• Published 14th Aug 2017
  • 5,741 Views, 86 Comments

Ghosts of A Different Kind - TerraeAntiqua



Celestia watched as an injured colt was rushed to the hospital wing of the castle, clinging to life by a thread. Luna battles her demons as she tries to help the colt heal from his, all so that he may continue to live.

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That We May Find Our Way To Shore

Year 7, Return Of Luna
15th of Discordia
Sun Rise

Celestia hadn't slept well that night and so in the morning found herself more tired than usual. Going about her morning routine of adorning her shoes, crown, and necklace, rotating the planets with a wave of her horn, checking on them to make sure none were out of orbit (that gas giant, fifth from the sun, was so large as to be able to do just that if it got too close to the other outer giants), and as of today checking the spells tied to the colt. She'd keyed them to Luna as she'd asked, before resting her head, and had faith in them to let her know of the situation, but her mind had, like her younger sister, drifted back to the topic of the colt when left to wander.

Nothing had gone wrong during the surgery last night, other than the unexpected waking of the patient midway through. There was a twang in the spell which alerted her that the markless[1] colt was close to waking, merely in a light sleep now.

She hoped Luna had been successful in giving him a good dream. Harmony knew he needed it.

The solar diarch stepped lightly into the private dining hall that she and her sister used often for their morning meal. Occasionally others may be invited but the majority of the time it was just them. A little room that was out of the way, offering quiet and peace compared to the constant background noise of ponies going about their day.

Her guard and Luna's stood outside as the lunar goddess joined the solar just moments later. Her body was slouched, her eyes and ears drooping. Her starry mane and tail were almost completely dark, save for the brightest of stars seen at this time of year. The manner in which the dark alicorn carried herself however was more tense and frustrated, rather than anything resembling being tired.

Sitting down on either side of the small rectangular table they both waited for their food. The kitchen, connected by a short hallway that had many hidden cabinets and storage spaces filled with magically preserved food, was certainly busy if the smell coming from it was any indication.

"Did Night Court not go well?"

"Woudst thou like the short or long summation?" Ouch. If Luna was reverting back to using more Old Equish then it certainly hadn't gone as well as she had hoped.

"Let's go with short. If the long version is needed, Day Court does not start for another hour and I can always push it further if need be."

Celestia's tea and Luna's coffee arrived first, followed shortly thereafter by plates filled with an assortment of food. From waffles to omelets, quiche to crepes, to a various assortment of baked goods. The food smelled heavenly.

Picking up her coffee gingerly, as if she didn't trust herself not to crush it in her magic's grip, Luna gave the drink a withering glare as if it had done something to offend her.

"The nobles stepped forward firstly," The night goddess recounted with a level tone, "They came with many questions. If the colt was a danger to us, being an unknown alicorn; if he himself was in danger; if the portal he came through had a likelihood of opening elsewhere.

"We answered those with ease. T'was not hard to allay their fears. We do not rightly know about the portal, but t'was only he who came through and it closed right after, as we've heard from our loyal advisor. Though they've the right to be wary, we suppose. Chrysalis's changelings had only attacked a few years ago and the peace we have 'tween them and their new king hath only been in place for a moon. T'would be foalish to let their guard down so easily.

"Then a few others came, some with the same or similar concerns. Others, however, like your nephew, had already come up with strange and unusual ideas."

Here she paused to down the cup in one go, setting it down rather harshly but, to Celestia's relief, not enough to break it.

Still though, "What sort of ideas, Lu?"

"Blueblood had seen the colt as he was ferried to the doctors. Thought he may be from the same place we both hailed from, an Alicornian Homeland, he had said. We shot that down immediately." Celestia paused in sipping at her own tea, frowning as Luna continued, "Another thought him to be ourself from another reality. We denied such. A third dared to ask if he be mine son."

"What?" The fork that the bright alicorn had held in her sunlit aura clattered on the dark wood of the table, silence reigning throughout the room. Even the sounds from those cleaning up the kitchen had halted, the cooks probably listening in on the sister's conversation.

"Aye. Tis truth that they claimed such, though we again denied such a thing. Such questions took up over half our time at court. Did you know that a fourth, an earthen mare by the name of Sweet Berry, had asked if we knew what he was the god of? Me thinks they all congregated outside the throne room to talk among themselves, or the courtyard, as few ever asked the same question once it'd been given to another."

"Well, it'd be hard to know anything about that, given that he is unmarked."

Luna nodded her head, her mane brightening some as she began to calm down, "Which is the same that we gave to her. After that, the only question left had been if we knew where, or how, he got to be so injured."

Celestia remained quiet, content in letting her sister continue to fill the silence, as usually she was the one doing the talking and this was a nice change of pace. Aside from the topic being discussed, of course. She ate one of the overlarge blueberry muffins and wondered idly how they could go about getting around the language barrier as Luna told her of what it was she'd seen in the unnamed alicorn's nightmare.

If they could just get him to understand what they were saying, talking to him would be ten times easier. Perhaps she could ask Twilight to help her with researching this. There had to have been some kind of translation spell that she and Luna were simply forgetting. Something from long enough ago when not all species spoke Equish, either as a primary or secondary language.

If there was a way to at least get him to understand what they were saying, it would help a long way toward helping him and letting him know that they meant him no harm.

As Luna spoke more of what the young alicorn's nightmare had been about, Celestia was glad to have taken such immediate action in helping him. To know that he'd been fighting a foe similar to what they had once upon a time faced together, at such a young age, alone, gave the alicorn of the sun pause. Luna had only seen that dream from a certain point. So far as they were aware, there was far more to this story than a simple "Delta and Goligriff" story.

Thoughts that she couldn't give time to, questions that she couldn't answer, popped into and out of her mind like bubbles. What was his home like? Were there alicorns other than himself? Would they try to find their way here to take him home? If they were and succeeded, would they be peaceful?

What kind of realm would allow their young to don barding and fight in war like that?

Or had he sneaked his way past the watchful eyes of his elders in an attempt at, what? Being a martyr? Heroically challenging that horrid creature? He may have won and he may be powerful, but he should not have had to fight.

Oh who was she trying to fool? Celestia knew nothing of their culture. What claim to non-violence could she make when, perhaps, violence and war was all they knew? Who was she to criticize someone for allowing one as young as he to fight, when maybe that had been what was needed for his home to survive?

The most that she was allowed, the sun goddess concluded, was to make sure that the colt knew that here, he did not need, nor was he expected, to fight anyone or anything.

She only realized that her sister had stopped speaking when she noticed the absence of her sister's voice, and the calculating stare that said alicorn was giving her now. Had she been that out of it?

Well that wouldn't do.

"What name do you think we should give him?" Celestia asked out of the blue, startling her sister, "I mean, we know he has a mane and tail similar to your own, so, well, I guess I could see where those ponies got the thought that he was related to us, and maybe that could help in choosing a temporary name for him?" The alicorn of the night gave her a look, "Oh don't look at me with that tone of voice. We can't keep calling him "the colt". Personally, I think something with Spiral would fit him. Don't you think?"

Silence.

"Maybe Star or Comet would work better, as half of his name?"

Sill nothing.

"Star Spiral sounds nice, but maybe-"

"Seriously, Tia. We can't rightly know what to call him. It's not as if Harmony would tell either of us what his name should be. Neither of us are his mother, nor was he born here." Luna snapped lightly, taking a bite out of her food.

"But we still need to call him something. It doesn't necessarily need to be specific to his talent or-"

"Θανατος."

Celestia and Luna stared at each other for a long moment, eyes wide and backs ramrod straight. The two were questioning in their minds whether or not that really happened or if they had just imagined it. Everypony throughout Equestria and the Crystal Empire knew that Harmony spoke to expecting mothers to give the mares the names of their yet to be born foals. Each name has had, as far back as records show, at least some connection to either the foal's appearance, or their future talent or destiny as their cutie mark would one day show.

Orphans were a different case in which the pony that Harmony spoke to could be anypony. The matron or patron at the orphanage or one of the adopting family if the foal was young enough being the two most common scenarios that Celestia herself had witnessed.

But this?

Surely Harmony did not expect or believe...

"Tis just coincidence-"

"Yes. Nothing to do with what Harmony might think-"

"Or that some ponies might think him to be, you know, still-"

"This is going to spread like wildfire, isn't it?"

"Oh, knowing our ponies? Certainly."

The two sat in silence again, picking at their food. The time given for their meal was almost over and Day Court would begin not too long after. Would she be met with the usual petitioners for projects, nobles who were arguing over something that didn't really matter, and ponies who were having trouble with something or other? Or was she going to be met with more ponies who had questions about...Thanatos?

Why on Equus did Harmony have to give him a name that literally meant death, of all things? No, Celestia wouldn't be questioning that. Harmony often knew things that no one else did. She should just be happy to call the young alicorn by an actual name now, rather than the same simple descriptions over and over again like a broken record.

And be happy for her sister, of course.

"Congratulations, its a colt." The solar alicorn was met with a withering glare and gave only a smile in return.

"We will cut you, Tia."

"Love you to Lulu."

Author's Note:

[1] - one of the proper terms for a blank flank. Unmarked also works. Marks usually appear by the time a colt or filly is thirteen, but can show up later on up to as late as seventeen or eighteen even if its rare for that to happen.

The fact that Luna had spoken Danny's Harmony-given name as she and Celestia were discussing what to call him is just a coincidence, surely. :trollestia:

Fun Fact: Thanatos, in myth, is the son of Nyx, who was the primordial of the night. Specifically, he's the god of peaceful death.