twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Chaos in Canterlot! in big bold letters. It was splashed across the front page of the Ponyville Express: some ponies have checked books out, gone home, only to find out there was a pony reading the book they had borrowed. They get home, put the book down, and a few minutes later, there's pony standing next to it looking lost! Ponies from the School For Gifted Unicorns have instituted a spell on the doors of the Canterlot libraries that cancels out the Haycartes spell when ponies pass through. There were a lot of surprised ponies getting dumped on the threshold at first, but since then ponies have become more ... selective in when and where they dive into books. Since Moondancer has stopped reading her books at the library for the time being, I guess she hasn't been among those landing upside down and sideways in the library lobby. That must be a sight to see!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The winter semester at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns is in session and Moondancer gave her Haycartes lesson. She taught both the standard Haycartes spell which allows you to be fully immersed in the text, and her variant that allows a pony to visit books from the same edition and printing. It was a great success. They had her speaking in the largest auditorium in the School -- the indoor polo court, and the stands were packed full. But there is a downside. Ponies have been using the spell to read books other ponies have taken off the shelf instead of waiting their turn. Now Moondancer can't read her books at the library any more. She's opened some books to find up to three ponies trotting between the covers. The worst are ponies offering their opinion on the book's contents even before she's had a chance to read it. The only solution is to check the books out and take them home to read them.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I used Moondancer's Haycartes spell variant to drop in on her. I think she is a little stressed out. I could see her from my spot on the open page, sitting half hidden behind a great wall of reading material. I got her attention by calling out her name, but she was so startled that she knocked over a whole pile of scrolls and sent them rolling every which way. When she trotted closer, I could see her breath. I reminded her that it's Winter now.

She told me that her furnace stove is buried in books and that she just hadn't got around to clearing them off. I think that letting her house look like she's not there might also be why she's not heating yet.

In other news, Moondancer has agreed to be a guest lecturer for a class on advanced study techniques early next semester. That's when she'll be teaching the Haycartes spell. The flood of ponies piaffing her door and whickering at the window has slowed to a trickle, but she'll be relieved when she has given the lesson and she'll get some peace. She said she's usually at my place now, and the heat is on there.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I was relaxing in my reading room, pouring some chocolate peppermint tea when I heard Moondancer calling me from my Treatise on Ponies book. I'd stacked a few copies of Applejack's magazines on top of it but there was a corner of a page showing, with Moondancer's head and a waving hoof peeking out.

She's hiding out at my old place. It seems that ponies have been interrupting her studies all day and into the evening since my In The Field lecture two nights ago. They all want to learn the Haycartes spell. Oops. She also got a letter from Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns inviting her to do another guest lecture, this time for the Advanced Magical Techniques class. If you guessed Haycartes Spell, you get a carrot and advance three spaces.

Moondancer was trying to not look too put out, but her tail was swishing. I don't think there are any flies in my old place. At least there weren't any two days ago. Well, if she agrees to teach that class, she may get away with not getting asked to teach it over and over again, one pony at a time. Or not. At this rate, Moondancer is going to end up becoming a professor, planned or by default. Her first article is soon to be published, in the Journal of Cultural Equinology and Magic no less! She's doomed. Sorry Moondancer.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I should have mentioned that it was an overnight stay.

Yesterday we were seven ponies, one dragon and a mannequin riding the late morning Friendship Express to Canterlot. Me, Rainbow Dash, Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Lyra Heartstrings, Pinkie Pie and Spike. The mannequin was for the talk. I was far too distracted to notice the trip.

Minuette met us at the train station and gathered up my companions to show them where they could drop off their overnight bags. While they were off trotting about town, I headed to my old place, carrying the mannequin. There I met up with Moondancer and we prepared for the talk. A few hours later, Moondancer left to catch up with the others back at the train station where they welcomed our yak guide, Machur Lulach. I went straight to the Canterlot Explorer's Society hall to test the set-up in the ballroom, dress up the mannequin for northern exploration, and stash my cards, transparencies and Treatise on Ponies in the podium.

Not much longer now. I went into the room reserved for their guest speakers, furnished with a table, a cushion, water to drink, quills, ink, scrolls, a mirror and a wash basin. Hay wafers on a silver tray. I couldn't eat. Shelves packed with old issues of the Canterlot Explorer's Society quarterly journal. I couldn't read. The wait had me sweating and champing at the bit. So I made myself stop pacing. Worked on my breathing. Focus. Live the moment. Like Zecora taught me. Calm and ready.

Just in time.

There was a light knock on my door. I opened it to find a pony waiting to tell me it was time. Down the hall I could hear the sound of many ponies chatting. This was it.

I waited at the stage door as the crowd grew silent. The chairpony of the Canterlot Explorer's Society made a brief statement, introduced me and during the polite applause, I took her place at the podium.

Good evening. To every adventure there is a beginning, and this adventure began with a tale in a foal's storybook. I was given this book by Princess Mi Amore Cadenza of the Crystal Empire, along with many other volumes, to help restock my personal book collection after the Golden Oak library was incinerated by Tirek. The storybook tells a cute story about how Winter came to Equestria, and it goes like this.

After Moondancer gave her account of what drew her to travel so far into the Frozen North, I talked for about an hour. It was distracting to talk to a room full of ponies seated at round tables, sipping their drinks, whispering to each other from time to time. The lights in the room were dimmed a little to make my transparencies easier to see, but I could see everypony very well. Did I know that pony? That other pony looks familiar too. Was that pony laughing at something I said? So many ponies dressed in sequins in the room, sparkling like frost in the night. Now everypony is looking at me. Change the transparency! Next subject!

After the applause, there were many questions. About the Haycartes spell, about why didn't we map Winter's ice castle, did we bring home samples of the frost, will we be going back, what did it feel like to be in such an ancient building, is Winter a threat to Equestria, and so on. Then it was over and I got to sit down for supper.

I was at the Very Important Ponies table, with the society heads, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, and other notable ponies. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that Fancy Pants had a chair at the VIP table. He does seem to be the type that enjoys hearing of exploration and adventure exploits. As it was, I did a lot of talking, and not much eating.

I think my friends had more fun at their tables. They were seated at two tables of seven. Pinkie and Dash sat with Lemon Hearts, Moondancer, Minuette, Twinkleshine and Lyra Heartstrings. That was the party table. The other table was much more sedate: Rarity, Fluttershy, Spike, my parents, Applejack and our yak guide, Machur Lulach.

Between Dash, Pinkie and Minuette, the gags, balloons and confetti were flying every which where. The food too, as there were at least two impromptu food fights. It looked like bread sticks versus croutons. Lemon Hearts is a Canterlot palace event organizer and there she was, under princesses's noses, constructing makeshift crouton catapults out of the cutlery. I obviously have not been going to the right parties at the palace.

At my parents' table, things were much less wild. Machur was the epitome of yak sophistication and panache, manipulating pony utensils and glassware with ease, dressed to the nines in gold leg bands and sparkling crystals that dangled from braids in his mane. Rarity was in her element, my parents looked charmed, and Applejack looked like maybe she would have preferred to sit at the party table. But then Spike got a scroll, quills and ink, probably from Moondancer, and he was busy writing things down. The whole table was intently discussing something. They told me later that they were trading recipes and techniques.

Princess Luna got my full attention when the conversation at my table shifted to talk of constellations. She pointed out that a constellation is made of several stars and thus out of several personalities. The pegasus that saved us could not have been just Summer. Summer may have been the dominant personality, as evidenced by her driving Winter back, but the other stars may be her companions from her life time, or just other ponies with similar nurturing tendencies. It's rare for constellations to form a figure that resembles their form in life. The form a constellation takes is the embodiment of their collective drive, in the same way that a cutie mark is the illustration, often symbolic, of a pony's drive or ability. The map is not the territory, but it is an abstraction of the essence of the territory. A constellation is an abstraction of the essence of the collective motivation or commonality of the stars that joined it. The point is, the constellation may not have been Summer but it could be the combined will of many lives that together act as Summer would. You can't exactly go up to a constellation and ask, either. If you can get their attention, constellations generally don't speak. Their actions and replies are the consensus of a myriad of voices and as such, that generally results in simple activities and an entity that forgets that you are there and just listens to itself think.

The dinner finished late and rather than leave early and run to the station to catch the last train back to Ponyville, we stayed overnight in Canterlot. That way we could see Machur off safely to his morning train the next day. Rarity went to her boutique (with her mannequin); Machur stayed at my old place; Pinkie and Lyra stayed with Minuette; Twinkleshine put up Fluttershy; Dash and Applejack "crashed" at Lemon Hearts's house; and Spike and I stayed at my parent's place.

This morning we got up early, said goodbye to my parents, collected Machur and went to meet everypony else for breakfast at a restaurant Minuette recommended. After breakfast, Rarity went back to review some orders at her boutique, Twinkleshine and Lemon Hearts left, Moondancer went to the library, and the rest of us gave Machur a guided tour of some of the things to see in Canterlot.

Machur, his saddle bags laden with Canterlot specialties, caught his train back to the Crystal Empire, and soon after, Rarity arrived and we boarded our train back to Ponyville. Home at last. Canterlot Explorer's Society dinner: a success.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The Canterlot Explorer's Society talk is tomorrow. I am calm. I am focused. I can do this.

My preamble will go like this: It all started with a foal's storybook from the Crystal Empire, sent to me to help rebuild my book collection which Tirek had incinerated when her burnt the Golden Oak library to the ground. The storybook tells a cute story about how Winter came to Equestria, and it goes like this. [Read book, project transparencies of the book pages]. I didn't dwell much on it until I had a chat with my friend Moondancer. She had seen a different telling of this story on a scroll fragment in the Canterlot Mane library archives. This led her to do some research. Next thing I knew, she, via a quirk she had discovered in the Haycartes spell, appeared in one of my books and announced to me that she was in the Crystal Empire and that she was on her way north on an expedition! [Place open Haycartes Treatise on Ponies on projector plate, Moondancer appears]. There she is now! (Speak directly to Haycartes book, invite Moondancer up on stage to share why she went and what happened next...) [Moondancer tells how she knew where to go and what to look for and what happened up until she and Lemon Hearts fell into Winter's icy slumber].

...

Thank Moondancer for her help, move on to our expedition.

1. Our gear and supplies. Show examples of horse blankets and boots designed by Rarity. Our camping equipment and yak gear. Short list of staple foods and power cubes. Our yak guide, Machur Lulach. Group picture of us in our winter gear and snow goggles.
2. Map of the route we took, with camp sites indicated. Pictures and descriptions of the terrain. How many hours we walked a day, approximately how far north we went, how long it took, how cold it got.
3. Star charts from Yakyakistan covering portions of the heavens not seen in Equestria but sadly, not as far north as we went.
4. Arrival at Winter's castle of ice, already described by Moondancer, explain how we succeeded in thawing everypony, allowing us to escape and the ancient explorers to disperse. With Winter lurking in the tunnels, there was no time to explore. [pictures by Pinkie]
5. Our rescue by an unknown pegasus constellation.
6. The other cultures we met however briefly: the long eared Cirrostratans, our caribou companion, our guide and our brush with Yakyakistan. [pictures by Pinkie]
7. Home safe and sound. And very skinny. The expedition was longer than originally planned.
8. Question period.

That should take about an hour. I'm going to pack my saddle bags now. That way I can repack them with everything I forgot three or four times before I catch the Friendship Express to Canterlot with my friends tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Harvesting

Nov. 8th, 2015 07:49 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I had a Haycartes chat with Moondancer and that part of the Society talk is now all set. It should take Moondancer about ten minutes to explain the basics of what drove her to go looking for Winter, how she knew where to look, and a bit about her journey. It will be a bare-bones version of the lecture she will give three days from now at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. I'll be there!

Ponies that had been out mowing their fields while we were in Yakyakistan are already starting to bale the third cut. We've had clear blue skies, a light wind and pleasantly warm, dry days. The cut timothy stems in those first fields to be mowed are nice and dry, they don't smell moist and they don't discolor when rolled between the hooves. Granny Smith uses the oven method to test the Apple Farm hay, just to be sure. Applejack is out raking and turning her crop of timothy hay, it should be dry enough by tomorrow.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The Society is taking its sweet time writing back with a reply to my request to include Moondancer in my talk. I hope they say yes. I'd have Moondancer explain how she came to the conclusion that Winter wasn't just some old ponies' tale and how she knew where to look. That will give me a starting point and put a face on the ponies we set off to rescue. I think I'll have Moondancer appear on my podium via the Haycartes spell, at which point I'll invite her on stage to fill us in on Winter. That will be fun! C'mon Society, say yes!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
With all the excitement of the expedition and the exhaustion and recovery time when I got back, I'd neglected to leave my Haycartes' Treatise on Ponies open, in case Moondancer wanted a quick word with me. It was only after my book-buying trip to Canterlot that it occurred to me. So it's been back on the end table by my reading couch, open and at the ready, except the few times Spike or Owlowiscious reshelved it.

As luck would have it, I looked over at the Haycartes book this afternoon as I was refilling my tea cup, only to see Moondancer staring at me. She'd been trying to get my attention, but I was reading at the time. She said she could tell by my replies that I wasn't paying attention. She was about to give up and write a letter to me instead. Well, she had my full attention now.

Moondancer has spoken to all four of our mutual foalhood friends and all four said they could make it to the Canterlot Explorer's Society dinner and lecture. I told her that Shining Armor and Princess Cadence couldn't make it but that I planned on inviting my parents and our yak guide, if I could find him again. I also need to write to Princess Celestia and Princess Luna to ask if they will be attending.

Our guide's name is Machur Lulach, which means 'small calf of the plains', I think. I don't know how common that is. The search might take a while. I'll see if any of my friends are up for a short trip to Yakyakistan to look for him. Sharing a daunting task with friends can make it both easier and fun.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
At this point in the expedition, things got exciting.

Day 9 entry in my wax canvas field notebook: Yesterday we reached the blue glacier Rainbow had seen and what turned out to be not so much a cave as a large ornate entrance carved in the ice. Either by design or by trick of the darkness, the glacier looked like a tremendous waterfall had been flash-frozen. When we reached the opening, Pinkie unpacked her paper lanterns. Rarity put in fresh candles, and when each of us had a lantern, I delicately warmed the wax and lit the wicks.

Inside we entered a corridor of giant columns and ice walls that glowed a royal blue and rose to meet high above us in a pointed arch. Everywhere there were delicate ice crystals, frost that made every surface sparkle and shimmer until we couldn't guess distances any more. Two sets of hoofprints led down the hall. Stepping quietly in our insulated boots, we followed them, just the sound of our breaths, the creaking of our saddlebags and the soft crush of the frost on the floor disturbing the silence. The hallway opened up into a huge ice grotto, glittering in our lantern light and glowing deep blue in the shadows. It was filled with columns, arches, spirals and ramps, like a pegasus winter playground. The walls that were close enough to see were dotted with entrances, maybe passageways to other caverns or chambers beyond.

Straight a head of us on the flat, central part of this frozen blue underworld were dozens upon dozens of pony-sized blocks of semi-transparent ice, most of them thick with frost. We could just make out the shape of the frozen beings trapped inside. Pony, yak and griffin explorers. Almost all the ponies we could see looked like crystal ponies. They've been frozen for a very long time. And in the middle of them all we found Moondancer and Lemon Hearts! They too were frozen in ice, together, their horns touching and a small spark, like a flaming heart, floating above them. They were alive! They looked like they were sleeping standing up.

That spark -- Moondancer had studied the Hearth's Warming spell! Well, of course she had. I'd learned it too. I also had five of my best friends with me, pegasi, unicorn and earth ponies. I was prepared for this.

As we drew near the ice encasing Moondancer and Lemon Hearts we heard a deep soothing voice, talking to us, like he was midway through a bedtime story that never ends. The voice was like a soft breeze over snow and the tinkling of icecrystals rolling in swirling gusts of white. Distracting and hypnotic. It was Winter talking, alive and well, a gigantic figure that floated out from the shadows to perch on an arch directly above us. Staring down his long muzzle at us with knowing blue eyes, he was only too happy to see us. With every misty breath he was weaving a binding spell. I could feel anger and suspicion clouding my thoughts and ice was growing up from the floor. I drew my friends close to cast the counterspell, the Hearth's Warming spell.. Sing!

We began with the Heart Carol and remembered how all together we put on the best play Ponyville had seen in years. Winter's murmuring monologue faltered and I forgot what it was that I was angry about. We remembered our friendship and the good times we had together. I concentrated to embrace that joy. We sang 'Just Live For Today' and we relived Pinkie's surprise picnic. As we sang and talked the cold blue cave faded from sight. Winter's words were just the wind in the tall grass. We sang 'Find the Music in You' and we giggled over Fluttershy's trickery. I recited Friendship Letters from memory and we just hugged as we relived all the lessons we'd learned. As we hugged, a pulsing flame shot straight up from our circle, divided in two and curved in on itself, two ponies high. It hovered above us, red, brilliant and hot. The Heart Carol flame.

All around us the ice was melting. MoodDancer and Lemon Hearts revived and joined us. Beyond them other ponies were thawing out too, as were the yaks. It was a bit slower for the griffins. Winter was still talking, but he was also shrinking and the frozen mist of his breath was clearing. Pinkie pulled out a party cannon, balloons and hats. I don't know where. There was now confetti everywhere, singing yaks and Rarity and Pinkie decorating the place with ribbons and balloons. Winter retreated deeper into the cave. By now most of the griffins had thawed out.

I called for attention! I told the surprise (and surprised) crowd to grab a balloon, put on a party hat, find a stranger and make a friend! Each and every one is to tell the other their most happy memory, the best day or event in their life! They must do this now to feed the magic flaming heart that was warming us all. (I doubt there was a song we could all sing, there were even ponies with long floppy ears and a caribou in the crowd of revived explorers!)

That worked pretty well. Winter had shrunk to about goat size and had vanished into one of the passageways at the far end of the cavern. So we set up camp in the cavern with the flaming Hearth's Warming heart floating halfway to the ceiling above us. We were safe for the time being.

Every explorer was well stocked with food and supplies, and now that every pony, griffin and yak was revived, we built fires, swapped food and stories and had the best nerd party ever! Every pony, griffin, and yak had stories and adventures to share, it was like a living library, like the Haycartes spell, spread over an entire library. Nopony wanted to leave. But eventually, the party has to end. We did keep the party going for several hours more, allowing my herd and the explorers to take naps by turn and to repack their belongings for the trek back south. I think Winter was beginning to revive because several of us caught glimpses of him peeking out of various entrances on the far walls. So we couldn't tarry much longer in his cave.

Some explorers were keen to explore Winter's home some more and we had to practically push them out the cave entrance. We had arrived by late afternoon and now it was the wee hours of this morning, day 9. We had to get some distance between us and Winter's stronghold!

It's early evening and we've made camp in a sheltered spot nestled up to Rainbow's ridge, well past the southern end of the valley of fluffy snow. Traveling is faster when you know your destination and you can make better decisions in choosing the shortest path. My friends and I have our homes to return to, but most everypony else that had fallen to Winter's grasp will have to start over.

We divided up the return expedition at the entrance to Winter's icy abode. The air was still crisp, but it seemed to have lost its bite. The yaks, Crystal ponies and what must be Cirrostratans were all set to make good time so we bid them farewell and they left first, their ancient cities unchanged with the passing millenia of their absence. Next, the pegasi and griffons took to the air. The sky was clear and the stars were helpfully pointing the way south. We soon lost sight of them in the night sky, only the winking of distant stars betraying their passage. Then all that were left were my friends and I, our guide and those for whom the landmarks and their destinations had moved or changed too much for them to find a familiar destination point. But by following us they could make better time than they would by just heading south.

For these ancient explorers, being living relics from a vanished time won't be too hard a situation to adjust to. These adventurers are used to being on the go and not really tethered to one spot, and hopefully the academics will quickly be too engrossed in catching up on research and writing papers about their findings to dwell on all the ponies they left behind. They'll make new friends quickly enough.

I'm exhausted. I didn't get any sleep last night. My friends and our guide will take turns keeping watch. For the others, this will be their first true, full night's sleep in a very long while.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Moondancer appeared in my copy of Treatise on Ponies. She was very faint and she wasn't there long but she had good news! She found an ice cave carved out of a glacier saddled between twin peaks of a mountain range in the snowy north. It's much further north than Yakyakistan. She and Lemon Hearts were going in. She said something about a weird mist trickling out of the cave and then her projection faded out. I hope she finds something there, a clue to this pony legend, ancient pony artifacts... A book even! It shouldn't be long now. Her Haycartes combo spell has turned out to be pretty useful.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I received another letter from Moondancer this morning -- in it she wrote that I should go find my copy of Haycartes -- Treatise on Ponies and leave it open on my reading table. So I pulled my copy off the shelf, opened it up to a random page and a few hours later there she was! She's in the Crystal Empire and heading north with Lemon Hearts to look for the giant windigo of legend, Winter! She said it takes some doing to get to the _right_ copy of the book she's teleporting to. While she was getting the hang of it, she even popped up in a book somepony else was reading. Fortunately, the pony was just flipping pages idly and didn't notice her. We had a good laugh over that!

She didn't appear long. The Haycartes spell is hard enough without stretching it halfway across Equestria! She said she'd spent a few days researching and planning her journey in the Crystal Empire Library and she was all set to go, north of Yakyakistan and into Equestria incognita! I tried to tell her to be careful, but, well, ponies. They're either running from danger in a panic or charging into it at full gallop and teeth bared. They'll be fine.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It was a lot cooler today. The weather ponies gave Ponyville and the surrounding fields a good drenching early in the cool hours of the morning and the cool temperatures stuck with us all day. It had been a while since I had spoken to Zecora so I decided to take advantage of the break in the heat to go knock on her door.

She was at home but when I arrived I peeked through her window and I saw that she was meditating. I decided to let myself in quietly and practice the breathing exercises she'd taught me. By the time she was ready I was feeling well centered.

We drank chocolate peppermint cooled tea and chatted about wild and ancient Equestria and what it must have been like before ponies (or the Tree) equiformed what is now Equestria. Also, what if the moon is a failed Equestria. Or maybe it's just not equiformed. Maybe weird, wild things live in the moon.

That chocolate peppermint tea is really good, as good cold on a summer day as it is hot in the winter. Zecora keeps her summer brews cool by storing them in a felt-lined hole in the ground.

We got to talking about Haycartes and Pasture Ffjord's bookworld books and how Moondancer found she could teleport from one book to another... kind of. We wondered if Pasture Ffjord discovered the same trick... or even if her books aren't fiction. After discovering that the Daring Do series is in fact real life travel diaries, all bets are off.

We whiled the hours away, but I really had to go home before sundown. The Everfree Forest is dangerous enough by day, but at night even more creatures go prowling.

I left Zecora a jar of the strawberry jam Spike and I had made, and I took home a pouch of that great chocolate peppermint tea I like so much. That Zecora is so talented.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I got a letter from Moondancer. She has found that she can teleport from one book to another, but only if it's the same edition and printing. It was an accidental discovery and not too practical since both books would be identical. She is still limited in how long she can maintain Haycartes spell.

She also wrote that she's working on something exciting but she'll tell me about it later when she has more time. I wonder what? She's interested in just about everything.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I caught the early train to Canterlot this morning and sped off to connect with Moondancer, get a small versatile telescope and go buy some books.

After meeting up at the train station, we went to that shop selling scientific glassware and optical equipment I'd seen last time I was looking at telescopes. We pondered the Celestian line of telescopes. The reflector-type Startracker model was tempting, but calling your brand "Celestian"? How gauche. I wanted a refractive telescope anyway. Double Bridle Glassware had a Lightbridle reflective with a trusstube Bobroanian "light bucket". Oh mare! That has to be my back-up choice. But in the end I got a big Double Bridle night and day refractor telescope. It's quite similar to the one I had at the Golden Oak library, only a bit bigger. It comes complete with tripod and an eyepiece and filter set.

We stopped for lunch and then it was off to Moondancer's favorite bookseller. I got that copy of T.S. Celerybit's Collection of Poems I've been meaning to buy, as well as some more reference books and some light reading.

From there we went to my old place where we talked for hours. I told Moondancer about the foal's storybooks from the Crystal Empire I'd read, especially the one with Epona and the windigo named Winter. Moondancer sat bolt upright at that. She told me about a scroll fragment the Canterlot Mane library has in its archives, a fragment that is all that's left of a larger text several thousands of years old. It appears to recount a legend of a time before ponies. You need special permission to see the treasures they keep in that archive and this fragment is very delicate. It's printed on gold leaf and she wasn't allowed to touch it or even breathe on it! It spoke of a giant windigo named Winter. Moondancer thinks she can figure out where this windigo lived. It's very exciting.

Moondancer has been practicing Haycartes' book-study method and she's making good progress. I read therefore I am the book!

I caught the afternoon train back and lugged my boxed telescope and my new books back to the Treecastle. I was a long day and I'm tired.
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