• Published 18th May 2013
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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 2- New: Starswirl

The young adept made several more adjustments to his telescope, scowling at his hastily written notes on the scroll floating before him. “Dampnes eam omnia…” he muttered to no one.

“Having difficulties with thine new equipment, Starswirl?”

Starswirl, personal apprentice to Princess Celestia herself, spun around so fast he nearly tripped on the hem of his long cloak. “Pr-principem Luna! Dimittis me nesciebant…”

“In the new common tongue, please. If we don’t use it, nopony will.” The goddess of the moon smiled gently as she landed on the observatory floor.

“Yes… of course. Forgivest me, majesty. It’s still taking some getting used to.” Starswirl’s tongue stumbled slightly as he tried to slip into the new common language of Equestria. “I hope this doesn’t mean the languages of the three tribes will fade into obscurity?”

Princess Luna chuckled as she peeked through the telescope’s lens. “Fear not, Starswirl. We have a feeling that some ponies will always carry on the old words.”

“Comforting.” Starswirl again consulted his scroll. “Has thine sister left on her journey yet?”

Luna nodded. “She should arrive in the Lands of Chaos early tomorrow. I can only hope their ruler will be open to the alliance she plans to offer him.”

Starswirl was barely listening. His charts were all wrong. “This can’t be right…”

“What vexes thee this beautiful evening?”

He gestured at the night sky. “These constellations are all wrong. Half these stars weren’t in the sky last night.”

“Ah.” Princess Luna took a step back and looked away in embarrassment. “We fear that is our fault. We are still getting used to our new abilities.” The shadowy blue pony’s eyes began to glow with an inner light.

Starswirl watched in wonder as the stars above began to move before his very eyes. Within seconds, the constellations he’d recorded the night previous were again in the sky.

“We are afraid that we are not quite as quick-learning as our sister.” Princess Luna’s eyes had faded and she was looking at the sky dejectedly. “We can only hope that, in time, we shall learn to be as confident in our new abilities as she is. To move the moon is one thing. To arrange the stars in the night sky…”

It had been mere months since the two alicorn sisters had been discovered on Equestria’s tallest mountaintop. Celestia, the elder sister, had taken to ruling like a second nature, inherently kind and benevolent. She’d recognized Starswirl’s potential and had selected him to be the first in what she hoped would be a long line of apprentice ponies.

Luna, the younger, was having a more difficult time adjusting.

Starswirl smiled and, without even thinking about it, placed his hoof on Luna’s. “Fear thee not, princess of the night. I, like your other subjects, have nothing but faith in you.”

She looked at him, her head cocked in confusion.

It took him a moment to realize that he had just laid an unwelcome hoof on one of Equestria’s rulers.

“Forgivest me!” He cried, leaping back so quickly that he smacked into the telescope. The impact sent the object spinning wildly and only a timely catch from Princess Luna’s magic stopped it from falling from the tall tower.

“Art thou alright?” Luna asked, craning her neck down to examine him. Her concerned face was inches from his own, and he found himself struck dumb by her beauty.

“I’m alright.” He whispered. “I simply did not wish to offend thee with my unworthy touch.”

She smiled. “Thine touch is hardly unworthy, Starswirl. In fact,” she narrowed her eyes, “thou art the first to lay a hoof on us.” Her hoof reached out and brushed his own. “We liked it.”

Starswirl felt blood rushing to his face as the goddess of the night’s luminous eyes took him in, almost seeming to study him. “Your majesty…” he started.

“Dost thou have a mate?”

The bluntness of her tone caught Starswirl off guard. “Princess?”

“We demand an answer.”

Starswirl swallowed. “No. All of Clover the Clever’s adepts were sworn to celibacy.”

She cocked an eyebrow. “Celibacy? What dost this mean?”

Starswirl felt himself being drawn into her eyes. He really wished she would back off ever so slightly… “We swore to her that we would not take mates. In order to keep ourselves totally devoted to the magical arts.”

Luna’s gaze softened. “Then thou must be as lonely as I.”

Starswirl felt his throat becoming dry again. “Lonely?”

“We may have powers beyond those of other ponies, Starswirl, but we are still a pony. And all ponies desire… companionship from time to time.”

Starswirl may have been a virgin, but he was no fool. “Be that as it may, highness, I am still sworn to…”

“Thou art no longer in the service of Clover the Clever.” Princess Luna whispered. “We have no intention of holding you to any vows set on you by that old crone.” She leaned closer to speak directly into his ear. “We have seen the way thou looks at us.”

Starswirl’s heart was beating a mile a minute. “Princess, I…”

“We are asking you to be our lover, Starswirl.”

There. She’d said it. Now came the hard part of letting her down without being sent into deep space. “Princess Luna, surely thou knows I cannot do so. Thou art more beautiful than any mare that mine eyes have ever seen, but…”

“But?”

“But thou art princess. Thou rules this land. If anypony were to find out…”

“Then this shall remain secret.”

Well, there went his best defense. He was formulating another when he felt her tongue slowly drift along his ear.

“Thou shalt not go unrewarded for thine… services.” She blew on the spot she’d just licked, making the adept shiver. “We shall see you have access to magics few ponies can dream of. Thou shalt become court advisor and chief wizard of the realm. Thine name shall be remembered for all time.” She pulled back and looked into his eyes, her own clouded with desire. “What dost thou say?”

Starswirl licked his lips. “I… I’m afraid I’m not terribly experienced.”

Luna inched her face forward until their lips were millimeters apart. “Neither are we. I suppose we will just have to teach each other. Art thou a quick learner?”

“The quickest.”

Their lips met in a fiery kiss, the first for them both. Their bodies entwined and they sank to the floor.

For many years after, ponies in the surrounding countryside would tell stories of that strange night when the stars moved together, almost as though they were dancing.

Or making love.

/////////////////////////////////////////////

Shining Armor put the first scroll aside. “Starswirl? As in Starswirl the Bearded?”

“He certainly wasn’t bearded back then. More like Starswirl the Peach-Fuzzed.” Veritas chuckled at his own joke as he continued pouring the drinks.

The two had retired to Veritas’ private quarters. Shining Armor was impressed; the princess’ certainly took care of those that cared for the archives. The room was quite spacious with several pieces of furniture and a small kitchen. A passage at the end presumably lead to the master librarian’s bedroom.

“So Starswirl was Luna’s first lover.”

“Indeed. And he was well rewarded for his efforts in pleasing the princess.” Veritas offered a glass of amber liquid to the unicorn who accepted it graciously. “Starswirl was given access to books of magic from faraway lands and artifacts of truly immense power. It was only by his association with the princess that he became the legend that he is today.”

“…But wasn’t Starswirl Clover the Clever’s teacher?”

“...certain bits of history get misconstrued over time.”

“How long were they… together?”

Veritas shrugged. “There’s no telling. At a certain point, Starswirl pulled away from the princesses and became a wandering mage. He supposedly died whilst wandering the Bad Lands.”

“Does anypony know why?”

“Not in the slightest. There are rumors that he finally encountered a spell even he could not understand. He was sure that by devoting himself entirely to the search for the answer, he would ultimately discover it.”

“And did he?”

Veritas shook his head. “No. I have his spell-book down here. The final spell is still unfinished.”

“The ruler of the Lands of Chaos…?”

“You can probably guess that he was very much against the proposed union.”

“What happened?”

“The ponies living under him rebelled, rejecting his ‘beautiful nonsense.’ He abandoned them and vanished for nearly a thousand years. His last trick was transforming their lush paradise into the barren wastes we now call the Bad Lands.” Veritas peered into his glass. “The lord of mischief would not be seen again until his failed coup on Equestria just before Luna’s banishment.”

Shining Armor sipped his drink and made for the next scroll. “How many years later is this one?”

’The Testimony of Busara of Zebora.’” Veritas recited from memory. “Just over three hundred years later, I believe.”

“Zebora? One of Luna's lovers was a zebra?”

Veritas looked at Shining Armor with hidden wisdom in his eyes. “The princess’ tastes varied over the centuries, your majesty. As you’ll soon see if you keep reading.”

Confusion foremost in his mind, Shining Armor raised the scroll to eye level and began to read.