Dark Side of the Luna
It was a beautiful night in Equestria. Princess Luna stood watching over the land, taking in the awe of the world around her, the greens of the fields that covered the vast horizon, the browns of the forests that decorated the horizons. She looked outward, keeping an eye on all of the ponies as they slept peacefully through the night, each one with their own stories, their own histories and futures. It had been a long day. The Pegasus ponies had created a mighty storm earlier; huge, dark clouds hung above; thunder cracked across the skies and strong winds howled through the trees. It was a beautiful yet frightening sight to behold, and now, everypony needed a rest after the commotion. Luna just watched, as families slept in their stables, open fires crackled across the horizon, illuminating the land like fireflies as a cool breeze swept the land causing the flames to dance. She became lost in the beauty for hours, just watching in silence, as the fires danced for her, and only her. She just stood, thinking what all the ponies down there were dreaming. Her mind wandered for so long, she almost didn't hear Celestia approaching from the castle.
"Good evening Luna," Celestia said, her royal mane flowing in the night time breeze, sparkling as the stars in the sky did.
"Good evening Celestia," Luna said as she hugged her elder sister, as happy as ever to be with the Princess of the Day, the silkiness of her soft pearly white coat brushing against her face, the sound of Celestia's heartbeat calm and relaxing against Luna's cheek.
"What a beautiful night you've made here Luna", Celestia said in awe, looking up to the night sky, surveying the glistening stars above.
"Thank you sister, but it pales in comparison to your day."
"Now Luna, don't put yourself down like that. Your night is just as beautiful and important as my day; if not more so."
"If you say so, my sister," She replied with a faint tone of disappointment. In the night sky above a cloud moved over the moon, blocking what little light there was, her dark blue coat barely visible in the darkness, as she hung her head in sorrow.
"I do Luna. You should be proud of what you do. Just remember, all of those ponies down there love you... I love you."
Luna said raising her head a little, a smile spreading across her face. "You're right sister. Thank you," the clouds moved away and the light of the moon fell over her, illuminating her figure. She met her sister in the eyes. Celestia always found a way to make her younger sister feel better.
Celestia smiled and let out a short, playful laugh. "It's what big sisters are for."
The Royal sisters hugged again and Luna could feel Celestia's heart beat against her cheek, slow and calming, Luna felt relaxed and at peace. Down in the village, some ponies began to stir in their sleep.
"I guess that means you have to raise the sun now, dear sister?"
"That I do Luna, I just need you to lower the moon for me."
Luna nodded silently. She looked to the sky and concentrated on the giant white marble in the night sky. Using all her magical abilities, she slowly lowered the moon down, below the horizon, allowing Celestia to raise the morning sun. It came up beautifully, the huge bright ball spreading a warm, morning glow across the land of Equestria just in time for all the ponies to wake up to a new, beautiful day.
Luna awoke a few hours later, with the mid-morning sun playfully peeking through the windows of her bedroom quarters. She slowly walked to the window, and into the light, the suns warmth spread over her face. She looked out across Equestria. Watching as ponies went about their businesses. The fillies and colts were out playing in the grasslands; mares and stallions tending to the flowers and crops across the land. Luna smiled as she watched them, the joy in their faces as they went about their day. But something wasn't right, she began to wonder. Why is it that the ponies bask in the day, but are always confined to their homes at night? Luna had never really thought about this before. But in all the years she had been mastering the night it had never been clearer her work wasn't as appreciated as Celestia's day.
"Oh Luna, don't be so silly. You're still a little sleepy" She said to herself. She gave a little chuckle and looked back across the land. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and a cool breeze sang through the summer trees. Down in the courtyard Celestia was walking amongst the plant life, her colourful mane swaying in synchronisation with the flowers creating a beautiful magical aura, the beauty intensified by the butterflies who had nested atop her mane. It truly was a beautiful day, and Luna was determined to create an even more beautiful night. One that Ponies would be talking about for a thousand years.
It was nightfall and Celestia began to lower the sun, as the enormous source of warmth and light descended in the sky, Luna appeared from the castle, she had her vision all planned out in her mind, it would be the most glorious night Equestria had ever seen and possibly ever would see. The sun was gone from sight in a matter of moments and Celestia had already returned back to her chambers, so Luna began the ascension of the moon. The giant rock rose from behind the snow capped mountains in the distance, its dim light glowing in the darkness around it, rows of stars joining suit as it rose higher and higher in the sky.
The ponies down below who were still out began their way home. Luna knew that if she didn't carry out her plan soon it would all be for nothing. It wasn't long before the moon was at its highest point and only a few Earth ponies were still out. Luna concentrated her attention on the sky, on the stars. She has never tried this before, but she knew she could do it, she was determined to remain indefatigable. A cluster of stars close to the moon began to move, they broke away from their positions and began to create new shapes in the night sky.
At first it was indistinguishable, but as the blinking lights moved distinct shapes began to appear, slowly they appeared, first the legs, then the torso, moving upward until the shape of a mare was prancing in the sky, she was followed by more, until the sky was filled with mares and stallions, made of the stars themselves, dancing and playing in the night sky, their brightly lit forms leaving beautiful trails across the horizon. Luna looked up, admiring her work, she knew she had done it. She had made the night beautiful, something ponies would behold for generations to come. She looked down smiling, already imagining the gleeful faces of the denizens of the land, all awake, looking to the skies at the beauty before them.
There was nopony there.
Luna surveyed the land but there was not a soul looking up to the heavens. As the crushing realisation hit her, the heavenly ponies in the sky exploded into dust as the stars shot back to their original positions. Luna stood there in silence, too crushed for words. The Princess stood, not moving from where she was, as a cold wind found its way across the landscape dousing all the fires plunging the land into almost complete blackness. The only light, the dim reflection the moon let off. There was no sound, no chirping crickets, no sound of the wind, just the lonely silence of the night. Luna forced her eyes shut, trying to hold back her tears, but to no avail, as a single tear made its way down her face, just as her heart dropped in her chest.
Luna stood in silence throughout the night, not moving from the spot, rooted to it in her sorrow. Despite her best efforts she had failed to make the night something to behold, failed to be recognised by her subjects. She stood in the blistering cold, her breathing broken from the night chill and her crying. Tears had frozen to her cheeks in places. But she didn't care, like she knew nopony else did. All they cared about was the day, the sun... they only cared about 'her'.... about Celestia. Luna scoffed as the thought of her elder sister crossed her mind. She looked up in disgust at the tiny land below. It was nothing but an insignificant blot on the landscape from her vantage point, high above any other point in the land, she belonged here, high above any other pony. She was their Princess, they were to look up to her, and only her, and she would look down at them, she would decide their fates, their destinies and futures... their lives. She was the Princess of the Night, the controller of the Moon, one of the rulers of Equestria. Yet despite the power she held, she was always cast aside; there were no celebrations for her efforts. Would any of those insignificant ponies down there even realise if she didn't raise the moon? The realisation slowly creeping in, she was nothing but a novelty to those ponies down there, they didn't need her. But they were wrong. Luna felt the darkness rise in her being, her innocence was slowly replaced by hatred and loathing, she may not refuse to raise the moon after all. But she may refuse to lower it, then everypony would realise the night. As Luna looked out across the pitiful land, a dark cloud began to envelop her, changing her soul and her body.
Celestia awoke from her peaceful sleep. She paused for a few moments to reflect on her dreams, taking in the atmosphere around her. But something was wrong. She could feel a disturbance. It was as if a dark power had been awoken. She felt a genuine rush of fear as the worst came to mind.
"Discord..." She galloped to her window, and looked down to the maze area. The statue, encasing the beast was still there; the white stone reflecting the moonlight. Celestia let out a sigh of relief. Equestria was safe for now. But she still knew something was wrong. She could feel it, though she had no idea what 'it' was. She paused, wondering... then... she stopped. She looked around her chambers. Blackness. There was no light within the castle.
"What is going on here?"
Celestia walked towards the door, opening it with her magic and stepping out into the long hallway beyond. She stepped out into the lifeless passage, cautiously stepping atop the carpet. She had made it half way when she froze. The Princess span to look behind her. The guard who was always supposed to be watching over her room wasn't there. Was he failing his duties? Had something happened to him? If so, then what? Or was Celestia dreaming? So many possibilities were racing through her mind. Then something hit her. She was horrified at herself for not considering it earlier... Luna... her sister could be in trouble; she could be hurt, or even worse. Celestia ran at full speed to her sister's room. Tears flying from her face as she ran, a cold chill blowing in from the open windows whipped across her face. She endured the pain. All that mattered right now was making sure Luna was safe. Celestia reached her sisters door, she concentrated her magic onto it, slowly opening it. Cautiously she entered the dark room, a cold wind blowing from the open balcony doors. Celestia turned to the balcony door and froze in horror, almost unable to accept what she saw. A mass of Dark Smoke was floating a few feet from the balcony edge, sparks of lightning emanating from within, bursting out and snapping at the edges, high above the Courtyard below, it's sheer size blocking the moon from view. Celestia sensed an immensely dark, yet hauntingly familiar magic from the mass. Slowly the smoke began to fade, the light from the moon seeping through, highlighting the figure of an Pegasus Unicorn, wings outstretched, it's eyes glowing menacingly at the Princess, it wasn't long before the entire mass of smoke had cleared and the figure was left unobstructed. The Figure slowly flew down to the balcony and looked to Celestia. A tall dark Pegasus Unicorn, with cat-like eyes and a dark violet mane stood. The two figures stood in silence for some time. Celestia stood, her mouth hanging open, in disbelief at what she was seeing. The mysterious figure gave a gut wrenching smile and began laughing maliciously, Celestia, felt her heart almost stop at the menacing sound. The Mysterious Figure stopped laughing, and with a familiar, yet hollow voice spoke.
"Hello.... Dear Sister."
Celestia stood in disbelief, looking at the invader, claiming to be Luna. A mix of conflicting emotions thrashed about throughout her. Could it really be Luna?
The unknown figure began cackling again, sending a chill through Celestia's body.
"Oh dear Sister. You always were so easy to confuse."
Again she said it. Whomever this was, she seemed adamant that she was Celestia's sibling.
"Why do you keep calling me sister? Who the hell are you!? Where is Luna!?" Celestia interrogated the imposter, barking every question that came to her mind. Again the Mysterious Figure began to laugh, deeper and more malicious this time.
"Oh Celestia, so slow to catch on as always, however somepony as foalish as YOU became ruler of Equestria is beyond me. I am Luna. Or should I say 'was'. The pony you knew as Luna is gone."
Celestia looked at this intruder, doubt and anger filling her, what did she mean 'Luna is gone'? "What are you talking about?"
"I've changed dear sister. I'm no longer that pathetic excuse of a Princess I once was. For centuries, I've fallen at the wayside. Cast in your shadow, ignored by those filthy, ignorant wretches down below. While they all carry nothing but love... admiration, respect for you, I can guarantee you, not even half of them even know I even exist."
"Luna, please, you must find reas-"
Celestia tried to reason with her, was cut off by the one claiming to be her sister.
"No! I am not Luna. I am no longer to be tied to that name. I am the Nightmares that all shall now know. I am the ruler of the night. Ruler of the Moon. I am... Nightmare Moon."
Nightmare Moon's horn began to spark, a green mist twirling its way along the length of it. There was a blinding, green flash then a searing pain and Celestia lost consciousness...
She was cold. A chill wind whipped at her body. Celestia was outside Her eyes opened reluctantly. It was night time... She seemed to be atop the tallest tower of the Palace, the home, where she and Luna resided. had she been out cold all day? A small noise to her side caused her to crane her head, despite the pain it caused.
In the light of the moon stood the one claiming to be Luna. This, 'Nightmare Moon'. Before Celestia could question her, she spoke.
“Look at it. The moon. It holds power to control the tides of the ocean, and the harvests those cretins spend their lives, slaving away to perfect. It may even hold more importance and power than your sun, sister. And yet...” The figure turned to face Celestia. Nightmare's form towering over her fallen body.
“And yet. It remains almost forgotten. The effort I put into raising the moon might as well be in vain. I am not remembered for this task. But soon my name shall strike fear into the hearts of all.”
Celestia forced her strength into standing up, her legs wanting to give way and bring her back to the ground, but she forbid it.
“What are you talking about?”
“Since when did the ruler of the greatest nation in the world become so foalish? Or should I say, former...ruler?”
Celestia remained silent... this could not be truly happening. Nightmare continued.
“I do not wish to harm you any further. In fact, I wish for you to join me. We shall rule this land in a terrible, but beautiful darkness together. We shall be unstoppable dear sister, you and I.”
“What makes you think I want to help YOU?” Celestia spat.
“Wh-what?!” She couldn't understand what she meant by that. Love for whom?
“Love, Celestia. Not only the love you will garner from your subjects, but YOUR love for your dear sister of course.”
Again, Celestia remained silent, awe struck even.
“Do you deny it? That for the past countless centuries, that you have always hoped I would take your throne? To rule Equestria by myself?”
A fresh gust of wind wrapped its way around Celestia's body as she gathered those words.
“Yes... but not like this Luna-”
“THAT IS NOT MY NAME!”, Nightmare roared, the closing syllables echoing throughout the land. She shot a new green spark at Celestia, a different one this time, causing her to fall back, sliding against the coarse stone, grazing at her body.
“My name is Nightmare Moon. And you SHALL refer to me as such. Understand, sister?” She said the last word almost sarcastically, as though she only used the word, the relationship even, as an emotional weapon in her conquest.
A few seconds passed in silence.
“SAY IT!”, Nightmare barked.
“N-Nightmare... Moon.” The words almost hurt Celestia physically to say. But she knew, unless she co-operated. She would be killed. There was no mercy left in her sister any more. No love, no compassion.... No trace of Luna.