twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
As day turned to dusk we entered the western pasture, four ponies and a baby dragon. We walked in hock high timothy grass, wet with evening dew, rustling under hoof and tickling our bellies enticingly. The crushed stems smelled so sweet and fresh we just had to slow to a wandering step, biting off tender mouthfuls as we made our way through scattered stargazing ponies. Ahead on our chosen hill top, Rarity and Fluttershy were waiting for us, lounging on a picnic blanket spread under a rising moon.

Luna landed just as we were laughing, tossing about cushions and spreading more picnic blankets as well as we could over the springy stalks. We bowed to the Princess of the Night and finished setting up the plates, cups, Spike's punch and my telescope. We spread out the contents of our picnic baskets and settled in to watch the night sky. It is starting to get chilly at night so I'd brought a blanket for Spike. Owlowiscious flew in and perched on a picnic basket, ready for night duty.

By now the cloudless sky was a velvet black canopy studded with brilliant glittering stars and constellations. Luna had lowered the moon for everypony to better appreciate the antics of the meteors. The sky looked so full and so close I felt like I could almost touch it. As I ate a dandelion alfalfa sprout sandwich, the first meteors flashed overhead.

Meteor showers are waves of shooting stars, the spirits of many ponies, galloping across the sky. Often, they're the spirits of ponies that died too soon. They run to be free, they run for joy, they run in memory of an event, they run to flee and they run to forget. They also run to draw the attention of those they left behind. They run across the sky to wave hello, and good bye. They run because waiting for you is a hard thing to do. And they run because they remember that they were ponies.

We were built to run.

Luna knew many of the stars personally while they were still ponies. Some of them were close personal friends. Four powerful ponies in particular. I asked her about her time as the Mare in the Moon.

Imprisoned in the moon was like becoming one with it. In the moon, life and the dance of the heavens happened too fast to make out the details. Everything was a blur, only the glowing rock seemed solid, a single constant in a grey smudge of sky. But Luna's friends remembered and the stars experience time's passing, faster than the living stones but slower than the ponies tied to the ground. They helped her escape, to give her a second chance, for friendship. They were powerful ponies in life, now brilliant stars in the sky.

We sat in silence, watching the stars twinkle and shoot by as they looked down and watched over us.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
I had some surprise visitors today! The whole Blue Mare Group knocked on my door. They were out of costume, but there must have been twenty of them. I was a bit agog but I invited them in for tea. They were bursting to tell me that the Ponyville Express picture of me fleeing their concert has been a real boon for them. Newspapers all across Equestria have been reprinting the picture. I was a little less than thrilled to hear that. The upside is that the Blue Mare Group has been getting offers and invitations to perform from here to Yakyakistan. They were so thrilled and enthusiastic that it was infectious. Until one of them chirped up that the picture would make a great album cover. I must have looked mortified because another quickly modified that to using the picture as a model for an album cover. I guess that wouldn't be so bad, as long it wouldn't be obvious that it's me on the record sleeve.

While Spike hustled to get tea for everypony (being a fire-breathing dragon comes in handy in boiling that much water that fast) and served cookies and our apple butter on squares of bread, the Blue Mare Group gave me a gift. It was a big print of the Ponyville Express picture, framed and signed all over with thank-yous, little drawings and well wishes. Oh no. I was already wondering in which dark, forgotten corner I was going to hang it. Then the mare that had handed me the picture asked me to turn it over.

The back was transparent too and visible on the back of the picture there was a short letter. It read:

Dear Princess Twilight Sparkle,

Today I learned that through music and pure chance you can make friends with people you'd never met before and that together you might just make something wonderful happen.

Your faithful subjects,
The Blue Mare Group

My first friendship letter. Addressed to me. I cried.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
Dear Earth Journal,

Since I started writing here I've learned that, despite the interlinked mega-colony aspect of this giant book of all the things, making quill friends isn't easy. At least not as easy as it was to make my Ponyville Friends on that Summer Sun Celebration's Eve right before Nightmare Moon's return. Part of that is probably because I'm not Applejack or Pinkie Pie. I'm slow on the 'How-do-you-do's and 'getting to know you's. There are books to read! Things to learn! Puzzles to puzzle over! So many distractions.

Princess Celestia sent me to Ponyville to oversee the preparations for the Summer Sun Celebration and to "make some friends". I met my friends while doing my Canterlot duty, but I didn't make my friends. They made me.

Now I have quill friends! Welcome Schnee, Flareblitzfury and Loganberrybunny! Thank you for writing back to me, I hope we can be good friends. I will do my best to write back, like a good friend should.

I've learned that friendship is a delicate thing. It's a bridge that needs attention and care. I must learn to do that in this, my bridge from my universe to yours.
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
A cutie mark is a pair of images that appear on the hindquarters of a pony, situated between the point of the hip and the dock, on the skin and hair above the gluteus superficialis muscle. There is one on each side and a cutie mark on one side is the mirror image of the cutie mark on the other side.

These marks are a manifestation of a pony's special talent or affinity. Just like a unicorn has a horn, a pegasus has wings and an earth pony has neither, a cutie mark dictates to some extent what you are going to do in your life. How much a cutie mark shapes your life depends a lot on how powerful you are at what you do.

A unicorn need not excel at magic, a pegasus need not fly and an earth pony need not be outstanding at agriculture and strength. There are many tasks a pony can adapt to, neigh, has to adapt to and master, despite not being born with specialist affinities for that task. Naturally, the same holds true for cutie marks. A pony who's special talent is being grumpy or popping balloons is going to have to develop other talents to get by.

There is a caveat -- the more powerful the magic in a pony, the stronger the bond between their special talents, as described by their cutie mark, and their identity. I learned this the hard way when I cast Starswirl the Bearded's unfinished spell in the presence of the Elements of Harmony.

The Magic of Friendship has transformed me and my friends. With every lesson we've learned about friendship, with every battle we have won, with every adventure, sorrow, laugh, hope, fear... we have shared, we've grown more powerful. Each and every one of us. Dash flies faster, I teleport further, Applejack is a rock of dependability, Fluttershy tamed Discord (!), Pinkie and Rarity keep making each of their projects better and more refined every time. And that magic feeds back into their special talents to the point that if somehow you remove that special talent and replace it, it's like you've yanked out and transplanted their raison d'être, their reason for existence. And with them it's not a small raison d'être that can be ignored as they get on with their lives, but a huge, central to their existence raison d'être, a primal urge that resonates with them, body and mind.

When I accidentally switched their cutie marks, I replaced one motivator with an equally powerful motivator. My friends got saddled with powerful talents that their minds and bodies couldn't mesh with. I suppose it would be like feeling like a flying ace pegasus without wings. Good thing everything snapped back into place with a judicious combination of the Elements and going through the motions of what my friends are talented at. And then I got vaporized. And winged.

My wings were not something I'd been born with. They were not part of me as I grew in power through Friendship. So my wings were not well meshed with my mind and body, but unlike my friends'... experience with swapped cutie marks, since my wings were somewhat underpowered relative to their appearance, they were catching up to me instead of the other way around. Good thing too. Those things are huge. And they keep getting in the way. Well, less now. Hmph.

Friendship

Feb. 1st, 2015 08:21 pm
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
It's funny that although I'm the Princess of Friendship, I'd say that Applejack and Pinkie Pie are much quicker to make friends than I am, at least most of the time. Sure, I'm slower to make judgements about ponies, but they're quicker to befriend ponies that they've judged in a positive light.

There's magic in friendship and that's what I've been studying ever since I moved to Ponyville. The magic of Friendship is my greatest strength and it has come to define me. Thus, I'm not the best at friendship, and yet I'm the Princess of Friendship. Maybe I could get rebranded... as the princess of studying. Or the princess of books. As long as I get to keep my friends.

Early tomorrow morning I am going to catch the train to Canterlot for on an overnight trip with Rarity, Fluttershy and Spike. Rarity needs to replenish her supplies and we're there to help carry and to have fun!
twilightpony: Big tree with windows and door, fall foliage (Default)
The air has warmed up from the cold snap, not enough to melt the snow, but enough for a nice walk with friends. Since Rarity has finished repairing and washing the tapestries she'd borrowed and I have two books to return, we decided to all go for a picnic at the Carerfilly Castle. "We" is me, Rarity, Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy and Spike. We decided against using Applejack's cart and instead lugged the tapestries and supplies on our backs. It's best to be light on your feet in the Everfree forest and to be set to flee in any direction at a moment's notice. Applejack brought a fresh batch of apple chips and pies to go with the lunch Spike packed for us. We planned to have the picnic in the throne room where most of the tapestries fixed by Rarity hang.

The walk through the Everfree was beautiful. It snows there too and this time the snow was particularly sticky, adhering to every twig and bough. The usually grey and dreary forest turned soft, white and fluffy, almost cheery with a carpet of pure white at our hooves and the smell of fresh snow in the air. The air was still and quiet, disturbed only by the crunching of wet snow under our hooves and the occasional creak and groan of the boughs shifting under their heavy white burdens. Pinkie had brought her camera. Rarity had asked her to take a few pictures of the tapestries once they're back in their proper places. While we were walking through a more open stretch of the path, Dash borrowed Pinkie's camera and flew a few paces ahead to snap a candid picture of our procession through the white woods.

On the way we met the river serpent, preening in the mist rising off the water. He was very happy to see us again, showing off his gleaming scales and his moustache. It has mostly grown back, I was surprised to see that some strands of Rarity's tail remain mixed in the serpents whiskers. She really is skilled in these things.

At the castle ruins, Spike and I went to the library to return the books, Rarity had Dash and Fluttershy's help to lift and hook the tapestries, and Applejack and Pinkie prepared lunch. The books shelved and the tapestries hung, the highlight of our day was the picnic. Sprawled out on a big bright blanket in the snowy hall, open to the sky, we were surrounded by good food and gorgeous tapestries so bright and colorful they practically glowed. Our laughter filled the grand hall with cheer and echoed down the corridors. I could almost see the Princesses, young and proud, gazing down at us from their twin thrones. One day the castle will be rebuilt and ponies will return to the Everfree.

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