The Moon Rises
The soft and fading light
Has crossed the west horizon
And has bidden us goodnight
-The Moon Rises
Air colored a lavender-blue, the smallest rays of light peaked over the horizon to shine towards the sprawling lands that lay over that horizon. These were the most petite of beams however, not enough to bring true light to those who it passed over but enough to signal the dawn of day. It was these lights that lightened the sky to the shade of the only one viewing them with great wonder, a being with the body of a pony, the wings of a pegasus and the horn of a unicorn while she was none of these things. If she were to take flight she could easily blend in with the air as night became morning, something she had in fact done on occasion, and lose herself to the beauty of dawn.
The unusual being that looked like a giant pony with slim but lengthy limbs stood out on the balcony of her castle admiring the sky before her. Touching the ground was a mark on her body, a mark that displayed what looked to be drops of ink and a moon to match that which still stood in the sky, well if something were to take a bite out of the one that remained in the orbit above all. The marking's moon was that of a crescent moon, like what would be found in the coming weeks as the moon changed in relation to the earth it hovered over. The 'pony' wore a warm smile as she changed her view from the sky to the dimly glowing orb she so loved.
The pale pool of light was a full moon currently, the favorite form it held from the perspective of the viewer because of how it displayed all of its regal and beautiful self. It filled the mare with a feeling of warmth to control this majestic object, the pearly silver moon reflecting the light of her sister's warm ball of fire in such a beautiful manner. The only thing that could compare for the late night viewer was to play with the other lights that were flicked across the sky forming constellations that held meaning and were a kind sight on the eyes, lights that she too held control over-
-in all of their own glory. For the stars were as beautiful a piece of art as the stellar moon, and there was little that could not be enjoyed about them. Such a shame was it then that so many ponies did not view them, the mare pondered, for there was so much to appreciate. What the beauties of the sky did do was bring a calm and comfortable feeling to her subjects however, and that in turn allowed them to rest in a meaningful manner-
-and if not for that very rest, nothing would ever be accomplished. Even the mare rested, albeit at different hours than many of the ponies who lived near her castle because of her nocturnal habits, and she knew that if she were a day dweller she would fully appreciate the nice comfort that came with night and the sleep that followed it-
Luna blinked rapidly and shook her head for a moment. Once she focused herself and looked around she could see that she was not alone in her balcony anymore, a large pony-pegasus-unicorn known as an Alicorn such as herself now standing beside her as she herself sat. Luna did not recoil from the loud voice, recognizing it as the traditional royal Canterlot voice she and her sister used to address their common subjects. It wasn't a yell but rather just a louder version of their own voice, and she was quite used to it at this point.
Changing her attention from the beautiful dawn before her, Luna addressed her sister briefly before turning right back and looking at the jeweled sky above them, “Oh, sister, I did not notice your presence.”
The larger and elder of the two siblings grew a coy smile and chuckled at Luna, “I could see that," nuzzling the side of Luna with her own head, the white coated sister spoke soothingly, "You should be getting your rest, sister. Dawn has passed us by and yet you stay awake.”
Luna did not glance back at her sibling but rather continued to witness the gradual change of color before her as she explained, “I wished to see the start of your beautiful day and the awakening of our subjects, Celestia. It is not often I witness their rise.”
Celestia gave a nod of understanding as she withdrew her head from her sister's side, “Well then don’t stay up too long," she stated empathetically with only the slightest amount of firmness in her voice, "I require your help late this afternoon to handle some foreign ambassadors," Celestia chuckled with mirth as she pictured her sister with baggy eyes sitting beside her in their meeting. As she thought about how that would play out she chortled," I don’t want a cranky Woona breaking down negotiations.”
The princess of the night blushed and looked away from her sister entirely in a huff, “Sister, when are you going to stop calling me that childish name?”
Now Celestia leant her whole upper body on her dear sister as she apologized in a light hearted manner, “I’m sorry Luna, it’s just that I still remember when you came up to my mid leg so many years ago.”
Luna huffed again as she thought back many, many years before when she was at the height her sister mentioned and did not like it much at all. Celestia was quite the prankster when they were younger, and with a lack of true peers Luna had spent many years beneath her dear sister's tyranny of jokes. It was odd to Luna how her sister was able to change from incessant jokes and pranks to a regal leader of fellow ponykind, but Luna passed it off as a stage in Celestia's development none would be seeing again. Thinking back about that time reminded Luna about how much she had now that she did not then, chief among these things being the castle she stood in now.
Ceasing her trip down memory lane Luna responded indignantly to her sister, “Yes, I remember too, but I am not that filly anymore," another thought popped up and Luna turned to face her sister with a serious look on her face, "I helped defeat Discord of all beings!" Flipping her nose into the air Luna continued to speak indignantly, "A name such as Woona does not befit one like me, guardian of harmony and conqueror of evil.”
Celestia chuckled at her younger sister and shook her head, “Whatever you say Woona,” Luna ignored the jab, but Celestia tried to make peace with her tired sibling. Her horn glowing with magic power, a large blanket and a gigantic pillow flew out from Luna's room and onto the balcony next to the Alicorn who controlled the night. Luna felt them bump against her and looked down at them as Celestia “Here are your things. Have nice rest, sister.”
As Celestia turned and began to leave Luna turned to her and smiled, “You have my well wishes too, Celestia, and I hope court goes well today.”
Celestia nodded to Luna before turning away completely and departing. Her balcony now occupied by one again, Luna turned back to face her stars as they began to enter their last throes of visibility. The sky was grower lighter by the minute as more and more rays of the sun poked over the horizon. The light rays mingling with her night sky made Luna smile, reminding her of the Alicorn who had just left and giving her as warm a feeling as her moon often did. As the earliest risers in Canterlot awoke from their slumber and prepared for a day under Celestia's noble sun, Luna decided that it would be best to lower her precious moon so that her sister's bright ball would not be obscured when it reached that point in the sky.
It was time to say goodnight, and with that Luna entered her bedroom with her soft bed things in tow. Her eyes had grown droopy without her knowledge and they would not function much longer. Intent on beating them to the punch, Luna shut her door to the balcony to shut out the only light entering her room. This action plunged her into complete darkness, not one candle lit within the room, but Luna was not one to be hindered by the lack of light. It actually comforted her and allowed her to find a peaceful, not to mention heavy, sleep. Without even trying the princess of the land known as Equestria navigated through the dark of her room and trotted over to her bed, a plush thing made of the softest of clouds, and she flopped down on it. Her pillow and blanket levitated over to her and the princess made herself comfortable, closing her eyes so that she could find sleep.
Tired from a night of constant vigil and work, Luna found a peaceful sleep as the dawn became dawn, not a nightmare to be found in her slumber.
After leaving her sister be, the ruler of Equestria's day and sun decided it best to start her work day. After all, she was going to have to work right up until the night with the ambassadors around so she thought getting smaller tasks out of the way this morning would be the most prudent course of action.
First manner of business? Celestia's stomach growled and she chuckled at the noise. The royal breakfast. Celestia smirked as she trotted through the Canterlot castle towards her dining hall, where her personal chefs were undoubtedly preparing a meal fit for her. Maybe, the princess thought deviously, they would be serving cake? Celestia shook her head, banishing the image of that too good for it's own good as well as yours food. She really couldn't afford to eat too much, lest she become as hefty as some of the more well off nobles.
With them in mind, Celestia sighed. She often would be 'treated' to their company at her breakfast meals, before the machine that was Equestria's political head had the willpower to kick them out and do her work. Celestia was just too kind and without enough food in her belly each morning to kick these scheming sycophants out, for they were her little ponies just like any other...she just wished she didn't have to dine with these ones in particular every morning. Maybe she should do something about that, like invite Luna to the meals, she thought. No, that would just subject her tired and sleep deprived sister to their stuffiness and that could create a scene...best let her sleep through them. That would be for the best, yes, Luna's own good.
Not having realized how fast her legs had carried her towards her destination, Celestia came face to door with the entrance of the dining hall. Opening it with magic came naturally to her, her stomach grumbling even more now as she entered it hastily. To her 'fortune' she was greeted by a colt of white coat and blonde mane who sat at the main table, “Good morning Princess Celestia, how do you fair this good day?”
Repressing a groan, Celestia decided to return his pleasentries, “I am well, Prince Blueblood. What of yourself and your family?”
The 'prince' beamed at her in a way that warmed Celestia's heart, “We fare well Princess, all thanks to your benevolent reign and the light you command.”
Celestia took a seat at the table's head, noticing a few other nobles and one oddly dressed unicorn seated at the table as well, “You need not praise me," she stated weakly, "Luna and I are only doing what we can to help ponies after the horrors Discord wreaked over this entire realm.”
This only seemed to get Blueblood more energetic in his praise of the princess, the memories of Discord's reign never fading from anypony's mind who lived through them, “All the more reason for your praise! After that madpony’s reign we never thought we could recover," he lifted a hoof and pointed around the castle dining hall and all of the elegant things to be found there. Banners, trophies, art and more could be seen by all as he waved his hoof, "and now within a few short years we have rebuilt all that he had destroyed if not more! Under your leadership ponies of all kinds have reason to hope once more, to not live every moment in fear of chaos and pain.”
There were some cheers and shouts of praise from the table in agreement and Celestia blushed lightly, still getting used to all of this attention. One of the seated ponies, the oddly dressed unicorn who went by the name Starswirl the Bearded, cleared his throat to quiet the others before motioning towards Blueblood while directing his voice towards Celestia, “He is most correct Princess, you have contributed to the reconstruction of these lands quite extensively. From the calculations I have made there would be one tenth the current population we have right now if not for your existence, and would likely go extinct in the next two or three generations if not for you with the leftovers of Discord still hanging over everypony.”
Everyone nodded to that except Celestia, who wore a grim look on her face. Thanks to Discord the Everfree forest was growing more and more dangerous by the day, and true to the chimera's own appearance nothing seemed to be of normal form. Manticores, Cockatrices and other hybrid beings existed now where they did not before and they were a harsh reminder of what the ponies had endured years before.
“I remember all too well the hydra that thought it could visit Canterlot,” a pegasus who had been standing silently behind Celestia stated in a melancholy fashion, his left eyes or rather his good eye looking at his leader as he stood firm.
Celestia looked back at the captain of the royal guard and smiled to the wounded veteran, “You and your guards fought valiantly, an example to all of ponykind of loyalty and of honor.”
Blueblood rose his hoof in a questioning manner now, “But was it not you Princess who drove the beast away in the end?” The way he said it made it more of a statement than a question, a rhetorical question to bring the conversation the way he wished it to.
The tired captain behind Celestia nodded lightly, “Yes, we were not able to subdue it. It was in fact the effort of the princesse-”
The plural nature of princesses was cut off when Blueblood gave a hearty laugh, “You are indeed the best ruler anypony could ask for, that you are Princess. You lead us through the worst of strife, you bring us life through your sun’s rays and the crops they grow, and you protect us with the divine power you hold.”
Celestia shook her head and tried to calm the praise down as more ponies got riled up to cheer her on, “You flatter me too much, Blueblood.”
Blueblood bowed his head, “I say nothing but the truth my princess.”
“Yes, nothing but the truth our dear Celestia!” Another noble called out cheerily.
Starswirl the bearded nodded his head to Celestia, his former teacher, “Their statements do in fact lean on the side of truth rather than that of falseness, and I would have to agree with them.”
At this point there was no curbing the soon to be onslaught of compliments and mounds of praise, so Celestia just gave into it. If the most backstabbing, the most ignoble, most inconsiderate and most annoying of her subjects loved her so much, then Celestia figured she at least deserved part of the praise they gave. What else could she do, ignore it? No, Celestia decided it best that she just allow them to do their thing while she quietly ate the meal served to her.
The reverse of the dawn was effecting the sky, light colors slowly having darkness creep into them as the sun drifted down and the moon began to rise. It was the point at which princesses swapped roles, Celestia retiring for the night and Luna taking her post for the dark to come. As the first stars began to show their presence Luna smiled on her balcony, taking in the beautiful phenomena known as sunset.
Minutes had passed by and colors shifted before Luna was roused from her trance, a light knock on the door of her room being what stirred her this time around. She was not as tired as when she was weathering the waning hours of the night and her ears were functioning, so she called out to the person to wait a moment despite having a good idea of whom it was. Luna took one last glance at the sky before walking over to the door and opening it with her horn. On the other side of the door stood a white haired stallion with rich blue armor covering almost his entire body, armor that signified his rank as captain of the guard. Luna nodded to the stallion with a brutal scar going across his right eye, an eye that he could barely open, and he bowed to her.
“Princess,” he stated plainly.
Luna chuckled at the display of servitude, the loyalty of her guardsmen always of the highest caliber, “Captain.”
Now that he had been addressed the stallion rose and spoke to his princess, “Are there any tasks you wish completed this night, my lady?”
The master of the night shook her head and smiled, appreciative of how everyday ponies like this wanted to help lift the burdens she held as princess despite their own duties and obligations. This captain in particular worked all night and into the morning, getting his sleep during the afternoon when his only superiors were awake so that he could direct the night guard. If he didn't take that role, instead taking a day post and leaving his current position vacant, Luna herself would have to direct it.
“Not as of this moment, captain. If something does arise I shall reach out to you and your men. Until then you should go about you regular duties,” Luna stated calmly.
He nodded and prepared to leave for no pressing matter was required to fix on his leader's behalf, “As you command, my lady.”
After he left the room Luna quickly returned to her balcony where she could inspect the coming night sky. The stars were beginning to twinkle and darkness shrouded the sky, just as she adored and she could not bear to miss this happening for one moment. As she stood in awe at the night, her one true love, Luna murmured to herself, “What constellations should I put together tonight…”
A quick wave of the hoof left the stars visible in the sky in a new position, one that reflected how she felt, “That will do nicely. I know somepony out there will enjoy this. I know I do.”
Luna trotted over to the ledge of her balcony and rose up so that her front two legs rested on it and it supported her body slightly, the princess having a full view now of the small city of Canterlot. As candlelights were flicked out and ponies readied themselves for sleep Luna spoke to nopony but herself, albeit addressing those below her, “Goodnight my subjects, sleep well. I shall make sure nothing rouses you from your peaceful sleep. Without your dear sleep, how will you ever go about tomorrow’s work? Sleep well my little ponies. A beautiful day awaits you tomorrow as my night brings sleep to you now.”
The night sky above the sleeping denizens of Canterlot was filled with stars arranged in the pattern of a large pony and a slightly smaller one standing together, leaning lovingly onto one another. In another tower of the castle, Celestia smiled up at her sister's night sky and thought of how much that pair reminded her of herself and Luna. She liked this constellation
How can I have sent you away?
The blame was my own; the punishment, yours
The harmony's silent today
But into the stillness I'll bring you a song
And I will your company keep
Till your tired eyes and my lullabies
Have carried you softly to sleep
-Lullaby for a Princess
A/N: This story is my attempt to bring the beautiful songs "The Moon Rises" and "Lullaby for a Princess" by Ponyphonic (the lyrics at the start and end belong to em, not me!) to life as well as show the fall of Luna from grace, a subject that I do know has been done in many ways by many writers so I just wish to do justice to the first songs I have shed tears over in quite some time. It will be focused on Luna rather than Celestia, for we know how Celestia feels and how she viewed the events in the series (to a degree) while we do not know much/anything about Luna's recounting of events. Here, right now, Luna is content if the slightest bit sad that she controls the night and her sister the day what with the amount of social contact that comes with each of these positions. This will be a sad story about the descent of the kind Princess Luna into Nightmare Moon, and I hope to do such a subject justice.
On another note, I will be dispensing with the language they would use a thousand years prior to the series...too hard to work on and focus on writing the story itself, and it might become distracting for some readers. Instead this will be like how someone would retell the story in modern times, so bear with me on that. Also know that I do not have the best grammar and structure to my work but I am working on that and hope you all can cope.
I hope you all enjoyed and will leave me feedback! This is my first serious, not comedy story for the series (2nd in total though) so this is new territory for me.