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February 10, 2011
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A Humanised Pony Tale: The Princess in the High Tower

The late night breeze was cold against Luna's face as she gazed down from the window of her chamber high in one of the tallest towers of Canterlot Castle. It blew in around her, setting the tapestries on the walls of her bedroom flapping fitfully. Far below, she could see all of Equestria, covered in darkness, and she watched as one by one the pretty yellow lights of the inhabitants' houses scattered across the blue and grey landscape winked out, leaving everything dark and still.

She looked up at the moon – a mere sliver of anaemic yellow against the black sky, barely brighter than the tiny trembling stars that encircled it, and she thought back to how it had been so different once, a thousand years ago. Her moon had glowed fiercely then, fierce and beautiful, and Equestria had enjoyed a night-time wonderland where everything her light touched sparkled with an aura of blue-silver.

Whenever the people of Equestria told the legend of how she and her older sister Celestia had fallen to quarrelling, they always mentioned how it was she, Luna, who had grown angry and resentful that the people preferred to play during Celestia's day, ignoring her own beautiful night. But it hadn't truly happened that way. There had always been those who had loved her night, living their whole lives within it. And Luna had loved them back.

She looked down at Ponyville. It was late, and every light had been extinguished – except for one tiny yellow light remained.

"Whoever you are," Luna whispered, "Thank you for enjoying my night."

Those endless nights spent looking down across the land, the stars about her head like a crown, covering it with her blue-silver light! Luna sighed. The moon that Celestia had made, the prison she had been trapped in for ten centuries, was a mere shadow of what HER moon had been. But everyone had forgotten that, forgotten it long, long ago.

Sister, she prayed. I wish you would let me shine again!

Everyone thought that she and Celestia had been reconciled – that Princess Celestia, in her boundless mercy and compassion had forgiven Luna and welcomed back to her side her beloved little sister.

But in truth they were far from reconciled. Luna suspected – but she feared saying it out loud, as her sister could hear anything that was said in Canterlot Castle – that it had been Twilight Sparkle's presence that had kept Celestia from destroying her off hand when they had met in the ruined Temple of the Two Sisters, after Luna's vengeful avatar Nightmare Moon had been stripped from her by the Elements of Harmony. Celestia had stayed her hand – but her mercy was like her heart, cold and empty.

Luna wiped away a tear. This room is no different from my prison of a thousand years. Oh, I wish I could dance again, just one more time, up there among the stars like I once did!

And she remembered how, when the world had been young and Day and Night had shared the world twice a day, she and Celestia had met and spent those seemingly endless twilight hours in each other's arms. Or had that all been a dream, a sweet, cruel dream born of those thousand years trapped within the moon?

Luna sighed and turned herself away from the arched window to her bed chamber. Her gilded cage! The four-poster bed with its quilt of blue and silver, interwoven with stars and moons. Her precious telescope on its stand, from which she spent day after day looking down upon Equestria, and next to it the chart of the night sky, with all its swirling constellations, which she had designed at the beginning of time itself. And not to forget those gorgeous tapestries, a present of her dear sister, which had woven on them the story of the Two Sisters! She laughed bitterly whenever she looked at the tapestries, caught up in the mountain breeze, their tassels fluttering as if to taunt her. So like her sister to have decorated her prison with pieces of art, beautiful beyond words, designed to remind her every day of what had happened to her – a velvet-covered knife twisted in her heart!

Bu the telescope made her sadder still. It brought the night sky down to her, but she couldn't touch it. She couldn't feel the star dust between her naked toes, the winds of the ionosphere in her dark hair, the aurora sparking at her fingertips as she danced! The telescope, another example of her sister's cruel kindnesses. But how she loved that telescope! With it she could look down at the lives of the inhabitants of Equestria, into the lives of her people.

My people! They will be my people again, she thought. The tears welled up in her eyes as she wondered if anyone still remembered her, still thought of her.

There was one person, though, beyond all others that she hoped knew of her, who she hoped thought of her. Luna would spend her days peering through the telescope, scanning from one side of Equestria to the other, from the Ocean to the Everfree Forest, looking for any sign of her, until her eyes burned and her neck ached from bending over the eyepiece.

The thought of her made tears finally overwhelm Luna, and she threw herself on the bed's starry quilt, burying her wet face in the deep pillows, sobs gripping her whole body. That was the worst part of Celestia's revenge. She wouldn't tell her where she was.

"Celestia!" Luna called out to her sister. She knew she could hear her. She could hear anything spoken within the domain of the castle. "Celestia!"

The answer came almost immediately, emanating from the very walls of her bedroom, as if Celestia's voice was the voice of Canterlot Castle itself." Yes, Luna? What do you want, my beloved little sister?"

"Celestia! Celestia, please!" she prayed. She, a goddess, reduced to praying to her own sister! She knew Celestia must be laughing, laughing at her powerlessness– that light, bright laugh that echoed hollow in her empty heart. "You know what I want! It's the only thing I want. Please let me see her! Please…."

"You know that that can never happen, Luna," Celestia replied. "She is no longer part of you. She is my daughter now, and mine alone."

"She is part of both of us!" Luna shouted, jumping up from the bed and staring balefully down at the cold stone floor. Somewhere below her, through all the walls of stone, she knew that Celestia was sitting on her throne and smiling. "She's just as much me as she is you! We made her that way! That beautiful twilight evening we spent together, fashioning her out of our love for each other..." Tears spilled down her face and spattered darkly on the stone. "You betrayed me! You brought her to life while I was imprisoned. You promised you wouldn't. You stole her from me!" she whispered.

"I stole her from Nightmare Moon," replied Celestia simply. "To protect her from your rage. I could not allow you to contaminate my innocent child with the evil in your vengeful heart. You understand that, don't you, my precious little sister? "

"She's mine! Mine as well!" Luna was screaming now, and she tore at the hated tapestries with her nails and threw her telescope to the floor with a clang of dented metal and a crash of shattering lenses. "If you won't let me see her, just kill me! Destroy me utterly!" She fell to the floor. "I know you can do it. I know you want to do it. Annihilate me. Make everyone forget that I ever existed.  It makes no difference to me."

"Oh, but I could never do that to you, Luna," Celestia's reply was sad, but within the sadness was a spark of dark humour. "For you are my sweet baby sister, and I love you. And I shall always love you – until the end of time itself."

Luna's eyes ached, raw from crying, and she clawed at the floor, her nails digging into her palms and dripping blood over her clenched fists, smearing the grey stone red. "Celestia. Please. Please. Let me see our daughter," She brought her mouth close to floor and whispered, almost too soft for herself to hear.  "Let me hold her once. Just once… just once…."

And far below her, in the absolute centre of the castle and the world itself, where she sat on the monolithic throne of Equestria, Princess Celestia heard her sister's whispered plea. And with a thin smile, like the cut of a dagger across her mouth, she replied "No."

*******

Far below, in Ponyville, only one person in the dark and silent town was awake. Twilight Sparkle sat at her desk in the library, the windows thrown wide so that the night breeze could blow against her face. She loved these quiet hours of the night, when everyone was asleep and there were no distractions – especially from a certain little green-haired boy!

She put her favourite silver-blue bookmark in the tome of magic she was studying, leaned back in her chair and gazed through the window. Far off, in the darkness, she could see the black shape of Canterlot Castle high up on the mountain peak, and even there, in the centre of Equestria, the lights were out and everything seemed still. Wait! Almost every light. There was a single window still lit up - far up, in one of the highest towers in the castle. Perhaps it was Celestia's bed chamber?

Twilight sighed, and chewed thoughtfully on the end of the pencil in her hand. There was a terrible ache in her heart, as if something was missing. "Oh Princess Celestia," she murmured. "Are you awake as well? Do you miss me?" The little point of light seemed to flicker as she asked. "Because I miss you. You ARE so like a mother to me, after all."

The light suddenly went out. And Twilight went back to reading her book in the silent solitude of the night.
A change of pace for me. This is the first part of a projected series of stories about Luna and Celestia. Luna has been imprisoned by her elder sister in Canterlot Castle, and as she gazes upon the night-time landscape of Equestria she is haunted by happy memories of the past.
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:iconkatban:
katban Featured By Owner Jan 2, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
is there more?
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:iconguilmon2712:
guilmon2712 Featured By Owner May 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
that is a awesome story i like it
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:iconbuttersc0tchsundae:
Buttersc0tchSundae Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks guilmon! :iconpinkiepieexcitedplz:
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:iconguilmon2712:
guilmon2712 Featured By Owner Jul 20, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
your welcome and sorry i was at my cousins
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:iconbuttersc0tchsundae:
Buttersc0tchSundae Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Haha! No problem, guilmon! Also, your Luna avatar looks really apologetic too! ;)
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:iconguilmon2712:
guilmon2712 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
ok and thanks
and what does apologetic means too ;)
and awesome stories and fooling around on facebook and skype playing games XD
listening to spies like us too :XD:
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:iconradiantvoid:
RadiantVoid Featured By Owner Apr 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I must disapprove of this. Sorry, I made a slight mistake there. Let me begin again.

WHAT?! WHY!?

There we are.

Firstly, why is Celestia a horrible person? Has someone in your life been a horrific sociopath? Some of your stories are unbelievably cruel. Unspeakably cruel. I mean, seriously, they are cruel to the point of absurdity. Cruel to the point of invoking my anger rather than my sadness, and that is an achievement.

Secondly, why did you make it humanized? The only purpose for that alteration appears to be the 'nails' and 'bloody palms' images. To be honest, I find this to be a crutch - it is very difficult to get similar images when working with a quadraped. However, I think that that is part of the fun of writing stories in this universe: You have to dig deep and think in order to portray emotions. As such, I see the 'humanized' point as detrimental overall, as it appears to have been for the sake of a simple image.

It appears that this was written 2 months prior to the reveal of Twi's parents in "Cutie Mark Chronicles", so I will grant that.

Unfortunately, there is no explanation for how Twilight is not 1000's of years old. How exactly was this whole thing supposed to work?

Next, and again, why is Celestia so cruel? NEVER has Celestia displayed such a cruelty. I have read a fiction of Celestia slaying a dragon, and she was STILL kinder than your Celestia. I mean, honestly, you might need to see someone about that. She claims she 'still loves' Luna, but is sadistically cruel to her, and refuses to do anything that doesn't make her suffer in some way. I notice you never bothered to explain why Celestia was so kind to her in the second part of Friendship is Magic.

Celestia is so grossly out of character, I decline to rate this piece at all; sorry.
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:iconbuttersc0tchsundae:
Buttersc0tchSundae Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
This was just a flight of fantasy, RadiantVoid! Back in the day (wow, over a year ago now I guess) a lot of people were talking about Celestia being a tyrant, and I decided to let my mind wander over that concept. This is a darker, AU, if you will.
As for them being humans - well, it was my intention back at the time to write a darker series of stories, and have them as humans since, well, grimdark ponies are inherently kinda ridiculous (at least to me!).
Rereading this kinda makes me sorry I didn't go on to write that series.
As for creating an evil character being a symptom of a diseased mind - aw, c'mon Radiant! You're better than that, surely. Next thing you'll be telling me is that Nabokov must have been a paedophile (or knew one intimately) since he wrote Lolita! SOmetimes writers use their... imaginations. I'm kinda happy you think I know a real psycho, since the character must ring true at least a little in that case.
Thanks as always for your awesome comments!
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:iconradiantvoid:
RadiantVoid Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Been awhile... good thing I remember this piece.

Alrighty: Nabokov was making statement (I would hope); it was SUPPOSED to be screwed up. So yes, I understand where you are coming from in that.

Indeed, being as the 'cruelty' appears infrequently in your works, I can see that it is highly unlikely (at best) that you knew a psycho. Usually those kinds of things show up (in various forms) throughout the works, rather than a smattering here or there (Steven King, for example).

My comment was actually more that the level of cruelty was a bit 'above' what imagination can usually yield. We are... odd things, humans. Our concepts of torture are generally very limited. They prey on simple things - fear of drowning, isolation, physical harm and mutilation, and that sort of thing.

Hell, most 'torture' devices are just 'improvements' upon things we already found painful - splinters under the nails become thumb screws, spears/swords become the iron maiden (not often used: twas a rather pointless device beyond intimidation), confined spaces (numerous, though 'the rack' can qualify), drowning (a few examples that I care not to name), loss or being forced to murder (used primarily in undeveloped nations), and wounds (countless).

My line of reasoning was simply that the psychological cruelty of the 'dark' pieces doesn't really have such a precedent. I know you caught some flack for the 'Mirror of Impossible Dreams' end... but it was bad enough that my brother - only marginally interested in MLP - has occasionally references it in conversations. Apparently it was cruel enough to stick with him.

That said, 'taunting denial' DOES fall under 'established' torture, so I definitely withdraw my assertion that you knew/know a sociopath for the piece. I clearly wasn't rational in that, and took it too far.

Completely off topic - what is that object above your avatar's right (viewer's left) ear? I thought it was a watermelon slice at first... But is it a rose?
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:iconbuttersc0tchsundae:
Buttersc0tchSundae Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You know, RadiantVoid, I think I'm strangely unaware of the level of cruelty in some of my writing. Did you know that Mirror of Impossible Dreams is supposed to be bitter-sweet, and not at all dark? But after so many people mentioning it, I've come to understand where they're coming from. Maybe I'm a budding grimdark writer who's missed their true calling in the fandom!
You don't have to apologise for anything. I hope my reply didn't come across as annoyed, because I wasn't! I very much appreciate your comments on my work, as they are always well-reasoned and exceedingly helpful to me as a writer.
Oh, and the thing behind my ear is a rose! :icontrollerscotchplz:
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