Dreaming in Shadows, Awaken in Flames

by BaryonBrony

First published

Twilight's discovery of a strange book leads to the reawakening of an ancient power.

A tome hidden in the vast Libraries of Canterlot is found by Twilight Sparkle, who discovers it written in a language she has never come across before. Determined to solve this new found mystery she takes to spending restless hours in its translation, and in doing so is entrusted with a story long since forgotten. Soon she finds that what she thought was a simple story could be very real, and the power it tells of just as terrifying to imagine. The true beginnings of the entire world, arcane powers... and a seal with warnings written into the very magic it contains.

But, when Canterlot is put in grave danger, Twilight must make a hard choice. She must either let all she knows burn, or unleash a force more ancient than she can even imagine.

Lost in Translation

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Twilight rubbed her eyes against the sides of her forelegs. She had finally done it. Weeks of work, and so many sleepless nights behind her had finally paid off. The first few pages of the dusty old tome no longer looked as if they were written in gibberish. She could read it, granted with a pile of notes surrounding her. That didn't matter though, her mystery was finally coming to its solution, even if that in and of itself would take just as long. She had an entire book to translate, which could take just as many weeks as finding the proper references had.

Still, she had a peek into a nameless book. A mystery not even she could deny.

The concept of "normalcy," not one I ever followed. We are the children of eternity and the time long since gone to the beyond, older than the spirals that abound the expanses before us. We are shepherds of the emptiness, bringing new stars into being and guiding them to share their light. Or... so the others are.

I was the star that never lit, fires burning within so many times hotter than can even be fathomed; but my light was never to be shared in the shroud. I was one of the oldest, but never seen as an equal. Where the others brought light and beauty to the darkness, I formed like bodies to my own. Worlds I called them, taken from an ancient word left in my mind from something long since forgotten. These worlds were my passion, my only solace in the dark as I wandered the emptiness as but a shadow.

For all my efforts though, my creations were as barren and cold as their creator. Within them burned great furnaces, but their shells hid this from all. They were seen only as lifeless spheres hanging in the void, sharing nothing to their neighbors. Over time I came to simply wander, not caring to share my gifts again. I watched as stars still young frowned at my presence, a blight on their glory I was considered. These were feelings I was accustomed to, and so I removed myself farther and farther from the other stars.

Those who could share light shared it. Those who had gifts to give gave them. I simply watched in the dark, staying far enough that their scathing glares gave me no grief. Far enough that when the overwhelming light of new stars turned my worlds to ash I did not feel them die. It was not until I was so far that all light had gone did I find myself alone. So, there in the deepest dark, I simply waited. I still know not what I waited for... and so I resigned to wait even still.

It was so dark there, no light to be seen in any way. It was in that cold that I knew I had found the place I belonged. Alone, forgotten... the only one to feel the light and fire of my own heart, or so I had come to believe. It was there that they came, seeking their own were the old stars. Ages past my brothers and sisters had spread out to the vast reaches of the void, to seed all corners with light and beauty. Now, I stood before them again, and for the first time in a turning of the great spirals I was among friends in a place I thought lost.

The old stars joined me, and for a time we were family again. It was then that I made that fateful attempt to share my gift to the emptiness one last time. For ten thousand years upon ten thousand I had wandered, my power growing with each beating of my heart. I had saved this, nurtured the power for one final blessing. A world that would shame all others now but mourned. I shared my intent to the others, knowing that my world would be dark and barren despite my most fervent desires.

That is when she approached. Asteria, a star so radiant and beautiful that if we were to have a Queen than she would truly have been ours. With a smile she nodded to me and pleaded in a voice like a chorus for me to do as I desired. Too long I had toiled alone, but no longer was I outcast. Beside her, my friend and star brother too nodded his approval. Amongst all the others, an affirmation by the mighty Chronos was as great a decree as could be made.

I closed my eyes, expanding myself into the void to show the work to be done. This would be unlike any of my past works. My very life-blood would be the mortar for this monument. My heart split open and from it ran like rivers of molten rock to form the perfect sphere that would serve as they heart of this final world. Veins split away from the heart and spread, rivers of burning light glowering and waxing despite the icy grip of the shroud. The veins reached their apex and spread about to create the skeleton of the orb I would construct. When the rivers intersected, I slammed down upon the border and from this blow spread solidity. I formed the rock and crystal surface that flowed out like tidal waves to meet again on the other side.

The earthen surface roiled like a great and turbulent sea as I roared, filling the whole of the world with its sound. From it spread dark clouds, lightning slashing the dark as the storms flew. I slammed the surface again, splitting open the ground beneath me as I drew a breath of the newly formed air. With lungs full I roared into the open ground, rivers of magma flowing from me to fill within amongst the hot veins.
With a swipe I sealed again the ground and drew open my wings, a single beat sending me high into the angry sky. Never before had I sacrificed a part of myself for my creations, never had my own blood been pumped into the heart. This was my masterpiece, as much a part of me as I was of it. As I flew over the forming mountains, flattening plains, and boiling seas I felt myself change. As much as I had shaped this world, it now also shaped me.

Where once had been pure will, long curved horns stood like crystal spires. My being was shaped, four legs and a body that held my still molten heart. My body was like the world, crystal and fire and wonder that which I had never imagined. I set down on the tallest peak, folding my wings against my new form and watched the lands fall to calm.
But, as with all the others, my world soon grew dark and cold. The lightning faded, and the burning core was sealed beneath solid ground. Though this world was my greatest work, it was doomed to share the fate of its like. That is, until a light rose at the horizon. Asteria spread her wings and from them came warmth and light and hope. She set down on a great peak and lifted her head, a horn coming to shine just as my own had done.

The others had seen my transformation, had witnessed what such a making had done to me. Far from turning away, I watched as hundreds upon hundreds came to stand high in the sky with forms just like that of mine. Even Chronos in his infinite pride came to stand beside Asteria, his love and mate in similar forms to my own. To her radiance, his was dark and filled with stars, and his shadowed horn shone for a moment as he sealed the light of my brothers and sisters in the sky.

Forever would their glory be remembered in the darkness, for all to sit upon the surface would be shone the light and hope of the old stars. But still, the surface grew colder and darker yet. Despite the countless stars, even theirs was not enough to illuminate the surface... only the sky. As the others began to leave, their legacies saved forever, only Asteria and Chronos remained. The meeting of the first ones had concluded, and the world was made.

"But it is not yet finished," Chronos spoke in a voice that shook the ground. He rose up into the air, and soon had left the world I had built behind. I watched him go, knowing I could not follow. Now, only the fairest was left. She knew, perhaps more than all the others, what I had wrought upon myself. I was a part of this world, and never again could I be apart from it.

She lowered her head and smiled to me before rising tall again. "We will return, my dear Cindus. When we do, we will have gifts for your blessing greater yet. The worlds you have filled the void with are priceless gems in a sea of dark, and too many have been lost to vanity. The young may scoff, but we know greatness when it is given to us. Guard your child, dear Cindus. Guard it well, for we will return with glad tidings before the turning spirals vanish to the roiling of time."

And so she left, vanishing into the void. All that remained now was me, and on my world there was still work to be done. Mountains to be shaped, oceans to be spread, and chaos to be undone. So, when they returned, there would be a gem truly worth the promised gifts. My masterpiece would be waiting.

The sleepless night had taken its toll. Just as poor Twilight Sparkle's eyes reached the end of her translation, they closed and she fell against her desk. The soft rise and fall of her chest a warm whisper to the silence of the library. A shadow appeared beside her, a quick breath blowing out the candle as Spike lifted his best friend from her desk and carried her to her bed.

Returning to the desk, Spike quietly began to collect and organize the papers just as he had done for years. He looked down at the book Twilight had been reading, but shook his head without the ability to read it. Had he seen it before, he would have noticed the markings at the edges of the pages. Markings that had not been there even minutes ago. With an expert's hand, the young dragon went about putting books in their proper places before sliding into his own bed.

Again the library fell silent, and all was well.

Past and Present

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“TWILIIIIIIGHT!!!” The loud shout nearly sent poor Twilight Sparkle through her bedroom roof as the click-clack of claws on wood were heard coming up the stars.

“Ugh... Spike, what is it?”
“Pinkie went ahead and used that flour from the Everfree Forest in her cupcakes just like you told her not to and Rainbow Dash ate one and now she's GREEN!” Spike sucked in a gasp of air as he continued, “not only that but she can only talk and fly backwards and now she's chasing Pinkie all over Ponyville only Pinkie thinks they're just playing tag! You have to come watch this!”

“Can't you see I'm busy? What pranks Rainbow Dash brings down on herself is hardly news.” Spike just scratched his head and shrugged before ascending the rest of the stairs all the way up next to Twilight's bed.
“What are you reading?”

“It doesn't have a name. I found it in the Canterlot Library last time I was there... I've spent the last season translating it.”
“It's in a foreign language?”

“No, I don't think so... just a very, very old one. I was going to ask Princess Celestia for help, but I guess things are getting tense on the borders of the White Aeries again. She was called away.” Twilight's horn glowed as she turned the page, moving her gaze from the ancient book to her translation notes.
“The Griffons are making trouble again, aren't they?”

“When are they not?”
“Did you try asking Princess Luna?” With a sigh the unicorn hopped from her bed to the floor with a clunk.

“Too busy with her sister gone; and I've only gotten a few pages deciphered.” As Twilight passed him by, Spike followed closely with a quizzical look on his face.
“Only a couple pages in a whole season?”

“Well, it's easier now that I have the idea down, but from what I can tell it's some kind of personal history or memoir. It's about somepony named Cindus... and that's all. I think he was some kind of crazy sculptor or something.” Taking a seat before a huge tome opened almost halfway Twilight went over a passage before levitating another book towards her and compared a page from that as well. “But the weird thing is I can't find anything with him in it. There isn't a mention or a whisper or even a record of anyone even related to this... 'Cindus.' It's like he didn't even exist.”

“How old is the memoir?”
“There isn't a date, but the pages and bindings are enchanted so they won't rot. I haven't a clue how old it is. Even the magic is old, too old to really know for sure. I tried to find something relating, or even a history textbook that mentions this... no luck.”

“I don't really think you'll find a book about books, Twilight.”
“I'm more interested in referencing the terms. 'Void, Asteria, Chronos, Heart of the World;' it's almost like the pages are written in code.”

“Well... if you don't need me, and you aren't going to watch Dash pummel Pinkie Pie then I guess I'll go on to the Boutique. I have my, uh... 'appointment.'”
“Say hi to Rarity for me, and tell everypony I'm sorry for not being around.”

“I know, you're busy. They'll understand.”
“Thanks Spike.”

On his way out Spike made sure to shelve two books Twilight had strewn about. She was too busy inside her own head to even reorganize the library, a rare sight for the dragon. It was nice not needing the ladder as much, he was tall enough to reach to the fourth shelf now. Without building his own horde, Spike had grown at a near standstill pace... even so the patience had been worth it.

Stepping out and being sure not to slam the door, Spike broke into a jog down the road. It was a nice day, the pegasus had promised clear skies for the whole week. Spring had been so windy, a calm day was most welcome. It was the sort of day that sleeping in a warm patch of sun sounded like the best thing in the world, but he had a special appointment that was even more important than a good nap. Up ahead he spotted a rising dust cloud, and already could see the hoppity-hopping pink shape of the prankster coming towards him.

He stopped a moment as Pinkie Pie bounced past, cackling with laughter. “You're still it, Rainbow Dash!”

“¡ǝɔɐuǝɯ ʞuıd noʎ ǝɹǝɥ ʞɔɐq ʇǝƃ”
“Sorrrrrrry, I can't hear youuuuu!”

“¡ɥƃnoɹɥʇ noʎ ƃuıuuıds ɯ,ı sdool ʎuɐɯ ʍoɥ ɹǝʇɟɐ ooʇ uǝǝɹƃ ǝq ll,noʎ”

Spike let the procession of laughing followers pass as he continued on his way. He made sure to step aside as a stampede of fillies, not yet the height to keep up with their longer-legged friends, charged along as they took up the rear. The path was more or less empty now, the dust cloud just beginning to clear. Only a few ponies were left going about their way, less interested in the well known antics and more focused on their work.

Soon the carousel was in sight, and Spike fidgeted a bit just as he always did. Scales were preened to a shiny gloss, something he learned had made a certain fashion-sensed pony smile when seen. Two knocks and Spike was set to wait. It was a boutique, and most often ponies simply walked in. Spike was not a pony, and he always knocked. In a way, it was his little manner of letting Rarity know who was coming.

He saw a faint glow surround the knob and the door clicked open. “Come in,” a sweet voice called from inside. Making sure not to slam his tail in the door, Spike closed it gently and stepped lightly towards where Rarity was working. His claws were sharp, he didn't want to scratch her floor. “Not a minute late, Spike my dear.” Rarity's smile made his heart skip a beat.

“Oh, am I?”
“Of course you are, just like always.” Adjusting her glasses Rarity finished a stitch and nodded at her work. Her skill had only ever seemed to improve. It wasn't a week that went by without some high-to-do coming to Carousel Boutique hoping to commission the famous Rarity. Now, she had moved to an even more drastic project. “Take your place, if you would be so kind.” Spike was already there, arms straight out at his sides.

“Ready!” Not wasting time Rarity levitated the folds of cloth over his arms and chest, wrapping it into a vest. Needles slipped through the folds and held the basic design in place.
“Designing for dragons... oh, what a gem this will be! You may put your arms down now, dear.”

“What made you want to try this, Rarity?”
“Well, for one thought, dragons look completely different from ponies. Dragons come in all shapes and sizes... and colors... and assorted tastes. What a dream it would be to have them as customers!”

“Oh... well, most dragons don't fancy themselves the... uh... fancy types. And they also aren't fans of.. you know... paying for things.”
“So says the most generous dragon with the fanciest purple scales this side of Canterlot,” Rarity let a needle poke her test subject a little in jest, which he of course didn't even feel. With the idea now final, all she had to do was get the proper fit and dressings to Spike's body and she would have him a suit in a week's time. “So,” she mumbled as she fitted a second stitch beside the spines that jutted from his back, “I haven't seen Twilight in days. How is she? Not reading herself to death I hope.”

“She found a new book, it's in some kind of really old language. She's just spending all her time translating it.”
“That poor dear, no matter what it seems books will always be her love. Now, quit fidgeting or one of these pins might find a soft spot.”


A pile of references, all three volumes of ancient scripting, and even a essay concerning the elder languages... Twilight had amassed herself an arsenal around her bed as her eyes moved through the memoir. There were symbols, markings that nothing in her studies could hint at. Aside from these mysteries, she could still find meaning to some of the writings. It was fascinating, and with each passing word she felt more and more drawn into the tale.

My world, shadowed by all but the slightest inklings of light high above. Countless times I watched the shapes pass above me, the elder stars having without their own knowledge drawn patterns in the sky of my masterpiece. For so long I watched alone, shaping earth and sea to the best of my own ability. I was part of this world, and it was part of me. Unlike any of my past creations, my blood had been pouring into the heart of this world, and so it moved itself to my will with what I could only imagine to be as like elation.

I needed no companion, for I never had one. But, beyond even my own will and intent, my world saw it fit to bring about those who could watch the skies with me. In this place of shadows and dark things, so were the creatures that moved from the depths. Beings of darkness deeper than the void, black inside black that showed their presence only by their fiery eyes. Two came to sit beside me, shadowy wings spread high as they gazed to the heavens. A thousand more spread out to cover the mountain, and a thousand thousand beyond that.

Just as my world was without name, so the dark things were left nameless. I did not speak to them, and they spoke not to me. There was no need in the dark, words meant nothing in shadows. Were a title to be fathomed, perpetual night was their purpose. I moved from that place then, and the dark things followed. Spreading out upon land and ocean the creatures took upon wing and flew high and far. I flew among them, and reveled in the fact that I now had companions that were, like me, bound to this place.

I looked to the lands far below and saw beasts without wing traveling the plains and valleys. It was as if the rock had come alive, shaped just as I had been shaped these creatures spread far along the lands. They lived in darkness, and such needed no eyes to behold the light. The strength of these beings was a thing to impress even I, and so I witnessed as they accomplished feats through sheer power and number as like unto what I had through pure will. They crumbled mountains before them and built places to exist within, and they thrived.

I again came to land upon the tallest peak, to my right the winged creatures and to my left the stone beasts. We all three watched the stars, and again I felt belong fill me. Even more so than the elder stars, these beings were my kin. This world was my child, and these creatures were the children of the world. For the first time in years greater than the stars above and the mountains below, greater than flying creature and stone beast... for the first time in my ageless memory I found myself feeling something for the very first time. I was happy.

Twilight turned the page and sighed, it would take more time to decipher the next few pages. She only then felt just how tired she truly was. With barely a whisper she laid her head upon the soft pillow, and was asleep before a worry filled her mind. Dreams of wonders in an unlit world filled her, and she imagined what such beauties could have been like.

Beside her bed, stacked upon the many volumes and tomes of reference the ancient book sat. A thing from a time long past, and yet still remained. Suddenly the pages of the book began to flip wildly forward, stopping much farther in the story. There, on a page unlike any of the others, a great series of symbols and markings glowed brightly for a moment. Then, just as soon as it had appeared, the light was gone.

Awaiting the Sunrise

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“Twilight? You in here? Hello?” Applejack took one step into the library before a pink blur shot past her. Pinkie Pie leapt into the air and shouted happily, glitter and confetti exploding everywhere. All Applejack could do was groan, but such was the way of the pink pony.

“Surpriiiiiiise!” A silence fell as the party favors came to land on the ground. The library was dark and empty. Both ponies looked about, the eerie feel sinking in. Stepping past her companion, Applejack gave the table a closer look.
“What in tarnation? This place ain't been dusted in days... that's really... really... A-CHOOOO!”

“Gesundheit! And hey, maybe she went on a trip... or a vacation! Maybe someplace really fun!”
“Ah don't think Twilight would just up an leave. Look, there's hoof marks in the dust on the floor.”

“Ooh!” Spinning a circle, Pinkie donned her detective hat and a quite serious expression. Applejack couldn't help but grin slightly, watching as Pinkie was already staring at the “clues.” But, taking her own look around, it was hard not to see the scene as anything but what it was. There were books strewn about, dust on everything, even the flowers Twilight so meticulously cared for had long since died.

The library looked almost as if it had been abandoned, all but for the fresh hoof marks. They were all over the place, mixed in with piles of books that had simply been left where dropped. Applejack squinted at this, thinking hard as to what could have happened. “Ah think she was lookin for a certain book, the hoof marks head to the basement and that's where they end.”

“Excellent deduction, faithful sidekick! Twiiiliiiiight!” Before Applejack could stop her Pinkie was already barreling down the stairs and into the dark. That was Pinkie Pie though, always one step ahead of her brain, and three ahead of everything else. Walking up to the threshold of the stairs Applejack peered carefully into the gloom, spotting a faint glow from within.
“Hello?” There wasn't an answer, not even the party pony responded. “Ah'm comin down!” Still nothing, which brought Applejack to puff herself up and begin the trot down the steps. She didn't know why she felt a twinge of fear deep inside, but she couldn't deny that she wasn't sure of what she would find at the bottom of the stairs. But, then again... not knowing would bug her far worse.

Reaching the bottom Applejack stared in awe at the sight. What little was illuminated by a few dying candles was filled with books stacked high. In the very center was Pinkie, and she was softly patting a bundle on the ground. “Pinkie, what is it?”

“Applejack... I can't wake her up.” Coming close enough to see revealed the bundle to be none other than Twilight wrapped in a blanket. She was on her side, eyes closed with only the softest of rises showing her breathing. The very tip of her horn was letting off a very soft light, waxing and waning with every breath.
“Twilight... you need to wake up, sugar,” Applejack whispered as she pushed against the unicorn's shoulder. After she got no response the earth pony pushed harder, and harder again. Grabbing the blanket she threw it off and was about to use a tried and true method when she halted. Between her hoofs Twilight was holding a book, one with a very strange symbol on the front. It took one look for Applejack and Pinkie Pie both to get a very bad feeling in their stomachs, backing off in unison before even realizing what they were doing.

Just then Twilight's eye slowly opened and she picked herself up. She yawned before turning a sleepy gaze at her guests. “Pinkie... Applejack... what are you two doing here?”

“We were looking for you! We hadn't seen you in so long and Fluttershy was so worried but she didn't want to come because you might be busy so we came instead! We found you down here sleeping with that creepy book. OH! And we let ourselves in. Surprise!”
“We were ALL worried about you. No pony in town has seen you for days. Twilight, what's wrong?”

“Wrong? What is right? That's a better question.” Taking the book she had been sleeping with the unicorn opened it and slid it before the other ponies. “I always wondered...”
“Uh... wondered what, sugar-cube?”

“What if I... never mind. I'm sorry I haven't been around, girls. I've been so busy trying to translate this that I just forgot myself.”
“Well, ah think somepony needs some sunshine an today is the perfect day. Come on, you... an this apple ain't takin no for an answer.”

Before she could say otherwise Twilight felt a shove and was scooted to the stairs by Pinkie. With a sigh and a smile the unicorn agreed, and up the trio went. As she left, Twilight gave the journal one last glance before leaving the basement behind.

The dim candles finally gave out after a moment or two, and within the blackness of the basement the only sound that could be heard was the flipping of pages. When silence finally fell, all was still but for the slightest of whispers. A movement of air through the dark underbelly of the library. It was the sound of breathing, and few were taken before it too vanished.

It was hours before Twilight finally returned. She smiled, giggled, reminisced of her friend's antics throughout their daily adventure. Spike was with her too, and she had remembered how neglected she had made him feel. So much of her mind had been in an old book, even those she cared for most had been given thought.

Soon, one by one the other ponies left for the day, all glad to have their friend back with them. Finally bidding the last goodbye, Twilight shut the door behind Applejack and turned to look at her library. The state of uncleanliness was atrocious, and with one thought she had her duster levitating before her as she went about tidying up. Spike pitched in as well, shelving books and mopping with practiced speed.

It took only a short time and the whole ground floor was spotless. Taking a seat at her table Twilight let a happy sigh out just as a hot teacup was placed before her. “Thank you, Spike.”

“Just glad you weren't as lost in your books as I thought.”
“Sorry if I was a little obsessed... you know how I get with mysteries,” she punctuated herself with a smile before taking a cautionary sip of the tea. Perfect temperature, and delicious. Retiring to her room, Twilight bid Spike goodnight and sat in front of her window. The moon was almost full, and the clear sky showed every star. “And the stars saved their light in the sky, forever painted in the night.” She sipped her tea again and connected the dots, remembering the constellations. “And where no pattern was meant, I saw many shapes. Where there was chaos, I found order.”

The empty teacup was set to the ground, and with the slight lowering of her head Twilight masked the light of her horn as she cast a spell. The journal appeared before her, flipping open to the page she had left off. What few notes she still required were neatly stacked, she knew the language enough to read freely. She brushed away her bookmark, feeling as if freed when her eyes met the letters and words.

She'd had so much fun with her friends. Applejack and Rainbow Dash with their arguments, Rarity and her grand stories of Canterlot's finest... Pinkie Pie being Pinkie Pie. But the whole day, an ember in the back of her mind had burned; smouldered in her thoughts to what she had to do. The story must be told, the mystery revealed. Questions she had never thought to ask were being given answers, and nothing could stop her from knowing them.

She started at the top, noticing the intricate markings that had once bordered the pages had now spread farther in, and were even intertwined amongst the words slightly. The magic of this book was like nothing she'd ever seen, ever heard of. It was like staring into the sun, if that could truly sum up such a feeling.

Again, Twilight let herself be pulled into the words of the past, and they took her readily.

Years counted, years ignored, years forgotten. Time upon time, the coming and the going of life everlasting. I always trusted the fair Asteria, and I always would. The grand Chronos, his word as immutable as law. My brother, though we bore no true relation. My sister, yet shared no blood. I would trust their words if it took as many years as there were creatures in the sky and beasts upon the ground.

It has been a time long past that my companions sat with me. I have watched mountains rise and crumble, seas fill and flood and fade... and from this place upon the highest peak I have not moved. My home, my masterpiece has risen to embrace me in my watching. Moss has grown upon my legs, ice and frost coat my back. Still watchful, still patient till time turns backwards and I see my actions undone will this be.

It was not until I saw a wonder that my head did finally turn. Always had I seen the winged creatures soar, but now another sight was amongst the sky. The stone beasts, long since wishful of the stars rose upon the greatest of wings and they too ascended to the sky. Above tree and cloud, hill and mountain the beasts glided proudly. I too felt pride, more for what has come that far exceeded my original intentions than foolish ambition. I had given long ago the one thing that had always been needed, the spark of life.

Turning my head again I gazed to the lower reaches, listening to the groans and grinds of my frost-ridden joints. I watched again as seas and waves crashed over the plains, unchecked by anything and left to do as they would. I saw then why wings were so needed, why ground was so unfriendly. Without the harmony of the seas, the plains were a place of fear and destruction. I had rested long, my core felt renewed, and my home agreed.

With the great creaking and groaning of countless years past I moved my ancient body from its place of rest. With a great burst of frost and snow my wings spread wide and I stamped down upon my mountaintop. The great rumble that spread split the waves below, the water trembling and fleeing as I laid another blow down upon the peak.

With a thought I spread my will to the splintered mountain and followed the crack to another, and another, until all I needed were found. With a beat of my wings I rose above beast, creature, cloud, and air until once again I was within the cold black. Behind me came the many mountains, crumbled and broken for my newest purpose. I set these components together and let the beating of my heart flow once again, filling within this new place a part of my essence as I had before.

The blood given so long ago was different now, older and changed to suit itself. In mixing with the thing from which it came, I felt it harken and seal itself tight. Glad it was, and glad was I. So much smaller, but just as beautiful was this new creation. Dark, just as the sphere from whence it came, but filled with a purpose and gladden of it.

Seated high above, this great circle watched the seas and oceans and rivers, a never-blinking eye. The floods diminished, the waves settled, and the plains were lifted from fear once again. The stone beasts saw their homes returned to them, and so they again set amongst the ground. Now though, without my highest peak I set out to find a new place to wait... to watch... to wonder.

There, on the next page, Twilight saw a crude drawing. A perfect circle but aged to look nearly faded out. But still, she could not deny that the image of the moon was on the old parchment. Turning it over, the unicorn continued, immersed in the tale too deeply to even consider stopping.

Had I known before what my actions would bring about, my thoughts may have been different. Though difference of thought and of intent is as light and dark. Both connected, but as separate as could be imagined. Despite all this, any misgivings, or perhaps even doubts... I was staring upon a wonder I could never have dreamed in an eon of dreams.

I had watched him descend from the sky, and thought for a moment my friends had returned. Black within black, his body made the dark between stars seem blinding. I watched in silence as he landed before me, furled wing and lifted his head to show a curved horn. His words though are what swayed my thoughts into turbulence. “Greetings, father.”

Father? At first I thought this impossible. None of my creations had mind, had soul... they had all been like husks. The stars were the only things whose children had voice, had form, had heart. Then I was struck with realization, and that was this being had not come from the stars, but from the watching eye above. The heart of my world was old, far changed from what it was at first. Imbuing into it again a piece of myself made something new entirely, and here he stood.

Frozen blue eyes seemed to inspect me just as intently as mine did him. As before, he found the voice in him to be heard. “I have no name, what am I to be called?” I had never needed to give name before, nor had it occurred to me to do so. I expressed this, and watched as he tilted his head as if in great thought. “I cannot be nothing. I am something, and so I must be called something.”

I confessed to him that I could think of nothing. It was not my way to give meaning to the purpose, only that the way be shown and followed. I had never given name, nor could I imagine one to give. I confessed of this lapse, and of the emptiness in my mind. After some moments, he nodded. There was little to him to see expression, but I know dejected eyes... I wear them more than I please to. “Then nothing I am, as so it will be.”

I approached him and sat down close by, twice over in height still than he. New as new can be... and denied hope in his first moments? No, never would I have such a thing as this. To him I turned my eye and half a smile, and spoke to him something rare indeed. I spoke to him a name. “Nothing you say, of a sort... but far greater would be your name. There is a 'nothing' deeper and wider than can be imagined in ten minds, like you this thing is. Void it is called, and it is above us and around us... the greatest expanse. You are like this, for even my eyes cannot pierce the darkness you hold about yourself. You are Void, and so that is your name.”

He matched my smile, and nodded approval. How he came to truly be I will never grasp for certain in my thoughts, but blessed I am Void came... my once long companion high above given form. I wandered within it long ago, now it wanders beside me. And as we looked up into the dark sky, as father and son alike, we both watched a great light peak upon the heavens, and all below.

And light it was as a ray of sunlight struck Twilight's face. As if broken from a trance she fell back a little, blinking weary eyes as the light stung. “Oooh... morning already?” Crawling into her bed, the tired pony did not even slip under the covers. She simply let her head rest on the pillow, and gone she was from the waking morning.

She did not feel the careful hands slide a blanket over her, but smiled at the warm embrace of cloth. Spike watched her a moment more, and saw a contented smile spread over her sleeping face. “Still the same ole Twilight.” Walking as silently as he could with tail in hand for good measure Spike made his way to the basement and began to replace the stacks of books where they belonged.

He hoped Twilight would keep that smile, and he did what he thought best to ensure it. For Twilight to wake up in a spotless library would be the only gift he could think of for he finally coming back out of her shell.

He stopped for only a moment, noting it seemed hotter than normal... but paying no mind continued his work. There were still many books to replace.