• Published 15th Apr 2012
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Luna's Story: Rise of the Lunar Stallions - Aegis Shield



Luna falls comatose and is revived by the love-sick kiss of one of Celestia's guards.

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Muster Thy Brothers

Luna’s Story: Rise of the Lunar Stallions
Part 10: Muster Thy Brothers

Princess Luna had a certain bounce in her step that day. Everywhere she went she favored her servants with smiles, patience, and a non-Royal Canterlot Voice. She even startled her language teacher by using the word “I” when referring to herself several times. The palace gossip ran wild with why their princess was so happy, but the morale was certainly rising because of it. They were less afraid to approach her in the midnight court, and the nights were more dazzling than ever. One night she even blessed the Canterlot Astronomy Society with a brilliant meteor shower to coincide with their lectures about meteors. Their younger students were astounded. The dark alicorn felt on top of the world, and it certainly showed.

“Aegis Shield. Stalwart Hide. I would like to tour part of Canterlot.” She put a lot of accent onto the ‘I’, for she was trying her hardest to still learn the modern Equestrian tongue. Both lunar stallions smiled and accompanied her. They exited the palace, saluted to left and right by other guards posted in various places. Walking down the street, to the princess, was a big deal. Everywhere she went she was bowed to and called after. She smiled to her subjects, glancing skyward at the stars and admiring the shops and stands. Even in the middle of the night, Canterlot was a bustling burg.

“Heh.” Stalwart Hide managed before he could stop himself, looking into the window of a shop. This drew Luna’s attention, and she peered in as well. It was a toy store. She gaped at what she saw. In the window display were a series of plastic and plushie pony figurines. Smartie Pants, of course, was a popular seller. But that’s not what drew the princess’ gaze. In the middle of the display was an doll of herself and a lunar stallion.

“Faust alive.” Luna chuckled, pointing so both her guards would look. They pressed their noses to the window display. The Luna figurine was proportioned exactly right and looked just like her, aside from the mane which was normal hair. “It seems thou art more popular than me, my stallions.” She teased. The store owner came to take the lunar stallion from the display to sell it. The mare happened to glance up and see the genuine articles with their muzzles pressed to the glass. They couldn’t hear her squeak of shock, nor did they hear her hit the floor. “Oh dear…” Luna said, smiling apologetically. “Come.” She told her guards, turning and entering the store.

The store, Toys and Trumpets, was a brightly-colored foal’s wonderland. It had aisles of all sorts of toys and fun things, and the other half was devoted to trumpets and similar horns. (It wasn’t unusual for a store to embrace two types of products, such as Couches and Quills in Ponyville.) They found a strawberry-colored unicorn mare with a hat and apron on the floor clutching her heart. Aegis Shield volunteered to help her up. “Oh, so sorry. You startled me, princess.” She glanced warily at Aegis’ teeth, but otherwise seemed okay. She bowed low for a moment. “My legs just give out when I’m startled, you see.” She blushed a little, rushing to be behind the counter. Using her horn, she levitated the lunar stallion toy into a bag and took a hoof-full of bits from a stallion that was buying it. She nodded, and he was away.

“Thou sells the image of our guards here, and ourself.” Luna said, leaning over a kiosk display that had solar and lunar guards on it. Smiling with interest, she held one up to Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide. Both stallions could not help but smile a little. “Hmm, they’re quite good.” She admired the amount of detail in the plastic armor and the perfectly colored eyes.

“W-well, when foals started hearing about the lunar stallions, they wanted toys of them like they have of the solar guard.” The shop owner smiled bashfully. “I make custom pony toys, so it didn’t take long to make the designs.” Aegis Leaned over the display, wondering if he could see himself in any of the toys. It was flattering, really. “Little colts love them especially, since it’s a stallions-only sort of thing.” The mare snickered a little, nodding at the stallions as she spoke with Luna. The alicorn nodded with a bemused smile. The princess was pleased that the lunar stallions had become accepted enough to be made into foal play-things. It meant the general public didn’t fear them, and accepted them as legitimate forms of authority. “So, what brings you to my shop, princess?” the unicorn wanted to know.

Luna thought for a moment, then smiled. The deep-seeded alicorn desire to play pranks was itching her. “Mischief, of course.” The store owner blink-blinked, and the princess’s horn ignited. “Aegis Shield. Stalwart Hide. To me.” She gestured, pulling them into a sort of huddle. The lopsided grin on the princess’ face made them afraid.

A few minutes later, the window display table had been moved and Luna placed her guards in the stead of the action figures. A still as they could stand, they stood at attention in the silent display of pretending to be mannequins. The princess of the night spread her wings all the way out, standing between them and fixing a scowl on her muzzle. The store owner watched in amazement from behind the counter as they stayed that way for several minutes.

Before long a trio of foals rushed up to the window with big excited eyes. “Wowie-zowie! They look so real! Momma! Momma, come see!” one of them called over his shoulder. A mare came from out of the crowd, peering at the toy shop display. She cocked her head, peering closely at the lunar stallions. Even the armor looked real, wow… “I wonder if they’re selling life-size princess Luna’s!” one of the colts said, peering up at the princess of the night. Luna had to work very, very hard not to laugh. “Can we go in Momma, can we can we?” all three colts turned to give their mother big soft eyes.

The mare smirked a little. “Just to look, but alright.” She chuckled at their chorus of cheers and watched them charge the door. The clumsier of her sons smacked right into it before they managed to get it open. Aegis Shield’s eyes flicked at the princess, and she nodded once. While the children were struggling to get through the doorway and being greeted by the shop owner, Luna and her two guards turned about and froze again. When the colts piled into the toy shop area, they found the display was facing into the store, not out. “Huh… weren’t they facing out the window?” Their mother wondered softly. One of the three colts came up to Stalwart Hide, mimicking his posture and making faces.

“I’mma lunar stallion, grrrrr!” he said, backing up next to Luna and fixing his face into a super-serious scowl. “I’mma guard princess Luna from all the bad guys!” his voice squeaked and cracked back and forth. His brothers laughed, prancing about in the toy displays while their mother watched from afar. Sometimes you just needed to let the colts run wild in a toy store. The foal looked up at Luna with a big smile. “Don’t worry princess! Nothing bad will happen so long as I’m here! I’mma lunar stallion!” he squeaked, his voice briefly propelling him into the air.

“Thou sets my mind at ease.” Luna said, dropping her statue act and smiling kindly.

“Eeep!” the foal fell over himself into Aegis Shield, who snickered and opened his bat-like wings. “Eeep!” he staggered the other way and ran for his mother. “Momma! Momma!”

The mare jolted from her restful doze while leaning on the counter, ears perking at the panicked squeaks of her young. “What? What’s wrong?” she almost knelt but he went rushing under her undercarriage in fright. She saw the princess and her guards smiling bemusedly in the display, stepping down. “Oh my!” she said, ears turning back. “Princess Luna!” she bent forward to bow.

Luna was laughing a bit, but tried to come down from it. “Forgive us, we didn’t mean to frighten him.” She came down to her belly, peering under the mare. “We are sorry little one, please come out?” The little colt poked his head out, eyes big and soft at the sight of her. “Oh-ho, he is brave.” She told her lunar stallions, who nodded encouragingly. The little one smiled, coming out from under his mother at last. “Perhaps someday you may be a real lunar stallion.” She leaned and kissed his little forehead, blessing him with alicorn magic. Good luck would follow the little one around for a few days.

“Really? Wow, thanks princess!” he squeaked and ran to find his brothers who were lost in the aisles of toys. Luna and the mother shared a smile as the princess rose to her full height again.

“Thy sons are young and strong, thou must be very proud.” Luna said conversationally. The mare seemed to relax a little and nodded, flattered.

“If I may ask, princess?” the mare said softly, gesturing to Aegis Shield. “How many lunar stallions are there? Princess Celestia has hundred of solar guards, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen a lunar stallion. I thought they were a rumor for the longest time.” She looked between the two, then up at her again.

“Well there are only two of them.” Luna smiled. “Thou would not see them on the streets, they are my personal guard.” She gestured to the two of them, and the stallions inflated their chests with pride, smiling and closing their eyes for a moment. The mare was suddenly looking past Luna, who folded her wings a little apprehensively.

“Only two? Then who’s that?” she gestured.

Luna turned her head, looking out the store window. Outside on the other side of the street, walking quite casually, was a lunar stallion! He was just walking down the street like he owned the place, parting the passersby as he went. He got stares, but didn’t seem to care. Grey fur, bat wings, and golden eyes, he looked like the real thing! Luna’s mouth went agape and she wheeled around. “Aegis! Stalwart!” she thrust out a hoof at the pony on the street. “Seize that imposter!” she snapped angrily. Both lunar stallions rushed out the door. How dare somepony walk around impersonating one of them?! They charged wildly across the street, pumping their wings to launch them into the air and tackle the surprised pony to the ground. There was furious wrestling until both of them managed to force the imposter to the pavement, and the princess stormed out of the toy store with glowing white eyes. “Imposter! Thou must have firm virility indeed if thou thinks to get away with impersonating one of my personal guards!” The stallion gagged, shifting back and forth under the heavy hooves of Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide. They were barely letting him breathe, so Luna made a mild gesture so he could.

“I am a lunar stallion!” he gagged out in a strained voice.

“There are only two lunar stallions, NO MORE!” Luna snapped, the Royal Canterlot Voice threatening the last two words. The stranger shuddered, but clenched his triangle teeth to stand against the concussive blast of her voice. The street was rapidly emptying, ponies trying to get away from the violent scene. “Thou art an imposter!”

“I am real!” he said while Aegis made sure he wasn’t about to squirm away. “Please, augh!” he yelped when one of his limbs bent in a painful way. “My legs don’t bend that way, AHH!” he groaned and squirmed under the two of them. No normal pony could strain and overpower two stallions.

“Aegis Shield! Stalwart Hide! Take him to the lowest dungeon of the castle. We shalt have him interrogated for his motives of impersonating one of you there.” The alicorn snorted hot air from her muzzle, her mane flapping with a strong breeze that wasn’t there. Her emotions stirred her ethereal mane, and her deep scowl with glowing eyes made her look terrifying. “Away with thou!” she dismissed them all, and spread her wings to fly back to the castle.

Vivas Noctus!” The stallion belted from under the pile of armor and harsh hooves. “Vivas Noctus! Vivas Noctus!” he coughed heavily while the two lunar stallions struggled to silence the bawling pony. Luna dropped, just by gravity, over ten feet. Her massive hooves struck stone, startling all three of them. The pinned stallion panted heavily, limpening and looking up into Luna’s glowing white eyes. “Vivas Noctus...” He whispered, reaching at her with a quivering hoof of pleading.

There was a long silence. Both of her guards looked at Luna. She considered something for a long time. “Release him.” She whispered. They did so, and she approached the stallion who was still spilled out over the sidewalk. Groveling before her, when she was near enough he seized one of her hooves in his. The lunar stallions bristled, but she stilled them with a look. The white glow faded from her eyes. “I have not heard that phrase in a thousand years.” Luna said slowly, frowning a little. “That is ancient Equestrian, stallion. Dost thou even know what it means?” she asked, allowing him to press his forehead reverently to her hoof. A devotional gesture that both Aegis and Stalwart had done before.
The stallion worked his lips a little, wetting them and speaking quietly. “Vivas Noctus.” He whispered. “Long live the night.” Aegis Shield furrowed his brow. What a beautiful phrase. He glanced at Stalwart Hide, who knew some ancient Equestrian. His partner nodded in confirmation.

“Stand.” Luna said slowly. The frazzled stallion came to his hooves, his eyes lowered and his bow deep. “Rise.” She told him. He stood erect, throwing out his chest and lifting his muzzle. She walked a slow circle around him, inspecting him silently. “Shorn fetlocks. Trimmed tail. Grey fur. Concealed cutie mark.” She mumbled down the list. She stood before him, then looked down at his chest plate. An ever-searching eye flicked back and forth as though alive. She tapped it with her hoof. The stallion gasped, rearing up a little as his armor collapsed into itself. Yellow exploded across his grey body, and orange through his mane. His golden eyes turned green, and he shrank just a little as feathers replaced the bat-like membranes.

“He’s real.” Aegis Shield whispered in awe, staring at the medallion now around the stranger’s neck. “The armor is real.”
“Where did you get this?” Luna said in a low voice, tapping the medallion. “Only two lunar stallion regalia’s were accounted for in the palace. Where did you find this one?”

“It was passed down in my family, from father to son, through the generations.” The stallion whispered reverently. “Waiting for the day when the lunar stallions would rise again.” He gave her a cautious smile. “When word reached me that Canterlot had two lunar stallions, I came as fast as I could.”

“And where art thou from?” Luna said, slowly taking in the information.

“Los Pegasus.” He said. “I used to own a gym there.”

“Used to?” the princess frowned.

“I sold it before I left.” He shook his head.

“Thou gave up thy livelihood to come here?!” Luna gaped at him.

“My family has been waiting for a thousand years for this.” He whispered softly, looking down at the sidewalk. Luna cocked her head quietly, a little taken aback. Such devotion. He gestured to the necklace. “It wasn’t easy. I had to make my family lock me in a cellar while I did the first few transformations.” The alicorn winced in pity. With no proper proctor for a lunar stallion’s birth, it could’ve easily destroyed him. If the ancestors had turned their backs on this stallion, it could have killed him outright. “But, now I’m here.” He said, smiling at her more genuinely now. “Ready to serve, your majesty.” He snapped a salute that needed practice, but the respect was genuine.

Luna stared. This changed everything. If the lunar stallions of the past had passed their armor down from father to son… if there were more out there, awaiting the return of the lunar stallions… she felt a little dizzy suddenly. Aegis Shield and Stalwart hide looked a little pale as well. They looked to their princess for direction. “It seems—” Luna whispered, taking a breath to right herself. “It seems there are far more than two of you.” She cocked her head. “What is thy name?” she asked the newcomer, finally gathering herself into a more regal posture. She glanced at his flank, where what appeared to be a rubber hammer was pictured.

“My name is Hammer Shot.” He said, bowing before his princess and spreading his wings upon the ground. Luna winced at the very, very old gesture. It was an ancient Equestrian bow that invited her to stomp on his wings if he displeased her. Another tradition passed down through the ages, it seemed. She hadn’t much liked it when it was new, but the lunar stallions had insisted on adopting it. “It’s an honor to serve you, Princess Luna. You have no idea how long my family and I have been waiting for this.” He beamed at her.

Luna looked over at Aegis Shield, swallowing for a moment before speaking. “Aegis Shield, send word to the castle staff that they will assemble a cleaning team for me immediately. We must prepare the ancient lunar barracks. Not just the great room. All of it.” The guard nodded, spreading his wings and hovering for a moment as she spoke again. “With the appearance of Hammer Shot, I have the feeling that more may soon follow.” She said. Aegis saluted, then pumped his wings hard. He rocketed skyward, circled once, and then jetted off towards the palace.

=-=-=-=

And so it was over the next few months or so that a sprinkling of lunar stallions appeared from all over Equestria. They hailed from Manehatten. From Los Pegasus. From Appleoosia. All sorts of places. Most of them were from old families with old money, business owners or athletes or even guards themselves. They came from all walks of life and all corners of the land. Each had heard of the lunar stallions from their fathers and grandfathers, and sold their businesses to fulfill their destinies. Coming quickly by air, land, and sea to Canterlot each bore the ancient phrase of worship, Vivas Noctus. Long live the night.

The lunar barracks was quickly scrubbed down and restocked to its former glory. Furniture was brought in, bunks occupied and jobs given out. Lunar stallions began to appear during the night shifts of guard duty in Canterlot. The public was frightened at first, but soon saw they weren’t too different from their solar counterparts. Just scarier-looking. Celestia was a little miffed at having to shuffle her own guards around to make room, but it wasn’t as though she could deny the reemergence of the ancient order. It was a miracle. The sun princess thought the order all but vanished but no, here they were, rising from the ashes as soon as they got word of a lunar stallion or two in Canterlot. It was like drawing bees with honey. None could resist the call and their families sent forth their strongest sons to join. Before long, there were over seventy lunar stallions in all. And not just pegasi, either. Some of them were unicorns, and there were several earth ponies among them as well. Luna turned none of them away. To do so would be to shame them and dash their family’s sacred honor.

The princess herself was understandably a little overwhelmed by it all. Two had been more than enough, she’d thought. But now there were over seventy of them, all of which looked to her for orders and worship. They treated her like a goddess, revered her words and saluted her whenever she entered a room. They adored her just for being herself. She was a princess, but it was hard not to feel very flattered by it all. Celestia was used to such things, but it had been more than a thousand years since Luna had been truly in charge of anypony. Soon, both Aegis Shield and Stalwart Hide were promoted to captains of the guard, the leaders of the lunar stallions. Their ponies were fiercely loyal, and did anything they asked with striking efficiency.

Luna’s nights with Aegis Shield slowly turned more romantic. They studied the stars together, often slept in the same bed, and grew closer and closer. She loved her stallion very much, and he her, with all his heart. It was all coming together, at last. Her true return as the princess of the night. She felt very much at ease from then on, and in her dreams she could often hear the cheering of her new lunar stallions. “Vivas Noc! Noc! Noctus! Vivas Noc! Noc! Noctus!”.

Long live the night.

THE END

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