• Published 31st Mar 2014
  • 3,897 Views, 67 Comments

Rites of Ascension: Fireside Tales - CvBrony



A collection of small, self-contained, often single-chapter mini-stories set in the Rites of Ascension universe.

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Feathers

“Um, Princess?” Twilight poked Celestia in the shoulder with a hoof to get her attention, feeling like she a filly was back in school.

“Yes, Grand Mage?” Celestia smirked, lowering the scroll in front of her.

“Eh, heh heh. Sorry, force of habit when I have a question.” She shrunk down a little at first, but was lifted out of it when the tip of Celestia’s wing pushed her chin up.

“I believe I also said I’d answer any question you have of me. So, what is it that so vexes my Grand Mage that she becomes so nervous to speak to one of those who helped raise her?”

Twilight backed away and got clear of the wing. “You and I both know it’s more complex than that, ‘Tia.’ All my life I’ve been fully cognizant of the social rules of the nobility. You’re the highest-ranking noble there is. My new rank elevates me, yes, but not only are you still far above me, it’s also not so easy to undo nearly three decades of teaching.”

Celestia blinked with a slight frown, then lay down on the cushion, bringing her more to Twilight’s eye level. “This is true. It is sometimes difficult for me to understand that my ponies experience time a little differently than I do. I honestly don’t expect you to shake that behavior anytime ‘soon,’ Twilight. I expect it to take place over the course of years. In the best-case, I would guess it to happen as you become closer to a full alicorn. In the worst, I am content to wait for decades, even centuries. I have waited that long for things before, and I will do so again, though I may give you a nudge like this from time to time. Now, what is your question my student?”

Twilight ducked her head down by her forelegs. “I was… I was wondering if I could take a look at your wings.”

Celestia raised an eyebrow. “My wings?”

She held up her forehooves, all but hiding her head behind him and closing her eyes. “Sorry! Sorry, I know wings are considered personal to pegasi, but I was curious since I’m going to get a pair of my own eventually, and—”

Some feathers ran along her fetlocks, almost tickling with their softness. Twilight opened her eyes, finding Celestia’s massive wing outstretched before her, pointed in the same direction the Princess was sitting.

“Princess?”

“I don’t mind, Twilight.” She smiled at her as warmly as the fireplace. “Honestly, that whole ‘don’t look at my wings’ attitude of pegasi only started around twenty-five hundred years ago. When I was ascending, ponies often wanted others to look at their wings. It was a source of pride.”

Twilight still couldn’t help but blush at her teacher’s display. There was her wing, stretched out, right before her. In modern society this could be easily misconstrued, though her own interest to examine it was entirely chaste.

One of the primary feathers tapped her on the chin. “Twilight, are you okay?”

She snapped out of it, inhaling sharply. “Right. Sorry, I thought I’d have to do more work to convince you. Mom kept telling me when I was first becoming your student, ‘Don’t look at her wings, don’t look at her horn, speak when spoken to, don’t stare at her mane, sit up straight…’”

Silence reigned over the room for a few moments, broken only by the crackling of the fireplace.

“Twilight?”

Twilight’s eyes were firmly locked on the Princess’s primary feathers, gazing ever closer at them in detail. “I never really looked at these before.” Each second she gazed, new aspects of the feathers were made clear. The primaries merely white. There was a hint of reflection in every one, giving Twilight the impression of having a dozen little mirrors before her. As they moved slightly, the color on them distorted and refracted, creating the barest hint of a rainbow on every individual feather. “They’re… they’re like crystal! The barbs in the feather are crystals!”

“Very astute, Twilight. That is the case. At least, for myself and Luna, although hers take on very different visual characteristics. Other alicorns, those we knew in the past, were more different still.”

Twilight nodded. “So what you’re saying is that mine may not be like yours.”

“Quite so. Do not be discouraged; I’m sure they will be brilliant. Give it time.”

She shook her head, breaking her gaze with the wing. “Thank you, Prin— Tia, I mean. Thank you.”

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