Today’s story will serve up a tragedy worth remembering.
[Sad] • 3,355 words
In the midst of Equestria’s most recent age of peace, just after Princess Celestia puts the finishing touches on her latest gift to her subjects, Twilight Sparkle appears with a strange question about an obscure beast. It’s obvious that something else is bothering Celestia’s most faithful student, but what?
FROM THE CURATORS: “I’m not sure what to say about this without spoiling it,” Chris said as he nominated this story — and indeed it’s best approached before reading any spoilers, since it takes some powerful twists from its starting premise. “There’s some nice misdirection in the early going,” Chris said. “A bit more than halfway through, I discovered I was on completely the wrong track. What the story’s really about is heartwrenching.” Present Perfect was equally impressed: “I figured it out about halfway through, and then just had to watch in horror as the heartbreak grew and grew.”
That emotional impact was augmented by the story’s presentation. “This is a real masterpiece of tiny details,” Present Perfect said. “That Celestia has to piece things together along with the reader helps make everything feel realer than it is.” Horizon agreed — “this tells a remarkably large story from its single tiny stage” — while Chris offered an example: “I love the fact that things like the condition of the guards’ armor can let us infer so much about the world outside, while the story itself never leaves Celestia’s workroom.”
We broadly agreed that the characters were as compelling as the world around them. “This is exactly how I imagine Twilight — and Celestia — dealing with a situation like the one they find themselves in, and Celestia’s bit about responsibility near the end tied everything together,” Chris said. The moment he discussed was one we all found central to the story. “The bit about responsibility gives this piece nobility, a purpose beyond just tugging at heart strings,” Present Perfect said, while AugieDog found drew a deeper lesson: “The talk of duty at the end is so very, very Celestia. It shows that she will always have more lessons to teach Twilight. Always.”
Read on for our author interview, in which TinCan discusses bilingual wordplay, Canterlot messes, and the halls of Elsinore.