"There are those who say that Celestia's path is good, just, and noble. Enforcing order from the chaos that would ignite, should her hoof not be there to stamp it out.
There are those who say that she is a tyrant.
There are those who allege that Luna would lead the world into a glorious new age, wherein everypony would have freedom to live as they see fit.
There are those who allege that she is a traitor.
Celestia and Luna have always been at odds. One, entrusted with ambiguous responsibilities from an absent queen. One, jealous and fearful of what her beloved sister chose to become to preserve their way of life.
I wasn't there, so I can't say what sparked the insurrection. I can say that the Grand Solar Empire simply did not exist before the propaganda rained from the skies. I can say that I do not blame Celestia herself for what her armies have done. She was always so motherly when she graced my humble home, always seeming so confidant and wise. I can truly say that I loved her as my ruler, for she was kind enough to see to the safety of even an outcast like me.
I can also say that I will bathe in the blood of anypony who tries to stop me from getting to her.
I had a father and a mother once. Necris and Mara Shadewind.
And they're nothing but ash, thanks to the Great Light of Equestria.
~ Wraith Shadewind, Year of Celestia 1764
===Chapter One ~ Remembrance===
Year of Celestia 1762 - Bedchambers of Shadewind Tower
Wraith Shadewind sat bolt upright in his bed. A long mane the color of melted chocolate flowed in the strange breeze that intruded into the normally still air of his simple home, wrapping around his horn. The gentle caress of this wafting air tickled his nose, and he sneezed at its odor. A cloying scent had filled his nostrils, a kind of.. was it perfume?
Wraith lived alone, in the sunken grandeur of what used to be his family's estate which skirted the border of Ponyville and The Everfree Forest. Understandably, his curiosity was piqued by his being awoken by such a heavenly scent. Getting out of bed, he glanced around, seeing the bedraggled bedchamber around him. A couple cloaks lay on the floor, useful for when he wanted to go into Ponyville to scavenge for food or supplies. Apple cores were piled in one corner, and the unicorn made a mental note that they should be cleaned as soon as possible - this perfume was not the only thing he smelled. He approached the dressing table across from his bed, one look at the mirror that rested there displaying the tiredness in his pale blue eyes. The dim light of the candles flickered, betraying the gentle air that had woken him, and dancing over his thin, sand-colored frame.
Wraith set off through the door of his bedchamber and down the corridor, ambling just slowly enough to be able to peer around each corner. His every sense told him that there definitely was an intruder in his home, and though he hadn't really thought about what to do when he confronted whichever pony had come to explore the "abandoned" ruin, he had stepped through this dance enough times to know that he needed to find the pony in question in order to hide from them.
Following the scent, he soon realized that he was headed to the study where his father, Necris, had once basked in the glory of the Princess' favour. The great and wise ruler of Equestria had tasked him with the study and care of the dead, in keeping with his talents relating to things gone. Books of scribblings and diagrams, anatomical and alchemical scrawlings, pages and pages of notes were produced by Necris' tedious work, so much so that Wraith could never remember his father without thinking of the arcane symbols and scent of decay that followed him like an unequestrian aura. Time and again Wraith had struggled to make sense of his father's work for the Crown, until at last Wraith gave up, and had finally left the records of the dead to collect dust and be forgotten. Until now.
When Wraith silently stepped into the corridor around Necris' study, he knew he had found the source of the strange scent. There was clearly someone within, and they had lit a fire, presumably in the fireplace. The thought did briefly occur to Wraith that the intruder might be a vandal, but he shook this thought aside. No sensible pony would break into a dusty old ruin just to wreck the place even more than it was.
The boldness of this trespasser surprised Wraith. Normally it was just a couple of schoolfillies who had dared each other to go to the "spooky old tower in the swamp". But this pony, whoever they were, had made themselves right at home. Pouting slightly in consternation, the unicorn closed his eyes. A dark, inky blue enveloped his horn, deepening into an ebony glow. A moment later, the horn itself wavered, and began to fade from sight. Were it not for the second part of the spell, Wraith could have passed for an Earth pony even under the heaviest of scrutiny. But the ebon glow had coalesced into two points on either side of Wraith's back, lengthening and forming the shape of two wings, the same sandy color as his coat but for the marginal converts and alula, those having a aquamarine sheen that would make the front edge of these wings match his hooves if he were ever self-conscious enough to buff them to a shine.
Disguised in a way that would have fooled even his mother, Wraith stepped up to the door of his father's study and peered inside.
Immediately his front legs buckled beneath him, and his head dipped into a bow that smacked his invisible horn against the ground. As his head rose slowly to take in the sight before him, he found that his initial glance had been correct. Warmth and a calm serenity washed over him as he took in the fire beneath the mantle, the neatly stacked books where he had left them, and the glow from his visitor.
With great reverence and possibly greater confusion, he welcomed the beautiful alicorn before him into his home.
"Welcome to Shadewind Tower, Princess Celestia."