The dark sky with its unnumbered stars slowly made way for brighter shades of blue, but soon mixed with brighter pastel pinks and yellows as Celestia's sunlight pierced Luna's night sky. Another sigh came from the filly in the window as she watched the precious lights in the sky disappear one at a time, the moon's light helpless to stop it.
The door leading into the room creaked softly as it got pushed open by a larger pony, her ears perking up as she spotted the smaller form at the window. Her hooves set in motion while her slitted eyes closed slightly from her confused frown.
"Nightshade?" The mare spoke, idly flicking her tail beside her as she joined the one at the window. "What are you still doing up? Celestia's day is upon us. It is long since past time for little foals to sleep."
Nightshade lowered her ears at the question asked of her, turning her head back to look at her foalsitter. "I just wanted to see the sun come up, Starshine. I don't understand why we hide from it."
Starshine smirked lightly at the young one's question, moving up beside her and staring out at the rising ball of light in the distance. "Have I ever told you about our origins? How we became what we are now? How mother Luna saved us and gave us these lands to live in?"
Nightshade's head shook slowly from left to right, and Starshine moved her right forehoof over the filly's withers. "You were born in Luna's light, little Nightshade, you're one of Luna's daughters. She watches over you every night. You've seen her shadow on the moon. Now look at the sun."
Nightshade squinted her eyes at the bright light, her slitted pupils as thin as she could make them, but she soon had to look away as the light hurt her retinae. "Ow."
Starshine smirked softly and rubbed her hoof over her neice's hair. "Celestia does not watch over her children the way mother Luna does. Instead she gives them an orb in the sky which they can't look at without hurting their eyes. Be thankful that you're a nightguard, little Nightshade. The stars don't hurt us, nor will Luna's moon."
Nightshade dropped her forehooves from the window and walked away towards her bed, her head hanging low, eyes still blinking as the afterimage of the sun remained in her vision. "But why? How can somepony be that evil?" She wondered, stopping beside her bed and dropping her head on it in defeat. "Why force ponies to live in a light so strong you can't admire it without getting hurt by it?"
Starshine sighed out softly at the foal's questions, using her magic to close the shutters to keep the sun's rays away. "It is a long story, sweety," she started, turning back towards the room and lifting Nightshade into her bed. "It started a little over five-hundred years ago."
Starshine's voice changed as she recited the tale passed on from generation to generation. The origins of the nightguards.
"Back then, we all were regular ponies, one and all. Earthponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns, all living under Celestia's Sun and Luna's Moon," she started, tucking the earthpony nightguard foal in while sitting down on her haunches by the side of her bed.
"It is said that we danced in Celestia's bright light, but slept during Luna's dark night. It is difficult to understand why we would have done so now, but back then it was the normal thing to do. We woke at the first signs of the sunrise, and slept as the moon came up over the mountains."
Starshine smirked lightly at the foal, who looked at her with big open eyes.
"It is said Celestia and Luna were sisters, once. And they fought, as sisters, side-by-side against a great evil which threatened to destroy all the lands under the sky."
"But how could they be side-by-side, Starshine? When Celestia's sun came up, the stars withdrew and Luna's night was pushed away. How could light and dark live together?" the foal wondered, her confusion clear by the way her ears moved, the soft tufts on the tips of them swaying in the wind created by their motion.
Starshine leaned in to give a soft lick over Nightshade's face. "Close your eyes, and I will try to explain."
The foal blushed at the motherly lick, but did as she was told. The mare looked away pensively at the various toys and books in the small bedroom.
"As you said; Celestia's light is too bright for mother Luna to be seen. And this is how it was five-hundred years ago as well. They both fought valiantly to seal away the Lord of Chaos and won, but only Celestia was remembered by the ponies living in those times. Only Celestia received the fame. She was well-loved before, but now they flocked to her sunlight and daytime as never before."
"Mother Luna stood beside her sister, but few of the ponies acknowledged her existence. Celestia's light bears with it a shadow that's longer than you would expect, little Nightshade."
Starshine looked down at her grey hooves and licked around her fanged teeth a moment before continuing. "Mother Luna grew lonely, and jealous, in that shadow. She already had to deal with being ignored by the sleeping ponies in the lands she governed with her sister. But now these same ponies ignored her even if she visited them during the day."
A lone tear leaked out of the mare's left eye as she could very well imagine how that must have felt.
"Mother Luna tried her best to help her sister, but everything she suggested, every action she took, all were warped by the ponies themselves. They all thought Celestia was the one who came up with them. Celestia would have done it. Celestia was their saviour."
"One night, as her sister slept, Luna went into the lands and searched for those of us who still remembered her. Who were awake during her precious night. The ponies who were loyal to her. She called to us as she flew through the lands, used her magic to rouse us from our beds, and we followed her song. We followed as she led us out of Celestia's grasp. Away from the tyranny of the light."
Nightshade had opened her eyes again at this point and was looking up at Starshine in confusion. "That was five-hundred years ago?"
The mare reached up to wipe her tears away, then nodded. "Yes."
"But you speak as if you were there," the filly remarked, making her foalsitter look away with a small blush.
"One day I will tell you about myself. That's a promise," she muttered, her voice barely audible. "Do you want to hear the rest of the story or should we call it a day?"
"Oh, no! I do want to hear the rest, Starshine!" the foal exclaimed quickly, squinting her eyes closed tightly. "See? I'll be good and try to sleep!"
Starshine chuckled and tousled her ward's mane softly. "Mother Luna took her children above the clouds, singing to them the most beautiful songs of love and darkness until we arrived in these lands of shadow. She set down on a flat plane, which you now know as the capital, and used her magic to provide her children with shelter."
"She lived with us for several weeks, her magic seeping into the ponies she saved from Celestia, transforming them into the Nightguard clans you know. Each of us carries with us our mother Luna's love in our forms. She made us like this."
"Made us to live in our mother's night's embrace."
"Our eyes slitted to catch the light of even the smallest of stars, our coats more dense to keep us warm in even the coldest of nights."
Nightshade's breathing slowed down and Starshine whispered the last bit of her story.
"Made us to remember Celestia's betrayal when she locked our mother in the moon."
The mare slowly pushed up on her hooves, pressing a soft kiss to the sleeping foal's forehead, then carefully slipped out of the room and closed the door behind her.
Her tears flowed freely as she made her way to the guest room she was staying in, locked the door behind her, and laid down on top of the covers on her bed.
"Dear nightmother.. if only you knew how much we miss you." she spoke to the empty room, recalling that night she was taken from her bed. The night when everything changed.
"Your children will always remember you, mother Luna. We will always love you."
The mare curled up on her bed, squinting her eyes closed. "And I will be here when you return. No matter how long it takes."