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Graymane Shadow


“It’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfill other peoples’ expectations. They produce their worst work when they do that.” - David Bowie

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Princess of Harmony.
Princess of the Night.
Princess of Love.
Princess of Magic.

Twilight always assumed these roles were natural and unchanging - titles that merely reflected the inherent power of the bearers.

Now, she can't help wondering if that assumption was incorrect.


Featured from 8/5-8/8/2021, peaking at the #1 spot. Thanks, everypony!

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 36 )

I really like this idea of the Alicorns having to leave, it's more compelling and mysterious than them dying. I want to know where they're going, what they're doing there. Can they ever come back? Also this is a pretty solid lead up into the new series based on what we know so far.

that is a really pretty cover~

"From the consent of the governed."

Love this idea. Feels very Tolkien having the Alicorns leave for ‘somewhere else’. Think it ties in really well with the up and coming G5 and it’s world. Great work!

The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty queens in Canterlot
And Crystal Lands who now beyond
The furthest star have passed away;
The world was fair in Twilight's day.

...

The world is grey, the mountains old,
The Friendship-fire is ashen cold;
No song is sung, no magic glows,
Castle Friendship lies locked and closed;
The shadow haunts her citadel
In Friendship's town, in Ponyville.
But still the shining stars appear
In whole, unbroken Twilight's Mirror;
There lies her Mark in glassy stone
Till Twilight comes and returns home.

This is... It feels like it should be depressing, but on the other hand it strikes me more as "the old generation passing it over to the new one." And like someone else said, I am interested in seeing where they're going.

I personally imagine they're just going... elsewhere. Same planet, but leaving to live a simple life in a place where they will not be found.

10927972
Rhyming gets a bit wonky at the end, but overall a valiant effort!

“You can’t just leave,” she finally said, hurt and fear in her voice. “You’re the last friends I have. If you leave, I’ll be all alone, and I-“

I have never liked this idea. Yes, Twilight wouldn't have the most opportunities to go out and make friends once she's on the throne, but the idea that she just looses the capacity to form new, meaningful bonds never sits well with me.

That aside, lovely bit of melancholy. No queen reigns forever.

A lot of people are getting Tolkien vibes, which is certainly well-earned. But weirdly I'm reminded of a few things from One Hundred Years of Solitude, too.

I can't say if it feels like a depressing story, nor a fully cynical one. Rather, it feels indicative of cycles, and of passing a thing on, with the trust that what comes next, will know what to do with it. Or at least, will have a chance to know for themselves.

wait. Oh god-

I agree with the other commenters that this feels very Tolkienian -- there's that something about the slow fading of magic and wonder, the slow decline into mundanity, and the last few who remember the wonders of the ancient times slipping away forever.

"It is said that Flurry Heart went to dwell there after the departure of Twilight; but there is no record of the day when at last she sought her departure, and with her went the last living memory of the Elder Days in Equestria."

Hope springs eternal. Just pray that Hope never dies.

10927972
Filling it out a bit:

The world was young, the sky was blue
A mare looked down yet from the moon
The stars still heeded unicorns
When Twilight Sparkle's day was born.
She deeded life to dragon dear
She read the signs and banished fear
She stood with five against the night
And felt a starry crown alight
But softly on her waiting head
As magic spun from friendship's thread.

The world was fair, the sky was tall,
In elder days before the fall
Of mighty queens in Canterlot
And Everhoof who now beyond
Celestial Seas have passed away:
The world was fair in Twilight's day.

A queen she was in lilac hall
Where seven thrones of crystal called
The realm to rise from neath the floor
And tell her errands out of door.
The light of generosity,
Of laughter, kindness, loyalty,
And honesty; of moon and sun
And stars there shone undimmed or wan.

There chaos soft compassion tamed
There was devotion iron famed
There beauty charitably gave
There trees integrally they waved
There hearts with optimism soared
And shadows fled and tyrants roared
And storms did break and up there grew
A forum sharing all she knew.

United then were ponyfolk
And in their friendship, music woke
The dancers twirled, the singers sang
In harmony and sweet it rang.

The sky is dark, the world is old
And friendship's fire is ashen-cold
No wing is beat, nor sparkles horn
Both school and castle vines adorn
The shadow lies where light did dwell
In Friendlytown, in Ponyville.
But still the stars are there to see
In dark and trackless Everfree
There lies her crown in clearing deep
Til Twilight wakes again from sleep.

I have simply no words to say for this, I must admit.

your take on what lead up to gen 5 hmm...the princess of friendship departs, i can imagine there would be a debait among ponies...about whos fault it was, did twilight take the magic with her out of spite, or was it there spite that drove away the magic and thus its princess?...only the princesses know for sure, and they are gone...as pony kind wanted them to be, never to return in that form...

but hope springs eternal, and perhaps in the darkest hour, a single pony, guided by the star of harmony and the bright sun, shall lead the world back unto harmony, and ussure in a new golden age of magic and harmony?

well...this is refreshing stuff.

10927994
I'm not so sure. After all, when Twilight left, we saw that magic was weaker than it has been. They're is something that links them reach to their respective domains, and when they leave, so to does the strength of their domain fade.

The world will end when it's time for Flurry Heart to leave. If cloud move in front of the sun, ponies and griffons and everything will endure. If the moon hides below the horizon, ponies and griffons and everything will endure. Without friendship and love, ponies and griffons and everything may be lonely and miserable, but they will endure.

Without hope, nothing can endure; when Flurry leaves, it will all unravel.

Change is the way of existence. Not merely Chaos, though that, to be fair, can be an agent of change. But Change is inherent in all of nature, and is the bedrock of reality. From a single point, to a million spiraling galaxies. From a living body, full of vim and vigor, to a mound with something beneath, flowers blooming over it. This is how existence, in all its horror and glory, works. A Changing God has no for form or flesh, for I am in all things.

10928546
It struck me as more of a blib on the radar. That Twilight was the anchor for magic, and when she disappeared, there was a moment where magic had to re-attach itself to the world, as it were.

That's a nice bit of continuity on where alicorns could end up - not here, somewhere else.

10928060

I don’t think I’d take that line that way. Regardless of Twilight’s talent for friendship, the fact remains that after a certain point, ponies are going to see her the way Celestia was seen - an immortal demigoddess, someone both perfect and a bit unreachable.

By the time of that line, the only ponies that would still remember Twilight when she was just ‘a regular old unicorn’, the only ones for whom the events during the time period of the show would be memories, not historical events, would be her fellow Princesses.

There was a disaster in the Southern District?

Fuck the Princess!

:rainbowhuh:

This was a rather beautiful story to read, if not humbling. Perhaps it is the nature of mortality that prevents me from fully comprehending what immortality truly is, or the effects that would have on a sovereign. Perhaps it's cruel to those who are governed, and not those who govern, when they look up and realise that those who lead them will never truly understand the chains of a mortal's existence.

Beautifully written.

10927818

They take a magical boat to the grey havens, never to return.

A very interesting concept of how the princess would “move on” as it were. Also how their domains effect the world at large.
I personally don’t think pony kind of ever willingly disown the princesses, though like the scene with the egg. Equestria clearly loosing faith was rather chilling in a way. I do wish we got to know what the accident that Twilight was holding the speech for was but it’s not really important to this story.
Flurry as the princess of hope is also a really cool idea.
Really nice work, well done

Good story, but I also thought it was slightly egotistical from a certain perspective. As soon as they're no longer needed, they leave? Could they not stand the concept of just living normally? That kind of hints at unhealthy levels of self-importance.

10929476
It seemed to me more along the lines of that they represent aspects of the world and when it’s no longer being truely represented in by the beings in the world, they leave. Or die. We don’t really know what they mean when they say they’re leaving, they could be going to their the immortals own version of the afterlife.

It’s why I’m pretty sure Flurry Heart will never leave, because there is always hope.

10928727

10928546

I'm mostly not commenting on the story interpretations for this one, because it's meant to be open ended, but I did want to call out one line from the story, before Twilight speaks to the crowd.

No one could really explain why several unicorns had been unable to cast the needed spell in the moment

That might change your thoughts somewhat.

10929476

This is one of the few I'm going to comment on. Not in a bad way, I just want to clarify a little by pointing some things out. (I'm going to spoiler the lines, for future readers)

"Ponies are losing their desire to love. Not wholly, of course, but I can feel it." (emphasis added)

I later learned that the ‘recent event’ that caused Luna to decide to leave was the dreamscape closing itself to her.

Along with one element in this story that's implied but not explicitly stated: they're more or less a family. Cadance is Celestia's adopted niece, Luna is her sister, Twilight is her most faithful student and successor. Cadance is also Twilight's sister in law. Twilight sees Celestia as a mother figure of sorts, and at the bare minimum she's a good friend of Luna's, and Luna feels similarly.

I'll leave the interpretation of their reasons for leaving up to you, but I will say that they wanted to be together, in no small part because they also understand each other.

10929008

In light of that last part, I took care to not have the princesses be resentful of how they were being treated. Twilight might have been indignant in the moment, but that's a reasonable and understandable reaction.

Thanks for your comment, and thanks to everypony else for the kind words.

10929912
I admit, I missed that, and it is an important detail.

I think now, perhaps, they I was on the right track, but that I had the order of things backwards. The world will still end when Flurry Heart leaves, but not because she leaves, for of all the things necessary for life to continue, hope is perhaps the most difficult of them to extinguish.

..."God is dead" Nietzsche.

?

... In the everyday world, I'm an atheist.

But, I think there's a price to be paid for our 'enlightenment'. Perhaps a sense of wonder. Magic?

Hope springs eternal?

Perhaps I'm delusional and a dreamer... but I hope I'm not the only one.

10929928
It feels...for lack of a better way to put it, like 'They had Goddesses, and proven unworthy of them, and so they departed.'

Which fits given how this clearly flicks towards G5, especially, and potential ways that might happen.

This is a pretty good and interesting work, love it

I like what you did here, but I this idea would have deserved a much longer fic. In this form, it almost feels like a plot summary only, although a well written one. But keep it up, I like fics that have thought put into them like this one.

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