• Published 10th Mar 2014
  • 2,028 Views, 64 Comments

How Equestria Was Made - Feo Takahari

Two sisters find an empty snow globe. At a touch, it fills with light and life--but darkness lurks within it as well . . .

  • ...

The Appearance of the Goddesses

“Diana Artemisia Baker!” Mom yelled. “Did you break this vase?”

Annie the Just, creator goddess of the magical land of Equestria, lowered her gaze and humbly apologized. “I’m sorry, Mom. I tried to fix it, but it wouldn’t go back together.”

“Well, since you were honest,” Mom told her, “I won’t ground you. But I’m taking away your TV privileges for the week.”

Annie kept looking at the floor. She was a big girl now, and big girls don’t throw tantrums--at least, not when their mothers are looking. “Yes, Mom.”

Mom smiled. “I always hated that awful vase, even if it was an antique. You shouldn’t have broken it, but it’s not a big deal--your father probably won't even notice it's missing. Now go wash up for dinner.”

Sitting down at the table and eating dinner felt weird. No, it felt normal, and normal felt weird. Dad was gulping down huge helpings of mashed potatoes, Mom was carving her steak into perfect little squares, and even Polly occasionally put something in her mouth instead of picking at it. Only Annie stared at her food. Goddesses didn’t need to eat, but she wasn’t a goddess now. How could she become a goddess and then stop being one?

Briefly setting down his fork, Dad looked across the table at Annie and smiled. “What did you do today, Little Moon?”

At any other time, Annie would have protested the nickname, but she was still a bit distracted. “I made a world,” she absently mumbled.

It’s difficult to choke on mashed potatoes, but Polly somehow managed it. She coughed loudly, briefly drawing Annie’s attention.

“Made a world?” Dad repeated.

Annie’s first instinct was to backpedal, but she’d already said it; she might as well follow through. “Yeah. I made it, and Sis helped. It’s called Equestria. It’s thousands of years old, and it’s full of heroes and monsters. But it’s a nice world--the heroes always win.”

Polly’s left eye was twitching rapidly.

“Oh, how cute!” Mom said. “Tell us about some of the heroes.”

“Well, there’s Star Swirl,” Annie said. “He’s a unicorn. His magic lets him travel through time, so he can stop villains in the past and the future. And Violetta, who wanders the whole world looking for rare flowers for her garden. And Lightning Dash, the fastest peg-a-sus in the world . . .”

Annie’s food grew cold while she talked, but she didn’t really care. Mom and Dad were just playing along at first, but after a while, they actually seemed interested. Even grown-ups thought Equestria was cool! (As for Polly, she stopped twitching after a while, though she didn’t talk much.)

By dinner’s end, Annie was starting to feel normal again. Lots of girls made up imaginary worlds. It wasn’t really a problem if her world was a little less imaginary than her parents assumed.

“Annie . . .” Mom said gently. “Do you want to start drawing again?”

Annie had done a lot of drawings before she’d changed schools. She was a lot better than the other students, and Mom had said she was a “prod-i-jee.” If she could draw Equestria . . . if that perfect world could mix with her world, at least in pictures . . . Maybe Equestria could come to her, some way, somehow.

“Yes,” Annie said. “I’d love to.”

-- -- -- --

The sisters stood in the attic and looked down at the hole in the floor.

“You’re going to be careful, right?” Polly asked.

“Yeah, I will,” Annie replied. “I promise.”

“It’s just that we don’t know what’s going on . . .”

“You said that already, Sis,” Annie reminded her.

Polly squatted down to Annie’s height. “Annie, I’m scared. I don’t know how to handle this. I know we can’t just back away. I mean, we made a whole world; we need to go back so we can understand what we did. But still, there are so many ways this could go wrong.”

“Equestria’s not like that,” Annie assured her sister. “It’s a peaceful world. There’s not a lot of danger . . .”

Polly fished the snow globe out from under the floorboards, and for the first time, it lived up to its name.

All of Equestria was covered in frost.

-- -- -- --

More than anything, Clover the Clever just wished everypony would shut up.

The assembled leadership of all three pony tribes was hopelessly snowed into one tiny little cave. With no clue what had caused this freak blizzard, there was no way of guessing when it would finally let up--and with nothing to do while they waited, their noble and majestic leaders had fallen to petty bickery. Even with her eyes closed and her hooves clapped over her ears, Clover couldn’t fully drown them out.

“We are a princess, and We refuse to go hungry! We demand a full share of the rations!”

“We? We? I, me, Chancellor Puddinghead, was the one who brought these rations. I’m the one who’ll eat them. So you can just shove off.”

“Hurricane, help Us put some sense into this ruffian! We’ll share the rations with you as well!”

“I’d sooner starve than make your fat rump any bigger, princess.”

Clover silently recited mathematical formulas to herself, then switched to plans for how one might silently and efficiently dispose of three heads of state at once. Neither was working. Why couldn’t there be just one other pony here who understood? Who realized that there were more important things than what a pony had on her head or her back?

“Whatcha doin’?” a playful voice asked.

Clover looked up to find an orange earth pony smiling down at her. Puddinghead’s assistant, she remembered--but hadn’t Puddinghead gotten separated from her retinue in the blizzard? Yet at the same time, a part of her was certain the earth pony had been in the cave with them all along.

Clover set aside the clashing memories and focused on answering the question. “Being bored,” she said. “The magic barrier at the entrance is mostly keeping the cold out, and air’s still getting in through the top of the cave mouth. If we run out of food before the blizzard ends . . . well, we run out. I spent the first few hours worrying, but now I just hate having to wait like this.

“If you could do something, what would you do?” the assistant asked.

“What’s there to do?” Clover retorted. “If we had the pieces, we could play chess, but . . .”

Suddenly, there was a board in front of her, all the pieces neatly in place. “Chancellor Puddinghead always packs a chess board,” the assistant said. “She won’t notice if we borrow it. Let’s play.”

The assistant clearly had no experience playing chess, and Clover easily beat her twice. But she was a gifted amateur, and the third game was long and protracted, ending in a stalemate.

“You have talent,” Clover observed. “Stranger, my name is Clover the Clever, assistant to Princess Platinum and pupil of Star Swirl the Bearded. What do you call yourself?”

“I’m Smart Cookie!” she said, beaming. “Assistant to Chancellor Puddinghead! So, what else do you want to do?”

Clover snuck a glance over at the heads of state. Still arguing, and still thankfully distracted. “We shouldn’t do anything to catch their attention. That rules out anything loud. Perhaps we could just talk?”

Cookie frowned. “I don’t have much to talk about. I’m a little boring. But I could tell you a story. You know Star Swirl, since he’s your teacher, but have you heard of Violetta?”

“I know her legend quite well,” Clover said. “I study potions as well as magic. She discovered many of the reagents I use.”

Cookie’s eyes crossed when she heard the word “reagents.” “Well, I’m an earth pony, so I can’t tell pegasus legends. Pansy?”

At that moment, Clover realized there was another pony in the cave with them--Pansy, Hurricane’s assistant. She’d been there all along, hadn’t she? But where had she been during the chess game?

“Um--er--I’m not that good at telling stories,” Pansy said.

Cookie threw Pansy a petulant look. “Aw, come on! Just one! Please?”

“Well, I do know Lightning Dash’s story. She was a pegasus from the north, where the winds are fast and the clouds are thin . . .”

It was a pretty good story once Pansy got into the rhythm of telling it. Dash was far more hotheaded and overconfident than comparable heroes in unicorn myths. Indeed, her brashness tended to create more problems than it solved. But she was never willing to let anyone else suffer for her mistakes, sacrificing anything and everything she had to lose in order to put things right. Clover couldn’t help but root for someone so duty-bound.

“Her injury never really healed,” Pansy finished. “She would never fly fast enough to make another Sonic Rainboom. But when little Spark grew old enough to fly, Lightning could still fly well enough to teach her, and that was more than enough for both of them.”

“That was beautiful,” Clover conceded. “I’m afraid I don’t have any stories to share myself. Unless . . .”

“Unless what?” Cookie asked.

“Perhaps I shouldn’t,” Clover said. “I’m not confident in my skill.”

Cookie leaned in close, her disarming smile filling Clover’s vision. “We’re your friends. We won’t laugh. Unless it’s a joke; then we’ll totally laugh. Right, Pansy?”

“Right,” Pansy said. “I’d love to hear your story.”

Friends? It was a little sudden, but Clover supposed it was true. She rather liked these foreigners, strange as they might be.

Clover snuck a glance off to the side. Strangely, the leaders all seemed to have fallen asleep. She briefly thought of checking for frostbite, but no, the air was still relatively warm.

“In addition to the sciences,” Clover explained, “I’ve studied some of the arts--in particular, the art of music. I can sing for you, but I mustn’t be too loud, lest I wake them.”

“I don’t think they’ll wake up,” Pansy said. “It looks like they’re out cold.”

Clover cleared her throat.

I met him on Kenkyrie Heath

One summer night when all was still

His blade undeeded in its sheath

He wanted naught but to test his skill . . .

Pansy was clearly swept away by the ballad. Cookie seemed oddly confused at first, but in time, she too was lost in the music. Clover didn’t permit herself to feel any pride at this, merely continuing the song and bringing it to its conclusion.

. . . And now he lives in Kenkyrie

And I live with him as his bride

His blade has seen no noble deed

But he cares naught for foolish pride.

“Wow,” Pansy said.

“That was really good,” Cookie added. “I thought for sure he was gonna kill the hydra, though.”

“There’s a version where he does,” Clover admitted, “and then he leaves Kenkyrie forever. ‘He didn’t look back as he walked. I didn’t call for him to stay.’ I prefer this one, though.”

“Yeah, me too,” Cookie said. “I don’t like sad endings.”

“What should we do now?” Clover asked. “I could set up the chessboard again . . .”

“Or we could go outside,” Cookie suggested. “All the snow has melted.”

Clover did a double take. How had she not noticed it was getting warmer? But it would have taken days for that snowfall to completely melt, unless . . .

Clover walked over to the sleeping leaders, taking a closer look at them. Their coats were wet, melted ice trickling down from where they lay. Yet the cold hadn’t harmed them, and that meant magic.

“Windigoes,” Clover said. She advanced towards Cookie, looking her directly in the eyes. Then she decided that was too bold, and she cast her gaze down. “There were windigoes outside, weren’t there? They came because our hearts were so cold, and they would have frozen us solid. But you warmed my heart to free us all.”

“Um, win-di-goes?” Cookie asked. “You mean those snow ghost things? I thought you knew about them.”

Pansy looked like she was trying not to facehoof.

“I can’t see them directly,” Clover said. “They’re too magical for pony eyes. But you can see them, can’t you?”

Cookie blanched, and Pansy didn’t look so good, either. “No, I can’t see them!” Cookie insisted. “I just, um . . .”

“There’s no need for artifice, Your Highness,” Clover said. “You don’t fit well in my memories. Puddinghead didn’t have an assistant, did she? Not until you came down in mortal form.” She bowed until her horn hit the cave floor. “Annie the Just. Creator of the world. I am ashamed to admit that I never believed you existed.”

The silence stretched out awkwardly until Pansy started to laugh. Her quiet chuckle grew into a roaring guffaw.

Clover looked up, but she stayed on the ground. “Have I done something inappropriate?” she asked Pansy. Not knowing exactly who this strange pegasus might be, she added a hasty “Your Majesty.”

Pansy covered her mouth with her hoof until the laughter stopped. “I’m sorry. It’s just . . . You were so friendly, and then the moment you learned she made the world, you started bowing! She’s still the same person--er, pony--as she was a minute ago!”

“We’re friends, right?” Annie asked. “You don’t have to bow to me. I’m not that special, anyway--you beat me at chess, and you can sing better than me, too!”

Clover rose. “Fair enough . . . Your Highness.” She winked.

"By the way, how did you know about us?" Pansy asked. "This is the first time we've gone down here and talked to anypony."

"I don't know how the legends started," Clover admitted, "but they're relatively consistent. All known races refer to the creator as Annie, and they all call her something like 'the Just' in their language." She wrinkled her brow slightly as she looked at the pegasus. “Though I must confess I don’t know of you. You’re not mentioned in the legends.”

“I’m her sister. My name’s Polly. I, um . . . sort of made the pegasi.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Polly,” Clover said. “And you too, Annie. Though I suppose you’ll be going now that your task is done?”

“Um . . . Sort of,” Annie said. “Before we came here, there wasn’t a Cookie or a Pansy. Now we’re here, they’re here. We could make it so they aren’t here anymore, but the pony tribes need them, so we’ll leave them when we go. They won’t be us, but they’ll be a lot like us, and they’ll remember that they made friends with you.”

“It’ll be up to the three of you to make peace between the tribes,” Polly added. “Do you think you can do that?”

“I can certainly try my part,” Clover said.

Annie and Polly began to glow, presumably preparing to leave this world. If there was anything else for Clover to say, she needed to say it now. But did she really have the words to express what she felt?

Before she could talk herself out of it, Clover rushed forward and hugged Annie around the neck. The goddess stiffened at first, but she soon relaxed and leaned into the hug.

“Get over here, Polly,” Clover said. “You deserve a hug too.”

Polly hugged Clover instead, creating a tangle of legs. “You deserve it more.”

The glow left them long before the hug ended.

-- -- -- --

Polly rose on all fours, then remembered that she was bipedal again. She was oddly relieved to stand up. She’d felt a lot less manic this time than the first time, but she’d still been slightly off-kilter, and standing on just two legs helped her shake it off faster.

The sisters spoke almost simultaneously.

“Annie, this is creeping me out,” Polly said.

“I’m scared, Sis,” Annie said.

They stared at each other for a moment. “You go first,” Annie suggested.

“It’s Clover,” Polly said. “Her song, I mean. I thought it would be flat, but there was so much emotion in it . . . She sings like a person. I think she is a person.”

“Of course she is!” Annie said. “What did you think she’d be?”

“A dream. An illusion. A figment of your imagination. But I can’t pretend like that. She’s as real as me! And we made a whole world for people like her, but it’s full of dragons and hydras and windigoes that all want to eat them up. ”

“It was supposed to be a nice world,” Annie said. “It had monsters, but heroes always won.”

“Then what the hell was with those windigoes?” Polly asked. “If we hadn’t come back, Clover couldn’t have stopped them. They could have frozen everyone!”

“I didn’t make the windigoes,” Annie interrupted. “That’s what scares me. And I didn’t break Lightning Dash’s wing--I wouldn’t do something like that. And if that stuff about Kenkyrie was real, I didn’t do that, either.”

“Then who the hell did?” Polly demanded.

Annie’s response was so quiet that Polly could barely hear it. “I don’t know.”

They both let that hang in the air for an uncomfortably long time.

“We can’t stop, can we?” Polly asked. “We made them, and we made their world. If they all freeze or starve or get eaten by hydras, it’s like we murdered them. But we’re just kids! We can’t be gods--”

Annie began to sniffle, and to Polly, she suddenly looked very small.

Polly reached out to hug her. Annie pushed her away. “No touching. Not when we’re human.”

“I’m sorry,” Polly said. “Look, I’ll see if I can find out anything about this snow globe. We can’t have been the first ones to use it. In the meantime . . .”

“. . . We’ll go back every day,” Annie finished. “It was gonna be a perfect world. I’m gonna make it one, no matter what.”

Author's Note:

This chapter was edited by Rakni.

Edit: With added suggestions by Razalon