• 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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One Day After the Vanishing

A sermon to the faithful by Brome the Exile

I beseech You, O Dam of my Dam, grant me a measure of Your perfect voice as I address Your faithful.

You who stand before me, skyclad and unshod. Who have turned away from the corrupt dominion of the unholy Princesses to give yourselves to a pure and higher power. You who stand shoulder to shoulder with kith and kin and newfound friends alike. Who strive to honour the destinies Marked upon your hides with trust and piety. You who work and struggle, who toil and endure. You who know hardship and loss, triumph and prosperity.

You are true Ponies.

The Princesses have power beyond any mortal Pony’s. They do not know toil.

They are ageless, lurking outside the cycle of years. They do not know urgency.

They were given their ranks unearned, propped up like figureheads. They do not know merit.

We, the faithful, will not submit to such unnatural, blasphemous, decadent creatures. We will not let them make a mockery of the three tribes as one with their deformed bodies.

We, the true Ponies, will stand united in faith, and speak with one clear voice:

You are stronger than any of us, Princesses, but you are not stronger than all of us.

And your vain shows of power amount to nothing without the bounty granted to us by the Thrice-Blessed Mare.

So say we all!

• • • • •

The secret diary of Princess Luna

It’s all my fault.

All those Ponies. A whole Empire, gone! So much fear and pain. And all those things. Those things he showed me. Why did I look? If I hadn’t looked, they’d still be here. The Empire would still be here. It’s all my fault.

I skipped Night Court. It’s almost time for dawn now, but I can’t close my eyes. Every time I close my eyes I see it again. What I saw, and what he showed me after. Why did I look?

Why did I look at his dreams?

I was such a foal. Such a dull-witted, stupid-eyed, lovestruck foal. To think that he’d ever—

But, maybe I could have changed him. If we hadn’t confronted him, if he hadn’t been forced to act. Things could have turned out differently. There was more to him, there had to be. More than what I saw. More than the nightmares he put in my head.

I can’t stand it, Diary! How can I show my face in the light ever again? I can’t sleep. The dreams wake me. I can’t eat. I can hear them whispering behind my back. See them staring. Measuring me. Comparing me to her.

Why did they laugh? I could have endured it if they’d screamed, if they’d been afraid like they’ve always been. Why did he make me see that? Why mocking and whispering and laughing? Why would he choose that? Why? What did he see in me, to know how that would hurt? We spoke so much. He knew me so well. Is it true, then? Am I just an embarrassment to them? To her? Are their shows of fear just humouring me? Is she laughing at me right now?


• • • • •

The journal of Smart Cookie

The Chancellor hasn’t been to the Town Hall in five days, now.

Nothing hurts like a family crisis, I know that. Vanilla galloping off to join those uncivilized folk in the fields was a terrible blow. I know.

But somepony has to keep things running smoothly, and it’s been me these days. It’s been me again. First the founding, and now this. Puddinghead’s not the only no-show, either. Half the town is cavorting in the fields, unshod and unclothed, hollering prayers in the Old Way. The Mare didn’t do all that much to see off the Windigos, I noticed. Strange they think She’ll help now.

Of course, it’s no better among the other tribes, I’d wager. I hear tell of plots and schemes in the palaces, of families feuding on the mountaintop. The rains are late again, because the weather-keepers want tributes. Didn’t we leave all that behind in the old country? I’ll never forget the Hearth’s Warming. It was the moment I was born for, I’ve no doubt. What the three of us achieved can’t already be crumbling. There’s no way!

There is business to tend to. We have traders due back from the North. Puddinghead will be at the next Town Hall, even if I have to kick in Sweet Cream Estate’s doors and make it happen myself. Mark me, I won’t see the snows return. Not like this.

There is strength in Earth Ponies that’s older and deeper than some showy superstitions. We just need to remember it’s there.

• • • • •

The private journal of Princess Celestia

I’m so tired.

There were more than a dozen traders, nobles and messengers in the Empire when it was banished. More than a dozen of our subjects, gone forever. Half of them, sent there by me. We returned so quickly, nopony even knows yet. How will I tell them? I don’t even know how many Crystal Ponies there were. Did any escape at all? Did I lose control of the situation so badly that an entire race was eradicated?

I should have put the pieces together sooner. I should have figured it out. It’s been three weeks since I slept. The alertness enchantment stopped working days ago. I have to use a sleepness-nights curse now, instead. But I can’t stop. Every moment I take for myself, the problems pile up higher and higher. I’m writing this on the move, while a minister speaks to me. I’m nodding, and I don’t even know what he’s saying. He doesn’t sound upset, so it’s just business as usual, I guess. I’m so tired. But I can’t sleep. I can’t waste that kind of time. Not now. Not with everything falling apart around me. Not with a whole allied nation destroyed overnight. And I still have to compose an official statement.

I’m terrified of nodding off, because if I do I’ll see that awful vision again. I can’t stop thinking about it. All those judging eyes, all those weeping foals. And Luna. Luna. Did that hex of Sombra’s do more than show me horrors? Did it predict the future?

We are so much stronger than other Ponies, but I’m starting to feel so empty inside. My strength is running out. I need to rest, but I can’t. What if I let them down? What if it all comes true? I have to raise the Sun. I have to rule Equestria. I have to keep everypony calm. After what happened, Luna’s so hurt she won’t even come out of her room. She’s raising the Moon from her own window. Star Swirl’s so weak and sad ever since Clover died — it’s like he’s aged decades in barely a year. King Bullion and his family are caught up in the House disputes.

There is nopony else. If I fail, everything that happens after will be my fault.

There have to be stronger insomnia curses than this one. I’ll look in the Witches’ Grimoire if I have to. I can stand it. No matter how much it hurts. Too much is at stake to complain about burning eyes and chattering teeth.

I can’t fail. I can’t. I can’t—

• • • • •

Praetor Northwind’s memoirs

I bled alongside Hurricane today, for the first time in years.

It was no Griffon Conflict. Just a messy little skirmish with some Earthen farmers who tried to cheat us of our rightful wages. Nopony slain. They had tools, and each was strong as three Pegasi, but they weren’t warriors. Ponies don’t take to combat. Our spirits long for peace. Real martial skill takes training. In the clouds, we hone our foals like bronze, shaping and sharpening them from dull to deadly. It was a decisive victory, even if the fight was a small one. It was a message, not a massacre.

A pitchfork scraped my side deeply enough to need a storm-cauter; how I’d missed the sizzle and the sear of a new scar! The healing pain that tells me I am still alive.

Hurricane fought well, as he always has — his fame is well deserved. We didn’t speak much, warfare has a way of stilling the tongue. But I could see the gleam in his eyes, as he saw it in mine. We’d been too long without a war.

I was uneasy over the secret creepings that Brome and Glory favoured in this scheme, but their efforts are laying down kindling, dry and fresh and ready for a strike from above.

I needed this, even more than I’d thought. I needed to feel the thunder of battle again. I didn’t truly realize how badly I’d missed it until I felt the wound. The worry and fear that had plagued me are gone. I’m alive again. Reborn. And the war is only just beginning!

Perhaps I’ll pay young Glory’s maid a visit, after all.

• • • • •

Personal Correspondence, from Princess Platinum to Glory of House Galaxy

Our Dear Cousin,

We wanted to correspond to express Our appreciation for your timely warning about the upstart House whose ambitious scion shall remain nameless here. If nopony is pursuing one’s title and powerbase then one is in a most unenviable state to be sure, but such naked scheming is absolutely unacceptable. There are protocols to be followed!

Your alarum helped Our Father to quash the plans of said upstarts before they could make any measurable progress. Again, We thank you.

Be that as it may, the request you made in tandem with your warning is simply untenable. We have seen no evidence of instability from the Princesses, and the Sun and Moon continue to rise and set in keeping with the Grand Almanac.

You come from a long line of Dawnbringers and Dusk-keepers, Young Lady Glory, and we do not write only of your esteemed Uncle. The Crown honours the sacrifice of all of your forebears, living and passed on. Even the last Primarch to lead a Council, who stepped aside to welcome Star Swirl's august assistance and who now serves Our interests as a diplomat in the North, is also of your House. It is out of respect for the sufferings of your kin that We must deny your request.

Until there is some concrete sign of incapacity from Celestia and Luna, We cannot condone the reformation of the Councils of Dawn and Dusk, and the hazard they present to the best and brightest of Unicorns.

Please understand, We act with the wellbeing and safety of all Unicornkind at heart. But rest assured, if ever the sad necessity should return, We shall look no further than your House for the next Council Primarch.

With warmest regards to you and your House,

Princess Platinum of House Majesty

• • • • •

Never-Rest Hex, Witches’ Grimoire

From sunny roads to Moon-lit ways, you’ll find no scrap of mercy.

With restless nights and woeful days, I spitefully do curse thee.

Steal not a blink but stay awake, bear witness to your pain,

Until fair recompense you make, you’ll never sleep again.