• Published 27th Mar 2015
  • 2,941 Views, 102 Comments

Dusk Falls - NorrisThePony



Celestia discovers an eldritch conspiracy in the small beach town of Dusk Falls. Luna fights back growing feelings of jealousy and isolation.

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Dawn Rises (XV)


We lost something that day. It was difficult to successfully say what: certainly, the loss of an entire town might perhaps have qualified, but then again I felt like something else was missing entirely.

It was that sensation once again. The nagging feeling one gets when they feel something very large is out of place. The one that tells you something is most certainly amiss, something large, something glaring you in the face whilst breathing its icy breath down your obliviously fearful neck—

I believe I’m repeating myself. My apologies.

I did not sleep that night. I cannot imagine many of the residents of Dusk Falls did either. The sky still burned red over the barren circle of death, all through the day and into the cool spring night. Even as our chariot left Dusk Falls far behind, it took hours of flight for the sky to change from red to pink and then back to any shade of natural blue.

In several hour's time after it had first ripped through the sky, the white tear would exist only in Luna and my memories. There was no comfort in that thought, of course.

Nor was there any comfort in the knowledge that Hydia was dead. Because if what she had told me was true, then she had been dead before.

For almost the whole ride home, Luna and I did not share a single sentence of conversation nor faltering glance. On the rare occasion that our heads accidentally turned enough for our eyes to meet, contact was instantly broken without subtlety. It was difficult to tell whether she was angry with me or simply unwilling to view the regret in my expression, but I imagine it was some combination of the two. At one point, I offered a sudden, brief, and unprompted apology to her, but it did not elicit any response. Luna could have been ignoring me or she could have been asleep, I do not know for I did not break our unspoken resolve to pay each other little to no mind.

I'd made a mistake, even if things had all turned out somewhat sufficiently. The tale of Dusk Falls would be told as one of loss, but not of tragedy, for the will of the town had triumphed over the evil Hydia had brought about. It would be yet another bit of incredible feats I had performed to be taught to ponies whether I liked it or not.

And I did not like it one bit.

Sombra’s fall had been told by our subjects as a tale of heroism. It hadn’t been. It had been a merciful murder. And this tale would be no different. How many more of my failures would I be forced to watch paraded as victories?

I had assumed Luna's forbearance would cease when we returned to life in Canterville, but it did not. I rarely saw her during the days as she skulked in and out of important summits, never sitting with me and never attending when she could help it. She rarely took her dinner with me in the castle’s main dining room. She rarely accompanied me on my innocent excursions into Canterville. She rarely left her study during the nights.

I would sometimes join her there—if only to assure myself she still existed at all—but our conversations came as forced and deliberate, and she did not stay for long after I had entered, acting like she were some intruder in her own private study.

I often approached her bearing forced smiles and steaming tea and together we both spoke our stilted speeches, but never did she approach me in return. That is, with one notable exception:

It had taken almost three full months before Luna finally approached me, but the ensuing conversation was the one I had been dreading more so than the continued silence of my sister. It was the one I had been doing my best to guiltily dance around with minced words and forced sentiments.

"Why didn't you trust me?"

Her voice rung out against the crackling of the fireplace I had been idly prodding. I had not been facing her as she entered my room, and the short sentence caught me by surprise. She sounded so somber, so...old. If the carefree mare I had remembered Luna as during my stay in Dusk Falls had been a ghost, then that ghost of a mare was further reduced to the mere memory of one the moment I heard her cold and distant voice.

"I didn't have a choice—"

"Don't lie to me, sister!" Luna snapped. "Don't you dare think I'm prepared to stand for it any longer!"

"Luna..." I whispered waveringly as her voice rose in intensity to a shout. Her temperament had been predominantly hostile for a very long time—I had encountered my fair share of nearly-sobbing maids in the halls who had just endured the blunt of Luna’s irritation, their accidental breaches of her self-imposed solitude were rarely taken as any less than some act of defiance.

But never before, even after all those incidents and all the berating lectures I’d given her after, did she turn that hostility towards me. Not until that moment.

"It's okay, because I understand now. It's quite clear to me how worthless you think I am."

"No, Luna. Please. Please don't do this to me again..."

"Yes, you love me, right? That's what you're going to say?"

I did not reply for a long while. Luna looked at me with frantic eyes which made her look as though she was almost begging herself to be wrong. She wasn't. The words had been on my mind and inches away from escaping my lips, as truthful and meaningless as I knew them to be to us now.

"Yes, you love me. I suppose that solves everything then, doesn't it? As long as you love me, why should I care that our subjects see me as lesser?!"

The room seemed to loose what little light the few candles cast as Luna yelled. She was advancing towards me, and from my spot on the floor with my book she seemed unquestionably the greater of the two of us. Certainly, the presence she was known to radiate was in spades in that moment.

"You're scaring me, Luna." I finally whispered.

She stopped her threatening approach without hesitation, and her gaze became cloudy as her eyes started to water.

"...Well, I...I love you too, Celestia," she said lethargically, any of the previous fury in her voice now a mere memory. "But I cannot continue living in your shadow for much longer. Because it's so cold here. All those ponies celebrating your victory out there...as if it can be considered a victory at all. I could have saved them all from your solution, and yet what do I get? I'm trying so hard, but I just wish I didn't have to anymore. I wish I could find a way to end it all."

I felt an odd lump in my stomach as the force of Luna's words hit me with the same force as the ground to a flightless pegasus.

"I don't want to feel like this, but I can't help it. And what you did to me, Celestia..." Luna rubbed her watering eyes with a hoof, "You hurt me, Celestia. Badly."

"I am truly sorry, Luna. Please believe me."

"I do. I know you're sorry, Celestia, and I'm sorry that you have to be. I guess I'm still too weak, and I needed to hear you say it, as if I didn't already know it with all my heart."

"You're not weak, Luna," I moved to nuzzle her, but she purposefully moved away in response. I continued trying to console her nonetheless as I spoke, "You helped save those ponies. And perhaps they don't know it, but you do. And I do. And I will never stop trusting you."

Luna turned away from me, back the way she came, slowly making her way back out of the library and into the darkling corridors as the night continued to grow outside the castle. She halted in the entrance-way. I did not see her face, but I had a clear image in my mind of the hopeless expression on it all the same.

"Celestia...I'm afraid your love isn't enough anymore."

Luna shuffled a little and did not turn around, trying to find the lie in the sentence she had spoken and failing, as I too did the same. I could offer her no more than my promise that I would always be there for her, but what value did that truly carry? Was it anything more than worthless to the overshadowed sister of somepony as revered as I? Would it ever be sufficient enough to alleviate the shame of being feared by so many of our subjects and seen as lesser by the remainder?

"How are we going to fix ourselves, Luna?" I desperately pleaded. I could not bring myself to look up at Luna anymore, not without being flooded with the mare she once was and the relationship we once had, and so I locked my gaze on the hardwood floor instead.

"What else is there to help us?"

Only silence answered. When I looked up, I saw only a dark causeway. Luna was gone, and I listened to the sound of her hoofbeats echo into the silence of the growing night. I would try all though the night to think of something else, something we had not tried. Therapy again, another increase in distance between us, or...or some other solution I had yet to think of. We were traveling too swiftly down an untrodden road into the direction of the unknown, but I wished dearly to be free of any heedless voyage, and to be home instead. And home wasn't a place; I was as much a tourist in the Everfree as I had been in the late Dusk Falls.

I sat in motionless, thoughtful silence for much of the night, dropping in and out of sleep. I did not rise from my libraries floor for the entirety of Luna's beautiful night, but the span between when she had first left me alone and when the sun's tug prompted me to finally push myself to my feet seemed so brief it was almost surreal. But soon it would be winter again, and with it would come the long and cold nights. It was difficult for me to tell whether or not I was anticipating or fearing their arrival.

A soothing, bittersweet sense of assured fate crept over me as I raised the sun. I felt as though I was powerless, and it was an eerily comforting feeling even with the dread it invoked as well.

No matter what further took place between Luna and I, no matter what solution it took to mend our flickering bond, the simple and unchangeable truth was that sisters sometimes fight, and in the end, everything else would be okay.

It was a wishful fantasy, but all that was left for us to do was desperately cling onto it for a little while longer.

Author's Note:

“When all else fails, take a vacation.”
— Betty Williams, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Recipient

Truth be told, I don't normally feel comfortable talking about my writing through any sort of commentary-like fashion, so forgive me if this final note seems a little awkwardly written.

The titular town was conceived a while ago, but I didn't really think of writing an entire story set in it initially. Its design is a collage of various types of ocean towns, including traditional Newfoundland Fishing communities, Brighton Pier, and that place from The Lost Boys. I even swiped the "Murder Capital of the World" line from that movie. Should note that the titular town was created and named long before I even knew what "Gravity Falls" was. Purely coincidental.

It was with a little surprise to me that many of you cited Luna and Celestia's relationship as a particular strong-point of this story, it was never really my specific intention to thoroughly impress there.

The main narrative itself was an attempt of mine to create a bit of a proper conspiracy-mystery tale, with significant inspiration from various horror literature writings, especially with the construct of the Smooze. I must admit, I felt a little dread upon watching Make New Friends But Keep Discord. Needless to say, I was forced to consider scrapping the Smooze altogether, for I didn't believe I would be able to convince anybody that it could actually be intimidating and dangerous after its G4 incarnation. Hopefully I was wrong.

Anyways, I've already prattled on for too long, so I'll simply end by once more thanking you all for reading. Take care.

Comments ( 34 )

This story doesn’t get the love it deserves.

Good story, but still no happy end there between royal sisters...
So i assume this story prequel of "Nightmare's Reign" ?

6645309 I don't really consider this story to be a prequel to Nightmare's Reign, myself. It's left pretty ambiguous though, so I guess that depends on whether or not you'd like it to be.

So it ends. A good read - definitely my favorite "prequel" fic, that's mature enough to let history take its course between Celestia and Luna. Although their relationship wasn't intended to be a huge thing, it very much became one, growing to the point where it became as big of a plot as the Schmooze itself. And while the latter ended happily, it came to drive them even further apart.

I disagree with your choice of how to end it:

No matter what further took place between Luna and I, no matter what solution it took to mend our flickering bond, the simple and unchangeable truth was that sisters sometimes fight, and in the end, everything else would be okay.

The last paragraph feels out of place in a chapter (and fic) that highlights their downward spiral. I feel a better choice may have been to end on the melancholy tone already established. Or, if a happier note was desired, to epilogue from the present to show that the sisters were able to come back together. As it is, Celestia comes off as very deep in denial by maintaining hope despite all evidence to the contrary.

But such has entered the realm of nit picking. There were two plots, here: Celestia's occult investigations, and her attempts to mend fences with Luna. Both were handled maturely and well, with no plot-convenient stupidity or fairy tale silliness. Top marks from me, and don't forget to submit the "update: complete" to EQD when you feels it.

6666184

...A good read - definitely my favorite "prequel" fic, that's mature enough to let history take its course between Celestia and Luna.

Geez louise. That's a higher praise than I thought my scribblings would ever deserve, but thank you. Wow.

I disagree with your choice of how to end it...

Hardly objectionable. I've yet to write a final concluding paragraph I'm wholly satisfied with myself. The main trouble with ending this particular story is the fact that the final outcome is obvious right from the get-go. The time period is established without ambiguity, and as such the audience knows that there isn't going to be any long-term reconciliation between the sisters before the story's end. There is literally no way for it to be unexpected, the audience knows the story is going to have a melancholy ending before they're even done reading the first chapter.

Instead of simply reiterating the vibes already presented in, well, every single interaction between the sisters, I tried to take the route of "ominous, ironic foreboding," and use the audience's expectations to drive home both the truth and lie in Celestia's final judgement—after all, she's not wrong, but "in the end" can be a very long time.

(Now that I think about it, I even mentioned in my authors note that most attempts at melodrama on my part fail. Guess I proved myself right.)

I'm generally mediocre at responding to compliments, but either way, thanks a lot.

6670424

it's alt-universe, Equestria where Luna didn't become Nightmare Moon-- that's better.

Not entirely. It's simply set in the ambiguous "a thousand years ago" period between Sombra's first fall to the sisters, and Nightmare Moon (both of which canon seems to suggest happened in close succession, but I'm inferring a few decades for storytelling purposes). A heavy subplot of the story actually is their flickering relationship, and Celestia trying to deal with it.

Dusk Falls itself is a town I conceived from scratch, with no canon standing, at a time before the larger map was revealed. It's still a part of Equestria and therefore under the sister's jurisdiction, but it is also a relatively isolated town and is located right on the Eastern shore (of what I thought was ocean but has now been called the Celestia Sea, coincidentally). It's North of Manehattan, but still in flying distance.

tl;dr: The town is part of Equestria but located on its very edge. Either way, thanks for your comment, and I'm pleased to hear you liked my writing.

(Also I drafted the storyline and named the town before I even knew what Gravity Falls was, and yet that show is the first thing this fic is associated with. "Falls" is a pretty common town name punctuation where I'm from.)

Quite nice story, I like it a lo even if the rhythm could be improved a bit. Some sections are a bit longer than needed (or at least that's my probably fallacious perception of it) but I binge-read it and it kept me interested and guessing for the whole time, so nice job:pinkiehappy:

6673952 Thank you for your praise. You have commendable binge-reading abilities.

Kinda see where you're coming from with you criticism of the pacing. Not sure why I thought an 18,000 word chapter was a good idea. Can I ask what other sections you found dragged?

Why can't we all just forget that awful Pony movie ever existed?

Why do people keep dredging it up from the depths of obscurity where it belongs?

I know watching a train wreck can be amusing, but that train crashed and burned 30 years ago and only the rusted fragments remain. Just let it turn to dust quietly!

6674221 I'm confused. Are you calling my story a train-wreck? If so... you're welcome to have that opinion, but for sake of improvement, can I ask why?

Not going to vouch for the quality of the movie, I know it's crap, but I think it's a little unfair to completely denounce everything about it. I look it as kind of The Phantom Menace of the MLP industry. It's flawed, sure, perhaps fatally, but there are some intriguing ideas presented that can be a useful springboard for other stories. Especially the Smooze.

Whatever. Sorry this isn't your cup of tea. Thanks anyways.

6675780 No, not the story... I just can't stand the Smooze. I hate it with a passion. And that god-damned awful movie which ruined G1.

6678128 Ah, I understand. I'm relieved to hear I'm not the cause of a train-wreck. Simply the messenger of the existence of one.

Oh well. Attempting to reinvent something as silly as the Smooze into an intimidating Lovecraftian beast, and with complete earnestness, was bound to be a controversial pursuit.

6678203 It didn't help that the NEW Smooze was nothing but a generic green slime used as a plot device with a name solely for the sake of nostalgia for the older fans... many of whom also didn't know what the Smooze was.

They should have just called it 'Gakatron' or something product-placementy like that.

6699671 Makes sense, although the first chapter is more or less the only one where her narration is like that. Plus, this story is set pre-Nightmare Moon anyways, so any bombshell surprises involving her dying or something are obviously not gonna happen.

I guess I just supposed it would be more engaging to read a mystery story if it was told by the pony who is solving it firsthand (hoof, whatever.) Lets you into their mind or whatever.

6761172 Luna's monologue about the Smooze and about cosmic horrors was actually amongst the first things I wrote for this story. And yeah, Lovecraft was a huge inspiration as well.

I very well might revisit this incarnation of Luna in my future writing endeavors, with a definite Thriller/Horror tag. I always liked the ironic idea of Luna being fantastic with children's dreams and the affairs of horrifying dark arts. I do enjoy writing this younger, slightly more flawed and brash Luna, who has yet to be changed forever by Nightmare Moon.

It was with a little surprise to me that many of you cited Luna and Celestia's relationship as a particular strong-point of this story, it was never really my specific intention to thoroughly impress there, although I've always maintained that most attempts to appeal to evident melodramatic ulterior motives usually end up in failure and as such I did my best to avoid doing so. Glad I could offer a somewhat interesting take on the growing twilight preceding Luna's banishment.

I am a little surprised by your surprise upon knowing that Luna and Celestia's relationship was a [very] strong point of this story. Regardless of your intention, it managed to impress me spectacularly. I mean, the destabilization of their sibling dynamic is basically the pivot that lead to this story, So, in a way, I guess I could call this one a tragedy... Celestia's goal ultimately failed.

6666990

[...] The main trouble with ending this particular story is the fact that the final outcome is obvious right from the get-go. The time period is established without ambiguity, and as such the audience knows that there isn't going to be any long-term reconciliation between the sisters before the story's end. There is literally no way for it to be unexpected, the audience knows the story is going to have a melancholy ending before they're even done reading the first chapter. [...] Instead of simply reiterating the vibes already presented in, well, every single interaction between the sisters, I tried to take the route of "ominous, ironic foreboding," and use the audience's expectations to drive home both the truth and lie in Celestia's final judgement—after all, she's not wrong, but "in the end" can be a very long time.

Precisely. And while I do find this story's ending rather heart-wrenching (for all the good reasons, mind), I do not think it was, at all, imperfect. It ended on the precise heavy key this story's been toying with since the beginning, making our knowledge of Luna's future events (NMM) create a natural resonance with Celestia's gloom on that last paragraph. I am honestly fumbling with words and metaphors to try to open my heart and tell you how much I enjoyed this story. Seriously, it's one of the [very, very] few that made me want to sit down and drink every single word that was written. First, Cosmic Funeral. Then, Synthetic Bottled Sunlight. Now, this. By now I am already certain that Nightmare's Reign will also be spectacular.

Norris. I'd like to, as a human being, thank you for making a positive contribution to us. Irregardless of fanfiction status, I honestly think that this story captures best my favorite quality of us humans, creativity. Thank you, once again, for writing this. We didn't deserve this gift, but you went and presented us with it anyway.

6761846

I very well might revisit this incarnation of Luna in my future writing endeavors, with a definite Thriller/Horror tag. [...]

Given what you just did, under a tag which I abhor, I am eagerly awaiting for it.

6764696 Apologies for my late response, but thank you very much for your glowing praise. I greatly appreciate it.

7090450 I have been told before that the first two chapters represent a whimpering start to an otherwise enjoyable story.

I suppose part of my perceived interest in Celestia and Luna's interactions lays in the fact that it is still a period of hope for them—nearly ever story I've seen set directly before Luna's fall lays it on heavy with the ominous foreboding, so it was part of my effort to portray a more optimistic and realistic dynamic between them. They are trying to solve their issues in a mature way I personally have not seen explored. Yes we know how it ends, but we don't know the details of how the sisters felt before the end.

I should note that despite Celestia's perception going into the town, Luna becomes an important presence for much of the story.

It's been my intention to look back at the first two chapters and gut them out a little... if only to streamline the tale to when the promised eldritch/occult investigations kick in. As much as I understand the importance of creating a particular atmosphere (which I am glad you enjoy) I can admit that it somewhat dominated the first three chapters.

Regardless, I'm happy you decided to check this story out. Hope you enjoy the rest.

This was a very interesting story. Well done. It truly deserves more views than it has.

One suggestion: Get someone to edit the story. Too often, there are homophone errors: "it's" in place of "its" (sometimes both appearing in the same sentence!), plurals in place of possessives, etc. Such clear errors can repel a reader.

Other than that, well done.

Just binged this whole fic in one day. Overall, I loved it and I was certainly kept engaged in a way that made it hard to put this one down. Celestia and Luna's relationship is the real selling point, as it depicts true conflict in their characters and personalities and not just simply jealousy on Luna's part (nor does it depict Celestia as the oblivious attention-lover she's sometimes seen as in regards to Luna's fall). Luna is as frustratingly petulant and hypocritical (demanding respect from others she shows no interest in returning) as she is bright, dedicated and hardworking; Celestia is endlessly kind and giving, but fails at so many turns to be truly honest about what she thinks and feels when she confronts Luna, as a co-leader and as a sister, because there were a number of times were Luna did need to be argued with using reason, and not patronized with a platitude or given space.

My one gripe with that turmoil would be that Celestia's analyzing combined with the first-person POV means little that Luna does is left up to reader interpretation. Her every action, word spoken or emotion displayed is near immediately accurately contextualized by Celestia in her description of it. A few instances of Luna making an expression, or a statement, or doing an action with no real interpretation of it from Celestia/the narrative would have made their dissonance feel a bit more genuine. Would have put the reader more in the horseshoes of someone who sincerely cannot understand what's going wrong and how Luna feels.

Your Celestia is highly introspective, empathetic, and analytical, which is both a strength in your narrative and in some instances a weakness. I love her pondering as she mills about Dusk Falls and takes in the scenery; I find it a beautiful and engaging read and actually would have loved more of that and a slower build up during the "something is amiss" stages of this story and the initial investigating. You have a clear talent for imagery, scenery detail and creating local flavor in your writing. But in some action scenes it slows the pacing down as it feels like an inordinate amount of detail is being provided by a narrator who should be, at that time, rather pre-occupied and under some duress. I also think that extending out the initial stages of this story would help more with the sense of Lovecraftian horror you are going for; the surreal feeling that something isn't right which lies in tiny details, the fear of the unknown. I felt like I had too much of a grasp of what the enemy was too soon after the conflict was presented, there wasn't much time for mystery or a build up of tension (and the reveal of cultists was rather anticlimatic), and Celestia and Luna's strategic response to each reveal dampened the feeling that what they were up against was this otherwordly, godlike horror beyond comprehension... because they were so adept at comprehending it, which means that the reader was as well.

Thanks for the great read, and I'll have to check out your other stories as well!!

Thanks for writing this! I really enjoyed it, dude.

7514777 Thank you for reading! This story is my baby, and it pleases me everytime it gets love. :twilightsmile:

7577951

Long comment, seemingly apologist justification, and tin-foil hat wearing inbound. You've been warned. :twilightsheepish:

Dusk Falls was always intended to be on Equestria's east coast. I mentioned in the authors note that the town was inspired by a roadtrip I took to the East Coast of Canada. I wanted that to show in the town's placement in this story. Additionally, I thought it would be beneficial to the atmosphere of the story for the climate of the Crimson Coast to be a rather two-sided one—I wanted it to have both blistering summers and frigid winters—something that, again, I observed in good ol' Newfoundland.

The sun rising from the mountains and setting into the ocean was something that I liked the idea of, but obviously faced the logical problem of having to explain. The show is pretty vague on Equestria's cosmic geography as a whole... for all we know the world could be flat or the Sun and Moon could rotate the planet. So, naturally, like the crazy psycho I am, I scoured for every shot of the sun rising in the show and turned up some relatively contradictory finds. Consider the gif below of Filly AJ watching the sun rise over Manehattan.
i.gyazo.com/ecbc2e7b5daaa4b3fb595e1521932189.gif

She's looking inland, towards Manehattan, the mountains, and therefore the West. If it were the East we'd see ocean. Therefore, AJ watching the sun rise over Manehattan seems to imply that it's rising in the West.

Yes, it's a weak justification, but it serves to prove that there isn't exactly consistency with the placement of the Sun and Moon. In a world where the Sun and Moon can zip freely around the sky at the raiser's will, them rising in inverted positions doesn't seem like a super big stretch to me.

TLDR; Dusk Falls was always supposed to be on the East Coast of Equestria, and I tweaked a little with my headcanon to make the atmosphere around the town more effective.

That all being said, I don't really think it matters much if you chose to repurpose the town onto the West Coast of Equestria if it benefits your story. It's a little logical blip that I doubt people will even catch onto.

Great fic, and a very satisfying read! It could have used with some additional editing, and the pacing could certainly use some work, in particular because you tend to rely on very florid writing in passages that don't really benefit from it. However, my objections are small compared to how much I liked the core of the story, that interplay between the mystery on the small town with Luna and Celestia's relationship.

Dusks Falls.

Gravity Falls.

Brother and sister.

Sisters.

Hmmm. :trollestia:

Why is Dusk Falls Horse Chernobyl?

7665975 You know not what words you speak. It was a Titan of a chapter!

Hmmm, could likely get into a lot of details about things, but on the whole.. really enjoyed this story, do love how you tied in those G-1 elements and made them work really well, the whole mystery aspect was well handled, as were the action bits... all around a well done story. Character wise.. can't say I'm a huge fan of Celestia and Luna being that at each others throats but.. do have to admit that's more just personal preference and not thinking it feels right. To direct, to obvious, when I kind of feel it was more hidden, the Celestia really wasn't aware of Luna's resentment and issues until it was to late. But.. again that's just a personal take can't say this is wrong.

But still very fun, enjoyable story.

I've been trying to read this story based on a recommendation, and there have certainly been some enjoyable parts about it, but I'm five chapters in and unfortunately I'm probably going to have to give it up. I keep getting frustrated by the way the story keeps failing to square the little details.

The first wall I ran into was the sun rising in the west -- as 7577951 separately noted, and as you explained in 7579145. (I'm glad that that was intentional, honestly, but it was deeply flummoxing to have to figure that out from the narration without the story ever explicitly acknowledging that it was upending our Earth expectations, and it kept throwing me off and priming me to comb the story for geographic cues.)

The catch is, even there the story starts exposing geographical inconsistencies. Celestia's house has an ocean view, yet at sunrise "The sunlight broke from the other side of the tall cliff from which the town’s waterfalls tumbled downwards, hidden from me by the tall pine tree forest between me and the town," meaning the sun was rising from the direction of DF; DF is directly to the west and there's forest between them. But from DF, in chapter 2, "The hulking sphere of flaming gas started its descent, its collision course with the distant waves rippling on the horizon engaged"; and "Over the trees, the moon began to rise"; so there's forest west and nothing but ocean directly to the east.

Not to mention that Celestia and Luna flew south past the lighthouse to get to Pink Sunset, and it's described as being on the shore of Harmony Bay, which "opens up to the southwest". The bay is described as simultaneously salt water with loud rushing water noises as if it's a fast-flowing river. The town is surrounded by ocean on one side, a bay on the other, cliffs on a third, forest to the west, and somewhere in among all of that is a major lake. Also, the lighthouse is between the city and Celestia's house, which makes no sense because the only thing that should be beyond a lighthouse is ocean. This is basically Springfield geography -- the Simpsons uses as a running gag that their home town is adjacent to literally whatever serves the plot, including a giant canyon -- except that, in a story so strongly grounded in its sense of place, you can't afford to unmoor it like that.

Pink Sunset is at ocean level: "The tide was higher than what I remembered it being when I had left, and as I spiraled down lower and lower I could hear the sound of seashells clinking against each other like wine glasses underneath the raised porch of the house." (Never mind how bizarre that description is unless there's been some recent mass sealife die-off.) Pink Sunset is atop a large cliff and deep water: "The back wall was all window, giving me a clear view of both the back porch and the beach thirty feet down. At high tides, I could probably drop a stone straight down from my porch and be greeted with a resolute splash." It's described as a "beach-house" despite being atop a 30-foot cliff. Morning Glory reaches it by walking down the beach, and the dream implies Celestia's able to walk down to the beach in her slippers. Pink Sunset is directly surrounded by palm trees, a forest of pine trees, the aforementioned cliffs, and sand dunes, no more than two of which are geographically compatible.

In Chapter 4, a particular cove is described as "a gorgeous, ancient formation of rock which rose alone in a tiny bay, so that the small circle of ocean water was entirely shaded by the cool rock cavern ceiling above", and even ignoring the actual definition of "cove", no matter how I try to assemble a mental image for that, half of it collides with the other half.

Basically, I just keep wishing someone would draw me a map because I can't create a mental one which doesn't contradict a major description in the story.

Speaking of chapter 4: Celestia's house is 15 minutes from the town, and the cove is identified as 30 minutes from the boardwalk. Morning Glory visits Celestia at 7 AM, and the only thing the chapter shows her doing after their conversation is flying to the cove, briefly investigating, and going back to the town. And yet she has to hurry up because she's 'losing daylight'!

And then when she returns, she literally causes a tidal wave with the spell she uses to investigate the ocean floor, and shrugs it off by saying that "it would wreak further havoc with the pier" but that the boardwalk is "thankfully" too high to be damaged (as the waves are still beating against it several minutes later). What. I mean, perhaps you're trying to show us a cold and callous Celestia since this is set before she banished Luna, but mass property damage is a hell of a thing to shrug off.

All of these things would individually feel like nitpicks, but I feel like every time I round a corner in this story I keep finding something new to break me out of my reading. A satisfying mystery needs all of the facts to line up. And while I did appreciate the simmering conflict and the things left unsaid during Luna's visit in chapter 4, on balance it's been a little frustrating.

Finally, why would it be called "Dusk Falls" if the falls are on the sunrise side of the town?

Apologies if this comes across as complaining. I just didn't want to leave without explaining my attempt and my departure.

Best,
h

I am very much in the same boat as 7784491. I did read more than just five chapters, looking at my ereader it says I read 82% of the story (around chapter XIII), but at this point it has completely lost my interest and willingness to read any further. Which is a shame, because there were some nice parts and I like a premise such as this one (it reminded me of that fic from Jake the Army Guy)

Like horizon already pointed out, it's the details that did it for me. Compare this (not an example from the story, just to hopefully point out what irks me so much about it): if I'm reading a fic and say, a pony enters a throne room, it is up to my mental image to decide if said pony enters from the left, right, center, through the wall or perhaps it's just not important, only that the pony is there now. If later on in the fic something contradicts this made-up mental image, that's fine, because now it is important where the pony is entering the throne room from and I'll just adjust my mental map. But in this fic, I felt at first the pony was entering from the left (and it was written, so therefore it was necessary for the story and/or an important part of the plot), and then later on, it's suddenly from the right.

I'm not saying that details are bad, but if you go that route, you need to keep them consistent throughout the story because I became increasingly confused (and in turn frustrated) as I progressed through the story.

Another thing that irked me would be the sudden lack of details: when Celestia released that spell and created a wave, there was like a whole paragraph about how it would be bad for the pier and all that. A questionable action in the first place (I just don't see her doing that, but I'm willing to suspend such things temporarily for a story) but then in the next chapter, the pier is all whole and not a word is said about it. Ponies don't give her accusing looks, there's no damage anywhere whatsoever, and I think "Then why was there an entire paragraph about it?"

There were good things, for instance I didn't notice any grammar/spelling issues. It is for that reason that I will not leave a vote at all; I mean come on I did read 4/5th of it but at the same time, I just cannot upvote it.

Hey, I did a terrible thing with your story! Linky-link

~You're still a faget:heart:

8476764

It literally means 'Great Leader'. She's noting that he's probably given it to himself considering how 'full-of-himself' she interprets him to be.

8477340
Ah. That makes sense.

So, interesting story. Definitely earns that dark tag, even from the tone of the first chapter. The relationship between Celestia and Luna was miserable to read about, but excellently written. I kept wanting to bang their heads together and tell them they were interpreting each thing the other said completely wrong and for goodness sake put yourself in the other's horseshoes and use your brain and sense of empathy, gosh darn it!. It definitely grated on me, but at the same time was well done. I just wanted them to quit it. I...can't exactly say I enjoyed the story, because it was dark and unpleasant and the fracturing of the relationship between the sisters was depressing, but it was well written and interesting and a pretty good read. ...I have to admit I agree with other comments about the confusing aspects of various descriptions, though. I mostly tuned them out and stopped trying to picture places like the cove in my head, because it wasn't working. I did understand the beach house differently than 7784491 did, because I live in Maine and I have an Associate's degree in Marine Science so I understood the drastic tides. Mentioning Newfoundland only made it clearer--isn't that near Nova Scotia and the Bay of Fundy, which have the greatest differences between high and low tide in the world? You should know that most places aren't that extreme...but I pictured Celestia's beach house as a building on stilts above a beach that is covered with water when the tide is high.

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