• Published 29th Mar 2016
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A New Age - SaddlesoapOpera

Long, long ago, the Royal Pony Sisters Celestia and Luna defeated Discord, and almost everypony was relieved. Almost everypony.

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Two Years Before Discord

The diary of Glory, Young Lady of House Galaxy

I am betrayed.

Betrayed and robbed and cheated. My own Uncle, the mightiest magus of our family of illustrious magic-users, has abolished the task I was born to perform. Neigh, not even abolished, but stolen it away from all of us. Given it over to those two creatures. I am beside myself, Diary!

Not only did he cast me aside and take that half-blood commoner as his apprentice … not only did she use what he’d taught her to get close to Princess Platinum and become a heroine of our new homeland in my stead … but now, my very birthright is lost forever!

Service on the Councils of Dawn and Dusk was my life’s goal, my very Mark’s desire! But the Councils are abolished and King Bullion is standing aside and leaving more and more power to these Alicorns—and they aren’t even noble born! Not truly! Nopony even seems to know from whence they hail. Ancients who lived atop Canterlot Mountain before the capital was founded, the rumours say. Last of the former ruling tribe of this land my kinfolk settled, they say.

Has any King, in all of the history of Ponykind, ever surrendered his crown on the strength of rumours? Preposterous!

But now they herd the Sun and Moon like the highest of the high, and oversee processions, and they are sought in affairs of state, and all three of the tribes answer to them. Madness. They can scarcely be older than I am, even. The elder can’t have seen twenty winters! Again, the rumours. They say they do not age as we do. They say their magic keeps the years from touching them. And yet my Uncle’s beard greys, and grows to touch his fetlocks, and his magic, so vast that he can trot through time itself, has yet to spare him a single tolling of the hours. Curious, is it not?

Ah, my Uncle … he has wounded me so, Diary! What did I do to deserve these shames? Is my hide not as pure white as Celestia’s? Is my silken mane not as royal purple as Luna’s? And damn it all, is my magic not more than a match for that conniving little upstart? Even her name is common! Clover. Named for a plant, like some pointless farm-girl!

Please excuse my language, Diary. That was improper. I trust you can see how unfair and unjust are these trials I endure. Strange creatures have claimed my calling, a commoner has usurped my birthright, and now statues hail their greatness while I make do with mere portraits.

I must close for now. Reliving these ordeals has made me terribly upset. I shall have the maids run a bath, I think.

With my ill luck, we’ll have run out of rose essence.

• • • • •

Personal correspondence, from Praetor Northwind to Commander Hurricane

Hail, old friend.

I must confess I am uneasy about the recent shift in the winds. It made sense to have an impartial presence act as oversight in diplomacy between the tribes, considering the arrogance of the Unicorns and the Earth Ponies’ distaste for warfare, but is putting so much power under the control of just two mares tactically sound? Particularly, those two mares?

We are no strangers to the rosy clouds of war, you and I — we both remember the sting of Griffon talons and the hum of their shrieks on the wind. Gregor is a glutton and a warmonger, and no treaty with him will last.

The Sisters are naive and unblooded. They fly swiftly and they are beautiful. That makes them good. It does not make them leaders. Harmony and friendship are for comrades and mates, blooded and blood.

Not foes.

Will we let the Ice Demons who drove us from the skies of the old homeland chill the lightning of battle in our hearts as well? How long will this age of peace last, if we appear weak and foalish to our enemies? You have seen the reports from the scouts. You know what mighty beasts stalk the earth and skies and seas in this new land. You know we are not safe.

It is folly to leave our rulership, our future, our very dawn and dusk, to the jurisdiction of any two Ponies, no matter how perfect their forms. Unicorn councils find reason through debate. Our foremost are appointed by the Senate. Even the Earth Ponies below come to decisions by the common will. We cannot trust two mares to match the wisdom of dozens. Of hundreds.

After the Hearth’s Warming, you have the Unicorn Princess’s ear, do you not? I pray you, old friend — speak to her. I would know if the Unicorns share these worries.

Fly well, old friend.


• • • • •

Lady Brome’s Book of Gratitudes

O Dam of my Dam, O High-Kicking Filly, I thank You.

I thank You for the lands I am sworn to tend, gifted with healthy crops and moist black soil.

I thank You for my mate, Hawthorne, and for the blessed life we shared until he returned to Your embrace.

I thank You for our only foal, Sweetgrass, who warms my heart with her every smile, and who keeps the love of Hawthorne ever blooming in my soul.

O Dam of my Dam, O Heavy-Bellied Mare, I thank You.

I thank You for showing Your faithful herd to this fertile land, and guiding its heroes to defeat the demons of ice and wind.

I thank You for my keen wits and the wisdom of years, that I am not blindly swayed as others are by the shallow perfection of the Blasphemers who would take the work of many as their own, and who would profane Your sacred Everfree Forest with their garish castle.

I thank You for my strength, that I might keep the old ways holy, and resist the temptations of their witching words.

O Dam of my Dam, O Wise-Eyed Nag, I thank You.

• • • • •

Clover the Clever’s laboratory notes, supplemental

Every day, I find a new reason to be amazed with my mentor.

His talent in supporting the councils until the Sisters could take their place, the sheer size of his library, even the bells covering his vestments, each one added for a spell he helped design. All of it speaks of his incredible magical skill.

And today, he finally trusted me enough to show me the fundamentals of his research into time-travel!

I can hardly hold my quill steady, I’m so excited — my magic’s wavering like a schoolfoal’s!

He held back the most sensitive scrolls, but even the basics have my head spinning. Time is like a flowing river, not a woven cord. It is always in motion, always shaping and reshaping itself, yet always seeking the smoothest path. And when something obstructs it, it seeks to part and reform around it and return to its course.

The current analogy holds water, excuse the pun, in other ways, as well — visiting the past, moving upstream, is clearly far more difficult than leaping into the future. But Star Swirl told me over and over that both directions hold many dangers. A Pony could erase their own past, or unleash a horror once thought defeated, or unravel the future by acting on foreknowledge of it!

Appended to this note are the diagrams of the basic slowing and hastening spells, as well as the short-term jaunt. I believe I copied them perfectly, but I can’t know yet about the latter. The obverse-temporal aperture it opens can only be opened once, and I dare not try it on a whim.

N.B. — Find a chance to ask Star Swirl about his own trips to the future. He hasn’t been the same since he took them...

• • • • •

The Journal of the Two Sisters

Dear Diary,

I’ve never been so busy!

After dealing with Griffons and an elder Dragon and all the other crises, after Luna and I earned our Marks, I thought things would be smooth flying from here on. Equestria was peaceful, the Crystal Empire was safe, the morning and the night were taken care of — everything was fine, right?


Now that we’re officially the Royal Princesses of Equestria, there’s paperwork and meetings and audiences and processions and parades — and I’m still not sure how those last two are any different — and we’re so booked solid that I’ve hardly had time to eat, let alone relax! I had nothing but one cake for breakfast after raising the Sun, and it was only one layer thick. I’m STARVING!

Also, some of the new servants seem a little put off by the castle — especially the pranking equipment. And the size of our meals when there’s actually time. And how the doors and stairs are built to our size. And… well… also, Luna.

She’s played tricks on some of them, and her style and powerful magic seem to scare them a little. After Princess Platinum I thought we’d gotten past this, but she’s always been mischievous.

Luna, if you’re reading this, leave the poor dears alone, or you’re getting pranked right back, you hear me? You know I’ll do it!

Anyway, Diary, I’ve got to be going. I’m writing this while trotting to the next meeting. Only seven more to go before I can fit in a full meal. Maybe if everypony wasn’t so skittish around Luna, I’d have more time to—

That had better not be what’s going on. If she did that thing with the bucket to the arch-minister of finance just so she could slack off...!

It’s time for the meeting, Diary. We’ll see about this later.

• • • • •

The Journal of the Two Sisters

Dear Diary,

Being a Princess is really tiring!

Celie, if you’re reading this, don’t be cross — I’m not slacking, honestly! I’ve been flying all over Equestria lately, visiting towns and cities, meeting and greeting Ponies… all sorts of Princess-ly matters like that.

I know I don’t make as good a first impression as my Sister does, Diary, so I’ve been trying to make some friends. Introduce myself, break the ice with some good-natured pranks, get to know our subjects. But it hasn’t been — I mean, not entirely, but — well, it hasn’t been going all that great. I feel like a lot of the Ponies don’t fully trust us yet, even after all of our help. Especially me. I’m not TRYING to be scary, but I’m dark and powerful and so much bigger than they are. And sometimes when I get impatient I use the Royal Canterlot Voice, but we’re both so much louder than Unicorns are when we do it. I guess it’s a bit much for some of them.

Most of them.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’m any better off after all this. I can hear Ponies whispering behind my back sometimes. I can see them staring out of the corner of my eye. They’re afraid!

Celie, can you take care of the castle stuff for just a little longer? I know I can get through to them if I just try harder. As Princesses it’s our duty to guide and protect Equestria, right? Once I’ve made a few good friends, they can spread the word to others on their own, and I’ll have more time to attend parades and whatnot. There’s more to a Pony’s life than paperwork, after all!