Half the Day is Night

by AugieDog

Prologue

The three-quarter moon inched over the horizon, reddish-yellow as the leaves Celestia could hear rustling in the breeze that washed down from the heights of the mountain behind her. Stepping forward on her balcony, she closed her eyes and breathed it in. "Beautiful," she sighed.

"Thank you." Luna's voice, so much softer now than Celestia remembered, but even a year and a quarter since her sister's return, she still felt like dancing whenever she heard it.

She glanced sideways at her smaller, darker sister. "I missed you the most in autumn. Each night longer than the last, and me with hardly enough ideas to fill them all."

Luna shrugged. "You did OK. I mean, all the basic parts still work and everything."

"I had a lot of help." Celestia looked back at the moon and thought of ponies whose grandchildren's grandchildren had long since grown old around her. "That first night after you...after you were gone, I did something wrong and managed to blow out half the stars. A couple old earth ponies showed me a trick for burning marsh gas in vessels, teams of unicorns replicated the effect on a much larger scale, and every pegasus in Equestria flew multiple sorties to get the new stars aloft."

"Yes. I-" Luna stopped, cleared her throat. "I can feel their hoofprints, like...like where it was always just me shaping the night before, now there's...there's all these others mixed in. And I-" Again a stop, another breath. "I'd like to know their names, Celestia. I'd like to know who they were."

Celestia nodded, and as she began telling Luna the story, a thought began forming in the back of her mind.