The Fate of Gods
“Open your eyes Luna; the stars are beautiful tonight…”
The earth lurched, trees splintered and rocks crumbled. Everfree Forest shook, from afar it may have appeared as if the forest was moving as the ground shook ceaselessly, tearing all the trees from their roots. Animals of all types scattered, trying desperately to escape the chaos that had woken many of them from their slumber. The ground shifted, crevices opening throughout the forest, swallowing the earth like a voracious beast as parts of the forest fell into the ensuing darkness, never to be seen again. A cacophony of sounds resonated through the night, piercing the ears of all those that could listen, as the shape of Everfree Forest continued to change, parts of which were rising and lowering as the widening crevices snaked their way in all directions.
Minutes passed before the chaos ended, silence finally returning to the night. In Ponyville, lights could be seen flicking on, illuminating the sleepy village and the ponies that were making their way out of their homes. Voices split the momentary silence, questions were raised as to what had happened yet no answer could be found. It didn’t take long for their curiosity to be piqued as clues began to present themselves, a few stalls were found destroyed, and a couple homes on the edge of Ponyville had given way, their foundations disheveled. The houses were found leaning at an angle, parts of them in shambles. It wasn’t until a single pony ventured further out that they found the source of the destruction, where ponies gathered and witnessed what had become of Everfree Forest.
The forest was a forest no more, little remained of what could actually be called a forest. Where tree’s once stood, deep fissures and rifts were left in their place, littered all over the ground. Any tree’s left had either fallen or split into pieces, birds could be seen circling in the air, seeking the hollows and nests that were now forever lost. Faults had upheaved chunks of land; the entire forest appeared as a maze, making the once treacherous area even more so. Spires of rock and stone had shot towards the sky during the destruction, all facing outward making entry all but impossible for the ponies that stood at the forest’s edge, all clambering to figure out what had caused such devastation.
Far away, at the epicenter, in a deep crater the size of Ponyville, stood Luna. Her figure was unscathed, a contrast to the razed land of which she stood upon. She glanced left and right as if looking for somepony, paying no mind to the tattered remains of Everfree Forest.
Finding herself to be very much alone, Luna stomped at the ground in frustration
“No…no…no, no, NO!” she screamed, her voice echoing out into the distance “This wasn’t how it was supposed to end…” her voice trailed into a soft whisper.
Luna sniffled, feeling her tears slowly welling up around her eyes, desperately trying to keep them at bay; she knew that once it started she would be helpless to resist. Hanging her head towards the ground, she saw as the first tears fell to her feet.
“Please, don’t leave me” she pleaded “I can’t bear it”.
Luna struck the earth violently with her hooves, trying to muster something other than the anguish she was feeling, trying in vain to cover it up as if to somehow keep her from feeling the way she did. Striking the ground again, Luna tripped over herself and fell to her knees, her mane now soiled by the dirt she had kicked up. Tears flowed freely now as she cried out with as much force as she could manage; her emotions ran wild, her thoughts muddled as she completely let herself go.
Falling to the ground, Luna thrashed about, kicking her hooves in all directions. She was a princess no more, reduced to a little foal, crying out. Rolling around in the dirt, tears staining the earth, Luna felt helpless as her emotions racked her brain and a feeling of despair at being unable to control them.
Minutes passed before Luna finally exhausted herself, lying still on the ground, her breath raspy as her lungs heaved to fill themselves with the cold night air. Silence returned to the night and Luna gazed up at the stars, unable to do much else in her current state.
“She was right; the stars really are beautiful tonight” she muttered, pausing momentarily to catch her breath.
A couple minutes passed before Luna regained her composure and managed to pick herself up, her mane was now completely ruined, covered in dirt and loose pebbles. It was an undignified look for a princess but Luna couldn’t be bothered to care, her eyes glazed over as she saw a shooting star streak across the sky. The night may have been her domain but as Luna glanced toward the moon, she felt as if she was truly seeing the night for what it was; endless and vast but with a subtle beauty. A beauty that she hadn’t seen until tonight.
“She was right…she was always right” was the only thing that came to mind.
Luna frowned ‘this might be the last time I get to see this’. Looking to the crater that she stood in, the spires of rock, the rifts that had destroyed much of the forest, Luna figured that she was likely the only one that knew what had conspired here and from what Luna was planning to do, no one would ever know.
A green flame shot forth a short distance from Luna, a single scroll dropped to the ground and landed with a soft thud. Luna didn’t have to open it to know what it was; she had seen many of Twilight Sparkle’s reports to Celestia from her time with her sister. She thought it kind of funny in a dark sort of way that the report found its way here. Grabbing it with her magic and levitating it over to herself, she unfurled the scroll and started reading.
Indeed it was a report from Twilight, highlighting what she had learned about friendship the day before. From the report, Luna could tell that Twilight was likely still unaware of what had happened to Everfree Forest, at least for the moment,
‘Maybe somepony deserves to know the truth’ her thoughts trailed off as an idea formed in her head.
Sitting down, Luna focused her magic on the scroll. Slowly words were appearing, it would be magic that Luna would write her final letter, not ink. She knew that with each word she summoned, she would come ever closer to fulfilling her plan but someone deserved to know and Twilight would have to be the one to carry that burden. In a hushed tone, Luna spoke, her voice filled with sadness but also determination.
“Wait for me sister; I won’t leave you alone…”
1 year ago…
Tonight was a full moon and it was out in full force. Not a single cloud could be found this night, nothing to obstruct the silver glow of the moon as it permeated every inch of land below. Ponds glistened, trees swayed to the gentle breeze, these were the kind of nights Luna loved and she witnessed it all from her balcony at the Royal Palace.
As picturesque as it all appeared, Luna couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit sad.
“It’s…so different” she thought aloud as she gazed at the meadows, mountains, valleys, and forests.
1000 years had passed and all the land that she once accustomed to had changed, nothing looked the same to her. The first few days after the Nightmare Moon incident, Luna had been speechless, everything felt like an illusion and on many occasions she found herself closing her eyes, hoping that when she opened them again that the world would be back to the way it once was. She knew the truth though, that when she opened her eyes her wish would never be granted. She knew that even with all her power she couldn’t turn back time, to see all the ponies she was once friends with, to frolic through the Everfree Gardens which now had turned into a haven of beasts and monsters known as the Everfree Forest. All the world had changed…except her.
Luna turned to enter her room, her shadow cast on the marble floor as she quietly made her way inside. It was almost pitch black and if not for the light of the moon coming in from the balcony, she might have had trouble finding her way, but she knew her way. Her room had been left alone for the 1000 years she had been gone, upon her return, Celestia had insisted that they spruce it up a bit. Luna took no interest in it though; she preferred it the way it was, as raggedy and unkempt as it had become, to Luna it was still home.
“I guess not everything changes” she reminded herself, drawing the curtains to let more of the moonlight in.
Her room was dreary to say the least. The curtains she had drawn were worn out and torn in numerous places. Tapestries, once vibrant and depicting the lunar cycle were now dull and colorless, much like the walls they hung from. The marble floor seemed perpetually cold even during the summer months and the rugs that adorned it did little to provide any warmth. Candles that at one time brought light to her room now remained unlit, the wax had long ago melted away into bulbous globs, a sign to Luna that Celestia had likely been in her room many times when she was away. The dresser was in a state of disrepair and much like everything else in the room was coated with a fine layer of dust. Luna had been back for a few months now but never felt like cleaning up; she was sure her little spider friends were thankful of that as she looked up to the cobwebs that hung in the corners. The only thing that Luna had ever bothered keeping tidy was her bed which sat to one side, the sheets were neatly made up, the pillows fluffed, and covering it all was her small collection of plushies she had collected when she was just a little filly.
As much as she wanted to just curl up and fall asleep tonight, she knew it would have to wait. Trotting out and into the hallway, Luna made her way towards Celestia’s study. Gazing out at the moon from a nearby window, she figured her sister would likely still be awake but picked up the pace as the moon began its dip to the horizon.
A few minutes later and Luna found herself outside the study. She raised her hoof to knock but quickly found herself backing away from the door.
“I don’t want to interrupt her…” Luna muttered under her breath “But…I can’t keep avoiding this.”
Taking a deep breath, Luna forced herself to knock. Once, twice, and waited. No reply came and after a minute of waiting Luna turned away to turn in for the night when a voice rang out.
“Yes?” the voice was soothing and calm, Luna knew instantly that it was her sister, glad that it was her and not somepony else that had answered.
Luna took a few more deep breaths before nudging her way inside. It only took a moment to find her sister sitting at the fireplace, a letter at her feet. The open fire looked welcoming and Luna could feel the heat just barely from where she stood “Can I talk to you big sister?”
Celestia looked up from the letter and smiled “Oh Luna, I thought you had already gone to bed. Of course we can talk dear sister, come sit beside me”. Luna smiled too and happily took her place beside her sister “Now, what would you like to talk about?”
“Some things have been on my mind lately…I just wanted to ask you…” Luna looked up to find Celestia still smiling; she knew that she was waiting patiently for her to finish “…why are we here?”
Celestia’s smile faded, replaced only with a look of concern “We are here to rule over Equestria as sisters, to govern the rising of the sun and moon, and maintain peace for all our subjects. Have you forgotten this?”
“No, of course not” Luna turned her gaze to the fire and watched as the flames danced “But why do we rule, why us?”
Celestia chuckled “If not us then who? We have a duty to our people, to bring out the sun and give them light, and the moon to let them rest” she said, gently nuzzling her sister “Your nights in particular have been especially beautiful lately, I’m sure all the ponies appreciate what you do for them”
The compliment went unnoticed as Luna quickly stood up, the fire in the fireplace quavering as if to punctuate her rising temper.
“But why? The sun and the moon do not need us to move them. Look at the Everfree Forest, it is free of our magic yet still thrives, who is to say that Equestria couldn’t do the same if we weren’t here?” Luna turned her head away, unable to look at her sister face-to-face.
Silence fell in the study; the only noise being the crackling flames. Luna wanted nothing more than to leave at this moment; she figured that by the silence that her sister didn’t have an answer for her. She started to take her first steps towards the door when Celestia finally responded.
“Luna…” her voice sounded morose yet stern “…what we do is a symbol of our power. Our subjects look up to us to protect them, as rulers, as gods” each word she spoke sounded clunky, like she wasn’t sure if she was saying the right thing.
Luna turned to her sister; her emotions flared.
“NO! We aren’t gods; we’re false deities, the last of our line clinging to the past!” Luna stammered, breathing heavily. Silence once again returned to the study, Celestia merely sat where she was, speechless. A few moments passed before she spoke.
“Luna…I haven’t heard you speak like that since…” Celestia looked away, Luna knew what she was going to say and immediately broke down, tears quickly formed around her eyes.
“I-I’m sorry big sister, I didn’t mean too…I, just…please forgive me” Luna fell to her haunches, partly to bow and part exhaustion, she was already tired before making her way to the study and now, having clearly upset her sister, she felt lightheaded. Luna didn’t desire tension between her and Celestia, the thought that such a thing had occurred made her wish she hadn’t come to talk at all as she gazed out a nearby window at the full moon, pondering her grave mistake.
“I understand” The words shot out, taking Luna by surprise. Celestia got to her hooves and walked over to Luna, her expression both strict and sincere “Do not worry dear sister, I will always forgive you”
Luna looked back to her sister and there it was, that same smile she always wore to show her that everything would be alright. It comforted her and Luna breathed a sigh of relief, she wanted to say something, anything but the words didn’t come.
“Your right you know, we are the last of the alicorns, there is no denying the truth. It is a sad existence we share, knowing that all those that came before us are now gone. We may live for thousands of years but eventually our time will come to an end” Celestia’s smile had already disappeared and Luna could sense the bleakness in her voice “But until then I want to share my life with you, we are sisters after all” Just as soon as it had left her smile returned “Now, you must be tired, we can talk again if you want but right now go get your rest”.
Luna stood and wiped the tears from her eyes, giving a silent thanks to her sister as she walked towards the door. She didn’t want to say anything but Luna knew that there were things even Celestia had trouble talking about, them being the last of the alicorns was one of those topics. She had pressed her luck bringing it up and felt cheated by her sisters response, Celestia merely danced around the subject instead of telling her the truth. There was no denying truth but one could easily hide it. Reaching the door, a question formed in her mind.
“What will happen to Equestria once we’re gone?” Luna asked, she didn’t turn to see her sister this time, this time she only wanted to hear her answer.
“I suppose it’s as you said, much like the Everfree Forest is free from our control, Equestria will slowly become just that…free” that last word hung in the air, it sent a chill down Luna’s spine, she had many more questions but knew they would have to wait, right now her bed beckoned to her and stifling a yawn, she wouldn’t deny it.
10 months ago…
A chill wind blew through the air. The Everfree Forest was in good spirits tonight, many of the more “hazardous” animals had already gone to bed which was something Luna was glad for as she trotted through the brush. Time had passed since her conversation with Celestia and even after repeated attempts of conversing with her, her sister still remained as secretive as ever. This was a point of distress for Luna; numerous nights were spent brooding, lost in her own thoughts. Tonight however, Luna had decided to take a walk through the forest, after another failed attempt just the previous day, she needed something to brighten her mood.
A couple owls on a nearby branch let out their distinctive hoot before taking to the sky, Luna smiled as she watched them go, the creatures of the night were always a spectacle to observe. As much as Celestia had tried to convince her that the ponies of Equestria appreciated her night, she knew better. Luna wasn’t angry at the ponies though, she knew that they couldn’t thrive on the night alone…but for those that did, like the owls that had just escaped her sight, Luna always took care to bring out the moon and stars for them for they were the ones that truly were grateful for her gift.
Luna continued her walk, watching all the critters of the forest go about their business, many of which paid her no mind. To them she appeared no different than themselves, as welcome as any other resident of the forest, a harmony between them that Luna found solace in. A stray breeze whipped through her mane and flowed between her wings, a rush of joy as Luna decided to take to the sky. Pumping her wings and lifting off the ground, Luna carefully guided herself above the trees and gazed at the splendor of the forest, one that she couldn’t have possibly seen from the ground.
The night was almost over and the moon had already descended towards the horizon but much of the forest still remained illuminated. Miles of trees were stretched out in front of her; to the left Luna could see a waterfall out in the distance, mist permeated the edges of the trees as the water spilled over endlessly into a small canyon. Although Luna couldn’t see, she wagered that a river must have been at the bottom of that canyon, providing the nutrients for the many plants of the forest. To her right, rising above everything else on a plateau, stood the ruined remains of her palace. Palace was hardly the right word to describe it, what remained of it were just piles of rock and rubble, the only part that still stood was the throne room, where as Nightmare Moon she had fought against the Elements of Harmony. Luna was not saddened by the sight, she had visited her palace a number of times since her return and by now was content to leave it the way it was. The bridge that at one time welcomed ponies to her abode was gone, now at the bottom of the gorge, the towers that Luna had used to stargaze from had crumbled away, and her private chambers where she had kept many possessions was buried beneath three feet of stone.
“All in the past” Luna spoke softly, the words only managed to remind her of the conversations with her sister and quickly shaking her head, she pumped her wings and rose above the treetops, determined to enjoy herself tonight and keep her mind off such thoughts…if only for the moment.
It wasn’t long before Luna was parading through the sky, doing flips and tumbling around the clouds. She was out of practice but was quickly learning as she continued to glide through the night, the wind rushing all around her.
Minutes passed before Luna tired herself out. Spotting a small dip in the forest, Luna began her descent, her wings flapping slowly at this point from all the flying. Luna knew that they would likely be sore in the morning but didn’t care, she hadn’t felt the thrill of flying in centuries and she chided herself for not going out more often. The dip in the forest appeared much like a valley, with hills surrounding the area, but much smaller. The trees weren’t nearly as dense here than in other parts of the forest and Luna easily found a place to land amongst the foliage.
Luna stretched her wings out as far as she could before folding them in neatly at her sides. A quick glance and it was apparent that Luna was very much alone, not just alone but also very quiet, the trees remained still even though she could feel a breeze blowing. The moment was unsettling but Luna only shrugged as she sat down on the grass, enjoying the peacefulness of her surroundings. Half an hour went by before Luna found the strength to pick herself up “Celestia is going to be mad if I don’t get back soon” she thought aloud before turning to the way back home.
Her hooves moved to take the first step but never finished. In mid-step, Luna first felt it, then saw it as a wall of flame shot forth from the darkness, enveloping the area in front of her. The trees and grass instantly ignited around her but Luna didn’t need another reason to back away from the flame, the heat alone stung her coat and mane, her eyes watered, she was barely able to keep them open as she leapt away in the opposite direction. The jump was uncoordinated and Luna hit the ground hard, spraining one of her back legs in the process. A wave of terror shot through her, she felt paralyzed, her eyes wide as she looked to where the flame had originated.
Trees fell away as a massive dragon stood on its hind legs, its red scales glimmered by the moonlight, its green eyes glaring at Luna. She was in shock, how could she not have seen a dragon that size from the sky? The question boggled her mind but there was no time to consider the answer. The ground behind her was in cinders but the fire still remained, impeding her. Mustering what was left of her strength; Luna tried her best to limp away but was met with another breath of flame from the dragon. It was toying with her; the ground in front of her was engulfed, leaving a v-shaped scar on the forest floor. This time Luna could not move from the fire and the heat was unbearable, she buried her face into the grass, desperately trying to shield herself. In her mind she knew at this point there was no escape, she couldn’t run with a sprained leg nor fly because she was too tired. That left only one option, magic.
The heat had subsided and Luna looked up at the dragon, she watched as it breathed in deeply, she knew what was going to happen next. Her horn lit up, a bubble of energy surrounding her as fire shot forth from the dragon’s maw. The fire struck the shield and passed around it, Luna could only see red as it wrapped around her, scorching the earth and everything else not within her makeshift shield. Moments passed and Luna could feel the strain on her horn, the fire still hadn’t ceased and she couldn’t keep her spell going much longer. Heat started to seep in from underneath, Luna cringed, she felt like she was lying on hot coals “No, I don’t want it to end like this…I can’t…” she blurt out as she gasped for air. She watched as the first cracks appeared on her shield, the light around her horn flickered then dissipated and the cracks widened.
The shield split open and Luna’s sight faded to black.
* * *
“Do you remember the time you got lost in the Everfree Gardens?”
“No I don’t”
“You were very young at the time so it doesn’t surprise me. You had wandered out of the Royal Palace and into the Gardens. Many hours had passed before I was aware that you were gone…”
“Wait, now I remember. I read about a special flower that only grew there and I wanted to find one, just for you big sister”
“I learned of that later. At the time I searched everywhere for you. It wasn’t until a couple ponies visited the palace and told me they had spotted you entering the Gardens that I knew where to find you”
“I remember being so scared when I couldn’t find my way back. I was scared that I might not ever see you again. But then you found me!”
“That’s right. When I did you immediately apologized for leaving my sight, after that you cried at my side for a whole ten minutes”
“I didn’t cry!”
“Maybe I was just imagining it then. Do you remember what I said to you that day?”
“Oh…um…you said that we would always be together, no matter what”
“But is it true? Nothing lasts forever, right big sister?”
“There are some things that can dear sister, you will understand when you’re older”
“That’s not fair!”
* * *
The chirping of birds startled Luna, her head shot up, her eyes wide as she swiveled her head to and fro ‘What just happened?’. The morning sun had risen over the forest and sunlight pelted down on her, bathing her in warmth. Luna felt dizzy, followed by a splitting headache when the realization finally hit her ‘The dragon!’ she stood, greeted by a pain in her back leg. Luna winced but stood regardless “How…could it have been an illusion?” her sprained leg spoke otherwise, the ground around her was still charred, covered by a layer of ash and dust; the trees where the dragon once were still toppled. Luckily the dragon itself was no longer there, for which Luna breathed a sigh of relief “No, it did happen, but then how am I still here?” Her memories were slowly coming back to her; she remembered the fire, the heat, and the last moments before she blacked out. All her senses had told her that she was going to die yet here she was, unscathed barring her sprained leg.
Turning her gaze skyward, Luna watched as a few clouds moved their way in front of the sun “How long was I out?” more and more questions filled her mind but right now they would have to wait, she was going to have to explain all of this to Celestia and Luna feared what she may think when she hears it.
Spreading her wings and taking to the sky, Luna flew back home, something unexplainable had just happened and Luna had a sinking feeling that this wasn’t going to be the last. At the center of it would be her and Celestia, that she was sure of but lingering on the edge was the mystery of the alicorns, a past she still knew very little of. Could it somehow be connected?