• Member Since 8th Dec, 2011
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Stories about families, friends, the past, the present, the future, the science of magic and the magic of science.



I am Starswirl the Bearded and my story does not start in Equestria. Many have heard the rumor that I am from a foreign land. This is but the smallest part of the truth, for I was not born a pony but on another world, and brought here by Princess Celestia on a mission to save my race. I was born a human, in the year of my people 1452, and my name was Leonardo daVinci.

Artwork by Mythee and Nevina

Chapters (22)
Comments ( 180 )

Actually, considering Da Vinci, I would totally believe he'd be Starswirl. We'll see where this goes. :moustache:

Did not expect the end bit. Will watch.

729892 Everything... especially the children.

And good story brochacho.

I really liked this so far, I can't wait for more

ASTONISHMENT! I am very impressed. Perfect. Genius.


I read this to Eldenath, and she just LOVED it!

Somepony read one of my stories to somepony special. Wow!

Decided to comment here and not in the already closed event thread...

To be honest I probably rushed with the word choice (mindf... um, mindswirl), but I didn't want to go really deep while reading these and putting up that magnificent ceremony, so any half-assed comments were totally half-assed, not on purpose, but just because. Continuing being honest, I generally loathe all fictional portrayals of daVinci, so I automatically ranked the story down to the deepest hell. Now that I've actually read it, it's fine, but doesn't dodge any pitfalls regarding daVinci's portrayal (mainly that he's too distant, and that friggin' Mona Lisa's there, in addition, he's also damn convenient, though being in a speedfic that's forgiveable).
Written with grace, but with no other substance than daVinci-Starswirl, which I have to consider rather thin. And a daVinci I don't hate? Try Lionheart

I also really dislike most portrayals of daVinci in litterature, where he is usually portrayed as a leader of a mystical cabal, religious freak, evil mastermind, yadda yadda yadda... anything but what he was, a human being who could not contain his curiosity about the world around him and how it worked.

In my mind daVinci was born two hundred years too soon for his own happiness. Imagine what he could have done in the days of the Royal Society when scientific enquiry was actually encouraged. Instead he lived in the days where you didn't let unconventional ideas about the world circulate outside your own head, otherwise you risked losing it. I have always admired daVinci because he was one of those people who built the foundations of the scientific revolution, in his case by developing realism (and rationalism) first in the relatively 'safe' arena of the representative arts, and using that as a cover for scientific enquiry and experimentation (a point I did make in the fic, although perhaps a bit too subtly.)

I agree with your comment he was distant, but in the fic we see him three times:
1) Meeting Lisa Gherardini (actually Celestia) for the fist time (a commission from her husband di Gioconda), when she discussed things that had got him in major trouble with the church (disection of dead human bodies)
2) On his death bed (Been there, done that. The dying don't go out dancing.)
3) As a newly minted pony recovering from what he thought was his death.

And yes, it was a speed fic, mostly written on Saturday between 10 am and 5 PM, so I am still quite proud of it. I laid out a lot of subtext in 2600 words, including Celestia's reason for visiting Earth at that time, why daVinci, hints as to how this fits into the TCB universe, Celestia's own development as a monarch, and the source of some of the very human technologies and machines seen in FIM episodes.

I'll be curious to see how you react to daVinci the pony. Keep in mind that his conversion was not the one done by the Conversion Bureaus, but the 'best effort' type done by Celestia herself. He is still a human being, just in a different body. See Chatoyance's The 800 Year Promise

More to come...

I'm fine with daVinci being eccentric or even crazy. The example I gave indeed has a very eccentric daVinci. The thing that so bothers me is his life's work almost always being summed up very quickly. In fiction he always seems to be working on Mona Lisa and the flying machine. Like, you enter his studio on a Tuesday and, look at that, he just happens to be studying a bird's wings "to complete his flying machine" while the unfinished Mona Lisa portrait is leaning on a nearby easel.

References to a story I haven't read? ... Well, they weren't fundamentally important so that's fine

And about the historical waccuracy, I can't think of a reason he would've sketched on parchment instead of paper.

Hello dear friends,

Here is chapter two, where Starswirl discovers both the joy of becoming a pony and the huge responsibility Celestia is placing upon his brand new withers. As usual, please let me know what you think.

Oh, and to all of you who have the exalted state of fatherishness: happy father's day. To the rest of you, don't forget to give the old coot a call.

On this day, my day, Dafaddah :heart::moustache::heart::moustache::heart::rainbowlaugh:

Nicely done with the description of tastes and smells. Those are sadly overlooked too often and are yet so vital to describing the alien senses of a pony.
I'm rather surprised how easy he accepts magic. One of Leonardos ambitions was the establishment of science as ... well, what we describe as science, not as a subsegment of theology. I'd have expected to see him break down at the discovery of magic as something real and an explanation by Celestia that Earth is indeed without magic except what she brings with her.
I wonder how much you will focus on the psychological side of a human in a pony body. Unlike Willelmus Learmount in "The 800 Year Promise" Leonardo is probably the best mankind of this time has to offer, but I still expect some difficulties, prime among them the Renaissance ideal of the individual vs the Equestrian live as a herd.

764114 and 764207

Without revealing too much in advance, you are both thinking along the same lines I am. As perhaps one of the most open minded humans of his time, Leornardo has assets and flexibility to bring him into the fold that Learmount sorely lacked. But still, Celestia has played her hoof carefully, as evidenced by how she introduces him to magic in an experimental fashion and devoid of any mysticism at all. Note also how she calls to him to scientifically map out magic in the service of her prime objective. Please keep in mind that Celestia has had over 16 years to get to know daVinci at the time of this chapter. Some of these earlier meetings will be revisited in flashback in future chapters.

Nevertheless, Leornardo is a man of his time, which is bound to surface in attitudes and behaviors at some point (usually at the most embarassing time, in the most embarassing place...) Also, I do intend to bring back discussions on religion, the nature of existence, freedom of conscience, sexuality and politics.

By the way - any really juicy ideas might make it into the fic - so don't hesitate to make suggestions.

Utterly brilliant, well crafted, and excellent in all respects, I am so looking forward to more of this, and so grateful that you have decided to pursue this story further. Making Starswirl Leonardo was an act of genius, and I can think of no historical figure more suited to be that character.

Starswirl the Bearded is credited in the show with developing the 'Amniomorphic Spell', and I have long pondered this. Amnio+Morphic. 'Amnio' refers to a membrane, usually the innermost sac which encloses a fetus, but it could refer to the wall of a cell as well. Taken further, it could even refer to skin, or any boundary such. Morphic is shape, form or structure. So, it is almost as if the writer of that episode was tipping the hat to the Conversion Bureau - an Amniomorphic spell, by definition, would almost certainly involve some form of shapeshifting, such as is the premise of Conversion. Directly, it could suggest the alteration of a fetus within the womb to become another creature, but extended to the skin enclosing the whole of a living thing, it could be the foundation of that which would power and direct the future nanomachines of the Conversion Bureaus. In my head-canon, this is already so.

I cannot imagine you have not already thought of this as well (I mean, it's fairly obvious), and I am so incredibly excited by that prospect of you pursuing it. I must say I have been putting off a story pressing the above for some time, because I couldn't find an interesting enough angle. You, have found that angle beyond measure, and I am just happy as a mare in heat at what comes next.

This is just brilliant. Go for it. This is already one of my favorite TCB stories of 2012, and you've just begun it. Lightning in a bottle, Dafaddah, lightning in a very nice, carved crystal bottle.

I think i have a new favorite:moustache:

Will Leon... Starswirl meet some other humans that have been brought to Equestria? Will he meet the descendants of the original Blueblood?
Luna seems to have quite a low opinion of the former human, that's got to come from somewhere.
Oh and I'm so looking forward to this lesson in cosmology, it will send Starswirl reeling!:pinkiecrazy:


One tries to be subtle, but the readers see all... :trixieshiftright:

Flattery will get you nothing. :ajsmug:
But here's another one for you: Leonardo's orientation in ... matters of romance has been a point of discussion over the centuries. Will you put some of that into the mix? Maybe a cute Canterlot stallion?


Oh really? Flattery usually works pretty well for me, but to each his/her own...

As to your second question, I haven't been subtle about that either. History is pretty clear on this aspect of Leonardo's life. Just keep in mind that Starswirl is not at all the traditional CB newfoal, and one would be a foal to assume such... :trollestia:

There are no words to describe this amount of awesome, only Rainbow Dash. :rainbowkiss:
But I'm with Shutaro on making Leonardo's aforementioned aspect as clear as history would put it. Like how Luna and Celestia seem to notice how good looking he is, he should also take note of good looking stallions!

Eldenath says: "I love the descriptions of Luna's moods and of Starswirl's antics." She is very much enjoying my reading this story to her.

As a side note, you could use an editing pass, there were many small errors, too many to jot down.

This is really really awesome. At least 20% more awesome than anything other than :rainbowdetermined2: has any right to be. Really looking forward to more.

It looks like Celestia might need another famous man from that time.
Machiavelli would make an excellent Smart Cookie.:ajbemused:


And to 'document' the events described in the Hearth's Warming Eve Pageant. For all the future generations of ponies.

This was brilliant, I love the worldbuilding and cosmology, and dealing well with Leo's sexuality was also well handled and right. A fantastic chapter.


Or a history buff who was struck by how well the Hearth's Warming Eve Pageant fits as a case study in the 'Guicciardinian particolare'. (Note that the lieutenants were only able to get a resolution to the conflict after the 'great leaders' had been litteraly frozen out of the game!). :trollestia:

Erasmus von Rotterdam. You only take the heavy-hitters of humanism, eh? :pinkiehappy:
And in the next chapter!
Starswirl the bearded: Ventures in the winds of the wicked Windigos!
I'm sure Twilight would be having an absolute fangasm over that one. :twilightblush:


If you ever wondered where Celestia's obsession with free will (at least in the TCB universe) came from, well, NOW YOU KNOW!

BTW - I have to mention that Early Renaissance fancolts owe this particular bit of historical thrill to Chatoyance, who set up the original circumstances for Renaissance Pony (and Celestia's romp through these formative years of western civilization) in her story The 800 Year Promise. I immediately got the idea for Renaissance Pony then, but my idea of having Leonardo daVinci become Starswirl was prompted when Krass Mcwriter did a "TCB in History" event.

The rest, as they say, is larcen... I mean history. :twilightsmile:

Fate is not going to change here... is it?
The chains of cannon do not always tie well with the freedom of Fortune.
I guess it is well enough to learn from Time if you can not change Reality.


History is the set of collective lies we tell ourselves to justify our current set of beliefs in ourselves and in our collectives. The "truth" is always messier, open to varying interpretations and in its details lies the freedom to tell a completely different story. When it comes to cannon, you cannot change the color of the paint, but you certainly can change the wall behind it, the house, and even its very foundations.


Oops, I wanted to include you in my previous post!


Thank you.
Sometimes I have to need or want to mourn the path of people walk.

Finally got around to reading this. I must admit, I'm now hooked and eagerly await the next chapter.

Now that was interesting, and this looks like a good start. One minor quibble is that I figured Celestia was in her regular form all the way up until near the end, and it seemed a bit odd that a big glowing unicorn with wings would go otherwise unnoticed around 17th century Italy.

Things seem to piling into the paper hat to take the plunge :rainbowlaugh:

Poor Luna. She has some really low self esteem and he plays the "Sorry, I'm gay"-card.
Some much for "I'll let her down gently.", great work genius!
I'm a bit sad that we did not get to see commander Hurricane and chancellor Puddinghead in action. On the other hand, real politics are soo boring if you have to read it, maybe it's a good thing that we focus on the actually interesting stuff: How do the three tribes see reason?


I'm trying not to jump into the politics between the tribes but rather explore how these events impact specific individuals. Everypony already knows the canonical parts. It's the behind the scenes stuff that interesst me, particularly as these events are setting up the motivations for all parties involved in Celestia's millennial preparations for the coming collision with earth and establishment of he conversion bureaus.

Oh, and for those who feel Starswirl's exploration of the science of magic has gotten pushed a bit to the background, that will change, now that the setting has been fully established.

Love where this is going. I always knew Celestia was behind the windigoes-!! I can hear her evil plotting laughter up in them high towers from miles away!... I mean, how convenient the whole thing ended up for her O^O Dun dun DUNNNN

Even though her confidence waxes and wanes, I believe in Luna's competence. I hope she'll get a chance to shine, at the peak of her own determination and not moonlighting on anyone else's orders! :rainbowdetermined2:

As promised last time, this chapter is for all you Starswirl fancolts and fanfillies! Things are getting desperate in Equestria as the windigo invasion, nurtured by distrust, deceit and disharmony, is turning our favorite lush paradise into polar bear country. Luna decides to call on the Unicorn King to set him straight, but sometimes things just don't go as planned, even for an immortal Princess.

I again ask you to tell me what worked, what didn't, and how you think Starswirl can get our favourite ponies out of this pernicious permafrost pickle.


Oooh. I do like where this is going. I'm looking forward to the next chapter :twilightsmile:

FInd out why this spell remains Starswirl's greatest contribution to Equestrian magic, and of course what it really does! Another chapter for all those fan ponies of the 'mage of the age'.

As usual, please comment and tell me what you liked and didn't like in this chapter.

Not much to say. I just smiled at the idea of unicorn nurses: All the nurses we have seen in the show were earth ponies. And only one unicorn doctor. But sneaking in those spells will be kind of tricky: I doubt the tribes will give up their "proud heritage and traditions" so easily. :twilightoops:


What Starswirl has done is make a bargain for each based on their current insecurities. With Equestrian society in crisis, both Star and Dawn clans are feeling very unsure of the future, but for quite different reasons. The risk for Starswirl now is not that they might renege on their respective deals, but rather that he has no assurance that combining their spells will actually work. As the saying goes: the difference between theory and practice is that in theory their the same, but in practice they aren't! And Starswirl will have to face those consequences in Chapter Nine. (Yes, again, I am foreshadowing. :trixieshiftright:)

As to "the tribes' proud heritage and traditions" I suspect you may be right. (Yes, yet more foreshadowing. :facehoof:)


One of the reasons Celestia brought Leonardo was so that he could establish a working theory of magic. So right now, the theory of magic is actually the practice of magic.
Hocus pocus, abracadabra: Watch and be amazed as I pull a theory of magic out of thin air ... I mean, my hat. :trixieshiftright:


Yep. He has been working on that with Clover: he mentions including the three-house in "a book" in chapter seven. An upcoming chapter will specifically deal with the development of a science of magic, but we needed some character development first and a crisis to give some drama to the whole enterprise.

This period in Equestrian history is not unlike the late middle ages transitioning into the renaissance and then into the age of scientific and social revolution, driven multiple factors including expansion of trade, the Black Death, several major wars and the age of exploration. Equestria's renaissance will be driven by the events of Hearth's Warming Eve and the rebellion of NightMare Moon.

I get what you're saying: More Science! Each of the next chapters will develop and get more deeply involved in the science of magic, but will also deal will the social impacts. Equestria, like humanity is going to experience a few (nasty) bumps on the ride to modern times.

Oh, and how did you think Luna ended up with those cool Night Guard Ponies? Hint: Amniomorphic.


The scene with Luna and Starswirl was very expertly handled, and I was most impressed. One word, 'Oh', carrying so much power, and so much information about Luna, about the world, about everything. Wow. I applaud that scene.

The way in which magic is being refined is glorious, and extends naturally from that which is presented previously in such a manner which makes it all quite believable and reasonable, which I enjoy. In every aspect of Starswirl, I see Leonardo, and I find this impressive.

I will tell you a little secret, though. For some reason, your Leonardo is, within my head whilst I read, none other the Leonardo as portrayed by John Rhys-Davies as seen in the science fiction series Voyager, where Janeway conjures him up as a recreation on the holodeck, and much of interest ensues. This is indelibly your Leonardo for me, and this is no bad thing - John Rhys-Davies is a wonderful actor, I think, and his portrayal of the Maestro was excellent, or so I think.

I add this simply because perhaps you may find it interesting, how a reader perceives your characters.

You are doing an amazing job.

Oh, and I am very sorry for not having read your stories for over a month now... I have been having many troubles, and have been reading little at all currently. But I had to come read this story.


I remember getting advice on handling emotion in dialogue from a very wise and skillful writer by the name of Chatoyance. Thank you for the lessons. :twilightsmile:

Your faithful student,


Brilliant. Friggin' Brilliant.

I don't actually know what to say, aside from that I will be following this story.

While this happens for a lot of other good stories, (which naturally contradict this one) It explains WAYYYYY too much.

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