End of the Night Mare
Note: The events of this story was written prior to the release of episode 23 (I will try to post an update to this story to attempt to fit canon soon)
Over 1000 years ago...
Celestia still could not accept the sight before her as she stared up from her throne. Nightmare Moon, silhouetted, nearly invisible against the darkening sky with a crescent moon emblazoned on her flank. She was a pony Celestia had never seen before, and had never been without.
“Luna! Why are you doing this?”
“You have lost the right to call me that, sister” Nightmare Moon spat out the final word as though it were the foulest of curses. “Now watch as Equestria is bathed in everlasting night!”
Celestia glanced around in horror as the daylight she had brought to Equestria that morning evaporated around her. She had to stop this, but could she stop Luna? Could she stop her little sister?
Again she pleaded, “Why? Why would you do this?”
“So that one, at least one night I create will finally be noticed!” Nightmare Moon choked on the words. “So that the ponies will finally see what I have been doing for them for hundreds of years. So that for once, just once...” Her words trailed off, then with renewed anger, returned. “It is because you have been the sole focus of their affection for far too long!”
“The sole...Luna, we rule as one! Equestria needs both the day and the...”
“One, sister?” interjected Nightmare Moon. “How can you stand there now and lie to me like that? When ponies rise up in the morning, what are they grateful for? The day. When do they live their lives? The day. When is the only time ponies are even awake? The day! The only time I even SEE our subjects is during the all night celebration of the Summer Sun Celebration, a festival celebrating the LONGEST DAY!!!” Lightning began to strike the ground near Celestia’s hooves as Nightmare Moon’s anger rose.
“Luna...please...” The first of many tears began to well up in Celestia’s eyes. “Don’t do this.”
“It is too late, sister! Now all of Equestria shall see my work. This night, shall last, forever!” Nightmare Moon cackled as thunder crashed in the distance. Celestia’s tears were indistinguishable from the drops of rain as they hit the ground. Never in all her years had she believed it would come to this. Even as she realized what she had to do, she did not have the heart to do it. ‘How could I ever fight my own sister? How...’ Celestia was cut off by the frightened, scared cries of her subjects in nearby Ponyville. Her resolve hardened. This was about much more than herself. There was a kingdom, a whole nation, that needed her to do this.
“Luna! End this now!” Each word echoed against the castle walls. The voice of ruler, issuing the gravest of commands. “If you do not stop this, I will.”
“Impressive talk, sister, but you know as well as I that without my permission, you cannot end the night.” Nightmare Moon jeered.
“I need not stop the night Luna, I need only stop you.”
A bright light shone out from Celestia’s horn and golden chains shot out toward Nightmare Moon. Celestia watched in shock as Nightmare Moon made no effort to stop them. The chains wrapped themselves around the dark pony once, then twice, then three times. Only once she was assured that they were secure did Celestia relax her magic. Nightmare Moon’s laugh began as a soft chuckle quickly crescendoing into a maniacal howl. The chains fell through her as though she were not even there.
“Foolish Celestia!” laughed Nightmare Moon. “You only have the power to control the sun, you have no influence over the moon!”
Celestia gasped in shock. Her sister was right. Their magic had never been able to affect each other. That is why they had split their duties so evenly. Luna could not fight Celestia, and Celestia could not fight Luna, and as long as Luna did not give her consent to the arrival of day, night would cover Equestria for all of eternity.
“It seems you now realize your fate, sister! An eternity of uselessness. Of no pony ever seeing what your special talent is. You will soon understand my feelings all too well!” Nightmare Moon’s laughter echoed as she flew off into the night leaving Celestia, for the first time in her life, alone.
“Why won’t it work!” Celestia, knowing full well what the answer to her question was, stamped her hooves at the ground angrily. Spread before her in a circle were five of the six Elements of Harmony. They possessed the only magic powerful enough to defeat her sister, but try as she might these last three weeks, she could not activate ‘the spark’. Celestia had always been an adored ruler, and she truly loved her subjects, but Luna had always been her closest friend. It had been that friendship that they had used to activate the Elements of Harmony when they had first brought life to Equestria. The first ponies had been created using the Element’s powers and attributes. It seemed so strange that the pony who had helped Celestia craft the elements of kindness and loyalty was the same pony that was behind this disaster.
Celestia collapsed on the ground, exhausted from her efforts. She sighed as she looked around her castle. ‘It’s hopeless. I only have half the necessary magic to activate the Elements of Harmony, and even if I could produce enough magic, my heart just...’ Her thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a cloud of green smoke descending down from the night sky.
“It must be a letter from Spark.” The princess murmured aloud. The young dragon had taken it upon himself to send encouragement on a daily basis, and even thought there was usually very little to be happy about, the princess had come to depend on those letters to keep her hope alive. She had sent him on a journey to keep morale as high as possible in Equestria while she tried to work on finding a way to defeat Nightmare Moon. The letter materialized in front of her and fell open at her feet. A soft light glowed around it and Celestia lifted it into the air with her magic.
Dear Princess Celestia,
There is good news from the city of Canterlot. Knight and Evening Sparkle have given birth to a new filly!
Princess Celestia smiled briefly at the news. Knight and Eve were well known unicorns in Equestria. They were unique, in that it seemed as though both of their special abilities were being exceptional at performing magic. Knight’s specific talent was the strength of his magical abilities, whereas Eve’s was the variety of spells she had mastered. It had been those talents that had led Celestia to take them both as her students eventually appointing Knight as her Captain of the Palace Guard, and Eve as her royal ambassador to Canterlot. It had been only one week before the disaster that Night had left the royal castle to be with Eve for the birth. Celestia read on, and stopped short.
“This....this isn’t possible...” She stared at the letter, then at the Elements of Harmony. Then the letter again. Without another word, Celestia took off into the sky, leaving the letter to be whipped about by the wind. It listed gently, back and forth, finally coming to rest on the floor.
What is truly remarkable about this filly, is that she seems to have been born with a cutie mark! I didn’t even know that was possible! It is a sparkle, just like her parent’s cutie marks with small stars around it. They have decided to call her Twilight.
The atmosphere in the Sparkle’s home sharply contrasted the gloomy scenery outside. The celebration of this unusual birth had been going on for hours already and showed no sign of slowing, which was welcome news for Spark. He enjoyed serving Celestia as much as any of his ancestors did, but in times as dark as these, it was nice to take a break. He quickly glanced around the room. It certainly wasn’t difficult to see where Twilight’s cradle was. Everypony was crowding it for a chance to see her cutie mark. It was everything Knight and Eve could do to calm the masses. Fortunately, Knight was up to the task. His large red frame proved a formidable obstacle to any onlooker. And Eve, while not having the impressive stature of her husband, had formed an impenetrable magic bubble around the cradle. Spike laughed to himself as Eve’s face, usually as blue as her coat, was turned bright pink. As famous as she was, she had never gotten used to being the center of attention.
Spark’s eyes wandered around the room. Everypony he saw seemed to have forgotten, however briefly, the dark times they were living in, except a small group of terrified ponies huddled by a window. Spark’s blood ran cold. They were staring, transfixed outside. As Spark ran over to ascertain the situation one of them screamed.
There was the briefest second of terrified silence....
Screams rang out amongst the guests. Knight threw himself between the door and his new filly, Eve covered Twilight with her body as guests ran for the doors. Spark reached the window and looked into the night sky. He could barely make out the silhouette of a pegasus unicorn headed straight for the small home. However, Spark felt as though he could see the pony a little too clearly in the blackness of the sky...almost as if...
“Celestia?” He questioned aloud.
The crying around him stopped. Eve opened her eyes and turned to face the door.
“Princess Celestia?” Even as she said the words, the white mare landed outside the window, her white coat and rainbow mane putting all fears to rest. The relief in the room was palpable. Spark ran to the door only to have it be thrown open by the princess. He narrowly missed being hit by the fast, wide swing. The citizens of Canterlot rushed to bow before the princess, but she blew past them with a near frantic quickness. Knight could only stand in shock as the princess he served hurried past him without so much as a greeting coming abruptly to a stop by Twilight’s cradle. The surprise of the arrival of her teacher and mentor had broken Eve’s concentration and the magic bubble had vanished from sight. Celestia’s horn began to glow and the blanket Twilight was nestled in was tossed aside and the tiny filly was lifted into the air.
“Princess!” Knight had regained his composure, his protective nature kicking in.
“It’s true...” She breathed. Floating before her was a small purple filly, a large sparkle surrounded by small stars were barely noticeable on the small flank. It was the smallest cutie mark the princess had ever seen, but it was there. It was there. Celestia’s heart soared and sank at the same time. This little pony could save them from this everlasting night, but at such a high cost.
The princess became suddenly very aware of her surroundings. Her subjects were staring, uncertain how to react to such unbecoming behavior from their ruler. Celestia gently lowered Twilight back into her cradle, wrapping her blanket snugly around her. Regaining her composure, she turned to face the household.
“Please,” requested Celestia, “I need to speak to Knight and Eve alone.”
“Princess, what is this about?” Eve’s confusion hovered in the air as Celestia collected her thoughts. Only Knight, Eve, and little Twilight remained in the room. Spark was outside, ensuring that the conversation remained private. Celestia breathed deeply, and began.
“As both of you are aware, for the last three weeks I have been unsuccessful in ending the night. Although I have discovered a spell that uses the Elements of Harmony to seal away Nightma...Luna for 1000 years, I do not have the ability, nor the strength, to perform it. Without Luna, I cannot create ‘the spark’, and without lunar magic, the spell cannot affect her. ” Celestia paused, delaying her terrible request as long as possible.
“Princess, if you need our help, it’s yours,” Knight blurted out “but what does this have to do with our Twilight?
Celestia smiled slightly inside. Knight had never been the kind of pony to beat around the bush.
“Knight, you and Eve, and the bond you two share, are more than capable of producing ‘the spark’.” Knight turned to Eve whose face turned a bright shade of violet, tracing the floor with her hoof. “And Evening, you have control over lunar magic.” All the eyes in the room now locked onto Eve’s cutie mark, a sparkle surrounded by a thin, almost invisible, crescent moon. “But even with both of your wonderful talents, you do not possess the level of magic required for the spell to work.” Celestia looked down at her hooves.
Knight stood up abruptly “Princess, I don’t mean to be prideful, but besides yourself and your sister, Eve and I are the strongest magic users in all of Equestria! There cannot possibly be a pony with lunar magic who is more powerful than Eve and...I...combined...” Knight’s head turned towards the cradle as the last words fell out of his mouth.
“You don’t mean...?” Eve couldn’t find the words.
“Yes, Twilight has a tremendous amount of lunar magic. I have only known two ponies to have received their cutie marks at birth, my sister and I. If I am correct, Twilight’s mark indicates that her magical powers rival my own.” Celestia breathed deeply again. She could not put it off any longer. “In order to seal away Luna for 1000 years, I am asking the two of you to let me borrow your daughter’s magic.”
The words hung heavy in the air as the new parents attempted to take them in. Eve began to respond.
“If our daughter is able to be of any help, we’d be happy to let you....”
“Eve,” the grave tone in Celestia’s voice instantly silenced the mare. “do you remember when you tried to learn how to ‘wink out’ before you were ready?”
“Of course princess!” Eve replied “It was one of the first days you taught me.” Ever since Eve had seen Celestia perform the spell at the Summer Sun Celebration, disappearing from one place, and instantly reappearing in another, she had wanted to learn it. The princess had cautioned her, saying she didn’t have full control of her abilities yet, and shouldn’t try such advanced magic, but Eve could not be stopped. Having found the spell in a book, she had tried as hard as she could, but just as she was about to perform it, she had blacked out. She had awakened to the face of the princess looking down on her. Eve could still remember her shock at having learned that she had been out for a whole week! The princess had explained that when a unicorn cannot fully control their magic...they.... Eve looked up, a horrified expression on her face. “You mean...!”
“Yes Eve, just as you could not control your magic then, Twilight, a newborn filly, cannot control hers. If I use her magic to perform this spell, she enter the same meditative trance you did then, although with magic at this level, it will not be for just one week.”
Knight, who had sat silently through the conversation until now interjected “How long?”
Celestia attempted to gather her courage.
“How long?” Knight pressed.
“500 years just from the sealing spell.”
“500...” Knight’s voice trailed off. Eve lost her balance and held onto Knight for support.
“And that’s just the half of it.” Celestia continued, “Without Luna, I will need a powerful source of lunar magic so that I can raise the moon at night in my sister’s stead.” I will need Twilight’s powers for half of each day for 1000 years. In other words...”
“1000 years...” Eve whispered the words. “Our little Twilight will be in a trance for 1000 years...”
The silence that followed was broken by Knight, “There must be another way.”
“If there was any other way...”
“There MUST be another way!” Knight angrily rose to his hooves and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. Eve looked pleadingly into her teacher’s eyes.
“Evening,” Celestia said gently, tears forming in her eyes, “you have always been my dearest, most faithful student. If you have the slightest trust in me, please believe what I say. Your daughter can end this. Your daughter can make a future worth living in. Your daughter is the only pony capable of stopping Luna. She is the only pony who can save Equestria!”
“Celestia, why my daughter?” Eve ran to her beloved teacher, both of them beginning to sob. The sadness, however, was replaced with alarm as Spark tore open the door to the home.
“Princess, it’s Nightmare Moon! She knows about Twi...” Dark clouds flung the dragon away from the house before he could finish. Knight burst through the bedroom door, jumping between Nightmare Moon and his family.
“Well, well, well...looks like the rumors were true. The Sparkles have a new filly. Am I too late for the party?”
Nightmare Moon’s frame filled the doorway, dark smoke pouring into the room.
“Luna!” Celestia spoke, “What are you doing here?”
“Well, sister, I was so overcome with joy when I heard that there was a new baby in Canterlot, I just had to see the little filly for myself.” Nightmare Moon’s horn began to glow. “And not just any baby, but one with a cutie mark? With stars? We can’t have that now can we?”
Nightmare Moon sent out a cackle of laughter as she pulled the now crying Twilight from her crib into the air. Before Celestia could react a magic blast threw Nightmare Moon across the town square into the building on the other side. Eve’s voice rang out, each word enunciated with a strength Celestia had never heard from her before.
“KEEP YOUR FILTHY MAGIC OFF MY DAUGHTER!!!”
Eve caught Twilight before she could hit the ground, and returned her to her cradle. Then without a second thought she turned to her husband.
“Knight, if our daughter is really as talented as Celestia thinks, then Nightmare Moon won’t stop coming after us until she is dead.” Knight shuddered at the words, “But if Celestia does the spell, our little pony will have a chance at a normal life!”
Knight’s face bore the most conflicted expression. “Celestia, if you do this, in 1000 years won’t you just need to do it again? How will Twilight ever grow up if you need her to battle Luna every 1000 years?”
Eve turned her husband’s face with her hoof. “That’s why you’re going to help her. Use everything you have. The less magic Celestia needs from Twilight, the sooner our filly will wake up. Give her as many years as you can Knight.” Tears were falling from Eve’s determined face as she galloped after Nightmare Moon, who was breaking free from the rubble. “I’ll make sure you don’t miss.”
“Eve!” Knight called out after her, but his cry was ignored. Knight stared after her for a moment, then turned to Celestia, bearing the same determined look. “What do we do?”
Celestia’s heart broke for the sacrifice the two ponies were making. Inspired by their actions, Celestia’s horn began to glow brightly. Celestia ran outside yelling over her shoulder, “Get Twilight, I’ll summon the Elements.” A glowing ring opened in the sky above them and the five of the elements from the castle descended from the sky, falling to ground in front of Celestia. Knight ran up beside her, placing Twilight in the middle of the Elements. Knight turned to Celestia.
“How many years do you think I can give her?” He choked on the words.
“At your full power, maybe eight?” The princess ventured.
Knight stared down at his daughter’s face smiling up at him. A soft red light formed around his horn. “Then I’ll give her sixteen.”
Eve glared up at the dark mare, flying above her. Nightmare Moon fired lightning bolt after lightning bolt from the sky at her. It was everything Eve could do to deflect them into the ground. A bright glow appeared from in front of her house. Nightmare Moon was distracted for just a moment, but it was enough. Dark blue chains shot forward from Eve’s horn. Wrapping themselves around Nightmare Moon. These chains held fast and Eve slammed Nightmare Moon into the ground.
“You think you, a simple unicorn, can hold me with these?” Nightmare moon scoffed.
“I...can hold you...long enough” Eve gasped.
Nightmare Moon brought down another lightning strike onto the chains, the shock traveling the length back to Eve.
“Eve!” Knight shouted, hearing his wife’s cries of pain.
“Concentrate!” Celestia commanded, “I’ve almost released Twilight’s magic....There!”
Suddenly, a vibrant purple light surrounded the filly. Twilight looked up at her father’s face. Her pure, innocent love immediately ignited ‘the spark’. A bright light shone above the elements as the sixth element, magic, materialized above them joining the other five. Two rainbows shot out from the Elements of Harmony spiraling into the air. They merged into a single beam of energy directed at the restrained mare.
“What!?! No! You couldn’t have!” Nightmare Moon struggled to get free, but Eve held her firm with the last of her strength.
“Princess Luna.” Celestia’s voice echoed through the mountains. “I, Celestia of Equestria, banish you from these lands for 1000 years. You shall live out your sentence, sealed in the moon, where I implore you to think about the sorrow you have caused with your actions.”
The energy wrapped itself around Nightmare Moon, “No! Sister! How could you do this? How could you......!” The sphere of energy shot into the sky. There was a flash of light and the once blemish-less moon, now bore a scar, Nightmare Moon’s sillhouette.
Eve collapsed to the ground and Knight ran to help her. The citizens of Canterlot slowly ventured outside, uncertain of what had just transpired. There was just one thing left to do. Celestia turned to the East, and channelled all the power she could gather into her horn. The ponies of Canterlot began to gasp as the smallest rays of light began to shine from the horizon, quickly turning to cheers, laughter and cries of joy as the sun peeked out above the mountains, bathing Equestria in the first light in almost a month. Celestia flew into the air, unable to contain her own happiness at hearing the happy sounds of her people again.
Yet even as the sounds of celebration rang out, Celestia saw in the corner of her eye, the figures of Knight and Eve trudging back to their house, heads low. Knight was doing his best to support the limping frame of Eve and, at the same time, carrying Twilight, whose body was surrounded by a faint purple glow, and whose eyes would not reopen for almost 1000 years. Their sacrifice had saved Equestria from eternal darkness. Their entire family would be treated as heroes, though no level of gratitude would ever be enough to replace what had been taken from them. Celestia looked on sadly. The sun had finally dawned again, but for Knight and Eve, it was the darkest day of all.
Things had certainly not gone as planned! The princess had tried to plan for it all, but she still wasn’t certain whether it was going to work or not. A wave of sadness washed over her as she thought back to that day, and though the years had passed, it still seemed so vivid to her. A new castle had been constructed in Canterlot since Celestia didn’t have the heart to rule from her old one. She had gone back to it only once, to return the Elements of Harmony. Through the years, it had become overgrown by a very unnatural forest. A lost ruin on the face of Equestria.
Knight had left his position as Captain of the Palace Guard, and lived out the remainder of his days protecting Twilight’s sleeping body. After he passed away that job fell to Spark’s descendants, who had performed the task faithfully, even to the present day. Eve lived out her days quietly in Canterlot. Though initially, crowds had gathered to hear their heroic tale, as time went on, everypony began to take their sacrifice for granted, and once both Knight and Eve had passed away, the story slowly became nothing more than ‘The Myth of the Mare in the Moon’. No one besides Spark’s descendant Spike and Celestia were even aware of the day when Twilight’s eyes opened almost sixteen years ago.
Celestia had tried her best to be mother that Eve would have been. The years spent raising Twilight were the happiest Celestia had ever had. Twilight was regaining her magical powers faster than Celestia had ever anticipated. She was now every bit as powerful as her father, and just as intelligent as her mother. After all, today she had discovered what nopony else had. Celestia smiled to herself as she levitated her quill over a parchment. She wished with all her heart that she could be there when Twilight received this letter!
My dearest, most faithful student Twilight,
You know that I value your diligence, and that I trust you completely, but you simply must stop reading those dusty old books...