• Member Since 7th Jan, 2013
  • offline last seen Oct 31st, 2022

Distaff Pope

An experienced writer of limited skill and dangerous enthusiasm.


  • TBack to Where We Were
    Moon Gazer loves her job, she gets to spend her nights staring at the stars and her days charting their movement. The only blemishes in her life are a flirtatious coworker and persistent migraines, certainly nothing to worry about.
    Distaff Pope · 11k words  ·  109  5 · 2.5k views

Career-criminal Silent Shadow has been captured again and is expecting another vacation at one of Equestria's rehabilitation clinics. Instead, she has a meeting with Celestia to learn just why the kingdom is crime-free.

Featured on Equestria Daily 09/02/14

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 256 )

Damn. This story is so soul crushingly good.

Ah Celestia. So morally questionable.

4722103 It was all for the greater good!

This really shows a dark explanation for why Equestria is so crime free. Excellent work.

Like and Fave.

4722111 I could make a Tau reference here, but I'm a better person than that.

I like it! Finally, a story about hypnosis NOT filled with clop! Apparently hard for people to do.

4722380 Thanks! If you're curious, this story arose when my sister and I were watching Keep Calm and Flutter On. We got to talking about how messed up it was that reform spells are apparently a commonish thing in Equestria and that somehow led to this story.

4722317 First of all, I'm not sure what Tau is so I probably wouldn't get the reference anyways. Second of all, in my head, this story takes place in the main universe of the show, and I wanted to keep Celestia as in character as possible while still being a creepy tyrant lady. Hope I succeeded.

4722455 Essentially the Tau are a conglomeration of alien races originating from Warhammer 40,000 that live and work in a caste system that have names according to forces of nature. For example, there is a "Water Caste" made up of merchants, diplomats, and administrators.

The Tau are often seen as "Space Communists" and follow a philosophy called "The Greater Good".

4722479 Got it now! Thanks for the information. Space Communists sound fun.

4722499 They are, their main tactic is to sit off in the distance and pew-pew at their foes, which makes them a troll team.

4722521 I don't know, that seems a good strategy. I mean, when you have spaceships, being on the same planet as your enemy seems like a bad idea. Just throw rocks at them until you win.

4722529 It is, I never said it was bad. When you're facing guys in power armor three times your size, you don't want to fight CQB.

Forgot to mention, they also have the equivalent of jackals from Halo.

We should probably move this discussion elsewhere, though.

That would be horrible for anypony that decided to be evil. I mean, you don't just break them, you completely rewrite their past present and future.

I have so many mixed feelings about this story, on one hand I'm happy she doesn't have to be a criminal anymore, and that she now has a happy life. But on the other hand, what Celly did what very morally questionnable, she essentially removed who Moon Gazer used to be to make her fit into her society. Buuuut on yet another hand, she was a criminal, so it only makes sense that she gets punished, and this is by far the lightest and best punishment there is...
Anyway, love your story and your style, keep up the great work!

As a pirate, this story makes me afraid.

Very afraid.

We need a fear emote.

I hate Celestias guts. No one should push their morality down other ponies throats :fluttershysad: Forcing anybody to be someone else than who they want to be is just wrong. Great story though.

4723824 Thanks, I was actually kind of hoping this story would make people think a little bit about what the right course of action was, glad I kind of succeeded.

So... therapy without consent. Well, it's not all that bad I mean, she was a criminal and she wasn't that changed... um...

No, still creepy as hell.

Comment posted by Europa deleted Jul 20th, 2014

Tips: If you start a criminal career in Equestria, don´t forget keeping a hidden cyanide pill with you all the time. :twilightoops:

Yeah, Celestia went too far in this. I'm one for thinking that just removing Shadow's apparent kleptomania would have been enough, not a total mind wipe.

See kids, this is what will happen if you use too much brain bleach at one time. You'll have visions of Celestia breaking through your window a forcefully rewriting your everything, in actuality, your brain will be slowly disintegrated as the bleach overwrites all your memories with kitten memes and pony hugs.

I like the concept and the execution, I always thought there had to be something wrong with Princess "loves absolutely everypony unconditionally" Celestia and now we know what it is. Be good or you will be made to be good, enjoying your free will, citizens? :trollestia: :pinkiecrazy:

4724468 Disharmony will not be tolerated.

4724374 Ah, but the stealing is the core of her being. It seems you can't change a cutie mark (shut up Twilight), but you can alter its context into something completely different.

Though I wonder if an accidental bit of thievery wouldn't pull poor Moon Gazer back into old habits.

Speaking of nothing I mentioned before:

“Where are we?” Shadow asked, trying to make the pain in his head stop.

Pronoun alert, unless Celestia also has the power of Rule 63.

Speaking of things actually on topic:
Obselescence has a great piece in a similar vein that you might enjoy, if you're into Mind Rape Tyrant Celestia.

4722111 As Lelouch (Code geass) once said,

forcing your good intentions on others is no different from an evil act

Celestia basically murdered Shadow and replaced her with a twisted version of her.

I don't give me this "greater good" crap it's just an excuse.

4724635 I'm not saying she was in the right, I think her actions were morally reprehensible, but in Celestia's head, every terrible action has been justified as being for "the greater good."

There are so many story ideas that could come from this.
Celestia basically direct injects conformity into Shadow. Such a concept is horrifying in and of itself, but to think that it is being used to create a society that is not dissimilar to George Orwell's "1984" is quite thought-provoking. The destruction of an entire identity is what makes Celestia's actions not only unacceptable, but evil. The worst part is that by believing that Shadow's identity needed to be changed indicates to us readers that she believes Shadow's very existence was a mistake. No one is a mistake. To erase her is to say that there was nothing worth saving and no goodness in her at all. The Celestia in this story would possibly contend that there was goodness in Shadow, but her actions say otherwise.

4724883 If you want to write some of them, let me know, I'd be happy to read them.

As a Brony, I think this is a very odd take on Celestia and how she keeps peace. :applejackunsure:

As my normal sociopathic, bat-shit crazy self, I rather like this idea of reharmonization. :pinkiecrazy:

Bravo good sir! You have managed to amuse me for the duration of this story! :pinkiehappy::twilightsmile::raritywink:

Dunno why but I couldn't help but think of Hitler when Celestia was doing hes whole thing.

4724655 I can see what you mean by that, I mean if you look at Equestria in the show, it's a utopia that hasn't seen war in over a 1000 years.
I can see were Celestia is coming from, but I simply can't agree with her actions.

And as the great Soild Snake once said,

Thiers's no right part to murder not ever,

A person's (or pony's in this cases) memories make he/she who he/she is and if you take those away that person/pony doesn't exist anymore you basically have killed/murdered him/her.

Basically what I getting at is I can see the logic behind Celestia's actions. The results speak for themselves. I simply don't agree with it.

4725327 True, but I always like villains who have more justification to their actions than "to take over the world." Tia is a villain, but in her head she is doing the right thing.

4724635 My thoughts exactly, Celly essentially killed her, and don't tell me she didn't deserve punishment, because she sure as hell did.
Besides, like I said in my other comment, Silent Shadow wouldn't have been happy in her life, even wiht how much she pretended stealing and watching other made her. She just had too many hurtful memories, and no way of sharing them with anybody.
She also did it for the greater good, just like Lelouch (and by the way I love you for referencing that). Celestia has to remove the bad individuals from Equestria in order to let the other ponies live in peace, and Lelouch essentially did the same; he sacrificed a lot of people (including himself) in order to achieve world peace for his sister and everyone else (though that was a mere side-effect to him).
And if you ask me, Celestia knows what she's doing isn't right, and that's killing her inside, but she's also aware it has to be done for her subjects.

4725546 Yes I do agree on that one. It is so refreshing to see villains with more complex and relatable motives then just the cliché "take over the world" motive.

It makes the villains much more 3 dimensional and in turn much more interesting. I would like to see how Celestia came to the conclusion that would call for such drastic actions. I mean that would be an interesting little story. Did Celestia just come up with it on a whim (which I highly doubt) or did some traumatic event happen in her life that caused her perception of reality to change.


And if you ask me, Celestia knows what she's doing isn't right, and that's killing her inside, but she's also aware it has to be done for her subjects.

Exactly right, at least in this story, she just sees it as another unpleasant thing that comes with ruling. This is a mare who was willing to banish the pony she loved most in the world for a thousand years for the greater good. There is no line she won't cross to keep her ponies safe and happy, and if that means removing the bad parts of a pony's personality to "help" her, she will do it. She will hate herself for it, and there was actually a scene originally planned that showed Celestia's guilt, but I didn't like pulling the thoughts away from Shadow so I axed it.

I'm.... not sure how to feel about this... Horrified, for one, but I mean...... she is reformed, and happier...............................................

4726185 Then I did my job.

4725822 So for theft she deserves the death penalty?


I don't think so. I'm not saying that she didn't deserve punishment but not like that. No one deserves that kind of cruelty especially someone/somepony whose only crime is something as petty as theft.

I can see were you can get the Lelouch/Celestia comparison. Both are people who have done some morally questionable things to achieve what they thought was a greater good, however their is a difference. Lelouch never forced the world to a peaceful resolution. Those people did it themselves through their hatred of him.

You can't force peace and if you do it is not true peace. It's just a false peace built around lies.

Her mother would go out to the Cloudsdale clubs every night, and most times would end up bringing an unknown stallion or mare back home with her, forcing Shadow to listen to them do… things on the other side of her cloud wall. The rest of the time, her mother, Moonlight, was either sleeping, hung over, or both.

Either I'm reading this wrong, or her father wasn't present. :unsuresweetie: I think the latter.
~Dash The Stampede

4726660 You are reading it absolutely right.


Your idealistic bullcrap is showing. "False peace" blah blah blah - peace is peace; FALSE peace would be if the peace was a cover-up for sinister corruption going on behind the scenes, plots to seize greater power and reduce the quality of life for the people. You make it sound like Celestia's doing something horrible. So, what would you have her do? Lock the criminals away in prison for a few years? Forever? That's a far worse sentence. Don't tell me it isn't, because if you're going to say that you really have no idea what you're talking about. It doesn't fix anything, nothing is solved by doing that. They have a correctional facility apparently. You get some chances to fix yourself and the help to do it.

That's more than you'll ever get in MANY places in our human world. Some of the greatest civilizations in history would lop off limbs for stealing so much as a BREAD CRUST and we are descended from them - yet you criticize Celestia? Civilizations where stealing would make the thief a slave to whoever he stole from. Free to be sexually abused and killed or living out a broken life until he died. It was normal. It was good. No one thought twice about it. Do a bad thing, bad things happen to you. Other places you just get killed. This is pretty darn merciful in comparison.

What Celestia has done, is reformatted one of her troublesome subjects. If I were some form of pathological dangerous element, stealing or scamming or scheming or plotting or murdering, and I had to choose between imprisonment, death, and... this. I'd take this. The first one is slow, it wears away at you... you can't even tell time anymore, just the schedule and when the sun's up or down. That 'fixes' you by grinding away what you used to be with soul-shattering and mind-numbing isolation and incarceration. There's a special kind of insanity for the people who can adapt to that situation - they have to close off their worldview, focus solely on the new miniature society within their place of imprisonment until it becomes effectively what the world used to be for them. Those in for the long haul who couldn't do that have been known to spontaneously die as it just got to be too much for them. The fear of wasting away in chains is what keeps most people from breaking the law in the first place, even on a subconscious level - it is that terrifying a prospect. It is NOT mercy. Just like there are those who die for being unable to adapt to life inside of this prison-society, there are those who just shut down and die once they get out, too - but people like you never care about that. If you're going to defend the sensibilities of how a prisoner who deserves their punishment is handled, don't just fucking pick and choose which kind you like best and forget the after-effects.

Death is fast. It'd probably also hurt, and fuck hurting. 'Nuff said. Still, a valid #2 on the final punishment scale.

But what amounts to basically a second chance? Getting rid of what all the problems in your head were? Sure, those problems were part of the old you. But the old you was BROKEN if you've been doing things so badly that you deserved this sort of punishment. I've seen this sort of concept before, and it always brings in people who scream moral outrage. "Omg she killed da person in da head and made da new person! Abloobloo." Put them in a pit for ten years? A hundred? The only reason that seems acceptable to such hypocrites is because of 'Out of sight, out of mind'. As long as you don't have to think about what they're going through, it doesn't offend your baby-soft sensitive ideals. But this way, her people can go on being safe from those who willingly cause them harm. And the ones causing the harm are returned to society as what amounts to potentially helpful new members of it. There's no point in defending someone who goes around boosting cars or breaking and entering or raping or murdering or what have you. If the punishment for their equivalent crimes is a mindwipe and reprogramming - then it is not only a mercy, it is actually IMPROVES society for everyone in it, and the person who was willingly destroying peace for no good reason is now a benefit to themselves and those around them.

Arguments that amount to "It's wrong because I don't like it!" Or "It's wrong because it's wrong!" don't hold water and are a travesty and insult to those of us who are mindful of actually imbalanced issues affecting society both at large and those who are on the wrong side of the law - the latter typically only those who don't deserve to be on the wrong side of the law, where the law itself is in the wrong. It's beyond aggravating to hear someone complain about Celestia reprogramming someone. Because let's face it. If you've fucked up enough that you consider a corrections facility to be a vacation before getting back to it, you deserve it - which is what Shadow did, and exactly what Shadow got. What they deserved. And now we got lovely, pleasant Moon Gazer out of the deal. I mean, unless you want to KEEP Shadow.

So, hypothetically. Let's say you're a pony and a criminal has gone up for reformation. You petition and scream and shout. Are you going to keep defending them when, for instance, the caveat to not mind-wiping this disruptive/destructive/dangerous criminal is that have to live in your neighborhood now? You and your family right next door to someone who can't stop doing the terrible things they've done? Who enjoys doing it? Maybe you'll wake up to see them standing over your bed, walking off with your jewelery. Maybe you'll find them trying to smother your loved ones with a pillow, or wearing your dog for a hat. Will you continue to defend them then? If, at any time, you doubt you could say they deserve to be treated better for their crime when the victim is YOU, then you are a hypocrite and need to retract your incessant complaints.

In the end. The greater good is what a kind-hearted and generous ruler has to sacrifice for. Be it some troublesome citizens who are bad news for the people around them - or even their own sense of ethics and innocence. There's no way Celestia can be at peace with what she has to do, or the things she's had to do in the past. She's taking away the burden on society by placing it squarely on her shoulders. Guilt after guilt on the back of an immortal who will always carry the pain with her. What she does makes her lands safe for children to grow and play and live in. It allows her people the freedom of self and expression they need to grow and thrive. Freedom from the fear that the person next to them might be stealing their livelihood or waiting to put a dagger through their neck. Peace. There's a few sayings, "Freedom isn't free." and the like. The meaning of that is that SOMEONE has to get their hands bloody in the hopes that tomorrow you'll be able to wake up and drink your coffee and go about your day. Someone, somewhere, is doing things that breaks their heart and praying to anyone who'll listen that you'll have a good life because of it. And not only do you not know, if you did you'd probably tell this person they were a monster. Which is effectively what you've done. You've implied that the former Element of Kindness, Celestia, is a monster.


Hey Aurora and Zero, I'm glad my little story was able to broker a discussion about the rights of the individual versus the rights and needs of society, and I'm more than happy to have a debate about that in comments, but I'd like to remind both of you to be respectful of the other's opinion and refrain from name calling.

I'm all for discussion, but I also think mutual respect is important especially when we're discussing an issue with no easy answer. Just a reminder from your friendly neighborhood writer.


Odd. I don't think I called him anything bad. I don't really remember what I type up or what goes into it, and I don't feel like re-reading it at the moment. Oh well, if I did, apologies. Completely stream-of-consciousness in everything I do, so feeling strongly about something does tend to get a few people called bitches or whatnot now and again.

Not quite intended. ... Just, sort of there. If that happened, I'm honestly not sure at this point. Apologies to anyone offended if I did indeed actually insult someone.


Your idealistic bullcrap is showing. "False peace" blah blah blah - peace is peace; FALSE peace would be if the peace was a cover-up for sinister corruption going on behind the scenes, plots to seize greater power and reduce the quality of life for the people. You make it sound like Celestia's doing something horrible. So, what would you have her do?

I think I found this passage... let's call it unnecessarily combative, and more importantly, I saw the possibility of things getting worse if I didn't intercede and remind people to love and tolerate and such. I want people to feel free to comment on my stories. Anyways... my thoughts on the issue are that both sides are in the right considering the values at the center of their debate.

Zero values the sanctity of the individual, and so Celestia's actions that obliterate the individual's integrity would be reprehensible considering that value. In my understanding, you take a larger view of the situation and see Celestia's action as the lesser of myriad evils (As you pointed out, there are centers that focus on reforming ponies). In comparison to death or imprisonment, Celestia's action does the least amount of harm.

At least, that's how I see it, I should probably get back to writing stories and not giving my little commentary on what different people value and how it effects their interpretation of my story.

4727142 I am not really insulted. His comment was a little jarring but other then that it really didn't affect me. I do see a point to a lot of his statements. A lot of others I don't and will probably never agree on. But hay everyone has their own opinions on matters. There are as truths as there people, and I would have it no other way.


Congratulations. You are not an idiot. You are one of the rare few people who get to pass in my book.

4727439 Sorry, I guess I saw a risk of things going really south and wanted to put a quick reminder in there to be respectful and stuff before the debate continued. Apologies if I came across as a wet blanket.


A total wet blanket! For shame, Distaff. Though, your apprehension was likely well-founded. I will not hesitate to counter-attack people when they do catch an attitude with me, and things get pretty nasty from there out. Unless they're boring and have nothing interesting to argue about. Then I ignore them.

All the same, Zero, while I completely disagree with much of what he's said regarding views on the self and society, is not one of said such idiots. I may not agree with his ideals, but I can respect someone who sees something for what it is and responds in a well-mannered form of understanding and cooperation.

4727510 Welp, now that that's sorted, back to working on my chapter a day challenge. I think I saw someone trying to have fun in the comments to RPO so now I guess I have to wet blanket them as well.

Login or register to comment