Here I am ready to answer some questions for you, as a reader. The choice of way forward is yours. Stay there, for now, or come farther instead.
If you'd prefer to speed up, and then at any point of the following story feel that you got lost, and keep getting lost more with each next line — know that this branch is here for you.
That story will not become more clear with time... and I do not want you to be annoyed. And no amount of spoiler avoidance justifies the reader — you — being annoyed, and angry, and with curiosity unfulfilled.
Oh, and also you just made one of the choices made possible thanks to your freedom. Freedom of choice is important for the world, just saying. So...
Let's look at the world first. Or, better to say, worlds. Universes. An infinite number of pony-inhabited Equestrias and worlds that are named so. Mostly Utopian, sometimes less happy and welcoming than that.
Here, in the crystal dome, you can check the stars. Just touch it. Nothing to be afraid of. Each star represents a universe. See? Here Equestria is a ring around the dying star. Here it is an idyllic and flawless society, a pocket universe, made by an impression left from accidentally visiting Earth — just much better than that impression. There an emergent AI satisfies everyone’s values. Here the Princesses of old are turned into ghosts...
Of course, this one world, where we are now, is here too. Right... here.
And, while I remember, please don't get angry that your most beloved Equestria is tainted by us. Nopony is here to attack it. All the worlds are beautiful, and the existence of other ones does not belittle yours. Soon you will be at home, safe and sound, and we’re here neither to peek into your secrets, nor to invade, nor anything worse.
We are peaceful, you see. Same as most ponies of the multiverse. The most that our team might ask for is a bit of land for a road... oh! Excuse me, I got sidetracked again.
Also, nothing that is said so far is hidden from our citizens. The Map that we are standing at is Black Moon’s star project. She aims to explore, acknowledge and appreciate... Yes, it's open to the public, and for everypony, should they choose so, we could find a set of keys to set them on the road to the desired land. Provided that we have laid a road there, if that makes sense.
Ways to go back to us are somewhat limited though... but everypony chooses for themself. It's okay if you want to leave... not yet?
Who, or what, is Black Moon? That's a hard question. Let me answer it in a roundabout way...
As far as we have seen, an overwhelming majority of worlds have a sun. And division into night and day. In a few rare cases where the sun went out, that's caused by Nightmare Moon going awry.
But then, what is Nightmare Moon? Some evil side of Luna, correct? Or, maybe, the combat form of Luna. Or an evil spirit that had her tainted. Each universe has a different answer… but one way or another, this division happened. It is an important point in history — how good Luna became the evil Nightmare, and went back onto the road of redemption. How the Sisters made a great mistake and corrected it.
Our Moons — all three — never divided themselves. They are... an alloy. In a way, you could say that our Blue Moon is your Luna. Or you could say that She is the Nightmare instead. And you will be right; and wrong.
They are our Moons, and they deserve the love and appreciation. As we do give it to them and take it from them in turn. It's not that 'Blue Moon would be better off without Her way to instill painless death’. Or ‘let's strip Her from Her nightmares that are to teach and warn ponies.' It just does not work like that.
So, Black Moon is your Twilight Sparkle, but not only Twilight Sparkle. White Moon is your Celestia, but then She is Daybreaker too. And please, don't search for the dividing line. It just isn't there.
And we have no sun, as you have noted already.
Why? Sorry, I need to consult with my Moon before answering that. Could we skip it for now?
What's of note here is that Twilight Sparkle, along with Her friends, were born... earlier. Much earlier than in most known worlds. Usually She becomes the ascendant, the prodigy, or even the child of the Goddess-Princess. In our world, She was coeval with the other alicorns who are our Moons. Equal part of the Triangle, not a pupil of the Diarchy.
And, I repeat, She is more than Twilight Sparkle... plus, the loss of Her friends made Her closer to the avatar of Death. That other side, the barrier on the edge of life... but that's an entirely different story. Sorry, I got sidetracked again.
She had the time to instill Her visions and aspirations, so, yes, we are somewhat more advanced tech-wise. But we still care about each other, and see each other, and are glad to lend a helping hoof, if need be.
But... here's the thing.
Our world was not without a great mistake, in a way similar to your Nightmare incident.
Once upon a time, many generations ago, Moons forced a pony to become more than said pony was.
It led to a disaster that continued ... just too long. Many hundreds of years, by your naming convention. The eon in which the accidental look in the wrong mirror might have caused you grief.
But right then, in the first cycles after the deed, once White Moon really took in what atrocity had been made by Her hooves, Her magic and Her will... She decreed, and Her word was final, that no pony ever, under no circumstances, could be forced to do anything without a qualified consent. No help and benefits should be instilled on the one who does not explicitly want it. That everypony has an undeniable right to choose for themself, and that right is primary and absolute.
And so it was. Since that time, it's become a very intimate thing to offer help. It's okay, and expected, to ask for help, but before you offer...
It's not okay to become too close, too. It’s not okay to order anypony around.
I know, maybe you think it's awful. That we are restricted in our warmth.
But I'd say we are... sensitive, that's it. When you hug each other, for us it's enough to smile for each other, at a distance. We see ponies, and we care for ponies.
We just avoid stepping on others' tails. Please, don't see us as inferiors. We aren't superiors to you, either.
I don't force you to agree, just... please, try to think about it.
Sorry. It's not something to speak about lightly.
How did She do that? You mean, how did She rewire the society?
You see, in each universe the local powers of the alicorns are different. There are worlds where they are enhanced unicorns. They may be mortal, but much more often they are immortal... well. Another story, again. They could be close to Ultimate Gods, that can do anything at all and aren't limited in any way. And all the steps in between.
Here... let's say it's domains and aspects. White Moon is the Ethos. She is the rules. Appropriate behaviour. Traditions. How the things should be. Do you get it? She is the Fire too, the one to attack and defend, the power to enforce.
So, setting the rules is just what She does.
Black Moon is the Logos and Void, and Blue is Pathos and Water, of course. Aspects are... more complicated, and, I'll be honest, I'm tired of speaking. Too many things to explain here.
The Moons’ power is why we have the Net, by the way. It shields us from the Moons' influences and allows us to be ourselves. It keeps our freedom of choice, too. It would be wrong if all ponies were just mere shadows of their Moons. As it is, even Heralds are entirely able to disagree with the Moon they are following. The Changed are, on the other hoof, another story… But most ponies follow one of the Moons; most often the following is subtle. Heralds are rare.
Here. This is the story about how the Moons attempted to redeem their great mistake.
If you don't mind reading, of course. Also, there will be some excisions. Not all parts of the story are open to the general audience, for now. Times are changing...
Cookies and milk included. But if you want to leave, please feel free to do so. You have the freedom of choice too.
How to call us?
Cartographers, if you don’t mind.
Now I’ll leave. Feel free.