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Impressions before reading: I have a reflexive dislike of this story, because I keep misreading the title as "Forever and Ever Again," which is clearly the author's fault and not mine. Beyond that, though, it's hard to say how this might come out. Worst-case scenario, it could end up being a mere headcanon dump based around the question asked in the description. Best case, it could be a clever and nuanced look at Celestia and Twilight's relationship, framed by the latter's own history. That's a big range; I guess I'll just have to read on and see what I find.
Zero-ish spoiler summary: Twilight discovers a hall full of stained-glass windows commemorating various ponies and events from Equestria's past. Celestia explains why they're all in an inaccessible portion of the castle--and provides a little history, too.
A few thoughts: The one thing this story does really well is capture the wandering rambly-ness of an actual conversation; the way the topic drifts from decorum to history to reincarnation and more feels organic and natural. Given that this story is a SoL piece about its two principles having a talk, that's obviously a key success.
But on the other hand, the story's biggest weakness is arguably the sentence-level dialogue decisions. The author has a number of key points he wants to hit in this story, and in order to fit them all into less than 4.5k words, often lets the characters fall back to suspiciously specific or relevant dialogue choices. The result is that, while the overall arc of the conversation feels normal, there's a strained artificiality to the specific sentences where it's clear that there's a great number of points that are being shoehorned into a small space. Consider this exchange:
“Thanks,” Twilight said, rising back to her feet, her head bowed a little. Celestia leaned in conspiratorially. “Though just between the two of us, the guards were ordered to simply admit you after you snuck into the restricted section of the Royal Canterlot Archives at age six.”There are a lot of neat ideas here... but the problem is that, in order to fit all these bits of worldbuilding or characterization into one or two sentences each--seriously, go count, there are fourteen sentences here, and eight different character or narrative inflection points in that same space--the gears of the story get exposed. There end up being a lot of portions of the conversation which are well-written in the abstract, but where the leading dialogue and concept density feel more appropriate to a treatise than a tonally low-key piece of creative writing. I should also mention that this isn't a particularly unrepresentative sample; I could easily have grabbed the next half-dozen paragraphs or more from these exchange and pasted them here as well.
Twilight blushed. “You knew about that?”
“Of course. Who do you think set up the alarm spells?”
“But Princess, there aren’t any alarm spells on the Royal Archives.”
“Not that make any sound,” Celestia said, smiling.
Twilight tilted her head. “What’s the point of an alarm spell if it doesn’t make any noise?”
“Because, Twilight, anyone who can get through the spells I have guarding it is far too dangerous for the Royal Guards to handle on their own.”
“Oh.” Twilight sighed, looking down at her reflection in the polished stone floor. “I’m still not used to thinking like that.”
Characterization does suffer in some superficial ways from those writing problems (both characters feel rather cold when talking about the departed and departed-to-be, but this is more a product of the aforementioned information density than their saying anything particularly callous), but by and large, I was impressed with the way both Celestia and Twilight were presented here. Well into the story, I was all ready to complain about Twilight being excessively obtuse, but the way the conversation winds down makes it clear that Titanium Dragon doesn't think Twilight can't pick up a hint, and helps give the preceding conversation a bit more interest. Meanwhile, both some of Celestia's dialogue and her choice of subject matter for her windows (at least, the ones we're privy to) paint a pleasingly grey picture of her--the author clearly doesn't belong to the "Celestia is above mistakes or prejudice" school of thought, and some of her more questionable beliefs are allowed to peak through at the edges of a story that's otherwise about her making the mature choice in a difficult (or at least, potentially difficult) circumstance.
The biggest draw here are the little bits of history and lore that pepper the conversation, and those are certainly worth the price of admission. Beyond that, though, this still manages to feel like a cohesive scene in its characters' lives--which is exactly what a SoL fic should be. Specific complaints notwithstanding, the idea of this fic is spot-on.
Recommendation: If you enjoy low stakes and prefer densely-packed writing to more lackadaisical storytelling, consider this highly recommended. If you prefer your ideas to have some breathing room or are looking for much in the way of exploration of any of the many ideas here on display, this might leave you cold, though.
Next time: Winds of Change, by Masterweaver