• Story: Merely a Mare (Update Complete!)

    [Shipping][Sad][Slice of Eternal Life] Lunapple, the nonexistent ship.

    Author: Ebon Mane
    Description: Luna has returned to Equestria, but she is as cold and distant as the moon that held her captive. Celestia broods on her throne, regretting mistakes made and prices paid. Twilight Sparkle contemplates betrayal, and as her faith drains away, bitterness takes its place. And in the darkness, a relic of an ancient tragedy watches, his life consumed by greivances that he can neither remember nor forget. Betrayed and betrayers all, four ponies in need of a redemption that only one seeks. Will Honesty be enough to save them? Can one hoof, extended in trust and forgiveness, mend four wounded hearts?
    All Links After the Break! 

    Merely a Mare Prologue Solitude
    Merely a Mare Chapter 1: Honesty
    Merely a Mare 1st Interlude: Apples
    Merely a Mare Chapter 2: Kindness
    Merely a Mare 2nd Interlude: Stars  
    Merely a Mare Chapter 3: Laughter
    Merely a Mare 3rd Interlude: Slapstick
    Merely a Mare Chapter 4: Generosity
    Merely a Mare 4th Interlude: Repose
    Merely a Mare Chapter 5: Loyalty
    Merely a Mare 5th Interlude: Loss
    Merely a Mare Chapter 6, Part 1: Friendship

    Merely a Mare (All Links)

    Additional Tags: Betrayal, Trust, Forgiveness, Divinity, Mortality


    1. I want to read this... but I'm not entirely sure if I can, how incomplete is it without the shipfic and do I dare break my no shipfic vow for this?

      I think I might have to!

    2. @Anonymous

      Wow, that's some bold advertising.

    3. Awesome! I love unique shipping combos.

      Hm...I wonder what would happen if you did the opposite and read just the interludes? XD

    4. @Anonymous

      That's some blunt advertisement. :-/

    5. I like this, please continue!

    6. This is so awesome, I must make a DVA account now to post comments not only here, but there too. Fantastic writing skill, great dialogues, interesting take on the mane cast that still is very much in character and such a unique ship, pulled so far with great idea! Gosh, I can't wait for next chaps!

    7. Amazing. Incredible. UNBELIEVABLE.

      There's a story shipping Applejack and Luna, but STILL no fic shipping Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie!?

    8. Hmmm, what two comments are hidden?

    9. I've just read the first part of the prologue, and it is absolutely stunning. I love the way it's written, and I love the way it's going. It's going to be a great read. Keep on writing !

    10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    11. @Narwhals' Bend

      You have win my internet.
      Here, take it.

    12. @Anonymous

      Someone spammed the page with an advertisement.

    13. ... I've been wondering what this was.

      Now I suppose I have to read it don't I, Ebon?

      @Narwhals' Bend
      So how is YOUR writing going... :3

    14. @NinesTempest
      I have a title and two pages of plot outlines.
      @fireant Thanks for your internets.

    15. @Narwhals' Bend
      After... discussing with a focus group (read: one brony who is good at criticizing writing) we have come up with a far superior storyline than I originally had alone. The entire outline is done it's just working the dialog now and actually typing it.


    16. @NinesTempest
      I'm not going to say mine will be better. I've read what you've written and it's much better than my stuff. My stuff is only good because it has some humor and lots of awkwardness built in.

    17. @Narwhals' Bend
      Oh don't say that, I can't write generic shipping worth crap.

      ... what HAVE you written?

    18. Awesome.


    19. YES I have been waiting for this for so long!

    20. Did NOT expect this pairing to ever come up. Good read, although I have to question why Twilight and Dash are hating on Luna. Also, I already mentioned this on dA, but...

      Dude. Space apples. AWESOME.

    21. All my money. You may have it. Seriously. Now. This is wonderful on an epic scale.

    22. This.... This is not prose... this is poetry! I can scarcely remember reading anything quite so beautiful as this. The imagery is stunning, the dialogue as natural as real life. My stars, please continue this!

    23. I will admit, I'm not a fan of big fat jerk Twilight, it just seems like it may be stretching the character bubble or flat out breaking it, then again there's the issue with manipulation. It sounds as if Twilight should be upset at Celestia for breaking her trust, and not displacing it onto Luna.

      Luna sounds like she's slipped into some sort of disinterested, uncaring state of mind, though I suppose that's to expected when you learn your sister could've prevented everything from the start.

      I don't find the first interlude particularly shippy, just sounds like Applejack sharing a meal with Luna, and magic galaxy apples. =P

      In short, after the passing of anger at the point where I thought Luna was suddenly trolling Twilight ("ujelly Twi?") I had to put this down and walk away. I did come back and finish it, and I'll give the rest of it a tentative chance when it comes out, looking forward to it. I give it 4 stars. Hopefully the rest will bump this up to a 5 for me.

    24. Five stars.

      One of the few I'll give that to.

    25. @Pseudo Faux

      Well you could argue that Twilight is just lashing out at Luna.

      Do like how Luna, for lack of better work, lost most of her humanity during the 1000 years of the moon.

    26. There are really only two issues I have with this story. The first of which is Twilight, she if far too out of character. Unless you state a good reason for her violent reaction to seeing Luna than I can only see ooc.

      Next comes the whole god level thing with the two sisters. Now on the one hand this is a very small nitpick, but it never really seems like the two sisters made much of anything in the ponyverse. Yes they move the sun and moon but I am still disinclined to believe that they created it all.

      Other than that it is so far a very good story, and I look forward to more LunaJack.

    27. @ necron: Yeah really. I had a problem with that, too. I just don't see Twilight being bitter about this.

    28. I like how this is the only fic I've read where Luna acts like an actual god instead of just another pony. Points for uniquness :)

    29. This is my favorite story of any so far. I quite like the gods aspect to Luna and Celestia, it really plays into the old Greek/Roman mythologies that we see recurring through the show in either adaptations of the myths or creatures that came from that period. I'm not sure why Twilight was so mad at Luna but contrary to some of the comments that said they did not like it, the very idea that Twilight would act so out of character is what most piqued my interest in the story and makes me want to read more. Please write more! (5 Star)

    30. ChapteSecond intermission and chapter three have both been written just so every one knows.
      -Lordlyhour (damn if it aint hard not writing my password right after)

    31. This is specatcular writing that I have to repost here on EqD. The interlude is powerful, filled with an almost unreal-but-believable sadness and rage, and then you follow it with chapter 3, the lightest and funniest thing i've read in literally weeks.

      Kudos to you Ebonmane, you never have failed to disappoint, and only end up utterly toppling expectations.

    32. Love it. I can't think of any other way to describe it. I just love it!

    33. Hot Luna on Applejack action!

    34. I'm trying to figure out why this story only has 5 stars. Technically, it is written better than a few of the 6 star fics I have read, so it must be the subject matter and characterization that are holding it back in some people's minds. Personally, I have my own issues with the characterization, especially Twilight, but I cannot ignore how well written this fic is. I also cannot ignore how, despite my reservations, it still moves me emotionally with greater force than many of the fics I've read on this site. I give it at least 10 stars, if not more, just to make up for the one that it's currently missing.

    35. @Anonymous

      There are significantly fewer 6 star shipping stories than there are 6 star normal stories (And a large chunk of the 6 star ships are comedy).

      It seems that ship fics are judged more harshly than normal fics. That, or some people give low ratings to ship fics based on pairings or just because they don't like shipping (Looking at you, Cottonmouth).

    36. @Anonymous
      Twilight makes perfect sense after reading the second interlude. She makes more sense than any other fictional character I've seen.

    37. Huge Luna fan here, and this fanfic is bloody beautiful!

    38. I must agree with some of the others...

      (Ch.2.5)Twilight's character, here, is quite a bit too much ''woe me, I have been used to SAVE THE WORLD. woe me, somepony dared to not speak ONLY the truth to me. woe me, because woe me''.
      Far from her standard array of personalities...

      She really goes far into the ''neurotic'' kind, for barely just a hoof-full of minor things, all things consired...

    39. Saw this, didn't read it. Now i've come back and i've just finished reading interlude 2... I regret me actions of not reading this as soon as i saw it, and i want more... 5 stars, but i wish i could give 6.

    40. I can't stop reading this <3

    41. Thank you for this, Ebon Mane. I've loved reading it, and can hardly wait for the next update. Of course, I've always had a soft spot in my heart for Luna. =) To call me eager would be an understatement.

    42. Need more story!

    43. Minor spoilers, hooo!

      Just finished - or, well, read as much as there is to read - and I am compelled to read on.

      I respect the fact that you swing the curve of sadness-before-redemption/happy-ending a LOT deeper than most do. In fact, I admire your skill at it, even as I think "I could/would never do that", and feel slightly unsettled by it. Twilight/Celly, I mean, damn.

      I also like seeing more takes on Luna and the goddess situation. I won't list it as a point of criticism that I dislike some parts of the take on it. The variety is neat.

      Forgive me if I struggle with words here. It's very hard to actually find something to criticize, and I don't just wanna say "I loved it", but, dang.

      Oh, and the crater left by that alliteration bomb. Immense.

      All the same, I really look forward to seeing how this develops. I think the pacing is great. I loves me some slow/long shipping series'. Thank you for writing this!

    44. "Double Rainbow? What does that mean?" I saw what you did there. And MAN do I want to this story to continue! It's melancholy is is tremendously gripping! As sad as it is, it provides me with a strange sense of hope that everything will work out. It kinda breaks my heart to see Twilight so hurt by the events; I REALLY want this story to continue so that everypony can finally feel the forgiveness and oneness that they all deserve. Yeah, that's how emotionally invested in this story I am, I actually WANT for the characters of a fictional world. Excellent work.

    45. This is one of the most thoughtful and cunning Luna stories-perhaps the most
      cunning of all. It moves, and it bites with intelligence and analysis, and it
      drives deep. Each chapter is a work of art. The initial letter is strong.
      Applejack's brave willingness to accept Luna is as touching as her rejection
      by Rainbow and Twilight. The interludes are all great. Most chilling of all
      is "Stars", because it feels frighteningly true.

      Your descriptions are beautiful, your prose full of fully formed insights and
      delicious pearls. You seem to have an exquisite grasp of all the characters.
      Your Applejack fills me with sympathy for the weight of a confusing world, and
      pride in doing what one can; your Celestia really feels both benevolent but
      marred by the evils of long ages; your Pinkie makes me laugh more than I
      expected. And your Luna is profoundly fascinating in her subdued curiosity
      and mirthful gluttony.

      Perhaps better than any other author, you've delved deep into the fecund
      question of what it really implies to be immortal and immensely powerful.
      Other realms of fiction make such characters ultimate villains or sterile
      sources of guidance and power for the real heroes, but your princesses are
      real characters with substantial problems, despite their immense age and
      privilege. I like that being trusted is at the heart of those problems.

      Your last two chapters, moreover, have been fiendishly hilarious. This story
      just has it all! Out of hundreds of pony stories, it's my second-favorite.
      Please, keep up the great work!


    46. I read Chapter 4 before it came out on Equestria Daily , im a hipster O.o

    47. It lives! I actually had to reread all the chapters to remember this one (well, skimm over em anyway.) Had been a while.

    48. On the one hand, I don't care for shipping, on the other, Applejack and Luna are my favorite ponies, and the writing so far seems to be intelligent (from both prologues at least)...guess i'll read it.

    49. The last two words of chapter 4 gave me the awesome shivers.

      Fantastic fic hope we get more soon.

    50. It's a great FF, I really love to see Luna searching forgiveness and friendship from everypony.
      I also like how Twilight feels betrayed and want's to use apathy as her armor, I can really relate to that. (I used to be like that)
      And Rarity's explanation in chapter 4 was really amazing.

      I'm a little bit disappointed with the introduction of a villain, the story don't really need one.

    51. I'm loving all the different takes on "Luna Returns to Ponyville" senerio. One question: Why did it suddenly become "Celly" over "Tia?" I liked Tia better.

    52. Instead of giving a highly detailed review and a synopsis of my opinion using an extraordinary vocabulary, I will just write my thoughts here:

      This. Is. Awesome.

      Need more!!

    53. Just read em all in one go. I like it. I don't usually say much more than that. However, a specific part requires special mention.

      " If I write an autobiography, will it end up in the fiction section?"
      When you wrote that, did you know just how much power was in that sentence? I was struck senseless for a moment, and I reread that just because it seemed so profound. Even if it wasn't words from my favourite pony, that would have struck a chord.

    54. I honestly only opened to the flow of story at last chapters.

      While wording is close to perfect, characters are deeper than most other author ones, whole work is graceful and thoughtful.
      It just doesn't exactly feel like I'm reading a MLP fanfiction anymore. I understand that the point of it is to look about the story in new perspective, to think and so on. But I...don't even know what to write anymore....last chapter had me reconsidering things, yet most of the whole work felt sad and in a way that surpasses any plain "cupcakes" maybe that's just the authors skill.
      I fear the realistic perfection of this story has taken out warmness of MLP element itself and while last chapter shone a bit it was lukewarm at best. Or maybe it's simply the story being incomplete. I will be waiting for more and it certainly deserves a shred of time to think about it.

    55. Superb. Ever Free's an interesting one indeed, loved his description of him 'opting out' of the cutie mark system

    56. Humm, might as well, I expect that there is less shipping that people expect. There is a romantic bit involved, currently the Luna/applejack. But, that sems to be a bit less than what is generaly considered 'shipping' I would consider this more 'slice of life, and adventure, with a little touch of dark and a little touch of shipping. I would not consider it a shipping story.

      The author went with a totaly diferent way of characterizing Celiesta, and Luna, making them more correctly 'gods' than just super ponys. There are hints of things that have passed before, pain and death and atrocitys and desasters. Years beyond count, agreements to do this, or not do that.
      Twilight is acting the way she is, because she is hurt. And badly so, she feels used and betrayed, a tool groomed for such use from birth, discarded when it was no longer needed, or usefull.
      How would you feel to find that your whole life was a lie? That thoes who claimed to love you only did so to make use of you, to get you to preform a certian action? To me its not so suprising, though she does seem to be going overboard.

      I do have to admit, I like the characterization of Applejack, very country, yet at the same time, rather free. Hard work and honesty, and i admit I like her little inside voice of the buisiness pony complaining about Luna eating so many apples, then complaining about sharing Luna's advertising. It makes her more human, if you will. And shows a stronger person than might be expected.

      I would also say, I rather liked how Rarity was portrayed. The shallow venear of 'atrestocratic' behavior for people to see a mask hidding something deeper.

      It looks rather like it will be a good story, when finnished.

    57. Why do people have issues with shipping and other adult themes? If a story is well done I don't see why the content should make you not want to read it. Unless it's out of jealousy for a character that you yourself wish to ship with. If that's the issue then shouldn't you take a second to remind yourself that these fillies aren't real and that even if they do hook up with other ponies it doesn't mean anything in the real world since they aren't real ponies. I just don't understand why people get all upset over certain pairings.

    58. I loved this story SO MUCH..... I can't wait till it's finished...

    59. Another story cut down before its prime

    60. Such a great story!!! I've been waiting for an update for what seems like ages!!! I hope it's still being worked on, at least.

    61. So. I knew the story was good because I had seen it recommended, but I kept putting it off. For months I avoided it. And I'm glad I did.

      I know what I was thinking. LunApple? What is this ridiculousness?

      And yet, and yet, based on the story crafted, I'm fine with it. And that's coming from a God-Damn, AppleDash-Is-The-Only-Correct-Ship American. The best part is how it is presented. It's there, clearly just barely under the surface; but there is so much trouble resting on the surface itself that you know when it finally comes to pass, if it comes to pass, that it will be a dramatic and most likely tragic event.

      Then? Chapters and chapters of delicious character building. Profound, deep writing. I struggle to think of more than a handful of stories that can match this one in how thoughtfully it tackles the concepts it presents. I can fully relate to what Tast said above. That sentence hit me like a sledgehammer when I first saw it, and I reread it two or three times and it had the same effect on me each time.

      I mean, of course S2E3 and S2E4 completely torpedoed all of it, to the extent that I think it is the most extensively Jossed story I've read on the entire site; but you know what?

      I don't care. It is such a lovely story that I simply could not care less. I truly, truly hope that this story is still being written, and has not been abandoned.

    62. Damn it, I just started an AppLuna story and thought I was the first one! Oh well, I'll write it anyway after I read this one.

    63. Beautiful, original, and graceful. I could go on for hours. I truly could not find a single flaw in the deep, creative writing. Keep up the AWESOME work!

    64. So, it is now quite late - I should have been sleeping hours ago. This story popped up among the latest updates on EqD, and it looked sufficiently interesting that I decided to read the prologue to see whether I should bookmark it for later perusal. I have now read it all, and can only hope that more chapters will soon be forthcoming.

      This is a beautifully crafted story, impeccably paced and written. The chapters and interludes shift effortlessly from dramatic to comic to touching to tragic, with thoughts on philosophy and morality forming a natural part. The takes on especially the princesses are very interesting and well done. Goddesses with a heck of lot more depth and history than they usually are supplied with.

      I note that some of the earlier comments indicated that Twilight was behaving OOC, but I think this has been convincingly resolved by later chapters. Her bitterness is understandable, however tragic it may be.

      And all this gets is [shipping]?! This is so much more. Do read it, you will not be disappointed. The only thing missing is a [complete] tag, but given the latest update, I expect that will be rectified eventually.

    65. Fillies and Gentlecolts: I have an important announcement to make.

      Luna is, quite obviously, a Death God.

    66. Appluna? really? well... not that much different than Twijack I guess and that pairing seemed interesting... k, Appluna then. *reads*

    67. Have only read the description.


    68. Beautiful chapter as always. Both of them.

      Words cannot describe how glad I am that this is still going.

    69. This comment has been removed by the author.

    70. It's finished? It actually finished? What the fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

      this is going to be good

    71. Damn, that's a lot to read. I don't think I can get through all of it today, I'll try though. I think Lunapple is worth it.

    72. ! You mean after a span of months this is finally done! I am so excited, I could just explode twice!

    73. I'm at a loss for words. Everything about the ending was... wow. Ever Free's tragic motives being revealed, Twilight's realization of Ever Free's identity, her mental comparison of what Celly did then to what Celly had done to her, and her innner turmoil at the similarities and how those similarities had once again broken her trust... Flawlessly done.

      Even the suddenness at which Twilight coped with it makes sense when you consider Twilight's personality.

      The two Epilogues also carried well; picking up the torch about what was going on between Luna and AJ after having been set aside for a few chapters and giving it a satisfying conclusion; explaining just what Ever Free learned from the ordeal and how he was coping with the knowledge; as well as showing that Celly's machinations were never quite out of play in the ordeal and that she still has a ways to go before she can get rid of that undesirable aspect of her personality (but at the same time making it clear that there is hope yet for her).

      And the last chapter in particular snuck a nice little twist in that I wasn't expecting, but still makes perfect sense.

      All told, All of My Stars. My first comment on this story spoke at length at how profound this story was, and I can honestly say the same for it now. There was never quite a moment as profound as when Twilight reflected on her entire life, but the story never strayed far from that emotional depth. Bravo.

    74. That was excellent, really enjoyed it. Twi's reactions at the start seemed a bit hard to swallow, but the more I read the more natural it all seemed. I will quibble a bit on the 'shipping' warning at the start - it's really not necessary, considering how little there is.