Nightmare or Vision?
Luna awoke from that horrible nightmare with the same scream carrying over into the waking world. Sweat covered her body, her fur matted down from tossing and turning as she slept. Light suddenly filled her field of vision as the double doors to her chamber were thrown wide open, allowing the guards positioned outside to come pouring in, horns alight and wings ready, ready to face whatever fueled their princesses terror filled scream. As her eyes adjusted, Luna saw one of the guards approach her from the protective circle around the bed.
“Princess, what is wrong? Did you see somepony in here? Are you OK? Why did you scream?”
Luna held up a shaking hoof to stop the guard's barrage of questions. “I am well. Just a nightmare, nothing more.” Removing herself from the twisted sheets of her bed Luna turned to the guard once more. “I am grateful of your quick actions. I know how hard you all work, so please do not add another job to your lists by worrying over this. Please return to your post”
“But Princess Luna, you're clearly shaken! Would you like it if I stayed here?” one of the guards asked, a look of worry still worn on her face.
Luna searched her mind for this guard's name, she had yet to memorize all the names of her new guards, which pained her. Here were ponies willing to do anything for her yet she could not remember something as simple as their names.
“Thank you for the offer Stormy” Stormy Skies that was her name, “But I just want to be alone for now.” Luna could tell Stormy still wanted to argue but said nothing as she bowed and turned to leave.
Once all the guards had left, Luna walked to the side of her bed and looked at her self in the mirror atop a small dresser in a corner of her dimly lit room. She looked awful, understanding, now, some of the guards looks as they had entered her room. Using her magic she dried her coat of the sweat, smoothing down any patches that had been made askew from her fitful sleep. Turning to look at her bed, Luna’s face twisted in disgust, remembering the dream still fresh in her mind and decided not to sleep again so soon. Instead she made her way to the doors of her room and pushed one open. Stepping into the hall way, Luna was faced with the two guards on either side of her doors looking at her with a questioning look.
“I wish to walk for a bit.” she said starting away from her room down the long hall. As soon as she got just a few feet from her doors four pairs of matal shod hooves could be heard behind her. Turning around she saw the guards had fallen in behind her. “Please I wish to walk alone for awhile.” Luna said to the pair of ponies behind her.
“We must not let any harm come to you your majesty.” One of the guards said. “It is our duty to make sure you are safe.”
Luna sighed and said. “Please, I just want to be alone for now, can’t you at least let me have that?”
The guards looked to each other and back to Luna. “We will do as you ask.”
Luna looked to them with a sad smile and thanked them before they went on their way. Continuing down the hall Luna becomes bathed in soft blues and purples as light from the setting sun filtered through stained glass windows lining the alabaster walls of the hall way. Following one of the windows, Luna looked up to the ceiling and smiled. The walls faded away in to the dark heights of the ceiling and the only things visible were thousands of pinpricks of light in the formation of constellations that slowly shifted to mirror their positions in the sky. The spell that powered this beautiful sight had been a gift from Celestia on the day of her return. A small token of her sisters unending kindness to celebrate her return. Every time Luna looked at it she felt guilt claw its way into her heart, she didn’t deserve this, she never did. She could still remember the day her mind and body had been twisted and corrupted, her conscious had been torn from her soul and painfully locked away inside the chaotic mind of Nightmare Moon, and it was her fault for not resting her lover’s power as he did it. The tears she shed while he had worked his evil magic, calling out his name, questioning why he was doing this. “I’m doing this for both of us, we can finally be rid of your sister and together we can stop hiding our…”
Luna looked down and noticed her sister standing down the hall next to a large painting. Realizing that she must have subconsciously turned a corner, She approached her sister.
“What are you doing down here Sister?” Luna asked, perplexed as to why Celestia would be wondering around these quiet halls.
Smiling softly Celestia looked back to the picture on the wall. “I come down here ever so often , its nice to get away from all the noise the noble ponies make, and the constant questions from the castle staff.” Celestia sighed and Lowered her head to look at Luna. Her head was down and her shoulders were shaking slightly, a glistening drop caught Celestia's eyes, following it she found a wet spot on the carpet. Raising a hoof she slowly lifted Luna’s head and saw her eyes swimming in unshod tears, a few had made their way out and were slowly tracing a path down her muzzle. “Oh Luna, why are you crying?”
Luna blinked away the tears trapped in her eyes. “I’m sorry, I was just remembering what it used to be like.” she lifted a leg and pointed a hoof at the painting. It was Everfree city, glowing in the Bright colors of a beautiful sunset, the city walls high and mighty standing in defiance of the dangerous creatures lurking in the forest. The homes small yet comforting to look at, clustered around a town square, and the turrets of the castle of the pony sisters or as the ponies like to call it, Everfree castle, rising above the city like ancient sentinels, one built of solid while marbled stone, the other of ebony.
“You never cry when you look see this though, what’s wrong?” Celestia asked, worry spreading across her face.
Luna wiped her eyes and looked toward her sister. “I had a nightmare today, it seemed so real, I woke up screaming.”
“There’s nothing to worry about…” Luna cut off her sister with a wave of her hoof.
“But it seemed so real! I’m not so sure it was just a bad dream…I’m afraid it might have been a vision of the future.” Luna said, her wings starting to spread nervously, the nightmare was creeping back to the front of her mind now. “It might have been a vision, there was something stiring in me when I woke, but then it faded into nothing, and he was there.”
“Who was there Luna?” Celestia asked, her head tilted to the left in a questioning gesture.
“Alistair.” Luna said in little more than a whisper, her eyes staring off into space in a dazed look.
“Luna please tell me about your nightmare, I don’t want you to keep this all to yourself.”
Celestia said, laying down next to her sister in the hall.
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“Oh my, Luna, that is certainly upsetting.” Celestia rose from her place on the floor and stretched her wings. “But if you do want to treat it like a vision, I will not stop you.”
Luna looked to her sister with a smile. “Thank you Celestia.” Luna stood up, and turned to the end of the hall, watching all the ponies passing by the opening, going about their duties and daily life, none of them knowing the horrors that could befall them. “I want every powerful unicorn brought to Canterlot castle before the end of the week.” Luna said turning back to Celestia.
“Really, Luna, Why would you want that?”
“He will be drawn to them, drain them of their magic wells, and leave them for dead.”
Celestia sighed, A thought crossed her mind. “Even Twilight? I’m sure she could take care of herself, besides she is the element of magic.” Celestia said, feeling proud of her student and her accomplishments.
“YES! Especially Twilight Sparkle, in fact she must be the first brought here.” Luna tried to keep the panic out of her voice, but Celestia noticed.
“I care for my student a great deal Luna, but even I would not make other ponies wait just so she could be the first to be brought to a safe place.” Celestia looked toward Luna, waiting for an answer.
Luna could not meet her sisters eyes. “I don’t know why, I just feel that she must be the first brought here.” Luna lied;. Lying always left a terrible feeling in her heart, It felt like it would break when she lied to her sister, the one pony she could always trust. Looking up at Celestia, Luna hoped to hear what she needed.
“If you insist. I will send word to her first, then we will announce a test of magic for powerful and skilled unicorns, I don’t want panic to spread through-out the kingdom.” Celestia said, already planning the rules and tasks for it. “If nothing comes of your nightmare, then we will at least have an exceptional log of magical talent, but if something does go wrong they will be protected.” Celestia gently nuzzles Luna behind her ears.
A rumbling sound could be heard from Luna’s stomach. “Perhaps we should go to the dining hall?” a slight blush spreading across her face.
Giggling Celestia agrees. “Perhaps we should.”
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After a satisfying dinner, Luna feels a slight pull in her mind. “Sister, the moon wants to rise.”
“I know I feel the sun wanting to set.” The white alicorn rises and walks out to a balcony, followed by her sister. Raising her horn Celestia concentrates, feeling her connection to the sun strengthen, slowly guided the sun below the horizon, bringing about the day to the other nations of the world. As soon as the sun is set the moon rises into the sky, guided by Luna the same way the sun is guided by Celestia.
Letting her connection fade a bit Luna feels the primal urge of her duty recede. “That is one of the few things I truly enjoy.” Said Luna relaxing in the cooling night air.
“Yes, but there are many that can make us content as well.” Celestia says as she headed back into the castle.
Luna watched the stars twinkle in her sky, dancing an ancient dance. Finding a star that is bright purple, Luna smiles to herself. Closing her eyes and reaching out through space, she touches the stars energy and brightens its light. ”Only for you.” she whispers. Opening her eyes she is greeted by a beautiful pulsing purple star, its beauty outshining even the moon tonight. Turning back to the castle interior, Luna stepped into the dining hall and made her way to the hall leading to the throne room. Approaching the door she is set upon by the night court scribe.
“Princess Luna! Your 12 minutes late! Where have you been?” the scribe wore an annoyed expression on her face, tapping her hoof on the marbled floor outside the throne room doors.
“I was busy doing something of personal importance.” Luna replied, already dreading the task to come.
“Well I hope it was worth making ponies wait.” she said, walking into the throne room.
Luna narrowed her eyes. “Yes it was, now do not question me further Swift Quill, I will not be spoken too in such a way.” Luna spoke as she entered the throne room. Climbing the steps to her throne Luna turned and sat.
“Night court has begun!” Quill shouted to the assembled ponies.
Only twenty or so had come to night court, it had just recently restarted after one thousand and twenty three years, and that was a relief to Luna.
Watching Quill bringing the first to speak Luna spoke. “Please speak your mind, what is you wish to say?” Luna asked in what she thought was a pleasing tone. The farmer bowed so low to the ground that his muzzle scraped the floor. Rising out of his bow the farmer started to speak.
“Your Majesty, I am here to ask if some thing can be done about the fertility of the earth, it has been declining for the past few weeks and there is nothing I can do to stop it.” He said, with just a slight tremble in his voice.
Luna looked over to the pony while trying to think of an answer, that’s when she noticed he had a horn. “Your not an earth pony yet you farm?” Luna asked, curious as to why a unicorn would want to work in the dirt.
“Yes your highness, I enjoy it very much, it's not my special talent so my crops don’t taste as good as an earth pony, but I like it all the same.” He finished with a grin.
“Maybe if you had a few earth ponies to help you, the soil might slow its loss of minerals long enough for someone to find a way to stop it.” Luna said with a satisfied smile, earth ponies make the ground they walk on good farming land, working in the soil will help all the more.
“I never thought of that, thank you princess!” the farmer walked off happy to try her method.
“Next." Quill's voice droned.
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Most of the ponies that had come to the court had been farmers with the same problem, the soil was getting worse, and it was affecting earth pony farms as well. Luna had tried to assure them that everything would be well, they have had a very dry spring, and that this drought would pass and the soil would get better. Her fears were starting to get to her though. “What if this has nothing to do with the rain shortage.” she thought. “what if this is happening intentionally, to weaken us?”
“That was the last one for the night.” Quill said lazily as she stood next to Luna.
“Thank you, I will retire to my room now, please leave all matters on the declining soil open.” Luna said as she stood, ready to return to her room and relax for a bit.
Walking away from her throne and into the hallway, Luna’s legs guide her toward her room as her mind is swirling with thoughts as to why that monster would do such a thing as ruin the soil, there were better ways to weaken them. “He must be toying with us,” She said out loud. “Waiting somewhere watching us, measuring our power.” Luna turned into her room lost in thought.
“Why hello sister.”
Luna jumped. Looking around she spotted Celestia lounging on a cushion.
Celestia stood and approached Luna “I did not mean to frighten you.” she cooed nuzzling Luna.
“I am sorry Celestia, I am just on ends right now.” Luna said as she sunk into her soft mattress, glad for the comfort.
“Is there something bothering you now?” Celestia asked.
“Yes it is what the ponies at the night court said, the soil is losing its life, nothing wants to grow, even earth ponies are having trouble.” Luna moaned as she rolled over to her side, facing away from her sister.
“I m sure it is just the lack of rain, everything will be fine.” Celestia's horn started to glow. “It is nearly dawn, sister, and you must sleep.” she said her horn glowing brighter, the tug of the sun wanting to rise building.
“I know, and I hope you're right about this getting better, I do not like to think of what could happen if you are wrong.”Luna said, her horn now aglow.
They both looked out Luna’s balcony window and watched as she lowered the moon. “Good morning Celestia I hope you have a good day.” she mumbled, sleep coming to her tired and stressed body quickly.
“I love you Luna, sleep well.” Celestia bent down and kissed Luna’s forehead and then left her to sleep, softly closing the door. “
From the darkness came Luna’s voice. “I hope you're right Celestia, for all our sakes.”
End chapter one.