• Published 23rd Feb 2015
  • 9,910 Views, 668 Comments

Celestia - Arad



There are many secrets that Celestia would prefer nopony ever know...

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30
 668
 9,910

...That May Or May Not Be True

“...and then they lived happily ever… is something wrong?” the unicorn guard paused in his storytelling when he caught the look on the child’s face. “What? Is something wrong?”

“I’m not sure I believe any of that,” the child replied skeptically. He leaned back on the stool and gave the guard a narrow look. “This sounds like the kind of thing one of my brothers rants about after mom says he’s had too much to drink. Crazy”

A wide grin spread across the unicorn’s face. “Healthy skepticism! Such a rare thing in the young these days. You’re quite right! If someone tells you something unbelievable, then don’t believe it! Often the only things you can really believe are those you see with your own eyes!”

The child shrugged as he hopped down from the bar stool and stretched his legs. “My legs feel better now, so if you want to go back to the other story, you can,” he offered as he looked away from the guard to the next window in the hall. In that moment of distraction, he failed to notice the snaggle-toothed grin on his guide.

Comments ( 85 )
Arad #1 · Dec 25th, 2015 · · ·

Here it is folks, the end of Celestia... but it isn't the end of Equestria's true history. I hope everyone enjoyed this story, I had an absolute blast writing it. Once I get some other things wrapped up, I intend to write a second story detailing the rise and fall of Luna, since I -know- folks have questions as to what happened after this.

I'm afraid I'll have to cut this short, since Christmas family stuff has wiped me out.

Enjoy, folks!

Given the unreliable nature of this story, I wonder if Luna's story will contradict anything.

he’s had too much to drink. Crazy”

1. Just forgot your comma at the end.

Huzzah! The backstory has been doubled!

6767208

Well Discord was telling it so it might be 100% true, considering he was one of the two beings in the entire world that was there. But, Discord was telling it so it might also be 100% Grade A bullshit. I'm leaning toward the former though :trollestia:

6767257

Or it could be some of column A, some of column B.

The Tree of Harmony being made of Arcanite seems odd, if I got that right - or did Starswirl purify it, somehow?

Also, overall lovely story, Arad! Thanks!

6767208

In the interest of full disclosure, some of the stuff I have planned was planned before the flashbacks we saw at the start of last season. I don't have everything planned out yet though, so we'll have to wait and see.

I won’t let her be one of your tools for the rest of her life!

And yet it happened anyway, because while the curse of harmlessness still lingers, Sol Celestia is going to need an enforcer... :trollestia:

Is it sad that I am going to miss this glimpse into Celestia's past?

Wow, an incredible glimpse into Celestia's past, and a job well done! good work!

In that moment of distraction, he failed to notice the snaggle-toothed grin on his guide.

Wait, that almost sounds like Discord ... son of a bit-!
img.photobucket.com/albums/v616/Igorcht/57269-Discordmacroseason_2u_mad.png

I wonder if anyone in Stardust have a chance to know about the past.:facehoof: But that doesn't change the situation, does it?

6767188 That's what I was thinking:twilightsmile:

Well this answers a lot of questions about what Discord did to Celestia, and just how restrictive the "No-hurting" thing is.

She really can't do much, can she?

A fulfilling conclusion to an veritable masterpiece, out of all of the stories I read, or have read (I think I one of the higher count's on the site. If only we had graphs for how much we have read.) this piece of amazing fiction always left me wanting more, and I looked forwards to each and every time it updated.

Truly you have made my Christmas. I look forwards to seeing more from you Arad.

6767231 What follows Crazy shouldn't be a comma since no other text remains in the paragraph.

I just love the bit of world building going on in this tale where it turns out Starswirl is the Tree of Harmony.

Excellent maybe true origin story. :trixieshiftleft:

I think I can sum up this entire story with one song. Take it away, Slash!

Congrats on another solid world-building side story. It gave your universe some great depth.

Or maybe it didn't. Depends on whether Discord changes his story just to mess with Tommy.

I think this ending has left me feeling frustrated for a few of the wrong reasons. Not because its bad, just that Discord's narration and commentary make it impossible to believe any account, historical or otherwise, is accurate or just him playing more mind game bullsh-:yay: with those he views as inferior. And, by extension, that can make things a bit of a headache for readers trying to wrap their heads around what the author is trying to convey.

It's not a jab against you, good sir. I've been rabidly devouring each new chapter like a fat kid at an ice cream social. It's just a narrative technique I've only seen successfully utilized in a handful of situations. When it works, it can make both the characters and readers think more critically on the events that unfold. When it doesn't, it can make the characters seem like incompetent fools stumbling through the story's events and the creators out to be pretentious jackasses that despise their fans. I guess we'll find out how well it worked once more time passes in Mente Materia and any further side-stories.

Which brings me to the narrator of this tale, Discord himself. There's probably a lot of truth behind these events, and I'm sure if some other characters could chime in with their account (Shirogane and Solaria come to mind) then much of what he said could be verified. But, knowing Discord, he would simply counter with "you just had to have been there to know what really happened," making the prospect of discovering the truth a nearly impossible task. Its like a unconventional zen master forcing their students to constantly question everything they know to the point where they either break from the constant pressure or tune him out and focus on finding their own answers.

I know I've made several posts comparing him to other characters / forces that fit his description. From Gendo Ikari with Q's powers to sentient force of nature, my interpretation of him has expanded and evolved with each new chapter. Now, at the end of this story, I feel his closest counterpart is an omnipotent version of South Park's Eric Cartman. A manipulative child who gets off on his ability to twist others to his whims, pathologically pursues goals that cause harm to others (himself included), and seems incapable of admitting his mistakes. Give this kind of individual reality-altering power and you've got a prime example of why children are the most cruel beings imaginable.

And while some of Cartman and Discord's views on their own worlds have been proven correct, their behavior makes them at best distrusted by most and at worst targets for massive karma blow-back. And when the latter happens, I'll be grinning and cheering the whole time. I don't care what personal code / moral alignment they might adhere to. That primitive nerd part of my brain that empathizes with those being manipulated will always side with them when it comes time to turn the tables on these a-:yay:holes.

Call it wish fulfillment if you will or close-minded for not considering their perspective. There's just something immensely satisfying in watching a-:yay:holes, both fictional and real, get the just deserts the universe has planned for them.

Sorry for the long-winded moral rantings. Excellent story overall and I look forward to seeing how future chapters will handle some of the remaining big questions, such as Lulu's transition to alicorn (and memory distortion that seems to have come with it) and what role the Elements and Tree of Harmony will have (which I'm imagining will be important).

Merry Christmas, commander. Best of luck with all your coming chapters, as well as your XCOM 2 campaigns. We all have to beat that game on the highest difficulty multiple times to show Firaxis we did win against this invasion and we're ready to fight a different rogues' gallery of xenos.

Who says the story isn't true... maybe it's not over hummm? Every ending is the beginning of something else

This end felt very, very fast. So far this was so much fun to read. Almost slow, but so very lovable. Then these two moved so quick it felt like a crash and burn. Especially that part with Starswirl. Did something come up or was this the plan all along? Kinda jumped ship there.

So I just read the entire story all at once, and I LOVE it! Although, this last chapter does feel rushed. Still give it a 10/10 though, and a bonus mustache! :moustache:

6767401 does explain how he knows something that was even kept from Luna.

Well, that was a wonderful ride, I liked it a lot.

My two pence on the short ending: it gave the impression of being a bit too quick, but it closed the whole circle nicely, maybe if things began to accelerate a chapter earlier the change in rhythm would have been a bit less abrupt.

6767283
Personally, I read it as the tree being Starswirl's mortal remains. Better Arcanite than glue, right? :pinkiecrazy:

Sorry for the delayed responses, folks! I just got done with an eleven hour nap. I'll try and respond to the comments to the best of my ability here.

6768025

It is a perfectly valid point regarding what the narrator said, but one thing I'd like to point out is the story description. Celestia's been the narrator for the past for over a thousand years, and everyone trusts her, in some cases quite literally with their lives. Perhaps the lesson being taught isn't (or isn't the focus) what could have happened in the past, but rather not to instantly trust what somepony is telling you because of how they are now?

And from a reader's perspective, there's a few things that we know (in the Stardust canon). Solaria was an actual historical figure (referenced by Twilight waaaaaaaay back towards the beginning of Stardust), and that she was a pretty horrible creature (from Fortitude Amicitia). We also know that Celestia is trying to bury that past under the pretense that digging up past sins helps noone (also from Fortitude).

Of course, there is always Discord to consider. Why is he doing what he's doing?

That question will have to wait until the end of Mente Materia (though folks might find a hint in the TSC crossover chapters, whenever they become available).

Also, your Cartman video is dead. :S

6768199

Exactly!

Whenever I get around to it, the sequel focusing on Luna will be from her perspective as events occur, rather than with the framing device.

6768226

I know it wasn't mentioned often, but the reason for Starswirl confronting Sunny with this deal was because the summer Solstice was approachng, that the sun was the closest to the planet that it will ever be, and he wanted to enact the plan before it moved away again.
Starswirl also said that he was hesitant to cast the spell as he was not certain he would survive the process.

Those two bits were a couple of chapters back I think, so I suppose it's easy to miss.

6768450

I'm a bit of the school of thought that folks that suffer under one of Discord's alterations eventually learn to live with them, and that over the course of time they could adapt. For instance, forcing Applejack to lie is so funny in the show because she has absolutely zero practical experience in it. But after spending months or -years- with that compulsion, she would probably learn how to lie while leading ponies to the answer they need.

Essentially, Celestia's personality is the sum total of thousands of years of experiences with the curse. Should the curse be undone, are all of those experiences removed as well? It's an interesting thing to consider...

Also, who's to say that the 'thou shalt not kill' curse was the only thing he did to her? :trollestia:

6768460

IMHO things started to speed up when Starswirl hit Sunny with the info dump about his plans... but then again I'm the author. I'm a wee bit biased. :P

"They all lived happily ever after" is, of course, by definition an untrue ending. It requires an unchanging happiness lasting forever and that never happens, not when things always change. However, for now, we can say this: That Solaria... Celestia... had learned her lesson at the greatest possible personal cost to her. She'd lost a wise, kindly stallion who had taught her so much about magic and had been forced to confront the real cost of her sins.

And Lulu, granddaughter of Star Swirl... Princess Luna... had a destiny thrust upon her that would lead to the greatest of consequences for the future of Equestria.

IT WAS DISCORD THE WHOLE TIME!
Well, I guess that means he survived the madness that Equestria went through with the X-rays. :derpytongue2:

Thanks for sharing this part of your world with us, Arad!

I'll hide my idlings makes someone sad, that i made the are partly predictions, and guesses for musing.

I wonder if Discord is trying to to undo the curse, while keeping all that happened during it, it also seems like there might be something blocking key functions in Celestia, like what she originally felt was her Destiny was or made her forget some key details as to the why.
Perhaps the Elders tried to break his curse in hope to do something, like free her form the curse, but bound her to her old function, which would make it hard for Dissy, because i doubt he would be able to salvage the situation.
The last thing i come to is this. If Celestia knows about her past, then was she preparing to stop herself with use of ponies like Twilight Cadence, and Luna. I suspect that she fears it breaking, like some kind of nudge in the back of your head, that if it happened it'd be a travesty?

Gentle breeze guide your path, a warm smile welcome you home.

6768808
While it did accelerate at that point, I still felt like the last two chapters changed gears a wee bit too fast. That said, I quite liked the story and this is more "I somehow feel this thing" than any kind of articulated (and therefor useful) critique, so I encourage you to ignore it or at most use it simply as a small data-point in all the response you receive:twilightsmile:

Would it even be possible that Luna recognises her as Solastia, if she looses her disguise? She doesn't even remembers here name or seem to miss her father. And even if Discord would call her by that name now, everyone else would just think he is insulting / criticising her actions. Overall it makes me think, even if Celestia it self would tell Luna, Luna's mind would just reject it, because no soul would accept that the majority of her life, over 1000 years, was based on a lie.

6768808

ALWAYS QUESTION AUTHORITY!

Fair enough point. You don't gain as much knowledge if you only rely on one source for answers. From the readers' perspective, we know Celestia had a dark past, Discord interfered and hexed her, and that she's been trying to erase her former life from existence. Importance of different perspectives and all that.

I guess what irks me about Discord's account (aside from being a possible unreliable source) is that it implies so much important history and information has been suppressed that its likely hindered Equestria's development, both technologically and socially. When you look at mankind's own historical lapses (the decline of Greece and Rome, the Dark Ages, the destruction of some of the oldest middle-eastern ruins) you get a glimpse of the monumental setbacks we've dealt ourselves because we didn't agree with differing views and interpretations. We could have been riding hoverboards and colonizing Mars by now if such sights as the Library of Alexandria had remained for future generations to study from. And Equestria is far worse with Celestia's historical meddling. Not to mention the minotaur's toys.

And here's Discord, a being who's witnessed these events and understands their significance, and he's treating it like a kid playing with a cat; dangling the threads of truth in front of others and yanking them away at the last second. His lessons on being skeptical of who and what you trust are important, no doubt, but there comes a time when vital information needs to be shared with no subtext or ulterior motives.

It feels like this is building up to a massive downfall for the Master of Chaos. He'll need to tell others something vital and they'll dismiss it as more mind games. The eldritch nightmare will cry "The end is nigh! Listen or all is lost!" and it will fall on deaf ears.

Perhaps Discord inadvertently gave himself some own advice towards the beginning of this story :

“When you like using a hammer, my dear, every problem looks like a nail. It’s an understandable impulse, after all. If you find something that works for you, why change it? The answer is that not every problem is a nail, and you need to learn that there are other tools that work just as well if you're willing to put in the effort."

Much like Solaria abused her use of complete order, Discord's played to his strengths in chaos and manipulation so long that its become the only tools he uses. Sure, he brings Earth and Equestria together to combat the Ethereals, but that was a product of the same meddling he's always relied on.

Funny how the immortals of this narrative universe seem the most detached from it, so certain that their methods and plans will triumph only for reality to prove them wrong. Between the wild extremes of Solaria's Order and Discord's Chaos lies the short-lived mortals who, despite their limitations, have had more stable success in surviving and expanding their understanding than they have in all their eons.

But, again, this is all speculation until more chapters come.

P.S. - Yeah, I know the video link doesn't work on the main site. Clicking the link and watching on Youtube seems to still work, though.

The South Park clip is from the episode Christian Rock Hard, where Cartman forms a Christian rock band to win a petty bet against Stan and Kyle. Obviously, Cartman doesn't care about any Christian message and uses it only for his gain. As a result, his band makes millions in record sales, he blows it all on a celebration for himself, ends up destroying the band once his true nature is revealed and gets beaten down by his former band members for being a selfish a-:yay:hole.

It's one of my favorite bits from the show. Might be interesting to see who'd give Discord a similar beat-down. My money's on Twilight.

What.

Whaaat. No seriously, Luna DOESN'T Know about Celestia? This.. is plain weird.

Ah well, a good story nonetheless, I'm just somewaht disappoointed by the ending ... just a tad.

I was pretty sure the storyguard was Discord, but I didn't see the memory wipe coming... Little disappointed there, honestly.

end is disappoint.

Starswirl became the Tree of Harmony, right? Quite wonderful.

Overall a great story, but I have to admit, the ending is quite sudden and doesn't feel really satisfying.
Will Lulu remember her past and Sunny at some point?
How will they instate their reign?
How will the village react to their former friends becoming alicorns?

I think everybody has some questions that are still unanswered and I think it would have been better to answer the most obvious of those, but this doesn't make this a bad story, not in the slightest.
You made up a great origin story and I loved the journey, thanks for taking us along for the ride. :twilightsmile:

Mmmm. Yeah, no. For me Celestia and Solaris are two different differences. Solaris was far to cruel to ever be redeemed. She could never hope to change, to become what Celly is now. So I'm just gonna try and forget this story. Sorry. Writing is good, but the idea just turns me off.

6782879 QUESTION! Did you actually read the story? If you had then you would have noticed Solaria's (you spelled it wrong) characterization pointed out she wasn't actually cruel, merely she had no concept of 'equineity'. Ponies, and everything else, are just cogs in the machine. They're not people or individuals, just parts of the grand design that even she can't see the entirety of. Like a computer AI, she only saw those that rebelled as viruses that needed to be eliminated. A Goddess not having the slightest fucking clue about mortals is no different than a toddler that torments the family pet. They literally DO NOT KNOW BETTER. Hell by Solaria's own admission all she knew about the world in the beginning was what she was told by those that left her there. Which, in her earliest memories was "Stay here, maintain order". She had as much of concept of morality as an infant. She was just a bigger cog in the machine. The Traveler forced Solaria to LEARN about the 'cogs', to understand that they are people, individuals that matter more than simply what their place in the grand design was. This isn't a character that is so evil they are beyond redemption. It's more akin to the robot who is taught what it means to be a person, rather than a machine.

6783047 Yeah, sorry, but I just don't buy it. I can't imagine Solaria learning anything... I guess, she was way to uncompromising and way too "trigger happy". Done wrong? Die. Have suggestion about how to change things? Die. Dying of hunger/strain? How could you do it? Die. I just don't see her as an unprogrammed computer or a child without values. I see someone in power, who doesn't want to change the system "just because".

6783140
Actually, she was programmed. Programmed to maintain absolute order, and nothing else. The Wanderer (maybe Discord) forced her into a situation where she couldn't order-fy everything, and made her learn about the kind of crap she was doing to the "cogs." In the end, she was as much a cog as everyone else: the master cog, if you will. Until she got kicked out of it.

6784000 Well, you can go two different ways with it. Unprogrammed computer can learn, but it has no strict program from the beginning. So it would try different approach. As in, not go with the same reaction all the way. Programmed computer is... well, programmed. It can only be reprogrammed from someone else. It cannot learn anything on it's own. And it has a pattern, wich cannot be altered by the self(computer). Going away from tech, one usually can learn if they already know something. Plants can only grow from seeds. If there is nothing there, one cannot learn anything. That is why I don't believe that Solaria and Celestia are one and the same.

6784700

As someone who has worked on computers a few years back, this analogy really doesn't work.

I could spend two hours banging out a three thousand word comment about the process that was shown or implied over the course of my story, but given previous responses I'm inclined not to waste the effort since you'll dismiss it just as much as the comments of the others before you.

I'm glad to see you finally finished this, Arad...and was even more glad to read it. I firmly disagree with those who criticize your portrayal of Solaria/Sunny/Celestia, I think it was a very believable and entertaining character. One that was forced into working for some mysterious power, little more than a programmed machine, until Discord broke her, allowing her to learn and grow. Her earnest pain at her previous actions changes her from a monster, into a redeemable character, even a likable character. It also fits with the theme of redemption that the series espouses!

Though they didn't get much time in the limelight, I also liked the secondary characters of Starswirl, Clover and Smart Cookie. They had a great deal of development put into them in a very short time and had their own entertaining moments. Including Starswirl's final words - calm down, Han Solo. And Lulu? When her story was revealed, it just about tore my heart out with Sunny! The fact that Sunny doesn't even remember it, speaks volumes about who she was before her change.

The only real complaints I have with this story is that there is so little here, but in the end, that's hardly a true complaint; and that the flow of time in the first few chapters is a little hard for me to follow. Beyond that, you and your editor(s) should look over this, because there are lots of little errors still kicking about - some of which were pointed out, but remain. My final verdict, this is a very solid short-story addition to the Stardust-verse. 8.5/10

Also, completely unrelated. Is anyone else seeing the cover art as all messed up?

6800123
6804891

I was wondering if it was just me or not...

This was great and enjoyable story, but there are some things that bother me. Please keep in mind these aren't necessarily criticisms, just wonders.

1) Why does she have the moon cutie mark despite being unable to manipulate the moon at that time? I can only make a guess that she doesn't like sunlight so much that her preference for darkness have morphed into her cutie mark

2) How did name Lulu, morph to the name, Luna? I guess once she managed to become powerful enough to manipulate the moon, she decided to change titles and that her original name is too embarrassing, or that Luna was her real name all along.

3) How did the name, 'Sunny' become 'Celestia?' I guess she wanted to hide her past and her very recent events so she decided enact a different name related to the power of the sun.

4) This is the biggest wonder with me. I feel that overtime (and there's a lot of time), Lulu would ask the critical questions such as where she came from, who's Solaria everyone keeps talking. (since Sunny said Solaria is back and for the criminals to spread the word), etc. There's a lot of time for Lulu to pry Sunny's entire backstory so it is very very likely that eventually, she would of found out about what Sunny was really like in the past, her place in the past being in a village, Starswell's involvement since he is popular and well known in the show, etc. If the guard (story teller) knows it, it is likely Luna knows it as well. So when Starswiral said "Second (condition), Lulu can never know what happened here. Never.” then It is very likely that that condition was never held up in the end.

6818591

I had intended to reply to this earlier but it slipped my mind

Your first point has a very good guess!

Your second and third are related, and will be explored in the sequel from Luna's perspective.

The last point I imagine will also be explored in the previously mentioned sequel. :)

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