Millennium Eclipse: Chronicles of Luna's Fall, chapter 1
A My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Fanfiction
By Lucky Stampede
DISCLAIMER:This is a non-profit fan-made work of prose. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is the property of Hasbro. Please support the official release.
Author's Note: Written for NaNoWriMo, edited for readability.
Uploader's note: This fic is the labor of Lucky Stampede, my friend who asked me to host his story on my account. So please direct all praise to him, not me.
"Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria there were two regal princesses who created harmony across the land..."
Luna read the words in a daze.
"All lies..." she said quietly. She pressed a hoof to her forehead to hold back a growing headache, but it didn't work. She gritted her teeth, breathed deep, and slowly counted down from ten. She tried to push aside thoughts of all that was left out of the tale. There was no mention of the Knights of Harmony. No mention of the Second Battle of Stalliongrad. No mention of the founding of Everfree. There was absolutely no mention of...
At the last incomplete thought, the dam broke. She screamed an inarticulate cry of frustration and hurled the book across the room, scattering other books from the table in front of her. It smashed into a wall, bounced off, and flopped on the floor. It fell open to a page of her eyes...her other eyes, the ones with slits like cats. She stared into them as they stared back at her. At least they got that part right.
She sighed, and remembering the last time she lost her temper here, took several deep breaths as she'd been trained. She left the storybook sitting against the wall as she began gathering the other scattered tomes. She could get that one last.
Suddenly, the librarian Dusty Stacks flitted in. "See here now, I don't care who you are, if you think you can make a ruckus in my library, you have another thing coming."
The grey pegasus with a brown mane was talking with his eyes closed as he shouted, "This is my library. I am Canterlot's chief librarian and my word..."
He opened his eyes, and saw the tall, regal form of Princess Luna. Her midnight blue coat, her mane of stars, her horn and wings marking her as an alicorn, and her black crown marking her as Princess of the Night.
"My word...my word...PRINCESS! Oh dear...sorry, I'll just get that book for you..." he flitted over to the book on the floor, but recoiled as she picked it up with her telekinesis.
"No, quite alright. Dusty Stacks, we...I insist that you treat me no different from any other pony. What would thou...you do to any other pony who hath hurled a book across the room in a fit of pique?"
He blanched. "I, uh...I'd probably just let them off with a warning...Maybe ask them to leave, just for this day..."
Luna's eyes narrowed.
Dusty Stacks rubbed the back of his head nervously, "...Maybe ban them..."
Her eyes were thin slits and her ears flattened back on her head.
"...Throttle them with my bare hooves..."
Suddenly, Luna forced a chuckle out to lighten the tension. Celestia had been trying to get her to see the humor in these situations more. She said it would help her relax and not repeat the Nightmare Night incident in Ponyville. The blue alicorn forced a reassuring smile, but the result was more reminiscent of a particularly sultry shark.
"Oh, that would be a sight, would it not?" He winced so hard he nearly dropped out of the air. She dropped her pleasant demeanour. "Fine then. If you do not have the courage to do so, we will ban ourselves from this library, at least for the day. I have business to attend to elsewhere."
Princess Luna stood, and moved to place the book on the shelf. She hoped her lack of retaliation and self exile would reassure him, but doubted it. Her history, her demeanor, all combined to make her far more intimidating even than her sister, and while most of the staff had adjusted, there were still complications.
As she levitated the book back to the shelf, Luna noticed something she had missed earlier. Her eyes went white, she flattened her ears, and huffed as she saw the name on the book. She whirled around at the librarian, who upon seeing her blank white orbs immediately went stiff and fell to the floor in shock. She sighed, counted again, and spoke calmly.
Luna closed her eyes as she spoke, "Dusty Stacks, I am sorry. I am in no way angry at you."
"W...well, that is good!" he said, twitching.
"I was once friends with the royal Canterlot librarian, back in the Classical era." She said, walking over to the stricken pegasus and thrusting out a hoof at him for support. "I would hope that we, too, could be friends someday."
"Okay! Friends! We are will be!" he said manically, wincing away from her hoof like it was a deadly weapon.
She sighed yet again. "I'd...best leave you alone for the time being."
Luna walked out of the library and spared a glance back as Dusty Stacks regained his composure. She shut the door behind her and tried not to think about Starswirl IV and what had occurred in the library so long ago. Celestia was the focus of her attention now.
Luna found Celestia out on the castle grounds, staring out at the willow pond. The pond flowed out into the moat through the castle walls, and was shaded by several willow trees, more than had existed a thousand years ago. The pure white alicorn dipped her snout into the magically clear water and daintily took a drink as she reflected peacefully.
"Tia?" Luna said.
"Luna! How good it is to see you," Celestia said, turning and standing to greet her sister. "Are your studies going well?" She smiled beatifically.
"Sister, we need to talk." Luna replied sternly.
Celestia's smile did not change, but it left her eyes. "Luna...what troubles you this day?"
"You have lied." Luna snapped.
"I do that often," the sun princess laughed. "It's one of my endearing traits."
Luna did not laugh, did not smile, her frown only deepened, "I was reading a book...a foal's book, on Equestrian history. My history. Our history," she said, pacing back and forth.
The midnight alicorn impatiently flared her wings and stamped her hooves as she said, "It recanted the tale of how I fell into darkness and how you and you alone used the Elements of Harmony to imprison me in the moon."
"I know of it," Celestia said coyly, digging at the ground a little with her hoof.
Luna whirled on her and said harshly, "You wrote it!"
Celestia turned away from her sister and looked at her reflection in the water. "Sunfire Star was a bit obvious I guess."
A wind whipped over the water and rustled the waters, disrupting Celestia's reflection and forcing her to turn to face her younger sister. Her eyes were blank white and only the noonday sun prevented her from drawing her full power. Celestia looked pityingly at Luna, and said "Luna, it's been so long, surely the tales have..."
"No! I will not accept thine lies. I am thy sister. Thy equal," Luna said, raising into the sky, a breeze whipping around her. "Thou willst not patronize me or treat me like a filly any longer. I demand to know why thou hast lied; why thou hast removed the true history and planted falsehoods in its stead.
Celestia faltered momentarily at her sister's unexpected wrath, but focused for a moment on her own power, bringing stillness to the winds. When calm reigned, she lowered her head in submission. "I did not think any pony else needed to know, sister."
"Know the truth of thine failures? The friends thou sacrificed? GEIST? What say your books of him?"
"Nothing. And I am sorry for that, but...I thought it was better this way. The truth...the truth can hurt, dear sister. And our truth is awful, I'm afraid. I'm afraid of what other ponies would think. I'm afraid of opening old wounds. The truth can be terrifying, you should know, once the proud bearer of Honesty."
Luna seemed to deflate at that. "I was, once..."
Celestia walked over and cautiously nuzzled her sister. "I left it out because no pony would be left alive today who knows. I did not think every pony needed to know of our failures and mistakes from a thousand years ago."
Luna looked down at the grass. "It was not a thousand years ago for me..."
"And I am sorry Luna, deeply sorry. We lost friends. We made mistakes. And over a thousand years, I've attempted to undo all the damage we did." Celestia move beside her sister, rubbing up against her like a mother comforting a foal. "I've tried to see to it that the world would accept your eventual return."
The smaller alicorn looked into her sister's eyes. "History sees you as the hero-"
"-but it does not see you as the villain," Celestia replied
Luna pushed away from her sister and walked over to one of the willow trees before turning around. "Does it not? In Ponyville they think I devour foals. In Trottingham I appear at night to warn of death, or cause it. In Stalliongrad they think I hide my heart in a duck for some reason."
Celestia laughed breezily, "Oh, that one was funny..."
"What? It's an amusing myth. They barely remember what happened because of it." She looked at her sister's eyes, and her smile reversed itself. "Luna...that's not you. That's Nightmare Moon."
Luna stamped a hoof and said, "We are one in the same!"
Celestia recoiled, then settled herself. "No. You are not Nightmare Moon. Please don't ever say that."
Celestia sighed, walked over and lay down beside her sister. Luna cocked her head to one side, and joined Celestia. The white alicorn continued, "Ponies are just confused. Once the ponies get to know you like I do, they will see you as two very different ponies. Princess Luna will become the victim of the story, rejected by uncaring ponies and made vulnerable to dark forces. Possessed, forced to do horrible things, imprisoned in a demon, she repented and, with the help of Harmony, regained her rightful place in the diarchy."
Luna looked at Celestia and nodded gravely. "A moving story of fall and redemption. It's also a complete fabrication."
"It's true in the broad strokes. Nightmare Moon is the monster. You were the princess trapped within, now free."
Luna covered her head with her hooves. "That's what I am trying to tell, you sister! That's not true! I was Nightmare Moon. She was more myself than I am now."
Celestia frowned, "Why do you keep saying that, Luna?"
"Because it is true. You don't know what happened. You don't know..."
Celestia nuzzled Luna, "You're right, I don't. You never talk about that time, and I was not there for a good portion."
Luna brushed her sister away. "I'm...not sure I want to. I'm not sure you want to know."
Celestia placed one hoof on her sister's shoulder. "I do. I don't care how bad it is, you are my sister and I need to know, and I think you need to talk about it. At least to me.."
The dark sister sighed, "It started with the dragon. Nightflame. When you sent me to deal with her."
"I thought that went fairly well?" Celestia asked, cocking her head to one side.
"It did, but...on the way back..."
"Why don't you start with the dragon and we can work forward from there."
A thousand years ago...
Luna walked up the mountain path. She was wearing the full regalia of her station, the crown of Magic, mantle of Honesty, and collar of Loyalty. The mountain path was rocky and barren, situated between the badlands of the north and the greener pastures of Equestria. The ground here was rough, but there was a certain order to it. There was a hint of long forgotten stairs leading up this path. Night was falling. This was her time, her element.
As she reached the end of the path she looked around her for the reason she came here. All around were ruins of the old time before Equestria. Vast marbled columns, now tumbled into dust. Statues of ponies, griffins, and other creatures forgotten to history, all the features stripped bare by the ravages of time and the unnatural forces that had ended the old civilization.
Luna paused before two statues that resembled alicorns, a mare and a stallion, sculpted in alabaster and basalt respectively. She had never met a male alicorn before. As she considered that, her eyes were drawn to their crowns. The long, slender horn on the stallion had broken off, while the mare's horn was mostly intact. They rose from crowns that Luna realized were actually made of smaller horns, not a separate ornamentation. The mare's face was one of great joy and infinite compassion, of love and beauty and hope. The stallion's was an inscrutable one of stoic contemplation, or sadness, or even disapproval. His eyes were not even visible behind the shadow cast by his hoodlike mane; possibly not even sculpted in.
"Dad? Mom?" she said to herself. Luna placed one hoof on the stallion's front hoof, and lowered her head in reverence to her long-missing parents. The true king and queen of Equestria.
Her quarry moved silently, but she felt it clearly as it took up perch behind her, across a rift in the mountain pass and on a pile of rocks. She did not turn, instead extending her perception out of her body and into the growing shadows. It was colossal. Bigger than an ursa minor. So huge she was but the size of one of its fingers. Its enormous bat-like wings furled around it, a mottled dark brown that was almost black and blended in well with the rocks at night. Its long, serpentine head was held low against its body, so a less keen observer would see it as a part of the rock formation.
"Nightflame." She said.
"You are not Celestia," it replied with a voice like an avalanche.
"Indeed, We are not our sister." Luna spun around and said, "You are most observant."
"Your sister cannot deign to meet with me in mine own territory? She insults me by sending the lesser sister."
Luna gritted her teeth at being called lesser, "And you insult Equestria by refusing your proper tribute."
There was a sound like two continents banging together and she realized the dragon was laughing. "I do not give tribute to the dead."
Luna widened her stance and leveled her horn at the massive beast. "And what doest thou mean by that, kin of Discord, spawn of Tiamat?"
"In due time, Princess. In due time. The end is beginning. Equestria will fall. Harmony will die. My tribute is meaningless."
Lightning rent the sky, and the dragon glanced upwards at the gathering clouds, and back down to Luna as she shouted, her voice cracking slightly, "You cannot know that!"
"Yes, you know we can, oh Honest Luna. Dragons are a solitary race. We do not pass our teachings on to future generations, we allow them to fend for themselves."The beast unfurled its wings and created a rush of wind that pushed Luna back a step, "As such, we have no need for the hindsight of age. We do not reflect upon our mistakes or our triumphs."
"Get to the point. Our time is valuable."
The dragon laughed again. "Doest thou know the Prophecy of Gloom? Probably not. Search for it in thy library, it will tell thou more than thou ever wished to know."
"Thou didst not answer our question, Nightflame."
"My age has gifted me with foresight, so I can see glimpses of what will come after my demise. It is coming soon. The storm and the horde. War. Destruction from the sky. Countless dead. Myself included. This will be my last clutch."
"We do not believe you." Luna could tell the dragon believed itself but... "These...these things you speak of, they do not have to come to pass. Foresight, even from a wyrm, can be wrong."
"Believe what you wish. I refused tribute solely to draw Celestia here and have this discussion. And she insults me by sending you?"
The dragon breathed a gout of deep crimson flame into the sky, illuminating the night in responded with a lightning bolt from the heavens, striking the dragon right on the tip of its upraised nose. Nightflame bellowed in pain and raised its wings to shield itself from further assault from above, while a blast of power from Luna struck its softer underbelly and forced it a step back. The Princess's horn glowed with the wan light of the moon, leveled at the dragon like the deadly weapon it was.
"You will give us what you owe by ancient pact. Two eggs from your latest clutch, as payment for our forgiving thine support of Discord."
"Take them." Nightflame said, stepping off its perch, unfurling its wings and leaping into the air, "My part in this is done."
Luna looked at the clutch of eggs that the dragon had been shielding with its body.
"That is all? No more explanation, nothing to say?" Luna shouted after the retreating dragon. She stamped her hooves and gathered power around her horn. "Do not ignore me, dragon!"
"Care for the eggs, Princess Luna. They will be the only ones to live." The dragon said, as it disappeared over the ridge. Luna considered flying after her, but merely sighed and took the two expected eggs with her telekinesis. In the dark, and with the dragon gone, Luna freely took to the air and flew back towards Canterlot, flying over hill and dale with her precious cargo.