• Published 19th Apr 2016
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Ageless, or Celestia Plays Dice With the Universe - Cynewulf

The prospect of Twilight being possibly ageless like she and her sister are unnerves Celestia, and she wants to know why.

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V. I played Dice with the Universe

Celestia's Oration, given in halting softness in the Court of Love:

I am not in love with Twilight Sparkle--but I am excited about the potential for it. When you linger on through the centuries, you too will begin to see life less and less from the ground level. When I’ve tried to explain this to my little ponies, they inevitably worry that I see them less as ponies and more as some sort of experiment or toy, and nothing could be farther from the truth. Mothers have understood me the best--the joy they have regarding the possible future of their foals is the closest to what I feel.

I am not in love with Twilight Sparkle, but I had considered it a possibility. I was fond of her. When I first met her, I knew almost immediately that with effort and luck she had the potential to be the first archmage in a century. I was delighted, and then I discovered that she was an excitable, happy foal who loved learning--so unlike her surly predecessor!--and who smiled so brightly.

It was during her time as my student that I saw three things which worried me and one which left me curious. She kept her energy but lost some of her warmth. She was prone to anxiety and worry to an unusual degree. And, most worryingly, she idolized me. The last stung a bit, in the long run, but I soldiered on.

And I noticed also that she had begun to look at me in a different way. Young Twilight had a crush.

To be honest, I was relieved. That fillyhood crush was what kept her from becoming an automaton. We were very casually affectionate, even if Twilight was always nervous in her eagerness to appear like what she expected me to demand. I made sure she felt appreciated and loved outside of the walls of her family, and her crush faded a bit as crushes do.

Whether it was arrogant or not, I thought that we would cross paths on the roads of love when she had grown out of my tutelage. And then I realized that she was not simply archmage material. She was the first and final candidate. She was the one to whom apotheosis could be given after a thousand years of waiting. I was ecstatic.

I was foolish in my excitement.

At last I sent her the incomplete spell, Starswirl’s great final fugue. At last, she won her own glory from the universe itself.

My aspects worry over the making of a potential new near-immortal for practical reasons. But I myself worry for wholly personal ones. I do worry she will be unhappy, specifically with me. Whatever form her Inner Court will take, I fret over how she will handle living severally, always and ever accompanied.

But mostly? Mostly I’m afraid of having a friend forever. Or a lover.

My entire life, I have outlived every friend and lover. I have become accustomed to being alone even when I am not alone. As cruel as it has sounded to many along the long march of years, I have become accustomed to letting to, an expert on grieving on the go. Their quick lives helped me to feel that I myself was living, caught up in their change. I could love because their mortal urgency was fertile ground for it. Without some sort of ending, without a view of death, what was to push a pony towards the enormity of intimacy? Time? Casually drifting into one another?

In the context of a lifetime--what we have is not a lifetime--I could make sense of love. I could make sense of companionship. But the difficulties of keeping a friendship strong and alive for forty years pale in comparison to the idea of being followed for all of time by somepony else.

A lifetime of seventy or eighty years and you’ll not exhaust a pony’s self, but you will exhaust what it is you can find through the walls of their spirit. When that is done? What comes after? What do you… do? What do you talk about? Luna and I are different. The relationship is a priori.

Where once I fondly and idly wondered that Twilight and I might have a rendezvous before some disputed barricade of love now I fear it. I worry if we are even simply friends in the hereafter! Does time spoil that? I don’t know! I’ve never…

I’ve never had a friend who could keep up with me. That sounds so awful. I’ve never had a friend who was an equal on her own four legs, and not because I took off my crown to stand beside her. Does that make me petty? Does it make me arrogant?

Does it make me lonely?

I was so caught up in possibilities that seem so dim and distant now. Of association that went on forever--that is what I dreamed of, and that is what I wanted. To have Twilight forever, if she would have me, in one way or another. We would fly together with Luna and yourself, Cadance, inwards and upwards forever. I thought it would be perfect. So I acted. I sent her the spell. I didn’t even write a more thorough warning with it. I just… I just acted, like a lovesick filly eager to picked up for a date. And now all I can think about is the fallout. What happens if we separate? If it doesn’t work? A heated word or three and I will suffer for a few years, but with Twilight I will suffer and pine for centuries. Will we become so tied together that we become entirely different?

Some ponies think that I am a master chess player, and they are right. I am fantastic at chess. Their mistake is thinking that my skill extends to the real world. In some ways, it does. Live long enough and you’ll see most everything at least once. You can predict the future with just enough accuracy to appear all-knowing and all-wise, and even if you wished to, nothing will dissuade your little ponies from believing this. But you won’t want to dissuade them. Why would you? It’s useful, and it helps them feel safer.

The truth is that I’ve always played dice with the universe.

Every elaborate plan, every trap for pony and beast, ever carefully controlled conversation… no chess. Only dice. They roll in my head day in and day out. Like any gambler I am playing against the fabric of creation as much as I am the mare across the way. I can look into a pony’s eyes and see more of their soul than their spouses can see in a decade, and yet I can still be fooled. Other minds do not work like we expect. No pony is predictable in the way we think.

I rolled the dice and they came up apotheosis. I have what I wanted. Twilight is delighted with her newly earned duties and eager to fulfill a new mission. I rolled the dice and they came up redemption and Luna was given to me. Now I roll the dice and wait. If she is not ageless, as seems more and more unlikely, then the way I have lived will continue, more or less. If she is… if she is than my dice come up snake eyes and I shall have to find a new way to live, because I do not think I could ever ignore her, student or lover or friend, and she will never, ever leave.

Author's Note:

thanks, Eisenstein