what the story was up to...well, it would have been inevitable and I had good reason to explore it a bit.

Chrysalis was a blast to write. I share your thoughts!

Bounded yet infinite is how I like to think of my gods here.

You can thank GhostOfHeraclitus for the words-as-reality bit, and another friend of mine for the black/white representation. I definitely pilfered for them!

Discord doesn't count. He's like the thing from the Everfree Forest. An interloper in their reality.

Bounded yet infinite! Gods have different spheres. Twilight might be a bit OP but since when is that news? She's not bound, though, not in the same way as the others.

Okay, that wasn't as dramatic nor as overblown and huge as Apotheosis, but then this wasn't an adventure. I like this as an example of great world-building. It is rather unfortunate that you do not wish another squeal, but I can respect that really. The gods are what really makes this story. They felt kind of like the best parts of Neil Gaimen's interruptions of gods in American Gods without being trapped in his prose. And with a welcome and vast amount of show to them. All of them being a unique and terrifying take on what it means to be truly large.

Twilight being a god who can change gods already makes sense to me. If I am totally honest about it though, I would say she never needed to be a god herself to accomplish as much. It is just in Twilight's character to move all things in the world to a better outcome. I like where this leaves off, but it makes me have a distinct frown, because I know that I won't get to see one final hurrah of adventure to this series.

Overall, not the adventure I wanted out of an Apotheosis sequel, but all of, if not more of the world-building I was starved for. Thank you Daetrin, it has been a great pleasure. I wish you luck on your next great story. :twilightsmile:

Yeah, I was glad for that, lol. I could actually follow the other godversations. Though, I meant to ask before, is or isn't Chrysalis a god in this fiction? Some things implied she was, some things implied she wasn't, but unless I missed it, nothing ever clarified one way or the other. I'm decently certain she isn't, but I'm not 100% sure.

Well, that's not a simple question really. She's whatever the god Rosedust turned into when she made whatever huge mistake she made to turn flutterponies into changelings. I'd say yes, but with qualifications (for example, she serially reincarnates rather than being plain immortal).

I'm not certain Discord is a god as defined by this story. He doesn't seem to 'be' any people's truths. If anything, he 'is' people's untruths, and Celestia's maybe-hallucination-possibly-spirit-commune with Aquila referred to Discord specifically as a demon.

Sounds like a story in need of writing. :trollestia:

Lol, seriously though, if you ever get around to writing pony-words again in the future, I'm super curious about Rosedust's and Aquila's stories, and maybe some post-friendship Discord's take on all of this. He's some kind of eldritch else intruding on this reality, he's got to have an interesting perspective. And from what I understand, the other gods are largely unaware of his 'reformation' (could very easily be wrong about this)? I don't think Discord would be able to resist popping in on random unassuming gods just to get a reaction. :rainbowlaugh:

But until then — or until never, whichever comes first — I wish you luck in your publishing adventures.

I dig it.

Chuckled when Twilight did the thing; reminded me a bit of a certain staff of a mad god you can get from a game's DLC.

Can't think of much else to add. Spent most of the night reading. *yawn*

Damn fun read! Cheers.

I loved this story, it made an excellent ending to the trilogy while still leaving things open enough for sequels and side stories should you feel like it.

Also the last words immediately made me think of the Pokemon Johto theme song:twilightblush:
:pinkiegasp: ♪"It's a whole new world we live in..."~♫

Well this was quite fun, good adventure is hard to find on Fim-Fiction, even with the last story being more internal rather than Total exploration, it was still really good. Now with the aspect of change added to the gods in the story one can only wonder if the Fallen Gods can return, after all they have been pointed out to be what defines their peoples and can not what the peoples define return them anew?
Any case thanks for the stories and keep on being awesome! :twilightsheepish:

I rather wish FIMFic would have that as a viewing option. I don't think it'd be that difficult to change the padding of the <p> tag inside the story <div>

So.. metaphysical.. metaphorical... Are you trying to create a religion? :twilightoops:

Because I want in! :twilightsheepish:

And I really, really, REALLY hope you plan to continue this series. Because it's food for thought. :twilightsmile:

my only complaint could be that the amount of stuff dropped on us in one chapter was to much. Other than that, holy shit this was amazing to read. I loved every minute of it. This honestly has been the first fic I've read in a while, this has made me want to read EVERYTHING again so thanks for the great story. :heart:
EDIT: also, it only took two hours to read ;-; why can't stories last forever ;-;

The result, I suppose, of not uploading one chapter at a time. If people were forced to speculate between chapters...

But I just didn't have the stomach to draw it out like that.
(Plus I didn't want to release early. I was still doing some pretty significant edits up to release)

Thank you for writing this Daetrin.
Now to absorb and think and interpret and all that fun stuff. I'll come back and comment afterwards.

Login or register to comment