• Published 30th Jan 2017
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The Bridge: The Eclipse Times - Tarbtano

1,000 years before The Bridge brought the kaiju, the worst trial of Princess Celestia Alexandria Alicor's life came after Nightmare Moon

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Waning Totality

“What do you mean she’s gone?!”

The roaring voice of Commander Hurricane could have given Celestia or Luna’s royal voice a run for it’s money, magic or not, as it shook the castle and practically deafened the captain marching down the halls and out the main gate beside him. Captain Ardent Sentry hurried along to keep pace with the stallion twice her age, trying not to shout but the effort was in vain due to how badly her ears were ringing.

“I had no means of following her except on wing and she got away from me!”

“She’s a giant white mare with a horn, wings, and a rainbow mane that moves under its own power; how could she blend into a crowd?!”

“She teleported out of the city limits and flew off!”

“And you didn’t fly after her?! Captain Sentry, she’s potentially the most powerful being on the continent, she’s a hormonal teenager, and she’s distressed to the point of being mentally unfit for anything! Look out there!”

Commander Hurricane bellowed, pointing out to the horizon and the distant mountains to the north Celestia was last seen flying towards.

“There are hundreds of thousands of ponies terrified of her out there! Some of which might be scared enough to try something really bold.”

“With respect sir, commander, sir. You’re the one who taught her to fly, you know what she’s capable of! Even if she was airborne and not using magic you know how few of us can keep pace with her! And if she’s so powerful why are you so scared she’ll get hurt?”

Commander Hurricane let a snarl seep out of his throat and he looked to the large mare with a glare that could bend steel. On instant Ardent Sentry was struck with such terror she went stiff as a board, as many would when they had the legendary old soldier bearing down on them.

“Do not mistake my worry, captain. I’m worried somepony will be stupid enough to try something after your mistak-”

Salvation soon came from the one pony in the continent who could speak up to the pegasus leader. Corporal Pansy Shy was still as cowardly as ever, being more a tactician than a leader or soldier, but the years had given her more guile with her commander’s sway. She poked a hoof up from behind Ardent Sentry and cleared her throat.

“Ehm, it’s true Commander. Captain Sentry here tried to keep pace with her but it wasn’t possible. She was one of the first hooves on the ground at the square and by then Princess Celestia had already vanished. The main reason she couldn’t try to pursue, if she even could keep pace considering her lack of speed talent, was that she was helping the other guards gather up the dazed and wounded from the shockwave attack. By the time they landed, Princess Celestia had already gotten so far away that she vanished soon after.”

Pansy and Sentry both gulped as Commander Hurricane visibly fumed with a reddening throat and twitching lip. Sucking in his breath, the dark blue stallion held it and counted down before releasing. Rolling his shoulders, Hurricane shrugged with much less edge in his tone as his demeanor shifted from enraged to stoically somber.

“My apologies for the outburst, Captain, Corporal. But we must find her, immediately. Starswirl is already breathing down my nape about this and I’m not a young stallion anymore.”

Captain Sentry sighed through her nose and absentmindedly nodded. Commander Hurricane was a legend amongst all three races and he still kept a fit, muscular build. But he was clearly past his prime at mid-late middle age, with more wrinkles on his face and graying on his mane and fur visible the more Ardent Sentry and Pansy looked at him. His anger spiralling down, Hurricane sounded more… tired, than anything else. It was a sobering thought and realization to see or hear someone so mighty being lowered by age and worry. One of these days if he kept pushing himself as hard as he used to he was going to regret it.

All the more reason to get Princess Celestia back as soon as possible.

Hurricane looked like he was pondering through some options in his head to give a new set of orders when the rapid fire clip-clop of rushed hoofsteps coming from the hall behind them and a frantic shout diverted his attention. A yellow-furred, curly orange-maned mare with white freckles the pegasus trio recognized as secretary Smart Cookie sprinted around a corner and rushed up to them.

“Commander Hurricane!”

Hurricane turned to face Smart Cookie, eyes glancing to the scroll she had curled up and tucked under her hat and spotting the council’s seal.

“I need good news Mrs. Cookie, got a situation on my hooves that isn’t getting any better.”

He grumbled, earning a negative response by Smart Cookie. Her ears flopped down and she lowered her neck, making her already fairly short stature even lower.

“Unfortunately none to be had. New findings just came in for the meeting, Starswirl is urgently requesting your presence in it.”

“I need more information than that. What is going on Mrs. Cookie? I’ve got a missing, emotionally distressed demigoddess on my hooves.”

She sighed, holding out the scroll to offer it up to Hurricane and bowing her head down. Smart Cookie’s tone became drowned in a deluge of grief and hesitance.

“It’s Timbucktu…. We have a witness reporting in from a frontier it had been flying over. We… We think there has been an attack.”

Commander Hurricane took the scroll and tore it open, frantically reading through the outlined list of information written upon it in obvious haste. Usually Hurricane would chastise the old wizard or some of the others on the council for frivolous mannerism or details, wanting them just to get to the point. For the first time he was regretting that desire. Starswirl didn’t even bother with formalities or etiquette, just cutting to the horrific truth. Hurricane’s face noticeably paled, jaw dropping agape as he quivered with a mix of grief, worry, and hatred. Starswirl’s last line spelled it all out to the climax.

-”Timbucktu ghost city. Changeling horde confirmed to be behind attack. No reports of survivors.”-

Northern Frontier

Unable or unwilling to fly much more, Princess Celestia stumbled along aimlessly through the forest like a wayward, heavy drunkard. Her steps were unsteady and wobbling, a side effect of the constant vertigo and weakness draining her. Mud and twigs marred her fur and clung to her mane, which was waving about noticeably frantic in four second spurts of rampant magic. Every four seconds the alicorn gasped, stumbled and fought to control her balance through the vertigo and deafening ringing in her ears. Every four seconds the spirals of her horn would violently ignite and she’d be forced to vent off the fluctuating magic before it could rip into her mind with a debilitating migraine.

Luna was gone and with the stress at both Starswirl endangering himself against the Sirens, Night Shroud’s unintentional antagonism, and remorse at accidentally harming the latter so suddenly she could only pray she hadn’t seriously harmed the stallion; Celestia was in both mental and physical agony. This was life now. Being a useless drain upon her family figures as they tried to care for her, a symbol of fear to a growing number of ponies, a physical threat to everything around her without her balance around. She could tell herself it wasn’t her fault. The founders cared for her because they loved her, Night Shroud and his group were just afraid due to a misunderstanding, and these magical shockwaves that tore out of her were due to circumstances beyond her control.

That didn’t mean she had been oblivious to said shockwaves carving a path of knocked-over trees, hurled dirt and gravel, and flattened shrubs that left little to wonder which way she’d taken through the forest. Pained tears running down her eyes, Celestia forced herself to stop and bear through another uncontrollable outburst, forcing all her willpower to keep the blast contained as much as possible. Managing to hold it in for several agonizing seconds, the alicorn directed the pressure upwards and launched it into the clear space above her. The blastwave of condensed magic and moving air crashed like thunder and blew a hole in the clouds far above the forest. The fantastic boom sent dozens of animals running for cover or more effectively, running as far away as they could from the alicorn. Celestia whimpered and sniffled her clogged nose, croaking an apology to a flock of songbirds she’d sent flying away for their lives. Unable to speak through a muted throat, she could only tilt her head down as she sobbed and hope somehow fate would hear her apology.

-I’m so-ory… I’m so-so ackg!... Sorry…-

Celestia looked behind her at the path of destruction she unwillingly wrought. Seeing the snapped trees, crushed shrubs, and craters carved into the ground gave her harrowing thoughts of what might have happened had she remained in a populated area. Ruining a forest with nopony or sapients in it might have been preferable to demolishing mainstreet Canterlot, but it was still a hated choice for the alicorn due to all the needless devastation. She’d just have to find somewhere even more remote, more solitary. The northern range was full of mountains. Celestia held her breath to keep from crying again as she looked up and saw the distant peaks.

-Y-Yes… I’ll just go there. I’ll fly… t-eleport… crawl, whatever I have to do. I’ll go up to the highest spot I can find and just stay there!-

Wiping her flooded eyes, the alicorn limped towards the spire of rock visible through the blown-down trees. Logic would beg to ask her what she was supposed to do for food or water when up there, or that she’d go mad from isolation if she did find a way to live. But at this point she was too far gone to care. The words of one of Starswirl’s teachings reverberated through her psyche.

-”You look like a pony but you’re not, not entirely at least. You’ll never be just like them.”-

Had she not been in emotional freefall or rock bottom, she might have remembered the follow up words; about how as an alicorn she embodied an ideal the races established when they came together to form Equestria, how she had the potential for greatness, and how her long lifespan would be a benefit to all those around her. Celestia tripped on her shaking hooves, falling into a muddy creek that covered her in chilled water and wet dirt. Looking as miserable as she felt, the alicorn slowly got back her footing and continued on while briefly stealing a glance at her own reflection in the waters below.

She was supposed to be seen as an ideal for all. Horn of a unicorn, wings of a pegasus, strength of an earth pony. Big, tall, radiant, and warm as a rising sun. A protector who’d live for generations upon generations alongside her sister in honor of their adoptive family. But deep inside, amidst all her turmoil and grief, Celestia felt a cold rage begin to fester and snuff out the warmth. She wasn’t a pony, she was an unaging creature that looked like one. Her height, her power, all exaggerations of what was the norm to create an unnatural beast.

Those poor souls who tried to raise her, they were duped into taking her in by whatever force or entity that birthed her. For all she knew they were part of some plot against the ponies that was still in action because she certainly would have damaged Canterlot more than Discord ever could have had she stayed!

Celestia beheld the crying, dirtied, abomination; one cursed to live for centuries alone. No sister, no parents, doomed to see any lovers or children, if she could even have any, grow old and die while she stayed static. Starswirl, Clover, Cookie, Platinum, all of them had been so wrong.

Being an alicorn wasn’t an idealized pony brought to life. It was doomed desire by something pretending to be one.

Celestia’s expression sneered, her lips curling into a snarl that was equal parts agony and hatred. Parts of her were furious at herself, parts of her furious at whatever equivalent to parents she had, furious at the ponies themselves; and other parts were beginning to understand why her dear Luna had changed so much. A change that was beginning to be very tempting…

Spent from the constant magic use and physical exertion, Celestia collapsed just after managing to pull herself out of the stream and onto the bank.

Unconscious, she didn’t see a subtle glow begin to move through the forest. Numerous plants began to regrow as the presence walked by and many animals previously scared off by Celestia’s unintentional rampage looked out from their hiding places in silent awe. A calm returned to the wilds as a glowing mass of pure light approached the fallen alicorn. Her time here was agonizingly short. They were far from the Everfree and her presence wouldn’t last long.

But she had to be here, at least for this.


Celestia cleaned of grime, muck, and twigs, laid against a large mass that lay beside her with the alicorn’s head propped up against a soft shoulder. Still twitching in her sleep from the same ever present nightmares that rained down upon her like the beams of the hovering moon that bore the mark of a dark alicorn, Celestia finally found rest when a voice as quiet as a falling leaf whispered something to her.

Time run out, Princess Celestia would briefly awaken from her slumber in a different state. Still exhausted and only half awake, the world seemed different. The agony in her head seemed gone as well the pressure born from her out-of-control magic. Parts of her still hurt and fractured, but not falling to pieces anymore. Mouth slightly agape, she reached up and touched at her horn to confirm it was there. Alone in the wilderness as she sat up in a half delirious state, she quietly took a moment to look around before gazing up at the moon hovering high above with unsure feelings.

She’d been having a nightmare, that much was certain based off fuzzy memory and logic of what she’d been having for the past weeks; but beyond that there was the slight nagging feeling that there was something else. She observed the forest around herself and it was obvious some things had shifted. The plants were grown back and flickers of eyeshine indicated some animals observing her from a close proximity. A flock of small birds chirped as they rested in a shrub to her right, tilting their heads at the sitting alicorn curiously, whereas she last remembered driving them away. And of course she was clean again, no longer feeling the aching muscles and migraines that accompanied overuse of magic. But there was something else less tangible, almost like a faint whisper in the wind which she looked to but saw nor smelled nothing. Her rage was hushed. The abyss she almost fell into, the same one that had swallowed up Luna… something had yanked her away from it.

She thought she heard a wind chime. For the briefest moment she remembered an after-curfew chat with Luna in a time that seemed so long ago. Her sister made an audacious claim, one the then filly-aged Celestia had scoffed at. She claimed she remembered a voice before the ponies found them. A voice that softly rung like a chime. Celestia’s face quivered and her long since silenced throat opened as she formed a single word. The first word she’d spoken since the eclipsed day following her sister’s banishment, muttered with a mix of disbelief and questioning before the urgency of rest overtook her again.

“... Mother?”

Celestia’s tired eyes beheld the world around her, trying to catch a glimpse of someone she previously thought impossible, before exhaustion forced them shut again.

Later that same night

A series of echoing crashes crisscrossed the night as multiple small sonic booms went off above the massive cloud formation. A half-dozen pegasi, many sporting body armor, slowed themselves down to a hover as they closed in on Timbucktu. Or more correctly, the still-smoking husk of it. Commander Hurricane’s breath was labored for more reasons than the exertion from the flight, for when the pegasi landed the newer members weren’t alone in expressing shocked gasps at what was before them.

Timbucktu was a jewel city turned into a ghost town. Numerous buildings were still smoking, be it from changeling fire or overturned lanterns and torches. The streets were littered with broken weapons, torn cloths, overturned vendor stalls, and spoiling goods. The once-grand commons hall where Hurricane and Orion would converse and debate so much with each other and their subordinates lay smoking as little more than broken pillars, torn tapestries, and a shattered ceiling covered in magic burns. And there was something else, shriveled up and littering the streets and clouds that stole the breath of any whom saw it. History wouldn’t remember Timbucktu’s legendary fall in a mixture of myth and truth due to forgotten details, it would be so because nopony present wanted the full cost of the attack in those details to be known so vividly.

A tattered flag showing the city’s gleaming emblem was torn away from its bent pole, twirling in the wind before hitting the ground and rolling in front of the pegasi.

Steeling himself with mythical levels of nerve, Commander Hurricane barked his orders while he lowered the lance mounted to his side armor to a battle-ready position, just in case some of the growing shadows in the ruins decided to jump out at them.

“Search for survivors. If you find something do not keep it to yourself.”

“Yes, Commander!”

Several minutes later and the pegasi had fanned out, combing the streets and buildings while keeping mind to stay in visual range of each other. With it being plainly obvious it was an attack, and changelings at that by the looks of things due to some older members recognizing the green fire scorch marks and trademark dive bombing patterns from the troubling times years ago, they weren’t going to risk trying to investigate a darkened building or cranny out of eye and earshot of a comrade. It was common for raiders to leave a few behind for looting as well as the chance of a hysterical survivor lashing out on mistake.

Lifting an overturned vendor stand back up to its foundations, Ardent Sentry had to fall back on her training not to emote when her hoof brushed up against something dry, shriveled, and light. She stoically closed her eyes and shook her head, using her hoof to nudge a loose teddy bear back to its owner. Still keeping her nerve, the captain wasn’t able to stop a saddened sigh as she crouched down and closed a pair of jewel-like, paled eyes. Taking a brief moment to bow her head in a nod, she moved on to the next setting. Stepping up before a half-caved in house, Ardent Sentry brought up a torch and after striking a few sparks from the blunts of her wingblades, relit it and held it to the front of the pitch black interior. What looked like it had once been an opening leading to the second story, no doubt for the homeowners to fly up through to access a bedroom, had been crushed downwards and spewed out chunks of broken roof and warped cloud. The telltale scorched circle of magic that still bore green embers in a few spots easily allowed her to imagine what happened when multiple armed changelings smashed through the roof as a rain of fireballs and surprised those inside.

“He-llo? This is Commander Hurricane’s flight team! If there’s anypony in here, sound off!”

Her voice echoed through the derelict house, but received no response. She was about to head inside to investigate, setting the torch down beside the entrance, when the voice of Commander Hurricane caught her attention.

“Captain Sentry!”


Ardent Sentry turned and saluted to Hurricane, who was standing at the front of the grand commons hall.

“Get over here and bring that torch! Private, you and Sergeant Firefly take over searching the house!”

Ardent Sentry did as told, picking up the torch and flying over to land next to Commander Hurricane. Taking the torch, he impaled it upon his lance to make an improvised, mobile light post before motioning for the captain to follow. Hovering over a fallen pillar, they surveyed the interior damage under the flickering firelight and moonbeams reflecting off the polished marble. The interior of the hall was just as damaged as the exterior. The only noise that permeated the premises was the hiss of passing wind coming through the compromised roof or walls and the distant echoes of the soldiers outside calling out in vain for any survivors. With the place looking the way it did, one could be forgiven for thinking they were hearing the ghosts of the fallen.

Much of the structure was heavily damaged. Dents and cracks smashed into the walls, collapsed ceilings, and overturned tables, shattered vases, and everything else not attached to the floor now scattered across it. Silent all the way through as they walked and hovered hall to hall, Ardent Sentry finally broke the quiet.

“Commander. With respect, why aren’t we searching for any survivors in here?”

Commander Hurricane didn’t break stride, hovering over a fallen pillar and entering the core chamber. Despite his professional voice, one could see his ears and shoulders lowering slightly as he spoke.

“There are none. Not in here. I’ve checked with the Private…”

Ardent Sentry pursed her lips, glancing over at what lay across the floor in the hall’s wide, circular inner chamber where the council was held. A dozen or so pony sized forms wrapped in whatever large amounts of cloth were on hoof; flags, carpets, and sheets. Due to the dead until proper arrangements could be made. Morbid, but still astute, she perked her head up to where Commander Hurricane was walking towards.

“Then what are we doing here, Commander?”

“Investigating. This is the heart of the city, some things that need a second look.”

“Seems like changelings though, right?”

Hurricane didn’t turn his back, instead gazing upon various tapestries and maps on the wall that were illuminated by the torch.

“Captain, you see any action against those things?”

“Some, Commander. I was just a private when Chrysalis attacked the fringes but I was in Canterlot trying to protect the refugees from Tirek the whole time. A few incursions did occur, just not helmed by Chrysalis. I petitioned to join the front lines but you always rejected them, Sir.”

Ardent gulped, hoping she didn't say anything offending to her superior. Commander Hurricane, either opting not to focus on the topic in itself or having more important things to worry with; ignored it.

“You ever seen a swarm attack?”

“No. I only saw their actions in the frontier after the fact, when they were keeping the gryphons or Saddle Arabians from helping when all the other chaos hit.”

“Well, you’re looking at a fresh attack now…. Fly up and straighten this one out.”

Hurricane grunted, motioning with his head to a large wall tapestry he was standing before. The binding for the top corners had come undone, bending the map over onto itself. Ardent Sentry nodded and got airborne, hovering over and doing so. The tapestry flattened back out, revealing itself to be a massive air current chart overlaying a sketched map of Equestria.

“Orion and I had this made when the resettlement started with dozens of scouting teams. He thought it be a good idea to see where was best to set up a new weather factory as well as easiest trade routes merchants could take to ride the currents.”

Ardent Sentry let her eyes survey the map, which had obviously gone through some revisions over the years due to the faded writing scrawled on it that had been erased and written over. Tracing Commander Hurricane’s vision of focus, she could see he was looking at the illustration of where Timbucktu was and following a particularly strong current leading away from it.

“What are you doing, Commander?”

“It’s obvious a massive changeling horde attacked here. And given what’s behind me, I know who was leading them personally.

Commander Hurricane tilted his head back and Ardent Sentry looked. Illuminated by a large hole in the ceiling that looked like something on the inside smashed out of it, she could see a single large burn mark in the floor with tendrils radiating out of it. On instinct a bite of cold clawed its way down her spine. Scorch marks from magic blasts weren’t something remotely new to her tonight, but the scale of this one was easily four or five times the size of the others and it all radiated out from a single center point. Meaning it had all come from one source in one instant.


Captain Ardent Sentry muttered with a hushed breath, earning a shrug and nod from Commander Hurricane.

“Suspected it before, but that confirms it. That mark was probably from when she made herself known after disguising her way in here. Drained the room to husks, smashed out through the ceiling, opened the floodgates. It was her M.O. according to reports from the gryphons when she’d raze outer settlements or ambush groups that tried to come and help against Discord or Tirek.”

“H-How did she survive the war? Didn’t anypony try to track her down?”

“You said you were in Canterlot the whole time so you wouldn’t know. But pretty much everypony and whoever came to help us did. One can track changelings about as easily as somepony can catch smoke with their bare hooves. If they wanted to make themselves scarce, they could do so in an instant. Starswirl speculates somehow Chrysalis can talk to them all and command them with just magic, no speech or proximity required.”

“Like some sort of… mental… hive?”

“Not quite, but however she gave the command she could do it without needing to chat or be near the swarm to do it. They could spread out over a hundred kilometers and still keep coordinated. I envy that ability sometimes, but point is it made trying to track them impossible. Chrysalis could tell them all to fly in fifteen different directions and then meet up at one exact tree in the middle of nowhere.”

“So.. if that’s what we’re up against, how do we find them now? We can’t let-”

Ardent Sentry paused for a moment, glancing at the swaddled forms on the far side of the room with an ever present reminder of why they were pony shaped plaguing her mind.

“-this happen again.”

She muttered, earning a growl by Commander Hurricane as he lifted up a broken weapon the old soldier recognized as King Orion’s spear. Orion wasn’t much of a soldier, but it was evident he died fighting; an honor his friend intended to see to.

“It won’t, not on my watch. I'm not putting this lance down until it's over... Our mistake before was trying to track the changelings. Instead of trying to trace them when they are trying to hide, we needed to be ready for when they would strike next. Catch them in the act and end it once and for all.”

Ardent Sentry stole her breath and steeled her resolve at Hurricane’s gruff bravado. She narrowed her brow and tensed up in anticipation, visibly brimming to go into action at the drop of a horseshoe as Hurricane stabbed the spear point into a spot on the map multiple charted currents flew towards like arrows to a coordinate.

“Chrysalis will take the easy route if she thinks she can attack unopposed, following the strong currents. Timbucktu was right above multiple currents when it was attacked so she’ll go to the place multiple currents lead to next to make the flight easier. Changelings can’t go sonic like we can, so it’s all but assured she’ll go here.”

“And where’s that?”

Commander Hurricane traced a hoof under the inscription, the name of one of the first cities established in the western frontier all too visible in the torch light.



Princess Celestia’s eyes finally snapped open and she gasped through her nose to clear them of stale air. Every single one of her joints popped as she rose up. The world around her took time to stop spinning. Exactly how many hours had passed was unknown, but it being the first real sleep she’d had in weeks it felt like she’d awoken from a coma. A myriad of creatures which had gathered around her shifted calmly into motion, some watching her from the foliage while others whom had come to rest alongside her casually lumbered off to go about their business. At first when she saw them Celestia’s first instinct was to quickly spread her wings in a likely vain attempt to fly away before she accidentally sent out another magic blast. Except as she was about to try, and likely fail, to orient herself for lift off; a realization dawned upon the alicorn.

Celestia reached up and touched at her horn with a shaking hoof, almost in disbelief that the agonizing migraines and magical force seemed gone. She could still feel it, all that power, but it was likely the dam holding back the tidal wave had been restored. Her magic was her own again. Standing up straight, the alicorn tested her muscles and limbs to make sure she was still in good working order; finally having enough clarity of mind to care. She still looked like a wreck, but rest had re-energized her body so at least she wasn’t of the sense she was going to keel over at the next step she took.

It took time for her memory to catch up to her physicality. In an instant she turned around and scanned the forest with her eyes and ears, wanting so desperately to catch a glimpse of whoever or whatever she’d sensed and heard previously. But before she could entertain notions of possibly finding someone she’d previously written off as her sister’s projected dreams, memory of what happened before stopped her in her tracks.

The remorse is what she remembered first, then the grieving, the rage; and then the confusion.

She was not a pony, not a mortal. A mortal lived their life in their allotted time. They set a goal during said time. They built their legacy in progeny and action. And then they passed. In a way, while captained by a sapient mind, it wasn’t that different from the natural processes of all living things to carry out life and leave their mark on the following generation.

But she wasn’t something natural. Regardless of if she actually had parents or not, she was a fiction brought to an unnatural life. She had a lifespan far beyond those around her, so was she to live like them despite her end not being as forthcoming? She was something that would live many centuries before growing old, if she ever did that at all. Death might only come for her if she were killed. Did that mean her capacity for a legacy or goal should be different than those fragile beings that called themselves her compatriots? Did that mean that as something different she should have a different morality or view of time; or were such concepts even a factor to her?

What was the use of being raised to emulate the best ponykind had to offer if she wasn’t ever going to be a part of it?

Celestia regarded the sky high above, seeing a moon on the verge of sinking over the horizon still emblazoned with the image of a dark alicorn.

Her sister, the one being whom Celestia was like. She had been raised by the same lot that raised her, had gone through the same struggles she had, been held to the same ideals of a race not their own like Celestia had. Through peaceful times and times of struggle. Wielding elements of harmony… and then being struck down by them. If Luna was the closest thing Celestia had to her own being, did that mean she was fated to take the same path?

-Perhaps… if I’m not like them… Maybe, maybe what Luna wanted was natural to her and… and to me.-

The thought had such prominence Celestia didn’t know whether it was a terrifying dread or a stroke of enlightenment.

-If I’m stronger, if I’m… better. Maybe, I’m supposed to have absolute control. Force things to fix themselves… If they fear me..-

Celestia felt her breath grow heavier at the memory of both Night Shroud and his crowd as well as the hidden fears she saw on almost every pony who might have thought they looked at her wrong. The first group were at least vocal with their fear, surely it then seemed that the latter’s pampering and willingness to “help” her was just an act out of fear of retaliation. More confused than she thought she was, so much that she overlooked the love of those whom loved her, Celestia’s lips began to turn downwards into a frown.

-They all fear me… No matter what I’ve done, they’re terrified because I’m different and they know that. If that is how they all are, maybe that is what is natural for me.-

Celestia steeped in a myriad of emotions for a time before a looming shadow cast itself across her face and shielded it from the lights of the night. Gazing upwards at the obstruction with her confusion still stenciled across her face, Celestia beheld the bottom of a massive cloud complex. Standing by and watching the clouds go by as she recognized it as a settlement of some kind, she couldn’t help but have her own internal debating shift to her cutiemark. For a pony a cutiemark tended to be symbolic of their lot and purpose in life through their talent. Hers was a sun, earned when she managed to almost effortlessly raise it when teams of unicorns and Starswirl himself toiled to budge it. Starswirl said that in addition to her adeptness at moving it, the mark and its twin with Luna represented that the two were meant to be above and help watch over ponykind; just like how the sun soars above them in the day and the moon hovers over the world at night. All these years and she’d never questioned it….

-To be above them, what does that mean? That I am a guardian to what I’m not?... Or that I should even care about what’s below me?-

Author's Note:

Proofed by Lance-Omikron and Faith-Wolff

Next time on The Eclipse Times!:
Captain Sentry will be a name history remembered for a reason. But with Princess Celestia questioning herself, will she do something history doesn't?