Fan Fic / Nights Favored Child
For almost a thousand years, the immortal Nightmare Moon has reigned over Equestria as Empress. To the average pony, Nightmare Moon is an overarching enigma whose rule is absolute and whose wrath is terrible. But to Twilight Sparkle, who as an orphan has never known her parents, the Empress is something else entirely. When the young unicorn is brought under the royal wing as an apprentice, she learns a great deal more about the supposed tyrant than she ever knew. But as Twilight is introduced to life with her new mentor, she is thrust into a world of political intrigue, conspiracies and secrets. Secrets that were never meant to be revealed. As allies and enemies plot against the very peace of the nation, will Twilight fall prey to the perils of her new position? Or will she prosper and find in Nightmare Moon the mother she never had?
Night's Favored Child is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
fanfiction by Municipal Engines, who is assisted by LordOfTheWrongs. It can be read here
This fanfic contains examples of:
- The Alliance: Much like in canon, it's established that the three tribes came together at some point in the past. But in this universe, rather than forming a unified country, they made a loose Coalition that was eventually crushed and absorbed by Nightmare Moon's at the time nascent empire.
- Alternate Universe Fic: Nightmare Moon triumphed over Celestia in the backstory.
- Ancient Keeper: Ladon, the dragon in the chambers under Nightmare Moon's castle.
- Anti-Villain: Nightmare Moon is actually a pretty nice pony. She's horrified by the suggestion that she kill Twilight to avoid the filly becoming a potential threat, is the one who forced Twilight to realize what a terrible path her fledgling abuses of power would lead to, and in in a conversation with her student, the Inquisitor, and Silverstar she is the only one to bring up morality as a reason to avoid war.
- Arc Words: The resistance's code phrase, "The dawn will come."
- Badass Boast: Nightmare Moon to Cernunnos.
- Black Cloak: The defining article of clothing for the Imperial Overwatch - so much so that they are nicknamed the "Blackcloaks".
- The Bad Guy Wins: The result of the historical fight between Nightmare Moon and Celestia.
- The Brigadier: Marshall Silverstar.
- Carrying the Antidote: Although he isn't responsible for (this) poisoning, the Inquisitor is familiar enough with the poison that Twilight fell victim to that he keeps the antidote on him at all times.
- The Chosen One: Twilight Sparkle is very important to La Résistance, but we have no idea why.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Twilight Sparkle.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The thestrals claim this, in response to those who claim they and their god are evil.
- Twilight says that the Blackcloaks aren't so bad when you get to know them.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Nightmare Moon's council and Parliament, though most are just pawns of the Inner Circle (the Inquisitor, Hierophant North Star, Duke Blueblood, and Marshall Silverstar).
- The Dragon: The Inquisitor, who serves as Nightmare Moon's Prime Minister.
- Dystopia Is Hard: Nightmare Moon learned a long time ago that simply ruling with an iron hoof isn't enough to keep everything stable, and so needs the aristocratic bureaucracy that currently runs Equestria. And she finds said bureaucracy so dull that she often halfheartedly considers leading a rebellion among the proletariat just to shut all the nobles up.
- The Empire: What Equestria was turned into with Nightmare Moon at the helm.
- The Empress: Nightmare Moon is referred to as "Empress" rather than "Princess".
- Enigmatic Minion: The Inquisitor is this in spades. Just how enigmatic is he? Well, for one thing, Nightmare Moon doesn't remember when he started working for her — it's like he's been there from the beginning. But more than that, he knows Nightmare Moon is Luna.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Inquisitor.
- Evil Chancellor: The Inquisitor is one of these. Probably.
- Evil Overlord: Nightmare Moon admits to having been this originally, but likes to think she's matured in the intervening centuries. However, she arguably still qualifies.
- The Fair Folk: The deer are specifically described as this at one point.
- Fantastic Racism: The Inquisitor hates griffons, to the point that he subtly sabotages a Peace Conference with them so that he doesn't have to give them a gift he feels is too good for them.
- Many ponies (including the Inquisitor and North Star) hate the thestrals, a subspecies of pegasi with bat wings supposedly created by an evil alicorn (though they argue the "evil" part).
- Foreshadowing: An oracle at the Eclipse predicts Twilight Sparkle and Orion parting for a long time. It does not come as expected...
- Friendless Background: Twilight had one real friend—but then Orion's moving away, and her entire school has collectively shunned her.
- The Fundamentalist: Hierophant North Star.
- Guile Hero: Twilight's training may lead to this, although she is getting iffy on the hero part.
- Hammerspace: The Inquisitor has his own personal Pocket Dimension that he keeps stuff in and can summon it from at any time.
- He Is Not My Coltfriend: Twilight's reaction when Nightmare Moon jokingly suggests this about her relationship with Orion.
- I Have Your Wife: The Empire keeps the dragon overlord Fostrun from going to war by holding his son (Spike) hostage.
- Intelligence Equals Isolation: By the time Twilight begins school, she is so far ahead of the curriculum that she thinks the teacher's assignment is a hidden test, and proceeds to perform a large, absolutely incredible act of telekinesis. This, her other demonstrations of mental/magical superiority to her classmates, and her own past problems with nobles combine to make her a social outcast.
- Interfaith Smoothie: According to the Word of God, the Enlightened Way blends the trappings of Christianisty, Islam, and Buddhism.
- Jedi Mind Trick: The Inquisitor uses a mind spell to keep anypony (including Nightmare Moon herself) from finding it odd that he doesn't seem to age, and hasn't for a long time.
- Jerkass: Blueblood manages to be this even as a colt. His father the Duke is just as bad.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He turns out to just be that way because of the pressures of nobility. Once Twilight gets to know him, she finds he's not so bad.
- La Résistance: The Harbingers of Dawn, or "Dawnists" for short. Mostly in the background so far, but Twilight's parents were members, as is the head of the orphanage.
- Last of Her Kind: The relatively recent religion surrounding Nightmare Moon labels her as "She Who Stayed", while all other alicorns have (allegedly) ascended — but see also Written by the Winners.
- Like Brother and Sister: Twilight and Orion. When he gets adopted by a family living far away, she's heartbroken.
- Mama Bear: Nightmare Moon gains this attitude towards Twilight.
- Morality Pet: Twilight is one to Nightmare Moon. The Inquisitor seems to be taking her on as one as well.
- Older Than They Look: Nightmare Moon, due to being an immortal. The Inquisitor also appears to have been around for a few centuries, but looks middle-aged at worst.
- Orphanage of Fear: Zigzagged. While the orphanage is loving insofar as Loch Mare has the time and resources to make it so, she seems to have taken steps to ensure that Twilight would never be adopted, presumably to keep her under the eye of La Résistance.
- Parental Substitute: Nightmare Moon quickly becomes one to Twilight, at one point even (mentally) referring to her as "my child".
- Precocious Crush: Twilight on the Honour Guard Proud Song.
- Prench Maid Outfit: Nightmare Moon wears one as an All Hallows Eve costume, mostly as a prank.
- Psychotic Smirk: The Inquisitor has a good one.
- Secret Police: The Imperial Overwatch.
- Shame If Something Happened: When the griffon king threatens to go to war with Equestria, the Inquisitor reminds him that his daughter (Gilda) is in Equestria as part of an exchange program, and that he can't vouch for her safety if there is a war.
- Shout-Out: The royal kitchens are headed by the short tempered Chef Ram Sea.
- In one chapter a character thinks about the softer shades that the starlight reveals, a direct line taken from the brony song "The Moon Rises".
- Slowly Slipping Into Evil: Twilight is beginning to realize the fact that, as Nightmare Moon's personal student, she now has the power to stand up to the ponies trying to bully her, even if they are nobility. However, she's begun to show signs that she really likes using that power. Only time will tell where this leads.
- Surprisingly, Nightmare Moon herself is the one who puts a stop to this, telling Twilight that her position doesn't give her the right to use that power to bully others. She warns Twilight that doing so is a slippery slope.
- The Spymaster: With the Overwatch at his command, the Inquisitor acts as head of intelligence and internal security for Equestria.
- The Stoic: Orion.
- Stallion of Wealth and Taste: The Inquisitor, who owns a wide selection of fine suits and outfits.
- Tampering with Food and Drink: Twilight is poisoned in the middle of a feast, with international guests that are a hair's breadth away from war with Equestria and with nearly a half-dozen different agendas at the table it's hard to tell who would have done it... if the attempt even struck its intended target at all.
- The Night That Never Ends: Naturally, since Nightmare Moon won. Interestingly, she's found a way to avert this causing The End of the World as We Know It by creating a second moon for what used to be the daylight hours, one that simulates the sun's warmth and some of its light (just not enough to disrupt the night).
- Interestingly, comments from characters in the know have revealed that this is only the case in Equestria — the rest of the world still has daylight.
- Token Good Teammate: Silverstar seems to be the only member of Nightmare Moon's Inner Circle who isn't a self-serving, Manipulative Bastard.
- But even he wants to go to war with the griffons for the political effects it would have on the nobility and to crush the griffon's spirits for the next few generations.
- Unperson: Happened to Celestia after Nightmare Moon defeated her. See Written by the Winners.
- Victory Is Boring: Nightmare Moon admits that the joy of being revered and worshiped faded after the first century or so.
- Villains Out Shopping: There are a few scenes of both Nightmare Moon and the Inquisitor relaxing, usually involving a cup of tea (or glass of wine, depending on the situation).
- The Inquisitor seems to have collected quite a few hobbies over the years.
- Wicked Cultured: The Inquisitor, again — he has a collection of fine art, and in his downtime he apparently likes listening to classical music and reading.
- Written by the Winners: In Nightmare Moon's Equestria, history has been altered and edited to wipe out knowledge of Celestia and her day, to the point that words like 'dawn', 'sun', and (notably) 'twilight' are eradicated from the Equestrian lexicon.