• Published 27th Mar 2015
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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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Letters to Luna (III)

i

Dear Celestia,

I realize I promised you that I would be writing weekly, so I apologize for my breaking of said promise. Frankly there hasn’t been much of note for me to report of the last month, nor of the two before it that I may have forgotten to mention earlier. I imagine things for you are much the same. I would think that such a vast change to both of our lives would bring about many topics for conversation, but presently I am left with nothing.

As a result, this letter is for the most part a reiteration of the half-dozen others that have come before it, save for one thing I am quite excited for you to hear about!

I know I stated this in my last letter, but, the citizens of Equestria have continued their requests for means to communicate with you, and I continuously tell them that you are on vacation and aren’t dealing with the requests of commoners. They are wholly unsatisfied but leave without so much as passing their problems on to me. I hope that with time this tradition ceases.

With summer presently in full swing, I have been contemplating a festival to celebrate the magnificent, long nights that autumn shall bring in a few months. The Summer Sun celebration has followed you to Dusk Falls, but I think one during the autumn would be another unique way of keeping our subjects aware of the beauty our day and nights have in correlation with each other. This is of course, all speculation, but I am quite optimistic about organizing something new for myself.

In this vein, I wish you luck with your Summer Sun Festival at the end of the month, and am looking forward to visiting Dusk Falls to attend.

Please write back soon. The Castle can get lonely without you, Celestia, and I look forward to hearing from you, even if it is by way of mere words on a parchment.

Love, Luna.

The rain was streaking down the tall windows of Pink Sunset as I read and reread Luna’s letter, casting dancing watery reflections across the hardwood floor. Since the week had begun the weather had taken a sombre turn, overcast at best and torrential rains at worst.

Even with distant lightning visible over the ocean beyond, my attention was instantly drawn to my desk the moment I caught sight of the parchment in my peripheral. It had been the first thing I had noticed when I entered Pink Sunset and began shaking myself clear of the rain on my back. Any thought of the storm blooming outside dwindled in the face of my excitement at hearing from my sister again.

The letter was penned in quick, cynical, cold characters, hardly a contrast to the actual words Luna had written. Her annoyance with our subjects seeped quite clearly through the very drops of ink on the parchment, but I didn’t see it as entirely unjustified. Reading of her plans for a ceremony inspired by my own ‘Summer Sun Celebration’ was enough to put a slight grin on my face as I reached into my desk and withdrew a piece of parchment of my own.

My time in Dusk Falls had already passed into the third month as of that week, and yet only five letters had arrived from Luna over that time. I attempted to initially keep up our weekly agreement but ultimately had to agree with Luna’s condemnation of it being wholly unnecessary.

Listening to distant thunder rumbling over the ocean, I began to write.

Dear Luna,

I am greatly looking forward to your arrival at the end of next month. I hear a play is coming to Dusk Falls and I thought it would be great fun if we could both attend. If my sources are correct, it is to be a dramatization of ancient Equestrian history. That should be entertaining for us, I think.

Hearing you speak of your plans for a wintertime festival similar to the Summer Sun Celebration is intensely exciting, and I wish for you to know that I support it fully and completely! In fact, I look forward to it with rich enthusiasm. If there is anything I can do to assist, please do not hesitate to ask!

Life in Dusk Falls is quite unchanged, since even the first week that I arrived. Mostly it is peaceful, and I’ve been keeping busy the best I can. I find myself looking at my calendar and willing the months to pass just a little faster so that I can come home, if only for a couple months before returning back here.

I hope you’re happy, Luna. Always know that no matter how much distance is between us, this hope will never change.

Your Loving Sister,

I briskly signed my name, and sent it swiftly without rereading it. There was no editing or altering in the art of conversation, and what were our letters but drawn out, formal conversations mailed across the distance dividing us?

Outside, the rain continued to pour down, with the ever present thunder rumbling on. But the storm was hardly foreboding to me, even with the jagged forms of lightning slicing down into the furious waves below. I quite like storms, they are rare instances in which nature is entirely unpredictable.

ii

One consistency I’ve noticed over my centuries in Equestria is that given enough time, regardless of any other circumstances, life eventually fades into a rhythm. Like a waterfall, it’s spectacular and amazing to behold for the first time, but nearly every ensuing minute you spend staring at the rushing water quickly becomes less and less impressive until your mind starts wandering to another thing separate from the majesty of nature before you. It really doesn’t matter how vast and different any change in your life is, eventually it’ll become your new way of living and you’ll cease to be amazed by it.

After only a few weeks in Dusk Falls, my life faded into a rhythm. Even for the Princess of the Sun, the enticing and laidback life of the beach town had the same hypnotic appeal as it did on postcard wielding tourists, fine for a season but a little daunting for a whole year.

Into the third week in Dusk Falls I invited Deepsy and Indigo to stay a short while after their guard duties ended for iced tea. They both excitedly accepted and travelled past the precipice of my pink round door into Pink Sunset for the first time. Overtime, I grew quite accustomed to them, and they too grew to see me more as a friend and less a Goddess, something I was quite thankful for.

During the days, I entertained myself by reading, knitting, exploring Harmony Bay, or meeting ponies on the busy boardwalk. I even tried painting, but I doubt my insipid, generic sunset landscapes beheld any sort of merit to anypony concerned with proper art.

Of course, it wasn't every day a Princess paints your town's sunsets, and one of my paintings eventually started circulating as a postcard for all of Equestria to see. "Dusk Falls through the eyes of a Princess" I think the caption read.

I stopped painting after that.

While I was quite enjoying my life in Dusk Falls, I quickly found myself returning to the word ‘monotonous’ when I thought of expressing it to Luna in the letters we had been sending each other. Obviously it was a word I never actually used, but it was always there, spoken in my mind as her voice.

After three months, I was already starting to hope for change. And, as if fate had been listening to my internal gripeing, change indeed came.

Preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration had already been set in motion, and even when I chose to oversee them I was quite frequently aware of the fact that I wasn’t actually doing anything other than existing in the presence of ponies who were working. Luna’s visit to Dusk Falls in less than three weeks was my greater focus anyways, and I was practically counting down the days until the last week of the month when it happened.

Even with summer less than half-way over, my Sun seemed to be relentless that year, for the weather was terribly hot when it wasn’t storming. It was on such a day that I peeked my head out at Deepsy and Indigo standing guard outside my door and invited them inside for a cup of iced tea. It was something they were more or less accustomed to at this point, and their shifts were less than half an hour from completion anyways, so they accepted without hesitation.

I led the way towards the back porch where the sun was still shining brightly, and they both took a mat and sat looking out towards the ocean, while I ducked inside and emerged a moment later with a jug of iced tea and several glasses, with my pink sunhat perched proudly above my head.

For almost a full minute, nopony said anything as we all looked towards the waves a short distance ahead. In a few hours the tide would turn and those waves would instead be directly under the porch, but for the time being I still had a long and beautiful beach to marvel at as I gently took a sip from my iced tea.

Indigo Posy was the first to break the silence, and she did so first by way of an awkward cough and then a nearly whispered question.

“How...how are you liking Dusk Falls, Princess Celestia?”

“Quite well,” I said. “It’s been quite a long time since I’ve had a vacation. Of course, I imagine some matter of national security will interrupt my stay here before long.”

Indigo laughed quietly, Deepsy took a long sip from his tea and offered no further response.

“And you two?” I asked.

“Uh...interesting, to say the least.” Deepsy finally piped up. I rose an eyebrow and looked at him for further clarification.

“Well…” he continued, “Maybe it’s because I’m used to a big city, but the ponies here are a little...weird.”

“I find them quite friendly,” Indigo responded almost immediately.

“Yes, well, that isn’t what I said, Posy. I agree that they are. But behind their friendliness is a bit of…”

He trailed off and returned his attention back to his iced tea, idly twirling his straw round and around the glass.

“A bit of what?” I asked after a few seconds.

“Nothing. Never mind. I’m just being overly wary, I think.”

“You know, Deepsy, my sister said something very similar when we first arrived. Regarding the Mayor.”

“Okay,” Indigo conceded, “I do find him weird.”

“And why is that?” I asked, bristling a little as a particularly cool breeze blew in from the ocean.

“I don’t really know, to be honest,” she admit, “Overly curious, I suppose. Wanted to know how long we planned on staying here.”

“Yeah. He must’ve asked us at least three times.” Deepsy agreed.

Instantly, I too found that to be a little odd. What reason would the Mayor have to care how long I was staying in Dusk Falls? It wasn’t as though I was getting in anyponies way all the way out in Pink Sunset, with only the occasional evening visit to the boardwalk when I grew tired of cooking dinner or lunch for myself and instead wanted to indulge in some admittedly un-princess-like hayfry cravings.

I had nothing to fear in Dusk Falls. Why then, did the Mayor? Was there some urban legend about the town not boasted by the tourist pamphlets? I would have to ask him sometime.

Eventually, and probably for the better, our conversations shifted from insulting gossip to different matters. I asked Deepsy and Indigo about their lives back home, but they seemed more interested in hearing about my adventures with Luna. Of course they’d read all the history books, but hearing first hoof of Discord’s fall, the end of the Crystal Empire, and the unification of the three pony tribes was an opportunity I doubt they wanted to squander.

Perhaps my status as a rather old mare grants me some justification, but I have always found recluse in memories. Even if a heavy portion of my memories were not pleasant, my sister was a constant in a sea of uncertainty and change, and as such every one of my darker memories were anchored against a backdrop of love and familiarity.

“Why did you move here, Princess?” Indigo’s soft voice pulled me from my reverie. “If you don’t mind me asking, of course.”

“Not at all. There are a few reasons why. Most significant, however, would be my sister.”

“Princess Luna? Why?”

“Well...let’s just say we haven’t been seeing eye to eye lately. Hopefully some distance will extinguish our resentment a little bit.”

Silence once again fell between us, while we each took sips from our tea and watched the endless dance of the waves.

“Well, I think I’m done,” I muttered eventually, rising to my hooves again and draining the last of my iced tea. “I believe I’ll be heading to the boardwalk for dinner. You two are more than welcome to come if you wish.”

Without waiting for a response I took off into the air, soaring about two dozen feet above the beach and making sure my sunhat didn’t blow off as I flew. To my left I saw Indigo’s light pink form peeking out from an explosion of sunlight reflecting off her armor, and a quick glance to my right revealed Deepsy in my peripheral, both flying with noticeable effort in order to keep up with the speed my much larger wings allowed me. Across the beach it was a much shorter distance to the boardwalk than the path through town, and the three of us were landing after less than ten minutes of flying.

Over the past three weeks, my presence in Dusk Falls had been gradually met with less and less amazement, and while ponies still bowed upon seeing me, it was now clearly out of courtesy instead of shock and surprise. Such was the rhythm of life, I suppose.

The three of us each bought an order of hayfries and ate them as we wandered the boardwalk with no particular direction in mind. It wasn’t long before the time to lower the sun came, and as before Deepsy and Indigo took care to keep my surroundings clear as my magic grew to life.

My attention was directed almost solely on lowering the sun, but I heard a panicked scream of my name as clear as daylight all the same.

“Princess! Princess Celestia!”

“Get back!” I heard Deepsy bark harshly, but with my eyes locked on the sun I had no idea who or what he was screaming at.

I dropped the sun swifter than usual and instantly whipped around.

Deepsy and Indigo were both holding back a panicked looking mare with an orange coat and mane of red. Whatever fashion she normally kept it in was lost to her frazzled and disheveled appearance. She had evidently not slept in awhile, and yet her eyes were still wide with both fear and optimism.

Around the circle Deepsy and Indigo had created around me, ponies were all gawking in surprise at the spectacle in front of them; the evidently parental-induced panic that had caused an ordinary mare to charge the Princess of the Sun out of desperate need for help.

We locked eyes for a short while, and I saw that the orange mare was gasping for breath and no longer struggling against my guard’s grasp, as if she had calmed down or at least realized the fruitlessness of her attempts.

“Let her go,” I said in a commanding tone. They immediately did as I asked and I next turned my attention to the crowd watching me. “Move along, you all. I doubt this mare wants an audience to hear whatever trouble she has for me.”

“Thank you—” she began as she started towards me, and I turned to her still wearing my stern look.

“I don’t believe you realize the danger you just put yourself in by running at a Princess while she lowers the sun. An interruption while I’m doing so can be catastrophic, so be thankful I’m paying you any mind at all.”

“I’m so sorry. I just...I saw you through the crowds and...I didn’t know…”

“It’s alright. I’m not angry. Deep Sea, Miss Posy, some privacy if you’d please.”

We walked a short distance towards the railing where the boardwalk ended, overlooking the ocean beyond.

“My name is Morning Glory. I...my son...I don’t know, he’s gone missing.”

I blinked several times and rose an eyebrow.

“I see. And the authorities in Dusk Falls haven’t done anything to help?”

“Princess Celestia...there are no authorities in Dusk Falls.”

The wind was still, no stray gusts blew from the ocean below, and yet I felt a shiver travel down my spine all the same. It was true, I suppose, for I hadn’t seen a single guard with the exception of my own.

“I suppose that is true. I’m by no means a detective, Morning Glory. I’ll do my best to help, but I honestly have no experience regarding anything that might be able to assist you.”

“He wouldn’t be the first one, Princess. Ponies go missing in Dusk Falls all the time.”

“I...I see. Deepsy! Indigo!” I called, and the two rushed over. Once they did I turned back to Morning Glory. “Please, repeat what you just said.”

“My son isn’t the first pony to go missing in Dusk Falls. It happens all the time.”

The four of us all fell silent. Somewhere in the distance, a band was playing a joyous tune, but the expressions on our faces couldn’t have been any starker a contrast to its merry melody.

“Mother Epona…” Deepsy muttered. The normally all-business stallion was void of any further comment, and Indigo looked as though she was about to cry.

“I would think that would have been the first thing I would have been told upon arriving here,” I said. “Are you telling me it’s regular for ponies to go missing in the town and no one has done anything about it? Nor even said anything about it?”

“I...I shouldn’t have said anything,” Morning Glory cast a quick look behind herself. “But yes. Most of these ponies are tourists. They don’t stay here for long, so they wouldn’t know. The actual residents...well, they’re a minority.”

“That shouldn’t matter. How many ponies do you suppose have gone missing here?”

“I don’t know. Half a dozen?”

“Half a dozen?” Deepsy gawked.

“Yes. This year, at least.”

“This year?! Then how many in total?”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” I whispered. Even at a barely audible volume, every other pony instantly stopped speaking the moment I did. “If what you’re saying is true, I’m expected to believe that ponies regularly go missing in this town, and their family and friends haven’t raised a hoof to even question it.”

“They do. But nothing gets done. Ever. That’s why when I heard you were living in Dusk Falls...I thought you were here to help.”

“I am,” I asserted firmly. “Your son will be fine, Miss Morning. I promise.”

"You'll help?!" Her eyes lit up with unbridled joy at my words, hope seeping past the lines of despair in her face to form a smile.

"Yes, I'll help," I said, and then thought of the delightfully obtuse, overly serious mystery books I had back at Pink Sunset, "I'll take the case."

"Thank you so much Princess!” she gasped, looking as though she wished to hug me. Instead, she slyly fixed her hair and offered me a well-meant smile unfortunately assaulted by her own fear. “You're really every bit as stunning as I've heard."

"Tomorrow morning, I'd appreciate it if you would come to my house so I can ask you a few important questions. Pink roof, about a fifteen minute walk down the beach," I pointed in the direction of Pink Sunset, too far to actually see, but she would get the picture.

"Try not to worry, Miss Morning. Everything will be alright. I'll see you tomorrow morning."

I turned and left her standing there, her expression a strange mix of uncertainty, hopefulness, joy, and unbridled sorrow. My guards on the other hoof, were simply confused.

"Princess Celestia...me and Indigo really could have dealt with this."

"I know, Deepsy, and I thank you both. But, frankly, there's only so long I can spend sipping margarita and penning letters to my sister."

Planned for or not, it seemed excitement had found its way to me in Dusk Falls after all.