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the soul of a leader by CosmicUnicorn the soul of a leader by CosmicUnicorn
Commission for:

Celestia reflects (haha, pun...) on the cost and trials of her life of leadership.

My sincere thanks for his patience.
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thedarkmink Featured By Owner Mar 12, 2018
May-anime Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2016
reminds of a book called the picture of dorian grey
SoanoS Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I can only imagine what she has had to endure. And will have to. A kind spirit is the kind that always gets hurt the most.
NavyBr0wnie Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015
I just realized who made this image... Yeesh haven't visited you in awhile.
ArdorFearless Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014
Enchanting and surreal. 
BrutalityInc Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2014
The price of eternal rule... is eternal burden. 
FidgetAwesomeSauce Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Though her outward appearance shone brighter than the sun, though her coat gleamed like freshly fallen snow, and she smiled with sincere beauty...Her eyes told the truth. Her eyes were old and timeless, they reflected the tortured soul hidden beneath a mask of perfection. She could not hide it. - Sekretoj, Scribe Of Princess Celestia's Court. 
9blueTurtles Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013
BeautifulLlama Emoji 08 (Crying) [V1]  
FidgetAwesomeSauce Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you
AgentTasmania Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2013
"A millennium alone. Everypony I care about withering and dying before my eyes.
My only possible companion locked away. Damn the Nightmare. To the absolute bowels of Tartarus.
I am so, very, tired."
TheDemonOfSloth Featured By Owner Jul 12, 2013  Student Digital Artist
This made me cry. Poor Tia. :iconsadplz:
SkyDragono Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2013
It's odd how many people would not realize the truth of this image, that everything that is gone through leaves a mark, even if it is not a visible one. That the person other people see in the mirror, is not necessarily the person (or pony in this case) that you see in the mirror. Wonderfully done.
Vanguard21 Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2013
Could I use this as a cover pic for my fanfiction please?
Wolfenstein2552 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2013
"Leadership is not a gift, it is a burden."
- unknown
xelianthought Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013
Is there meant to be something else in the mirror, there looks like an outline of a small pony/tail?
xelianthought Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013
Incredibly melancholic, but brilliantly drawn, it's immersive, emotive, and beautiful in a tragic way, great piece, though I feel awful for Celestia.
Tulsatrash Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2013
I bumped into this on 4chan and wanted to tell you. Its beautiful. I love how it shows what she is feeling inside wile showing her unblemished outside in a dark and empty yet still very real and enclosing physical environment.
AnGeLDaRkCiElCroSs Featured By Owner Mar 15, 2013
She gotta be so tired, all the wars, discord, the conflict with her sister, king sombra, been alone for 1000 years, im just wondering how much her mind will resist before her spirit breaks.
Beautifull work, indeed it shows the soul of a long time ruler and leader.
EarthPhantomTS Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2013   Writer
More and more, I see just how deep Celestia really is...
DanielHarrington Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012
In the mirror she looks like what would happen if she couldn't heal herself so fast from many injuries she sustained during her long life, and if she could actually age as regular ponies in Equestria do.
InsaneBlogger Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012
Beautiful, in a heartbreaking way.

This could be used as fan art for the Origins arc in the Pony POV series
InsaneBlogger Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012
Also, I just noticed how tired she looks in the picture, compared to her normal self
Bloodswordsman Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012
This is deep. Way deeper than other art I've seen. Good job.
Brony2893 Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012
Mind if I use this? All credit will go to you of course.
darklight436 Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012
this picture goes so very well with Lullaby for a Princess- by Ponyphonic
DJ-derpyhelmet Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
it blends very well!
bladedafoxwolfhybrid Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2012  Student Artist
This reminds me of a certain move but what was it. It's the one where that kid sold his soul to stay young forever
Neoillumini Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Reminds me a little of the God Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40,000.

Both leaders have endured far longer than their subjects typical lifespans with pain, loneliness, and misunderstandings. Both were betrayed by ones they loved.

This is wonderful art, but I can't look at it for long. It makes me imagine the scope and degree of Celestia's internal pain, and it is awful.
CrowleysPyramid Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
Would it be too shallow and infantile of me to say I really like her mane?

Granted tt's usually my favorite part of any 'Tia piece, but here it really packs an emotionally resonant wallop. It usually surrounds her like an aura, but here there's a depressive disconnect that makes it seem like a totally separate entity, like a garish dress hiding the emptiness in her heart...
Paw07 Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Harry Potter mirror! ... Just a little darker.
Eagle1Division Featured By Owner Jul 17, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Who do you lean on when you're the one everyone leans on? It takes strength to be a great leader like Celestia, though doubtless she finds respite in the joy of loving her subjects whom she's ruled so well and successfully.
Fairy-Slayer Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
I'm struck by the stylistic elegance of Celestia's outward shell, and oddly the real one seems more forlorn than her decayed, apathetic reflection. The mirror itself is beautifully designed, and there's some mystery in my mind as to why it needs to be so tall (but I'll keep conjecture to myself).

The style of the high windows make it seem like this is a basement or some dusty unused tower. It would otherwise be a prison cell except that it holds the mirror which reveals the prisoner inside. Or maybe I'm just reading way too much into it. Anyway, would you call the window style church Gothic or neo-Gothic, or have I forgotten everything I've read in my architecture books? :)
Felynea Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012   Digital Artist
Really nice emotion. It conveys well. Nice choice of colours and textures for this as well.

On a personal note: :tears: Celestiaaa..
KriegsaffeNo9 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012
It's hard, being a god. It's hard and no one understands.
CaptainPrower Featured By Owner May 7, 2012
And so the great star enters the final stage of its life...
AgentTasmania Featured By Owner Apr 8, 2012
A thousand years must take it's toll.
Something they should really touch on in the canon.
Insanity330 Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is amazing! I love the concept and the feeling behind all of your paintings and drawings!
SwanofWar Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012  Professional Writer
Poor Celestia...she really has sacrificed a lot for her people.
michaelgabrielr Featured By Owner Feb 6, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Nehelenia? :o
Sulfelerin Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2012
I like your idea. :) pretty deep.
And it's easy to imagine it's true. Especially during Luna's banishment.
A thousand years of feeling guilty, lonely, unfull (how can a day exist without a night? Even if she was able to bring the night, she herself was the day only) and still carry all this on - must be devastating.
lol1759 Featured By Owner Jan 23, 2012  Student Digital Artist
SwirlPaw Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2012
when i saw this picture i thought that this was what she looked like sense everyone started putting molestia, trollestia ext. ppl go to far with these jokes sometimes

madman12000 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2012
So sad - sacrificed so much in the name of her little ponies.
Jackinasphere Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2012
This reminds me of the Mirror that reflects your soul in Fallout Equestria
SEMC Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Amazing job. I never thought of Celestia like that.
Zucca-Xerfantes Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
"Twilight Sparkle, my dearest acolyte,

I hope this long letter finds you in good health. You have expressed curiosity your whole life for the ancient secrets. I know much of what caught up with my sister and I from times long past has left you with many unanswered questions. You have also, as of late, been concerned about your age and that now, your years approaching three digits, leaves you little time left to learn.

That is something that has never ceased to astonish me about you. Your thirst for knowledge in whatever form it may come.

It is time now, in the time you have left, to understand why I kept the old knowledge from you. I have of course let slip certain details about the distant past. Your discovery of the book holding the tale of my sister's fall was no accident. I am no goddess, as you know. There were times when I thought no hope remained. When I had to remind you of the beautiful letters you wrote me to inspire in your heart the strength to rally your friends, the Embodiments of the Elements of Harmony and defeat Discord. Or when Luna and I became trapped by the Dark One. Or the long-standing peace you settled with the Griffons which lasts to this day.

But know that the Equestria you know and love today was brought to where it is by nothing less than the blood, sweat and tears of millions of ponies prior and of Luna and I.

It has been asked, by those who do not understand us that they do not understand why we are called 'Princesses'.

Pony historians call them The Ancient Times. But Twilight, I can close my eyes and recall the... horrors. In those days, the royal family of the Alicorn ponies all struggled to maintain civilization and order. We Alicorns had mastery over the body, allowing us to keep eternally youthful. As such, once Everfree City was filled, we saw no need to continue reproducing.

Then... Discord came.

Forget what little you know about him, what little I dared tell. Discord was a monster. There is no point telling you how he came to be. For some magics are better off left unknown.

We perished. All of us. Only my sister and myself remained. But our mother, the red-maned queen whose name I dare not utter for fear of losing even more precious shreds of my heart, visits us so often in our dreams that we believe, somewhere, she lives. Yet without absolute proof, we cannot bear the heartache to call ourselves the Queens of Equestria. So until we find her, flesh or bones, we are the Princesses.

Hearth's Warming occurred when Luna and I were chasing Discord to the darkest ends of the world, well beyond the boundaries of Equestria. We had freed the ponies of Earth, Horn and Wing from Discord's influence and allowed them to live in peace for once. Of course... as the story of Hearth's Warming told, the three tribes were still reeling from his touch of madness and were disharmonious.

It was asked of us why we train gifted unicorns. If we were training heirs apparent. Oh, we have heirs of a sort. The remaining bloodlines of the creations of the Alicorns... Earth Ponies, Pegasi and Unicorns. Your friend Rarity met the heir of the original Unicorn bloodline, that sad boy, Blueblood. He more or less changed his ways after I sent him a special letter and box of Joe's donuts. You remember, don't you?

But I digress... I was talking about why someponies believe we take students on to train as heirs.

This would bring much joy and relief to the hearts of my sister and I, the sort you would not comprehend even with the golden heart you have, my once-pupil.

The problem is, even with your magical talent, nopony other than my sister and I can raise the sun and moon. Nopony can rule properly without understanding the wearisome burden that absolute leadership carries. There would be corruption and downfall. This lesson we learned from the Elder Ones. Those who walked on two feet. Everything they were became what we are today. We still see their hands... yes hands, not hoof or claw or talon... in everything. From teacup design to books.

That is why I cannot afford to allow my emotions to get the better of me.


My beloved little sister let slip her heart and the cost was catastrophic. Everfree City was utterly annihilated, the old castle pulled apart by the land itself and the lives of thousands of ponies were snuffed out overnight. But understand Twilight, the creature that destroyed Everfree City and the old castle and killed so many was *not* my little sister.

To be honest... Luna was the lucky one. She slumbered for the most part, in her prison on the moon. But I, my student, had to endure a thousand years seeing to my sister's duties. Some called me a tyrant vying for my sister's throne. They know so little... What matters is that I managed to keep the balance.

Now that my sweet, beautiful little sister is back, I can finally take the time to reflect on myself.

Heavens help me, I feel so tired... So very tired...

But I *cannot*, I *WILL* not abandon Equestria. Too many have laid down their lives an we sisters have spent too many centuries forging it into a place where comforts are plentiful, work is noble, smiles are plenty and warmth is never far from anypony's heart.

Twilight, you and your dear friends allowed me to smile genuinely for the first time in the millennium since my sister lost her way with your parties, your correspondence, and learning to speak to me like a normal pony.

But you will pass beyond where I can reach and since your friends are all tied to you, they too will pass on the same evening. You are six of the greatest heroes Equestria has ever known.

I know what you will say. That myself and Luna should be included as heroes.

But my beloved Twilight, we are not heroes.

We are but pillars on which a heavy burden lays.

Wherever you go, Twilight, you and your friends will make it a better place.

I am a sorrowed to see you leave, but in your brief, precious flicker of a life, you have warmed the ground at my hooves and brought a smile to a weary soul.

I hope this letter finds you in good health, my acolyte. For when the hour that is on both our minds finally arrives, I have more tears to shed than I think I can stop.

Please do not think that I wish to send you off with more baggage than you arrived in this world with. I just needed to bare my soul to *someone*, and I knew that you of all ponies would be able to understand.

Thank you, my dear student...

Princess Celestia."
CrowleysPyramid Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2012
First, that allusion to a certain hi-bucking-larious fanfic was a thing of beauty. :iconhappypinkiepieplz:

Second, ALL OF MY HEADCANNONS! I've always loved the notion that Luna and 'Tia's mother is essentially the true Goddess of Equestria, ruling on a purely metaphysical level.

Zucca-Xerfantes Featured By Owner Aug 23, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you kindly!

I'm pleased you enjoyed ^_^
AShatteredOne Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This was... I have no words to describe it. This is a truly great piece of literature.
Zucca-Xerfantes Featured By Owner Jun 30, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you very much ^_^
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Submitted on
October 17, 2011
Image Size
2.3 MB


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