• 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 Volatile Garden

With a final flutter of her violet-feathered wings, Lady Magic alighted amidst our group. She stood before Sun and me, and the stars quickly rose to attention, intrigued. Her simple presence was comforting, reassuring, and she radiated an aura of confidence and stability. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. After the tense confrontation with Mother, the unexpected strike I had received, and failing to explain what was going on to the Stars, it was a relief to hear her voice.

“There is much for me to tell you, so please, sit.” She motioned for Sun and I to join the stars.

For a long time, she spoke to us of the disharmony that had taken over Mother. Mother had felt slighted by her perception that Aunt Celestia had been favored by the Little Ponies, and had grown jealous over time.

Mother had not wanted the stars and me to be concerned by these issues, and thus, had kept them to herself. Tragically, this meant that they had propagated like rot, festering within, until, as we had found out just some nights ago, they had taken her over completely.

“Your mother will recover,” Lady Magic had explained, solemnly, “but she will need your help. Moon, you must lead the stars and help Princess Luna see reason. She will not listen to her sister, whom, I am loath to say, she now perceives as a foe. She will not listen to us Elements. However, I believe that, given time and patience, she will listen to her children.”

I nodded, becoming aware of the worried stars huddling around me and with one another. “I wish to help, Lady Magic, I do, but I already tried speaking to Mother, and she would not listen!”

“I know you have, Moon.” Lady Magic nodded. “It will take more than a single discussion to help your mother recover. The Elements and I hope that she can be rescued from her emotions in time, but we know it will take much effort.”

“What about me, Lady Magic?” Sun asked. “Is there not something I can do to help?”

“You will have an important role to play as well, Sun.” Lady Magic turned to Sun, offering him an encouraging smile. “Your sister will need your help. Be there for her, young lord. Help her shoulder her miseries and stay strong even when she feels weak. The stars will depend on her for guidance; see if you can guide her when she finds herself being the one in need.” Lady Magic explained.

“I will do my best,” my brother agreed, offering me a smile. I smiled back and rested my head against his neck in gratitude.

“Furthermore, your mother will need your support as well. It was no easy task to convince her that her sister was beyond reasoning, and I can only begin to imagine how she might react to Luna’s fall. She will need you more than ever.”

Sun nodded gravely. “I will see to it that she not be alone. It is only fair, after she has done so much for me.”

“That is very noble of you, Sun,” Lady Magic acknowledged his response. “It is tragic that such things would happen, but we must see things through, for the good of the Little Ponies and the Garden alike. The Elements and I will be behind you every step of the way, but without your help, we can only do so much.”

“But what are we to do?” I asked. “How can I get Mother to listen?”

Lady Magic closed her eyes for a moment and took a deep breath. I watched and waited, expecting the worst.

The worst was indeed what Lady Magic spoke. “I fear that the first step will be the hardest...”

I could clearly make out the soft beating of Lady Magic’s broad violet wings against the breeze, the determined flapping of Sun’s, just to my right. Closer, I heard my own, pushing the air back with purpose as I hurried forward. Behind me, the hooves of the Sentinels and Artisans rumbled, accompanying the rustling of the Messengers’ wings.

I glanced back, ensuring that the stars were keeping up well. I hated to involve them in such a confrontation, but their presence would be crucial.

The Garden held silent. Perhaps it was waiting to see what would unfold.

As I followed Lady Magic back to Mother and Aunt Celestia, I thought back to the question she had asked me before our departure.

”Are you prepared to do what you must, Moon? Are you prepared to make your mother listen, even if she does not want to?”

Willing myself to remain courageous, I thought back to my answer, forcing myself to repeat it in my head again and again.

I will do what must be done. I will help Mother, no matter what it takes. I will do what must be done. I will do what must be done. I will do what must be done.

Though hardly an hour had passed in the Little Ponies’ world, it felt as though my confrontation with Mother was now several days behind us. Our flight felt as though it would never end.

Though the suspense and anticipation very much had me unnerved, I welcomed the chance to reflect on the conversation my brother and I had had with Lady Magic, and on our plans for the confrontation to come.

”But, Lady Magic, how can I possibly hope to confront Mother? Will she not strike me down as last time? Mother wields power the likes of which I could not hope to match!”

I recalled the smile Lady Magic had offered then.

”Does she, now? What makes you say such a thing?”

”Look upon the Garden, Lady Magic. It is barren, a shadow of itself. How could I hope to stop the perpetrator of such a—”

Not an instant after saying these words, the answer had come to me.

”I trust you understand now, Moon?” Lady Magic had asked, noting my sudden air of comprehension.

I had. At that very moment I had understood what I would need to do.

That did not make the idea any less unpleasant.

“Lady Magic! Are you certain there is no other way?” I asked over the rushing wind that blew in my ears.

“Tragically so.” Lady Magic answered, without turning around. “Be strong, Moon; we are almost there.”

Turning around for a moment, I gazed at the crowd of my precious stars. “Be strong, little ones. It is time to save our mother.”

”You lie!” I heard Mother’s voice echo in the distance. ”I do not believe you!”

”It is the truth, Luna.” Aunt Celestia’s voice soon followed. “The ponies love your night just as much as the day. They love you as the guardian of their dreams and the protector of their nights!”

“Fabrication! Pure and simple falsehoods! You may say so, Sister, but it is your day that they frolick in. It is your day that sees them live and love. My night is but a break before the next day. I am merely a placeholder as you sleep, and I will no longer tolerate this injustice!”

As my mother and aunt came into view, it was easy to tell that their arguments had not been strictly verbal. The Garden’s soil was scuffled around them, their manes were in disarray and Aunt Celestia’s crown was discarded nearby, stomped into scrap.

Aunt Celestia stood unfazed, high and mighty. If she was injured, she hid it very well.

Mother, on the other hand, was a wreck. Hunched over, out of breath, her shoes cast aside and her features contorted by untold fury. She reminded me of the wolves I sometimes saw roaming the outskirts of Liberty Woods. It was heartwrenching to see her like this.

I reluctantly swallowed my fear and alighted next to Aunt Celestia.

“Mother. I beg you, stop this madness! Do you not recall how often ponies wish to us, to the stars and me? To the children whom you gave life and thought to? They love you, Mother,” I pleaded, “They love you just as they love Aunt Celestia. Just as your children love you!”

Mother’s scowl only intensified. “You dare show your face again! You little traitor! I gave you everything, and yet you stand against me? Insolent child!” she snarled. “I ought to show you some discipline!”

Mother charged and, immediately, I cowered, bracing myself for the blow.

It did not come.

I opened a confused eye, to find Mother’s hoof stopped, some distance away, by Lord Loyalty’s broad crimson leg.

“That is enough, Princess Luna,” Lady Magic commanded as her fellow Elements formed a circle around Mother. “We did not want to do this, but you are a danger to the Garden, to Equestria, and, most of all, to yourself.”

The glare mother shot me at that moment could have leveled entire cities, and it was only determination to help her that kept me standing. “I’m sorry, Mother. It is for your own good.”

“So be it.” Mother chuckled in uncanny serenity. “Do your worst.”

Aunt Celestia, Sun, the stars and I watched from a short distance away as the Elements’ horns lit, and a ring of colorful light formed a circle around Mother.

In the corner of my eye, I could see some of the stars behind us turning away, and some of the eldest shielding the youngest with their wings or legs. They were doing their best to remain courageous in the face of the situation. Pride swelled in me for a moment.

The Elements’ circle of light intensified and began rising off the ground, forming into a glistening dome of force, shimmering with their bright colors. The sheer power of their magic was making me tingle all over.

Aunt Celestia opened her mouth, as if to speak, but was cut off when Sun placed his hoof on her shoulder. She looked at him for a moment and nodded somberly, returning to her silent watch. I couldn’t begin to imagine how hard it was on her to let this happen, and yet she stood bravely and impassible.

Then, Mother smirked and gave another chuckle. She tried to keep her composure but soon burst into laughter, incapable of containing herself. “Fools! You truly think your power has any hold on me? It is by the day and the night’s power that you were granted thought, Elements. I have but to will it, and the night’s magic will free me at once!”

As she spoke, Mother’s mane grew dark, and shadows cloaked her horn, soon plunging the circle in pure darkness. The Elements’ circle wobbled and the dome rippled and began to weaken. It flickered and stopped its constriction, incapable of forcing itself any tighter. Mother stood at the middle of it all, lording her power above the elements, and still laughing in cruel mirth.

It was time. I lit my horn, and the stars followed suit. Lady Magic had helped me remember what I had forgotten.

“Mother, we, the night, refuse you our power. You have led us down a dangerous road, and we do not accept the destination you have chosen for us.”

Mother’s darkness grew thinner, and her figure reappeared out of the shadows, eyes wide in shock, her haughty grin having collapsed.

“You… you what?!” She snapped in baffled anger. “No! No! I am your Mother, and you will obey me!”

I moved forward and stood by the circle, coating my horn in moonlight. Following my example, the stars surrounded the bubble, and soon our collective glow drove the shadows away. The Garden shone white as far as the eye could see, and Mother, cowering in the middle of the prismatic dome, was the sole shadow within sight.

All of the night’s magic was flowing away from her, and back to the stars and I. It felt wrong to take Mother’s power away, to deprive her of her magic. I knew it had to be done, but that did not make it any easier.

I recalled my own creation, and the first words Mother had ever spoken to me.

“Mother, as you gave me life and thoughts, you said I was to wield the night’s magic for harmony and peace, so that Equestria may prosper.” I stared her in the eye.

“Ungrateful child!” Mother snapped. “I am your mother, and you will obey me! Return my magic to me at once!”

I stood straight and refused to falter. “I may be your daughter, Mother, but I am not your servant. This has gone too far, and it falls upon me to stop you. In light of your actions, I am invoking the night’s powers against you, who has chosen to use them for disharmony rather than good. With the stars’ help, I am retaking the gift of magic that allowed you to bathe the Garden in shadows. Just as you commanded the night’s full power for the service of a greater cause in defeating the forces of chaos, and again for what you led us to believe was the greater good for the Garden, we now retake it so that you may be restrained until your heart beats pure again.”

“You pest!” Mother leapt for me, forehooves raised high, but crashed against the Elements’ barrier. She violently thrashed against it, determined to bust through, but to no avail.

“I will not allow this…” Mother wheezed.

“I will not…” Her horn grew dark once more, as she invoked what little power remained within her.

I held tight. The magic I was channeling away from Mother was astronomical; perhaps more powerful than anything I had ever felt. The stars struggled as well; they had to reclaim all of their forces, and a part of Mother’s own on top of that.

“No!” Mother lost her grip on what last powers of darkness she held, and her horn came uncloaked, void of magic. She collapsed to the ground. “Please! Sister! Stop them! It hurts!” Mother implored. “I beg of you! Forgive me! Please forgive me! I will repent!”

Aunt Celestia stepped past my brother. For a moment, Sun hesitated and let her through, but suddenly appeared to realize what was going on. He tried to stop her once more, but she ignored him. “Elements,” she pleaded, “Wait! We cannot simply

The Elements hesitated for a moment; that was all Mother needed.

Before any of us knew what had happened, Mother had burst forth and drove herself straight for Lady Magic. We could only gaze in abject horror at the scene that soon stood before us.

The sickening crackle of disturbed essence thundered, obliterating the Garden’s tranquility.

Mother had not breached the barrier.

Her horn, however, had.

“Celestia, you fool! What kind of coward do you take me for? Naive sister. With the last of my power, I have taken my revenge,” Mother gloated, as the assembly stood speechless. “I may fall, but I will not fall alone.”

Lady Magic’s eyes widened, and she let out a sickening gurgle, stiff as a statue.

Mother’s wicked horn had gone right through her chest.

“When I rise again,” my traitorous mother declared, “the Elements will no longer stand to prevent it.”

Author's Note:

Oh boy, that one was a struggle to write. Here's hoping I can get the next one out with less trouble.

Comments ( 8 )

Well that explains some things.
Well done.

Okay, I really fucking hate Nightmare Moon now :twilightangry2:
Also, will you write of the more recent happenings as well?


Yeah, we're approaching the second arc of the story, which will cover Nightmare Moon's 1000 year exile. The third and final arc will deal with Nightmare Moon's return to Equestria, and everything that involves.

It's been a while but I'm glad to see a new chapter :yay:

I have really enjoyed reading this. It moves very quickly, but the story doesn't suffer from it. It is a very nice short story that I will wait till you finish it. Thank you for sharing apart of this world.

A little sad that this story is cancelled...but I understand what you said in the blog about it. Hopefully someday it will be continue. I will say I did enjoy reading it even if it was cancelled.

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