• Published 18th May 2013
  • 2,620 Views, 56 Comments

Phases of the Moon - Jade Ring



Sequel to 'Lost in the Night.' Shining Armor seeks more information about Luna's past lovers and uncovers some shocking truths.

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Chapter 1- Waxing

“I’ve always had only one.”

“I’ve mourned them each in turn… as I will one day mourn you, my brave Captain.”

The Prince of Sinners trotted down the deserted corridor deep in the castle depths, his hoof-falls unwittingly creating a sort of drum roll towards the damnation for which he was surely destined.

Shining Armor stared straight ahead as he headed deeper and deeper into the ancient catacombs, his path lit by burning torches. The flames flickered, making the white unicorn’s shadow wave and dance on the walls and floors. Water dripped steadily from overhead creating a damp atmosphere only kept at bay by the flames.

After what seemed like hours, Shining Armor found what he had come all this way for; a door, wrought iron and brilliant gold. Inscribed above it was a phrase written in ancient unicorn.

Invenies response responsis vel videberis.

Exhaling his fears away, Shining Armor pushed open the door that lead to the Canterlot Archives of Truth.

The contrast with the corridor he’d just come from was staggering. While the passage had been lit only by ancient torches, the room in which he now stood was almost unnaturally bright. It almost looked like… like sunlight. The supernatural light illuminated shelves upon on shelves covered in ancient scrolls, books, and other tomes. Very few had titles in the common Equestrian tongue. The shelves seemed to go up forever, and Shining Armor found his neck craning, trying to see the tops. He gasped when he saw the source of the room’s light. “Is that…?”

“A miniature sun.” A wizened voice answered from behind him.

Shining Armor spun to find a unicorn stallion clad in a simple black smock. The stallion was a head shorter than he was and seemed to be middle aged. His coat was a mottled green, like pond water. His eyes glittered with mischief and pride, the result of a successful startling.

“Greetings, your majesty.” The unicorn bowed deeply.

“Who are you?”

“The keeper of the archives, Prince Shining Armor.”

“…of course you are.” Shining Armor smiled at his own foolishness. How could he have expected the archives to be left un-tended. “I meant to ask what your name was.”

The green unicorn recovered from his bow and gestured at the surrounding shelves. “Those select few of us chosen for the honor of tending to the Archives of Truth forgo everything else in this world, my Prince, from our families to our very names. I share the same title as the countless unicorns before me. I am called Brother Veritas.”

Shining Armor nodded and pointed at the circling orb of light far overhead. “Care to explain that?”

Veritas smiled warmly. “It is a gift from Princess Celestia herself. We keepers are only allowed out of the archives once a year, so she gave us this facsimile of the sun for light, warmth, and health. And before you ask…” His horn lit and the sun vanished. “…yes, we can extinguish it to recreate night as well.” His horn lit once more and the sun returned.

“Amazing.” Shining Armor muttered, genuinely impressed. “Why is lit now? The day ended several hours ago.”

“A little late night organization. What brings you to the archives, your highness? Aren’t you supposed to be in the Crystal Empire?” Brother Veritas asked, returning to his task on one of the lower shelves.

“Just Shining Armor will do.” The Captain of the Guard blushed, still not comfortable with his new title.

“As you wish.”

“I’m here on… official business. Some troubling reports from the Far Lands. While I was here, I figured I would do some research.”

Veritas chuckled. “You have certainly come to the right place.” He summoned several books and made them float around Shining Armor’s head. “Here we have the great hidden secrets of Equestria’s history. The true founding of Equestria, the Second Dragon War, the explorations of Donkey Hotey…” He pulled one book from the others and looked at it with a kind of reverence. “’The Wanderings of Mareco Polo,’ which includes what we understand now to be an account of the first encounter with the Changelings.” Quick as a flash, the books returned to their shelves. “What information do you seek?”

Shining Armor looked away, unsure of how to phrase his question. “Why have Princess Celestia and Princess Luna never… gotten married?”

The question caught Veritas so off guard that he dropped the ancient tome he’d been repositioning. It fell to the ground and collapsed into a pile of dust.

Shining Armor gaped. “Forgive me, I was…”

Veritas waved him off and shuffled the mound that had once been a book underneath the shelf. “Not a problem, Shining Armor. I doubt this kingdom has much need for a book like that anymore.”

“What book was it?”

’Secrets of the Draconequi.’

“Oh.”

“As I said, never mind it. As to your question…” He looked at Shining Armor with an upraised eyebrow. “What makes you so curious about the mating habits of goddesses?”

Shining Armor looked down. “I don’t suppose you’ve heard the news?”

“News?”

“Princess Cadance found out today that she was…well, pregnant.”

Veritas’ eyes lit up. “Congratulations! How happy you both must be.”

Shining Armor nodded. “Thank you. We are quite pleased, it’s just…”

Veritas held up a hoof. “You’re wondering why Celestia and Luna never married. Never had children.”

“Exactly.” Shining Armor sighed in relief.

Veritas beckoned the white unicorn follow him deeper into the archives. “Tell me, Shining Armor; what do you know of the goddesses’ arrival in Equestria?”

“Nothing really. I just figured that they’d always been here.”

Veritas laughed. “If that were the case, then why are they not mentioned in the Tale of the First Hearth’s Warming?”

Shining Armor shrugged.

“There’s a great deal of history that has been hidden from the ponies of Equestria, Shining Armor. As far as most ponies are concerned, nothing much happened between the First Hearth’s Warming and Luna’s banishment. So much history has been excised…” Veritas’ tone was almost bitter.

“Why hide the truth?”

“Nothing was hidden… not at first anyway. It’s always been figured that ponies would just be happier not knowing the sordid details of the past.”

“Sordid details?”

“Take what happened after the First Hearth’s Warming for example.” Veritas summoned a scroll from the wall and unfurled it, narrating the illustrations. “Once the three tribes founded Equestria, they established a temporary government with representatives from each tribe. This lasted several decades… until something peculiar happened.”

“What?”

“Clover the Clever, the magical advisor to Princess Platinum of the unicorns, received a prophecy from beyond.”

“A prophecy?” Shining Armor looked incredulous. “I thought those sort of things were the stuff of fairy-tales.”

“Usually they are, but there have been several notable instances in Equestrian history where actual prophecies were made. Clover’s was merely the first.”

“What was the prophecy?”

’Look to the skies, for the true rulers fall from the heavens. The land they strike shall be their fortress, time will bow to their every whim, and they shall rule until the Twilight of the Gods.’

“Easy to translate in hind-sight.” Shining Armor chuckled.

“Indeed. Sure enough, not long after, a huge meteor struck this very mountain. When the ponies came to investigate, they found two statuesque mares with the horns of unicorns and the wings of pegasi.”

“Celestia and Luna.” Shining Armor raised an eyebrow. “So that old story about them being the spawn of a unicorn and a dragon…?”

“Nonsense.”

“Ah.”

“When they arrived, they had no idea where they were from or how they’d come to be there, but they did know that they were sisters, they knew their names, and most important of all; they knew of the vast power within themselves.”

“So they built Canterlot.”

“Right on the site of the meteor’s fall.”

“Incredible. But that doesn’t really answer my question.”

“It’s a start. To truly answer your question, Shining Armor, you must understand one very important thing; Celestia and Luna are mares. Phenomenally powerful, god-like mares of unknown origins to be sure, but mares all the same. And mares, like stallions, have needs.”

“So why not marry?”

“Because they’re immortal, Shining Armor. The only immortal beings in Equestria besides dragons. Other alicorns, like your wife, have extended life-spans thanks to their transformations. If your child is born an alicorn, then they too shall live beyond their normal allotted years. But only Celestia and Luna are immortal, and anypony they married they would inevitably outlive.” He offered a smirk. “So they take lovers.”

“’Take?’ As in they still do?” Shining Armor asked, trying to act nonchalant.

“Quite so, although they are very secretive about it for some reason. There’s really no telling how many they’ve had over the years. I mean, we only know about the four of Luna’s because of the journals.”

Shining Armor froze. “Journals?”

Veritas stopped in his tracks and pointed his head upwards. Four small scrolls floated down in response, held aloft by his magic. “Journals is what we call them. They’re more like testimonies, really.” He offered one, what looked to be the oldest, to Shining Armor. “Would you like to read them?”

“Very much so.” Shining Armor murmured in gratitude, taking the scroll with his own magic. Here, at last, were the answers he sought. “This is the first?”

Veritas nodded. “It dates all the way back to two thousand years ago, just months after the sisters arrived in Equestria…”

Entranced, Shining Armor began to read.