• Published 22nd Feb 2016
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Empty Horizons - Goldenwing



Twilight wakes up, alone in the dark. And she's drowning.

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Supplement: Twilight's Notes on Reformation

Author's Note:

This chapter is purely SUPPLEMENTAL. The content contained herein is not necessary for the enjoyment of the central story, and is intended only for readers that desire some extra context for the setting. Feel free to skip this chapter. You can always come back later.

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Research Notes, Entry Twenty-Six
3rd of June, 673 Anno Caeli, 9:55 AM

During a scholarly discussion with Dusty Tome a few days ago, I admitted to him my frustrations with the poorly catalogued accounts of post-apocalypse Equestrian history. None of the books I checked out of Heighton contain any beyond the most cursory of conjectures on the developments I’ve missed during my absence, and the lack of opportunity to refresh my selection has grown increasingly inconvenient with each passing day. He had told me of an essay he owned, Risque’s Recreation of Pre-Reformation Eras, and offered to lend it to me. Of course I turned him down at the time. I simply lack space in my schedule to set aside for recreational reading.

I still do lack the time. Although my schedule remains packed, I must admit that I’ve hit a mental wall with regards to my research on sight restoration. I have often heard that taking one’s mind off of a subject is a fantastic method for allowing ideas to mature in the subconscious, and so I decided to take up Dusty’s offer. It was an extremely refreshing hour of relaxation.

The essay delves into the question of “Pre-Reformation” history, the period before the first islands signed the Equestrian Parliament back into existence and considered themselves a single political entity for the first time. There is unfortunately nothing solid with regards to dates, specific events, or ponies of historical significance, but Risque has quite thoroughly outlined her theories on the overall path of Equestrian history.

Risque proposes four ages, beginning with the depressingly named Dark Age which took place immediately after the destruction of the old world. The islands at this point were entirely independent, with the majority being too far apart to see each other. Although adventurous pegasi may have been able to fly between them (Risque posits that magic was still commonplace at the time, and I’m inclined to agree), no doubt the majority of attempts would have resulted in aimless flight until death. I have copied a quote regarding her ideas of life on the islands themselves.

Although myths and legends that seem to refer to this period vary wildly even on the same island, there is one concept that they all agree on: overpopulation. Stories often focus on heroic characters defending the innocent from raiders or uniting disparate groups in a bastion of civility among a wild land. Food and shelter were fought over constantly, often with disastrous side effects. It is here that I believe the idea of a common Equestria rapidly broke down, and also where the majority of the population was killed off. It is possible that this time was even more deadly than the flooding itself.

I find it a difficult proposition to accept that ponies would stoop so quickly to killing over material resources, but I must admit that it would be equally difficult to accept that they would allow themselves to starve peacefully. It is also possible that they were under some magical compulsion towards violence. I have personally experi It is no surprise that there are so few surviving records from during or before this time. Whatever history still exists from this era has been preserved only in oral tradition.

The proposed Exploration Age takes place roughly two centuries after the floods as the islands’ populations finally settled into manageable levels.

It’s at this point that warlords found themselves capable of supporting their population without constant raids or conquest for the first time. Although conflict over limited resources was still a common consequence of the birth of each subsequent generation, community leaders were given intermittent periods of peace in which to move their focus elsewhere.

It is difficult to say when they took place exactly, but there are legendary tales from several islands about community-sponsored groups of pegasi that struck out in search of other land. With immediate survival no longer a constant concern, ponies began to ask whether they truly were all that was left, and the result was a sudden renaissance in exploration and the related technologies. The first maps were drawn, and the first airships experimented with limited inter-island trade. I expect that this is also when the first salvagers began visiting the surface, though deep-sea submarines would not be created until the Reformation Age. See Part Five.

I have heard before that the ocean surface used to be filled with flotsam and valuable salvage, and that ponies would use airships to carry boats down to the water and scoop up what they could with simple nets. I’ve written about these salvage crews and the dangers they faced in Addendum A of Entry Twelve. With my first-hoof experience as to how dangerous salvaging has become since then, I cannot even begin to imagine how lethal the profession might become a few more centuries down the road.

Risque characterizes the following Reformation Age as starting when times of peace became more common than times of war, roughly three centuries after the beginning of the Exploration Age.

Developments in infrastructure, diplomacy, and above all the crucially significant airship allowed real cities to begin taking shape. We find our earliest records of the name ‘Heighton’ here, at an estimated five centuries old. Although each pony was expected to see at least ten years of war during their lifetime—many of which concerning religious disputes—the relatively steady peace allowed the modern Equestria to take its first steps towards rebirth.

The Reformation Age is the longest of my proposed historical periods, and includes the creation of many of the hallmarks of our society. I have included references to the first use of ‘Gifted,’ the earliest records of the merchant lords, and the most distantly traced ancestries of the nobility. With the exception of the ever-militant baronlands, ponies seem to start identifying themselves chiefly by their island of birth instead of their religious beliefs. Legends give way to real records, even if they are mostly incomplete. The most detailed accounts are invariably concerning military victories by the nobles or dramatic recountings of historical events portrayed by travelling minstrels.

It is also during this time that the Anno Caeli calendar is first adopted. Disappointingly enough, Risque doesn’t have any theories as to what specific event the calendar is based on. Logically something major must have happened to warrant a new calendar, but Risque can only hypothesize that a common calendar was necessary for inter-island trade. Why there don’t seem to be any records of such a calendar-setting event, I cannot imagine.

The Equestrian Parliament is signed into existence some decades later. Although it was originally attended by only a small selection of islands, the Parliament absorbed a vast majority of the known world over the following decades. Considering that inter-island warfare has had disastrous results for the attackers in every case, I can only assume that this was accomplished through diplomatic means. See Entry Twenty-Three for my findings on Parliament, or lack thereof.

Risque marks the beginning of the Modern Age with the end of the rapid expansion of the Equestrian Parliament’s membership roughly a century before my writing of this. By that time, the city-islands such as Heighton had used all of their available land and begun the process of building into the mines beneath them. She finishes on an optimistic note.

Equestria as a whole has come a long way since its collapse during the floods. Although questions regarding our cataclysmic past remain largely unanswered, I hope that some of this fog will be cleared away as the now-united nation forges forth into the future. I, for one, am proud to do my part in establishing a line of Equestrian scholars that I hope will last for millennia to come.

In summary, an engaging read. However, I don’t find myself sharing Risque’s optimistic assessment. I have seen nothing to indicate a united Equestria, and certainly nothing akin to what existed in my time. I admit that I’ve spent the majority of my time on the same airship, but the stories I hear from the crew indicate a realm rife with mistrust. Perhaps Rarity will have more encouraging experiences to share once we reunite.

I hope she and Pinkie are okay.

I'm

I think that my plan was a success. I remember seeing a book in Trails’ room during one of our magic tutoring sessions. It’s probably a year overdue, but perhaps it can help me with my current project.

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