• Published 3rd May 2014
  • 3,665 Views, 174 Comments

Eclipse - 8686



A recurring nightmare convinces Luna that, since her return, she has never regained her sister's complete trust. And at the forthcoming Festival of the Eclipse, she decides to make amends with a bold gesture: she removes the moon from the sky.

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Prologue

–Prologue–

The dream was familiar.

Luna found herself in surroundings with which she was well acquainted. An ancient castle she had once lovingly called home.

"Not another step!"

A disembodied observer without form or facet, Luna watched as her own visage appeared at the low terrace at one end of the once great hall while at the other, her sister stood with determined but reluctant resolve.

"Did you really expect me to stand idly by while they all basked in your precious light?!"

"Luna, please. Do not do this! Not again!"

"'Luna?' Why do you insist on calling me by that archaic name, dear sister?"

The visage of Luna raised her forehooves and took wing, hovering six feet in the air. Her horn ignited with magical energy and the walls of the ancient castle shook, crumpled and fell as though made of nothing more substantial than paper.

Behind the crumbling facade stood a second set of pristine marble walls and colonnades. The Grand Hall of present-day Canterlot Castle. Each of the famous stained glass windows no longer depicting the triumphs of good over evil, but instead displaying the horrific image of Nightmare Moon.

A blinding light. An explosion. The far wall of the Hall vapourised into choking dust. When the smoke cleared Luna had ceased to be, replaced by the evil form of the queen of the night.

Beyond the destroyed wall the moon rose from beneath the horizon, hunting down the hapless sun. It occluded it. Devoured it. Destroyed it. The heavens turned to black as the sun vanished forever, leaving only a perfect white orb in its place amidst the permanent night sky.

"Luna, this is not you!" Celestia shook her head firmly, but the resolute confidence in her eyes wavered. "You are my sister, not a monster. Luna, you must fight it! Please!"

"Luna is gone," Nightmare Moon cackled with glee. "Destroyed over a thousand years ago." She landed on her hooves in front of Celestia adopting an evil grin and a low, mocking tone. "She never came back, foolish sister. It has always been me..."

Celestia lit her own horn and behind her, from a large stone trapdoor in the floor that should not have existed, an ornate white-stone plinth emerged. A central column supporting five outstretched arms and atop each, a different coloured gemstone floating softly.

An apple. A balloon. A butterfly. A diamond. A lightning bolt. A star.

"Please, Luna. Do not make me do this again." Celestia's defiant tone remained, but her eyes glistened with the threat of tears. "I do not want to lose you..."

Nightmare Moon only laughed maniacally. "There can only be one Princess in Equestria. And after I have destroyed you, your subjects, your students, your friends...will all bow before me!"

"No! I...I cannot let you. I'm so sorry."

Celestia's horn lit once more, a golden yellow aura enveloping the six gemstones. They floated from their pedestals to her, surrounded her, began to spin and...

Impossibly, at the same moment, all six gems simply slipped from her magical grasp. As one they fell to the marble floor with a clatter. Celestia gasped as she stared at them. Each was now lifeless and grey, devoid of all shine and sparkle; cracked and chipped and nothing more than inert pieces of stone.

Still cackling, Nightmare Moon reared up and with her full weight brought her hooves crashing to the floor. Succumbing at once to the impact, the former Elements disintegrated into a hundred pieces. Obliterated forever.

Tearing her eyes away from the ruined fragments, Celestia glared at Nightmare Moon before her. A tear streamed down each cheek.

"Please. I do not want to fight you. I beg you: give me back my sister and leave us in peace."

There was yet more cackling. "I am your sister! And if you will not fight me, then prepare to meet your doom!"

As one, both let out angry, raging battle cries and galloped towards the other. Magical attacks were exchanged and deflected as they raced headlong towards a collision.

The two combatants met, each adopting a fighting stance and preparing to strike. Nightmare Moon's foreleg raised, Celestia with outstretched hooves. As they made contact a blinding white light obscured all vision for a moment, and then everything was black and empty...

...

Gasping heavily for breath, Luna sat bolt upright, eyes snapping open, instantly alert. Her breathing was ragged, her coat damp with cold sweat, her bedclothes in disarray. She didn't usually get so swept up, but the dream had been unusually intense.

She surveyed her surroundings, relieved to find herself in her bedchamber in the castle, the dead of night otherwise undisturbed. Quickly bringing her breathing under control, she calmed herself and turned her thoughts and expertise to analysing the nightmare before her.

There were many things about it that were disconcerting. It was familiar, for one. Recurring dreams signified that the contents were a persistent source of concern to the dreamer.

Then there was the theme of irreversible catastrophe. Details such as the sun and Elements of Harmony being irretrievably destroyed pointed to feelings of insecurity and uncertainty on a very basic level.

But quite aside from those the main concern; the thing that troubled her most of all...

It had not been her dream.