• Published 3rd May 2014
  • 3,662 Views, 174 Comments

Eclipse - 8686



A recurring nightmare convinces Luna that, since her return, she has never regained her sister's complete trust. And at the forthcoming Festival of the Eclipse, she decides to make amends with a bold gesture: she removes the moon from the sky.

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Epilogue

–––Epilogue–––

Life returned to normal, as it so often did following a crisis. An exhausted but happy Twilight returned to Ponyville with her friends to much home-coming celebration. The towers of the castle were rebuilt and looked more stunning than ever. And Celestia and Luna took on their normal roles over the sun and moon, city and country.

They were closer. They had been far from distant before everything had started, but there was a noticeable improvement in their relationship now. It wasn't anything drastic, but when they met at the changing-of-the-guard, their smiles were just a little wider. At breakfast, the banter was just a little more relaxed. And on formal occasions together, they were just a little more mischievous. It was as though there'd been an elephant in the room that had suddenly vanished, and the new atmosphere between them was just wonderful.

And for six months afterwards, about three times a week, a beautiful, ethereal blue bridge, sparkling like crystal, could be seen extending into the sky from Canterlot Tower, seeming to reach all the way to the moon itself. Luna would constantly drop subtle hints, but Celestia knew better than to ask. Partly because she didn't want to give Luna the satisfaction of teasing her, and partly because she didn't want to ruin the surprise.

And finally, when, after sun had set and moon had risen at the end of a particularly arduous day, Luna turned to her sister and asked if she'd like to spend a weekend away – assuring her she had arranged for Twilight to sit in as caretaker while they were gone – she had politely and graciously jumped at the chance.

By virtue of the length of the Bridge, the journey to and from the moon would always take them several hours. But it was several hours in quiet, pleasurable company with nothing to do but talk and listen to whatever might be troubling them, or was otherwise on their minds.

But when the Bridge brought them right to the foot of Luna's castle, and Celestia looked up and beheld it, she couldn't stifle a hushed gasp.

To say it had changed was an understatement. Where before the architecture had been dark and foreboding, with just the addition of some colour the whole theme of the building had changed to something light and airy. The grand, double doors at the castle entrance were still the same, but they had been cleaned, polished, varnished, had their hinges oiled. They had had a great deal of TLC put into them, and that same effort seemed to apply absolutely everywhere.

And over the doors themselves, a new stone plaque had been erected, into which was neatly, expertly engraved, Midnight Castle.

"I have spared no expense," boasted Luna as she led her sister inside, and the transformation was staggering. Gone were the dark, brooding hallways, statues, weapons and gargoyles. Instead, everything had been brightened, cleaned and polished. The hallways were finished now in a neat, natural sandstone-effect and filled with warm, soft light. Tall vases bristling with flowers were recessed into every alcove where, once, one was almost certain to find a grisly statue of Nightmare Moon. Lavish white-and-purple curtains with gold trim hung across every window. Plush, ruby-red carpets lined the centre of every corridor. The study was filled with books, the kitchen was fully stocked with food...and there was even a new guest bedroom!

She led her sister into the former throne room. Here too, everything had been transformed, and, like the rest of the castle, it was filled now with a soft, warm golden light. The dais remained, but the throne atop it had been removed; replaced instead with an enormous octagonal hot-tub. Thanks to some magical trickery, it was filled with water that shimmered – and from certain angles actually looked – like liquid gold. The tall, stained-glass windows in the tower above no longer depicted the images of Nightmare Moon in poses of conflict or domination, but instead showed representations of a golden-yellow fire, seeming to climb the eight-sided tower to the ceiling high above them. And when the light played off the surface of the water in the bath in just the right way, the fire in the stained-glass windows even seemed to flicker gently.

"Do you like it?" asked Luna, with the hesitant timbre of an artist hoping their work will be appreciated.

"Luna it's...wonderful," said Celestia, captivated. There simply wasn't another word she could think of, and certainly none that could do it justice.

"Come. I want to show you this most of all."

Luna led her a little way down the castle corridor and around the corner to the slightly higher-and-wider doors to Celestia's former prison-room. The doors themselves had undergone the same restorative treatment as the rest of the castle, and above them the engravings of the sun, moon and eclipse had been polished so that the stone positively gleamed.

Pushing both doors open, Luna led her sister proudly where she had once led her with guilt and self-loathing.

And it seemed this room had been transformed most of all. It too was finished in the same light, sandstone effect as the rest of the castle, and filled with the same soft, golden light. And neither the structure nor the size of the room had been inherently altered. But all of the foulness, the bitterness, and the vengefulness that had once infected the walls was gone and instead...well, it smelled faintly of roses. Plush carpet once more lined the floor, and large floor cushions were strewn haphazardly around the perimeter. The overall impression was that this was a room where it was very comfortable to be.

On each of the eight walls, the depictions of Nightmare Moon had been struck. Hung in their place were eight vertical tapestries; lovingly embroidered, exquisitely detailed scenes cast onto a deep red background.

On the first, an eclipse, the dark moon obscuring the golden sun; the second, a scene of both sisters flying from Canterlot; the third, a large, bronze dragon reclining in a throne, before which stood two small alicorns and a red dragon; the fourth, an image of the gate of Tartarus in front of a river upon which floated a small boat with no sail, crewed by a hooded and cloaked figure. There was even a three-headed dog there, if you looked carefully.

On the fifth, two ponies flew overhead while a great chained sea-monster battled a flock of crows in the centre of a raging whirlpool, a tall mountain in the background. The sixth was a depiction of the moon and the earth joined by a blue bridge upon which two silhouettes walked in profile – sequins even serving to make the bridge appear to sparkle in the light. The seventh showed the two sisters flying across a broken landscape on the back of a red dragon, with Canterlot in the background; and the eighth and final was an image of the full moon in all its glory, being carried aloft by Luna and Celestia on spread wings.

The tapestries were breathtaking, but they were little more than a compliment to the main attraction. In the centre of the room, the stone plinth still stood, although the faint purple shimmer it had once held was gone, and so was the Celestia-shaped indentation. On each of the vertical sides of the plinth, a different word was engraved.

Guardian. Warden. Protector. Guide.

And on top of the plinth stood a new statue, stunningly worked, lovingly polished to a mirror, marble shine.

Celestia and Luna, walking side by side with warm, happy smiles. Celestia looking down at her little sister, Luna looking back up at her big one, both sheltering the other beneath a single extended wing.

And directly beneath and in front of them, on the top face of the plinth, was a golden plaque into which another word was etched. The name Luna had given to the statue, and both the reason for, and consequence of, their entire journey.

Trust.

Author's Note:

Ladies and Gentlemen;

As always, thank you for reading.

This took a long time to get done. I'd wanted to write this one for a while, but I didn't think I'd ever be able to do Celestia and Luna justice. But it's done now, and how well I succeeded is obviously up to you.

This is probably the longest piece I'll ever do. 'Epic' is not something I've really tried before. It's a far cry from the shorter, feelier stuff I usually write. But I hope you got a little something out of it.

If you enjoyed it, let me know! You never know, it might encourage me. If you didn't enjoy it, let me know! You never know, it might improve me. If you've read this and liked the words I wrote then [shamelessplug] I have other, better, feelier, shorter stories up there that need some love, and if you enjoyed this, the chances are good you'd like them too.[/shamelessplug]

Have a good day, and as always, stay safe and have fun.

--The Author.

Comments ( 58 )

A fantastic end to a fantastic story.
I feel like I should say more, but I honestly can't think of anything - I enjoyed this story to much to want to pick it apart.

i like it, But read only half. :trollestia:

4385533
I hope you liked the half you read.

I'm sorry about the other half.

I've never seen a fic capture the essence of the bond between the sister princesses so well. The dragons were a nice touch too.

4386399
Well, now i get enought time and read all. And ending was wonderful. Sisterbond will grow strong and i happy about this! (sry for my bad english:fluttercry:)

Truly amazing story.

Wonderful story! It deserves far more attention than it has received.

Liked. Favorited. Followed.

I revise my last comment. It's a beautiful story. I cried when I read it and am not ashamed to admit it either. :fluttercry:

Truly a work of art.

Loved it. Seriously. I enjoyed all of the interaction with the dragons too. I love how each character was written. Very good.

Five star.

~Vortex

66 upvotes and not a single downvote? This needs to change!
There, 67 upvotes, 0 downvotes. Much better.

Very nice story, though underappreciated.

This story was recommended to me quite a while ago (well before it finished, even), and I finally got around to reading it earlier today. I'm very glad I did, as I enjoyed it immensely; I'm a sucker for a good Celestia/Luna bonding story, and the worldbuilding that went into this made it feel vibrant and alive.

The one thing I wondered about--that is, the one I thing I wondered if the fic would have been better without--was Twilight and her friends. In chapter 6 (and, to a lesser extent, later), their scenes are well-written, but I'm not sure how much they add to the story. Seeing what she's doing robs us of any sense of drama when Celestia and Luna find out about the storms, or hear that the sun hasn't set for days, and since this is really their story, I felt that loss pretty acutely. I think I'd have preferred Twilight's letters to be my only source of information about Canterlot during that stretch, and I'd have liked to see a little bit more about how Celestia and Luna each dealt with the incomplete and often late-arriving information they received.

But even with that, this was still a very enjoyable story for me. It is, ultimately, a very sweet story, and the fact that it doesn't try to undercut that sweetness with a twisted moral or a sarcastic streak is a welcome reprieve; the fact that it's well-written and thoughtful in not just its moral, but its construction, doubly so. Thanks for sharing this!

8686 #15 · Jun 19th, 2014 · · 1 ·

4558636

the one I thing I wondered if the fic would have been better without--was Twilight and her friends.

Actually, I don't disagree with you.

When I was writing, Twilight and her entourage were the obvious, (albeit inefficient,) way of solving a couple of problems, and hitting a couple of very specific but subtle story beats.

Could I have found other ways round them? Would the story survive without Twilight?
The answer to both of those is probably Yes, and if I were to write it again, I'd probably take a longer look at how necessary and detailed their involvement needed to be.

But hey, hindsight is always 20/20, right?

Still, seems like you enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time, it's much appreciated.

--Author

4671285 Breaking news! Arthur from the DMV was eaten alive by a royal dragon today. His friend Barry had this to say:

"Whoa! That is soo cool! Boring old Arty was eaten by a dragon! Oh, yeah, and I'm sad and all that guff..."


:trollestia::trollestia::trollestia:

This deserves, no, NEEDS some more love! This was AWESOME!!! I always feel sad at the end of a really good story, and this one's making me almost tear up. :applecry:

9.5/10! I loved it! Not quite as good as Celestia's Tiny Student or Nosfluttereau, but I mean, really...

Plz write many a book. You have a good talent, even if no-one can see it. Keep on writing, and eventually you'll get the love you deserve. Don't waste your tremendous gift.

Your's Truly

Hamish

P.S. This comment needs more emoticons, so :pinkiecrazy::ajsmug::fluttercry::duck::twilightoops::derpytongue2:

4671840 I'd rather be in Wonderland than in Hell.

This was a wonderful piece to read. I don't consider myself to be very good with constructive criticism or constructive praise, but this story does receive my shameless praise. :heart:

Thank you for writing this and sharing it with us.

Been waiting till this was complete to read it, and sad I delayed so long! This absolutely deserves more attention than it has gotten. Tis heartwarming!

4826165
For what it's worth (if anything) I don't post a story unless I've finished writing it. I usually try and get a chapter up every 24 hours or so.

I figure if folks choose to read my material, the least I can do is give them an ending.

(It's usually a happy one. Hope that's okay.)

--Author

I just read this, nice work! Not all that many Celestia & Luna adventure fics, this one was really nice. Thanks for writing it :twilightsmile:

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

Brilliant epilogue for a brilliant story. The tapestries were a great touch. :D (What the hell is that castle made out of though?)

5034902
That's all valid. (See also 4567347). I didn't realise how distracting they were, but if you're curious, here's my rationale. Twilight (and friends) were put in for two reasons. I thought Celestia's complete faith in her sister even in the face of suspicion was an important point to hit just before they reached the moon, and her dream with Twilight was the simplest way I could think of to facilitate that. Secondly, selfishly, I wanted to write the storm scene. I'd never written anything approaching action before and I wanted to see if I could make it work. Seems I have some improving to do there. I also figured they'd be a nice break from the two sisters all the time, but I think I gravely misjudged that one.

I take your point about the Bridges. One of my (many) annoying quirks is I have a tendency to over-explain. I suppose I wanted to 'explain' why they couldn't simply use the Bridge all the time in the real world. Explaining does not a good story make.

I'm glad you liked the scenes on the moon though. They're really the whole crux of the story, and I like to think they did the job. The scene you describe and the one right after were where I was trying to get my feels from.

Oh, and the castle itself? The real answer is that it's constructed entirely from Narrative Convenience. The story answer is that it's built from lunar rock, which Luna painstakingly transforms so that it has the appearance and texture of sandstone.

If you have further views on this or anything else I've written, I'd certainly be glad of them.

--The Author

All in all, this story was absolutely fantastic. The way you handled Celestia and Luna and their development as friends and sisters throughout the story was an absolute pleasure to read.

You should write more stories of similar length and depth. You're quite good at it, if this story is any indication.

I even know where you should start...

ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ KING RAGNAROK or RIOT ヽ༼ຈل͜ຈ༽ノ

:trollestia:

5036661
I actually liked the part about the bridges. I'm always intrigued by different people's ideas for the kinds of magic the ponies might use. And having that little bit of explanation meant that when Celestia said she knew "exactly" how far it was, I could cackle with glee as I realized what was about to happen. :pinkiehappy:

I also enjoyed the portions describing events back in Equestria. Yes, the story *could* have been written with less of that, but Twilight's friends *not* going home the first time, and the scene with the big storm, seemed like pretty important points in terms of the "big picture"... Especially when it came to making Twilight's decision to *not set the sun* believable, and not just something we learn second- or third-hand and go "Twilight y u so silly" like with having it rise in the west (That and the slight lateness of the previous sunset were just fine without detailed explanation, but relegating that decision to, at most, a summary in a letter would've seemed rather lacking). And it lent a sense of continuity to the princesses' return to Canterlot - we could see the damage without it bogging down the end of the story with detailing it or explaining it at that point.

...

:ajbemused:

Here's my Like. I'll be on my way.

A grand story. Very nicely done.

5036661

I would have to say myself that I think the scenes with Twilight and company were, frankly, necessary. Without their greater context, a) the reader would have been left wondering what was happening outside Tarterus anyway (I CERTAINLY would) and b) it would have robbed the story of some the urgancy.

I must also thus disagree with Present Perfect: one should aim to show, not tell. Relating those events via letter would not have had anything like the impact they had.

I think, then, you made the right decision in putting them in.

Excellent story, author.

I seem to have a bit of something caught in my eye :fluttercry:

Great story, I enjoyed reading it :twilightsmile:

Well, I'm glad I found this little gem. It was well worth reading.:moustache:

I wanna see what else you've written now!

Oh, and the castle itself? The real answer is that it's constructed entirely from Narrative Convenience.

I couldn't imagine a better building material for such a remote location.:pinkiehappy:

I'm so glad this story was reviewed recently so that I could have the pleasure of reading it. Certainly vastly underrated. A really good adventure fic, and some love for the two good sisters too. A few small grammar issues, and some inconsistencies with canon re:Tartarus, but I just put an AU tag on it in my head and all was fine. At points, I was reminded of Daetrin's Apotheosis, and I mean that only as a positive. Loved the world building with the dragons, and thought they were well characterized. Very very very splendid work, and definitely a permanent spot in my favorites. I'll be reading more of your other works, soon.

5195623 Is that the stone mask from Majora's Mask?

5329526
Yes it is, and the idea of putting it on Fluttershy amuses me so much that I wish there was fanart of it. You know, instead of this half-assed photoshop.

Not sure what that has to do with 8686's Eclipse though...

Damn good work there, very impressive.

86, I am very impressed. I said it back during the prison room scene, and I'll say it again: this sort of stuff is the reason I love fantasy! The story was engaging, the characters well-written, relatable, and entertaining, and the conclusion heartwarming and satisfying. This is on the shorter end of odyssey adventures on this site, and yet carries all the same weight of 'feels' that I've come to expect from particularly talented authors like yourself.
Thanks for a great morning read! (About 5:30 AM to 10:15 with about a two-hour break to get breakfast and run my brother to school, if you're curious.) Have a good one.
- Headwind

Good and well crafted story all in all with very nice pacing and characterizations.
It could at times have used an editor to smooth out some mood-jumps and liven up some slightly drab parts; shortening some parts that seemed to drag out for a little too long and encouraging to you to flesh out other parts a bit more (nothing truly jarring, mind you).

Then again it holds scenes of pure brilliance with flawless writing (or at least really good stuff); and as it does so regularly I never had the thought of dropping it. It stays highly entertaining all the way through, especially due to its unpredictableness juxtaposed with the solid and well-paced progress of the sisters' bonding.

The original idea is great. So are your Dragons.
Oh and I for one very much enjoyed 'The Canterlot Six'. I think that title is going to stay with me for a while ;)
Good job, have a like and a fav.

Just reread this after finishing reading the prequel and I gotta say it's just as good as I remember. Also I am firmly in the pro Twilight and friends camp. I thought the scenes with them were well done and added to the story.

5050780 A little late but *Shenron voice* Your wish has been granted.

5690817
I KNOW
IT'S SO EXCITING

PresentPerfect
Author Interviewer

5744863
EXPECT ME IN THE NORTH

Well dang, I guess this means the civil war is off. I'll go put my night armor back in its trunk. :fluttercry:

Seriously though, this was a nice ending. There were certain aspects about it that bugged me, and still do, but I can set them aside. All in all, this was a good story and I look forward to reviewing it on Monday.

Magnificent. Never get to read stories like this often, especially with this much quality and focusing on Celestia and Luna, my absolute favourite characters. Great work.

I really enjoyed this. I felt the opening was a little bit on the weak side, and it has a few flaws here and there (in particular, it tends to be a little bit too direct. For a story that relies so much on dreams, it's a bit strange to have everything in them be absolutely literal, with no metaphor or subtlety anywhere.) That said, it's one of the nicest explorations of Celestia and Luna's relationship post-Nightmare that I've read, I felt they were both very well characterized throughout.

A good story, but it never quite hooked me like I hoped it would.

Writing: 3 / 5 (average)
Plot: 4 / 5 (above average)

I have been slowly working my way through all of your stories, since I recently discovered them. All of them I have enjoyed immensely.
But this one, at least so far, has been my favorite.
Thank you for a wonderful journey. :pinkiehappy:

You take some serious liberties with the perspective shifts, dear author. Please use your Third Person Omniscient responsibly. (Yay for critiques that are several years out of date!!!) :derpytongue2:

Anyway, I loved the story, I loved the tone, I loved pretty much the whole thing. Several of the moments sprinkled hither and yon were absolute gems, causing me to gasp, or chuckle, or pump my fist triumphantly into the air like a moron. Liked, favorited, all that jazz. And I'm delighted to know you've written a prequel-ish thing detailing the Six Hour War. Awesome.

You've got a gift for telling stories. Thanks for sharing.

Great story, and excellent pacing.

This was an excellent piece, both in execution and tone. The pacing, ignoring the Twilight and friends scenes, were spot on, and I've only good feelings about the ending to this story. I will argue that the epilogue was actually weaker than the true ending and could have been done without, but sometimes its nice to see little bit after the fact like that.

Thank you for writing this. It has been a pleasure to read.

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