Once upon a time, there was once a way to travel to the stars. Pony adventurers discovered a door that allowed them to travel to distant lands in the blink of an eye. Anypony could use it to travel to beautiful exotic lands. But the ponies soon encountered a darkness through these doors. It wormed its way into every heart it encountered, latching onto the darkness in every heart. Eventually two brave ponies managed to seal the connections between each world away, using powerful artifacts they had discovered throughout these worlds. For their heroic accomplishments, they became leaders of Equestria, wielding the lost power of the stars to safeguard their world in case the darkness ever invaded. Thousands of years passed, and ponies slowly forgot the terrors of the sinister forces who would destroy them, until they became a myth of times long ago. Unfortunately, other worlds soon forgot the terrors waiting on the other sides of these doors, and no single being could stand against the darkness without help. Their people would be slowly enveloped in darkness, leading to the annihilation of their world if left unchecked.
Princess Celestia awoke with a start. Her sleep had been interrupted by a terrifying sensation she had wished to never feel again. The feeling was familiar to her long ago, but she could not remember why it alarmed her now. Her eyes snapped open in the hopes of reminding herself she was still in her bedroom in Canterlot.
Pale moonlight spilled through the towering glass windows into her bedroom, but tonight that was not enough to assuage her fears. She scrambled for the light, leaving the comfort of her warm blankets, registering the cold sweat on her skin. She panicked before feeling her way to the switch beside her bed, not remembering the last time she had felt so apprehensive in the safety of her room.
As she flicked the lever, the room was bathed in a white light, driving the encroaching shadows away. Celestia's eyes darted around the illuminated room and let out a relieved sigh, assured that her nightmares were only that: a nightmare.
She scanned the room carefully, intent on forgetting her alarming dreams. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, she thought as she pushed the covers off her sweaty body. Unable to pinpoint the reason for her distress, she slid her hooves down onto the floor, making loud clacking sounds on the tile floor. She froze in realization of what was different from when she had gone to sleep.
The window to the balcony is open, she thought, fixing her eyes on the inviting doors. A light wind pushed at the drapes, ruffling them in motions she might have mistaken for an enemy. She ignored the sense of apprehension she felt, and slowly made her way to the darkness waiting outside.
The light cast twisted shadows of her body as she walked between the lights and the opened window, carefully examining the area for unseen assailants. The cold wind pushed against her body, whispering into her ears as she came closer to the balcony, whistling a mad dangerous tune of warning.
As Celestia stepped through the window onto the balcony, she saw nothing out of the ordinary. She chided herself, thankful nopony had seen their princess frightened by the wind. Only she and Luna had a reason to fear the darkness in these peaceful times, and Luna had been more than happy to watch the night for her after coming back from the moon over seven years ago.
Impulsively, she looked out into the horizon, hoping to see Luna making her nightly rounds before she went back to bed. She would like to ask Luna if she had any dreams of the night terrors they had fought long ago.
She let out a strangled gasp as she caught a glimpse of the dark sky, feeling the strange sense of dread return to her as she gazed upon the heavens. She carefully examined the enveloping scene before her, dreading the implications of what had unknowingly began above Equestria. She ran back into her chambers, all sense of peace and security dispelled by the spectacle she had observed.
Celestia tore her desk apart in a rush, ignoring the creeping feeling that she was already too late. Using magic, she finally located a quill and some parchment, and set to work writing a letter. As she levitated the quill down onto the page, she heard a disturbance behind her. Whirling around, she prepared for battle against the dark enemy, but instead encountered a friend.
"Sister. I have grave news," Princess Luna announced.
She had landed on the balcony, not bothering to knock on the door. Her eyes darted around fearfully, staring into every shadow as if she were looking for something. She had a large bag resting on her back, and watched as Celestia turned away from her.
"I know, Luna. I saw the signs as well."
Celestia continued writing her letter, intent on finishing it before doing anything else. Luna patiently waited, listening to the quick strokes of the quill as her sister resumed writing. Unable to wait any longer, she slammed her hoof down on the floor, cracking the tile ground under the force she exerted.
"Then you know we have no time to lose!" Luna exclaimed as Celestia looked over her shoulder, unsurprised by her outburst.
"We have already run out of time, Luna," Celestia quietly answered her sister after the intruder had left. Turning toward her, she saw Luna's pack contained the symbol of the Six Elements of Harmony.
"Even these six Elements will not be enough for us to safeguard all of Equestria from the darkness."
"Too many have gone missing over the years. We will need to find more," she added as they heard a disturbance on the other side of the door to her chambers.
The doors to her room quickly burst open, revealing Shining Armor. He ran in, hearing the loud crashes Luna had been making since she had arrived. He slowed to a stop as he saw the supposed enemy was only Luna.
"Is everything alright, Princess?" He cautiously asked, seeing two looking at him. He noticed how angry Luna looked, and prepared for any possible attack from her. Celestia quickly rolled the letter up as she finished the message. She floated it towards Shining Armor, ignoring the feeling that it would not be enough.
"Yes. You must send this to Twilight Sparkle at once. She will know what to do."
"Also, double the guards around all large cities, and send half of our army from Canterlot to Ponyville until further notice."
She motioned for him to leave. Shining Armor quickly understood the implications of what she had told him.
"Of course. Will I need to put up a shield as well?" He asked, wondering what could be so powerful that they had to prepare for. There had been no major movements of hostile creatures for years.
Celestia shook her head no. It would barely slow down the darkness that was advancing on them from all sides, but it would not be a good idea to tell him that.
"Save your strength. You will know when that is necessary."
She had a sudden thought of Twilight Sparkle and her friends. She motioned for Luna to give her the chest containing the Elements of Harmony. Luna opened the clasp, allowing the Elements to escape the confines of her bag. As Celestia floated it towards the captain, she took the Elements of Generosity and Magic out from the confines of the box.
"Send these," she motioned to the two Elements floating in the air, "to Twilight Sparkle immediately."
"Bring the others to Princess Cadence, and tell her to keep them safe. She will know what to do with them."
Shining Armor quickly bowed, considering the remainder of forces he would be left with at his disposal.
"Of course, Princess. I will see to it right away."
As he left, Celestia turned to Luna, aware her questioning stare.
"What about our Elements?" She asked, already dreading the answer. Celestia understood her apprehension. They had grown to depend on them too much. To lose them for a period of time meant painful suffering for the both of them. She traced a hoof along the bright violet jewel on her necklace to reassure herself it was still there.
"We will need them for what is to come. I shall take the path in Ponyville..." Luna's eyes followed Celestia's hoof as it pointed downwards, already knowing what she would ask of her.
"And you shall take the path below. We must not stop for anything or anypony." She nodded to Luna before making her way to the balcony. She turned to give one last happy look towards her sister.
"Same to you, sister," Luna replied with a tear in her eye. She turned and ran towards the door, hoping they would accomplish their objectives and save Equestria once again.
Celestia felt that she had wasted too much time already. She stepped onto the ledge, pushed herself off and took flight beneath the bright moon.
Above her, the starry sky stretched endlessly. A careful observer would have seen that a large number of stars were fading, and if they watched carefully, they might have even seen one or two fade entirely out of existence.
Slowly, the stars were disappearing one by one, leaving the sky darker than it had ever been before.