The Founding of Equestria
The castles spires had always stood up, as high as the clouds. Well, as long as Granny Smith could remember. Before that is a time of unkept land, violence, chaos and most importantly - nopony was in charge. In the time before pre-recorded history. The history of the first 1000 years of Luna's life.
Chapter 1 : Royalty of Sorts
Luna woke up and rubbed her filly eyes. She jumped out of her straw bed and ran outside. The sun was blaring, as usual. Celestia was already up.
Ever since the uprising 4 years ago, the two fillies had to support themselves. Their small village, run by their parents, was the first village ever settled. Their parents names their fillies after the different known times of day, and their contrasting personalities. The family only ran the village, because their offspring were alicorns (having an alicorn back then was like a blessing, although it was just pure luck back then. Now alicorns are almost extinct). It was a small collection of farms and market stalls. Population - 150. And then the events of legend happened. Well, legend in Ponyville and the future. Not when Luna was a filly. The whole town was ravaged by a swarm of parasprites, followed by famine and drought. The village ousted the family out of power, due to their slow reaction to the pestilence. The parents resisted, attempting to safeguard their filly's futures. Instead, they doomed them. The parents were massacred in front of the fillies, leaving them traumatised. They were then thrown out of the village. Literally.
Celestia was returning from her daily hunt for food. Being the elder, she had the responsibility. She normally didn't find much - a few coins, a dead bird, possibly a few berries. They didn't eat the bird obviously, it was just something to trade off to the caravans that travelled through. The duo had managed to acquire an abandoned farm 3 years ago, and had been there ever since. Their first year was almost their last - at least 30 times. Being young fillies, it was extremely tough to survive. But they did, which is what matters. It was a quaint little place, but enough for the two of them. A stone cottage in the middle of fields. They had started to plant and grow in the fields 2 years ago, and since then life got easier. They would trade crops and dead birds for food, tools and weapons. Before peace in Equestria, there was chaos. Everything is like that. Often, a lone pony would come wandering through - by through I mean literally. Their farm was in between two shear rock faces - and try to steal something or make themselves at home. Luna had the job of removing them, which often wasn't pleasant. Sometimes the straggler would be diseased, ill and illiterate. Luna would only touch them at the end of a rake, literally. Luna would poke them, screaming things at the top of her filly voice. But today, no stragglers. Today, Celestia had found valuables on her hunt. A diamond ring, a small pouch of coins and, what appeared to be a sharp, metal stick. Celestia called it a sword but Luna preferred stick. It was extremely unlikely to find so much of so much value, but Celestia claimed that a rich pony had been mugged. Luna grabbed the stick in her mouth and ran off into the hay fields. Their tall stalks were no match for her stick! Celestia ignored her and continued searching the pouch. The ring and coins came with a note. Celestia could read it, as her parents had taught her. Luna was half way there.
These coins are to be spent in the best possible way. If you stole them off me - shame on you! If not, you found this pouch in the woods, in between the two cliffs. Build a castle there, on the cliff side. Name it Canterlot. Complete the task before the next eclipse.
Your Faithful Student"
Celestia wondered - who was her student? More importantly, there actually was enough money in the pouch to build a castle! Celestia rolled the note up and put it in her saddlebag. What would she do? Build the castle, or ignore it and live like royalty? And why must it be done by the next eclipse? Celestia's knowledge of the stars told her this was in 5 years time. She hesitated over whether to tell Luna or not...
"Why are we moving? You still haven't told me!" Luna moaned while hauling herself up the cliffside, following Celestia.
"I can't tell you! All I can is that this is for the best!"
"Well. I'm not happy to go on if we can't trust each other!" Luna sat down on the spot and pouted.
"Luna!" Celestia turned around to her younger sister. "Ok! Fine. I'll tell you." Luna perked up. "I found a pouch in the woods earlier. Plenty of money and a... Note."
"What did it say?" Luna was up now and back to following her sister. They continued up.
"Build a castle up here in time for the next eclipse."
Chapter 2 : Faithful Student
"Yes ma'am." the stallion left the room. Celestia was at her desk, wondering whether she should have done it, those 2 years ago. She still had the note, stuck to the wall in a frame. The note that was the foundations of any civilisation to come. Luna was fine with it, as her sister had to run everything. She just played all day. Being ruler of the only known civilisation was hard! Celestia just wished, once a day, that she'd find out who her 'faithful student' was. Or will be. She had got so desperate to find out she began thinking it was a future student! Luna dismissed the idea instantly, claiming that her sister needed rest from working. I mean, that's a ridiculous idea! Right?
Life continued simply in Celestia's town. She had named it Ponyville on it's founding day, as soon as she planted the first seed, for the sake of simplicity. Slowly though, the town aged and grew. It was now home to 50 ponies, most were ex-travellers or traders and had decided to settle down. The town was on top of the said cliffside, but Celestia had it planned. With 1 year left to go, too late in Luna's opinion, Celestia commenced the building of the castle. A little known fact is that Canterlot, the castle town on the cliffside, is actually not built on the cliffside, more inside. First, Celestia contracted some worker ponies, willing for a small amount of pay, and hollowed out the cliff. Only a small gap, about 5 houses wide and high. Then they built in the cliff, creating a small, inset village. Then, over time, it was built out to form a castle. No spires however, but a castle that met the requirements of the note. Now, Celestia and Luna waited, or the next eclipse.
Chapter 2.5 : Eclipse
Now, any observant pony would have noticed a problem. Ponyville isn't on a mountain! Correct. It was. The eclipse turned out to be something a lot more sinister and destructive.
"Luna! Get up here!" Celestia was on her balcony, on top of Canterlot castle. It was 20 minutes away. The eclipse - or what Celestia liked to call "the truth". She was hoping for her student to reveal itself and explain the past 5 years. Luna dragged herself part way upstairs.
"What?! It's 2am! No wait. Its 9am, I overslept. Why? Why must you-" She looked out the skylight. "Woah, sweet, pointy stick!" Luna rushed upstairs onto the balcony. A eerie dark shade of gold and black had taken over the sky. It was clearly the eclipse. The sun was a black circle, surrounded by a gold halo. The duo watched as the shadow passed over the sun - and passed further. The sun exposed itself, in all its glory.
"Well. That was good. Will watch it again in a century." Luna walked off back downstairs. Celestia didnt understand. Nothing. 5 years work gone in a flash. Celestia turned around to see her sister walk through the door at the end of the stairs. Maybe, maybe it wasn't a warning. Maybe she had done what it wanted. She had created civilisation, and everything was running smoothly and in harmony.
Now. Nightmare Moon aka Luna, didn't know that the Elements of Harmony were residing within ponies, not in the marble ball form which she believed in when Twilight and her friends banished her evil. That, is because she left Celestia on the balcony, alone. If she hadn't, Nightmare Moon would have succeeded in her plan of eternal night.
Before Celestia's eyes, 6 glowing orbs appeared, not 5 minutes after the eclipse. Celestia, still confused and dazed, thought she was hallucinating. 6 orbs - one purple, one pink, one orange, one yellow, one blue and one white. She started to hear voices in her head, telling her a million things at once. She could only pick out a few - continue working as ruler, build further, eternal darkness and something about her sister. Celestia collapsed from information overload, and slept until Luna found her 7 hours later.
Chapter 3 : Elements of Harmony
"Celly? Wake up, please! I can't handle the castle by myself! I'll die of work overload! Please-"
Celestia shifted her head on the bed. She yelped in pain and moved back to her previous position. She opened her eyes, to reveal Luna sitting on a chair next to the bed. She was gleaming, holding her chin in her hands. It looked like she'd been crying recently, and her mane was a mess.
"Oh thank you! You are alive! You've been out cold for 3 days! I've had to run everything and- yeah. Thank everypony you're alive!" As Luna finished, she noticed 6 balls of stone under Celestia's bed. They each had little carvings in them, showing the cutie marks of the future 6 element holders. However, Celestia didn't know this and was surprised at the sight of the rocks.
"Erm. What are these?" Luna got up, holding two of the rocks.
"I. I. I don't know, sister. I don't know. If I did, I'd tell you."
The duo sat quietly in Celestia's bedroom, both contemplating. Their silence was only ended when a loud bang was heard outside the castle, followed by screams and cries. A stallion quickly rushed into the room.
"I hope I'm not interrupting, but I'm sure you heard. It's a... Thing. It stands around 5 ponies high and appears to be a mix of creatures. It speaks our tongue, ma'am."
"Quick! Luna! Go talk to it while I try and get up!" Luna flew out of the room, literally. She was met with the sight of a slightly dragonesque creature, with small wings and bird arms. It appeared to be teasing citizens by throwing things at them. These things didn't harm anypony, just confused an scared them as they exploded on impact. It was now evident that these projectiles were causing the noise.
"SILENCE, PONYVILLIANS! YOU! WHAT BUSINESS DO YOU HAVE HERE?" Luna bellowed in her royal voice.
"Ooh, feisty one." the creature sniggered at it's own joke. It's voice suggested it was male. "I believe I do have business here. Namely with your sister."
Chapter 3.5 : Elements of Harmony continued
"Ah, Celestia. I believe-"
"Sorry. Do I know you?" Celestia eyed the creature. She was certain she'd never met it/him before.
"Oh, boy! I love introductions!" the creature remarked sarcastically.
"JUST SPEAK! I HAVE THE POWER TO EXECUTE YOU ON TH SPOT!"
"Sheesh." the creature hovered and laid it's self back in a reclining position. "I believe you are in possession of... 6 stones. Perhaps you'd like to-"
"GUARDS! Arrest this... Thing. On the grounds of spying on royalty and threatening us. Potentially treason." Celestia looked to get sister. Luna was staring in disbelief at the events taking place. First her sister collapses on the balcony, now 6 stones which are now public knowledge!
"Care to explain, sister?" Luna led her sister to the lounge, while the creature was being transported to a cell via unicorn magic, while screaming and cursing at Celestia.
"I don't know! All I know is that they appeared after the eclipse. You left, and 6 balls of light appeared. They, I assume, are the rocks. I recognise the symbol."
At this time, cutie marks simply didn't exist. Nopony was privileged enough to have access to enough activities to find their talent. Those who did were considered blessed, or fakes and cursed in certain cultures.
"I wish to see it."
"Very well. I'll send a guard to escort you."
Celestia walked down the prison corridor. Normally, there was little crime in Canterlot and Ponyville, but any crime that did occur was frowned upon. Only 3 cells were occupied, and one of those was to be emptied next week after another trial earlier. There were 2 properly occupied cells. The creature was in one, a crazed murderer in the other. The murderer wondered into Ponyville from the dirt track, and decided to attack somepony. No real damage was caused, although one pony was slightly bleeding. And the creature. It just lay there, staring into nothingness. Celestia approached, and it perked up. It dived to the door and gazed in Celestia's direction.
"Thank you. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like you to wait outside. Any noise, come in."
"Ah. Celestia. How nice to see you!"
"I reserve my right to kill you." the creature shut up. "I believe you wanted to talk to me?"
"Ah yes! About those stones?"
"If you know of their existence, you know what they are. Speak."
"Ah, clever. Yes. I am aware of what they are. Take a seat. This may take a while..."
"The 'stones' are these 6 elements. They hold the whole of creation in the balance. The Elements of Harmony."
"And why, do I have these?"
"The same reason you are here right now, in a castle. The same reason you founded civilisation. You-"
"Found a note" they chorused.
"And how do you know of their existence?"
"Because. I am Discord. The... Polar opposite if you will. I am what holds them away from chaos. I am the the Elements of Chaos, Darkness, Insanity and Death. There are also the 'good' elements - Kindness, generosity, honesty, loyalty, laughter and most importantly, magic. There are more, but I won't go into detail-"
"No. Go on. You're gonna be here long enough!"
"Touché. Very well. You and your sister hold the other 5 - life, light, night, day and the Element of 'Friendship" Discord pretended to gag on the last one.
"Wait - we? Hold them?"
"Metaphorically. They are you, and you are them."
"Why were you after the Elements?"
"Let's just say, the holder of all 15 Elements is sorta powerful. Well, extremely. Immensely. Deity-like. You would become the new creator. That, is why I'm here. And why you were born alicorn. An average body can't hold more than one element, an natural selection clearly thought you were the best hosts!"
"That's enough, Discord."
Celestia walked out, and Discord grinned. "Soon..."
Chapter 4 : Revelations
"I what now?!" Celestia had just finished explaining her conversation with Discord to Luna.
"I need your help. If what he says is true, I completely misinterpreted that note. These, Elements. If they are all brought together. He said that the holder would become a deity. 1: he can't get them. 2: I believe that I have 6 already." Celestia didn't tell her sister about them existing inside them, as she herself didn't 100% believe it.
"Well. Why do you need me?"
"You know what an eclipse is, right? The alignment of orbs of some kind? I think now the note referred to when all 15 elements are brought together. If they were all lined up during a solar eclipse, who knows? I just don't know. I need you to assist me in the search for the other 9."
Discord sat in his cell, grinning. It was all going to plan. Naturally. Celestia would tell Luna, Luna would try and find them solo and be greedy to get power. He had to fulfil the prophecy. Luna would align them and - BAM! Discord is the new deity. All he had to do was follow Luna on her journey to find them. He just hoped her bloody older sister wouldn't go as well... And he had to get out of the cell.
The next morning, Luna awoke almost - reawakened. She was going to help her sister in anyway possible! She and her sister would be deities and bring peace to the land! She was planning on slipping out after breakfast and visiting Discord. Or she could tell her sister, but what fun is there in that? She flung the covers away and slid off her bed. Her hooves hit the floor, landing on her new velvet carpet. She trotted over to the windows, still rubbing her eyes. She swung the curtains open. Sunlight flooded in and engulfed her in a sudden light. Her eyes hadn't adjusted yet, so she stepped back and headed out of her room downstairs, to the dining room.
It was a rather grand dining room, although to Luna is was just a normal room in the castle. It was lined with bookcases, below and on the balcony. In the centre sat a long table - it could fit 12 ponies. 5 on each side and 1 at either end. Fine cutlery was laid out, along with glasses and plates. Celestia was already there, on one of the end chairs, nibbling at a bit of toast.
"Ah, Luna. Come. Sit. I'll send Diamond to get some more food." Celestia paused, waiting for Luna to sit down. She sat next to her, along the side. "Diamond! More toast and berries!" Celestia turned to Luna. "Would you like to try some smoked ham? Some of the citizens discovered some rabid pigs and decided to protect the town, and feed people. Genius, isn't it?"
"Celly. You are too happy! I'm not trying to offend you, but you are normally quiet and... Not as happy. You want something don't you?"
"Oh, Luna. I cant hide anything front you! Ever since you were w filly, you could read me like a book! Yes, I do." A white mare with long purple hair strolled into the room, pushing a trolley stacked with food plates. "Thank you, darling!"
"You're welcome! Always happy to help!" Diamond lit up.
"Say, go treat yourself!" Celestia threw a few coins in her general direction.
"Thank you! You are too kind, Celestia. You're the kindest royalty I've met!" Diamond began to leave.
"Wait!" Celestia called after her. She stopped and turned round. "You said nicest royalty. You've met others?"
"Why yes! There is one other settlement north of here, but I think they are in financial difficulties. I believe it's called, Appleloosa or something."
"Thank you, Diamond. You can go enjoy yourself now." Diamond bowed on her way out, shutting the doors on the way.
"I get it. We're gonna go travelling to see if anyone has these elements? Great. I'm not walking you know!" Luna reached over to the trolley and grabbed a plate.
"We don't have to! You're old enough now to fly respectfully and carefully."
"And I'm not travelling by myself. You said 'you're' rather than 'we're'. You aren't amazing at everything you know!" Luna started spreading crushed berries on the toast. Celestia just sat, pondering what Luna said. Her younger sister - is right? It can't be! She's the mature one! She runs a city! Luna looked up to her sister, who was evidently confused or just thinking deeply.
"We fly at 12 noon tomorrow." Luna almost choked on her berries. Tomorrow?
"That's a... Tad soon isn't it? I mean, you need someone to cover for you. We need to pack and -"
"Tomorrow." Celestia stood up. "Noon." she walked out.
Luna couldn't believe it. There was obviously something Celestia hadn't told her, because she wouldn't leave on such notice. Ever. Not even to prevent warfare. This was big, whatever was coming.
Chapter 5 : Travel
Luna finished her toast and called Diamond in.
"Yes, Luna darling?"
"Come in, please. I need to talk to someone." Diamond shut the door behind her and sat down next to Luna.
"You wouldn't happen to, uh, know anything about Celestia lately? Y'know, about what's been happening..."
"Oh. I was hoping you knew what was wrong. She's been a bit strange recently, I'll give her that. But no, I don't know what's wrong. Sorry."
"It's ok... Toast?"
"Ma'am. I insist. We cannot leave the creature here unguarded."
"No! I'm going with Luna. You are being my temporary replacement, and Discord stays there."
"Discord. Stays. There."
"Yes ma'am." the armoured stallion left the room. Celestia looked up from her desk to the note on the wall.
"Discord. You seem knowledgable. Comprehend this letter."
"Oh. You mean the one you got almost 6 years ago?"
"How did you- Go on. Read it. Tell me what you know or you'll lose a limb!"
"Sheesh." Discord mocked Celestia by acting scared and then looked at the note.
"Okay, okay. Okay. But, I will need to... Use my magic."
"Why haven't you escaped yet, then?"
"Because this was coming. You were going to ask me and I need to show you. I need to show you the future."
"Spike! Get in here! You can't oversleep everyday. These books and their contents won't catalogue themselves!" A purple dragon walked into the room. It was small and stout, potentially a baby dragon. A purple unicorn was yelling at him. Celestia looked on from the side with Discord.
"Let me guess, they can't see me?"
"Correct. That would be too enjoyable!"
"And that's my student?"
"Well done! You must be top of the class!"
"You said this was the future. So that is my future student."
"Correct again! Hat trick!" Celestia looked out the window. They appeared to be in a tree, and in the distance Canterlot still sat on the hillside.
"Good to know my life's work is still alive!"
"Well... You say that. That isn't the original." Discord grinned.
"Let me guess. This is the future if I don't get the 15 elements?"
"I can't show you the actual future, can I? That would be cheating!"
A yellow pegasus walked into the tree.
"Erm, Twilight. There has been another earthquake!"
"Coming Fluttershy!" Twilight dropped her book and ran outside.
"Earthquake? Twilight? Canterlot? I need to know more!"
"Hmm." Discord reclined "Tell you what, I'll give you 1 wish."
"Where are the 15 elements? I want a map, detailed and labelled."
Celestia awoke in her bed. Did she dream everything? Was she officially losing it? She rolled over to see a roll of paper on her bed side table. Could it be... The map? She reached out to get it. It was definitely paper. She sat up and unravelled it, revealing the world within. It looked nothing like she thought it would. There were no recognisable landmarks, besides Canterlot. It was displaying the land, both discovered and unexplored. She assumed the glowing orbs around the map were the elements. They were everywhere - from forests to deserts, seas to mountains. How would she get them? What would they look like? How would she find them? Celestia took another look, and saw a green orb was the closest to Canterlot. It seemed to be where she and Luna lived in the cottage. In the fields.
Chapter 6 : First Orb
"But. But I- I can't go back. Not after all of this."
"You have to, Luna. We need these 15 orbs! We-"
"You. Not we. You don't need me. You just want me to go with you, keep you company. That's all I am - company keeper."
Celestia calmly walked out of the bedroom. Luna was still in bed, but sat up when Celestia came in. Luna just sat in disbelief.had Celestia actually just walked out? On her? The Element of Friendship wasn't obviously here. And even if it was, it didn't appear to be working. Luna would revolt. Leave the castle, or just go on her own trek. But then they'd have 7 or so each, and war would break out. Luna did have one thing Celestia didn't - on her trek she didn't have Discord.
"Ah, the young one. Come, ask your questions." Discord perked up as Luna came down the hallway.
"I need your help."
"Well, there's a surprise! You only come when you need something."
"No. No jokes. My sister is being a ... I need a map like hers."
"I like where this is going! Revolution! Yes!"
"So, will you help?"
"I would. But that map was given to your magical sister in a dream."
Discord was already 1/2 way into his plan for domination. All he needed was Luna to go off by herself, without Celestia. And then the war of the millennia would occur - and Discord and Luna's imprisonment would happen publicly.
"I don't believe you. Prove it!"
"Ok. Your a tough one to break, aren't you?"
"Huh?" Discord teleported out of his cell and seized Luna.
"This won't hurt a bit..." Discord placed his forefinger on her forehead, causing her to feel dizzy and collapse, and gain a grey-ish tone.
"Ma'am! We found your sister by Discord's cell." A stallion in armour wheeled Luna into Celestia's study, on a trolley.
"My god!" She ran from her desk to her bedside. "Is she ok? Well she be alright? Why is she... A bit grey?"
"Please, calm down ma'am. Our medics have described her situation stable, but she will be out for a day or two. Discord is also a main suspect and being held at an isolated cell deeper under the castle."
"Thank you." the stallion left. Celestia looked back to Luna. She started to stir, right on cue with the others leaving.
"H-how could you do this? To me?" Luna strained from her bed.
"What do you mean?"
"You. Discord. Liars." She sat up abruptly with a sterner tone to her voice. "Both of you. Greedy! Traitorous!"
"What has Discord done to you?"
"Only what you've done as well, sister." Luna jumped out of bed and left the room. Celestia knew Discord had done something, she just didn't know what. Luna had become exactly what Celestia had imagined in her dream the day before. With Luna's imprisonment. It was all playing out, starting with the note. The note which started and destroyed the first actual civilisation and drove ponies to war and treachery. The note from her future student.
The next morning, Luna awoke in a forest. It was sunrise, as the sun was just creeping over the icy mountains in the distance. Where was she? She got up, and crumpled. Whatever or whoever put her there had weakened her to do it. A needle was sticking out of her flank, so she decided to yank it out with her mouth. That was definitely what was causing the nausea, as she almost fell asleep on exit. She tried to get up and limped towards the edge of the forest, to try and find a landmark. She stepped out onto a hilltop, 400 ft above grassy fields for miles. Beyond that were the mountains. Canterlot was nowhere to be seen. Luna would have no idea where she was until she could see the stars to navigate. One other pony appeared in the distance, seemingly grazing in a field. It was a purple unicorn with a darker mane.
"What the hell do you mean? She can't have vanished?! Find her! Hunt! Bloody well do something!"
Celestia threw the stallion out of her office. Discord and Luna had disappeared, right after Luna's rage at her. What had she done? Wa it her fault? Celestia looked up from her desk and out the window. She'd been a terrible sister, ruler and mentor. She had single handedly let the creature go. Discord surely had something to do with Luna's disappearance.
Luna trudged down the hill. The purple unicorn was closer now. It was evident now that the pony wasn't grazing, but studying a green orb in the grass. Luna started a slight canter now, getting closer. The unicorn looked up and teleported. The orb remained in the tall grass. Luna approached it, and it made a humming noise, and had an eerie glow to it. It appeared to be a glass ball, full of swirling gases. She got down to get a better look, and she fell back with a sudden pain to her head. She lay back in the grass, holding her head. Voices. Images. Everywhere. Silence.
"Yes ma'am. Just as planned." the same stallion Celestia spoke to earlier saluted and left. She was going to find Luna and bring her back. A stand in would be found for ruler, and Celestia would pack and leave... And miss the event of the millennia - how Ponyville ended up at the seat of the mountain instead.