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Earth Ponies are generally seen as the staple lower-middle-class race, serving as protectors and cultivators of both plant and animal life. As such, almost all of the food generated in Equestria was grown or otherwise produced by an Earth Pony at some stage of its development. They are most commonly found in rural areas with vast flat lands and rich soil.
Earth Ponies have very strong ties with the earth, and are able to cultivate almost any living thing in or on soil. This stems from the fact that Earth Ponies as a race can tap into the rivers of magic that flow through the earth itself, though for the vast majority of Earth Ponies this doesn’t amount to more than a hunch of how to grow a particular plant, or a sinking feeling that foreshadows bad seasons.
Earth Ponies also have the ability to perceive the life force, or “chi”, of living organisms, as well as manipulate their own chi. This has the effect of them appearing to be naturally much stronger and faster on land than the other pony races. They also can detect changes in the chi of others, which grants them minor empathic capacities.
Earth Ponies that have embraced the true aspect of their natural affinities, the Gaiapotein are the next step in Earth Pony evolution. They have become more attuned with the magic of nature, even to the extent that their bodies have transformed to more closely resemble the earth, stone, plant, or mineral that they are most drawn to. According to legend, the very first Gaiapoteus created the earth and plants, and gave life to the creatures of the world.
A Gaiapoteus benefits from greatly increased strength and speed without the increase in muscle mass due to their strong ties to the forces of life and nature of the world. They have a fine amount of control over their chi as well as the chi of others, and are able to tap into world’s rivers of magic at will. They are also attuned to the auras of all living things, and can empathically sense the emotions of those around them. A master Gaiapoteus has the ability to raise mountains and grow entire forests, as well as manipulate the emotions of entire cities.
A prime example of the Gaiapotein are the Crystal Ponies, whose affinity with the Crystal Heart have caused them as a society to evolve to Gaiapoteus status. While centuries of urbanization coupled with Sombra’s corruption have lead to the Crystal Ponies to lose much of their increased strength and speed, they have retained their incredible empathic abilities.
Unicorns have historically been the race most inclined to take leadership positions and comprise the majority of the upper-class, though there is a large amount of Unicorns that dwell in the productive middle class as well. Unicorns are also very social, and can most easily be found in urban areas.
Unicorns are the only base race able to tap into their magical powers at will, but unlike Earth Ponies and Pegasi, a Unicorn’s magic is almost always highly specialized, suitable only to accomplish a specific set of related tasks, with the notable exception of simple object levitation. Use of magic is channeled through the Unicorn’s characteristic horn, however, and if a Unicorn were to lose his/her horn by any means, their control of magic is lost as well.
The magic that Unicorns are able to produce are related to space and time, as opposed to the earth magic of Earth Ponies or the sky magic of Pegasi. As such, there have been extensive efforts to catalogue and document the different spells performed by Unicorns across the entire world, and though the list is undoubtedly incomplete, the spells range in power and complexity from folding paper and picking flowers to traversing large distances across space and time.
When a Unicorn devotes their entire life to the study of the true nature of magic, they may one day ascend to the level of Altocorn. These select few are privy to secrets of magic that have the capacity to change the very nature of the world, and much of the higher knowledge they attain cannot be written in books or scrolls nor taught to other Unicorns. Legend says that it was an Altocorn that first created the sun and the moon, giving birth to the day and the night.
Altocorns have access to a wide swath of magic ranging in nature from manipulating form, controlling thoughts, or even the creation of large complex objects out of nothing. They also have a vast magical endurance, able to cast several grand spells or many moderate ones without tiring out, and those that have studied the magic of the world can even tap into magical sources outside their body to fuel their spells. A master Altocorn can create any object or material of any size or quantity, control the thoughts of thousands, and can even manipulate time itself.
A canon example of Altocorns is Sombra, a Unicorn that devoted his life to the study of darkness and corruption. So great was his control over the thoughts of others that he entranced the entire Crystal Empire into willful submission and even put the entire nation to sleep for a thousand years.
Pegasus are the caretakers of the skies, controlling much of the weather that affects Equestria. Traditionally, they make their homes in clouds that have been molded into houses, though it isn’t uncommon for them to also live in towns and small cities. Pegasi who aren’t in charge of maintaining the weather generally place elsewhere among the middle-class, taking up other maintenance-related jobs.
Pegasi are most noted for their wings and ability to fly, but their true prowess lies in the race’s innate ability to control the magic of the world that relates to the sky. From birth, all Pegasi have the subconscious ability to affect their buoyancy in the air, thus allowing them to walk on clouds. Pegasi also can generate and control weather artifacts, such as clouds and storms. They also have a limited ability to redirect wind to their liking, though complete control remains more of an art than an exact science.
In addition to being able to manipulate weather artifacts, Pegasi also have the ability to drastically alter the local weather of a small area during flight, and although the effect is temporary and requires constant effort and attention, the results can be devastating. Many Pegasi working together have been known to create large spontaneous tornadoes for various purposes, such as lifting more water into the air than would be possible from simple evaporation alone.
A Pegasus that fully delves into the essences of weather and flight can work toward evolving into the status of a Seraphus. The ranks of the Seraphim are laden with Pegasi that have intimate knowledge of how the weather of the world functions, and though their names are all but forgotten, their legacy remains in the heart of every Pegasus that dreams of becoming a master flier. Legends say that it was the Seraphim that first caused the winds to blow, the clouds to form, and for rain and snow to fall from the sky.
Seraphim are able to control weather patterns to such an extent that they can cause phenomena that would otherwise be impossible, such as wind that only blows in a certain spot of flat land, or clouds that rain upwards. They are not limited to just precision, however, as Seraphim can also create vast and terrible storms or generate tornadoes as big as mountains. Seraphim are also expert fliers, able to use their fine control of the wind to lace their wings with streamlined air, helping them to attain impossible speeds. A master Seraphus can will the air of the entire world to move in perfect synchronization, or to stop entirely, with a simple flutter of wings.
There are no current canon examples of a Seraphus, but the closest approximation would be Rainbow Dash. Her lifelong pursuit into the skill of flying caused her to inadvertently reinvent the lost Seraphim power to create a Sonic Rainboom, a feat historically only possible by a Seraphus’ ability to manipulate air to aid in flight. Whether Rainbow Dash is aware of the full implications of this ability is not clear.
An Arcpony is a fusion of the Earth Pony and Unicorn races, and retains the skills and abilities of both. While it is incredibly rare for an Arcpony to reach both Gaiapoteus and Altocorn status, their level of prowess in the Earth Pony and Unicorn skill sets still generally exceeds that of unascended members of either race. Earth Ponies that are in lower levels of ascension may not have the horns, but are still capable of subconscious bouts of spontaneous magic.
There are very few recognized Arcponies throughout history, as they usually aren’t recognized as such. Instead, they are seen as Earth Ponies with unexplainable supernatural abilities or as Unicorns with an unusual affinity for nature. Most ponies that are suspected to have been Arcponies were known during their lives as gypsies or miracle workers. A lot of renown surrounded them, if only in their local community, but they were generally seen with mistrust as well by those who feared their abilities.
The closest current approximation of a canon example of an Arcpony would be Pinkie Pie. Her Pinkie sense, her repeated ability to pull objects seemingly out of nowhere, her occasional knowledge of information she shouldn’t have any business knowing, and her consistent activity that is regarded as “randomness” may be evidence that she is actually an Arcpony in secret, though she might not even know it herself.
An Eraterus is the combination of both Pegasi and Earth Pony traits. Like the Arcponies, many Erateri have gone unnoticed by the eyes of history due to not having any visible difference separating them from other Pegasi. Many are simply seen as odd albeit skilled Pegasi who have forgone the lifestyle of the air and instead choose to live their lives on the earth, or Earth Ponies with an odd affinity for the sky and a knack for predicting weather patterns.
Their skills can match or beat those of Earth Ponies, and those Eraterus who ascended from Pegasi or have ascended far enough to grow wings have the capacity to rival any expert Pegasus as well, though it is rare for an Eraterus to match a Gaiapoteus or Altocorn in power. They are well attuned to the flow of chi and the magic in the earth as well as the sky, and are generally remarkably considerate of the well-being of others. Many Erateri go on to become gurus or hermits, living in near isolation of others but in the constant company of the plants or animals that they become the most drawn to.
The best example of an Eraterus in current canon would be Fluttershy. Her natural affinity for animals is odd for a Pegasus, and is a clear indication that she is something more. She also has shown flying skills from time to time that far exceed what she should be capable of, given her status as a Pegasus that lives on the ground and only uses wings for utility purposes. Finally, her signature move, “The Stare”, could potentially be a form of empathic control.
The Coruscari are ponies that have evolved both Unicorn and Pegasus abilities. Unlike the Arcponies and Erateri, the Coruscari are very well recognized throughout history, as possessing both wings and a horn is a clear indication of ascension. However, they are also commonly confused with Alicorns (due to the lack of Earth Pony affinities not being visibly clear), so historical documentation of Coruscari can be somewhat unreliable.
While it is rare for a Coruscarim to rival the skill of a Seraphus, they still retain the augmented abilities of skilled Pegasi and as such have the capacity to become expert fliers, though Coruscarim ascended from Unicorns will require some initial adaptation to wings. They are also generally quite skilled in magic both in terms of power and variety, though generally not to the level of Altocorn. Historically, however, a Coruscarim would often find a specialization of magic that most appealed to them, then go on to become a master and mentor in that field. As a result, the Coruscari held an honored place of nobility among the upper-class of society.
The only current canon example of the Coruscarim would be Twilight Sparkle. While officially recognized as an Alicorn, this description only seems to fit in the context of her having both wings and a horn. While she does have wings that give her the Pegasus power of flight (and seemed to gain general proficiency with relatively quickly) and her powers as a Unicorn are near unparalleled, she has displayed none of the evident abilities of an Earth Pony, making her classification as a Coruscarim more fitting.
The end-all be-all of pony racial evolution, an Alicorn is the final stage of ascension. They have powers and abilities from all three races, and generally have achieved the status of Altocorn, Gaiapoteus, and Seraphus in terms of proficiency. While it is incredibly rare for an Alicorn to emerge, it is almost universal throughout history that, whenever an Alicorn had existed in the world, the Alicorn was in some form of ruling or leadership position, or even exalted to godhood.
Because they inherit their abilities from all three races, Alicorns can have an affinity for almost anything, even things that would be impossible for an ascended member of a single race to be capable of. It is not uncommon among Alicorns to have an affinity for abstract concepts, such as light, time, or wisdom. Because of their ties to all three sources of magic, Alicorns also have greatly increased lifespans, in some cases spanning across multiple millenia. Many great wonders of the world were due to the direct influence of Alicorns.
Celestia, Luna, and Cadence are all obvious examples of canon Alicorns. All three are expert fliers, capable of inconceivably powerful magic, and are very attuned to the emotions and feelings of their subjects. Their respective affinities are day, night, and love. Cadence in particular is an interesting example, as she seems to combine Earth Pony empathy with powerful Unicorn magic to spread love and happiness wherever she goes, possibly even utilizing Pegasus abilities to infuse the air itself with positive influence.
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