• Published 9th Apr 2013
  • 4,255 Views, 78 Comments

Reliving Memories - Brilorodion



After Twilight has not only lost memories but also starts acting strange, ancient forces begin their devastating power games.

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2: Past Horrors and New Victims

“On behalf of her Royal Highness, Luna, Princess of the diarchy of Equestria, and Sovereign of the Night, I declare the Lunar Court in session!”

The voice of Warding Moon, commanding officer of the palace guard night shift, echoed through the throne room. An unnecessary gesture, Luna thought. In contrast to the long line of ponies regularly forming up before the opening of the Sun Court, and even the smaller group gathering for the Twilit Court, she did not expect anypony to dare bring up a request to the Lunar Court.

Although she was an integral part of the diarchy and she had been longer in her position – even counting her thousand years of absence – than Twilight Sparkle, the number of visitors to the nightly sessions was limited to no more than one or two per month. A millennium of horror stories about the evil Nightmare Moon could not be erased by a few public appearances. She knew that even four years after her admittedly not very friendly return, many ponies still saw her as that specter which would bring eternal darkness over Equestria.

Despite her efforts to appear as a friendly and straightforward Princess of the Night, parents would still tell their children horror stories about the Mare in the Moon. Although it hurt Luna, she had given up trying to be popular with all means. It would probably just need time, and after a millennium on the moon she was used to waiting.

She lounged on the throne, a gesture one would never see Celestia doing. Luna had been present in some sittings of the Sun Court to accustom herself to today's standards of handling matters. Her sister gave always a respectable picture: She was neutral, showed hardly any emotions and sat through the entire session in a graceful pose on the throne.

Luna sighed. It would be a long night without any possibility of entertainment.

“Any incidents, Warding Moon?”

“No, your Highness,” replied the light gray earthpony. She had asked him countless times to simply call her 'Luna', but the captain insisted to stick to etiquette. It had become a joke between them to always use their title or rank to address each other. Other than Twilight he was the only pony towards whom she felt something like friendship.

“Princess Celestia mentioned great progress during the negotiations with Griffica. It seems the griffons finally gave in and adjusted their prices. She has told me to inform you that she will be leaving tomorrow as planned to sign the agreement.”

Luna sighed again. She had no interest in negotiations about economic treaties – that was something she happily left to her sister. Still, she was glad her captain gave her that report. He provided her with the most important news every night and also was always available for a conversation, sometimes even a joke, and she had learned to appreciate him for it.

The small number of visitors allowed her to pass on lengthy preparations for the Lunar Court, which gave her some free time. She used it to meet her friend Twilight for dinner – or, in Luna's case, breakfast. She enjoyed her time with the youngest princess and lately she hardly missed any occasion to see her. Twilight had not only saved Luna from herself, she was the only pony – aside from Celestia – which had never been afraid of her. In addition, she apparently harbored a keen interest in the celestial bodies of the night sky. Luna had noticed on several nightly trips, that Twilight at times spent hours at her telescope in the library in Ponyville, which pleased Luna very much.

Although the Princess of the Night appreciated the nightly conversations with her guards and especially with Warding Moon, only with Twilight did she have the feeling of familiarity which drew Luna closer to her... or was there even more to it? She shook her head. She should not even think about it. She had not been able to really trust anyone after her return, not even her sister. On the one hoof she was grateful Celestia had prevented more suffering in Equestria through the banishment of Nightmare Moon; on another hoof she thought of the punishment as disproportional and rushed. To Celestia, the issue was resolved. She just seemed to be happy to have her sister back. She was not interested in further discussions – especially not on the still relatively unclear cause of the problem that led to the conflict. It was only logical that Luna was drawn to the first pony that was completely open minded. Yes, that had to be it. Everything else surely was imagination. But still...

While Luna looked absently through the huge, but relatively empty, throne room, her gaze remained on one the stained glass windows. It was the portrayal of her banishment so many years ago. From her seat, she had a very good look at the highly detailed artwork. She had asked Celestia more than once to have it removed – the view painfully reminded Luna of her own past – but to her sister the matter was out of the question; she always found a reason to reject Luna's request.

While she was busy thinking on the past and present of her own existence, she noticed the visitor only after Warding Moon coughed embarrassedly to get her out of her own thoughts. She sat up straight and looked at the new arrival. It was a dark green unicorn colt, a with a blue mane and a needle sewing a piece of cloth for a cutiemark. He obviously had something to do with the handling of fabrics; he probably was working in the fashion business. He had a proud stance, but something seemed off about him, though Luna could not tell what it was. Maybe it was the way he was moving or...

“Welcome to the Lunar Court. Please bring forward your request and I shall help you if it is within my power.”

Luna spoke the royal greeting, which was used in similar form by each of the princesses, with the greatest possible kindness.

After all, it was one of her few visitors and it did not seem like he was here as part of a test of courage, like the last pony, who had visited two weeks ago. He moved up to her with his head held high and came unusually close to her, considering that visitors normally kept a large distance to the threat she still posed in the eyes of many ponies.

It disturbed her that he did not bow to her but instead maintained his proud stance. Luna did not want ponies to show their humbleness, but she she had never seen any pony not bowing in court, be it Celestia's, Twilight's or her own.

“It...” he whispered.

“I am very sorry, I could not understand you,” Luna responded.

“It... begins...” he muttered again under his breath.

All the time he was directly staring into Luna’s eyes. He was pale and Luna guessed that something bad had happened to him and that he was confused. That could be a reason for his behaviour. She tried again to get through to him.

“Please, explain yourself. I can not fol–”

“TODAY!” shouted the unicorn with a strangely distorted voice; it sounded much deeper than she would have expected from a colt of his size. It came so sudden and loud that Luna would have jumped backwards if she had not sat on the throne. She was all at once very tense and at the same time glad there was at least some space left between her and the seemingly crazy pony. Her guards also threw a suspicious eye on the visitor, ready to intervene in an emergency situation.

“Listen, We... I can certainly help you, but I need you to explain your problem,” Luna tried again to make contact.

“It is too la... Where... What... happened...?”

Luna watched as the facial expression of the unicorn changed from determination to... Panic? Horror? She was not sure what was going on, but it made every alarm bell in her head ring.

“Is everything okay with you? Shall I send for a doctor? I’m sure there’s somepony that can help you.”

She was just about to give a guard the appropriate order, when the face of the stranger changed again. It now showed almost fanatical zeal.

“It begins NOW!” he shouted.

The pony's horn began to glow unnatural bright with green light. If Luna and her guards had not been alarmed by now, this was the last signal to take defensive positions. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Warding Moon beginning to move to overwhelm the dangerous pony. Luna was not defenseless; being an alicorn with thousands of years of experience entailed being able to cast very powerful spells very fast. After all, Alicorns were immortal, not invincible; she and her sister had learned that the hard way. In a split second she created a bulwark of defensive magic for herself and the guards, but it was too late: The unicorn was about to shoot the spell – whatever it was supposed to do – in Luna's direction.

“NO!” she shouted with all her might, using the Royal Canterlot Voice, as she saw the captain, her friend, jump boldly towards the direction of the intruder to stop the madpony and protect Luna. The world around her seemed to slow as she had to watch the commander of her guard collide with the spell-casting unicorn. Both slid several meters over the smooth marble floor, while the fatal spell was released and missed its initial target by a large distance. The green magical orb shot into the ceiling of the throne room, lightning arcing in every direction. With a loud crack the spell made the whole castle shake and the dome collapse above the two ponies.

Huge pieces of the ceiling came crashing down on Warding Moon and the attacker and buried both under them. It had happened so fast that not even Luna had had a chance to intercept the falling rocks. With a quick flash of her horn, she created a barrier that prevented more injuries. Assisted by the remaining guards, she immediately started lifting the debris with hooves and magic to free the two buried ponies.

“Oh please, oh please, oh please...” she muttered to herself.

Under a particularly large fragment of the ceiling she found them, both seriously injured. She turned first to her captain, who had clearly suffered the more serious injuries.

“Hold on, help is coming!”

She cursed herself for not being able to heal major wounds even after her long lifetime. Her sister clearly had the greater talent for healing magic. Luna's skills were still above those of the palace guard, but that did not mean she could heal internal injuries all by herself. She tried her best, but it hardly helped.

“Your High... are you...?” Warding Moon brought out.

“I'm fine, you saved me.”

“I... you... save?”

“Yes, you're a hero. Stay with me!”

“Luna...” he whispered, his eyes closing.

“Warding Moon? Warding Moon!”

He stayed silent. Unbelieving of what had happened, Luna grabbed him by his shoulders and shook him, tried to wake him, but he did not show any reaction. Combining every ounce of power she could bring up with her little knowledge on healing magic, she wanted to do everything to make him live. As she reached out with her spell, she could feel what was already certain. The captain had given his life for the princess. Only with his last breath had he given in to her plea to address her without title.

Luna held back her tears. Later there would be the time to mourn. Now she had to dedicate her attention to the pony responsible for this incident.

She walked over to the unknown unicorn. He also had some serious injuries; they were not as severe as Warding Moon's, but this pony still was in mortal danger. As much as she disliked it, she had to use her meager healing skills if she wanted to get some answers. The tower of the healers was almost at the other end of Canterlot castle and it would still take some time for professional help to arrive.

“Who art thou? Answer Us!”

Her emotions were so intense, she was almost shivering; every single muscle was strained. She could barely keep herself from exploding into a storm of wild magic. She was about to lose control any moment, so she did not care about the old style of speech.

“Helpful... Helpful Stitch, Your Highness.”

“What was thy scheme? Why seekest thou to kill Us?”

“I... what is... kill you?” he stammered. “Princess, what...”

The eyes of the unicorn began to roll. “YOU WILL NOT LEARN ANYTHING!” His tone of voice and volume had – just like before the attack – once again changed. “Soon enough you will know what it means to defy Lord Fading Light! He will– AAAARRGH!” After a horrific scream, the pony fell silent. As before with Warding Moon, Helpful Stitch's vital spark ceased.

Luna's mind raced. She was overwhelmed by the situation. She had been attacked in the throne room of Canterlot! The Captain of her guards had sacrificed himself for her. He had almost – no he had definitely been a friend. She had not been able to protect him. All her experience, all her powerful magic had not helped her. The attack had completely taken her by surprise. She had not been able to save him.

Then there was this crazy unicorn which was apparently named Helpful Stitch: What had been his motivation? Were the ponies of Equestria hating her so much they wanted to kill her? Again, Luna cursed her past, the choices she had made... There was a time when they had made sense to her, when they seemed to be the only logical choice. But she no longer was this pony. She would never be like she was in the peaceful years before... like she had been, but she no longer was the monster either and she did not want to be it anymore. She was only disgusted by her past. Couldn't others see it, too? Was she still the monster to her subjects?

“LUNA!”

Her sister pulled Luna back from the dark thoughts the recent events and her own memories had brought upon her. Based on the volume of her voice, Celestia must have tried several times to talk to her. A large number of guards was closing off the area now. How long had she been standing motionless in front of the two dead ponies?

“Luna, are you all right?”

“We are... I'm unharmed.” She tried to regain her composure for a moment. “Warding Moon... He saved me,” the younger sister said apathetically.

Celestia gave her a hug, but Luna hardly reacted. “It's okay, everything will be fine.”

“It's happening again...” Luna whispered, almost to herself. The thoughts of her past were now even more unbearable. Was she to blame for the death of those two ponies?

“Celestia! Luna! What happened?”

Twilight Sparkle trotted towards the two princesses. She looked at the hole in the ceiling and the still active magical barrier and immediately began analyzing the possible events, mumbling her thoughts to herself, “Unstable ceiling? No, impossible, the palace was build by the best architects. Failed experiment? No, the laboratories are in the east wing, not above the–”

She stopped when she saw the faces of the two sisters. While Celestia seemed to filled with worry, Luna just stared impassively into space. Twilight followed her gaze and noticed the pile of rubble and, finally, the two dead ponies, whereupon she turned pale.

This time with a shaky voice, she asked, “Wha-What happened?”

Celestia broke away from the embrace with Luna and looked upon her with a questioning face.

“I know it's hard, little sister, but we need to know what happened.”

Luna nodded and told them the story. Twilight was still very pale, but she gave Luna encouraging glances or put a hoof on her shoulder when she faltered in her speech; Luna was very grateful for it. The Sun Princess was sitting across from them motionless, her face showing no emotion.

Finally, Luna's report neared the end. The moment she repeated the last words of the seemingly insane unicorn, Celestia's facial expression got out of her control. Twilight was startled; she had never seen this expression on her former mentor. It was a mixture of fear – almost panic, disbelief and... pain?

“What... What did you say?” Celestia's voice was low and timid.

“I said he mentioned a name. I think it was 'Fading Light'. What is going on? Do you know this pony?” Luna had also noticed Celestia's behaviour.

Celestia fell back unto her usual neutral role as quickly as her facial expression had changed before.

“No.”

Her answer was surprisingly concise. Without another word, Celestia turned around and left. On the way out, she spoke a few words with the deputy commander of the guard, who organized the investigations, and then disappeared in the direction of her rooms.

“What was that about? She wasn't like this even when Chrysalis beat her.”

“No, Twilight Sparkle. My sister has never been like this.”


“Have you heard what happened to him?” the unicorn whispered.

“Heard? I was there! My group was sent to stop him,” she answered, obviously feeling uncomfortable while remembering. “We had to disconnect him before he could do even more damage.”

He was shocked. “But...”

“Indeed. What we've been told about the results was no joke. He won't perceive much of the... consequences.” She shook her head. “I still don't want to be in his place.”

“Who would? Are there already new orders? A new plan?”

“Now? Do you think anypony dares to ask? Do you want to end up like him?”

Author's Note:

I would like to thank my proofreaders and every user of the IRC channel of 'The Writer's Group' who helped me.