Though her outward appearance shone brighter than the sun, though her coat gleamed like freshly fallen snow, and she smiled with sincere beauty...Her eyes told the truth. Her eyes were old and timeless, they reflected the tortured soul hidden beneath a mask of perfection. She could not hide it. - Sekretoj, Scribe Of Princess Celestia's Court.
It's odd how many people would not realize the truth of this image, that everything that is gone through leaves a mark, even if it is not a visible one. That the person other people see in the mirror, is not necessarily the person (or pony in this case) that you see in the mirror. Wonderfully done.
I bumped into this on 4chan and wanted to tell you. Its beautiful. I love how it shows what she is feeling inside wile showing her unblemished outside in a dark and empty yet still very real and enclosing physical environment.
She gotta be so tired, all the wars, discord, the conflict with her sister, king sombra, been alone for 1000 years, im just wondering how much her mind will resist before her spirit breaks. Beautifull work, indeed it shows the soul of a long time ruler and leader.
In the mirror she looks like what would happen if she couldn't heal herself so fast from many injuries she sustained during her long life, and if she could actually age as regular ponies in Equestria do.
Would it be too shallow and infantile of me to say I really like her mane?
Granted tt's usually my favorite part of any 'Tia piece, but here it really packs an emotionally resonant wallop. It usually surrounds her like an aura, but here there's a depressive disconnect that makes it seem like a totally separate entity, like a garish dress hiding the emptiness in her heart...
Who do you lean on when you're the one everyone leans on? It takes strength to be a great leader like Celestia, though doubtless she finds respite in the joy of loving her subjects whom she's ruled so well and successfully.
I'm struck by the stylistic elegance of Celestia's outward shell, and oddly the real one seems more forlorn than her decayed, apathetic reflection. The mirror itself is beautifully designed, and there's some mystery in my mind as to why it needs to be so tall (but I'll keep conjecture to myself).
The style of the high windows make it seem like this is a basement or some dusty unused tower. It would otherwise be a prison cell except that it holds the mirror which reveals the prisoner inside. Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into it. Anyway, would you call the window style church Gothic or neo-Gothic, or have I forgotten everything I've read in my architecture books?
I like your idea. pretty deep. And it's easy to imagine it's true. Especially during Luna's banishment. A thousand years of feeling guilty, lonely, unfull (how can a day exist without a night? Even if she was able to bring the night, she herself was the day only) and still carry all this on - must be devastating.
I hope this long letter finds you in good health. You have expressed curiosity your whole life for the ancient secrets. I know much of what caught up with my sister and I from times long past has left you with many unanswered questions. You have also, as of late, been concerned about your age and that now, your years approaching three digits, leaves you little time left to learn.
That is something that has never ceased to astonish me about you. Your thirst for knowledge in whatever form it may come.
It is time now, in the time you have left, to understand why I kept the old knowledge from you. I have of course let slip certain details about the distant past. Your discovery of the book holding the tale of my sister's fall was no accident. I am no goddess, as you know. There were times when I thought no hope remained. When I had to remind you of the beautiful letters you wrote me to inspire in your heart the strength to rally your friends, the Embodiments of the Elements of Harmony and defeat Discord. Or when Luna and I became trapped by the Dark One. Or the long-standing peace you settled with the Griffons which lasts to this day.
But know that the Equestria you know and love today was brought to where it is by nothing less than the blood, sweat and tears of millions of ponies prior and of Luna and I.
It has been asked, by those who do not understand us that they do not understand why we are called 'Princesses'.
Pony historians call them The Ancient Times. But Twilight, I can close my eyes and recall the... horrors. In those days, the royal family of the Alicorn ponies all struggled to maintain civilization and order. We Alicorns had mastery over the body, allowing us to keep eternally youthful. As such, once Everfree City was filled, we saw no need to continue reproducing.
Then... Discord came.
Forget what little you know about him, what little I dared tell. Discord was a monster. There is no point telling you how he came to be. For some magics are better off left unknown.
We perished. All of us. Only my sister and myself remained. But our mother, the red-maned queen whose name I dare not utter for fear of losing even more precious shreds of my heart, visits us so often in our dreams that we believe, somewhere, she lives. Yet without absolute proof, we cannot bear the heartache to call ourselves the Queens of Equestria. So until we find her, flesh or bones, we are the Princesses.
Hearth's Warming occurred when Luna and I were chasing Discord to the darkest ends of the world, well beyond the boundaries of Equestria. We had freed the ponies of Earth, Horn and Wing from Discord's influence and allowed them to live in peace for once. Of course... as the story of Hearth's Warming told, the three tribes were still reeling from his touch of madness and were disharmonious.
It was asked of us why we train gifted unicorns. If we were training heirs apparent. Oh, we have heirs of a sort. The remaining bloodlines of the creations of the Alicorns... Earth Ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns. Your friend Rarity met the heir of the original Unicorn bloodline, that sad boy, Blueblood. He more or less changed his ways after I sent him a special letter and box of Joe's donuts. You remember, don't you?
But I digress... I was talking about why someponies believe we take students on to train as heirs.
This would bring much joy and relief to the hearts of my sister and I, the sort you would not comprehend even with the golden heart you have, my once-pupil.
The problem is, even with your magical talent, nopony other than my sister and I can raise the sun and moon. Nopony can rule properly without understanding the wearisome burden that absolute leadership carries. There would be corruption and downfall. This lesson we learned from the Elder Ones. Those who walked on two feet. Everything they were became what we are today. We still see their hands... yes hands, not hoof or claw or talon... in everything. From teacup design to books.
That is why I cannot afford to allow my emotions to get the better of me.
My beloved little sister let slip her heart and the cost was catastrophic. Everfree City was utterly annihilated, the old castle pulled apart by the land itself and the lives of thousands of ponies were snuffed out overnight. But understand Twilight, the creature that destroyed Everfree City and the old castle and killed so many was *not* my little sister.
To be honest... Luna was the lucky one. She slumbered for the most part, in her prison on the moon. But I, my student, had to endure a thousand years seeing to my sister's duties. Some called me a tyrant vying for my sister's throne. They know so little... What matters is that I managed to keep the balance.
Now that my sweet, beautiful little sister is back, I can finally take the time to reflect on myself.
Heavens help me, I feel so tired... So very tired...
But I *cannot*, I *WILL* not abandon Equestria. Too many have laid down their lives an we sisters have spent too many centuries forging it into a place where comforts are plentiful, work is noble, smiles are plenty and warmth is never far from anypony's heart.
Twilight, you and your dear friends allowed me to smile genuinely for the first time in the millennium since my sister lost her way with your parties, your correspondence, and learning to speak to me like a normal pony.
But you will pass beyond where I can reach and since your friends are all tied to you, they too will pass on the same evening. You are six of the greatest heroes Equestria has ever known.
I know what you will say. That myself and Luna should be included as heroes.
But my beloved Twilight, we are not heroes.
We are but pillars on which a heavy burden lays.
Wherever you go, Twilight, you and your friends will make it a better place.
I am a sorrowed to see you leave, but in your brief, precious flicker of a life, you have warmed the ground at my hooves and brought a smile to a weary soul.
I hope this letter finds you in good health, my acolyte. For when the hour that is on both our minds finally arrives, I have more tears to shed than I think I can stop.
Please do not think that I wish to send you off with more baggage than you arrived in this world with. I just needed to bare my soul to *someone*, and I knew that you of all ponies would be able to understand.