• Member Since 23rd Jan, 2014
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Horseword maintenance and installation specialist.


Things aren't going well between Celestia and Luna. As tensions grow between them, it is quite clear that they simply aren't the same ponies they once were. Instead of risking the loss of each other's companionship, both agree that perhaps some distance would help them recover a little. Besides, Celestia could use the vacation anyways.

But the beach town of Dusk Falls is hardly the peaceful and quiet abode Celestia had been expecting. Amongst the boardwalks and carousels a sinister plot is unfolding, as trouble rises both in the heart of Equestria and in Celestia's new home.

Cover-Art Celestia Vector here and the picture in the letter 'D' is here.

Chapters (15)
Comments ( 102 )

God damn, this is some good writing. Keep it up!

I'm liking this so far and I'm interested to see where you take it. Princess Celestia is my favorite pony and I enjoy how your write her, she feels nicely fleshed out, and I found the strained relationship between her and her sister felt very real.

The setting is interesting; it took me a moment to get used to the idea of the whole 'Ferris Wheel boardwalk' thing from recent century America existing over a thousand years in Equestrian past, but it does makes sense with magic and I'm really digging it now.

I like this - very fresh, very different. An "ancient history" fic that neither mires itself with Nightmare Moon nor ignores it completely. It makes the world feel richer, knowing that there are implications and uncertainties that may not be resolved within the fic itself.

Similarly, the talks between the sisters have been refreshing. Unlike other ancient fics, this does not airbrush Luna's jealously or fill their interaction with imminent foreboding. Everything feels natural. We have a snapshot of Luna in her descent, and have the sisters (shocker) not totally blind to it. They're trying to work around their differences, which is again a nice middle between the too-common lovey-dovey sisters or bitter enemies.

As far as the main plot, I suppose it's too early to comment. But the foreboding is rife enough that I'd be surprised if the big bad is anything short of a cult of Dagon.

Suffice to say, a very strong groundwork has been laid for moving forward. The concept is original, the writing is good... yeah. I dig.

Color me intrigued. Really like the postcard for your cover art as well.

Oh, Celly... occult investigators need to be discreet, and you earnestly are not.

Good thing you got Shaggy and Velma backing you up. Now go solve a mystery, gang!

This is wonderful stuff.

Maybe Celestia and Luna need a therapist for their relationship?

Tia, Tia... classic mistake of the rookie occultist. Witness an evil, prophetic dream, and tell no one. Joe Diamond is disappoint.:trixieshiftleft:

The pieces are hardly falling into place, but at least they're making themselves known...

(Oh - have you tried making an EQD bid? This is well written and a far enough cry from the norm that I think you'd have a shot.)

6255427 Ah, the big EQD. I've certainly considered it, but have never actually done it, for reasons I truly don't know. I guess there's nothing to lose, and no harm in trying.

Thanks for your suggestion, I very well might.

Mostly reiterating my earlier notes - the interplay between Celestia and Luna remains natural and excellent. They are on the same side, but remain very much not on the same page. One can readily see how they are managing to annoy each other even in the now-undeniable face of conspiracy.

Using the Schmooze as the Horror of choice feels a bit odd... but then again, its purple incarnation is plenty disturbing even in the old cartoon. Any sort of life-like image of it would certainly bring to mind the sanity-blasting old ones of Lovecraftian lore.

All remains good.


I do like the construction of it, too, in that it can be manifested in numerous ways, explaining the difference between Green and Purple Smooze - and this new one seems distinct from each.

Also we have a universe of Lovecraftian Horrors in the shadows, it would seem. Curious to know more of them.

Oh hey. I should check this out..

Pink Sunset groaned and creaked through the night, and soon the sound of the shells being pushed by the high tides could be heard underneath me.

Wait... Big Pink... shells...

I even tried painting, but I doubt my insipid, generic sunset landscapes beheld any sort of merit to anypony concerned with proper art.

Oh god, I thought this was inspired by Gravity Falls, but now I see it's Steven Kings, Duma Key, Faust help Equestria.

I stopped painting after that.

Few that was close, felt like the basement scene in Cabin in the Wood where the characters pick the form of their doom. But now we have another doom arriving, mysterious disappearances.

Um... yowza.

Whelp, we have ourselves a "shit got real" chapter. Pretty damning indication of the sisters' relationship that they can't keep together even when faced with a clear and present danger. Now with contact from Luna cut, her bodyguards halved, and facing an emboldened enemy, Celestia seems to have found herself at step negative one.

An idea for the old girl is to use the burnt effigy as an excuse to bring guards and investigators en masse into the town, with the true intent of prying up its secrets. But I'm guessing that her isolation will only grow from here on as she struggles to piece together the mystery.

Oh, and congrats on the EQD feature.

6399050 Phew. I'm glad someone picked up on the Duma Key references I littered that chapter with. The atmosphere and setting of this story was greatly inspired by that book, and I felt some strange obligation to properly pay homage to it. It's both humorous and slightly annoying that people are associating this fic with Gravity Falls considering it has very little relation to it beyond the name.


An idea for the old girl is to use the burnt effigy as an excuse to bring guards and investigators en masse into the town, with the true intent of prying up its secrets.

...I'm...I'm not saying you're right. But...

Oh, and thanks for the congrats.

I believe the most popular ship ponies cite as the catalyst of despair was called the Sisyphus.

Wow, that is an unfortunately named ship, I can easily see it as a sister to the plague-ship Persephone.
I'm not ragging on you for being inspired by Duma Key, I like were this is going and that book is full of cool ideas.

So Celly, maybe it's time to tell Luna about that dream skinwalker you saw, and get a few more guards so you can manage actual shifts. Don't wait until you find something sitting in Pink Sunrise when you get back.

So Celestia go back to Canterlot?

Looks like she's preparing to anyway.

This story continues to be awesome.....
some great developments and an ever thickening plot are making me look forward to the next instalment

the only thing that bugged me about this chapter was that the story, as it reached Manehattan, switched between the past and present tense and that was a little confusing/irritating (OCD intensifies)

Other that that you do a great job with this and I hope you can keep it up. :twilightsmile:

6445729 Aw damn it. What a rookie mistake on my part. This is what happens when you write and edit in the same sitting.

I guess XP
you're still doing a wonderful job with this :yay:
this is one of about three stories that i follow but...
its got a really cool portrayal of the royal sisters (pre-NMM even), new parts of equestria, dark (plausible) magic, and it's a suspense mystery.... you're pretty much just ticking off things that I love in a story XD
honestly that was the first time i was struck with the thought of: "WRONG!!!!!":trollestia:
either way it was a very enjoyable chapter and fic over all
keep it up,
Some Jerk on the Internet:twilightsmile:

I really like this story, and the dynamic between Celestia and Luna may just be the best I have ever read in a fanfic. It is nice to see that Luna isn't portrayed as the sainted woobie who had no fault in eventually getting banished to the moon.

Another great chapter!

Reading this now I question why I put it off for so long. This chapter did a great job of building the world for us to see through our mind's eye. Celestia's character seems like it should be fun I haven't read a story where she was characterised like this, but it seems perfectly in character. Thank you for making this story it seems like a great one. :raritywink:


Celestia's definitely gotten better at the whole "occult investigation" thing. From a fumbling observer trying to play a quiet game, she's gotten the gumption to begin using her advantages. Namely, her status as national ruler.

The smooze is appropriately Lovecraftian, and the nemesis has now been revealed. As rough as things look, Celestia's been more proactive these last few chapters than in the rest combined, and it shows. A bohanza of information has been uncovered, and it just remains to keep pulling the threads until something falls off.

The game is afoot!

Should've pumped him for more information... or done the dirty deed. Hydia has already implicated the mayor, so it'll be surprising if Celestia doesn't arrange for his arrest. Can't afford loose ends running amok at this stage of the game.

At any rate: A plan! A hope! Reconciliation with Luna! And fast-closing time for imminent violence.

a small part of my mind says that the Nightmare has already taken Luna, and there is no witch. Luna would have gotten the idea of Hilda from the stories Celestia read to her.

The only strong evidence I have to the contrary is that the conspiracy is a century old. I don't think Luna has been quite so distant nor patient for that long.

Celestia is such a goodie.... four-horseshoes.

Looking forward to Luna's appearance.

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" ?

Actions scenes are a pain in the keester to write. At least for me, they're very easy to produce, but very hard to make match the quality of the writing around it. IMO, you did fine.

And... quite happy to see Kleo bite it. I'm not as nice as Celly.:trixieshiftleft:

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.


...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.

Very nice! I love your descriptions. Very peaceful. As simple as they need to be, but not detailed enough to feel cluttered. You leave just enough to the imagination.

I came because I thought this story was a Gravity Falls spinoffy thing-- but that it's alt-universe, Equestria where Luna didn't become Nightmare Moon-- that's better.

One thought: Where, exactly, does this take place? It seems to be implied that Dusk Falls is outside Equestria, but Luna's remark to Mr. Mayor makes me think it's either not, or the royal sisters rule Equestria, but also hold some measure of jurisdiction over 'everything under the sun and moon'.

But that would mean Celestia is operating from outside her nation, which is weird, but if she has some measure of rule outside it, maybe that's not terribly strange. I'm not sure.


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.

to be honest, I think this story would do better if it wasn't in the form of a flashback, because it removes all sense of surprise or in some cases tension, if celly just tells us how everything went down as soon as it's mentioned

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.

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