It’s been said that light is light and night is night and never the twain shall meet.
There was a land however, where light and darkness ruled together. As far back as the children of Mystika could remember there was a benevolent Archmage named Celestia who watched over the sunlight and governed the day while delegating the stewardship of the night to her younger sister, Luna.
This is the way it was for thousands of years. The two immortals ruled side by side and their people protected night and day. The elder Celestia, called Daykeeper by her people enjoyed assisting the earthborn with construction of their towns and harvest their crops. To the humans gifted with mystic powers at birth called magicborn, she blessed them with books and crystals to help harness and enhance their abilities. To the flying skyborn, blessed with the gift of flight from birth, she granted the gift of cloudcover. A mystically enforced material when bonded with the very clouds in the sky allowed an entire city to be supported in the heavens. The skyborn dubbed it Cumula in thanks to the gift of the clouds their princess had given them.
The younger sister Luna, called Nightwatcher, cared for the humans as they slept and reveled in the peace that she witnessed during the night. However, whist her sister slept, the sensitive heart of Princess Luna was tested night after night with the cruelty and crime that was committed by evil people under the veil of the dark. In horror, Luna watched as earthborn committed murder, theft and rape for no discernible reason to their fellow neighbors. There we small indecencies locally, but stretched across the entire world. This was far too many for Luna’s liking. However, Luna had only so much power to intervene on so many atrocities and could only assist the authorities so many hours during the night. Her dreams during the day were haunted by the screams and pleas to her mercy.
Luna begged her sister Celestia to switch jobs for just one night so Celestia might see what the humans did under the guise of the darkness and Luna could have a reprieve from the pain. But Celestia refused, because her subjects looked to her during the day and Luna could not possibly handle the hustle and bustle of the day. Not wanting to tell her sister that she though Luna was inadequate to handle this, Celestia simply told Luna,
“Then there would be no one to watch over the night.”
Luna grew tired of this excuse. So she decided if she could not defend the innocent during the night, she’d create those who could. The Nightwatcher held a tournament while her sister was asleep one evening and summoned the greatest warriors in Mystika. Battles were held each evening for a month, all warriors slinking away blanked by Luna’s cloak into the forest while Celestia awoke in the morning.
By the end of the recruiting, Princess Luna had created an army enough to watch over the land of Mystika by night and punish those who threatened the innocents of the realm. Luna gave her warriors the gift of umbramancy, allowing them to move silently through shadow and stop the evil that lurked in the hearts of humans and disappearing into the dark of the dawn before her sister arose without needing Luna’s shrouding. As they were her daggers in the dark, she dubbed them her Shadow Blades. Murder, rape and destruction by evil men and women disappeared over the course of a century and a half, and the realm of Mystika was even more peaceful than before.
But the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Growing restless after true evil was eliminated from the realm, the Shadow Blades found even lesser crimes to punish. Left unchecked, soon those who murdered in self-defense, stole to feed their families and teenagers committing petty theft on dares were put under the knives of the Shadow Blades without trial or mercy. Nightwatcher, seeing their misdeeds scolded them and attempted to teach them what was and wasn’t justice. The Princess had however created too many of them and could not police all her children at once.
Archmage Celestia’s court was flooded with weeping mothers and angry sheriffs from all corners of the realm demanding answers. No one could believe that after centuries of peace a benevolent ruler could allow these horrible atrocities to occur without check.
People lived in fear, towns declared martial law, and there were whispers of mutiny against the once infallible dictatorship of the light and the dark.
Archmage Celestia in a rage confronted her sister Luna in a private council locking the doors. After days of continuous dawn, Luna finally broke down and told her sister everything. Luna told her about the crimes, her weakness, the creation of her secret army and begged for forgiveness.
Even though Celestia understood why her sister did what she did, she commanded that the Shadow Blade be stripped and to cast them back to their mortal selves. For she knew her subjects would learn of her failed experiment and once they did, Luna would surely suffer the fate of the rest of her children.
That night, Luna summoned her army to her and explained what must be done to save their lives. The Shadow Blades, trusting their Night Princess, stepped forward accepting their fate. One by one her followers approached her and one by one Princess Luna took her soldiers’ immortality away. However, as Luna called back their immortality into her own shadow, to her horror, her soldiers turned into corpses. After more than a century of living, removing the shroud of immortality also revealed to death they had been cheating him. As soon as the veil was removed, death smiled and took all of his missed passengers. It only took a few soldiers until Luna realized what was happening and by then the rest of her children had fallen to their knees and begged to be spared.
Luna couldn’t bear to slaughter those she’d originally given such a boon to, so she promised that she’d let them live as long as they’d remain hidden and never show themselves to her sister. Her children showered her with praise and vowed to disappear into the shadows of both night and day, never showing themselves lest they die.
Luna sighed with relief as her children retreated into the night. Safe from persecution, the Shadow Blades disappeared intent on keeping their promise forever.
Luna ran to rouse her sister to tell her the good news. She had righted her wrongs and spared her children.
“So your soldiers are no more?” Celestia asked what she hoped was rhetorical.
Luna didn’t answer. Celestia glared at her sister, expecting a yes or a no but Luna remained silent. Luna then tried to explain the situation and her inability to murder her children. Celestia’s heart filled with the tears Luna cried as she begged her not to do what she could not. Celestia promised to reason with the court as Luna slept and trusting her sister, Luna retired to her chambers.
The next morning, Celestia’s court demanded answers. Even though Celestia promised that the shadows had been dealt with, there were whispers of dark men fishing and hunting. Then when the same figures were found by earthborn, the shadows ran and disappeared into the darkness of the trees and mountains in broad daylight without form and without a trace. The skyborn confirmed the claims of the same dark shadows operating under their floating city thinking they were unseen.
Celestia knew that these creatures of the night would be traced back to her sister eventually, so in order to protect her own blood, she promised her subjects an army to destroy these creatures of darkness.
While Princess Luna slept, Celestia created the Thunder Blades which were her personal independent unit, seemingly born of their own free will to respond to the call of injustice and destroy the shadow. Upon creation, the Thunder Blades hunted the Shadow Blades to their homes, camps and caves where they found their refuge.
The cries of her children woke Princess Luna in her sleep during one afternoon of her sister’s rule and she ran to Celestia, begging her to call off the slaughter.
“I did it to keep you safe.” Celestia simply explained to her sister. To which Luna responded in a rage.
“You deserve the same fate you’ve given my children!!” Luna spat as she ran into her room. As she knelt on her bed, Luna prayed to whatever gods were listening to save her children. Regardless of her tears and pleas, all she got was silence for hours. Right before she nodded off, Luna started hearing whispers. Quiet at first, but a definite discernible voice asked Luna the simple question of,
“Does your sister deserve to be God?” A cold voice hissed through her head.
Luna froze. The voice seemed to originate in various corners of her brain, darting back and forth in her head with a certain chilly calm. The voice asked Luna where Celestia got off on being an all-powerful ruler and yet being so cruel.
“She created an entire civilization from chaos. Surely she could have spared and healed your poor children,” hissed the voice. Every sentence became louder and louder freezing Luna’s own thoughts more and more.
Luna was reluctant to open up any further to her head’s new icy roommate, but she continued the dialogue with the only one who answered her prayers. They talked all through the day, the cold voice convincing Luna more and more that if Celestia truly wanted to help, she had it in her power to do so. “How can one as great as she not care about her own sister? Not caring if she slaughtered her own people without taking the time to find a more humane solution? What happens when she thinks YOU are too dangerous, dear?” The voice offered this terrible truth.
At sunset, Luna’s room remained silent and locked. She was normally up by dusk for evening court with her sister. Not seeing Luna up let, a very tired Celestia knocked on her sister’s door to rouse her for her nightly duties. Celestia had brought her sister breakfast as a peace offering and was ready to negotiate how she’d make it right.
What she found was Luna huddled over and enveloped in a dark energy that chilled Celestia to and through her bones. Before Celestia could say a word, an overpowering tidal wave of black emanated from her sister’s dark hands and empty eyes.
Celestia screamed and then faded as an echo of her voice decrescendoing into nothing,
“SISTER!! Please!! No! don-.” Celestia promptly vanished, leaving silence and a cool breeze in a room with all doors and windows locked.
With the Archmage Celestia gone, Princess Luna corrupted by an all-powerful dark energy assumed the throne. Her first order was that her Shadow Blades were resurrected and multiplied in force. The necromancers obeyed and her servants were as immortal and indestructible as before.
Luna was not satisfied, so she created more. The Shadow Blades where no longer just her private group of enforces. They were her castle guards, her army and her left and right hands. They hunted down everyone who defied the Nightwatcher’s will, worshipping her believing that Princess Luna was the absolute justice and all who defied her would bring death to the realm as she was the bringer of peace all those nights ago.
There were murders of all those who questioned, entire villages where burned and slaughtered to root out saboteurs and prisoners were tortured and raped to give out new names and break hope in half.
This continued for more than a century. The exact years were lost for in the Dark Times, for Princess Luna forbade all to read or write.
After decades of tyranny, Princess Luna’s name was forgotten and was only known to the people as The Nightmare, or The Black Bride to some poets as she had taken the darkness as her husband.
Until one day, as if a miracle, The Archmage Celestia re-emerged on a white horse and six glowing orbs orbiting around her. She brought with her an alliance of her Thunder Blades, earthborn warriors, magicborn mages and the illusive skyborn who flew from their place in the forgotten heavens and beat back the seemingly immortal terror of The Nightmare. The armies clashed on the slopes of Chantalot as Celestia banished her into the same place she was sent with the six white orbs dubbed the “Elements of Harmony.” The demon known as Nightmare as well as her sister disappeared and the peace was restored.
The Nightmare gone, Celestia with a heavy heart, resumed her throne and learned how not to sleep. She governed day and night with stewards watching over mid-day and late night, waking her when trouble arose.
Celestia, plagued day and night by the guilt of what she’d done to her sister, and how she could bring her back, still managed to swallow the pain and smiled for all of her grateful subjects who continued enjoyed centuries of peace.
Celestia’s Elements of Harmony were entrusted to human mages from generation to generation until the seal upon The Nightmare was broken a thousand years later. The elements were entrusted to the heroes,
Rainbow Dash the Loyal
Apple Jack the Honest
Fluttershy the Kind
Rarity the Generous
Pinkie Pie the Light Hearted
And Twilight Sparkle the Great
At the resurrection of The Nightmare, The Virtuous Six not only beat back the ancient evil, but in accordance to Celestia’s plan, the distribution of the elements among the virtuous freed Princess Luna from her corruption.
Reunited after over a millennium, the Daykeeper and the Nightwatcher reclaimed their rule of Mystika, Luna took her rightful place at Celestia’s side and peace returned.
The heroes who restored Luna from the possession of The Nightmare, though offered their own tithes and baroness ship, refused and returned to their modest homes.
But once one becomes a hero, it becomes nearly impossible to ignore adventure’s call and even more so the innocent’s cry for justice.
For as Celestia’s imprisonment was but temporary, so is that of the darkness.
For evil doesn’t sleep, it waits.