Rise of the Elements Part II: Return of the Avatars

by Radiant Dawn

Chapter 1: Prologue

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A lone figure gazed out from a balcony across the small town of Ponyville in the distance, just as the sun began to rise. The quaint, happy town once brought joy to her heart, but now it was merely a sad reminder of a time gone by. The being closed her magenta eyes and let slip a single tear before combing a hoof through her faded mane. What once was a multicolored spectrum of vivid turquoise, violet, cyan, and magenta was now a gray mockery of the beauty it once was. The once brilliant alabaster coat was now a dingy gray as well, and the eyes that once twinkled with happiness and love were now sullen.

The being was none other than Celestia - Co-monarch of Equestria and princess of the sun and the day. While at one time not long ago she would often be found walking amongst her loyal subjects, she now confined herself to her bedroom and her study. She was rarely seen anywhere else in the palace anymore, and those close to her worried about her a great deal. All the care in the world would not change things, however.

It would not bring him back.

As the princess stood staring into the distance of her once second-home, another figure appeared from behind her.

"Sister," whispered the mare, "it is time to go."

The princess simply hung her head and sighed. "Luna...why do we do this? What's the point?"

The princess of the night stood beside her sister and nuzzled her neck softly. "Because dear sister, he deserves our reverence. You know this...it was your idea after all."

Another sigh escaped the cracked lips of the princess of the day before she responded, "Yes Luna, I know...but nothing has changed. Seven months - seven - and nothing has changed."

The lunar princess hugged her sister tightly and let loose her own sigh. She then smiled genuinely and looked into her eyes. "Perhaps you are interpreting this wrong, Tia. Perhaps you should think that perhaps because nothing has changed, there is hope."

"I think my hope died what seems like so long ago, Lulu. What hope is there now? It has been only a few months, but it seems like millennia have passed." said the solar princess with a grimace.

Luna released her sister and stood in front of her, forcing her to look back at her. She stomped her hoof in defiance and glared. "There is always hope, sister. What do you think he would feel right now if you gave up so easily?"

Celestia lowered her head in shame for a moment before standing tall and grinning. The small smile was pained and tinted with sadness, but it was genuine. "You are right, Luna. Very well, let us go."

And with that, the two princesses took flight off of the balcony towards the town in the distance.

The two monarchs landed in the main square of the town, to a gathering with fourteen others including two dragons and a bipedal wooden wolf. In the center of the forming semicircle of attendees was a massive block of opaque ice, which in the hottest days of summer had still remained completely unchanged. A monument had been built of stone around it, depicting the form of a horned and winged stallion in armor fighting countless gryphons.

The group all said a few words each before laying a two particular flowers at the base of the ice - a Nightshade and a violet Pasque flower. The group spoke to each other a few moments longer before breaking their weekly morning gathering, leaving only the two princesses beside the ice.

"What do we do now, sister? How do we go on?" the solar princess asked softly.

The midnight blue alicorn stood beside the elder, and nuzzled her lovingly. "We continue as we always have, Tia...with diligence and faith. Our ponies need us, and while this pains me as well, it will not stop me...and it will not stop you."

Princess Celestia leaned against the frozen block, letting a single tear fall. The tear froze instantly upon touching the ice, and the princess whispered softly, as if to the wind...

"Steel...please come back to us..."

With that, the two princesses looked longingly at the frozen object before taking flight to trudge through another day.

The last months have passed painfully slow for the denizens of Equestria. They suffered the loss of ponies through war, one of which was the beloved prince. It was as if a knife had been plunged into every pony's heart, and with each eye that fell upon the monument within Ponyville, that knife only twisted a little more.

Would things ever be the same?

As a certain pink pony returned to the location, it seemed not. A long straight mane mocked what was once a joyful, loving pony as she mourned the loss of one of the most important figures in her life...alone. It was a sad picture in itself, but what tore at the young mare's heart even more was her hope that somehow, someway this was all some elaborate prank. It was a rationalization that she had formed, as she simply could not accept the truth...

The mare looked up with glassy blue eyes and whispered, "Today I baked a cake just for you. It was lemon with cream cheese frosting...your favorite." The pony breathed in and let out a very pained breath before continuing with, "Dashie is doing okay, but that's because she's the toughest pony ever..." Tears began to fall from the puffy eyes. "I..." Sobs choked her speech from her throat, and it took a few minutes before she composed herself enough to say, "I miss you, Steelie...please come home...I love you."

Next Chapter: Chapter 1: Return to Life Estimated time remaining: 14 Hours, 37 Minutes
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