• Published 9th Apr 2012
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Lost Tales from the Silmareillion: Morgoth in Equestria - Imperius

The Dark Lord is defeated and given a chance at redemption by Ilúvatar

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The Nightmare and The Dark Enemy

After his particularly horrifying meeting with Celestia, Morgoth had chosen to spend the rest of his day in the Royal Library acquiring the most potent weapon one could possess: knowledge. He sat at a table pouring over the only book he could find pertaining to the Elements of Harmony and had just about given up on the book when he came upon something which immediately recaptured him.

“Nightmare Moon?” he muttered to himself.

To his surprise this Nightmare creature had been his sister, Luna. It was nearly unthinkable that in this world of peace and love anything of such evil could occur. With renewed interest he dove into the story of the Nightmare.

She was the mistress of the night, the stars themselves lived and died at her passing whims. With great love she had painted the night sky, making it into a work of beauty for all of her beloved subjects to gaze upon. Celestia’s day may have been bright and glorious, but its brilliance could not compare to the subtle beauty of the midnight heavens that Luna commanded. Her subjects deserved only the best and she strove to give it to them.

But despite her best efforts they all still simply slept through the night, never taking the time to look upon the gift she had labored endlessly to give them. At first she interpreted this as a failing on her part, surely it must have been many degrees less grand than she imagined, there was no other explanation. So she continued to labor, she even studied the paintings and poetry of her subjects seeking inspirations for what they might consider to be a perfect sky.

But still none even spared a glance at the stars and she became distraught and fell into doubt. If she could not produce a sky that her subjects would even look at then perhaps she was not meant to be the princess of the night. After all it could only be because of her repeated failures that they ignored it, could it not? And so Luna fell through shame, believing that she was unfit to rule if her creations were so shunned by the ponies she ruled.

But then from the shame arose great pride. Her sky was a thing of absolute beauty, greater even than the day which the ponies so worshipped and revered. Luna decided that it was not because of imperfections, but the inopportune placement of night in the daily cycle. Surely if the ponies were awake when the moon shone they would turn their gazes skyward and rejoice in the beauty of the night their princess so lovingly brought them.

All she needed was a single day to show them, after that day they would know of what beauty they missed in their sleep. So Luna resolved that for a single day she would not lower the moon, surely her sister would understand her desire, for was Celestia not the wisest and kindest pony in the kingdom?

But when the day came where she did not lower the moon it was met not with the joyous celebration she anticipated, but with cries of fear and uncertainty. When they had turned their gazes skyward to see not the sun, but the moon looking down upon them the ponies had become afraid, thinking that perhaps some great disaster had come about. When Celestia discovered Luna’s plan and saw the calamity that had befallen the kingdom she went to her sister and scolded her for her rashness.

Then Luna became ashamed and resented it, for she had thought her night would be better received. And she felt betrayed by her sister, who had not lifted a hoof to aid her in her time of need and uncertainty. It was here that bitterness took root and began to grow within the younger sister and her pride led her to believe that her sister was not as wise or kind as she had once believed and so thought her a tyrant. It was here that her pride became a lust for domination.

When one day Celestia was unable to bring the sun again, she went to Luna thinking it to be another bout of rebellion from her younger sister. But when she came to chastise Luna she found her sister changed. No longer did her form reflect her position as the youngest sister, but rather she remade herself in the image her great pride led her to see herself as. Here she claimed that Celestia was unjust and was unfit to rule and challenged her for her crown.

Celestia pleaded with her sister, trying to bring her to reason, but Luna would have none of it. She challenged Celestia for sole rulership of Equestria, but was overconfident and had been drained from pouring so much of her power into the skies and was easily rebuked. Fearing her sister would destroy her, Luna consumed the power she fed into the stars and unleashed a spell that devastated the sprawling palace and forced Celestia to flee, fearful that in her rage Luna would bring ruin to the whole kingdom.

Luna knew her victory had only come through luck and so allowed her sister to flee to Canterlot. Instead she made the ruined palace her own. In further defiance of her sister she harnessed her great power and used it to raise up a great forest about the palace which consumed the land for uncounted miles in all directions, making it her own kingdom within her sister’s. The forest was twisted and evil, and the newly christened Nightmare Moon named it Everfree so that her sister would know there was yet land that did not bow to her.

Knowing that she could never oppose her sister alone, the Nightmare went out and captured many creatures of the land and through torture and foul crafts twisted them into monsters to serve her. She poured her power into her servants and made them greater than any being that bent its knee to Celestia. Then with her army of monsters the Nightmare left the forest and marched on Equestria and began to cast down the works of her sister.

Celestia, though distraught, saw the threat posed by her sister and with great sadness called to her every subject willing to aid in the defense of the kingdom. To her surprise, there was not one being that did not heed her call. Not just the kingdom, but the entire world rushed to the aid of the sun princess. All knew that the Nightmare would not be satisfied with just the land of the ponies and would seek dominion over all and set out to defy her. Minotaurs, buffaloes, diamond dogs, and countless others rushed to the aid of the ponies. But none came in greater numbers than the gryphons, the great mountains of the north emptied and they were of such legion that on wing their number blotted out the great moon.

The Nightmare became fearful of the number of Celestia’s allies and called to the gryphons, seeking to seduce them them with power and gifts. Yet they held fast and rebuffed her efforts and the Nightmare was surprised and unnerved by their valor.

When the battle was joined the fighting covered all of Equestria. Eventually Celestia met the Nightmare in battle and it was as if the entire world stood still to watch. The Nightmare was powerful, but she had given too much of her power to her servants and had become weak, and to compound that, Celestia had brought forth her greatest weapon; The Elements of Harmony. Tearfully, she sent their power against the Nightmare and banished her, locking her within the moon she so cherished.

With the Nightmare gone, the army of monsters was driven back into the Everfree by the great alliance, where they were imprisoned forever. Celestia then took up her sister’s mantle in addition to her own and began her lonely rule of Equestria.

The moon had risen by the time Morgoth had finished the story of the Nightmare. He glanced out the window and blinked in surprise, it had been a long time since a book had captured his attention so. While his original goal had borne little fruit, as the Elements of Harmony were still a mystery to him, he had won an even greater victory. This knowledge of his sister would prove invaluable, he was sure. Perhaps he could even win himself an ally in this forsaken world.

With another glance at the newly risen moon he closed the book and got to his feet. It was time for a chat with dear Luna.

He stood once more before the doors to the throne room, his eyes scanning over the considerably smaller group of petitioners awaiting their audiences. Idly he noted how they all seemed to radiate anxiety and smiled to himself, it could prove a rather useful talking point with Luna.

As he approached he noted with mild annoyance that the same damned pony waited by the entrance. Did the wretch never sleep? Fortunately for him, he was spared another infuriating encounter with the chamberlain when a guard intercepted him.

“Are you Shadowfax?” the guard asked gruffly.

“Aye, guardsman, that is my name.” he confirmed. “Is there some matter with which I can assist thee?”

“Princess Luna has requested an audience with you at your earliest convenience.” the guardspony explained.

“Ah, this is excellent news, indeed. It is for this very same reason I have come here this eve.” Morgoth said.

The guard nodded. “Very well, a Night Guard shall accompany you to the princess’s chambers.” As the guard finished speaking Morgoth noticed a look of apprehension cross his face while his eyes focused on a spot slightly behind him.

“All yours, Midnight.” the guard said as he turned away.

He stared quizzically after the retreating guard and was slightly startled by a rasping voice behind him. “Come with me, I shall be your escort.”

Morgoth whirled to face the new pony, he was sure this one had not been there a moment before. Standing before him was a pony that, if he were to be honest, he felt he might actually like. Finned, dark purple segmented armor covered his form and he gave off a generally unfriendly aura. What Morgoth noticed most about this pony were his yellow snake-like eyes and black bat wings, he’d certainly never seen a pony like that before. He idly wished more ponies looked like this, it would make him hate this world far less.

“My thanks. Lead the way, guardsman.” Morgoth said. The pony nodded and set off without waiting for him to follow.

Morgoth followed after the Night Guard with a slight growl of irritation. Thankfully this pony seemed to understand the value of silence and made no attempts at conversation. All the answers he had for the few questions Morgoth did ask were kept to a single word. Though Morgoth swiftly ended all attempts at polite conversation when the pony made a remark about how talkative he was.

They made their way through the palace for a while, Morgoth taking in the various sights and noticing how different the palace seemed when it wasn’t lit dazzlingly bright by the sun or crowded with bothersome ponies. It almost seemed nice under the current circumstances. Eventually the two arrived at one of the palace’s many towers, at the top of which lay Luna’s chambers. After the lengthy climb up the spiral stairs they arrived at a large, but otherwise unremarkable set of double doors.

“These are the princess’s chambers. You may wait within until Night Court is concluded, then the princess shall join you.” the Night Guard rasped.

Morgoth turned from his position at the door to thank the guard, but found that he had already disappeared. He liked this pony, no pointless word mincing or formalities, and the armor was certainly a refreshing change from the blinding gold the other guards wore. If Luna was anything like her guards he could see the two of them possibly getting along.

He pushed the door open and made his way into Luna’s bedchambers. It was surprisingly sparse with just a bed, a writing desk, and a bookcase as the only real furnishings. By a window stood a telescope with a few star charts scattered about the floor around it. Scattered upon the desk were various quills and rolls of parchment. He read over a scroll to see if perhaps there was anything of interest written upon it.

Tax code? What nonsense was this? Was this something his sister enjoyed? He read a few lines of Luna’s cramped, neat script and was instantly repulsed. Surely they had servants for such lesser concerns, what Vala would ever give notice to such trivial matters? He gave an exasperated sigh and distanced himself from the desk. What manner of being could possibly find joy in any of that?

Ruling was such a loathsome thing, why would one ever wish to subjugate when one could simply destroy? While he himself did attempt to dominate Middle-earth, it had been only to take away something that the Valar had. He didn’t really want it, but he couldn’t simply let the others have it, now could he?

He was shaken from his thoughts by the sound of the door creaking open followed by hoofsteps.

“Ah, so you are the Shadowfax that Celestia spoke so highly of.” a voice said.

Morgoth turned around to face the speaker to find Luna standing in the doorway. He certainly did prefer her choice of appearance over Celestia’s, there was no ridiculous flowing rainbow mane or blindingly bright coat. She wasn’t exactly as he was hoping she’d be, but looking at her didn’t fill him with the urge to tear out his own eyes, and that was certainly better than almost every other pony he’d met thus far.

“And thou wouldst be Luna, I imagine. It has been far too long since last we spoke.” Morgoth said, slipping back into his mask of kindness with practiced ease.

“I’m sure it has, but I must confess that Celestia has told me little of you, she said she wanted it to be a surprise.” Morgoth could hear the slight exasperation of her sister’s antics in her voice. “All I know is what Eru told me, that you are my kin. Though I do not know which one you are.”

“How thou hast wounded me, my sister!” he said with mock hurt. “Hast thou so quickly forgotten the one thou sang with in the Ainulindalë?”

Luna’s eyes widened in surprise. “Are you... Melkor?”

Morgoth nodded. “Aye, that I am.”

After a moment Luna smiled. “It is good to see you again, Melkor.” she said. “Though I never thought you would be so inclined to appear as a common earth pony. Considering how you so loved to flaunt your power I would have thought for sure that by this point I'd thinking up an explanation to the kingdom as to why a red and black alicorn is parading around Canterlot.”

“I assure thee, Luna, it was not by choice that I have appeared as such. Were it that the choice was mine to make I would be as a great winged dragon and this conversation be held outside.” he joked.

Luna gave a soft laugh at Melkor’s boasting. “So tell me, brother, what is it that has brought you here to Equestria? Surely such a peaceful world could hold little of interest for one such as you.”

Morgoth chose his next words very carefully, with them he may very well win himself an ally. He gave a sigh of sadness and began. “I am here because none in Arda could see the greatness I wrought upon it for what it truly was. I tried to show them something new and grand and they thought me a villain for it.”

He smiled within his mind as he saw her own smile drop into a sad frown. “I am... sorry to hear that. You speak of your own song during the Great Music?”

“Aye.” he nodded. “They could not see it for the improvement it was and so rebuked me when I tried to make manifest my vision upon the world.”

“But did they not see the genius of your song?” she asked, her voice filled with surprise. “In the Third Theme they wove your music into their own and made them into one great song. Is that not what you desired?”

Morgoth smiled to himself. “Ah yes, the theme of the race of Men. But they were not as I wished, it seems as though I am not the creator I so desire to be. Thy own talent in that regard greatly surpasses my own.” he said, gesturing at the night sky through the window. “Thy subjects must consider themselves lucky to have such a masterful artist as thee as their ruler.”

To his pleasure he saw Luna’s face fall even further. This may very well go just as easily as he’d hoped.

“Most ponies prefer to be in bed by the time the moon comes out, very few are ever awake to appreciate it.” she said glumly.

“Surely this is some jest.” he insisted. “Even in Arda the sky is not nearly so beautiful as this! Dost thou truly expect me to believe that there are so few who are able to appreciate its beauty?”

Luna gave a sad sigh. “These days there are far more ponies willing to look up at the moon, but it’s still nothing like the adoration Celestia gets.”

He remembered back to the story. “Perhaps they do not know what beauty they miss? Couldst thou not simply leave the moon in the sky for a single day and show them?”

Luna winced. “I... tried that once a long time ago. It was not so well received. The ponies all panicked and screamed, thinking the world was ending or some other nonsense. Then Celestia chastised me for it and.. well it led to some things I’m not proud of.”

“Does what so torments thee have any relation to the Nightmare incident I have heard of?” he pushed.

Luna looked ashamed to hear him say it. “You know about that?” she asked dejectedly.

“I have heard of it in passing, though I possess no true knowledge of the events of the time. Wouldst thou perhaps share with me the story?” he asked.

“It is not something I enjoy speaking of.” she said softly. “It is my greatest shame.”

Morgoth gave her a sympathetic smile. “Thou has naught to fear from telling me, I shall not pass any unfair judgement upon thee. Come, tell me of thy troubles, recount to me the story of the Nightmare.”

Luna sighed softly and made her way over to her bed, making herself comfortable upon it. Morgoth followed her and sat down on the floor before her and awaited the telling to begin.

“I was jealous of my sister.” she began. “The ponies loved her day so much but paid so little attention to the night, no matter how much effort I put into it. Celestia didn’t even have to try, she just raised the sun and the whole kingdom cheered.”

Morgoth nodded. “It seems quite an unfairness.” he remarked.

“That’s exactly what I thought.” Luna agreed. “Then one day I got it in my head to do what you just suggested. I thought if I just kept the moon out for a day the ponies would see what they were missing. But they all just panicked and thought the world was ending, as I said before.”

“Mortals are easily frightened by that which they have no understanding of.” Morgoth commented.

Luna sighed. “Then Celestia came and chastised me. She said what I did was irresponsible and childish and that I shouldn’t have acted so rashly. I thought she of all ponies would have understood and I was so upset when she said that.”

“And rightly so!” Morgoth exclaimed. “Should kin not stand by one another? It is their duty to help each other up when they are at their lowest, she should have done this for you.”

“That’s exactly what I thought, too.” Luna said sadly, much to Morgoth’s delight. “And it made me so mad that she thought that way. I got it in my head that if she wasn’t as wise or as kind as I had thought then maybe she wasn’t a fit ruler. It’s such a childish thought, I know, but I was just so mad and I wasn’t really thinking clearly...”

“You challenged Celestia?” he asked, feigning surprise.

Luna nodded. “I did, I ended up destroying our old palace in the fight. Then I raised up the Everfree around it and made my own little empire in it. And to this day that cursed forest is still there, constantly reminding me of my foolishness. You must have seen it for yourself.”

Morgoth nodded a confirmation. “Aye, I saw it. It reminds me of the forests of Arda.”

“Well I raised up an army of monsters in there to challenge Celestia. And so long story short I marched against her with the monsters, but her Host of Canterlot, as historians seem to call it now, crushed it utterly and my sister sent me to the moon for a thousand years. They named me Nightmare Moon after that, it’s been centuries since my real name has actually been spoken.”

“I know the feeling, dear Luna. Much the same happened to me, for the changes I attempted to bring to Arda I was renamed Morgoth, The Dark Enemy, and Melkor was never spoken of again.”

Luna forced a laugh. “I do not mean to sound petulant or childish, but it does me good to see that there is at least one other to whom I can relate.”

Morgoth laughed and put a hoof to his chin in mock thoughtfulness. “Would this perhaps be why the petitioners for thy Night Court appeared so apprehensive? Do they still fear thee?” he asked.

Luna grimaced. “Yes, I’ve not been back long from my imprisonment and most of Equestria still sees me as the Nightmare. It can really get to me. The looks of fear the ponies give me can really hurt sometimes.”

“From speaking with thee just this one time I can already see that their fears be completely unfounded. T’was not thy fault that Celestia could not see thy genius. One might even think perhaps she was jealous of thy talent.”

Luna laughed softly. “That’s what I thought. That she was just jealous of me and wanted to keep me out of the way so the kingdom would love her instead.”

Morgoth roared his victory within his mind. He had her now, sometimes it was far too easy.

“But I know now that this was never the case.”



Luna nodded. “It was my own jealousy that bred such thoughts. It’s not the beauty of my sky that matters. I’m the warden of their dreams, they may sleep away my beautiful night, but what I bring them in their sleep they cherish just as much as the sun, and I lost sight of this all those years ago. But if a few ponies want to stay up and gaze at the sky I’ll take that as a bonus.” She gazed out the window. “The stars will always be there for them.”

Luna turned back to regard Morgoth. “I must thank you for taking the time to listen to me, I’ve not had the chance to speak with anypony about the happenings of that time since I came back. It feels good to be able to talk to somepony about it, especially a neutral party like you, it helps to see that not everypony thinks me a monster for what I did. I really can’t thank you enough, it’s such a load off of my mind.”

By Ilúvatar, what just happened here? Had he not come to corrupt her? To gain an ally to aid him in his escape from his bondage? Somehow he had managed to do the exact opposite.

“I... I am pleased that I have managed to help thee in this way, Luna. After all, is that not what kin are for?” he said, recovering from his shock.

Luna gave him a heartwarming smile. “I consider myself lucky to count you as a friend, Melkor. I see now why you were made the greatest of the Ainur, there is none more deserving in all of Eä to be the lord of the Aratar.”

Despite his irritation at his scheme having failed, he still managed to soak in the praise. He decided not to mention that he had not been counted among the Aratar’s ranks in millenia, she didn’t really need to know that anyways. But then there was that word again, “friend,” these ponies seemed to accept just about anyone as their friends.

“I think I have taken enough of your time for tonight, my friend.” Luna said, interrupting his musings. “You should be off to bed, I hear from my sister you will be leaving for Ponyville in the morning, so I will not keep you any longer as I’m sure you wish to sleep. You have been very kind to listen to my troubled ramblings for so long and I shall not impose upon you further. I will ensure that your dreams this evening will be pleasant.”

Morgoth stood up and gave her a smile. “It has been good to see thee again, dear sister. I pray that it is not long before next we meet.” He turned to leave, but as he pushed the door open he called back over his shoulder. “I bid thee farewell and wish thee the best of evenings, Lady Nightmare.”

He saw Luna crack a smile as she called back to him. “The same to you, Lord Morgoth.”