• Published 17th Dec 2016
  • 1,679 Views, 59 Comments

A Seemingly Familiar Tail - Copper Springs

Starswirl is a gifted unicorn and the star pupil of Princess Sunset Shimmer. She lives her days in the palace observatory with her dragon assistant. However soon Deepened Dusk will be free from her moon prison. What will our heroine do?

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Chapter 1: Starswirl

“And she will rain vengeance upon the land!” The young mare looked up from her book she had been translating and looked at the calendar. “The thousandth year...that's this year. And the Autumn equinox is just over a week away!” The dark blue unicorn began to worriedly pace in front of her window. The sunlight caught the golden stripe in her otherwise silver mane. “Okay, first things first. Tell the princess. Ember! Ember!” The mare called up the stairs.

“Coming!” Came her assistant’s voice. A few seconds later a small blue dragon with curved horns on the sides of her head flew down from the second floor of the observatory. “I finished wrapping Moon Dancer's gift.” Ember placed the present she had been holding on a table. “What's wrong Starswirl?” She asked, noticing the mare’s distress.

“Look at this!” Starswirl levitated the book and the translation to her. Ember skimmed over the story as Starswirl began to dig in a drawer for a quill.

“Deepened Dusk?” Ember questioned.

“Yes! She is going to return on the Fall equinox in just nine days! Ah ha!” She pulled out a quill. “We have to inform Princess Sunset immediately. Here.” She levitated the quill and a blank sheet of parchment over to Ember.

“Come on Starswirl. Isn't that just an old mare's tale? Plus you might have translated it wrong.” Starswirl looked aghast at the accusation. “Besides, you know the princess doesn't put much stock in prophecies.” She glared at the little dragon in annoyance.

“I am aware. Would you please write?”

“Fine.” Ember rolled her eyes and dipped the quill in an inkwell.

“Thank you. Now then. ‘Dear Princess Sunset. I am afraid that I must inform you that Equestria may be on the brink of disaster. I believe that in nine days time on the Autumn equinox, Deepened Dusk will escape her moon prison and once again try to fell the stars. We must prepare. Your faithful student, Starswirl.”

“Faithful...student...Starswirl. Done.” She rolled up the parchment and sent it off with a breath of fire. “I wouldn't hold your breath though.” The unicorn rolled her eyes.

“Now would you assist me in looking for a book on the Elements of Harmony? If they were used to defeated her once, they can be used to do it again.” She began pulling books from the nearest wall length bookshelf. Ember signed.

“So I assume we aren't going to Moon Dancer’s party then?” Ember asked, crestfallen.

“This is no time to think about parties, Ember.” Starswirl said, not sparing a moment from her search.

“Fine.” Ember begrudgingly started searching the higher shelves. She couldn't help but wonder if Starswirl was making a big deal about this just to avoid the party. After a few minutes of searching, Ember gave a fiery burp and a letter appeared as the flames died. “Huh. That was faster than expected.” She flew down to Starswirl.

“See, I knew she would listen. What does it say?”

“It says,” she unrolled the parchment and started to read it in her best impression of the princess. “ ‘My dearest student Starswirl. I am aware of the prophecy that you speak of. Please come see me. I am in the conference room. Signed, Sunset’ The conference room. That's odd. Do you think she has guests?” Ember looked up. Starswirl was already halfway to the door levitating her hat and cloak off the hook by the door.

“Come on Ember. We do not want to keep the Princess waiting.”

* * *

The clopping of Starswirl's hoofs on the marble floor echoed through the empty corridor. Ember was riding on the unicorn's back.

“But who do you think is here?” Ember persisted. “I mean someone has to be visiting the Princess. She only uses the Conference room to entertain guests. Maybe it's an emissary from Saddle Arabia!”

“I do not know Ember,” Starswirl said in exasperation. “And frankly, I do not care. We are meeting the Princess to discuss Deepened Dusk, not to help her entertain guests.”

“Oh come on Star! You aren't just a little curious?”

“No. Now shush. We're here.” They rounded a corner and came to the conference room doors. Two palace guards were standing on either side of the door. One was a pegasus and one a unicorn. Other than that they looked almost identical due to the enchantments on their armor. They each held a spear across the entryway. They were chatting about something, but fell silent when they spotted the pair approaching them.

“Ahem.” Starswirl stopped in front of them and gave a slight nod. The guards gave each other a bemused glance. “Mage Apprentice Starswirl and her dragon assistant Ember. Come to speak to her majesty, Princess Sunset Shimmer,” Starswirl said in her most formal tone. The guards were trying to hold back their laughter. Ember was openly giggling.

“Yes. Ahem.” The unicorn guard spoke up. “The Princess told us you were coming. Go right in.” They moved the spears out of the way. Starswirl was clearly annoyed at their lack of formality, but proceeded anyway. She was not prepared for what she saw when she opened the door.

The conference room was a large round room. While it was now called a conference room, it had originally been built as a war room. In the center was a large round table that depicted a map of Equestria and its surrounding neighbors. Normally the map was flat. However, Starswirl quickly noted that on this occasion the table was filled with holographs of the various mountains and cities that made up Equestria. That was not the most surprising thing going on in the room. At what could be considered the head of the table was a slightly ornate chair. This is where the Princess usually sat. Sunset was instead pacing around on the table. A clipboard of parchment floated in front of her. She scribbled on it as she muttered to herself, occasionally glancing down at the table and making a measurement of some kind.

Princess Sunset was the tallest pony Starswirl had ever met. Her coat was a beautiful pale orange with a darker orange patch behind her cutie mark. Her cutie mark was a sun that was a swirl of reds and yellows that matched her mane. Today she had her mane tied up, but that did not stop it from blowing in nonexistent wind like it always did. Atop her head, just behind her horn, she wore a crown made of obsidian with a few rubies and other jewels. She wore matching obsidian shoes on her hoofs.

All around the table were simple chairs. Most were empty except for three. To the right of the head seat sat a light pink mare that Starswirl knew well. Her blue eyes matched the blue highlight in her otherwise purple hair. She wore a crystal crown just behind her horn. Princess Flurry Heart, ruler of the Crystal Empire in the North. She had once been a pegasus, an orphan raised in the castle. Then a few years ago she earned her Alicorn status when she saved the Crystal Empire from its former dictator, King Sombra. She was talking to the armored unicorn next to her. Starswirl realized with a start that it was her brother Clover, captain of the royal guard. The light brown unicorn’s attention was torn between the discussion and moving mini battle figures around on the table so they wouldn't get stepped on by the pacing princess. Sitting to the other side of the head chair was a purple dragon with green spikes. He was small for a dragon, only a bit bigger than Princess Sunset. In one claw he held some sort of staff. The other claw he held over his mouth, clearly trying not to laugh at the situation.

Before Starswirl could say anything to get Princess Sunsets attention, Ember let's out an audible gasp. She launched herself off of Starswirl's back and flew over to the dragon. “Dragon Lord Spike!” She squealed in excitement.

Ah, thought Starswirl, that is why he looks familiar. Starswirl had met the Dragon Lord once before a few years ago and only briefly. She mostly remembered thinking that he looked small for a Dragon Lord. He had visited the Princess a few times since, but Starswirl wasn't really that interested in politics. Ember loved it when he visited. She didn't know many dragons and she deeply admired the Dragon Lord. Once he had told her she would make an excellent knight and now she practiced with the royal guards any chance she got.

“What are you doing here, Dragon Lord?” Ember asked excitedly. Embers outburst had gotten everyone's attention. Their tasks temporarily forgotten, Starswirl decided to take advantage. She cleared her throat to get their attention.

“Ahem! It is quite an honor to see you, Princess Flurry Heart,” she bowed to the alicorn, “Dragon Lord Spike.” She bowed to the dragon.

“Spike is just fine,” Spike told her. Ember gave the Dragon Lord a deep curtsy and both of them broke out in a fit of laughter. Starswirl ignored this. She turned to Princess Sunset, still standing on the table. She gave the deepest bow.

“I have come as you requested, your majesty.”

“Hmm? Oh! Yes, right, the letter.” Sunset carefully put down her clipboard and pen and stepped off the table. “You know you don't have to be so formal Starswirl.” Starswirl gave a vague hmph and a swish of her tail.

“Yes. Well, as you know I came becau-” Starswirl was cut off as Clover barreled into her, crushing her in a hug.

“Stars! I haven't seen you you in forever!” The armored colt proclaimed, not letting up on the hug.

“Can't breath,” Starswirl managed to choke out.

“Oops. Sorry.” Clover released her. Starswirl readjusted her hat as she glared at her brother. It was true she hadn't seen the colt in a while. He had been rather busy lately, not that she was complaining. His golden mane was messier than usual. His armor, different than the guards outside, covered his cutie mark. She turned back to Princess Sunset who had begun to scribble on her clipboard again. She took a deep breath, prepared to convince the Princess of the looming danger, even if it took all night.

“Princess Sunset! Deepened Dusk is going to break out of her moon prison in less than two weeks! When she does she is going to try to destroy Equestria using the stars! We need to come up with a plan to stop her!” The Princess put her clipboard down again.

“Actually, Starswirl, that's why I called these two here.” She nodded to her guests.

“Wait, you actually believe the prophecy is right?” Starswirl was surprised.

“I know that it is a possibility. It has been a thousand years since Dusk was banished to the moon, and it is true that the magic that keeps her their is weakening. I like to be prepared for all possibilities.” The alicorn Princess returned to her clipboard.

“That is wonderful!” Starswirl said cheerfully. “What can I do to help? Perhaps look for protection and barrier spells. I will start in the Lulamoon section of the library.” She began pacing.

“Actually Starswirl,” Flurry Heart cut into her train of thought, “that's what me and Clover are doing. As you know the Crystal Heart has powerful protection magic-”

“And shield spells are my specialty,” Chainmail interrupted. Flurry Heart scrunched her nose in annoyance.

“So,” she continued, “if we can combine the magic from the Crystal Heart with the right spells, we should be able to protect Equestria from any falling stars. At least, for a little while.” A concerned look crossed her face.

“We've been combing the library for the last couple weeks,” Clover spoke up again. Starswirl now noticed the bags under her brother’s eyes.

“Oh.” Starswirl's face fell.

“There is something I need you to do for me, Starswirl,” Sunset said. Starswirl's ears perked up. “I've been so busy with this that I haven't been able to look in on the preparations for the Fall Festival. Do you think you could do that for me?”

“Oh. Sure.” Starswirl was crestfallen.

“Great! Now I know I had the information for the Festival somewhere. Where did I put it.” She brought one hoof to her chin, thinking.

“Um Sunset,” Spike spoke up. “I think you were writing on the plans.”

“Hmm?” She picked up her clipboard and rifled through the papers. She chuckled. “Seems you're right. Silly me. Here you go Starswirl.” She took the papers off of her clipboard and floated them over to her. Starswirl grabbed them with her magic and gave them a once over. The Princess had used the back of the Fall Festival plans as scratch paper.

“Princess, I hate to question you, but do you truly think it wise to go through with the Festival?”

“Dusk’s return is only one possibility. It isn't certain. Cancelling the Festival will only cause panic. Now I need new paper.” The princess began looking for fresh paper, clearly done with the conversation.

“Of course your majesty.” She gave a final bow to the Princess. “Come on Ember.” She magically pulled the small dragon over to her and exited the room.

Author's Note:

This isn't where I wanted to end the chapter, but it was taking way to long to get through it.

Comments ( 38 )

at first i thought i miss read but nope in this world starswirl is indeed a girl

...and so this worlds Trixie is the legendary mage from long ago, like starswirl the bearded. I look forward to seeing where this goes!:twilightsmile:

I like the change to Fall Equinox. Sure, it makes sense for the Mare in the Moon to escape on one of the 4 most celestially important days of the year, but Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year seems weird for someone who seeks to bring forth Eternal Night. Much better with Winter Solstice, or, like here, one of the days where night is equal to day

And I do love to see the familiar names in new locations. Spike as dragon lord (I guess he's technically Dragon Lord in canon, does it count if he abdicated?), Trixie as the ancient mage, and all that jazz. Can't wait to read more

At this point I'm not sure how similar this Starswirl will be to cannon. I started this story before Shadow Play.

idea have the bearded come as a way to cover her identity with her works the she publishes like daring does with a.k.yearling

That is a good idea. I will consider it.

glad to hear it

That's one way to send a faithful student into the right place with an investigative mindset.
I look forward to the next installment.
Might I add that I absolutely LOVE the fact that Starswirl is obsessed with formalities?

I'm glad you liked it! Another trait of Starswirl's is that she rarely ever uses contractions! Though that's not really obvious at first.

Wow I love it can't wait to see more and I'm glad it's not just a character switch with the same plot (hate when that happens) goodluck!!:pinkiehappy:

With love,

I like it. Hope to see more soon.
Keep it up m8

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Hopefully I'll have more soon!

The only problem if have with Starswirl is I have no idea what she looks like what it's hard for me to picture her . And is the villain's name Midnight Sparkle or Deepened Dusk ??

Starswirl is a mare with the standard body shape we see in the show. Her coat is dark blue and her mane and tail are silver with a golden stripe.
I changed the villains name to Deepened Dusk. Someone suggested it in the comments and I liked it. I changed it in the Prologue too, but I might have missed some.
Edit: I did indeed miss a couple places. They are fixed now. Sorry for the confusion.

Yay, another story where best pony has wings! Fweet

I take it you are a Sunset fan?

Look at my profile picture. It is #73 of 274. What does that say about me. Also, is ‘Tail’ as opposed to ‘tale’ intentional?

Alright, now that I’ve read this, thoughts.

I. As opposed to Celestia, Sunset didn’t just ignore Nightmare Moon/Darkened Dusk, but rather TOOK INITIATIVE. Good job Sunny.
II. Gender-bender Starswirl and Clover? Strange and unnecessary, but alright.
III. Flurry Heart and Cadance swapped places? I’m seeing a lot of swapping.
IV. Ember as assistant, hmmm. I wonder how the wings’ll play into things.
V. Back to II, couldn’t you just throw Clover in as the student, instead of doing a gender bender? I don’t like those much...
VI. EqG? Nah, probably not. I’d like to see Principal Sunset though. Commission idea!
VII. I’m wondering how the millennia’ve treated Sunny and Twi. Here’s for hoping Sunset’s not useless.
VIII. Is ‘Tail’ as opposed to ‘tale’ intentional? It’s a mite strange. Not everything has to be a horse pun.
IIX. Shipping? (There’s blank space here. Ramble ramble ramble!)
IX. Are the elements of harmony to change at all? Maybe the shrubbery of harmony? Ni!
X. Is this getting an update schedule? Those make everything better.
XI. Is Twi gonna have a massive obsession with books? That’ed be interesting.
XII. Back to III, is Cadance gonna be Flurry’s slightly destructive daughter? If so, what’s Flurry the princess of?

Twelve points to ravenclaw.

I also managed to get all this from less then 4000 words. FEAR MY NITPICKING.

I am too, keep up the good work.

Before Starswirl could say anything to get Princess Sunsets attention, Ember let's out an audible gasp. She launched herself off of Starswirl's back and flew over to the dragon. “Dragon Lord Spike!” She squealed in excitement.

Ah, thought Starswirl, that is why he looks familiar. Starswirl had met the Dragon Lord once before a few years ago and only briefly. She mostly remembered thinking that he looked small for a Dragon Lord. He had visited the Princess a few times since, but Starswirl wasn't really that interested in politics. Ember loved it when he visited. She didn't know many dragons and she deeply admired the Dragon Lord. Once he had told her she would make an excellent knight and now she practiced with the royal guards any chance she got.

Yeah he may be small but he is quite tough. Also I'm curious who will be the main villain of this universe's version of season 3. Flurry Heart did beat Sombra.

There is going to be more swapping. The swapping was the idea that made me start fic.
I did not mean to have both Clover and Starswirl be gender bent. Starswirl's brother had a different name at first, but I changed it to Clover. I hadn't even thought about the fact that that meant I was gender bending both of them.
Tail was actually a typo that I decided to keep.
As far as the elements of harmony, you will have to wait and see.
There will not be a release schedule. Life is hectic and even when I have free time I don't always feel like writing.
I'm glad you liked it enough to nitpick that much!!

Crow is my spirit animal. Also, I hate gender bending.


I don't know if Sunset wouldn't know, since Celestia seemed to be sure of Luna's return, so I'd assume Sunset would know too. Still, interesting story so far, I just think you might want to alter the writing a bit. It's a little too formal in my opinion. Other than that though, this is cool.

Can't wait to see who RD is in this, unless the Mane 6 remain mostly the same? Maybe she's captain of the wonderbolts?

Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure if I can be less formal. I think that's mostly just my style of writing. If your talking about Starswirl specifically, she is supposed to be very formal, and often gets annoyed when others aren't.

The mane six will not be the same. I had not thought to make her the captain of the wonder bolts. That is a great idea! Do you mind if I use it?

I mean even outside of dialogue. I know it's really hard to change your writing style, but no one ever said writing is easy. :ajsmug:

Not at all, go ahead :D

Interesting. moar.

so whens the next chapter

This is very interesting i cant wait to read more!

There is a few things I'd really love to see in here and some questions answered ,

1st This wont be just a character switch with the same plot as the show, that it gets originality.

2nd Deepened Dusk gets more than just a couple chapters of villain time and we get in-depth reasons as to why she chose that path, and is she truly evil or is her sister also at fault?

3rd In some of my most favorite fics Nightmare/Luna are portrayed as either separate beings with (Nightmare as a parasite), Nightmare as a separate personality,Nightmare being Luna's true self as she is night, Dark ect. , Or even a illusion used to frighten her subjects into submission .What exactly is Deepened Dusk?

How come this hasn't been updated? It's good!

I will say nothing about updates because I'm the same way. But, I really hope this continues.

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