• Published 2nd Jul 2013
  • 2,850 Views, 18 Comments

Black Heart - Vohira



Nopony can come out unchanged from a fight with a demigoddess.

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10
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Prologue

Prologue

Princess Twilight Sparkle woke up suddenly. Her eyes snapped open, her head darted left and right looking around an unfamiliar scenery.

Not a body length away was the edge of a moderately high cliff on which she found herself. As far as her eyes could see, under the light of the full moon and stars, stretched a forest. Wisps of mist slowly rolled around the tree tops, seemingly glowing with faint inner light. Seconds later she felt the soft grass and moss she was laying on, she felt the gentle wind tugging at her mane. When she turned her gaze at her more immediate surrounding she could see the small droplets of dew, that adored the perfect blades of grass like small diamonds glittering in the moonlight. Sitting up and looking behind her she saw the same forest she saw below, with mist rolling in between the trees. Shadows seemed to dance around the tree’s roots. Then after a few heart beats she felt the gentle, warm wind tugging at her mane. It brought with it a delicate fragrance. She couldn’t name the sweet smell... but she could swear she smelled it before. Sound came rushing in, filling the total silence that surrounded her until now. The lavender alicorn could finally hear the rustling of the leaves and a distant splashing of water, a stream or a waterfall. And then there were the whispering voices, seemingly coming from the shadows themselves. They spoke words of power and ancient lore, she couldn’t understand the words spoken, but somehow she knew in her heart what they were.

Suddenly Twilight became aware of one thing, she experienced those things only if she wanted to notice them. It was a strange experience, as if her senses came back to her only if she focused on appropriate details. Finally when all her senses were returned to her, the world lost it sharp focus, the mist seemingly expanding and thinning, covering the world around her in a silvery haze of mist and moonlight.

“Where am I?” She whispered, wonder and a bit of fear were evident in her voice. The scenery was as beautiful to her as it was dangerous. After all, she had no idea where she was... or how she got here.

As if trying to answer her, the shadows whispered a bit more loudly, the cacophony of words and voices becoming one voice for a brief moment. They had the answer, but Twilight could not understand them beyond her instinctual knowledge of basic meanings. After that the shadows became silent.

Twilight was becoming unnerved by the experience, so it was no wonder that she jumped up, startled, when the trees began to move. The rustling of the leaves grew in volume, the diamond like dew was falling from the leaves. And there was a path forming before Twilight’s eyes. When it was over the whispers came back. Now the voices were promising, encouraging.

The youngest Princess gulped, and licked her lips nervously. It wasn’t as if she had other options... well, she had her wings. However there was a nagging feeling in her mind, that she really wasn’t that good when it came to flying. So with a small sigh she stood up and slowly, casting her gaze suspiciously around her, she started to walk down the path created for her.

**********

It didn’t take her long to find first evidence, that her suspiciousness was not baseless. Deeper in the forest almost beyond her sight, where the silvery mist haze and shadows became an impenetrable wall, she could make out patches of Poison Joke. Taking a longer and deeper breath she now identified the sweet smell. It was the blue flower’s smell. But it was stronger than she remembered... fuller.

For Twilight it felt like hours, before she noticed that the sound of splashing water became clearer. After a few more steps, she suddenly found herself in a clearing, the mist was reduced here only to a few wisps flowing slowly near the ground. At the far side of the clearing, she saw another cliff wall with a waterfall. Below it was a small lake that turned into a small stream that disappeared into the forest on her right side. The water was crystal clear, like nothing she had ever seen in nature. Few deep blue lotus flowers were floating on the surface. The grass in the clearing was as perfect as the one she had woken up on.

But it was not the perfect scenery that drew her attention. It was the slim, royal figure resting on the bank of the small lake. Twilight could spot droplets of dew on her coat, that added with her starry mane and tail made her look like a fragment of the night sky that just happened to look like a pony. Her wings were slightly unfolded, and her gaze was directed at her. Luna’s half lidded eyes were full of smoldering feelings. The dark alicorn had a small, playful, even seductive smile on her muzzle. And then there was the single Poison Joke flower, more pristine than any she had seen, tucked behind the Night Princess left ear.

“Princess Luna... What... How...” Twilight felt like her mind would explode with questions. It was too surreal to be true. But she could not deny what she saw or what she experienced so far.

“Twilight, my dear Twilight...” Luna’s voice was a soothing whisper, barely louder that the falling water. But it was as if the shadows themselves repeated her words, creating a strange echo. “Come here.” Saying that, Luna lifted her right wing in an inviting gesture.

This was a bit too much for Twilight, and with her mind still being a storm of thoughts and emotions, she crossed the distance to the Lunar Princess, and slowly laid down near her. When the dark blue wing draped over her, she almost instantly relaxed. She was safe, she would get answers.

“Princess, where are we? And how-” Before Twilight could finish asking her two most important questions, she was silenced by a dark blue hoof placed gently against her lips.

“I think... That we can forgo the formalities?” The smile on the dark blue alicorn’s lips grew a bit wider. She turned a bit to have a better angle, this made her wing slide down the lavender alicorn’s back, stopping on her flank. The maneuver elicited a small gasp of embarrassment from Twilight.

Her eyes grew wide, and she blushed when she felt the delicate dark blue feathers on her flank. Twilight looked deeply into Luna’s still half lidded eyes. This close she could see barely restrained passion in them. And as much as it scared her, it excited a part of her she normally wasn’t aware of. Her mind was in a loop, asking the same question over and over... What’s going on?

Her thoughts came to a sudden stop as Twilight saw Luna lean closer to her, and the closer their muzzles were, the more overpowering was the sweet smell of Poison Joke. Her vision began to blur a bit, the smell making her react almost the same way as if she was drunk. She was faintly aware of the shadows that whispered praises in both their names.

But when she felt the soft, delicate and warm lips of Luna’s press against hers... The world snapped back into focus and Twilight jerked her head back. She saw the slight disappointment in Luna’s eyes.

“You will tell me what is going on right now Luna!” Twilight demanded, and it seemed as if the whole world shuddered at the strenght in her words.

“Don’t you ever wonder what secrets lie in the Shadows, in the Night... Twilight?” Luna looked up at the star filled sky and at the full moon... That strangely bore the image of the Mare in the Moon.

Twilight followed Luna’s gaze, and bit back a gasp as she saw the shadowy image on the surface of the moon. How come she didn’t see it earlier? But... she looked down again, the dark blue alicorn was right here. Writing it off as another strange thing about this place, Twilight focused on the question. Oh, she did wonder, she even researched the subjects for a while. But there were only short, vague passages about anything relevant or powerful connected to the Night... Even less when it came to Shadows, with the last known master of Shadow magic being King Sombra. It was tempting to unravel such secrets, but she had faith that such information were kept hidden for good reasons. However...

“I do. But there are some things... better left forgotten. And you didn't answer me.” Twilight knew that although her voice was full of conviction, she was not. Her conviction about keeping knowledge repressed was weak at best. In the end magic was just a tool, some of it was dangerous, yes... But she believed that intent was what mattered. She was the Element of Magic, she should know.

“Celestia imparted her knowledge to you... I merely wanted to do the same.” The dark alicorn’s eyes gazed again directly at Twilight.

“But then... Why here? What is this place?”

“My sanctuary. The one place Celestia can’t meddle with.” Luna answered a bit cryptically smiling again, that seductive smile of hers. “And I wanted to spend some time with you... alone.” At the last word she slightly moved her wing that still rested on Twilight’s flank, forgotten by the lavender mare.

“W-wait a moment... You don’t mean... Well you do, but...” Twilight was slowly turning beet red. That last answer was too vague for her liking, and the other mare’s behavior was not helping. But truth be told, the prospect of gaining more knowledge excited her. Even if it was forbidden knowledge. And on top of that Luna wanted to... spend time alone... with her. Her of all mares and stallions out there. Nopony ever showed that kind of interest in her.

She was dragged out of her thoughtful state by the now familiar sensation of soft lips against hers. This time however she let it linger for a bit, before withdrawing.

“I didn’t say yes to anything Luna...” Twilight wanted it to sound scolding, but she couldn’t do it. She was beginning to get lost in the new possibilities and sensations presented to her... And the sweet smell of that treacherous, yet beautiful blue flower.

“That’s why I’m helping you with the decision.” As the dark alicorn said that, mischievous sparkles appeared to dance in her eyes. The shadows began whispering again, promising secrets and knowledge long lost to ponykind.

It should be an easy decision for Twilight, but some part of her, warred with the rest of her that wanted to just accept the other Princess's proposition. After minutes of silence Twilight took in a longer breath and for a second she looked at the small lake, to clear her mind, to calm herself before saying anything that she might regret later.

And that’s the moment when she saw her. In the crystal clear water, Twilight saw her lavender body snuggled into a black alicorn, with teal draconic eyes. Her heart skipped a beat, her eyes widened and without thinking she moved, putting some distance between herself and Nightmare Moon. Spinning around she charged her horn with her magic.

“I should have realized sooner how suspicious all of this was...” The smaller alicorn almost growled in irritation. When she realized she was being tricked the illusion wavered, and soon enough, Twilight saw a familiar black alicorn taking a deeper breath and sighing heavily.

Nightmare Moon still wondered how she ended up in such predicament. It was an error of the Elements for all she knew. Something everypony missed. Her magic left a lasting imprint on Twilight Sparkle when she went after her and the Elements, when she took the stones. She tagged along then, but in doing so some of her dark magic had to taint the then unicorn’s aura. And when Twilight used dark magic, she awakened. The lavender's mare ascension gave her strength to do what she had done tonight.

“Calm yourself Twilight Sparkle, I am not your enemy... At least not any more...”

“I find it hard to believe, Nightmare Moon. How could you do it Luna? You’re betraying Celestia again...” Twilight leveled an accusatory glare at the larger alicorn. Maybe she didn’t fully know what was going on here, but now she could at least guess.

“Not everything is as it seems. As I told you, we are in my sanctuary... the realm of dreams. More specifically, in your dreamscape.” The dark alicorn spoke with resignation in her voice. “There, now you know.” She gave Twilight a sour look, now that the purple alicorn was aware of this fact, she had absolute power here. However, if being honest with her was the way to go... she was willing to part with some of the more vital information.

Twilight blinked slowly, that was new. It looked almost as if the Nightmare had surrendered herself to her. And was it all truly a dream...

“A lucid dream... That actually would explain quite a lot...” The youngest Princess said quietly. “However that doesn’t explain you being here.” Her voice rose in volume and she glared yet again at the dark figure lying on the perfect grass.

“Think of me as a fragment that just tagged along, after our fight at the Old Castle. And before you ask, no I have no power over you whatsoever. Just twisting this lucid dream setting to suit my needs is incredibly difficult for me.”

Twilight looked at Nightmare, her posture that spoke of surrender and acceptance of her state. She wondered, what it felt to know that you were just a lost fragment of a whole... She shook her head, she had more pressing issues than a philosophical debate.

Nightmare looked at the purple alicorn, as she started to pace around the clearing. From the beginning she knew that chances were low for her deception to succeed. Now everything was in Twilight’s hooves.

“How can I get rid of you?” Twilight stopped her pacing abruptly and looked the dark alicorn in the eyes, without fear.

“There is a ritual...” Nightmare trailed off as the shadows made their presence known again, chanting what seemed to be an incantation of some kind.

“And what’s going on with... those shadows?” Again, Twilight couldn’t understand a word.

“They are a representation of my memories and my mind, but you can not understand them for the simple reason... that they are also a representation of Dark Magic. You do not know it, maybe even fear it, and so you can’t understand-”

“Wait, wait, wait...” Twilight cut in.” I can... feel it’s some kind of magical incantation. So seeing that it started after I asked my question... You’re telling me that to get rid of you I would have to use Dark Magic?” The purple alicorn grimaced.

“Soul Magic to be precise.” The dark alicorn said a bit nonchalantly.

“I’ve never even heard of that branch of magic..” Twilight said with a bit of desperation in her voice, it looked like she was stuck with a fragment of Nightmare’s mind in her.

“Well, it is just a prettier name for Necromancy...” Nightmare couldn’t help it, she chuckled at the sight of Twilight. Her jaw dropped comically and eyes incredibly wide with disbelief.

“Tell me you’re not serious?” The smaller alicorn looked at her unwanted guest, and knew instantly. “You are...” She groaned and collapsed at the ground covering her head with her hooves. Necromancy in any form was a class one magical offense, and resulted in a lifelong imprisonment and binding of ones magic... If one get caught.

After that a tense silence stretched for what felt like hours. Until finally Twilight stood up again to see that the Nightmare didn't move from hers position.

“So... seeing as I’m not willing to use Necromancy, and you admitting to having only a miniscule influence over here. What should I do with you?”

“I have offered my knowledge and tutelage to you Twilight, I’m begging you, use it.” The Nightmare decided to stand up and she approached the crystal clear water, she looked down at her reflection. “My true self, after her reunion with Celestia, would never consider using the Dark Powers that are our birthright in front of others, I can feel it even now, she doesn't know it but she is subconsciously blocking her true power. However I can understand her, we are the same after all. She... I wanted our subjects admiration, sadly our gift is not well suited for such thing. I am a warrioress, the sword... Celestia was always the benevolent ruler, the guiding light. We understood it early on in our lives, but I still grew jealous and bitter.”

Twilight listened with attention to that little monologue. She would never admit it to the dark alicorn before her, but something stirred in her. Compassion. She bit her lower lip, everything was such a mess tonight... She closed her eyes.

“If I said yes, what would you get from it Nightmare?”

The dark alicorn slowly turned her head in the direction of the smaller mare. The corners of her lips twitched.

“Certainty that my knowledge would be in good hooves. That my... legacy, yes that’s a good word, would not be lost.”

Twilight thought about Nightmare’s words... To some degree it made sense to her, but it was too important decision to make it on this night. No matter how much the black alicorn... persuaded her, she was not going to give her an immediate answer.

“I should probably say ‘no’ right now, your attempt at deception shows that you can’t be fully trusted, no matter how resigned and regretful you seem to be Nightmare.” The youngest Princess took in a slow breath and grimaced a bit. “However I will give it some thought, until I make up my mind I really don’t want to see or hear you in my head.”

“That’s probably more than I could ask of you...” Nightmare sighed again, she was doing it quite often tonight. For her it truly was the best outcome, and for once sincerity paid off, even if only a little bit.

Twilight just nodded her head, closed her eyes and concentrated on wanting to wake up.

Slowly the world around them began to blur, and turn into seemingly unending field of silvery-gray mist. While Twilight’s representation vanished, images and sounds began to fill the grayish void. The purple alicorn was beginning to wake up.

Nightmare, floated in this void as a patch of dark blue mist.

“Compassion and curiosity... such a delightful combination...” She may be just a shard of her true self, but right now, all she cared about were the possibilities that her situation presented her with. It was a shame that her true self would probably disapprove of her actions... But then again, maybe she would approve. After all so few of their subjects shared her views and opinions, she would surely appreciate somepony as bright as Twilight siding with her. Her cold laughter echoed around the mindscape.

Author's Note:

Welcome to my newest story! I do hope you enjoyed this Prologue. Lately I found that there is not enough stories involving Nightmare Moon at least in some fashion. So I have decided to write my own.

Now this doesn't mean anything for my second story, Apprentice of the Stars. Although it hasn't been update for quite a while, I plan on updating it more frequently now.

Also, as with the Apprentice, this story is proof-read by The Archimedes.

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