• Member Since 6th Sep, 2015
  • offline last seen April 7th

PortalJumper


Aspiring author practicing on the world of technicolor horses

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Twilight the Wise, Celestia the Bright, Luna the Dark, Cadance the Beloved, Chrysalis the Dreamwalker; the Princesses of Old vanished ages ago, and their power was taken with them. With their guidance gone society has fallen into disarray, and the absence of their magic is beginning to tear the world apart. Starlit Sky is a humble pony, doing what she can to provide for her daughter and live in peace. But fate would have other plans for her, as she is contacted by a mysterious stranger and tasked with bringing the old princesses home to their ancient seat of Canterlot so that they might bring peace and prosperity back to their kingdom.

Cover and Chapter Art credit to romus91 on DeviantArt

Chapters (43)
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Comments ( 616 )

Interesting. Chrysalis was a Princess? Why no AU tag? Either way, it's going on the Read It Later list. Looks cool.

7273692

Good point on the AU tag thing. I don't normally write AU stuff, so this is new water for me. Thanks for the tip! :twilightsmile:

7273727 No problem! So excited to be following what is sure to be an epic journey from the beginning! :twilightsmile:

That reveal! THAT REVEAL!

Dude, get this going faster. FAVED, BOOKMARKED.

7274736

WOO! Thanks for the comment, glad to know that reveal worked for someone! I was agonizing over how to make that work and not feel trite or rushed, so thanks for the validation! :pinkiehappy:

7287506

And that's the reaction I was hoping for! Thanks for the comment :pinkiehappy:

This looks very good and promising.
But why isn't there Twilight's tag among the others?

7296329

Didn't want to spoil her involvement so early, plus I ran out of tags to use (they only let ya use FIVE character tags, can you believe that? :ajbemused:) and I wanted to let people know this has OCs in it.

Thanks for the comment, by the way, glad to see you enjoyed it!

Nice start, can't wait to read more. Also, Eeeeeeeeeeeee, Princess Chryssie!

7296854

Glad to hear you like it, and Princess Chrysalis was actually just a way to even out the roster of "bosses" from an odd three to a nice even four.

7297283
"Bosses"? What do you mean by that?
Does that mean Starlit and her new friend will have to fight them before they join the group or something?
If the part of the tale where the princesses fight one another is true, that is?

7298069

Think of it more like progressing through a Dark Souls game. You'll notice that I put a "Part I" before the chapter number here; each Part is going to focus on one geographic area and one Princess, who will serve as the "boss" of that area that needs to be dealt with a brought back to Canterlot.

I would say more, but that'd be treading into spoiler territory :raritywink:

Also, that vision at the beginning was the distant past and did really happen; Starlit saw it as a way to give her context on the truth of what happened to the Princesses.

This definitely requires an AU tag, given that backstory of Equestria must be altogether different for the basic outline given to be anything other than muddled details about the past. I hope you'll get around to revealing some of that, because otherwise Twilight and Cadence's mere presence is a little odd. Chrsyalis seems like a far out there choice, but here's hoping you manage a sensible reason for her to be ruling over/with ponies. Also, so far the story seems kind of exposition heavy which is kinda dull reading.

7298225
Not sure how I feel about making the princesses enemies/opponents of the protagonist. If their conflict was the cause of this mess, it's hard to see why you want them back and I assume they are actual ponies so they aren't really obligated to return or do anything.

7298277

I actually going to go more in-depth on this next chapter, but long story short is that the country is on the brink of collapse without them. It's not so much that they're wanted back (as the story at the beginning would show, the common ponies of Equestria have done just fine without them for a long time, even if it's been a hard time going), but they're needed back or else everything's going to come apart at the seams.

7297283 oh, I see. Still, I can't wait to see her in this story, she's my favourite mlp character.

7298473

Same here dude, and if you're really chomping at the bit for her then maybe get to the end of the chapter, huh? :raritywink:

7298225
Np, no spoilers. But then we can still guess the moment they meet each princess isn't going to be a tea party.
I really enjoyed reading this exposition first chapter and am eager for more!

7298297
I would argue that if they're needed back, then things haven't 'gone just fine' even if the individual ponies aren't especially bothered. At least not from a wider perspective. Unless you're only talking about cosmic changes, ponies must surely be beginning to realize some of the real consequences of the lack of a strong government to maintain order and provide protection.

As to the above, the setup is a bit so- so in my opinion, because so far it feels like an action Twilight initiated for her own reasons rather than ponies realizing something needed to be done and seeking out their former rulers.

7299251

Friend, you are actually more correct than you know, but to say anything further would spoil the entire plot.

Also, I was referring to more cosmic/world-altering changes; remember how I made mention of the moon juttering through the sky and the sun being insanely bright in certain parts of the country? These are all after-effects of the Princesses leaving, and while they've been going on for a long time it's only now that it's hitting the critical point where everything's starting to come apart. The societal stuff the ponies have just learned to deal with in whatever way they can, since the loss of the Princesses kind of soured the early commoners opinions on having such a centralized power structure.

7299229

Yeah, let's just say that they aren't going to go quietly, for whatever reason they have. Also, thanks for the compliment; I worked on this chapter alone for about a month-and-a-half trying to get all the set-up just right, so I'm glad to know that it paid off! :pinkiehappy:

This was a little disappointing. Not gonna waste time explaining why. Other people like it, so I'm sure this is just a me problem.

7299275
Please don't pay attention to comments who judge your full story right out of the first chapter. Especially if they don't bother telling why they don't like it.

7300191
Hey, no sweat dude, it's only the first chapter and most of it was exposition. Feel free to come back when I get more of it going, but until then your opinion is yours.

7300235
As long as it isn't death threats then I'm fine; it'll take more than one bad comment to get me in a tizzy. :raritywink:

I don't know about the lengths of time involved here... it seems the legends are awfully specific for ponies who vanished EONS ago... meaning one would have to contend with, at the very least, multiple millennia (or longer) of cultural drift.

7301009
That is actually a good point... I may do some re-writing to clarify that, although as far as the timeline is concerned it doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things since it can basically be boiled down to "they disappeared so long ago that most ponies either don't remember that they existed or treat their existence as legend." It's sort of like the situation regarding belief in the White Walkers/Children of the Forest in Game of Thrones, so that might give you a more accurate timescale (~ 8,000 years)

As for the cultural drift, the culture in general has stagnated ever since they left (the most accurate term for it would be Medieval Stasis). As such, these stories tend to persist simply because no new ones are being made; not a lot of time for the arts when you've got to contend with subsistence farming and monster attacks on a fairly regular basis.

7301043
Having an intentional time frame is good for consistency in my opinion. Still you have a point, exact dates aren't necessary, although somepony might have an idea.

Given that canon ponies had almost entirely forgotten about Nightmare Moon and apparently had no clue about Luna, 1000 years is probably plenty. Frankly, I think that a couple centuries might suffice here. A few generations (3-4?) removed from those who had actually seen Celestia and the others as well as the way things used to be is probably enough for some serious doubt and substantial change. Make it too long and there's likely little reason for them to remember the stories since they offer small hope at best and no concrete information. If it were me, I'd probably make it a nice round figure of 300+ years. I think that's plenty of time for serious decline and societal change without forgetting everything from the past. More than 1000 seems like a stretch.

7302876
Yeah, I think I'll ballpark it at around 700-800 years, since 1000 is a tad cliche at this point and anything less than that seems too short of a timeframe (the Renaissance and the Civil War were only separated by about 300 years in our world, but seem like completely divorced time periods when you look back on it.)

7300235 I did say it was a me problem. If you must know, I was disappointed with the Future-AU setting for the story right off the bat. It just means all OC's, and I already don't like Starlit. Why don't I like the OC's even though I haven't read them? That one I can't explain to you, it's just the way it is. I'll keep reading, I never said I wouldn't. I have faith in
7300849 as an author, and I don't doubt they will create a really good story with a good world and good OC's, despite my misgivings.

Sorry if my comment came off as being rude or just plain offensive. I actually meant to send PortalJumper a message directly explaining what I didn't like, but I guess I forgot until now. Oh well, no use doing it now! :twilightsmile:

7305152
It doesn't necessarily mean all OCs, it's just that they're the ones carrying most of the plot. I never said anything about canon characters not getting in here; after all, I just set up the fact that the Princesses and Chrysalis all exist in this story, so who's to say more canon characters can't get in?

That being said, thanks for being cool about this and giving future chapters a chance. This is the first big adventure story I've written since my first fic (which was disastrous) and I've learned a lot about how to structure a narrative like that since then. And frankly, all you guys in the comments sections giving me critiques and little things that you think could work better are all well appreciated and will be taken into account as I keep writing.

Also, if I could pry, what exactly don't you like about Starlit? Just for curiosity's sake and so I can tweak her personality some.

7305259 Well, thank you for accepting my critiques!

As far as Starlit goes, it's just something about the way she acted in the beginning when the stranger appeared to her. I don't know if this was the intention, but her reaction made it seem as though the appearance was routine, which implies that she has had strange characters appear in her home before. There was no response to the mind-reading besides "how did you know that?" Perhaps she could have experienced a sort of surreal feeling, or a coolness around her head, something that makes her view of the stranger more dynamic.

Past that, she was rather interesting. I just think I'm naturally averse to OC's because so few know how to write them well, but I promise I will see past the stigma and read with an open-mind!

EDIT: Also, I know that at least 5 canon characters will be in the story. I'd compare it to Airstream's Stormsinger and Courts of the Magi on fimfiction. They are set in the future, slightly AU now that it's pretty far off current canon, and is carried mainly by OC's. The story is good because it makes sense with the two prequels, which are carried mainly by canon characters, as background. Like I said, a lot OC's at the beginning is scary in any fan fiction. But I think this will be good, regardless! Happy writing, author!

7306293

You know, that is actually a very good point. I'll go back and change that, 'cause now that you mention it that particular scene did sound kinda wooden for a pony that doesn't deal with this sort of magic on a regular basis. As for getting robbed, I'd say that that is a pretty commonplace occurrence in this part of the country (thus the need to guard the warding lines at night), but I'll go back and clarify that.

I know how you feel about stories heavy with OCs, as well. I don't read much FanFiction, and that is mostly because ones with canon characters tend to get them out-of-character for the sake of the plot, and the ones with OCs try too hard to make them interesting on the surface without adding any real depth to them (the Mary-Sue problem is often attributed to this). There's something to be said for new authors trying to get into the scene and writing what they like, but after a time there needs to be some growth. That's why I constantly check my characterization on canon characters and plan out my OCs characters first and foremost, before even designing their appearance, because I want what they look like and how they act to suit who they are as a character, not the other way 'round. This is a lesson I had to learn the hard way with my disastrous first fic, but failure is probably the best teacher there is.

7302911
Welcome to rapid technological change, I suppose. :twilightsheepish:

7305259
The time window necessarily limits the number of canon characters drastically without a lot of work on setup or a deus ex machina to make them live longer than a hundred years. You could bring them in with flashbacks to a degree and maybe find a magic related reason for a couple more, but there's no way any of the mane six, cmc, or ponyville residents are still around at this point.

Just to add my two cents, Starlit seems a little bit flat (simplistic?) as a character and perhaps dragged along over much by invisible strings. One moment she's all lovey-dovey with her husband and thinking about their filly and the uncertainty the future holds. The next thing we now she's talking to a stranger, being hit by strange magic, then abandoning the warding lines and waltzing off after the stranger without a second thought and implicitly trusting her. These actions seem incongruous and also make her seem flighty and impulsive and perhaps not worth trusting with your safety. This is especially the case because of the implied backstory where the world is no longer a safe and orderly place. Her behavior is a little more consistent with canon Equestria where everything is safe and harmonious and the biggest problems are worrying about your child's future and if you might get fired from your job. It's not really in line with a world where you employ the most magic you can pull together and pray that something dangerous doesn't discover a taste for pony meat.

To elaborate, part of the problem is that, in my opinion, this chapter is trying to do too much at once. You're trying to set the stage for the story, introduce a handful of characters, show us some of the past and jump into action (an arc?) all at once. It would be completely valid here to infer that Starlit may never see her family again given the way it rushes past the setup. If I were you I'd consider backing off just a little bit, taking it a little slower, and either moving the encounter with Twilight into a second or third chapter or making her take a longer term approach to getting Starlit's attention/trust. I wouldn't trust someone at all who hit me with me with strange magic from their horn without even asking if that was okay (especially in a low magic world where unicorn horns don't work properly) and I certainly wouldn't follow them into the woods and away from safety without being compelled somehow. Maybe she believes and trusts in the 'Princesses' more than she makes out, but the introduction makes her seem like a skeptic.

P.S.
What they look like is a fact of life, so to speak, and doesn't need to wait for other stuff. Unless you mean race and sex which do have an impact. A pegasus and a unicorn are going to be somewhat different. Unless you're designing a genealogy or wanting a unique hair coloration then whether they are blue/green/red/purple doesn't really matter. Also, in real life our physical limitations affect in some ways how we turn out as people.

7309618

The time window necessarily limits the number of canon characters drastically without a lot of work on setup or a deus ex machina to make them live longer than a hundred years. You could bring them in with flashbacks to a degree and maybe find a magic related reason for a couple more, but there's no way any of the mane six, cmc, or ponyville residents are still around at this point.

Considering that this is an AU, the canon characters that I plan on including are going to come from different circumstances and have different roles and relationships. This isn't an "Equestria-but-in-the-future" scenario, it's a "familiar-names-and-places-but-in-a-completely-different-context" scenario. Stuff like Chrysalis being a Princess and locations like the Solar Plains and the Glowing Marshes are all ways that I'm differentiating the Alicornae Equestria from the show Equestria.

Just to add my two cents, Starlit seems a little bit flat (simplistic?) as a character and perhaps dragged along over much by invisible strings. One moment she's all lovey-dovey with her husband and thinking about their filly and the uncertainty the future holds. The next thing we now she's talking to a stranger, being hit by strange magic, then abandoning the warding lines and waltzing off after the stranger without a second thought and implicitly trusting her. These actions seem incongruous and also make her seem flighty and impulsive and perhaps not worth trusting with your safety. This is especially the case because of the implied backstory where the world is no longer a safe and orderly place. Her behavior is a little more consistent with canon Equestria where everything is safe and harmonious and the biggest problems are worrying about your child's future and if you might get fired from your job. It's not really in line with a world where you employ the most magic you can pull together and pray that something dangerous doesn't discover a taste for pony meat.

I think this line of thinking comes from this being the first chapter, and with that comes with the need for a lot of exposition and character development off the bat combined with a proper hook to draw the reader in. Future chapters are going to cement her personality more and give her that drive that a main character needs. That being said, her role in the story does come down to essentially being controlled by forces beyond her ken, but then breaking out of that control to do what has to be done for the country. I've made a few comparisons to Dark Souls, and Starlit's role is much like that of the Chosen Undead/Bearer of the Curse/Ashen One; she's a pawn in a much larger game, but has her own intrinsic motivation for following through on the journey that's being thrust upon her. This is something I'm going to elaborate on later.

To elaborate, part of the problem is that, in my opinion, this chapter is trying to do too much at once. You're trying to set the stage for the story, introduce a handful of characters, show us some of the past and jump into action (an arc?) all at once. It would be completely valid here to infer that Starlit may never see her family again given the way it rushes past the setup. If I were you I'd consider backing off just a little bit, taking it a little slower, and either moving the encounter with Twilight into a second or third chapter or making her take a longer term approach to getting Starlit's attention/trust. I wouldn't trust someone at all who hit me with me with strange magic from their horn without even asking if that was okay (especially in a low magic world where unicorn horns don't work properly) and I certainly wouldn't follow them into the woods and away from safety without being compelled somehow. Maybe she believes and trusts in the 'Princesses' more than she makes out, but the introduction makes her seem like a skeptic.

See the second response, but I'll concede that I might need to work on my pacing for upcoming chapters. I came upon the idea for this story after listening to a seriously amazing set of music (the Alicornae EP by Jyc Row, for those curious), and I guess the fervid nature of my writing caused the pacing and structure to slip a bit. This first chapter was trying to do a lot, but the set-up here is going to be paid off slowly over the course of the story so that I can get enough content out of what I have before shifting gears to the second act twist and third act.

What they look like is a fact of life, so to speak, and doesn't need to wait for other stuff. Unless you mean race and sex which do have an impact. A pegasus and a unicorn are going to be somewhat different. Unless you're designing a genealogy or wanting a unique hair coloration then whether they are blue/green/red/purple doesn't really matter. Also, in real life our physical limitations affect in some ways how we turn out as people.

Not quite sure what this is in reference to, but genealogy isn't a big thing here. The pony types, however, do have some issues related to the loss of magic when the Princesses left, which is something I'll go into later.

Hope this cleared some things up for you! I love being able to discuss and debate my works with others because it helps me cement what I want my story to be by seeing the ideas and theories others come up with. So, in a way, you guys are helping me write this, and I couldn't be more thankful for your help! :twilightsmile:

7310840
I see. If it's going to be an AU then you should carefully consider how changes in Equestrian history might affect the family history of the canon characters and even whether or not they exist in the first place. You might even change the names, relationships of the characters or even remove a few completely. Also, I would recommend trying to show something of the difference either shortly before or after the character's introduction to remind the reader that things are not the same. Otherwise, whenever 'Princess Twilight' or something of that sort shows up, a whole bundle of assumptions is likely to come with.

With regard to the first chapter I don't really agree entirely with that perspective. In my opinion, exposition ought generally to be limited and subject to the 'show not tell' rule in most cases. I also think it's possible to introduce the character and establish some things about them and have a hook without too much direct exposition., although I have only a little personal experience with writing such.

The last bit there was just my comments on your character creation notion and how I felt that the way the character looked physically (as far as coloration and size) didn't necessarily need to wait until you'd decided on a bunch of other details. My point was that, the way I see it, who you are as a person doesn't have a whole lot to do with your appearance beyond obvious limitation (only pegasi can fly and only unicorns can do magic -- or at least that would generally be true in mlp fanfic). With regard to genealogy I just meant that, logically, a filly or foal of two ponies X and Y is likely to resemble them or a more distant ancestor. So if you had planned out an ancestry then the next pony in line probably shouldn't have an entirely new palette that shares nothing with the others at all. Similarly a unicorn pony with a long family history of earth ponies probably shouldn't be ridiculously powerful and talented unless there is an appropriate explanation.

7320373

While I do generally agree with the Show, Don't Tell rule, I personally believe in Show And Tell. Think of it this way; what would be more infuriating for you? A story where everything is told to you, or one where everything is implied and there are no concrete facts to go off of? Both of these are aggravating in their own ways, and as such I try to balance out how much I Show vs. how much I Tell over the course of the story. I tend to frontload my works with the exposition as a way to set up the concrete facts of the world and how it works so that it can be established how everything fits together, and then spend the rest of the story building off of that initial exposition with occasional reminders of the varying rules while introducing scenarios and characters that imply more about the story and the world without stating it outright.

This might be what your problem with this first chapter is; you want it to be less direct with narrative exposition and world-building so that you can imagine for yourself certain aspects about it from the get-go rather than get a plot-dump right off the bat. I can respect that, I really can, but unfortunately that just isn't how I world-build in the beginning of a story. Also, as for the appearance thing, I tend to leave descriptions of appearance until absolutely necessary, and even then I try to find a way to weave it into the narrative naturally (such as how I mentioned Starlit and her husband rubbing horns before she went outside, thus establishing that they're unicorns without explicitly stating it). I've seen far too many stories that bog down the narrative with paragraphs of character and place description, and it always brings the pacing to a screeching halt.

As for differentiation, don't you fret my friend; there's going to be plenty that separates this world from the show's canon. As for assumptions made based how the characters interact in canon, I'm afraid that that is sort of on the reader; there's only so much I can do to make it clear that my version of Twilight (or Rarity or whoever) are from completely different circumstances while still staying mostly true to their canon characterization and character development. Any assumptions that are made about them based on their canon personalities are something that I can't really change.

7438761

Don't worry man, I'm working as fast as I can! I've got three stories to maintain, after all :raritywink:

Glad to see you like it!

Woo! Glad to see another chapter of this! Really interested to see where it goes from here. ^^

7673994

Thanks a bunch! Here's hoping I can get on a more consistent update schedule :twilightsheepish:

I saw this in my tracking and I had no idea what it was so I had to reread it. I'm glad I did it's a great story.
Keep up the the good work?

7674098

Yeah, kept ya waiting, huh?

All joking aside, I'm glad to see that you like the story and still have it bookmarked after all of this time! I'm gonna do my best to get on a better schedule with my writing, so here's to more (and hopefully more frequent) chapters ahead!

Looking good so far. Hopefully we find out what the mission will be soon.

Right, it was all Chryssie's fault, no one else was at fault at all. Admit it, Twilight, you just needed a scapegoat to blame all your faults on.

Nice chapter, though I feel that Twilight's recounting of the reasons for the fall is heavily biased.

7674804

Friend, imma tell you right now that you are spot on, and that WILL factor in later. Stay tuned :raritywink:

7674656

Well, each section is going to have a different way to reach the goal, but the end goal for each Part is going to be get the Princess back home. How that happens is where the fun comes in :pinkiehappy:

Hmmmmm..... Not Sure if OP Twilight

7674983 Interest in story further piqued. :pinkiehappy:

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