• Published 6th Jul 2020
  • 428 Views, 19 Comments

Deep Blue - Ice Star



When some of the stained glass windows at Canterlot Castle are destroyed, Princess Celestia must find an artist to replace what was lost.

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Let the Century Pass Me By

To the Current Owner of Celestial Glory Glasswares
457 Brights Brightly Boulevard
Cloverleaf District of Canterlot, Canterhornshire
Equestria

May 12th, 237 Solar Reign

To Whom It May Concern,

Her Eternal Highness, the Sun Goddess, and Morning Star, Princess Celestia has a great need for fine working stock. A most unfortunate accident has transpired upon the sacred grounds of Canterlot Castle. Such senseless loss has brought the spirit of our almighty Princess down. In Her great wisdom, She has decreed that the craftsponies of Canterlot all be given the very invitation thou readest now. In thine own two forehooves, thou clutch a scroll that could bring thy humble craft to the greatest of places.

Every recipient of this letter was found because the Glass-Workers Guild of Canterlot was required to present Her Most Benevolent Highness, Princess Celestia with the record of all their artists. Each of you has an equal chance at garnering Her favor and having your work displayed in the House of all Houses, none other than the grand halls of Canterlot Castle itself!

All who clutches a copy of this very letter are merely given one requirement. That is to present a sample portfolio of the best of thy stained glass designs, selecting what is the most likely to please Her Highness. That which She proclaims to be the best of them all will be paid handsomely and given great rewards for thy service to Our Princess, Sun, and Stars. Submissions are to be mailed to the address of Canterlot Castle, specifically under the care of Mulethilde Marginalia.

Gloria Celestia. Long may She reign.

Penned by the hoof of Mulethilde Marginalia, Humble Servant and sole secretary to Her Royal, Esteemed, and Eternal Highness Princess Celestia, the Light-Bearer, Kindest Heart, Sun, and Morning Star who is Most Harmonious. Approved by Her Most Gracious Highness and stamped with her seal bearing the Eternal Crown.


To the Current Owner of Celestial Glory Glasswares
457 Brights Brightly Boulevard
Cloverleaf District of Canterlot, Canterhornshire
Equestria

May 12th, 237 Solar Reign

To Madam Rosie Tint of Canterlot,

Thy entries among the dozens that were required of the glass-maker populace stood out. Their colors were all gayly done and displayed great instances of positivity and heroics in line with the moral sense of this nation. The Princess held great admiration for the name of thy shop alone, and all the honor it brings to Her.

For thy efforts in creating art that serves others, the Princess has graciously chosen thee to be the next to have thy work housed in the timeless castle She calls home. Her Highness wishes for me to writest thou that there is none but thee for the task since the original artist of the castle’s first windows has long since been lost to the ravages of seniority. He is feeble and lost in the memories of youth, still thinking that he is a spry young stallion who shall spend the next few decades crafting the splendid First Set of windows of Canterlot Castle. He is caught up in stories long since told of how the castle will have no peer, and how its likeness had not ever been seen before.

Due to these somber circumstances, it is thee who have been asked to bring the Goddess joy, goodmare. Thou do uplift Equestria in thy craft, and there is nothing more than that to be desired from a craftspony such as yourself. Please continue to address thy next correspondence to Her Highness’ secretary, though thee are to begin writing directly to the Princess Herself. These letters have reached the point where no amount of dictation can account for the clarity of receiving Her orders directly from their esteemed source.

Gloria Celestia. Long may She reign.

Penned by the hoof of Mulethilde Marginalia, Humble Servant and sole secretary to Her Royal, Esteemed, and Eternal Highness Princess Celestia, the Light-Bearer, Kindest Heart, Sun, and Morning Star who is Most Harmonious. Approved by Her Most Gracious Highness and stamped with her seal bearing the Eternal Crown.


To Our little pony, Rosie Tint of Canterlot,

We are afraid that the events at the most recent Grand Galloping Gala have resulted in the extremely unfortunate vandalism destruction to part of Our still-young castle in Canterlot. The events that transpired led Our much-enjoyed First Set to be melted by the magical surge of a particularly unruly youth attending the Gala. We had commissioned those fine panels o’er two centuries ago, when We had moved Our nation’s capital here and had Our castle built, this city renewed, and debuted the Grand Galloping Gala that Our little ponies do love so much.

Had the damage been less extensive, it is possible that Our servants or hired repair-ponies could have saved the lovely designs. We are afraid it could not be so, and We waste no time dabbling in the obscure magical arts and stuffing Our muzzle in texts of dull and frustratingly precise arcane craft! Such a selfish, stuffy way to squander one’s time when it is not necessary! We had found Our windows in varying states of disrepair, and I am afraid to say that no sorcerer We could bring before the ruined hall had the most delicate skill or artistic ability to repair and remake Our iconic imagery.

We must admit that though art is still at the level of decor in Our heart, We shall miss some of the sights. The mighty, unbreachable walls of Old Canterlote immortalized - ha! - in color was a fine installment, though the sight of Us soaring above the city walls with Our horn ablaze was far too aggressive a sight. To see Us poised alongside ballistae and Drangonsneeze frozen in autumn hues as a reminder of all the early enemies Our small kingdom has faced. Without the mosaics of Us with the laborers of the city’s old mines of these mountains and Our peace summits with the buffalo chiefs to the wild southern lands, how are Our ponies to remember all they have put into this kingdom alongside Us?

In the aftermath of this unfortunate event, We were extremely pleased upon discovering that thou are a craftspony of great skill and are often willing to take up commissions of great difficulty from residents in the Canterhorn Range region. This alone has made thee a subject of Ours worth great attention aside from the nomination of thy portfolio.

As such, We have included the designs that have been drafted for the new windows, which are to be unveiled at the next Grand Galloping Gala. Should this not prove enough time for the panels to be completed, thou will be compensated for however long an extension needs to be. While most of the windows in the throne room are to be replaced with plain glass with much better enchantments laid upon them to prevent further mistreatment and accidents. There were a few spots We wished to reserve for special designs. The special some-stallion at Our side has suggested We bring more art into Our life. Few original windows that did survive do not look as pleasing to Us, for they were the few plainer patterns among normal windows.

Fine portfolio aside, We have heard that thou are the most skilled craftspony in Canterlot for this kind of labor. We have also learned that thy family has resided here when the fair city that exists today was the unsightly stone sprawl of Canterlote, as it was known when it was the chosen city of the unicorns of the then-united tribes. Any kind of reply, written either to myself, or better yet, one of the castle servants detailing whether thou art able to take this job is patiently awaited. We understand how greatly intimidating writing to Us is.

H.R.H. Princess Celestia


Your Most Esteemed Highness,

It is an honor for a mere mortal unicorn mare like myself to have the privilege to lend my talent to a mare and ruler as great and divine as Yourself. Since I was a filly, I have dreamed of getting the chance to see Your royal self, and to speak with You under any circumstances is to defy every dream I have ever had. This is beyond the capacity of my own meager imagination. Your dawns and sunsets are beyond anything my small skills could ever capture, though I assure You I have had no other inspiration in my whole life.

The designs that You have had the royal artists draft for me are superb. Each highlights a glorious act of heroism to dazzle all of Equestria. No mind could have dictated anything more perfect than what Your own could order. Never have my eyes seen came glasswork captured so beautifully in horn-sketches by those who were not glass-smiths themselves. Your command over these artists is awe-inspiring and the talent You can command from those who serve You is an art in itself. I, too, which to know the art of servitude to the Sun by lending You the talents I have been blessed and marked with, Your Highness.

No words from a mortal like myself can convey the full scope of my excitement at the prospect of crafting them as receiving a letter from Equestria’s princess.

I only have one question about the designs that I have viewed with the utmost care. It is solely the product of my ugly and unrestrained curiosity that I dare ask You, the greatest of the divine, anything. Please pardon me for asking anything that may be beyond my humble mortal understanding. Your Highness, it as simple a mare as I ask You this: what is the blue Alicorn for?

Within the carefully drawn frames of these masterpieces that have yet to be, I see the events of the false king and draconequus’ torment of Equestria. What troubles me is the one that comes next, showing the monster’s defeat. This is not because I am troubled by seeing the one who brought misery to my ancestors fall - ‘tis no great loss. I want to show the vanquishing of monsters and the power of Your Harmony. There is just a sight that troubles me greatly when I go over these plans, and I am led to believe that somepony might be trying to make a fool of You, who cannot be made so, by sending me erroneous design plans.

Every proper Equestrian, young and old, know that You alone are responsible for defeating each and every one of the all-too-real monsters who seek to make a mockery good goodness, destiny, and Harmony. Of You! None shall rise against You, my Princess! Thus it is fitting that despite Your modesty, all our stories be about You and Your good deeds. For it was You who we all owe from leading us out of the frozen wastes, You who kept us unified when the United Triarchy fell, and You alone who wielded the unrivaled Elements of Harmony to seal the draconequus in unbreakable stone! Princess, You are our Hero of Heroes, and what I see before me appears to diminish from Your glory as the one who beats back all darkness, dangers, and differences, O Slayer of Mooncalves and She Who Makes the Night Pale and Powerless. The stars and moon themselves are weakened by You - praise the heavens for that - and still, I think I spy a foul, foreign shade! Alongside you, there is an Alicorn of deep blue that looks so frightening and dark in nature, especially in contrast to your presence, O Goddess of Light, She Who Pales the Night.

May I inquire as to what purpose this second figure could serve, if they are somehow not an error? Is this dark entity supposed to be the fabled some lost evil? If so, why do they have a shape of a god and why are there no blue Alicorns in the history books? Why do none speak of any blue Alicorns? Is this terrifying night-beast with eyes as malicious as stars’ light but a visual representation of some daemon that only Your eyes can see? Or am I looking upon the representation of the Reaper spirits who collect souls to be judged and that no mortal knows the sight of?

Though it is not - nor would it ever be my place - within my station to suggest anything to You, I think that if this is meant to be a caricature of evil, more ferocity could be added beyond the telltale dark color.

I will take up this job for you and make this my masterpiece just for You, Princess. Even if I am not meant to be told the purpose of the strange, dark Alicorn that finds itself here. I have the papers softly locked within my desk so that I, Your loyal subject and servant, do not lose something so precious as words penned by You, the Princess of Princesses.

Gloria Celestia. Long may You reign.

Rosie Tint of Canterlot

Author's Note:

I found this in one of my old notebooks. While there wasn't a date on the original draft, it did contain other stories (and some outlines) that were typed shortly after I initially wrote them down. The stories in it that were complete and posted shortly after I typed their second version up from the original handwritten ones were:

  • Wishing Werelights
  • Misery is Company
  • Atelophobia (outline only)
  • The Storm Dancer
  • Love❤Less
  • Nopony's Daughter

...So, based on the dates those stories were published, this has been lying around since 2017! Wowza, how time flies!

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Comments ( 19 )

I rather enjoyed this. Brings an interesting perspective to those who do the art for the castle. You get a like from me.

10319963
I'm sorry sir, but reading Ice Star stories is illegal.
Thank you for reading! I'm surprised I got a comment this quickly.

10319975
I always have 107 other stories for that.

A fic entirely made of letters. Seems fitting, since I'm at a loss for words as to how good this fic is myself.

Not often is Canterlot explained in a day-to-day manner in a way that's so captivating, but it happens here. Only tweak I'd ever offer is in Rosie Tint's response. She's certainly up to exacting standards when regarding the Nightmare Moon pane, but it does feel a bit of a contrast to the way she reverently speaks of Celestia, if only a little bit. However, she's a joy to see write, and I only hope we can see her glasswork soon. If anypony needs a picture or ten dedicated to her craft, it's her, to put her on the same level as craftspony O.C.s as Torque Wrench, High Gear and Littlepip.

Here's hoping the windows stand clear for many years to comes, and this fantastic fic does the same. Good work, Ice Star.

10320099

She's certainly up to exacting standards when regarding the Nightmare Moon pane, but it does feel a bit of a contrast to the way she reverently speaks of Celestia, if only a little bit.

She has no idea who Nightmare Moon/Luna is. Hence her odd manner by the end. She legitimately thinks that Celestia is asking for what is at best a fairy tale about a made-up creature to be put alongside the triumphs of Celestia. Note that she only refers to them as the triumphs of Celestia, when Luna would have obviously been there too.

Here's hoping the windows stand clear for many years to comes, and this fantastic fic does the same. Good work, Ice Star.

Thank you very much! I hope you enjoy my other stories too. As for the window, they're the windows that we see in seasons one and two. They're still there.

10320086
It's that an invitation, or a dare?

10320211
Why not both?

That last one must have been like a shard of glass right to Celestia’s heart.

10322253
I see what you did there.

Where is the sadness of Celestia, as she realizes that she needs to plan for her sister's return somehow, perhaps hearing of some unicorn whose power level is off the charts, and wondering if she can finally put some plans into motion?

Stories along the lines of "My lost sister" do something to my heart, sorry.

10323139
This takes place centuries before Twilight's grandparents would have even been born. She's not thinking of if she'll ever get Luna back (and at this point Celestia doesn't know). The letters are dated to show that they only take place two hundred and thirty-seven years into Celestia's reign alone.

Okay. The timing here is... interesting, because Luna seems to have been entirely forgotten about very quickly here. These letters are dated 237 Solar Reign, so two centuries and a bit into Celestia's reign -- but where does this calendar begin counting? Is it Nightmare Moon's defeat? But the last reply seems too unfamiliar with the idea of a second, dark alicorn as a concept to suggest that even that's been remembered by anybody, otherwise Rosie Tint would have brought it up instead of casting about for possible identities of this strange, unfamiliar figure. If so, then why count down from there at all? Why base your calendar on something you have no memory of at all?

It could instead count down from when Celestia rose to the throne at first, since Discord is clearly still remembered, but this narrows the interval between the letters and Nightmare Moon's defeat even more -- going by the show itself, Celestia's been raising and setting the sun for 1,111 years precisely, so that can't leave more than a century between the end of the first diarchy and these letters. In that case, Luna's disappearance from the popular consciousness was quick. Even a couple centuries is a short time for this, but her completely vanishing from history in one is... something.

So that raises the question of why this happened to begin with. How much was deliberate on Celestia's part? How much was accident? Did she deliberately scrub her sister from history, or merely let ponykind's tendency to ignore whatever's further than a lifetime ago and the next town over lose track of Luna? But then, why is Discord remembered? And that also raises the question of where ponies got the idea that Celestia led them from the windigos... then again, if history has been misremembered so thoroughly, it may well be that we're still 237 years after Nightmare Moon's defeat and popular consciousness has simply taken to assuming that a lot less time passed between Discord and now than actually did.

I think I would have liked to see Celestia's reply, because regardless of the reasons for why Luna was forgotten Celestia choosing to depict her in that window has implications. It doesn't make any sense for her to do so if she wanted Luna to be forgotten, so I wonder... just what did she think when she read Rosy Tint's letter and realized just how things stood now?

10323247

Okay. The timing here is... interesting, because Luna seems to have been entirely forgotten about very quickly here.

You got that right. I was a little worried that the story wasn't clear and that it fell in the realm of the vaguely defined area of 'too subtle'.

These letters are dated 237 Solar Reign, so two centuries and a bit into Celestia's reign -- but where does this calendar begin counting?

From the year that Nightmare Moon was defeated, more or less.

Is it Nightmare Moon's defeat? But the last reply seems too unfamiliar with the idea of a second, dark alicorn as a concept to suggest that even that's been remembered by anybody, otherwise Rosie Tint would have brought it up instead of casting about for possible identities of this strange, unfamiliar figure. If so, then why count down from there at all? Why base your calendar on something you have no memory of at all?

If you look at the titles that Celestia has, the answer is in there. Nightmare Moon may be thought of as no more than an old nonsense tale, and Princess Luna has never existed according to Equestrian history. But her titles give Celestia the epithet of one who makes the night 'pale' and to 'pale' something can mean to overpower or diminish it. There is at least memory that the night has been severely diminished and weakened, but it's attached to Celestia as if it were heroism instead of a tragedy only one equine in Equestria knows. So, that's the first year that the calender would be using, when the night was first 'paled' by Celestia.

It could instead count down from when Celestia rose to the throne at first, since Discord is clearly still remembered, but this narrows the interval between the letters and Nightmare Moon's defeat even more -- going by the show itself, Celestia's been raising and setting the sun for 1,111 years precisely, so that can't leave more than a century between the end of the first diarchy and these letters. In that case, Luna's disappearance from the popular consciousness was quick. Even a couple centuries is a short time for this, but her completely vanishing from history in one is... something.

I'm not sure where you're getting this number. It wasn't stated in the story, nor is it the one I use. It doesn't have any bearing on the story here. If you're actually curious about the timeline/how old the sisters are, then I can rifle through my notes or throw out a few links, but that's another matter altogether.

So that raises the question of why this happened to begin with. How much was deliberate on Celestia's part? How much was accident? Did she deliberately scrub her sister from history, or merely let ponykind's tendency to ignore whatever's further than a lifetime ago and the next town over lose track of Luna? But then, why is Discord remembered?

I left this open-ended for the reader. New readers will get to come to their own conclusion, but recurring readers of mine will know this fits in a larger picture of things, and one where those questions are answered. If you want the answers, they're fairly lengthy but I could PM them (or related stories) to you, if you would like. But that aside, the questions you have are those that the reader is supposed to, but whether you see them as (possibly) horrifying or just a tragedy is for you.

And that also raises the question of where ponies got the idea that Celestia led them from the windigos... then again, if history has been misremembered so thoroughly, it may well be that we're still 237 years after Nightmare Moon's defeat and popular consciousness has simply taken to assuming that a lot less time passed between Discord and now than actually did.

Celestia and Luna were present when the tribal ponies of the north migrated away from the windigos in my stories. Or, at least all the ones in the main continuity. It's not an especially significant detail except that it has been altered here, as other historical details are, to only include Celestia.

I think I would have liked to see Celestia's reply, because regardless of the reasons for why Luna was forgotten Celestia choosing to depict her in that window has implications. It doesn't make any sense for her to do so if she wanted Luna to be forgotten, so I wonder... just what did she think when she read Rosy Tint's letter and realized just how things stood now?

I actually wanted to add a letter sent in reply. However, my editor thought the story was fine without it.


I really like your comment. Thank you for taking the time to let me know all the musings you had about my story. Seeing long comments like this really makes my day.

10323247

In that case, Luna's disappearance from the popular consciousness was quick. Even a couple centuries is a short time for this, but her completely vanishing from history in one is... something.

I guess it started before Nighmare Moon

Was there meant to be a competition of portfolios between the first two letters? If so, you may need to alter the dates to show some time passing. Otherwise, an interesting read. Thank you for sharing it.

10369291
The first two letters were sent on the same day within the same city. The portfolio is implied to be pre-existing. As an artisan, Rosie would have to keep copies of sketches and illustrated results of her work at hoof.

Pretty interesting perspective on things.

10374201
I’m hoping that’s a good interesting haha 👀

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