• Member Since 30th Mar, 2012
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By windward strides and holy ghosts, what rests beside the barren coasts?



This story is a sequel to Lines and Webs

For four long years, Celestia's apprentice Twilight Sparkle, once a model pony and a hero among heroes, has waged a bitter and secret struggle with her onetime mentor. Though she works from the shadows, directing her forces from the Old Capitol in the Everfree Forest, Twilight Sparkle is unable to gain any advantage,

Likewise, Princess Celestia finds her once-faithful student far more cunning and elusive than she had anticipated, and even now searches for a way to bring Twilight Sparkle's rebellion to its knees.

It is a game of greys, of knives in the dark and of poisoned wine, where pawns are moved and traded and exchanged for greater advantage, all the while drawing both sides nearer to the conflict which shall tear Equestria in two.

At the center of this conflict is a new pawn, one who only wished to see the truth for herself. Drawn into a deadly game whose rules she does not understand, Sweetie Belle must learn to survive in a world where all is darkened, and nopony can be completely trusted.

Because when gods play chess, all pieces are expendable.

A nation will crumble, old enemies shall return in the most unexpected ways, and regardless of who is victorious, only one thing can be certain.

Nothing shall ever be the same.

Followed by Stormsinger.

Chapters (62)
Comments ( 2513 )

As I believe it is the most appropriate one I have, I must post it for this. Sadly ponies only have radio rather than TV, but the message carries all the same.


good opening.
so besides twilight, celestia, luna and a couple of OCs; we're gonna see sweetie bell as a major character this time? (mostly rhetorical, but you can answer if you like:twilightsheepish:)

I am intrigued. Awaiting further updates.

As an aside, I noticed a lack of obvious grammatical errors. :pinkiehappy:

But you did not answer the most important question of the chapter: did Twilight keep her promise and get to bed or will she be in deep trouble? :twilightoops:

So the changelings have allied themselves with the rebels? Just what has happened these past four years?

Sweetie, hope you tucked yourself in tightly. Because this ride isn't gonna stop for anything.

Have the changelings changed, or is Twilight going down the dark side?! :pinkiegasp:

Exactly how long is this after the last story? sounds like a few years.


Four years since Celestia's speech, I believe.


From the story summary, it is four years.

And this beginning was pretty damn awesome! Twilight going gray at such a young age... It is pretty clear how stressful this war has been on her.

Curious how Celestia has been holding up. And if Luna is still sane... :unsuresweetie:

Looking forward to more!

Heh noticed that this story has now officially been posted can't wait for the next chapters to come out and the part with the changelings is intriguing to say the least I can just imagine the other species that have joined twilight's cause and what Celestia is doing to get her back under her control and the fate of poor Luna.

I'll put the first on my read later list and come back to this. Also, true story, I was listening to Les Miserables when I found this. 25th Anniversary, to be exact, and I think Nick Jonas is less musical poison and more of a mild cold. It's somewhat unpleasant, but not too bad once you get used to it, and it'll go away soon enough.

Changelings! I totally called! :rainbowkiss: Cause I am so awesome :rainbowwild:

Curiosity killed the cat.

Or more likely, in this case. Curiosity will kill Sweetie's innocence. :yay:

I am curious how the Ever Free movement will pitch themselves. How much truth, how much lies and how much will be held back...

so want the everfree movement to win.
don't like this celestia and cadence.

1407732 - The game of chess is hell on pawns. Sweetie is most definitely a pawn at the moment. Curiosity might just well kill Sweetie!

Can't say Rarity would much appreciate that though. It would all but doom Twilight's chance of converting any of the elements, granted that doesn't really look like an option.

1407839 - I thought Luna smacked Cadence down hard. But I agree... Celestia needs to die. Cadence, maybe not so much, but she definitely needs to be awoken to the reality of her birth and life. Though, more and more it seems like she supports the process.

Go Luna!!! Bitch slap Cadence with the cold hard truth!


Out of all of them, I would say Rainbow would be the most likely to at least consider what Twilight has to say. She was the only one who protested how Celestia was handling Twilight.

The others are being too obvious. Probably a ploy. And Applejack... well, if she can't see the truth of the situation, who else could?

And I have to agree about Sweetie being a pawn. For the moment anyway...

1407923 - They are being controlled by their elements. Plus, both sides are telling the truth. Celestia came out and admitted what will happen to Twilight.

My problem is... her friends don't seem to care. Either that or again... they are being dominated, at least in part, by their elements. Obviously they don't seem to be in full super-powered element form at the moment, which strikes me as a bit odd, they'd be a potent offensive force that way.

Sounds like Sweetie has already taken the bait, hook, line, and sinker.

I had hoped that at least one of the Bearers of the Elements of Harmony had sided with Twilight, but it would seem that the Elements are a tighter leash than I had expected. Guess I shouldn't be surprised. The Elements do reek of Celestia's influence, after all.

I wonder how Twilight feels about using others since she despised being a tool herself.

1408407 Hmm, wasn't paying attention to the last line in the first chapter were you?

and Twilight Sparkle's final gambit would pay for all. "That's all well and good," she mused, "But gambits rarely go well for the pawns."

Oh, also 1407993 Both are indeed telling the truth, but you are forgetting 1 tiny small little detail... Celestia is mind controlling everypony in Canterlot, and anypony around the Elements. But also, if you agree with Twilight, you are a traitor and killed on the spot, and since everyone is being controlled by Celestia, they don't care how unfair and cruel it is. They are little sheeps in a world full of wolves. They do as their told and are too stupid to care if they don't have freewill to make choices. After all, who cares about a little useless thing like freewill when the alternative is the slight chance of getting hurt in a brawl maybe once in their lifetime.

1409355 - It's a very subtle form of indoctrination, but it's not foolproof, and nothing as extravagant as outright control, save for those she 'harmonizes' herself it seems. I'm not even sure if that really works... The rest of the Mane 6 went after Twilight, but they thought she had been corrupted at the time, now they aren't under any allusions as to what's going on. Well, at least I hope not. As for the rest, some seem to have thrown off the shackles, and some it wasn't very strong to begin with. I expect proximity to be a strong part of the process.

For all Celestia has ponies in general running like clockwork, and she doesn't seem to care to bring the same level of control to most of the other races, there hasn't been much mentioned about them. Gryphons got a little bit, but the Dragons and Minotaurs, Buffalo and such...

1410982 It is indeed proximity, they couldn't get any spies into canterlot cause it was too close to Celestia and they all fell under control. As for the elements. Her controlling is cause she controls the elements, so the elements are her forever eternal slaves, until they get severed from her control like Magic was. Also, I just remembered that actually Celestia lies about one thing. She says Twilight stole Luna's powers and that Luna is 'sick and recovering' Which we all know is a lie. Also she flat out told everyone she was going to mind rape the entire planet and bring 'peace and harmony' to the world, the other races not having a choice but to submit or die like Twilight. Oh, and of course she lies about controlling harmony too. Harmony is spose to be balance, good AND evil, harmony AND chaos, but her vision of 'utopia' won't bring balance at all, it will put everything on one side of the scale and tip the entire world over and ruin everything. Not to mention she is already controlling nature itself already.

She is just basically evil in every way possible, how can ponies NOT see it, unless stupid or controlled. Mostly the former I think.

1411067 - I think your overestimating them. Plus, I don't think Celestia has lost complete control of the elements. Magic, yes, but the rest? Not so much. Just without magic, her control is limited. That's why the Elements seems to be split as to what to do.

As for society at large, they've been breed and raised to enjoy harmony, peace and prosperity. Celestia admits that all it would take to bring eternal peace is the sacrifice of one. I honestly can't say most would reject such a gift, especially if they aren't the one to pay the price.

Don't mind me, I'm just building a time machine so I can read the rest of the story.

Seriously though, I can't stop thinking about this story. And it's given me a book hangover.

Well done.

You know, the bit during the news cast about the Gale Dancers and the volunteer group to fight the Windigos makes it sound like new information rather than a repeat story.


THANK YOU! I've been wondering what to call this. Can't really focus on other fics like I used to because Lines and Webs was too good.

When Golden Radiance mentioned that the talks provide good information, did she consider that Twilight might give away information about there side? :twilightoops:

War is calculated risk, my friend. Twilight has a good deal less to lose.


But Golden Radiance does not know what Twilight says in those meetings as far as the reader knows.

i had a strict bed time set for myself today (i would love to stay awake all night, but then i would have to sleep through most of the day...)...you ruined that with your damn wonderful story!dl.dropbox.com/u/31471793/FiMFiction/emoticons/misc_Twilight_pea.png

Absolutely true. There's a certain amount of trust there. But that's difficult to maintain.

Go Twily! Take your happyness where ever you can. :heart:

I must confess, I care for my characters far more than I should. I try and make them happy, when I can. :ajsleepy:

Has Twilight broken Celestia's spell over her (the one that guaranteed a conception on her first mating)?

Also, has she sterilized herself completely by now?

Twilight... Oh Twilight. I feel for her so much. Her entire life ripped away. Not bad enough that the promise of being able to take it back is right there all the time.

Down that road is nothing but submission and death though. Doesn't mean Twilight isn't tempted...

Excellent chapter! I liked seeing how Twilight was spending her time. Also, the tea time was very interesting. I probably spent more time trying to read into every line then I should have. But that is the nature of political intrigue...

Calm before a storm? Or is it too early for that?

EF uses bait against Sweetie. It is super effective!


You say there are six ponies in the picture, but only name five.

I love all of the espionage, counter-espionage, and counter-counter-espionage; it feels like a Tom Clancy book. Shadow wars are awesome.:twilightsmile:


Indeed, but only four besides her are named.

There we are. I think I was counting Spike for some reason.


Or maybe Silent Shield?

There's a reason he is called Silent Shield.

1429484 Is it cause he bashes ponies heads in with a shield? :unsuresweetie:

Loving it so far :D, cant get enough of your story, and Im impressed at how often you update, most authors its a week or more between chapters .-.. but kudos to you :D and keep on writing awesome stuff.


Of course, there is the question of why they are described as familiar. In particularly Radiant Zenith. Are they familiar to Sweetie or us?

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