• Published 1st Aug 2012
  • 2,079 Views, 53 Comments

The Garden Beyond - Autumn Wind

The tale of the Imprisoned Sister has been told and retold for centuries, but no Little Pony knows of it as it unfolded in realms far and above. What is the moon to do when her mother and guide loses her way?

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The Wounded Garden

Oh, Garden, what have we done to you... I hear you cry and suffer so...

I had collapsed halfway to Sun. After what had felt like an eternity of running, my legs had given out from under me. I was lying on my side while my capacity for thought and perception drifted to and fro.

Mother... How could we?

One by one, my illusions had crumbled. The Garden’s plight was simple to see, now that I could recognize Mother’s mistakes and my own.

The trees... The flowers... Oh, Brother, how could you ever forgive me?

I willed for my legs to move, for my wings to flap, and even for my snout to twitch. None obeyed. My eyes would not see reason. My ears would not listen to me. I could not move; I could hardly even breathe.

No! I must not stop here! I must reach Sun!

I remained immobile for a long time. The wilted grass made my cheek itch, but I was powerless to do anything about it. A single flower loomed within my grounded line of sight. Hunched over on the end of a broken stem, it glared at me. Why, Moon, why? The flower begged to know. Why have you done this to us, who served you for so long?

Forgive us! I wanted to shout. We just wanted love! We did not mean to hurt you.

“Moon?” a voice questioned through the haze.

We will be better to you! I promise! I begged the Garden.

“Moon?” the voice asked again, this time more frantically.

I beg of you! Stay strong, Garden! Do not make us the perpetrators of your demise!


I could barely feel my body being shaken. I could hardly see nor hear; existence itself was a mere blur.

Please... Garden... Forgive me...

Why, Moon? The frail, sickly tree I had collapsed under cried. Why did you deprive us of the light we need?

“Moon... Please, Moon... Stay with me... Don’t... Moon... Stay... ...you...”

“Sun... Is it...” I was torn from consciousness before I could finish speaking.

“...oon.” A voice rang through the void, unfamiliar yet so soft and gentle.

A sweet scent permeated the air around me. The gentle caress of feathery wings brushed against my back. A soft, reassuring pressure sat atop my head, which I soon discerned as the caring muzzle of a motherly figure. The weight of forelegs on my withers drew me into a cozy embrace. I felt warm and comfortable, as though I would never long for heat again.

I forced my eyes open; my sight was blurry. I saw pink, a soft and gentle shade of it, wrapped around me.

“She is coming to, Princess,” the stranger whispered. I could barely hear her. “Moon is fine, just terribly exhausted,” she continued.

“Thank you, Kindness. I will go and speak with the others; please join us when Moon is ready,” the soothing voice of Aunt Celestia replied.

Lady Kindness. It was her who had been cradling me, I understood. Mother had often spoken about her and the other Elements of Harmony, and how they had led to the world’s release from the vile grasp of chaos and, later on, to the birth of Sun, the Stars and myself as conscious beings.

I didn’t dare move yet, and Kindness showed no issue with it. She kept me protected, shielding my body with her wings. Her embrace felt as though it could reforge my entire being. My fatigue was draining slowly but certainly, like a beast retreating from a valiant hero.

After building up some courage, I slowly lifted my head and felt Lady Kindness release me. She looked so majestic as she stood before me. As she looked at me from a head higher, she bore the most compassionate of smiles. Her deep pink eyes, the same color as her coat and mane, were ever so lightly sprinkled with tears. She looked to be a fragile thing, so frail and spindly, yet her confident and motherly demeanor belied these appearances.

My thoughts snapped into place. “Is Sun okay?” I asked. “What of the Garden? Is it too late to save our land?”

“I’m okay, Moon.”

I threw myself at my brother, who was quick to catch me in a hug of his own. “Oh! Brother!” I cried, as the remorse of my actions washed over me. “I was so scared I would not find you again! The Garden is dying, all because of me! I should have known better!” I felt Sun’s coat dampen as I pressed my head into his chest.

“Shh, shh, there, there, Moon.” Sun stroked my mane as I wailed uncontrollably. “I forgive you. We all forgive you.”

We remained that way for a long time, with me crying into my brother’s chest, and he and Lady Kindness doing their best to soothe my emotions. Somewhere during it all, I noticed that the night was still going strong, and that Sun’s glow was in fact dimmer than he had ever been. Guilt washed over me. How had I been so blind?

Finally, after I had cried all that I could, I pulled away from Sun and sat down. “Lady Kindness,” I asked, “It’s not too late to fix everything, is it?”

“No, Moon, it’s not too late,” Lady Kindness replied. “With your help and Sun’s, Princess Celestia will be able to guide the other Elements and I and fix what has been set wrong. The cycle will be restored.”

“Once we let her know of her mistake, Mother will help us too, will she not?”

Lady Kindness’s smile collapsed into a look of unease.

“She will help us too, no?” I insisted, hesitantly.

The Element remained wordless. I turned to Sun for an answer. He kept his eyes to the ground, sullen.

“Moon, please come with me,” Kindness said. I followed her towards Sun’s hill. There, the other Elements were assembled alongside Princess Celestia. They stood in a circle, engaged in a fierce debate.

“I’m sorry, Princess,” a lean red alicorn spoke. “There is no other way.”

“No, Lord Loyalty, I cannot allow it. I could never forgive myself for it,” Aunt Celestia replied with great conviction. “She is merely misled, confused. My sister is not—”

“Ah, Young Moon!” Lord Laughter’s plump cyan visage grinned widely as I approached, perhaps not so inadvertently interrupting Aunt Celestia in the middle of her retort. “I am pleased to see you have recovered.”

I joined the circle alongside Sun and Lady Kindness. Judging by the sad smiles Aunt Celestia and the Elements were giving me, they were quite worried about Mother and I. “Mother... the stars... How are they?”

Surely, by now, my mother had awakened to the same realisations I had and would hopefully be able to console the stars through the same. With all of us working together, it would be simple to breathe life anew into the Garden. What we had done, we could undo. These thoughts brought a smile to my face.

I was the only one smiling.

Lord Laughter was devoid of his eternal mirth. Lady Kindness looked down to the ground, sullen. Lord Loyalty and Lady Generosity exchanged uncertain looks. Lord Honesty remained stone faced, albeit betrayed by his quivering front hooves. Lady Magic turned to Aunt Celestia, wordlessly requesting her help.

My aunt took a deep breath and then slowly advanced towards me, breaking the circle. “Moon, please sit with me, I must speak to you.”

Sun and the Elements watched on as I sat by Aunt Celestia. “Moon... Your mother is... unwell.”

“Unwell?” I repeated. What did Aunt Celestia mean? Was Mother sick? Would we lose her?

An eternity went by in an instant as my aunt mulled over her next words.

“She has been struggling with her emotions for a long time, and I have remained blind to it, to my great distress. Without intending to do so, the Little Ponies have gravely hurt her, and now she has gotten it in her mind that she should seek justice.”

I recalled Mother speaking of the Little Ponies not respecting us as much as they respected Sun. Was this the injury that she felt they had inflicted on her? “But, Aunt Celestia, if Mother has felt hurt by the Little Ponies’ actions, is it not fair of her to seek amends?”

“It is not so simple, I am afraid,” Aunt Celestia continued. “You have seen the scars on the Garden, Moon. My sister’s idea of amends would be this land’s ruin. In turn, the Garden could no longer feed the hopes and dreams of the Little Ponies below. If it were to fall, then so would Equestria.”

“Mother would never allow that to happen!” I shouted. “She loves the Garden as much as us all! Why would she bring forth its demise?”

“I know it is hard to believe, Sister,” Sun intervened, “but my mother speaks the truth. She has tried to negotiate, to make amends and undo the Garden’s injuries, but your mother refuses to listen.”

I should have believed it. It should have been true to my ears. The Garden was agonizing, and Mother had brought it forth, never showing any doubt or remorse. There was no room for doubt.

But I wouldn’t have it.

“I refuse to listen to such fabrications! If you will not give Mother a chance, then I will! I will speak to her. I will help her see her mistake!” Before anyone could get another word in, I had galloped off. Mother would listen to her eldest daughter. She always had, and she always would.

I found Mother and a group of stars playing near the stream, by a dying tree. They seemed completely oblivious to its plight, and yet the tree’s wilted leaves and discolored trunk made it so clear. Had I been this blind as well?

I approached them at a brisk trot. “Mother! Sisters! Brothers! We have made a terrible mistake, and we must fix things at once!”

The stars had their glittering eyes on me, each more confused than the last. An uncertain murmur rose amongst the crowd.

Mother glared at me. Her voice sounded above the stars’, silencing them at once. “What are you saying? Don’t be ridiculous.”

When the sound of hooves and wings thundered in the distance, Mother hesitated for an instant. “Tell me you did not...” Then, her ears perked up and her glare contorted into a stare of utter fury. “Moon! You fool! Why would you lead them here? They will ruin everything!” She had felt Aunt Celestia, Sun, and the Elements approaching. I could tell as much.

“No, Mother. They will not ruin everything. There is nothing left to ruin after what we have caused. We must undo our hex. It is by our magic that the Garden lies dying, and it is by our magic that should allow it the light it needs to recuperate.”

“Do not defy your mother, Moon. I hoped you would know better. The Garden is yours and the stars to keep, and it will adapt to our darkness, as I have commanded it to.”

“Mother, I am sorry, but I cannot allow this to go on. When you gave me the gift of life, you tasked me with keeping the Garden in balance. Today, you give me no choice but to stand against you for that very reason.”

The stars looked at Mother and me alternately, confused. They could not pick sides between their mother and their sisters. The Sentinels, the Messengers, and the Artisans had all gathered around us. Mother noticed just as quickly as I had.

“Children, your sister and I need to talk. Please leave us for a moment, I will come and see you once this is resolved.”

I nodded to the stars, agreeing with Mother at least on that point. “Go wait for us by the Sleeping Tree,” I instructed. “Artisans, please lead the younger ones. I promise everything will be fine.”

It took a moment of concerted effort by Mother and me, but the stars eventually left. Mother and I needed to talk, and despite our newfound conflicts, neither of us wished to see the stars caught in the crossfire.

Specks of color caught my eye in the distance. The Elements were watching on, as were Aunt Celestia and Sun. They seemed poised to act if things took a turn for the worse. Mother glanced over to them, but seemed to ignore them completely.

“Now then, Moon, I will give you another chance to understand,” Mother spoke down to me. “We have the Garden. It is ours. There is no reason for us to restore power to your brother.”

“You are wrong, Mother. If we do not restore the balance, the Garden itself may very well fade away entirely. From there, who knows what catastrophes could befall the world below we have been tasked with protecting? Look at the Little Ponies, Mother. Look at your subjects. They stare at our sky, not with the disdain you attributed to them, but with fear and terror. This is not what we are, Mother. This is not what we should be.”

“Let them cower in fear!” Mother exclaimed. “They are but a bunch of ingrates! If my glorious night is to be their end, then so be it!”

“Mother!” I shouted. “How can you say such things!” I stepped closer, glaring into hers eyes. In the throes of fury, my wings flared out and my hooves trembled. “Mother, mark my words. I will stop this. I had hoped that you would help, that it would not come to this, but if I must stand against you, I will.”

“You will do no such thing. You are my daughter, and you will listen to me. I gave you life, Moon. You will do as I say.”

“No. I was given life to bring harmony upon the Garden and Equestria. I could not believe it until now, but it is clear. You have turned your back on harmony. Mother, if you are to become a force of chaos, I have no choice but to stand against you.” I prayed I would never have to act on these words. “Please, will you not reconsider?”

“Be quiet! I will not stand for this impudence!”

“No! I will not be quiet! I will make you see reason even if I must—”


Mother’s voice echoed through the Garden’s infinite expanse. Along with it, a resounding crack could be heard. I found myself laid on my side, a full step away from where I had stood a moment ago. Searing agony coursed through my right eye and across my cheek, down to the base of my neck.

Shocked, I fought through the pain and looked up at Mother. She was staring at her extended left forehoof, every bit as shocked as me. Her jaw hung loose, and her eyes were wide with incomprehension.

“You... you...” I stammered, shielding my painful cheek with my hooves.

“I... I did not mean to...” she stuttered.

The sound of Mother’s hoof against my cheek echoed in the distance.