• Member Since 13th Jan, 2015
  • offline last seen May 31st


Leave a message at the tone.



Sometimes, the meaning of a cutie mark isn't obvious. What does a bunch of stars have to do with being great at magic, after all?

For the most part, Twilight Sparkle never paid much mind to this question. A lot of cutie marks are abstract, after all. But while browsing the Star Swirl the Bearded wing of the Canterlot Archives, she finds an old book with a cover that matches her cutie mark perfectly.

Inside that dusty old tome, Twilight finds the secrets of a bygone age, answers to questions she never would have asked, and a terrifying vision of what could have happened to her.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 57 )

Like an idiot, I forgot to mark this as complete.

Originally when I read the title I thought this would include Nightmare Moon's escape or something like that. I was pleasantly surprised to find a short and very entertaining story that made me think. Aside from being a bit confusing I have nothing but love for this story, keep up the good work!

A nice tale. I like the way you ended it too, much better than the original version you described in my humble opinion. :pinkiehappy:

The Twilicorn thing actually didn't even come to mind till I saw it in the note.

I really like it are you going to maybe make a sequel to this story maybe have it where it started where celestia saw twilight reading the book and is thinking about weather or she should talk about it mare with twilight???

Now I want to know why the ponies fled and how reincarnation works in this universe. Did the first "Twilight" become good friends (unlikely since they fled) with many ponies or did her magical potential increase to the point where how the universe works forced her to ascend. With how this story ties ponies into world health, would it also mean they are tied into the universe itself with how connected they are to magic?

Let's see if I have any answers for you.

I'm not sure how closely the previous iteration of Twilight Sparkle matches the one we know, but she definitely had what she thought were good friendships. I don't know if there was a supreme authority that triggered her transformation, but I've always held that the way to become an alicorn is, as Celestia said, to do something nopony else was capable of. It's like a college thesis, except it turns you into a god if you do it right.

No sweet clue how reincarnation works. My best explanation is the broad statement "time is circular". History repeats until it happens the way it should. Or something.

And now, for why the ponies fled. They were afraid of that Twilicorn, afraid of what she might do, what her ascension would mean for their world. Think back to our real-world Twilicorn hate scandal, and remember all the debates and questions it raised. Now, instead of bronies believing their show is ruined forever, imagine ponies believing the natural order of their universe has been defiled. I'm sure we've all read hatefics where the Mane 5 suddenly ostracized Twilight simply because of her ascension. It's heartless, yes, and the ghosts of these forerunner ponies are probably the hate-breeding windigos.


Hate to disappoint, but there probably won't be a sequel.

I didn't much like Twilicorn at first, not because she got wings, but because of how lackluster it seemed. I really would have liked more struggle but it is a show for kids. I also feel it killed any ideas fans had for Twilight becoming an alicorn and might have squashed caused a couple stories to get canceled.

I guess the ponies fled, possibly cause of a history of issues with alicorns; maybe somehow having killed off the few in the past. Also, how big of a spacecraft we talking? Cause if they moved a whole city, that is a massive craft. They also regressed technologically pretty far.

6291974 The 'spacecraft' is little more than a massive metal sphere with a few decks inside, enough for however many ponies you need to keep a species from dying out. Probably two cities' worth. The rest of the population was dead from every cause you can think of, except killer robots. Those didn't happen.

Technological regression mostly came from not bothering to bring high-tech on the exodus, and most ponies not knowing how it worked. Magic became more fashionable quite early on.

So, all the others died out before Ancient Twilight came to be? I guess that could make them more fearful if legends somehow hinted at alicorns being the bane of their race.

Scientists have calculated that if the human population drops below 5,000, humanity would die of inbreeding. So let's go with at least 5,000 ponies. It would be even better to have 5,000 of each race.

Earth, crystal, pegasus, unicorn, you mentioned hippocampi, and possibly more?
At 5,000 a race, that would be at least 25,000. Large space ship, but not inconceivable, especially for a species that had both magic and tech that borders on magic. A few space saving tricks for the ship: Sphere shape was a good choice as spheres have efficient surface-area/volume ratios. If they hot bunked -- multiple ponies sleeping in the same bed but in shifts throughout the 'day' -- you would only need beds for 1/3 of the population at any time.

6295688 Thanks for the science. I definitely thought of the unicorns living in shifts, but I hadn't considered how that might apply to others. Thanks for having a thinky-science-brain.

Very interesting, although the length made it feel awkward: Was I supposed to be reading a multichapter epic as the style and plot implied or a simple tale with a moral? This story seemed to try to do both which, isn't a bad thing.

The amount of genre tags is also very confusing since I felt it could do with just Tragedy, Adventure, and Alternate Universe.

I would like to see this expanded upon. Especially the "Reincarnation of Purple Alicorn"(The story never seemed to say wheather she was or was not a reincarnation.) and to why she was forsaken.

6296420 Here is a breakdown of how such a ship might be crewed:

Three shifts of unicorns working around the clock to move the ship.
Three shifts of earth ponies working in the horticulture labs to provide both food and oxygen
Six teams of pegasai, three working on maintaining ventilation and environmental control, three working with the unicorns on navigation
Three shifts of crystal ponies maintaining the artificial gravity core and power systems
Three shifts of sea ponies maintaining the water systems

If breezies count as ponies, they may have been responsible for keeping the electrical systems running given that they can fit in small places
If Changelings count, they probably had janitorial and sanitation duties. Hivemind means that they would not get bored

With time being cyclical to try for a new Twilicorn, Discord and the Princesses may have been born specifically to prepare ponykind for Twilight's return. Discord was made as a threat too powerful for the ponies to fight, and the Princesses were made to defeat him and make the ponies look up to alicorns. Cadence was there to nurture Twilight and push her along the right path.

6296676 Note about genre tags duly noted and tweaked.
I might consider expanding on Twilight's preincarnation.

6297049 Breezies have been shown as originating from an alternate universe in the show, and for the purposes of this AU, I decided the changelings were a life-form indigenous to Equus. When the ponies arrived, they evolved to feed on love.

Also, you forgot zebras.

I'll freely admit to not giving much thought for how much of time repeats itself. With the possible exception of Discord, nopony would be aware of their role in the cosmic order, unless Star Swirl made multiple trips and discovered other reincarnations and wrote those down.

6297152 I personally think that the breezies live in an artificially created pocket dimension. They chose to live there because the world is otherwise too big and scary.

6297180 Logistically, it doesn't make much sense for Breezies to evolve in a world where everything can kill them, especially in the pre-pony days where selfish and amoral predators would be the only animals that the Breezies could turn to for help.


I'll be looking forward to that. :pinkiehappy:

This was absolutely beautifully written

6298298 Thank you, that is so nice of you to say!


So...they abandoned their planet just to get away from a single pony? Isn't that a bit extreme?


6346530 I mean, that's almost ridiculously extreme. What, was there a prophecy that the appearance of someone like her would end the world?

6346538 Well, as the sequel is slowly elaborating, this version of Twilight ascended by perfecting an immortality spell. Because she's, you know, Twilight Sparkle, assumptions were made that she somehow had foreknowledge of an impending disaster, and some friction came from the idea that she only cared about herself.

As for the prophecy, it's exactly the opposite. The ponies of this world have no frame of reference beyond long-ancient myth for alicorns, so what they're seeing is a god-like being of the sort that shaped the world as they know it through epic battles with other alicorns. Mountains as tombstones, valleys as landing pads, rivers and canyons, etc. What little they know tells them that their friend is now a monster that acts according to its own whims, with so little regard for other species that some myths aren't even sure the alicorns knew of other races.

And yes, this will actually be in the sequel. I just don't like to force people to wait for answers.


6346563 Oh.
Wait, G3 was advanced enough to build spaceships?

6346741 It's really just an airtight metal sphere with gardens and sleeping quarters.

6296676 It's not even "alternate universe" any more than any other fanfic. I mean Twilight Sparkle is no different than usual, and all the new stuff is set in canonically undocumented prehistory.

6375500 You really think it doesn't need to be labelled AU? I've always been a little uncertain about what qualifies something as AU.


For a ship powered by Unicorn telekinesis and levitation spells or possibly pegasus levitation, mass and or size isn't really a problem. Also, while a sphere is the optimal shape mathematically, it's a bugger to construct. Give me a cube, or an square tower (gravity and thrust along the long axis).

Still given your estimate of a population of 25000, we can come to some estimate of how much volume this hypothetical PonyArk (TM) require.

Personal quarters, say 9m^3 per pony (2x3x1.5m). Enough for a bunk and personal effects. Times 25000 ponies = 225000 m^3. Hot bunking reduces this to 75000 m^3. Though we need to allow for toilet facilities, corridors and common spaces, so say another 35000 m, giving a total of 125000 m^3, A cube 50 m on each side, or a sphere of 31 m radius, surprisingly enough.

Food to feed them all, water, life support in general. Each pony needs 1kg food and 3l water per day (equivalent to human norms). Assume total life support system mass is fifty times that (soil from ground based farming rather than hydro/aeroponics) since Earth ponies. 4kg x 25000 x 50 = 5 million kg mass = 5000 tons, an additional 5000 m^3 volume. But we need access spaces, especially if it is also recreational. Assuming 10 times the open space as solid material gives 50000 m^3. And that doesn't include the Expresso machine...

"[A] magnificent machine that poured forth a drink so potent that those who drank of it seemed to almost explode with energy."

This may not do for the bulk of the air-recycling, as assumng a human equivalent norm of 50 l per hour and a plant output of 5 ml per hour per 10 cm^2 leaf, we need 10000 leaves per pony = 100000 cm^2 = 10 m^2. For 25000 ponies that is 250000 m^2. Even assuming the food plants from above are laid out in effective 10 cm deep trays, that still only gives a surface area of 50000 m^2, only one fifth of the required area. Bump the life support volume by a factor of 5 to 250000 m^3 assuming the same volume of access space. Well, at least they won't starve, and it allows plants other than vital foodstuffs to be grown, such as coffee beans for the expresso machine.

So we need twice the volume for life support as living quarters or 750000 m^3 in total. Make it 1000000 m^3 to allow additional room for growth and machinery spaces (even with ponies providing the major functions you still need things like plumbing, lighting and so forth). Not to mention a bridge and other ship functions, even if the engine room is a group of unicorns sitting in a ritual diagram around a giant glowing crystal.

The total size of the ship is therefore a sphere 62 m in radius. A cube 100 m a side would work too.

Gross tonnage, lets assume the same density as a big luxury cruise liner rather than a warship. The 'Oasis of the Seas' is 225282 tons gross tonnage and roughly 360 x 50 x 80 m volume or 1440000 m^3 (over half as big again as PonyArk, but that has engines and all sorts of machinery in it as well as being a less optimal shape. Plus it does carry a maximum of over 8500 passengers and crew, over a third as many beings and those are larger humans. Double plus, it has a much larger proportion of it's internal volume given over to recreational spaces). That gives a density of 0.1564 kg/m^3. So the Gross Tonnage of PonyArk would be around 156000 tons.

Assuming the unicorn portion of the population is 5000, there are still going to be ones who aren't suited for heavy lifting, foals and such. Based on the three shift rota, you'd have maybe 1500 unicorns driving the ship at any one time. Which means each unicorn must be pushing around 100 tons of mass.

If they were dead lifting it against Earth equivalent gravity, I can't see many of them being able to do that much unaided, even if all three shifts were working together for the launch phase, bringing the thrust needed down to just over 30 tons per unicorn. However, any sane designer would add levitation runes like the ones that allow a flying chariot to fly (presumably by sharing the pegasus flight magic), tapping the power of the pegasus portion of the crew. Maybe using pegasus stabilised clouds as support elements at lower altitudes. Or ice crystal arrays pre-charged with massive amounts of pegasus magic to act as a levitation booster at the start.

They would exhaust themselves in a few hours, but that would give the unicorns time to build up enough speed to escape the planet. Say each pony can only provide three tons of thrust, giving only 1m/s rather then the 10 m/s needed for a dead lift. If The pegasus power can stop the ship falling back to the planet for 2 hours, that translates to 7200 m/s, or roughtly orbital speed. At that point you can take things as slow as you like, as you will never fall back to the planet, at least if you are on the correct vector. Okay, you still need to make another thrust at periapse to circularise your orbit, but that is far less time dependent.

There are dozens of elements I haven't talked about, such as losses in the recycling system (made up by mining passing Oort cloud bodies?) or landing the beast (areobraking with a unicorn based force shield followed by deploying really big pegasus stabilised cloud to provide support as the ship is lowered. Or possibly just wrapping the entire ship in a force shield and pegasus based inertia neutralisation and imitating a meteorite, i.e lithobraking, the favoured method of Kerbals everywhere.)

Then there's power for the lights and heating, a Star Heart reactor? (my own headcanon, a magically confined cool fusion reactor, using magic to increase the strong nuclear force so fusion occurs at lower temperatures, a force field to contain the plasma, and an atonic photo-thaumic conversion field (based on inverting a light spell, it converts all light frequencies to magical energy, including gamma and X-Rays). Fresh hydrogen is teleported in and helium teleported out.

But this gives some idea of the scope of the project.

I do think it works better in its present incarnation that it would have in the style of the first draft that you describe in the author's note. There are some questions; were Zebras part of the interplanetary exodus as well? If not, wouldn't they be the exception to Starswirl's commentary on how the ponies are self-evidently alien because they aren't monsters? Questions remain.

Still, a cool little idea piece whose strength is in its imagery. Thank you for sharing.

Also, have to point out: "bated breath," as in withdrawn and held in, not "baited" like a hook.

6524983 Correction duly noted. Yes, zebras were part of the interplanetary voyage.

Interesting! Not Griffons though, I assume?

6526002 No. Griffons, changelings and the various non-equines are natives to this planet.

Basically, if the majority population doesn't espouse the magic of friendship, it's from this planet.

6291093 Okay, have no idea if you're aware, but I have written the first few chapters to a sequel. Plans changed.

6559903 yea I am awear of that infact I'm waitting for the next chapter it is really sad that her friends are all leaving her

6560083 Oh, it's about to get much worse.

Up next, the Exodus begins.

Disclaimer: I have no idea when. Hopefully sometime next week.

6560172 okay good to know thank u for letting me know

6295688 I feel like I should point out that the tech Starswirl was gushing over was a telescope, a tv, and a coffee machine. Also, unless I'm reading it wrong, they built a ball, got inside, and played hookshot with the stars. Not that it makes any of this less impressive, of course (do you know how a tv works? I don't. I'm sure it's all very complicated though), but it wasn't exactly futuristic. They seemed to be at about our level of technology, just with the added bonus of magic.

Author Interviewer

I wish you'd been a little more time-appropriate with the tone of Star Swirl's work. It felt like a bold ejaculation of some (admittedly very interesting) headcanon, with Twilight commenting on it now and then. Not bad, but not as immersive as I'd have liked.

6649914 Though I'm ashamed to admit it, this fic wasn't really meant to be immersive. It was meant to be spur-of-the-moment regurgitation of headcanon, and to make matters worse, the story mutated and went down an entirely unexpected path. The only reason it's not a blog post is that I was completely unknown at the time I wrote it.

Still, criticism appreciated, and I'll keep it in mind if I ever do this sort of thing again.

Author Interviewer

It's certainly not the worst headcanon dump I've ever read, but it definitely comes off as one. Good luck in the future. :D

6650058 Oh, one question:

What in the name of Celestia's magnificent beard is the [Author Interviewer] doing here?

Author Interviewer

6650344 Walked right into that one, didn't I.

Well, you have a good day.

It's as if nobody notices that it's crap.

Like, seriously, this is shit. Utter shit.

7102716 7108552 Aww...I was just about to add this and its sequel to the 'read later' list the other night...and then I read your comments, as well as "The Author is Honest with the Readers" and so I didn't. :/ You must have a way of writing tantalizing descriptions. Silly you >.<
Though I would almost like to read just to see for myself why you consider them bad...

Login or register to comment