• Member Since 24th Sep, 2012
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The original Sunburst!


For Celestia's entire life, and time immemorial before, ponies have lived in three tribes. The magical Unicorn Kingdom in the far north moves the sun and the moon, the hard-working earth ponies grow food, and the proud pegasi of the Cloud Empire control the weather. They coexist out of necessity in a delicate balance of trade, although they have little trust or friendship for each other.

But now, the North is getting colder. Crops are failing, and the balance is crumbling. In the midst of the world's freezing, a sinister plan unfolds, spelling further disaster. Everything hangs on the precipice of catastrophe.

All Celestia ever really wanted was to be assigned to work on the sun control team, but her world needs heroes – before it's too late.

Pre-read / edited by Georg, Ceffyl Dwr, The Dobermans, Telepony, and Beltorn. Thanks, all of you!

Chapters (21)
Comments ( 104 )

It sounds like a break from canon in the long text (in canon Star Swirl approaches Celestia and Luna to teach them to raise the Sun and Moon because Alicorn power isn't drained by doing it), so some ponies might expect an AU tag. It's up to you, though. I don't think horizon used one with TEFL (sic) despite 63'ing Clover and deviating slightly from canon, fwiw.

A very engaging start. I know where we're going in the very long run, but I look forward to finding out how we get there.

Thanks. I like to think I've worked hard to make sure it'll be an interesting ride.

I can personally vouch that this story is extremely thoughtful and well-written, and worth the wait.*

*May actually be a record for time in progress.

Intriguing start! Definitely didn’t expect the shift in time period or main character. I’m pleased to see earth pony magic being a major part so early on, Ghost Lights spent so much time on unicorns and pegasi in the beginning of the story and touched on earth pony magic at the end, that it feels right to deal with earth ponies at the start of this. Excited for more!

Love what you've done with the chapter title, that along with the overall polish of the formatting really elevates the story. Even without considering that, I can't wait to see how Celestia works around this bind.

I will be following this. I really like Royal Sisters lore, and this seems a rather unique take on it, so let's see where you're taking this.
Also, you said the story is actually completed, so how long we can expect it to be?

The length of the story is around 90,000 words, plus some change.

So nice to see this up. I've been helping edit for so long, I'm feeling a little Celestia-like. :pinkiehappy:

Hey, Winston. This is an interesting story and a great cover art. Did you make the latter yourself?

Yes, I did create my own cover art.

Well, this seems like a great plan that, in addition to have no moral problems whatsoever, has no chance at all of causing the pegasi and earth ponies to unite against the unicorns.

I mean, I expect the plan involves keeping unicorn involvement secret, making it look like the earth pony dieoff is just a natural mystery. But that relies a lot on no one finding out, especially since, from what it sounds like the current relationship between the tribes is and how that might be expected to change as things got worse, I expect some earth ponies would blame unicorns even without any evidence.

And if it comes to a two-against-one war, the unicorns are at the disadvantage of their primary, indispensable service being rather all-or-nothing. The pegasi can provide different weather from different areas, and the earth ponies supply food shipments of different quantities and qualities, but the unicorns, I'd at least imagine, can't really make the sun shine only on the people they favor... and if they try and take it away entirely with an eclipse, or bake one hemisphere while freezing the other, they'll get the entire planet against them. Which might be a strong bargaining position in other circumstances... but when the unicorns started this with a plan of genocide of all non-unicorns, it becomes a case of "So if you win, you'll kill us, and if we don't let you win, you'll also kill us? Well, at least in the latter, you die too, so bring it on if you'd really rather kill everyone than surrender and survive."

So... yeah. As far as I'm seeing, one can completely ignore the moral dimension, and this is still a bad plan.

And that's not even getting into the situation where they're somehow successful, and "If there were only unicorns, who would we have left to fight?" appears to foresee no chance of unicorns ever fighting each other even if they've expanded to populate the entire planet.

Oh, and the ability of Star Fire to accurately gauge people further does not inspire confidence in the plan.
"Having finished my report that advocates closer and friendlier relationships with the earth ponies, I'd really like to go back to the sun control team instead of doing more research."
"That's great! Now, instead of going back to the sun control team, do more research to help me wipe out, for a start, the earth ponies, and as a reward, you'll be able to do even more research! Oh, and this could influence your sister's career one way... or another, too."
Yes, Star Fire, I'm sure that's a recipe for really getting Celestia enthusiastically on-side. Yup. [facehoofs]
I get the impression that she thinks every unicorn basically already completely agrees with her and blinds herself to evidence to the contrary.

...Just to clarify, though, my suspension of disbelief isn't having any trouble with the above. Which is in its own way unfortunate, but, well.
This looks like it should be an interested story, at least!
Thanks for writing. :)

With my computer, using Inkscape.

"Do you want wendigos? Because this is how you get wendigos!"

Ehh... Probably. Visions of prophesy are kinda weird like that.

If you build it, they will come...

Wait, sorry, wrong dream. But Celestia’s destiny is making itself known whether she likes it or not. We’ll see how this goes from here, especially as her conscience continues to nag at her.

Everyone talks about the unicorns being the only ones with genocidial plans, but who is to say the earth ponies do not have some nasty members with equally nasty plans of their own? Like, they control the entirety of food production; the unicorns certainly can observe and try to duplicate the actions they see, but do they truly understand all the ins and outs, or are they merely cargo-culting? I imagine this would give enormous leeway for mischief for any earth pony bad actors (or even a sort of "dead-mare" mutually assured destruction spoiling of future crops).

A canny guild of farmers could easily keep secret the science of things like nitrogen fixation, pollination, crop rotation, or ammonia fertilizer synthesis against the possibility of the unicorn caste attempts to replace them; remove the earth ponies and 2 years later, all your crop yields mysteriously plummet, 3 years, you are reduced to feral subsistence living, and by 5 you are all dead from starvation or easy pickings for Equestria's many carnivorous fauna (and flora). The guild could even breed/develop something like a rust virus for use against staple crops or once they learned of the enormity of the unicorn's plans, form some sort of Faustian Pact (of the "Goethe" variety) with Discord for some truly hideous magical biological weapon like Plunder Vines.

Alternatively, if earth ponies wanted to take a more "active" approach to the "unicorn problem", I imagine they could create their own population control programme, carefully breeding food crops meant specifically for unicorns and pegasi to look more appealing, but have fewer calories and essential vitamins and an increased rate of still-births. It could even be couched in insidiously reasonable rhetoric such as the "necessity to 'guide' unicorn and pegasus populations to 'reasonable levels' in an effort to reduce the strain on the farmers" or somesuch.

Possibilities for mischief are endless and it seems the coming windigos are going to look fondly back at this as a time of plenty and prosperity...

Blimey... This certainly has gotten under my skin, good job for making such a compelling (for me at least) setting. Cannot wait to read more!

Celestia's dream seems less like a dream, and more like precognition. And she just doesn't know yet that she might have this power.

Does Sombra appear in this story?

TEFL = Time Enough For Love

What and who appears in this story is something best found out by reading the story. :twilightsmile:

Yea! Chapters coming out more oftener. And... I see a typo. Curse of the editing class, I suppose.

Yep, I'm going to be picking up the pace on posting chapters.
Always gonna be typos, though. Unlike Pokemon, no one can ever catch 'em all.

I continue to find this story interesting; thank you for writing. :)

>visiting Luna's kinky dream
I'm not so sure it was wholly unintentional on Clover's part :raritywink:
And yes, I was right, Celestia had a vision. I'm looking forward to how this plays out.

“We’re going to steal the sun.”

Props for ambition, if nothing else.

Go big or go home.

At least they’re not trying to steal the Declaration of Independence. (After all, somepony needs to declare independence first. :derpytongue2:) Looking forward to see one heck of a heist planning session.

“Exactly what Luna said.” Clover’s grin widened. “We’re going to steal the sun.”

“What do you mean, what about you?” Clover was suddenly exasperated. “How else could this ridiculous idea possibly work?!” she exclaimed, waving her hooves as if it was obvious. “It wouldn’t do much good to take the sun without also taking the moon, now would it?”


I continue to enjoy this story, by the way; thank you for writing. :)

Luck favors the prepared.

I think they have the problem of going through the planet while only at unicorn power. Like trying to sew through several layers of cloth at once with a blunt needle.

Ambassador Kosh said it best:

Writing is complete, chapters are being posted weekly.

In that case, how many weeks will that take?

If I had to guess… the sisters will probably ascend once they use their new connections to fight off the guard that would try to harm Winter Wheat.

That's not even an overdrive, that's thaumocomputer-controlled magic injection!
It's good to see shit's going down, I was unsure a bit about the pacing of this story first, but it's just right. Good work!
I feel like it would be a bit early for that, but we'll see.

even if we have to move the heavens themselves.”

Your word shall be tested

Luna Overdrive

"The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel—" Wait... Wrong story

The sun shined down on them

"The sun shone brightly as I shined my shoes."

Is cloudstone only hard as rock to things magically able to not pass through clouds?

"We’ll wait here for you here, whenever you’re ready for the return trip."
"We’ll wait for you here, whenever you’re ready for the return trip."?

I continue to enjoy this story; thank you for writing. :)

I like that Commander Hurricane was reasonable and seemed to have a history with Clover already.

Excited for this chapter! Precomment of anticipation where I hope absolutely everything goes alright for them.:twilightsmile:

Not the dreaded cliffhanger :raritydespair:

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