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Weather: Warm and sunny, but with a peculiar sort of silence to the air Date: September Tenth, 5150 Current Events: The Grand Galloping Gala Description: This biannual event was always intended to be one of celebration and delight, even if politics and stodginess did often get in the way. But this year, there is no doubt that the very nature of the Gala has been irrevocably altered. Begun by Princess Celestia after her Sister's banishment, now the Gala is being continued by Princess Luna after Celestia's death. This site appears best in Chrome, Firefox and Opera browsers.
To say the mood was somber would be accurate in the broad strokes, but in the end, could not fully encompass what had truly become of the nation of Equestria.
Twenty two days ago, the sun had begun to rise and set in its usual pattern, and celebrations had cropped up across not only the pony nation, but all of Gaia.
Eight days ago, it had frozen in position in the eastern half of the sky, trapped and beating down summer heat.
For two days, or rather, for forty hours, it had remained there, before slowly and laboriously being dredged back into the normal cycle by the united strengths of several gods.
It would have been left to set the world on fire in the name of defeating an ancient enemy, had Princess Luna not received the word she had. Though, again, to call it was word would be vastly understating it.
Preparations had begun months ago, as they always did, to ready the ballroom for the Grand Galloping Gala, a biannual event that was always the height of charm and class. It had bene started in the year after Luna's exile, as a way for Celestia to keep the highest ranking nobles satisfied.
This was the first Gala that the Solar Princess would not be overseeing herself.
It was also the first Gala that required no tickets to enter. It was a public event.
It was, in the end, a funeral.
Three dozen marble plinths, each topped with a limestone casket carved into a representation of the face and body held within, line the back wall of the ballroom.
The centermost was far larger than the others, but the body within it was no different in build form any unicorn mare. The carving upon it was a representation of Celestia Daybringer, High Princess of Equestria, Regent of the Sun And Day, Vanquisher of Discord, Bringer of Harmony.
But within the casket there was only a pale yellow unicorn with a petal pink mane, whose name had long ago been lost in history. The seam where her head had been shorn from her neck was the only sign of evidence that she was what they claimed she had been, when they brought her lolling, limp body into the Equestrian Capital.
Now, as the sun began to set, casting everything in gold and rose, the first of the Gala-goers began to file in.
I wore a black dress to the event, it seemed appropriate given the Grand Galloping Gala had been converted to a Funeral for the Princess. The concept that such an event could be converted to a funeral was deeply disturbing; that anypony's death would be significant enough to change the happy event into a funeral was simply inconceivable, yet here it was. But if anypony's death was significant enough it would be that of Princess Celestia.
I was walking with a limp then, the fight with Apep had left my body a ragged mess of wounds torn back open by the entropy of the mad god's presence and new wounds caused by him and his many minions. The limp though was an old hamstring injury that reoccurred during the end of the fight. My dress covered up the bandages, which in turn covered staples and stitches that weaver irregular courses across my body. The one thing I couldn't cover up was the scent of antiseptic that followed me as I limped into place in a line that went up the stairs into the main hall of the Gala. I had somehow managed a position close to the front of the line in spite of arriving late to the gathering.
At the top of the stairs, solemn in her gala dress, the Princess of the Night stood, nodding and greeting the ponies she knew by name and giving more general greetings to the rest. I suppose I was greeted that way, which was to be expected, to her I was likely just another nameless faceless pony here to 'say goodbye' to the sister she had known all her life and far longer a life it was than any other pony could possibly understand. I certainly couldn't even hope to comprehend it.
The line that stretched from Luna to the Casket was short, a few dozen ponies in single file. Every twenty seconds or so the line advanced, Luna greated somepony new and ahead of me a guard spoke the rules. At first I couldn't hear them, but each advancing of the line it became clearer until finally, "There is to be no touching, hugging, caressing or contact of any sort with the Princess. If you have a tribute, we ask that you leave it on the table. You have twenty seconds then you must advance. Thank You for your cooperation." Then the line advanced and the pony across from him, guarding the corpse of our beloved Princess repeated the spiel.
When it was my turn to stand between the guards as one of them recited the rules I felt my throat go dry. I could only nod to them as I limped forward, wasting time with my injured leg. I looked over the edge of the casket and marveled, you could barely see the wound that had ended her life and the cracks in her horn had been expertly covered up. She was almost Beautiful were it not so obvious she was dead. I could smell the embalming fluid pas some perfumes and scents meant to mask it and I could see the stitching that closed some of her other wounds. I managed to find my voice as the seconds counted down, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I didn't fight harder, I probably could have. I'm sorry that we couldn't stop him before he killed you. I'm so sorry."
I found myself unable to move, my heart broken again, tears streaming down my face. A guard had to guide me away from the casket and over to the next room as every time he stopped I found myself unable to move further along. The next room was filled with food and what I assumed was planned to have been the Gala's feast, but now served as 'refershments' for the mourners. The room was almost empty as many ponies had simply chosen to leave after seeing the body. I wasn't able then to process what I had seen, I simply stood for a while near the center of the room, staring at the floor.
Solar had heard about the news of Princess Celestia's death shortly after the sun had returned, and he had followed the rules of seeing the body, paying respects, and giving tribute. He couldn't even speak, he was so depressed by this. I could have been there, I could have done something...why was I in Mane-Ji? he thought to himself as he tried to find a secluded area. While it was true, he would not have made any difference, survivor's guilt was a powerful thing. While ponies fought for their lives in Pundani, he had been flying around in Mane-Ji, relatively safe aside from that scuffle with wind-chill. He absolutely hated himself, he was not there to fight, he wasn't there to help protect Celestia.
As he managed to find an area he could practically hide in, the pony curled up, crying to himself as the guilt overpowered his young mind. Why couldn't he had been there to take the fatal blow for her? Why couldn't he have died in her place...why was he so useless? All of these questions ran through his mind as he kept wishing he knew a way to undo this, he wanted everything to be back to normal.
Solar Chaser//Male//Pegasus Hex Mark//Male//Earth Pony Focal Prism//Male//Unicorn ((Profile coming soon))
Before the battle, Celestia and Luna had argued - a fight that rivaled the incident that had once sparked a civil war within Equestria between the two goddesses. After all, having just been saved from their entombment, the first thing Luna had wanted to do was to fight alongside her sister and Ra for the good of the world - but Celestia would hear none of her pleas. After all, she hadn't been "restored to her former glory", and as a being who walked in the night, however benevolent, even she was not immune to the power of Apep's Madness, which Celestia had then feared would have reverted her to the Queen of the night, Nightmare Moon.
Luna had argued Celestia's decision - the two of them were meant to rule *together*, but no matter how she presented her case, she was shut down by her sister's disapproval. Finally, losing her patience, she had lowered her horn, as if preparing to demonstrate that she was every bit as strong now as she normally was - however as she focused her magic, her horn began to glow, the tingling sensation present, but it felt as if she couldn't draw it out - having naturally been born a pegasus it had been some time before Luna could comfortably use magic even once she had ascended - and Celestia shook her head, seemingly more disappointed than ever, before she left, her magic enveloping Luna as she was lifted up and guided up the stairwell of her tower, leading up to her room. As she looked out the window, she saw her sister for what would be the last time, her horn glowing a brilliant yellow as she finished forming a powerful barrier around Luna's tower, before giving the order to the pegasi guards that roamed the airspace that Luna was not to leave her room until word from the battle arrived, and to spread the word to the others so everypony on duty at the castle knew. Then, she turned to Luna, mouthing two words before she vanished into the light of the sun.
And now here she stood, forced to stand before the casket that held her sister. When she had heard the news, Luna couldn't bring herself to believe it. Celestia - dead. The news had left her speechless, standing there for a number of minutes while the gravity of the news sunk in. Time slowed to a crawl for the Lunar Princess, who had felt the world slow down around her. Even though she was surrounded by mares and stallions - many of which were the guards and soldiers stationed around the castle, any one of which would have been a fitting shoulder to cry upon - once again Luna found herself completely, utterly, helplessly alone - and this time there would be no release from the lone nightmare that had plagued her own dreams ever since she watched Celestia leave.
But things would go on as normal - the Grand Galloping Gala - normally such a delightful event created by her sister to help cope with the loneliness she felt for what she had done over a millenia ago - now it would serve the same purpose, albeit for a different pony. Luna would have it changed to a funeral - a memorial service, for those who wished to observe the goddess whom Luna was determined would be given a sending off worthy of the deity she was. Anypony would be allowed to attend, regardless of age, race, or social status - all were subjects under Celestia's rule, and all deserved the chance to pay their respects to the princess who had ruled over them for so long.
As for her... she knew she couldn't have possibly handled it for as long as she had to - and yet she had to keep an understanding, placid smile on her face as she calmly greeted the mourners, assuring them that it would be okay. S..She couldn't do it, not alone - and it was for this reason she had requested the aid of two unicorn guards, to stay by her side the entire night, their magic holding her in place so that she wouldn't lose her composure and cradle her sister, sobbing as she so desperately wanted to.
One by one the mourners passed, the greetings becoming more and more natural, more normal, more casual. The night was beginning to drag on, and it was clear Luna wasn't wholly focused on the guests so much as she was her own sister, but nevertheless she continued to see the mourners off, sharing a word or two with each pony as they passed by her and offered their apologies. It wasn't too long now this would all be over - she could see the line slowly beginning to fade way, and she knew that the grand halls would not be as full as they normally were during this night.
This post has been edited by Princess Luna: Mar 24 2013, 07:13 PM