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T

Twilight Sparkle has ruled Equestria for over a thousand years. From her throne atop the floating city of Concord, she enforces ruthless harmony over the handful of surviving settlements. But Twilight is afraid: Equestria's survival always hangs by a thread, as enemies more ancient than the Alicorns threaten to return and devour what she has built.

Twilight selects her star pupil, a young unicorn named Star Orchid, to travel down from the perfect city of Concord into the dangerous ruins beneath, so that she might locate these forces, and help Twilight to destroy them. Only when every threat to Equestria is finally dismantled will she be able to rest. Until then, there is much left to purify.


Edited by Two Bit and Sparktail. Cover by Zutcha

Updates Wednesdays.

This story was commissioned by TyrannisUmbra, with additional funds donated by my enabler, Two Bit. If you'd like one of your own, drop me a PM!

This story takes place in the same universe as Why We Dig. I'm not going to call it a sequel, since none of its characters will be aware of anything in that story, so you won't have to be either.

Chapters (16)
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Comments ( 220 )

It's not entirely clear to me if this story follows on the canon as established at the end of the show. It seems like it is, but everything is so very very different.

9963355
It does, but it takes place well over a thousand years later.

Well, you're talking a very long time.

If her friends were long-lived, but not immortal; or, if their "immortality" was only protection against old age/sickness, they could have died in combat, then this could just be a case of Twilight outliving her friends.

How "Jamie Sanders" fits into Equestria is a "remains to be seen" question.

.... [written in quite dark mood, to the point I hardly can say what exactly can lift me up out of it]

Abstract sounds a bit like Wonderful Days, but I think I have bigger problem with heroic fantasy. Namely, it doesn't prepare readers to more current situation IRL when 'enemy' is hugely distributed and partially within us, and heroes themselves.

It begins! I can't wait to see what people think. I've been so excited about this story and I'm so happy it's finally on fimfic!
Friendship makes us free.

9964023
I have no familiarity with Warhammer yet Warhammer fans have made me well aware of what this sort of story will end in.

9964031
I highly doubt this will end with the planet purged for its hererical thoughts but we shall see!

9963355
this is what happens when twilight goes into a major Twilighting and has no friends around to knock sense into her

9964268
9963461
It certainly doesn't seem nearly as idyllic of a society as Equestria used to be. I'm also getting some Mortal Engines vibes from the scene where the city seemingly ate something made from stone and metal.

You've failed, Twilight! Soon, Mankind shall return from it's Long Sleep and claim what is rightfully theirs!

Love the chapter, looking forward to more.

Well then. I suppose Twilight isn't wrong that there are unseen forces operating with their own agenda, but I'm not sure how she could possibly think that the way civilization is now is in any way an improvement on what she inherited when she took over. Maybe the shelter AI's forced her hoof?
I do also wonder what happened to Luna and Celestia...

Well this certainly took a very dark turn. Twilight has clearly changed drastically, the question is why. What did the programs do that screwed up pony kind so much, and how much more is still yet to happen.

JMP

Hmm. Ok, so to summarize: Humanity fucked up Earth so badly they went into emergency shelters and had to re-terraform the planet. To do this, they created the ponies. Something happened, and the ponies ended up becoming sentient and creating their own civilization. This is likely Equestria. Or at least, what's left of it right now.

Ouch. The AI tried to purge the ponies. It failed. That's why Twilight is so militaristic: she saw her civilization collapse as the AI tried to kill them all. "Darktech" is technology not hooked up to the LaGrange array (magic). She assumes all darktech is evil (and for good reason considering it tried to kill everypony)

Neg

9964551
I sincerely doubt that Twilight knows completely what is responsible for the suffering of the creatures of Equus. Hell, save for the Diamond Dogs, none of the sapient races have had any contact with the human race at all, that we know of- as far as they're concerned, things were always this way; the planet always belonged to them. The sudden appearance of "Darktech" and the probable subsequent destruction of sapient life on the surface of the planet, to them, probably seems to be another random act of some ancient evil, like so many that had caused them to suffer before- except, this time, there was no negotiating with a force hellbent on the extermination of the now obsolete bioengineered constructs, with no exceptions. There were probably multiple relentless attempts before it was seen as a bad job- hell, they could even now still be trying, in the event that diplomacy fails. And who's to say they won't try to eliminate them after they get what they want, and establish enough of a foothold?

The ponies don't understand this. Twilight probably snapped under the strain, becoming cruel in the face of the outside terrors in a misguided attempt to protect and save what life was left that she could. Even if it means total subjugation of all "opposing" forces, and total dictatorship in the absence of any who could or would stop her (not that I'm condoning her methods, by any means- her behavior here is excessively cruel, but it is understandably fueled by hate, fear, and misunderstanding).

Bottom line, at this point, every other sapient creature has as much right to the planet as the human race does- perhaps even more so, since humans were the ones that destroyed it in the first place. I don't know if a peaceable arrangement could be made, even if I certainly hope it works out for all the innocent in the end (of course, this probably means a fitting comeuppance for Twilight when all is said and done; tho she is not by any means my favorite character, I still rather strongly dislike having a hero being made into a villain for the sake of plot convenience... looks at the 2017 movie's take on Twilight pointedly (not as severe but damn if I'm not still pissy about that blatant disregard for character integrity)).

9965270
Honestly, I'm just doing this for the memes. So if you think I have the intellectual capacity to discuss on this with you, you're surely mistaken.

Great insight, though.

I smell social commentary in Twilight's realm... please continue, it's fascinating.

JMP

Ok, so the Devourers might be humans?

Oh Twilight... You found the correct data, but came to the wrong conclusions. The Firstborn weren't sapient, nor did they create the Devourers. The Firstborn were just horses and ponies. The Devourers were humans, which must have somehow initiated a total global ecosystem collapse. I will admit I am puzzled that the moon's population did not survive, which does make my own theory of ecosystem collapse a bit harder to believe.
I am sure we will discover the true reason for going underground eventually.

Some of the information in this chapter is reminding me of certain things in Luna is a Harsh Mistress. A failed civilization of Firstborn on the moon, specifically. Though it could be related to other things, as well, or simply as was suggested before, a misconstruing or misrepresentation of the facts.

So convenient that these hypothetic 'horns and wings of light' do not fossilize, and that these bones are safely stashed away where nopony can study them – if they're really from E. ferus caballus, as seems to be suggested, it would be a shame for this Firstborn's encephalization quotient or other characters to be contradictory to expectations... Kind of a personal 'Piltdown Pony' for this Twilight, in some ways.

I'm eager to see how all the pieces will fit together (like the origins and allegiance of one spirit of chaos and disharmony in this context, maybe)!

9965918
It may be possible that twilight has access to more accurate information but chooses not to share that knowledge even with her 'trusted' circle.

So, Twilight has turned into 100% a monster over the last thousand years, and she's still on top of what remains of Equestria's power structure. That seems bad.

“They were not meant to continue to exist following terraforming,” the computer answered. “Core Node reports efforts to purge the population in preparation for final colonization were… unsuccessful. No information has been provided about the cause.”

On the other hand, the above may be a natural reaction to an AI inside of the planet waking up and deciding to genocide everyone on the surface.

Neg

9965572
Ah, okay. Not that I'm very smart, myself; I'm just a chronic overthinker. But yeah, I can almost never tell when someone is being serious online anymore, bc it's effectively impossible to read tone in text completely accurately and objectively, and also, I've seen some wild shit, both online and offline nowadays, and I can never tell who's serious and who is deliberately making an ass of themselves.

Also I'm like... weirdly biased against the "Humans Vs. Ponies" trope, specifically when the humans are being painted as being in the right, when in reality, I've gotten so cynical that I can't really palate the idea that the human race wouldn't be at least partially culpable in some kind of conflict between the species. Meanwhile, pony culture is pretty much presented as is (because it's a kids' show, mainly, featuring cute and highly marketable ponies and idealistic morals, so ofc it's gonna be some measure of saccharine), so it just feels really weird when people try to make out the ponies as something they were never intended to be; most of the problematic content stems from either bad writing, excessive pandering, or a combination of both.

Sorry, I got uh, carried away again.

The title "Andromeda" made me thought it was going to be a space fic, but it turned out to be something else. Twilight's mentioning of "DarkTech" + cars/planes/drones makes me think Equestria is rather super primitive technology wise. I wonder would something like this occur in the future:
derpicdn.net/img/view/2019/10/15/2170010.png

And how did no one invented anything for a thousand years.

Edit: Also wait does that mean all the other humans in the pods are dead? RIP. I wonder can they clone more.

I love sci-fi, I love OCs that aren't perfect Mary Sues who become friend with royality in the first 2 chapters, I love when there isn't a clear good/evil side.
I will follow this one with rapt attention.

“The Devourers,” Twilight went on. “Their own history mixes with the Firstborn. Maybe they were created as servants, or… maybe they just imitated the Firstborn until they had learned the secrets of their magic.”

BLASPHEMER! We enslaved your prescious firsts, and used them to genocide the world in our image!



But no, calling us devourers is entirely accurate. We are one of the most effective invasive species to ever exist. Be proud of that fact.



9966201
They are litteraly living in a floating city with lightsaber Spears. I think a combination of Sufficiently advanced and schizo tech can explain any discrepancies.

I am so looking forward to this.

I'm assuming Twilight is mistakenly attributing civilization to actual horses when it should have went to the creators the "devourers" aka humans. Funny how she's also making assumptions about horns and wings (if those fossils are indeed normal horses) because past Twilight would have never made such a conclusion with no evidence. Though it could all be propaganda to Star and Twilight knows exactly what's going on. Times have changed her indeed.

That said, it's a good thing Jamie's a pony lest she'd be hunted to the ends of the Earth. Still might be if Twilight finds out she's a "devourer" turned into a dark tech created pony. She's definitely a greater affront to Twilight than the Diamond Dogs or Pony resistance ever was.

9966194

who's serious and who is deliberately making an ass of themselves.

- some variant of the same problem: who is really serious about given topic, and who just very sucessfully pretend.....

On

it just feels really weird when people try to make out the ponies as something they were never intended to be

- from my favourites it fairly transparent I found more original thinking and outside-of-the-box reflection in exactly kind of stories where 'impossible' ponies thought about seriously ..

As of humans.... you see, humans can be successfully fooled enough for making them go war (and die), and all other things, may be not openly military, but just as much deadly. So while _numerical majority_ of huh humans will disagree with course of action _if given time_ - some teh leader obviously can push their own megaultrasshole course of action because unfixed flaws in our psyche (like here) (and who want to fix them? everyone happy to exploit them a bit ...)

The definition of 'friendship' sure has changed in a millennium, for obedience to be considered a quality of a good friend... Not that the Princess would follow this specific friendship lesson herself, I suppose.

Now I'm wondering where that leather came from... Or more broadly how Concord gets its crops and such, especially in light of the diversity of creatures living there (and thus diets).

Neg

The more we learn, the worse it gets. Twilight must have seriously cracked in the intervening years between the deaths of her friends and whatever cataclysmic event befell Equestria to reduce it to such a sorry state. We've learned that there is indeed a great deal of misunderstanding here, but a lot of it seems almost willful, as if she didn't even try to interpret it any other way. And of course, someone from her own court, raised so closely within her influence all her life, would not think to question it, not even a little bit, because of course the immortal goddess protector of all creation would be right, how could she ever be wrong? And disobedience is inharmonious, unfriendly, even. And it's not as if Twilight's conclusions are entirely irrational, from her perspective, even if it is so very wrong, it's almost not even funny. (Tho it is a little bit funny, just a teeny tiny bit; there are severe limits due to how seriously- and violently- she's taken this "discovery", however.)

I kind of have to wonder, tho, where are Celestia, Luna, Cadance, and Flurry Heart? Where is Discord? Surely they would do something to intervene; retirement did not make Celestia and Luna any less immortal, any more than reforming made Discord. Of course, immortality is not the same as invulnerability; perhaps they were victims of the apparent purge? Or maybe they're in hiding somewhere? Maybe Discord fucked off to that weird realm he lives in when he's not bothering Fluttershy or her friends after she and the others finally passed away, and has no idea what's happening in the world outside (since I imagine that an immortal can lose track of the length of time fairly easily, especially in a place where one's sense of it is most probably very skewed).

I am interested to see more context for what is going on, and what happened, exactly, from both perspectives involved. And what is the "Immortal City", anyways?

She shrugged into the backpack, then crossed the empty hallway one last time toward the illuminated central lift. “It’s gonna be fun,” she said. “It’s like… first contact! A god with their creations. Only… I’m not much of a god.”

It's rather amazing to find out your creations managed time travel and interdimensional travel (S5 final/EQG) before they managed to figure out cars. I wonder if the humans by then figured that out as well?

I look forward to the inevitable chase scene through a crowded bazaar. Who will be chasing who is irrelevant, but when you have a post apocalyptic setting like this, you can't miss such an opportunity.

9967385
I suspect Luna and Celestia were part of the original design of servitor ponies, they may have had failsails installed... perhaps even chemically lobotomized much like Twilight is doing with magic to her victims.

I think it would take something serious happening to Celestia to get Twi to snap like this.

“Not ponies as you understand them,” Twilight corrected. “Just as I am mightier than any ordinary pony, so they would have been mightier than I. The firstborn of Harmony, creatures of pure friendship. So pure that their horns and wings were made of light itself, and so aren’t preserved in fossils. Long ago, the world was ruled by these creatures, united in a single tribe. They built incredible cities of glass and stone and metal, stretching all the way out into the sky. Cities that you can still see on the moon and flying through the air, if you look with the right telescope.” She gestured across the room with a wing, at several pinned photographs on the other side of the display.

Are those just regular horse skeletons? I feel like those are just horses.

“I know ,” she groaned, head flopping against the table. “Append my order. I want a Coke.”

Hopefully the AI knows the secret recipe.

Neg

9968078
Hm, possibly. And biologically engineered failsafes? Or perhaps, not so biological... Hm, but pony history extends to a time well before Celestia and Luna. Starswirl's canonically proven existence (as contrived as much of the later seasons were- not that the show really had a lot going for it, anyways) essentially confirms as much. It seems to me like alicorns were not a planned occurrence- they probably weren't intended to exist at all. Certainly, they weren't supposed to be able to "ascend" in the manner that they did, like Twilight, and like it is implied that Cadance (and Celestia and Luna before them), obviously had. Much less be born with that kind of power, like Flurry was. There's a lot yet that we don't know. I'm assuming that whatever got to Twilight possibly happened shortly after the death of the last of her close mortal pony friends; a cataclysm on a grand scale during a time of grieving both a lost life and an end of an era would probably do some serious damage. Not to mention, plenty of other things could have happened during these events; it just occurred to me to think about this, but I've realized that not only are the other implied immortals conspicuously absent, but we've seen neither hide nor (metaphorical) hair of Spike in these proceedings, either. While they are surely not immortal in the same way as the apparent spirits and demigods of this world are, dragons are plainly long-lived, possibly in a fashion that implies that they seldom die of old age, and only pass if something kills them, such as illness or a decidedly more violent end. Plenty of implications of what led to this sorry state of affairs suggests that something very bad could have happened to Spike, causing him to not reach the venerable age that adult dragons in this universe are known for. Or we just haven't seen him yet. It's anyone's guess at this point, really...

All these comments are making me extra excited. So much speculation and discussion and I love speculation and discussion.

The thing I've been loving the most has been seeing Twilight's court, but from here on out it seems we'll be taking a break from direct exposure there. There will probably be things that we learn from Star, and things we learn from Geist, though secondhand.

Now though, we'll get to see what life on the ground is like.

Damn, I actually thought she'd have all of Humanities darktech, that she'd be untouchable from the ordinary beings. That she could verse Celestia herself in a fight using humanity's technology....

Literal “Kick the Dog” by Twilight.

Epsilon, huh? Can I call it Church instead? :pinkiehappy:

9966511

because past Twilight would have never made such a conclusion with no evidence.

thumbs.gfycat.com/PeskyFairJay-size_restricted.gif

Are we talking about the same Twilight who refused to belief Pinkie could have some sort of magical prescience despite all evidences until the point she snapped?
Twilight has always been a poor scientist, trying to force the facts to fit her views.

This Twilight is what happens when you raise an OC, unstable mare into godhood and put her in charge of a kingdom for millenia.
Without any Spike or Mare Six to keep her from "twilighting", Sparklebutt's rule has turned Equestria into Starlight's village with touches of Sombra's empire too.

Twilight is so unambiguously evil and authoritarian, it's almost refreshing how few shades of grey there are so far.

9973534

But we lack context about how she became like that. I have problems identifying her as "Twilight Sparkle" at all.

9973534
Isn't it fascinating, though? If you're looking at the political equivalents here Twilight represents the worst of all sides... Yet look at it from a distance and you'll see a well functioning society... That no one in their right minds would want any part of.

One minor nitpick I've had ever since the series finale was that a lot of fics on this site seemed to assume twilight took over the movement of the sun and moon. Unless that was a thing in known canon material or word of god sort of thing, I found it odd everyone assumed that when it made more sense to me that celestia and luna could have easily carried out those duties wherever they are.

Though in the case of this story, it is easy to believe that anything that might have caused twilight to become how she is now would have included her needing, or feeling the need to take control of the sun and moon

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