Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria...
Before dreams were dreams, there were two lonely planets orbiting one another in the light of a dying star. One of these was the moon, the other, the sphere on which we now live.
If there had been ponies to look to the sky, they would have seen only dark, swirling clouds and lightning. There were no stars, only the churnings of weather and the noise of wind eternal stretching from one edge of the flat horizon to the other. The earth quaked constantly.
In this place, there was no living animal with the exception of two alicorn foals, one white and one a dark blue.
They knew no language or magic. Their creator was a being quite foreign to both of them, who has been forgotten to history.
For a long while, they babbled blindly to one another. They fought occasionally, sparring with their horns and fluttering into the air with their wings, but they never approached the clouds, and they never left one another. They drank rain out of depressions in the ground and ate only of the brown, poorly nourishing grasses that sprung up at their feet. During the day they sang to one another melodic nonsense, music only to themselves and at night they huddled alongside each other for warmth.
Their words soon took rudimentary meaning, and they even gave each other names. The dark one would be known as Luna. The one with the white coat would be Celestia. They took great pleasure in calling to one another, and did so for a variety of reasons. They used their newly-invented names to beckon, to thank, and sometimes only to express affection.
They were hiding under a rock overhang from a particularly severe storm, wind whipping their rain soaked manes when the dark one, Luna, posed a question.
"Celestia," She said, voice somehow as quiet and as fierce as the wind. "Do you ever wonder what exists beyond the clouds?"
"Don't be a foal," Said the white one, looking to the sky for a moment with a hint of curiosity. "I'm quite sure there is nothing." Her voice had the calming cadence of the raindrops, and her gaze was illuminated for a split-second as thunder clapped overhead. "And it would be dangerous to find out, besides."
" Luna stretched her wings out a bit and reclined, sighing. "I'm being silly. I love you, sister."
Celestia nuzzled her sister kindly and they both smiled. "I love you, also." she said, wings flapping lazily as she shifted into a more comfortable position. "It's bedtime."
Luna curled up, folding her wings once more. "Goodnight, Celestia."
Celestia's rest was dreamless and peaceful. Luna's mind was filled with thoughts of the sky.
Luna awoke to the sound of her sister still snoring gently and she looked over to see the gentle rhythm of her back rising and falling as she breathed. The rain had let up a bit. She'd hardly slept. She stood up, hooves clopping softly on the shelf of stone they had been sleeping upon as she cantered back out into the open. The thunderstorm had passed while they slept, and now everything was overcast and grey. A depressing drizzle made sure everything remained well-damp.
" She paused, flapping her wings experimentally. She could feel her heart high in her chest. This was her chance. Her sister was asleep and would not be able to stop her, and the conditions were as good as they would ever be. This was it. No time for talk, no time for sense. She took a running start and leapt off in the direction of the sky.
That was the first time they had ever been apart. It would, however, not be the last.
Celestia awoke a bit later to the same sky and the same drizzle, although she instantly felt the absence of her sister. She stood up and exited the small cave, wings stretching out as she yawned.
"Luna?" She called upon not seeing her sister present. "Luna, are you there?" She wandered about for a bit in the immediate area, her pink tail starting to flick impatiently. She was nowhere to be found. A twinge of panic began to set in.
She ran to the highest hill she could find and still she could not find hide nor hair of the darker pony as her eyes scanned every direction in sight.
"LUNA!!" She screamed into the landscape of grey and brown. What if she'd been injured? What if she needed help? Her heart felt ready to explode as she shouted again. Then she remembered the hoofprints.
It was so obvious; she cursed at herself for not realizing it earlier. She returned to the modest cave where they'd set up camp the night previous and put her nose to the ground, seeking out her sister's tracks. They were a bit smaller than hers, and the tip of Luna's hooves were slightly more dainty and pointed. Celestia found one and followed it a ways into a clearing. The further she got from the cave, the less frequent the hooffalls seemed to come, as if she'd sped up for some reason, moving from a swift trot to a full gallop. Then, in the middle of the clearing, the prints ended.
Celestia could feel her eyes filling with tears and she looked to the sky, remembering their conversation the last evening about it and all its mysteries. It hit her hard in the stomach to realize her sister hadn't just been speaking in jest.
Celestia looked like a wildmare for her sister, shouting her name until she was hoarse. She was like this for hours, galloping frantically along every familiar path, every remotely navigable trail she could find. The clouds above seemed to muffle her voice, and swallowed every echo like a hungry monster. She felt more alone than she had ever been, because she was.
Finally, she collapsed, exhausted by a modest pool of rainwater. She looked at her reflection and saw her bloodshot eyes and ruined mane reflected back as rainbows in the light slick of oil that hung, suspended on the surface of it. The water was dark and silty, but she knew that if she didn't drink, she would surely die of exhaustion and be thusly assured never to see her sister again. She drank deep and long, the water tainted with the tang of mud and decaying vegetable matter. She drank until her belly was full to distention and passed out; the fur around her mouth stained a dirty brown.
She blinked back to life what must have been hours later to an odd, recurring sound. Like an ocean lapping at a shore, or the whistle of wind through rustling trees. She'd, of course, never seen either of these things, but nevertheless, it was the most beautiful music she'd ever heard. It was hoofbeats, and a small voice called over and over "Celestia, Celestia!!"
Celestia struggled to right herself, eyes going bright after such a grueling day of searching to see a dark pony trotting quickly up the trail in her direction. One of her wings hung at an odd angle, and Luna looked quite disheveled. 'I hope I don't look that bad.' Celestia found herself thinking as she galloped clumsily to meet her sister.
"Oh, Celestia!!" Luna looked a bit startled to find her sister looking so worn, but she smiled regardless, nuzzling her fondly. "You should have seen it- it was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. It was amazing, Celestia!!"
Celestia felt her chest tighten, and turned away for a second as she threw up, the dark vomit splashing loudly on the dry and cracked trail.
They trotted until they found a clearing Luna supposed would be an appropriate place to take a rest. "Wait here-" She said as Celestia hunkered down next to a small creek. This water was blue and fast and ice cold. Good to drink. She drank deeply, although not to the excess of earlier. "I'll get you something to eat."
Luna left to fetch some grass and Celestia splashed her face with the water, washing away the memories of her panic. Her heart had still only just begun to slow down, and she wondered whether her mane would ever go back to the way it was, gazing at her reflection once more.
Luna returned, smiling proudly with a bundle of wild grasses levitating in front of her. Her horn was glowing. Celestia's eyes bulged.
"What in the world are you doing, sister." She inquired, eyes narrowing suspiciously as the darker filly set the bundle of vegetation alongside her and beckoned with a hoof for her to eat.
Luna blushed a bit and turned away. "Well, uh
Sister, you see
"Where did you learn to do that." Celestia's face was dead serious, and she wasn't touching her meal.
" Luna swallowed loudly, folding her wings with a small wince. "I told you it was amazing, didn't I?" Her sister was silent, so she continued. "I-I
I thought I would only be gone for a couple minutes, while you slept." She murmured, lying down alongside Celestia. "But the moment I broke through those clouds, I-I
Celestia nodded, blinking softly as her sister seemed to gain a bit more confidence in her tale, her voice increasing in volume.
"It was beautiful-" said Luna, "-The place behind the clouds, I mean. Imagine the blackest black... Blacker than that, even, stretching on forever
And in the middle of everything is a great silver circle, bigger than anything you've ever seen, and millions upon millions of dots of light every direction you turn, everywhere you could possibly look." She'd started breathing hard, and her hooves were shaking. "It's beautiful." She repeated.
"But you haven't explained
" Celestia interjected, taking an experimental bite of greens and chewing. "Why you weren't there this morning, Luna."
"-I was just getting to that." Luna replied. "The moment I saw this, I felt this energy entering my body, like I was always meant to experience it, like I was one with everything up there." She took a deep breath. "My horn started to glow and I just felt so dizzy
" She blinked as if only just remembering her experience. "I think I passed out, Celestia
The air isn't so good that high." She murmured, ears lowering at the realization. "I only realized I was falling a couple seconds before I hit the ground, and that's how I sprained my wing, pulling out of the dive
I think I landed about a mile from our camp."
Celestia nodded, eating silence as she continued to listen.
"I discovered then that I could manipulate matter with my horn
" It glowed once again and she hoisted a small rock to demonstrate. "See? I was so excited, I had to practice, and I guess I was so distracted that you must have wandered off in the wrong direction looking for me in the meantime." She propelled the rock into the small river, and it skipped once or twice before sinking in under the glassy surface. "I ended up going back to the cave, and I found your hoofprints into the wilderness, and that's how I found you. I'm so sorry, my dear sister. I feel awful for worrying you so."
Celestia beckoned for her sister to come close, and they nuzzled one another, happy just to be together. Luna looked to be truly remorseful, and her eyes glistened with tears. "You simply must see it
" Luna whispered into her sister's ear. "The sky, I mean. You just have to."
Celestia nodded, shifting slightly into a more comfortable position. "After I've rested." She replied, yawning and deciding to leave the remainder of her foodstuff for later. "I've had a very long day, and I assume this is the same in your case."
"Oh, absolutely, Celestia." Luna smiled, continuing to nuzzle her sister. "We can go tomorrow, if you're feeling up to it." She sighed happily, cuddling up close to the pale alicorn. "You'll love it
The next morning, Celestia breakfasted on the remainder of the grass, polishing off the modest meal of weeds and mature sprouts. Luna was already awake, and was busy tossing more rocks into the river, giggling to herself.
"You seem pleased." Celestia remarked, stretching out her wings and standing up. She still ached a bit, but with the return of her dear sister, she felt like a new pony.
"Oh, I am." She smiled broadly. "Today my sister is going to see the sky for the first time. It's very exciting, is it not?"
Celestia pawed at the ground with her hoof, a small roll of her eyes betraying her nerves. "Ah, yes. I suppose I can't back out of it, can I."
Luna threw another rock. "Well, you don't have to if you don't want to
" She sounded a bit disappointed.
Celestia flapped her wings once again. "Oh, not at all. I wouldn't miss it for the world
" She paused, cocking an eyebrow as her sister trotted down the river a bit to find the best rocks. "
What's that on your flank?" She'd been so exhausted, she only just then found herself noticing the anomaly. It looked like it had always been there, like it was meant to be there.
Luna turned in Celestia's direction with a quizzical look. "Hm? My flank?" She asked, turning around to chase her backside. She found a silver crescent on her rear, and quickly turned the other direction to find another one, matching on the other side. "I
I don't know." She said, sounding a bit concerned as she trotted over to her sister.
"Get in the water-" Celestia suggested. "Maybe it'll wash off."
Luna did as her sister had said, shivering loudly at the icy temperature, but the mark remained. It would not just rinse off. Celestia joined her, scrubbing at the symbol vainly with her hooves, frowning a bit.
"Do you think this has something to do with the sky, and your horn and everything?" Celestia inquired, stepping out of the freezing water and shaking what she could out of her shiny coat.
"Seems like it
" Luna frowned. "Wonder what it means
For the remainder of the day, Celestia found her sister enjoyed chasing her tail almost as much as she liked throwing rocks.
Later, they traveled to the clearing Luna had used as a makeshift runway and Luna explained the protocol. "Just gallop as fast as you can." She said, trotting in place. "Then jump-" She jumped "and flap your wings for all they're worth!!" She flapped her wings to demonstrate, hovering a foot or two off the ground. "You've always been a stronger flyer than me, so you should be able to do this with no problem." She landed daintily, hooves kicking up a bit of dust.
" Celestia replied hesitantly, shaking her mane. "I thought you said you'd be joining me?"
Luna frowned and looked back at her wings. "I'm still hurt, sis." She replied. "I don't want to strain my wings, in case the injury gets worse." She looked back at Celestia. "
That's okay, right? I'll be right here waiting for you when you get back." She smiled. "Just make sure you get back before you run out of air! It's thin, remember?"
"Yeah, sure." Celestia said, trying to look confident. "No problem."
She took off at a full gallop and her flight was sublime, soaring higher and higher with each flap of her wings. Luna sat on her haunches and watched as her sister disappeared into the clouds.
Celestia returned not more than five minutes later, horn glowing the same as her sister, with a sun-shaped icon boldly imprinted on her flank to boot.
Celestia flew up to Luna, landing beside her and nudging her with a forehoof, unable to contain a small smirk. "You little deceiver, you lied to me!" She said, flapping her wings once before folding them at her sides. "The sky is blue! A beautiful blue, like your eyes." The comment made Luna blush as she continued. "And I saw no pinpricks of light either, only a single, huge circle in the sky."
"But it was silver, was it not?" Luna inquired, quirking an eyebrow.
"Not at all, sister! Your eyes mislead you! It was the most beautiful gold I have ever seen, far too bright to look at directly! Truly, it must have been the most dazzling thing in the world." She strutted proudly, showing off her wings.
Luna threw another rock. "My sky was just as dazzling, I'm sure." She said, a bit of a jealous sulk creeping into her voice.
"Oh I'm sure, dear sister." Celestia smiled, joining her sister in this invented game of rock-tossing. They played that way for a long while, leaning on one another and giggling light-heartedly.
"Although-" Luna added, unable to suppress a small smile "When my wing is mended, I would very much like you to join me, that we may decide once and for all the nature of the sky."
"Yes-" Celestia nodded, horn glowing brightly. "-Yes, I would like that."
It was many weeks later that Luna finally decided she was once again prepared to take wing. It'd been exhausting not flying, and she was looking forward to once again feeling the wind under her feathers. She preened proudly, digging through her plumage with her nose, enjoying the feeling as she smoothed and arranged her wings.
This, of course, was the day that had picked to settle their little dispute concerning the sky's appearance proper, and Luna was quite confident in the idea that her sister was fibbing or, at the very least exaggerating what she'd seen to impress her. Celestia clopped up alongside her, startling her from her grooming with a tug at her tail with her teeth. Luna reared up for a second, but quickly settled down and glared at her sister, a blush firmly on her cheeks at Celestia's teasing.
"I suppose you'll want to be off, then." Luna remarked, sticking her nose in the air stuffily as her sister trotted a small circle around her.
"I've been ready for hours!" Celestia complained, pawing at the dirt with her hooves excitedly. "While you've been procrastinating pulling twigs from your mane, no less."
Luna frowned, taking a look at her impeccable mane in the river, tail swishing a bit. "Well, from the standpoint of wind resistance
" She started, but Celestia had already clamped her mouth about her tail once again and was dragging her along, Luna's hooves digging four parallel lines in the dirt.
She wasn't afraid to fly, obviously, but her reluctance stemmed from what would happen if their wager fell in Celestia's favor. She was sure she'd never see the end of it, of 'Celestia's sky' and all that nonsense.
They finally reached the clearing once again where they'd both taken off the first time around and lined up alongside each other. The weather was nearly identical, as well. Overcast with a bit of a headwind, but it was maneuverable.
Luna could feel the wind whipping in her mane as they started off down the runway in unison, quickly accelerating to a full gallop and leaping into what must have been the most satisfying takeoff she could remember.
The sisters swooped upwards, the icy wind biting at their muscles as they flapped frantically, gaining altitude with every second. Luna could feel her heart beating high in her chest as they neared the clouds, anxious to once again experience the yearning blackness of the sky, the millions of stars, the grey, moody moon. She pushed through the clouds with both hooves, wings outstretched fully.
It was Celestia's eyes who brightened up as they broke through, however. She laughed loudly, looking all around to see the blue of the daytime sky, unmolested by clouds. Her sun shone high overhead, triumphant in its dominance. Luna's heart dropped to see her sister silhouetted in the light of the sun above.
Where were her stars? With all this light, the modest pinpricks of illumination found themselves overwhelmed and invisible. She shielded her eyes with a hoof and looked up, gasping loudly.
"I told you, it's true!!" Luna shouted, already going giddy from the altitude. "Sister, look! Right there alongside yours!" She pointed in the direction of the sun, and behold there was a silvery disc, just as big. She squinted in the brightness, feeling tears prick her eyes to see her beautiful moon once again.
Celestia looked over to her sister, only to see tears streaming down Luna's cheeks as her horn began to glow. Then, something very strange happened.
The moon moved higher in the sky, partially eclipsing the sun. Celestia's eyes bulged. "A-are you doing that, Luna?" She had to shout to be heard over the wind, but there was no mistaking that Luna was actively controlling the great silver disc overhead. She turned to look at her sister, but Luna didn't reply. She only stared at her moon, eyes glazed over and glassy, like she was in some sort of trance. Luna flapped her wings once, twice, and then she was flapping desperately upwards to the now glowing circle.
"Luna, no!" Celestia grabbed her sister's tail with her mouth and tugged her back. Luna's breathing was shallow, ragged as the moon approached full eclipse, but Celestia pulled her steadfastly in the opposite direction, straining and sweating against her struggling sister. The sky quickly turned dark, revealing the stars Luna had so loved just as Celestia managed to win the short game of tug-of-war and pull her sister downwards.
The moment they'd cracked the cloud cover, Luna seemed to sober up. Her breathing slowly returned to normal, her eyes focused, and she quickly stopped fighting against her sister.
When they landed, Luna immediately fell down on her side, panting. Celestia felt her forehead. Her temperature was normal and everything, she just seemed exhausted. "What happened, Luna?" She panted as her sister blinked and looked to her eyes.
I don't know." She replied, entirely truthfully. Her mane was slick with sweat, and she shuddered. "I was
The... I think I was moving that thing, wasn't I? Can you even do that?" Her pupils were dots the size of pinholes and her breathing was labored and slow.
Celestia blinked. "I don't know, can you?" She asked, hooves trembling a bit. She walked over her sister and started licking the side of her head to cool her down. "
That was too dangerous and scary, besides
"I wasn't fibbing
" Luna smiled weakly. "
About the stars though, wasn't I? You
" She stretched, returning to her reclining position with another shiver.
"No you weren't
" Celestia smiled softly, nuzzling her sister. "But I was worried
I wish we could kick a hole through the clouds." Luna added, hardly listening to her sister's concerns. "Then we wouldn't have to fly all the way up there
" She paused for a second. "Do you think maybe
Do you think that the reason we both saw different skies is because our discs respond personally to each of us?" She bit her lip, blinking at the theory, heart thumping. "
Like, like we belong up there, sis
I'm tired of getting rained on
Celestia just clammed up and looked quizzically at her sister. She wasn't making much sense, and it concerned her deeply. All this rubbish about moving the moon, it was patently ridiculous. Then again, though, wasn't the moon just a big rock, and wasn't the sky just like the world's biggest puddle to toss it around in?
"You should try
" Luna coughed, turning to face away from her sister "You should try with your thing, sis..." Luna yawned as Celestia ran her hoof through her mane. "Maybe we can use your sun to burn away all the clouds
Wouldn't that be something?" She stretched, fondly remembering the warmth the sun had provided.
"Anything is better than this rain." Celestia rolled her eyes as the drizzle continued.
Later they found an overhang, altogether similar to the one at the beginning of the story, which they slept under.
As the years marched on, the sisters found themselves maturing in impressive ways. Each of them could fly for weeks, even in the vacuum of space, and their magic became great enough to uproot whole forests of trees at once. They both soon implemented the day-night cycle we know of today and abolished forever the grey purgatory into which they were born.
They pranced across the universe, and galaxies marked their hoofprints; swirling collections of billions of stars, more numerous than all the sands in all the deserts. They too took control of the weather, and herded the clouds, and corralled the wind, and bent all things to their will.
They plowed great furrows into the dirt, turning over the dead and desolate landscape to expose the dark, rich soil underneath. So great were these marks that valleys, mountains and lakes formed from the depressions and convexities. They interbred plants, making them heavy with red, succulent fruit. They discovered in the earth gems and crystals innumerable, and used these precious stones to decorate one another. To this day, the sister's vestments are thick with these jewels, the beauties of which are unmatched.
Ponies of all varieties came out of the ground, and that first generation saw the two alicorns equally as princesses, as well as mothers. The races quickly defined themselves, and the sisters taught the earth ponies how to plant and maintain crops, the pegasai to fly and manipulate weather, and to the unicorns they revealed the deepest secrets of magic.
With these first ponies, so too did animals emerge. Griffins, hydras and even dragons contended with the sisters for dominance, but the sheer mastery of all things displayed by the pair repelled all rivals. They delegated the task of naming the creatures to that first generation of ponies, who were allowed to choose freely which animals would remain wild, and which might be domesticated.
There was a great peace, and the sisters (now Princesses) loved their subjects and one another very much.
And that's how Equestria was made.