• Published 18th Dec 2011
  • 4,171 Views, 72 Comments

A Tale of Two Ponies - Silicas

Luna is pregnant with a colt sired when she was still Nightmare Moon. What will come of this?

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Chapter 1: Past and Future

Chapter 1: Past and Future

Luna shifted her weight and, yawning, opened her eyes. The glow of the nearby fireplace cast its amber rays throughout the cramped castle room, leaving behind fleeting voids which danced across the damp and barren stone walls.

The moon princess could sense that the midnight hour had just passed; she was going to miss the lowering of the moon. Celestia would be worried.

Luna scanned the underground room, her vision still a haze from her recent crying. Seeing nopony, the alicorn let out a breath and forced herself to relax; her concealing wards had held through her sleep.

Luna raised her right wing from the surface of the pillow that she was laying on and peered through the small gap. Her side was barely lit by the room’s sole source of light, but she could still distinguish the dark outline of the colt nestled safely beside it.

The princess smiled in between fresh tears.

The happenings of the past months all made sense now: the hunger, the queasiness, the headaches; she had been pregnant.

A cold rain fell in sheets outside the iron-ribbed windows of the castle that served as the cult’s base of operations. Tantalus, though he was wearing a well-sealed heavy cloak, was soaked and shivering lightly.

The castle gates were illuminated briefly by a spark of plasma that split the night sky into shards. The hairlines vanished as quickly as they had appeared, seemingly forced away by the powerful winds which were whipping the upper atmosphere into a turmoil. Their source of illumination departed, the iron gates retreated into dark silhouettes.

Tantalus pushed aside one of the large reinforced wooden doors at the castle’s entrance and stepped inside. Shaking off as much water as he could, he lifted the heavy cloak from his back, his horn glowing with a dull azure light.

The stallion’s green eyes flicked around the interior of the entrance hall. Several young acolytes, one of them a pegasus, were busy repairing a shattered window at the far end of the hall. By the looks of it, the storm had thrown a stray branch through it. Tantalus trotted past the group, his eyes momentarily locking with the pegasus stallion.

As Tantalus continued towards his destination, he milled over the pegasus’s story. He had heard countless ones that mirrored that particular acolyte’s. However, only the story of one now alicorn drove Tantalus onward: Princess Luna’s.

Since her rebellion, he had reassured himself repeatedly that he was fighting for the common pony; and each time he had done so he had been lying to himself. Whether it be to the pegasus that he had just passed or to the fresh initiates who ferried messages between the castle’s rooms, Tantalus’ devotion had waned. The stallion increasingly yearned for one thing he could now never possess: the embrace of Luna’ wings. Nightmare Moon had long ago taken that pleasure away.

Still, Tantalus remained loyal to the dark queen; he owed that much to Luna, at least.

Tantalus’ ascended a wide spiral staircase, his hoofsteps echoing off the surrounding stone walls. Calling forth a small amount of magic, Tantalus muffled the noisy clops. Breathing instinctively slowed, the stallion reached the top of the staircase, and, without knocking, pushed aside the door in front of him.

The interior of the room stood in stark contrast to the undecorated stone hallway that Tantalus had just exited. A sizable four-poster bed occupied the center of the space, its covers a dark blue barely distinguishable from black. Small starbursts were stitched across its surface in golden thread. Cloth strips of the same design hung in the spaces between the stained glass windows that filled the walls.

The room would have been sufficiently lit by ambient moonlight, but an orange glow emanated from the fireplace in the corner of the room opposite Tantalus. The light cast by the flame colored the room uncharacteristically; specular highlights flickered on the dark gemstones that were inlaid into the room’s furniture, forming an array which looked like a thousand tiny suns.

It was through one of the stained glass windows that Nightmare Moon now stared, her gaze almost unblinking and thoughts distant.

The stallion halted as her powerful voice split the chilled air.

“Is that you, Tantalus?” Nightmare Moon’s gaze turned from the stormy night sky and fell on the stallion.

“Celestia has marshaled her forces,” Tantalus said, “They’ll be here within the week.”

The dark queen smiled. “We are ready, no?”

“For the most part, yes; our preparations are complete.”

Nightmare Moon turned and took a step towards him. “Then why have you come?”

Looking over his shoulder, Tantalus levitated a thin, well-warn brown box from his back. Nightmare Moon’s eyebrows rose slightly in recognition.

As a broad grin overtook his face, Tantalus offered, “Would your grace be interested in a game of chess?”

Nightmare Moon was playing the game he wanted. Relying on his queen’s intellect as much as her drained state, Tantalus was picking her moves for her.

He watched in feigned horror as his mistress slaughtered the remaining pieces under his control.

As the game ended, the unicorn scooted back his chair and rose to his hooves. As the reverberations of from the grinding of wood on stone subsided, the stallion bowed his head, intoned a quick, “Thank you, milady,” and turned to exit the room.

As his hoof pushed against the reinforced door to the staircase, Nightmare Moon rose.

In a near whisper she asked, “Tantalus?”

He turned his head. It took significant willpower to suppress the ear-to-ear grin that part of him demanded occupy his face. “Yes, milady?”

“The next time we play, play your best. Do not grant me false victory.”

Tantalus deflated; his bolstered chest relaxed and his high-held head sunk towards the ground. Had he really been that obvious? Had she been aware of his plot the whole time?

Ears folded back and eyes focused on the ground, Tantalus said, “Yes, milady,” and again turned to leave the room.


The stallion’s ears perked up as his head swiveled to look at the towering mare.

“Just… one more thing…”

The slowly breathing outline of the colt moved suddenly against the amber glow of the fire. A wide eye, iris as if carved from malachite, materialized against the small pony’s sapphire coat. The colt blinked once and fixated his gaze on the teal eyes of his mother. After a moment his mouth opened to draw in a yawn, a small squeak escaping as the gasp tapered to a close.

Luna could barely discern the small wing on the colt’s gently oscillating side. She would not have guessed that her foal would be anything but another alicorn, but the small stub of a horn on the head of all newborn casters was apparent in its absence.

This, perhaps, was the sole thing which boded well for the colt’s future. Unrecognizable as the foal of an alicorn, he had a chance, if only a fleeting one, of leaving behind his unconventional heritage.

Another wave of exhaustion assailed Luna.

“Rest now, my Starshade,” she whispered to the small form that lay against her side. As she spoke, her voice was barely audible above the crackling of the fire.

“Spend this night, at least, in peace.”

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