• Published 12th Oct 2012
  • 606 Views, 4 Comments

The Fall - Tsunami

What happens when the mare you love is named Luna, and you live 1,000 years before present day?

  • ...

The Fall

Dear Princess Celestia,

I am finding myself in somewhat of a moral dilemma. As you know, I have a zebra friend who lives in the Everfree Forest. Some months ago while she was collecting herbs, she stumbled across a tattered book in the ruins of an abandoned building near the ruins of your old castle. Knowing I like books, and being unable to read the language inside, she gave the book to me.

The book turned out to be an old journal written by a stallion named Stargazer in Ancient Equestrian. This was especially surprising for me considering that the age of the paper suggests that it was written about the time when Old Equestrian was spoken. The writer must have been very well educated to have been fluent in such an old tongue. Over the last few months, I have been working on translating the text both out of curiosity and in hopes that this will help me strengthen my own grasp of the language.

Most of the journal is inconsequential, which is why it took me so long to bring the whole thing up. The last few entries, however, become much more important than I feel comfortable with. This is a bit of Equestrian history that should not be released to the public. The only pony who has any right to this journal is Princess Luna herself, though I seriously doubt that she knows it exists. This is where my dilemma emerges. You know your sister to a greater extent than anypony else, and as such, I believe that it should be your decision whether or not to give it to her.

With this letter, I have enclosed the journal itself, as well as my translation. I have marked the location that the entries become relevant so you do not waste any time sifting through most of the journal. Everything is enclosed. Out of my respect for Princess Luna, I have kept no record of any of this. I do not envy your right to make this decision, Princess, but I do not see any better way.

Your faithful student
-Twilight Sparkle

01 - Acceptance

My application for the position of Royal Astronomer has finally been approved. I cannot believe my luck. Of course, it is not a very sought-after position with the odd hours and the general isolation, but there is only ever one at a time. Apparently, the current position holder has been looking for a reason to retire (I have herd on many accounts that she was only in it for the money in the first place), and my latest application came in at the perfect time to allow a smooth transition. Princess Celestia's royal guards came by today to tell me that Princess Luna's counsel had approved me for the job based on my credentials as well as my enthusiastic (and monthly) applications. I was a little bit surprised that it was the guards of the day who had come to inform me, seeing as this entire program is run by Princess Luna, but then again, it was daytime and the night guards must sleep sometime, I suppose.

The university job that I have now is okay, but I never actually get to do anything new. I teach the same procedures to uninterested students every semester. All of my work is during the day, just like everypony else's work. Finally, I have a job that will let me sleep during the day. I have always felt that the night is a much more natural time to be awake. The sun is far too bright and distracting. Everypony is moving around and making noise. Worst of all, the stars that are my namesake are obscured during the day, so I cannot look to them for inspiration.

But why worry about that now? I have a job that will let me work with the stars instead of just talking about them. I just have one week left in the semester and I can pack my bags and head out towards Everfree Castle for briefing.

02 - Relocation

Today was the big day. I was picked up by royal pegasi guards this morning and flown into the capital forest. Instead of going to the castle like I was expecting, however, I was brought directly to the observatory tower. The guards landed at the base of the tower, and as I climbed out of the carriage, I was met by an older unicorn mare with glasses. She introduced herself as Starfire, the previous royal astronomer. With a quick thanks to the guards for their trouble, the two of us began the long climb towards the top of the observatory tower.

I found it strange that the stairs wound around the outside of the circular tower instead of coming up on the inside. When I voiced my musing to Starfire, she said something about the tower needing extra supports all through the inside to prevent any swaying. I suppose that that makes sense. Looking through a telescope with any accuracy would be very difficult if the observer had to account for a moving floor. Even so, the winding stairs seemed just a little bit unsafe, even though they were wide enough so that even if I tripped, I would probably not be sent off of the edge by my fall.

When we reached the top, I was greeted by what was to be my new home. The first thing that struck me was the open nature of the observatory. The main doorway could not be described as a doorway as much as a doorless-way. Above the main telescope, there was no ceiling, and two more doorless-ways led out onto unrailed balconies. The portion of the main room that had a ceiling had several tables to be used as work surfaces. It was then that Starfire began her tour of the place. She showed me how to work all of the non-standard controls on all of the telescopes and showed me how to change the lenses of the main telescope. That took a little bit of time considering that she had been doing that with her magic and was unfamiliar with how to operate the pulley system that I would have to use to maneuver each lens.

After all of that, she brought me through the only doorway in the place that actually had a door on it. Behind the door was a room for the stored lenses, a living area with all necessities provided, a general purpose office, and a large dumbwaiter that I would use to both pull up supplies and communications delivered by guards from the castle each week and lower any refuse that had accumulated each week for the guards to haul off. With the tour finally complete, Starfire excused herself and began the long climb down the tower stairs. I did not see another pegasus-drawn carriage, so I imagine that she just walked the few miles through the forest that it would take to get to the main castle. I find it comforting that I am far enough away from the castle so as to never be disturbed, but close enough to walk there if the need arises.

I need to wrap this entry up now. I have a long night ahead of me. I figure that I can readjust my sleep schedule by staying up all night and get situated in my new home at the same time. I am definitely going to be falling asleep by sunrise, but it will be worth it. I can still hardly believe that I am actually doing this.

03 - Adjustment

It took me all week but my schedule has more or less evened out by now. I get up sometime around dusk each night. Though it is not strictly necessary, I like to get up before the sun completely sets because it makes it easier for me to light the magically enhanced lanterns around the observatory. If I want to sleep in, I have to carry the one clap-toggled lantern that I have in my bedroom all around the tower to do it.

The food that I have here is surprisingly varied, considering that whoever selected the food would not be the one to eat it. I was never one for cooking, actually, so I would not know where to start with about half of what I have. I will have to speak to somepony about that later. It would be a shame to waste extravagant ingredients on somepony who will not use them. I tried experimenting with the spices this morning and have decided that I will not endanger my life in such a way again.

I have done very little actual work so far. Most of my time has been divided between catching up on Starfire's sometimes lacking records and learning everything about the tools that I have available. The lens collection here is simply amazing. The storage area for the lenses even has an indexing system similar to that of a library, and for the same reason. They are of the highest quality that I have ever seen as well. I have yet to find an imperfection in even one of them, and I have been looking for one. I almost had a nasty spill with one of them while I was removing it from the main telescope, but dumb luck caught the massive falling piece of glass in the ropes under the harness.

The most annoying thing that I have come across so far is rain. First of all, I cannot view the sky on nights when it rains. That is a little bit of a problem for an astronomer. I have to spend that time in the back of the observatory going over old notes and such. That is not a problem right now because I have not read everything that Starfire wrote down, but eventually, I will run out of those notes and will have to find other things to occupy my time on rainy nights. I suppose that if take a turn for the wet, I can always read the newspapers that the guards leave. The other bad part about the rain is that it leaves quite a mess. Because there is no roof, I will have to dry the lenses of all of the telescopes after each shower. On the plus side, the floor under the roofless portion of the observatory is scored, so it both lets the water drain easily and provides a grip even when it is wet. I did not realize that until after the first shower. Thankfully, there has only been one so far.

I should get back to work now. I am finally getting into the swing of things and staying occupied in ways that are actually productive, and I want to use all of the moonlight that I have before the sun comes up and I cannot work.

04 - Acquaintance

I started off slowly tonight. I lost track of time while doing some number crunching last night, and that left me with an inadequate amount of sleep. I should know not to do that by now, but I can get so enthralled by the universe that I lose track of time. Of course, that never would have happened if I had been watching the sky and seen the sun come up instead of in the back room with my papers. I was paying the price for my carelessness, and I more than once had to recalibrate the orientation of the telescope when my nodding off caused it to be nudged out of position by my face.

Even so, the stars were still beautiful through my telescope. I once again marveled at how much the telescope changed everything when viewing the night sky. The same stars that I had seen countless times before from the ground were now mine for the taking, with detail limited only by lenses that I have available to me here. I had long since given up the prospect of getting any actual work done and was simply watching the sky for the enjoyment of it. I did not want to turn in for the day just yet, as that would leave me waking up sometime in the early afternoon.

My semi-idle musings were brought to an end when I saw a star formation that seemed out of the ordinary. When you spend as much time looking at the sky as I do, you start to form a mental index of what is what and where each what should be in the night sky at any given time during the night. Of course, nopony, no matter how well versed in his or her craft, has a working knowledge of everything. While gazing through the scope, I blindly reached out to the table behind me for my star charts. To my surprise, my hoof found not the bound paper that I expected, but the living frame of another pony.

Needless to say, I was quite surprised. I nearly toppled over in my haste to turn and discover who it was that had managed to sneak up on me like that. What I first noticed were her eyes. She had eyes that I can only describe as deep, though I am not sure if that will mean anything to anypony who has not experienced them. They were the color of the sky right after the sunset, but before night proper. It was all I could do to keep from losing myself in those twin orbs that seemed as vast as the cosmos that I adore so much. As it was, I stared at them far too long. My eyes slowly shifted focus to take in the rest of this wonderful creature. The beauty of the rest of her matched that of her eyes. From her horn to her hooves, she was stunning. She had hair the color of night itself, and her mane seemed to contain galaxies worth of intricacies as it gently wafted in the cool night air of the observatory. As I gazed at her, I got the distinct feeling that she was both standing directly in front of me and existing as a distinct and integral part of the universe both near and far. And then I noticed her wings.

It hit me in a flash just who I had been gawking at. I stammered my apologies as I took a few steps back. My gaze dropped to the floor as my cheeks burned red with embarrassment at what I had been thinking about Princess Luna herself. What happened next is something that I had not expected at all. She burst out in laughter. It did not seem to be a derisive laugh in the least, but the lighthearted laugh of a filly who has just seen her pet do something humorous. As she regained composure, she told me to think nothing of it. She actually apologized to me for both startling me and putting me into such an awkward situation. She explained to me that she had been watching me from a distance for several nights now and finally decided to get a closer look at my work. She told me that I had looked so focused on what I was doing that it was hard not to watch. "It is not like there is much else going on out here at night anyway", she said.

So we began talking. Once I got over the initial shock of who I was talking to, my words came easily. Try as I might, I found myself addressing her less as Princess Luna and more as just regular Luna, if that makes any sense. I tried to stay formal, but I found myself slipping down into casual conversation. I think now that it was my sleep-deprived state that caused me to lose track of my formality. Luna never seemed to mind, though. That surprised me, but I deemed it inappropriate to disrespect her by questioning her and possibly ruin what was turning out to be quite an entertaining night. I was reminded, though, that all things must come to an end when Luna let out a yawn and remarked on the time. I looked out at the sky through the open observatory roof only to find the first tendrils of dawn worming their way across the morning sky. I walked Princess Luna to the door and saw her off. I even managed not to stare at her flank as she flew off towards castle proper.

As disappointing as it was to have run out of both night and night mare, I need sleep. It was only the presence of my unexpected guest that kept me awake this long, though I am not sure whether guest is the proper term. She was not so much a guest in my observatory as much as I am an employee and inhabitant of HER observatory. I laugh at that realization. These laughs will soon turn into snores whether I wish them to or not, and I fear that if I do not move myself to a bed, this parchment will become a rather inadequate pillow.

05 - Routine

Since that first night, Luna has become a common presence in the observatory. She does not, of course, come every night, for she has royal duties back at the castle. When she is here, she has a comforting presence, but even when she is not, I can still feel her presence, albeit to a much lesser degree, in the night air. As unlikely as it seems, I have come to view Luna as a friend in the last few weeks. Sometimes she just wants to sit and watch me work. I found that awkward at first, but quickly became as used to it as I was to performing my duties under the night sky.

More often than not, we did not speak. We simply existed together, I with my work and she with her observation. The relatively low volume of our meetings seemed more natural for the night, and I think that that is something that we both understood. These meetings were of a different nature than the loud, rushed business of the day. That is not to say that they were of any less importance. I found, in fact, that I enjoy time with Luna more than I have with any other pony.

My work is progressing well. I am mostly used to everything in the observatory now. I feel more and more like I own the place, even though I am merely allowed to stay here for the sake of my work. I checked once more for the stars that struck me as out of place, but I could not see them where I had marked them to be. That struck me as odd as well. The stars were there, but they seemed shifted. I realize now that I must have taken the location down incorrectly, which makes sense considering that I was sleep-deprived when I saw them. That must be the reason; stars do not move relative to one another, not that quickly anyway. Enough about my work, though. This is a private journal, and I intend to keep it from turning into another academic reference. Besides, I need to go make myself presentable. Luna will be here shortly.

06 - Flight

I was wrong about the stars. It was not a mistake that I made in distracted drowsiness. The stars are moving. This is exceedingly odd. I have never seen anything quite like it before. I am not sure what it means, but I intend to watch them until I finally understand what they are up to. This is the biggest mystery that I have seen in the sky yet, and it is fascinating me to no end. I even found that I can map the movements of the stars over the course of several days. I imagine that with enough data points, I will be able to predict where they are traveling, and that might uncover why and how.

Luna surprised me last night. When she flew in, she did so with the strap of a rather long tube-shaped package around her neck. When I inquired as to its purpose, she just gave me a rye smile, moved out towards the edge of the observatory tower, popped the end off of the tube, and levitated out what looked to be an old rug. I stood perplexed as to what exactly she had on her mind until she placed one end of the rug down on the edge of the tower and unrolled it over the abyss below. She then took a few steps out onto the thin piece of fabric supported by nothing but magic.

At once, everything clicked into place. I had heard myths about flying carpets before, but I did not actually believe that they were true. Their existence would not actually make much sense considering the relative costs between an intelligent and self-sustaining flight spell and plain old pegasus-drawn carriages. As I stepped onto the carpet, I voiced the subject of my confusion. My query was rewarded by another one of Luna's laughs as she said, "I can keep the moon aloft and on its proper path even when I sleep. I doubt that adding two more ponies to the load, even with myself included, will give my horn any trouble." So the carpet was just a plain old carpet. I tried to tell myself that my conclusion was a logical one, however wrong, but I could not keep another blush from creeping onto my cheeks. Luna laughed at that too.

She asked whether I was ready, and when I said that I was, we slowly drifted away from the observatory tower. Luna brought our makeshift craft up into the sky that I so closely examine each night. I came to the sudden realization that I had now probably been higher above ground than any other earth pony before. I looked to Luna's moon and felt that if I just tried hard enough, I could touch it. Fantasy, of course, but I entertained the thought anyway. I was so caught up in the sight of the sky that I almost did not notice when the carpet stopped its upward movement. For a time, we just sat there in the air and enjoyed the view.

And as beautiful as the sky was, I kept finding myself looking beside me at the mare who had made this all possible. Why had she done this for me? Come to think of it, why had any of this happened? Why had she started watching me? Why had she been quick to accept informality? Why... countless other things? As if sensing my unvoiced questions, she turned her gaze from the stars to my eyes and spoke. I will never forget her words on that night. "When I first saw you at the observatory, I realized that you were not like the others. You do not see the night as an unfortunate blank space between the days of my sister like everypony else does. I have seen you live and work, and it is obvious to me that you love the night. You are the first pony that I have met who actually appreciates and admires the very thing that I embody. You love the night, Stargazer, and I love you back."

I was stunned. I was immediately taken aback by the beauty of the mare beside me and that of the words that she had chosen to express her feelings. And as I thought on those words, I realized that they were true. The night had always been my safe haven. I had always felt most at home, safe and comfortable under the night sky, and I realized that I felt the same way about Luna. The night was my life, and the night mare had become the center of it all.

It was then that I swept Luna into my embrace and kissed her. It suddenly felt like the only thing that I could have done. Right now, she was not playing the role of great princess, nor was she playing the role of war hero, nor royal diplomat. Right now, she was simply my Luna. I tried to put all of my feelings for her into that one kiss, and I did so right up until the point when Luna lost concentration on her magic.

One thrill of love turned into the thrill of free-fall as the carpet drifted away from us. I held Luna close to me in fear as we plunged down towards the trees below. Through my petrified stupor, I vaguely noticed Luna yelling something almost lost to the rushing air around us. "Let go of me!" she shouted. My brain was slow to comprehend her plea, but the struggling mare managed to break free of my forelegs on her own. With a quick twist of her body, her wings caught the air and I felt myself slow to a stop in her levitation field. From there, it was a relatively quick flight back to the top of the observatory tower.

As soon as we touched down on the ledge from which we departed, I collapsed with my back to the stone floor to ride out the rest of my adrenaline rush. Luna simply sat on her haunches beside me and leaned against the doorway. After several quiet minutes, my breathing finally subsided, and I looked up into Luna's eyes. "That good, huh?" She must have blushed twelve different shades of red at that remark. She tried to stammer something about just being surprised, but I cut her off by pulling her down to me for another kiss.

When the night sleeps, it must naturally be during the day, and on that day, she slept with me.

07 - Trajectory

I finally feel as though my life is complete. Suddenly, I have everything that I have ever wanted. My full-time job is what I had always dreamed of doing as a colt. The sky is presenting me with puzzles that, while challenging, do not bring the rest of my work to a standstill. The mare that I love loves me in return. The fact that she turned out to be Princess Luna herself was just a side benefit. I can honestly say that I have never been happier than I am now.

I have managed to record enough data to solve my moving star problem. By their motion and coloring, I have found that they are not, in fact, full-sized stars, but relatively small projectiles at a much shorter range. Their proximity is why they appeared to be the same size as the full stars. There are six of these projectiles in all. Three do not seem to have any notable path. One looks as if it will come very close to our planet, but ultimately pass by. It looks like two might land here. One of the two is on a collision course will land it somewhere in a far, distant, and uncharted land if it can make it through the atmosphere. The last, however, holds much more intrigue for me. That "star" should touch down somewhere near the center of the forest. At first, this alarmed me, but I quickly found that after the atmosphere reduces its size, it should not cause any lasting damage to our land. At the rate that they are moving, I give them about three days before impact. I will have to investigate the local one personally.

Luna is coming more frequently now, though she still has work at the castle. Her absences are made much more tolerable by the general Luna-ness of the night. On her last stay, I told her about the moving stars. She wants to come with me to investigate. Luna is the only pony I know who knows as much as I do about celestial bodies ("celestial" in this case having nothing to do with a certain royal alicorn). She should be able to help me in finding some real answers about whatever it is falling from the sky. I am elated that the two most important aspects of my life are so compatible with one another. As surprising as it is, Luna might even be more interested in this particular endeavor than I am. That is okay, though. I am more interested In Luna than the falling stars, so I suppose that that makes us even.

And now, as much as I would like to continue writing, I have a mare waiting for me in my bedroom.

08 - Search

I awoke from sleep this evening with somepony shaking me. I opened my eyes to see Luna staring down at me, her horn illuminating the dark room around us. She did not spend the day with me, so she must have just shown up. "It's here", she said, "I can feel it." It took me a few seconds to realize what she was talking about, but then it came to me. We were within my projected window of impact for the falling stars. After just a few minutes of loading supplies into my saddlebags, we were off. It was only after I was out of bed and climbing down the tower stairs next to a flying Luna that her word choice struck me as odd.

"What do you mean 'you can feel it'?" I asked as we made our descent in the rapidly dwindling sunlight. She explained that as soon as the star fell, she felt drawn to it. She said that it was like having a magnet inside of her, a very weak magnet like the needle of a compass, but still strong enough to point the way to it. Well... them, actually. That was another thing that she said. The pull was strongest toward the center of Everfree, but the attraction was still there to a lesser degree all through the forest. This surprised me, but if this attraction is actually accurate, I could see the possibility of fragments coming off of the main piece and lodging themselves all across the forest.

We walked for several miles through the trees. Luna's mind was obviously set on finding the main piece of the star, but as I followed, my mind was trying to come to terms with going from sleep directly into the thick of Everfree. I felt irrationally jumpy about being there. The trees themselves seemed to take on a hostile air as we passed them. With a twinge of embarrassment, I tried to remind myself that I was in virtually the safest place in Equestria and just a few miles from Everfree Castle with a big, strong, alicorn-hero-lover-princess to protect me if anything did happen to go wrong. That did not completely stop my worrying, but it helped. I guess that there is just something inherently spooky about forests at night.

And then we were there. The star piece sat in the middle of a clearing, almost as if it had been aiming for it, a thought that I quickly dismissed, a little bit surprised that such a thought would form in my mind. The rock was about the size of a pony and a half and, as I saw as we approached, dimly glowing. The glow was not as bright as it had been in the sky, so I suppose that, after impact, it began to dim. The blue-hued rock seemed to be reflecting the moonlight as well. It was at that point that the rock struck me as more of a metal. I gave it a few taps with my hoof to verify (though I am in no way a geologist, and this did very little to convince me either way).

I looked over to Luna who was still mesmerized by the metal and/or rock object before us. I leaned over to give her a kiss on the cheek and was rewarded by a sheepish smile. I asked her to lend me her horn's light so I could unload my saddlebags. She complied, and I quickly found the tools that I was looking for. I brought the chisel up against the surface of the star and brought my hammer down on it. Instead of breaking a chunk off, the impact caused me to drop the chisel and hit the star awkwardly with my hammer. Slightly embarrassed, I picked up the chisel and tried once more, only to fail again. This went on for some minutes until I swapped the tools out for a small pickaxe, which I promptly bent out of shape on the intriguing and now somewhat frustrating space object.

Luna, seeing my difficulty, announced that she would like to try. I stepped aside and watched as she braced herself with all four hooves, brought her horn to point at the star and began to concentrate. With an anticlimactic flick of her horn, a large piece of the star broke free and hovered between us, followed by several more chunks. Luna broke out in laughter. "It's easy", the night mare said. It looks as though my Luna has an affinity for stars (surprise, surprise). I am happy for her.

Though it seemed that Luna could suspend as much as the star metal as she desired, I found that I could not pick very much up at all. The material is so dense that I could only reasonably carry a chunk about the size of my hoof, which I did in order to study it back at the observatory. As we made our way back to the observatory, my mind raced with possibilities. Is it possible that I had discovered a new substance? It certainly did not look like anything else that I knew. I asked Luna to send a few geology textbooks and supplies with the guards when they come by tomorrow to drop things off. She readily agreed, as I knew she would. She added that she would like return to the star later that night in order to study it more on her own time.

When we reached the observatory tower, Luna escorted me up to the top and then politely excused herself, much to my dismay. "Royal duties", she explained. She "really should not have stayed this long, but really wanted to see the star, and you shouldn't be sad because I'll be back tomorrow night, I promise." She gave me a kiss, and then she was gone.

That leads me to now, with my journal, sitting on the east facing balcony high above the forest. Though it is beautiful, my heart is not set on the sky tonight. I might have worked on the star, but I would just be wasting my time without those geology textbooks. I think that I might just go to bed early. Yes, I will sleep now, and then tomorrow, productive work, and my Luna will all be here sooner.

09 - Metal

The star is made of metal, but not of any metal that I have ever seen. The geology materials that Luna has provided are adequate, but I am having trouble progressing any further than the classification of "metal." The properties of the star metal do not show up in any of the classification charts, and they even seem to change. I have four distinctly different weights for my chunk, but every time I have weighed it, it has been one of those four. With Luna's help, I managed to find that despite the metal's extreme density, it seems disproportionately light when levitated. She says that she finds herself forgetting that she is holding it if she does so for any length of time.

My failure to progress any further may also lie in the fact that I have never worked on geology before. Every time I think I might have something, I have to go check the reference books to see how to proceed. On a couple of occasions, I had to redo a test because I failed to document a few small but important details. I am also having a slight bit of trouble keeping myself focused. When I work on the star metal for too long, I find my thoughts wandering. When I find myself in those situations, I have discovered that the best way to clear my head is to spend an hour or so walking around outside the tower.

Luna is especially enchanted by the metal. I suppose that that has something to do with her affinity for celestial objects. I sometimes feel that Princess Celestia was not aptly named. During the day, the only visible celestial object is the sun, but during the night an endless number are visible, making my Luna more celestial than Celestia herself. My thoughts are wandering again. Luna has taken to wearing a piece of the metal on a chain around her neck. She managed to shape the metal slowly with her magic into a small pendant. I asked her why she needed the chain if the only way to reasonably wear something so heavy would be with the assistance of magic. She said that the chain just serves as a reminder that the pendant is there so she will not forget it. She also says that it is getting easier to levitate it and that she thinks that it would not be much harder to make larger wearable items from the star metal.

I have found it difficult to sleep these past few days. I thought that the first day was just excitement from the discovery of a new metal, but my trouble has continued. I will eventually get to sleep, but I will find myself awake again in just a few hours, sometimes in a cold sweat, but unable to remember the dream that had put me in that state. The problem persists even on days when Luna stays with me. I have accepted my problem to some degree, and I spend most of the time that I am not sleeping staring at the piece of star metal on my bedside table. It is a truly curious thing. Sometimes, and I almost feel embarrassed to write this, I feel like it is staring back at me.

10 - Shadow

My mind is not at peace. My ability to sleep has been getting progressively worse. Up until now, I have not been able to remember the dreams that caused me to wake with a start, drenched in my own sweat despite the cool temperature of the room. Now I can remember snatches. Though I cannot remember much, the images and underlying tone still haunt me. I can almost see the shifting shadows of my dream out of the corner of my eye as I write this, almost as if they are watching me and waiting for me to return to them. I know that I will have to, eventually, for if I do not sleep, I cannot function properly and my work suffers.

I tried walking to clear my head, but the sun holds no solace for me, and the shadows cast by the trees of Everfree remind me too much of my daymare. My Luna cannot help me now either. She is off playing diplomat with the zebras and will not be back for quite some time. Writing this entry is helping, but I am still troubled. What is wrong with me? I have never had trouble sleeping before. Why should I start now? Is my brain rebelling against my good fortune on having found life and love?

What worries me is that I have read of these symptoms before. Any educated pony would be able to see the similarity between my mental state and the common mental state of everypony in the dark ages of Discord's rule. That seems absurd, though. I know full well that Discord is safely sealed away in his stone tomb. The royal sisters saw to that many generations ago. But then that brings me back to the question begging to be answered. Why is my mind in such a state of disharmony?

11 - Premonition

Luna, help me. Never have I been more distressed by my dreams as this day. This time, I woke up screaming and leapt from my bed. It was staring at me. The star metal was staring at me. I had felt it before, but not like this. Its eyeless gaze followed me as I fled from the room, and I felt like I could almost hear it laughing as I did. My inner scientist is pitching a fit at the insanity of my actions. It sounds crazy to me even as I write it that I was chased from my bedroom by a stationary piece of dead metal. Even though my inner scientist is embarrassed about this, even he is as glad to be out of that room as the rest of me.

My dream was nebulous and vivid all at the same time. It seemed as if things were out of focus not because of tricks of the light, but because the very natures of those things were wrong. I saw monstrous creatures with terrible jaws and scorpion tails. There were rotting corpses of ponies moving around in the dark and abominations with eyes that could petrify the most well centered of ponies with fear. There were even plants that could distort the very fabric of reality, leaving chaos to reign. And then came the worst part of it all. In the middle of all the horrors and shifting shadows in the trees was a twisted rendition of my Luna in royal armor. She was being ripped apart by those things, laughing maniacally all the while. Everything ended in flames. Everything was consumed in fiery destruction, leaving nothing behind. I truly wish never to see such images again.

I threw the piece of star metal off of the edge of the tower balcony. The darkness of my bedroom still feels wrong, though, like it has been contaminated. It does not matter for now. I have no hope of sleeping again for the rest of my life, let alone tonight. No, I will not sleep again tonight. I can only sit here in my office hiding from the sun and trying to keep my mind off of anything troubling. The mental effort of writing is helping, but nothing but time will let me recover fully. I am worried about Luna. She is still wearing the star pendant. Who knows what it could have done to her by now, especially considering that she has a special bond with it. At least she will be back soon, and I can stop worrying.

12 - Revelation

I fear that things have taken a turn for the worst. When I pulled up my supply dumbwaiter this evening, the front page of the weekly newspaper gave me quite a fright. The picture that I saw before me was the same twisted Luna of my dream. She seemed taller, blacker, and menacing. She was wearing the same armor that she had in my dream, but only now did I recognize the blue sheen of it for what it was. She was wearing six large pieces of star metal armor. It covered her hooves, chest and head. She must have crafted them right before departing for zebra territory. Otherwise she would have told me about them.

The article was not flattering. Apparently the stay had started out decently enough with Luna participating in the zebra rituals, but she had grown increasingly impatient with them. By the end of the stay, she refused to participate and openly ridiculed the zebra culture. It only got worse. The zebras seemed grudgingly tolerant of her actions until, suddenly, they became extremely hostile. The zebras stopped referring to her as "Princess of Night" and started with "Star Mare," "Nightmare Moon." The article even refers to her as Nightmare Moon in the title.

I fear that all this time with the receptive mare's head and heart encased in the alien metal has changed her. I know what it did to me, and I just had one small piece. I am afraid. Luna is changing, and I know that part of that is my fault. I piqued her interest in the star. I encouraged her. I even complimented her on the small pendant she had been wearing before. Now
I know that she is being twisted by the horrible material. I can only hope that the damage is not permanent. I could not bear to lose my Luna to what she is becoming because of me.

I am still having fitful sleep. The star metal is probably still affecting me to a lesser degree since it was scattered all across the forest, but my worry for Luna dwarfs that. My work is suffering too. I cannot concentrate on anything but Luna's absence and what it could mean. She will be back tomorrow. I am terrified of what I will find when she comes back to the observatory, if she does. Oh, Luna. The moon has stopped going down during the day.

13 - Return

It is not just the moon anymore. The sun did not come up when it was supposed to. I was not sure of it at first, but all doubt fled my mind when there was still no sign of dawn several hours into the day. I never imagined it would come to this. Yet again, I am tired, but sleep will not come. Worry and anticipation leave no room for it. The night air seems stale and oppressive, but it is still better out here on the balcony than in the oppressive, star-tainted darkness of my bedroom.

I thought there on the balcony, waiting for Luna's eventual arrival. I am not sure which idea frightened me most: that Luna had not come here for several days after returning, or that I would have to face the new Luna when she did. As if on cue, I saw a dark shape gliding towards the tower from the direction of the castle. I watched as the monstrous shape slowly grew as it approached.

When Luna touched down on the balcony, I was at a complete loss for words. I had been thinking about what I would say to her for days, but ultimately, I could come up with nothing when it mattered most. I just stood there looking at her. And then she started speaking. My brain almost shut down then. I missed most of what she said because I was so shocked at how she said it. She was using her royal voice to address me now. I am no longer Stargazer to her. I am her loyal subject. I am to help her take her rightful place as supreme ruler of Equestria. She thanked me for helping her boost her power with my wonderful star metal. Of all things, she thanked me for this. Then her words turned worse. She started talking about how much more power she had than Celestia, how she could divert any killing blow Celestia tried to deal, and how she could kill her sister in the blink of an eye.

It was then that I found my voice. I interrupted her with a single word: "No!" I handled my words carelessly then. All of my worries, doubts and sleepless nights had culminated in this. I looked my lover in the eyes, and I pleaded with her to take the star metal off. It had warped her, and now it was time to go back. I tried to ask whether what we had still meant anything, but I was cut off by a full body blow. She struck me with her magic and I flew back. I found myself in a heap at the foot of the main telescope, having fallen from where I hit it. I looked up from a shattered lens on the floor to Luna, no, Nightmare Moon, with shock and tears in my eyes. She told me that I was lucky to still be alive, and then she turned and flew off into the eternal night.

I have no doubt that she is going to confront Celestia, and in her current state, she cannot be reasoned with. The confrontation will turn to battle, and the worst thing is that I know that Luna's raw power is far greater than that of Celestia. If one of them dies from this battle, it will be Celestia, And I am no longer sure that that is a good thing. I still love my Luna, but that thing is not Luna anymore. This is all my fault. I whet her appetite for approval. I opened the door for jealous thoughts. I brought her to the star metal. I ignored my gut feeling of dread about it until it was too late. And now I have just botched my only chance to talk her out of it. Oh, Luna, what have I done?

14 - Sunrise

I am not sure for how long I have been sitting here, but I find myself unable to do anything else. The sun just came up. I am not sure what to think of that anymore. I feel numb. It is almost like my emotions ran so high that they broke. It looks like whatever happened last night, Celestia won. I am not sure how that is possible, but the sun is in the sky right now. It is tempting to find hope in that, but so much has gone horribly wrong already that I am reluctant to think that Celestia was able to talk Luna out of her crazed state.

It is possible that she succeeded where I failed. I mean, they have known each other for who knows how many lifetimes? They defeated Discord together, with the elements of harmony. That must count for something. I just hope that Luna is okay and that I can make up for the trouble I have caused.

I feel the unbearable urge to sleep now. For the first time for a long time, I think that I can. I know that my dreams will torment me, but I no longer care. I am just too tired. The torment is no less than what I deserve.

15 - Exile

I hardly remember the days that have passed between my last entry and now. I feel like a zombie, just going through the motions of life rather than living it. The day is hot, harsh and unforgiving. The night is cold, dark and empty. I have not even bothered to fix the main telescope. Every time I try to get near it, I remember the look in her eyes right after I crashed into it, so full of spite and jealousy. Not that that matters anymore.

My supplies came in today, but I did not care about anything but the newspaper. I took it out and began to read in hopes of finding out what happened to my love. She is gone now, just like that, banished to her namesake for 1,000 years. Luna burst into the throne room that night expecting a battle to the death. She was prepared for every lethal spell that Celestia could have thrown at her. In her twisted state, Luna failed to consider the possibility that her sister would not try to kill her on sight. All it took to bring her terrible scheme crashing down was a single element bearer with a simple banishment spell.

I laughed at the idea. She had her heart set on blood and was defeated for it. I laughed, and I laughed, and I laughed till I cried. I have never cried so hard or so long in my life. I cried for hours before I noticed the official notice that had been under the paper. I opened it with shaky hooves and read. I suppose that it makes sense. The observatory was Luna's pet project, and now that she is out of the picture, so is my job. I would receive pay for the week, and then I would have to find some other way to earn a living. More laughter. More tears.

Everything was so perfect. Where did it all go wrong? I finally got my dream job, and the mare of my dreams loved me back. Now I have lost everything, and it is my fault. Now I have to come to terms with the one thing that keeps resonating in my head and my heart. I will never see Luna again. I will never see her again, and it is all my fault.

16 - Fall

Princess Celestia is running away. I know that the new Canterlot Castle to the northeast has been in construction for several years, but it cannot be coincidence that she is choosing now to make the move. Of course, nopony is being forced to move, but everypony is still scarred from the whole "Nightmare Moon" incident. When the princess flees from here, everypony else will follow her. Those who do not go immediately will be slowly but surely pressured to leave or crack by the star metal all through the forest. Celestia, damn her, is abandoning this place. No, I should not think like that. It would be foalish to hold any of this against her, as much as I want to. I just want my Luna back. I miss her so much.

In hindsight, I can see the one, true, sick irony that makes it all the more tragic. I had two things that made my life perfect: my stars, and my Luna. The sick thing about this... The really sick thing about all of this, is that the two things that I loved the most combined to destroy each other in my life. The star corrupted Luna, so she was banished; Luna was banished, and so I can no longer study the stars. And I will be many lifetimes dead before either of those things will change.

Now I sit among the pieces of my broken life, on an unrailed balcony in the middle of a tainted and soon to be ponyless forest. I remember wondering about the safety implications of balconies without rails when I first got here, but now I do not care. It would be so easy for a quick gust of wind to blow me over the edge of the tower. It is quite windy up here as it is. The odds are, nopony would even know if that happened. There is no reason to come out here anymore. All of this is my fault, and yet it is already as if I do not exist. Nopony will remember me or look for me. If I got careless, I could just be blown off of the edge and nothing would change. Equestria would keep right on moving as if I had never existed. In a hundred years, the history books will teach of the horrible Nightmare Moon, but they will say nothing of Luna, or me or the star metal. It will just be one of those odd little things that happened back when there was more than one princess, and they lived in the Everfree Forest. No, my death will not be remembered.

It looks like it will be a windy night. This will be my last entry. I will not write again.

I miss you, Luna.

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