• Published 6th Dec 2012
  • 2,240 Views, 29 Comments

Starfall: Dominion of the Night, Part I - AuroraScribe

The course of time has been changed... and as the war of the sisters begins, will Star Swirl's involvement change things for the better, or has the mage doomed Equestria to an even more terrible fate?

  • ...

Prologue: In Another Time

Over a thousand years ago. . .

The snow-speckled air swirled about as the black pitch of night lightened to the grays of early morning. Another winter dawn had come to Equestria and while most would wrap themselves in heavy clothing or find a nice cozy fire to warm near, the harsh weather did little to affect the dark winged-unicorn and princess of Equestria standing upon her balcony of Canterlot castle.

Princess Luna sighed lightly and continued to watch the snow and ice lazily drifting endlessly from the gray sky above, the small puff of frost before her the only sign she wasn’t a statue. Though heavy snowfall within Canterlot was rare due to the numerous wards of magic, Luna found it quite beautiful and chose to allow a small passing storm to cover the city in a thick blanket of white throughout the night. She considered for a moment what her sister, Princess Celestia, would think of her choice but quickly dismissed the thought. It doesn’t matter, she concluded. With another sigh she stepped forward and brought her hooves upon the intricate railing of the balcony then closed her eyes.

Though ancient, Luna retained the appearance of a youthful mare and while she had lived a span nearly a hundred-fold of an average pony, she had never truly felt old. Not until this day. She’d seen the rise and fall of would-be rulers, of multiple attacks against Canterlot, and when the world was still young, she stood side by side with her sister to stop the malevolent draconequus known as Discord and brought an end to his reign of chaos.

As she slowly opened her eyes she briefly thought of her parents, neither of which she had seen in a very long time. Is this what they would want for me? A princess only by title, destined to be a shadow of her sister? She angrily flung a large clump of snow from the balcony and watched as it broke apart then vanished as it mixed with the haze of white down below.

Long ago, there had been a singular feeling to the work the princesses of Canterlot had chosen to do, as if they were two halves of the same spirit, here to bring harmony to a world greatly in need of it. But over time, that feeling had changed. Luna knew of her sister's passion to keep the world alight, and as she was reminded each and every day of that fact it had become clear to her they were two separate ponies with two completely different goals.

With her dark-purple mane flowing in the breeze, she spread her wings and gently flapped sending the snow that rested upon them swirling into a frozen mist. Still deep in thought, she lifted herself from the balcony and away from the tower of the castle then inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with icy-cold air. A time of great change is coming, sister, she thought and looked to the horizon.

Luna’s heart ached as she watched the frozen waterfalls and the blanket of snow covering the outer city glow golden as the sun slowly rose. For the first time in her life, she felt truly alone and had to consciously fight back the tears beginning to form. “How long have I simply wanted others to see this world as I do?” She whispered and blinked heavily. "But is this... Am I doing the right thing?" Bothered by the sudden indecisiveness she shook her head and closed her eyes once more.

Trying to clear her thoughts, for a moment she listened to the flapping of her wings but heard something that surprised her – it was light, but clearly the beautiful voice of somepony singing. Both bothered and enraptured by the sudden interruption, she took a moment to listen.

In the glow of the moon,
From the light of the sun,
We stand not alone,
Our hearts are as one.

Her eyes narrow as she scans the area surrounding the castle. That voice could belong to only one pony.

Princess Celestia walked slowly through the frozen royal garden, her long, colorful mane and tail drifting lazily in the winter breeze. She skimmed over the pages of a small book hovering and glowing luminously next to her as she hummed a few more notes, her mouth twisting into a silly grin as she glanced to her side. Next to her, a young filly by the name of Star Flare, a white winged-unicorn with gleaming blue mane and tail, was carefully listening to every note in an attempt to memorize the melody. Near them multiple guards listened on, but neither Celestia nor Star Flare pay them any heed, each absorbed in one another’s company.

Only the guards turned as Luna gently landed in the snow nearby, each bowing then standing at full attention.

“Our hearts are as one,” Celestia sung lightly.

“Our hearts are as one,” Star Flare echoed, not quite matching the princess’s tones, but her lighter voice carried its own beauty.

“Good! I think you’ve nearly mastered that verse, little one. We’ll have to… Oh, Luna? We didn’t wake you, I hope?” Celestia smiled and nuzzled the little filly next to her.

Star Flare giggled then her eyes widen as she saw Luna.

“You did not… I have yet to sleep, sister,” Luna said flatly, Star Flare’s shocked expression distracting her from saying more.

“We have a visitor,” Celestia said sweetly as she nodded to the filly. “Her name is Star Flare.”

“I see,” Luna said indifferently, wanting to skip any formalities. “A visit during the day, if only I could express how little this surprised me.” She looked away but could feel her sister’s purple eyes almost attempting to pierce her, but before anything about it could be said, the little filly spoke up.

“When I found out I’d be allowed to come to the castle… I… secretly stayed up each night and took extra-long naps during the day at the orphanage! I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to stay awake to meet you otherwise,” Star Flare began briskly, but a sudden look of fear crossed her face. “But please, don’t tell them I stayed up… they’d probably be upset with me!”

“It appears you have quite the admirer,” Celestia said with a smirk but her voice was low, her mood clearly dampened.

“Perhaps,” Luna began as she looked to her sister, “But I doubt that.” She turned and looked at the little visitor but Star Flare was clearly telling the truth; small dark circles encompassed her brightly shining yellow eyes and if not for the excitement, she looked as if she could fall asleep any moment. Luna shifted, suddenly feeling guilty for being so rude. “Do not worry, young one, your secret is safe… but you still need your rest. Tell me, why put yourself through that?”

Star Flare’s expression changed to a look of confusion, as if she didn't have a reason but almost instantly she perked up and said cheerfully, “Because you’re a princess!”

Warmth flickered within Luna, a sensation that slightly dulled her foul mood. Unknowingly she smiled gently.

“It is true, right? I get to visit with each of you for a full day?” The little filly looked from Celestia back to Luna.

“And a full night,” Celestia corrected and glanced at her sister. “Each year the Canterlot orphanage brings all of the children here to spend time at the castle, but this year is very unique-”

Luna would never know what was unique about this occasion as multiple pegasus - royal guards by the look of their ornate armor - landed heavily a short distance from the princesses and saluted. One of them, a dark black pegasus with a light-blue mane and slightly larger than the others, stepped forward and bowed.

“Your majesties! We’ve returned from a small village near the Whitetail Woods where we were to provide support per your request...” the large pegasus spoke loudly but kept his head low.

“Their situation was dire, Captain… why have you returned so soon?” Celestia asked.

A small grin crept over Luna’s lips but vanished when she noticed Star Flare looking about nervously. Obviously scared, the little filly quickly found a hiding spot behind Celestia’s tail.

“Princess… the village…” the large pegasus’s head sunk lower and he cleared his throat, “Your highness, the village is gone." Luna saw him glance to each of the other guards that had landed with him, both of which looked away with pain-filled eyes. Luna recognized him as the leader of Canterlot’s air patrol called the skyguard, a very swift flyer by the name of Stormstrike. If Celestia had sent him, one of her very best guards, she must have taken the matter very seriously. The horrible news and seeing him so distraught should’ve alarmed Luna, but instead only a sense of guilt-twinged joy filled her.

Celestia’s eyes widened. “Gone?” Her head shook so quickly it could’ve been a twitch. "Gone? Wha-what do you mean?"

Stormstrike swallowed. "Your highness... we arrived too late… the entire village was destroyed when the nearby dam came apart. There... was almost nothing left.”

“No!” Celestia spoke so adamantly it could’ve been a command. “That’s not possible… there were families, very good ponies… friends...” she almost pleaded.

It was obvious Stormstrike wasn’t sure how to respond as he looked down once more and took a deep breath.

Next to him one of the others spoke up, a thin female pegasus named Cyclone. “What he says is true, your highness. Only the foundations remained of the village... when the dam gave way, the massive surge of water carved a valley clear to the Bridle Shores. Captain Stormstrike ordered ten guards to stay behind to continue the search, but he wanted to give you this news personally. Your highnesses…. I’ve never seen this kind of devastation. It was… so horrible.”

Oh, that’s just the beginning. Luna shifted, unable to contain a tremble within her. “But is there nothing we can do?” She looked to each of the pegasus guards innocently and had to forcibly contain a laugh by covering her mouth with a hoof, a gesture she hoped the others took as a gasp of shock.

Stormstrike slid his helmet off as he looked to his comrades then to Luna. “I’m very sorry princess… as I said... we arrived too late,” he said softly.

“That is truly a shame to hear,” Luna said then cleared her throat as if her emotions were getting the best of her. “But I refuse to give up hope! A moment, please,” she could feel her sister's piercing gaze once again, but ignored it. Her horn flashed bright purple and the snow before her melted into a puddle so mirror-like it could’ve been quicksilver. “Nightweaver, there’s been disturbing news… I've just learned the town you were going to visit has been destroyed, are you alright?”

The reflective-pool glowed bright purple and the image of a dark-gray unicorn appeared. “Princess Luna! There’s no need for alarm, your highness! When I arrived the dam was in bad shape, but there was just enough time to help evacuate everypony before it broke. Take my word, everypony is safe!”

The guards all around cheered as Celestia and Stormstrike exhaled in disbelief. Luna nodded and let a smug grin pass her lips. She noticed Star Flare had gathered enough courage to move out from hiding, her mouth open in amazement.

"We will send others to help, right away! You have done wonderful work, thank you, Nightweaver!” Luna nodded to the image of the gray pony then released her magic; the purple glow vanishing as the water of the pool quickly receded into the snow. “It was quite fortunate one of the night watch was already on his way there to visit family," Luna said as she looked down to the gape in the snow. “Tragedies have become commonplace these days… next time, we may not be so lucky.”

Each of the guards nodded with worried expressions.

Celestia only nodded once. “Let us hope there is never a next time.”

“Of course, sister,” Luna began as she smiled at Star Flare then turned her attention back to Celestia. “Let us hope.”