On the Nature of Anomalous Magic Levels surrounding the Everfree Forest
A report by Student Twilight Sparkle of the Canterlot Academy of Magic
The Everfree forest is a broad reach of dense woodland to the south east of Canterlot, within the countey of Celestershire and is well known in Equestrian culture as a place where the bizarre is commonplace. Hostile mega-fauna such as Celestial Ursines, Manticores, Hydra and Noble Dragons are just a few of the perils known to exist, not to mention a host of smaller magical flora and fauna. Some plants are fast growing to the extent of showing visible movement. (1)
Given the hazards of the region, it would seem the height of folly to build a town in the vicinity, but nevertheless, the township of Ponyville exists, originally founded by earth ponies in the year 4473 EE, but now housing a considerable population of unicorns and pegasai within it's demenses. (2)
It's primary export is high quality agricultural produce, aided by the fact that local crops grow more bountifully than in most places, and more rapidly, resulting in multiple harvests every year. (3) Indeed, various substances that would not normally grow under any circumstances, such as rocks and gemstones grow under these conditions. (4)
This paper hypothesises a common cause behind these anomalies, and discusses a possible reason for them. It will describe the experimental methods used to verify this hypothesis.
2) Observations, Research and Methodology
Recent research by the author have determined that the levels of background thaumic radiation in the area is on average three times the average for Equestria, as shown in Appendix 1 - Figure 1.
Furthermore, an examination of magical potential levels taken over a 1000 hoof square grid, extending in a partial circle 20 kiloponies along the edge of the forest proper by 3 kiloponies deep, show the level rises in a set of steps as it approaches the boundary of the Everfree. The map in Appendix 1 – Figure 2a shows the equine-potential lines plotted against the local geography, while the chart in Figure 2b shows the rise in potential with distance.
The measurements were taken with a standard portable thaumometer. Three units were used, all calibrated against a set of standard magical spell effects, the Skycaster-Sparklemane series, involving the conjuration of standard multiples of pony-lengths of coloured ribbon. (5) These proved useful in laying out of the grid, which was done non-magically to avoid contamination.
A further set of tests, involving an overflight of the forest proper, confirmed that the magical potential levels continued to increase as they went further into the forest. These are plotted on the map in Figure 3, along with the levels recorded. Since the setting of a grid was impossible, locations were assessed by triangulation from fixed clouds stationed over widely separated points (1 kilopony apart) on the earlier grid (Shown as A-B, C-D, E-F).
Figure 5 extrapolates the pattern for the whole forest based on the experimental results. It forms a set of annular rings with a common centre deep in the heart of the forest. This centre corresponds within the limits of experimental error (500 ponylengths) to the ruins of the Ancient Palace of the Royal Pony Sisters, destroyed in 3699 EE during the first rise of Nightmare Moon.
Evidence at the site suggests that this was the place at which the final battle between Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon occurred, resulting in the imprisonment of Nightmare Moon in the moon. It was confirmed that it was also the resting place of the legendary Elements of Harmony (6). A full description of these events is beyond the scope of this paper, but will be discussed in the author's forthcoming book, 'Friendship is Magic' (7).
Analysis of growth patterns of fallen ancient trees on the outskirts of the Everfree forest were made. Cross-sections were cut, and the number and spacing of growth rings examined. They show a distinct variation in their growth patterns at a watershed event just over 1000 years ago, at the time of the confrontation between Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon. Samples of wood from the slopes of Mount Canterlot were used as a control.
The width of ring, and therefore amount of annual growth expands by an order of 5, reducing to about 3 during the present epoch. This latter measurement correlates with the observed magical levels in Figure 2b when compared with magical levels taken at the control site.
Figure 4 shows a rubbing of a sample tree, with the growth regions highlighted and expanded, which clearly shows the change in growth patterns. Samples from deeper within the Everfree Forest proved impossible to obtain, due to the hazards of the area.
During the clash of Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon, two deity level magical powers contended with each other. The sealing of Nightmare Moon, and the use of the Elements of Harmony must have caused a massive magical shockwave, which also left an impression, or echo, in the surrounding countryside.
This residual magic is the source of the anomalous magical potential levels found in our survey, and ultimately the source of the peculiar phenomena of the surrounding regions. Local contemporary plant-life and animal were initially blasted by a wave of unformed magical energy, which may have caused magical mutation, and the subsequent high magical potentials would have favoured flora and fauna which could survive and utilise it.
Over time this natural imperative may have fed back into the magical energy field, creating a spell-like effect that encouraged growth. Without conscious direction, the only directive influence would have been growth and survival, the most basic natural imperatives of all living things.
Similar natural imperatives can be seen in a pegasai's ability to hover without flapping their wings, manipulate and stand on clouds, or an earth pony's strength and endurance. While not a conscious magic spell such as a unicorn would use, these spell-like abilities reinforce the basic natures of the beings in question, though in that case there is the conscious awareness directing it.
Without consciousness, the effect would have been far weaker for a single entity, but given the vast area of the forest, and large amount of energy available, the overall effect would be great, though taking a long time to take effect, and continues to this day. The high magical potential level explains the preponderance of magical flora and fauna within the forest, while the generalised growth spell explains many other phenomena.
Mega-fauna: An effect of the growth spell, and magical background potential. Such creatures would find it impossible, or at least highly uncomfortable to leave the demenses of the forest, as the magical energies support and enhance their physical forms and metabolisms. It is entirely possible that over the generations they have become adapted to this environmental niche, as with deep sea fishes that can not be taken near the surface without dying.
The one exception to this rule would be noble dragons, which are magical creatures who generate their own magic, but even they would find lairing in the Everfree forest or it's immediate area more comfortable than most places.
The presence of dragons can be confirmed by anecdotal evidence from Ponyville residents as well as the author's personal experience, with at least two confirmed noble dragon sightings in the last year. Questioning of Spike, the author's juvenile noble dragon companion and assistant, also suggests the comfort zone theory is correct, though this evidence is of necessity subjective..
Growth of inanimate objects: Another side effect of the growth spell effect, possibly informed by the beliefs of the first earth pony colonists, who were farmers. It is a common farming expression that some ground is only fit for growing rocks. Once again,while not a directed spell, it would have impressed itself on the magical energies.
The original source of the seed rocks is easy, but the source of gemstone 'seeds' needs further explanation. Noble dragons can eat anything, but prefer gems when they can get them. Noble dragons will also have been lairing in and around the Everfree forest for centuries, bringing their hordes of gems with them, and nesting in them, as well as eating them.
These dragons would therefore pick up gem dust on their hide and scales, and shed it when flying over the region. Falling to the ground, natural churn would bury them, and the aforementioned spell effect would do the rest. Naturally, this is self-reinforcing, as dragons would then come back as the area also provides a source of their favourite food.
It is possible that other effects may appear as the region continues to be inhabited by ponies, and their collective unconscious informs and shapes the magical potential field. This may form a fruitful area for future research.
For example, ponies born to the descendants of original colonists may start to develop wild magical talents beyond the normal abilities for their races. The area may also act as a stochastic anomaly attractor, or 'weirdness magnet', where unusual events and coincidences happen more often than could be expected. There is already some possible evidence of both these effects, but a complete analysis of this is once again beyond the scope of this paper.
This paper has undertaken to describe the unusual magical potential of the Everfree forest and it's environs, explain how the evidence showing this was collected, and hypothesise explanations for known anomalous phenomena related to the area, as well as postulating others for future research.
The author must give a big thank-you to all the residents of Ponyville for their assistance in the collection of evidence for this paper, especially Mayor Grey Mare. Thanks must also go my friend and companion Spike for his illuminating conversation on the habits of dragons, and help with research sources.
Rainbow Dash, Ponyville's Weather Control officer, was of great help in laying out the survey lines and gathering over-flight data from the forest proper, while Fluttershy and her animal friends were invaluable on the ground, laying out the survey points.
Applejack, proprietor of Sweet Apple Acres helped provide information on the history of Ponyville, (and apple pie) while Pinkie Pie, descendent of a family that had been in Ponyville since it's founding, provided valuable knowledge on the subjects of rock farming, and some unorthodox but fascinating and occasionally terpsechorian views on my theories (and cupcakes.)
Finally, Rarity, the owner of Carousel Boutique, and aficionado of fine gemstones has my thanks for allowing me to travel with her on a gem finding expedition, allowing me to assess the plausibility of my theory about dragons being the primary vectors for gemstone seeding.
To all my friends, I couldn't have written this paper without you. Thank you, everyone!
'The Everfree Forest – Stay away... no really!' by Farhoof, Canterlot Publishing Company
'Celestershire census 4697 EE' by Royal Equestrian Records Bureau
'Ponyville Crop reports 4698 EE' by Royal Equestrian Records Bureau
'Through the Celestershire Badlands by Hoof and Horn' by Farhoof, Canterlot Publishing Company
'1001 Party Tricks and Conjurations' by Skycaster and Sparklemane, Wizard Books
'The Elements of Harmony – A Reference Guide' by Marelin, reprinted Wizard Books
'Friendship is Magic' by Twilight Sparkle, not yet published.