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Luckily, We Have an Expert · FiM Minific ·
Organised by RogerDodger
Word limit 400–750
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The Mirror of Stella
The night had long since fallen when Celestia, Luna and Stella emerged on to the roof of the watchtower. The sight was breathtaking. Here, in the heart of the Crystal Empire, the stars had a vibrancy not found anywhere in Equestria. Clearer. Sharper. Closer.

‘Always so gorgeous’, Luna said. ‘Each night Destiny makes, I envy you for that spectacle.’

Stella smiled. ‘One good reason for living up that north’, she answered. Pointing towards one of the angles, ‘You can use the telescope to indulge your curiosity’, she added, ‘but I might have something more captivating for you. Come and follow me.’

She padded towards a marble basin, propped up by four exquisitely carved silvery legs.

‘This wasn’t here the last time we came’, Celestia remarked.

‘Indeed’, Stella said. ‘Let me introduce you to “Stella’s mirror”. That’s how it was clept by the student who crafted it.’

Luna bent over, but only saw her own face and stars reflected in the still water. ‘What is its purpose?’ she asked, straightening up.

‘Mighty dwimmer slumbers in the water,’ Stella explained, ‘but it won’t awaken unless I utter the right word. Once awoken, the mirror may show the past, present or future, though there is no telling which. Would you care to try?’

‘I prefer not’, Celestia answered. ‘Each day its burden. It is vain to grieve or rejoice in things to come, which may never come to pass.’

Stella’s questioning eyes hopped from Celestia to Luna.

‘I shall try’, Luna said.

Stella smiled. ‘I was certain you would’, she said. ‘Sit comfortably. Don’t disturb the water. And remember! Things you see will not necessarily be.’

‘Understood’, Luna answered, nodding. She bent again. She heard Stella whisper a word she didn’t understand. Suddenly the water went black, and that blackness pounced at her, and she sunk into nothingness.

‘Thou shalt have dominion over moon and night sky.’ A voice — her father’s voice — said. Looming from the darkness she saw the foal she once was trotting alongside her father in full regalia.

‘But Dad, I don’t care about moon or night. I want sun and day, like Celestia!’ Luna protested in her tiny childish voice.

‘This is, alas, not possible’, Dad replied. ‘That which is given cannot be taken back or shared.’


‘There is no “but”, darling. Cosmic laws bind everyone of us. In time, thou shalt realise that thy realm is far greater than thy sister’s.’


The shapes dissolved into the void, replaced by a muffled incantation, like a single word endlessly repeated. A vision formed, that of a lone black figure sitting atop a high cliff under a fiery sky. At its foot stood rows upon rows of tethered ponies, hooves cuffed, heads down. They were chanting, or praying? Luna was dragged steadily closer to the prisoners, flying low over each one until she finally slowed and stopped — Luna gasped — above the bony, flayed and misshapen body of Stella herself.

She tried to yell but with a puff of smoke the vision vanished and she was back in pitch darkness.

And yet she was not alone anymore. She felt a pervading presence. Emptiness itself had become alive and intent. She shuddered. Panic, abject fear, overwhelmed her, but she was rooted to the spot.

From nowhere a gruff voice, like a mockery of her own, whispered amidst the void: ‘Hello, darling! I know we haven’t been acquainted yet, but now that you have freed me, I promise I shall be with you anywhere, anytime.

Don’t be afraid! Embrace me, and I shall save you and banish the pain you’ve been bearing deep inside all these years. Together, we shall be invincible.

I have little time now, but soon we shall meet again. Till then, remember: ’Tis better to rule in heaven, than to serve in hell.

So long, my beauty!’

The voice changed into laughter. Luna desperately shook herself loose… and found herself looking into the pool of clear water. She was sweating profusely.

‘What did you see?’ Stella asked, concerned.

‘WHO DEVISED THIS?!’ Luna shouted. ‘WHO?!’

Stella took one step back in surprise. ‘Why, his name is Swartcoat. A very promising student. Brilliant, but meek and very bashful. I have a hard time preventing the others from bullying him because of his physical peculiarities. I think they gave him a nickname… what is it? Hmm… Oh, yes, they call him “Sombra”.’
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#1 · 1
Okay, that one at least has a hook into the fandom's universe and presents some form of thesis about something that is left unexplained by canon, I mean how Sombra rose and why – well, if I figured it out properly what the last line means, which is roughly Sombra was bullied and when he was grown up decided to take (indiscriminate) revenge.

There is another line, which, if I get it, is: Nightmare Moon is created as a result of Luna looking into the mirror and being remembered how she was frustrated when the world began.

I also see the (a bit in-the-face) reference to the Lord of The Rings, down to the very title itself.

Fine. I think these are interesting ideas, but the format is too cramped for those to fully bloom out. I think you miss a few hundreds of words here, and that you should allow your story to breathe more, especially if you like to expand on how the paths of Luna and young Sombra meeting could lead to both falling into evil for about the same reasons.
#2 · 1
· · >>Monokeras
The flow of the dialogue and prose is stilted in this story. Stuff like "One good reason for living up that north" and "Each day its burden. It is vain to grieve or rejoice in things to come, which may never come to pass." Also Stella's eyes "hopping" from one pony to another. Just little strange ways of speaking of describing things that hindered my reading.

Also, I know that single quotes are used for dialogue in Europe e.g., but is there anywhere where the single quotes are on the inside of the commas and periods? That really threw me off. Also, there's a series of lines from NMM that are missing the quotes at the beginning to show that she's still talking after the line breaks.

I was also confused by the reveal, because it left me wondering if Sombra had intentionally created this trap to bring about NMM, and if so, how on earth did he predict that, and if not so, then why exactly did he make the pool? There's also extra information in the final paragraph that hints to a much wider story but doesn't actually add to the minific or the twist ending. The fact that Sombra has a different name, that he's meek and bashful instead of how we know him, that Stella has been trying to protect him. It might have fit better if the mirror's creator was introduced earlier in the story, but all that info gets in the way of the twist.

And who is Stella, anyways?

So many questions!

Thanks for writing.
#3 · 1
>>Miller Minus


The dialogue is deliberately stilted because this is assumed to take place a very long time ago. So I simply attempted to convey that temporal remoteness into words. Also, I’ve always liked the princesses speaking a sort of Shakespearian English. You know, moods and colours…

British English has a set of rules for punctuation which differs from N-A English. Especially, you put commas and such outside the quotes, except if the comma concerns the spoken sentence: 'I am', he said, 'your beholden.' vs 'Speak, friend, and enter.' Also, I’m not sure you must quote each paragraph when a single person keeps talking, but that, I admit, I didn't check.

Don’t let yourself being thrown off by such details! :)

Some of the questions I already answered in my fake review. The concept here is that Sombra was, at first, just a very bashful student, and because of that and some peculiarities, such as a strange alicorn horn, he gets picked on by other students. Repeated hurt and frustration at length gives rise to a strong desire for revenge, which brings him all the way into the evil realm. One of his first attempt at wreaking havoc amongst those who teach him is designing an item which brings out the evil part we have inside (under the disguise of a much more useful device)… And that’s how NMM was born. You know, curiosity killed the cat.

Stella was just the former ruler of the Crystal Empire. This is non-canon, of course, but the past of the Crystal Empire is very vague, so you can pretty much give free rein to your imagination there.

Thanks for commenting Miller. Much much appreciated. You’re a peach ♡
#4 · 2
· · >>Monokeras
I found this to be an interesting attempt at show lore. I thought 'Stella' might have been a character I missed from one of the later seasons, but it wasn't hard to put together that she's meant to be a luminary cohort of Celestia and Luna's. The implication that her demise came about under Sombra's reign (comparing "...silvery, carved legs" with "...bony, flayed and misshapen [body parts]") is the story's most compelling allusion.

I think the set-up would be stronger if the reader had more chronological awareness of when the story was taking place. That would give context for Luna's reactions in the void without necessarily spoiling the surprise of her encounter with Sombra.
#5 · 2
Thanks! I much appreciate your liking of this little work. Thanks for commenting!