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File:Past Sins Cover 2010.png

 "What else can you be when the world can only see a monster?"

On a dark night filled with even darker magics, an insane cult attempts to give Nightmare Moon a body and life of her own, utterly separate from Princess Luna. But, when the spell is interrupted by Celestia, something unexpected is created.

Now, a tiny black alicorn filly named Nyx finds herself living under the care of Twilight Sparkle, only to be haunted by memories and emotions from her past. Is the filly Nightmare Moon reborn or is she simply a doppelganger with a soul and mind of her own? Can Twilight Sparkle protect Nyx from those who refuse to see past her dragon eyes and black coat?

Or, will Nyx be forced to inherit the sins that may not even be hers and become the greatest evil Equestria has ever known?

Can be read here.


Past Sins is a My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fanfic written by Pen Stroke, who was assisted by Batty Gloom. The final part was completed on Equestria Daily on the 30th of August and it has gone through 3 revisions to date. During a radio interview, Pen Stroke mentioned that the story will be revised/expanded to incorporate season 2 canon (and will most likely be posted all in one go at the end of the month), as well as the possibility of official side stories and short sequels. Also, a MST of the previously unseen, pre-revision version can be found here. The MSTing has its own entry here.


This My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Fanfic provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Youthful Mother: Twilight Sparkle adopts Nyx, who - if her similarity in biological and mental development compared to the Cutie Mark Crusaders are anything to go by - is equivalent to being 9 years old. If anything, Twilight is the equivalent of someone in her late teens or very early twenties.
  • Action Mom: Twilight Sparkle's taking Nyx under her wing arguably makes her more awesome as opposed to more sedentary. At one point she sneaks past guards through a castle, then knocks out a set of guards in an attempt to rescue Spell Nexus. She is sneaking through the castle so that she can apologize to Nightmare!Nyx for letting Celestia take her away without a fight.
  • Adult Fear: Nyx being taken away by a higher authority, screaming for Twilight to save her.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon in Chapter 21; they interpret the events of the story as Nyx's trying to make foals of them in front of everyone.
  • Alternate Continuity: To the authors' earlier Alan Wake/My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic Fanfic Creeping Darkness. Both stories share the common element of Nyx, but are otherwise completely unrelated to each other.
  • Amnesiac Goddess:
    • Nyx, a reincarnation of Nightmare Moon, starts out with no memories of any time before the resurrection ritual. She later finds pieces of her old self that contain memories from when her previous incarnation had tried to bring about eternal night. She was not happy about what she found.
    • She remembers everything after the cultists complete the spell that created her and she grows to her full size.
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Nyx is deeply troubled when she regains some of her memories of the events in Episode 2 of the series, since they made her feel like she wanted to hurt Twilight.
    • Even after she regains all the memories of Nightmare Moon her behavior is noticeably different from her past self, much to the consternation of her Evil Chancellor. For most of the story Nyx tries to be the Nightmare Moon that everyone expects her to be with mixed results.
  • Anti-Magic: The cultists slap an anti-magic neck brace on Twilight Sparkle to prevent her from trying anything funny after she is captured. Apparently such devices are commonly used on unicorn prisoners to prevent them from escaping.
  • Badass Adorable: Pinkie Pie's defeat of several of Nightmare Moons' guards by thinking they're playing tag, and being "it".
  • Berserk Button: You should avoid threatening Twilight around Nyx.
  • Big Bad: It's debatable, but the evil parts of Nightmare Moon's soul that took root in Spell Nexus pretty much causes all the trouble in the story.
    • The narrative, at least from Nightmare Moon's perspective, certainly agrees. "Yes... Spell Nexus was not the perpetrator. He was just another victim... the first victim, and the true evil behind the Children of Nightmare, behind all that had happened in Equestria... ...was none other than Nightmare Moon herself."
      • It might also be argued that the missing parts of Nightmare Moon's soul that didn't get resurrected along with Nyx is a form of a Bigger Bad or at least a Mare Behind The Stallion that gets dragged into the story, by Nightmare Moon herself no less. Unlike some examples of those tropes, the physical representation of Nightmare Moon's evil doesn't get away.
  • Big "Shut Up!": During Nightmare Moon's fight with Celestia. Delivered after Nightmare Moon has Celestia at her mercy but refuses to kill her. When Celestia points out that Nightmare Moon is still holding back, as she had done throughout the entire fight, Nightmare Moon screams at Celestia.
  • Big "What?": The reaction of Twilight's friends, many of Ponyville's citizens, and some guards from the Children of Nightmare when Nightmare Moon decides to pardon Twilight's friends, even after they tried to use the Elements of Harmony against her a second time.
  • Big Word Shout: Chapter 10's "NYX!!!" So big the font size is increased dramatically.
  • Book Safe: Nyx hollows out a damaged book to keep her childhood mementos in. Later, she has Spell Nexus get the book so she, as Nightmare Moon, can remember the good times.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Twilight is forced to attack Nightmare Moon, both physically and emotionally, after she finally falls to The Corruption.
  • Brought Down to Normal: In Chapter 21, Luna drains Nightmare Moon of her remaining magic, giving Luna a Plot-Relevant Age-Up and turning Nightmare Moon back into Nyx.
  • But Your Wings Are Beautiful: When Nyx reveals her wings to the Cutie Mark Crusaders, they think she's just a normal filly who happened to be born an Alicorn. Nyx was afraid of what they would think since Rarity and Twilight told her going out with both a horn and wings would make other ponies jealous.
  • Call Back: Chapter 14 has one to the fancomic Storytime., promoting it to Expanded Universe status.
  • Calling the Old Mare Out: Nyx disowns Twilight due to the latter's inaction in Chapter 10.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Nightmare Moon attempts humor by transforming into Trixie, donning her cap and cape, and making fun of her while using her image, shortly after her failed attempt at assuming the role of the element of magic. Because the pony audience is still absolutely terrified of Nightmare Moon, the joke falls very flat.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The eye illusion spell that Twilight jury rigs is later used to disguise the 'blessing' she received from Nexus
  • Civilian Villain: What Twilight feared Nyx was when she first saw her in the Everfree Forest. It was also what Celestia feared might be happening when she came to take Nyx to be tested. Sadly, by the time Celestia understands this wasn't the case, it's far too late.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: Here (fanmade, but approved by the author of the story).
  • The Corruption: It's stated at one point that the reason the Cult of Nightmare Moon exists is because some ponies came in contact with shredded pieces of her that were left behind when she got 'dispelled' in episode two of the show. We're also told that just touching someone with one gives them a portion of "the blessing" and that they receive a fuller portion upon asking for it. And a chapter later, the entire Royal Guard now serves the Mare of Darkness...
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nyx may as well be the poster filly.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In "retaliation" for making them repeatedly be late for recess, Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara send Nyx into the Everfree Forest by herself.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Nightmare!Nyx's behavior doesn't quite mesh with the night eternal as imagined and prepared by Spell Nexus.
  • Dramatic Irony: Twilight was afraid that Celestia would take her daughter away. Celestia was afraid that an Eldritch Abomination was loose in her kingdom, plotting to overthrow her and her sister, and bring about nighttime eternal. Celestia's kneejerk reaction to her fear resulted in both their fears coming true.
  • Driving Question: Is Nyx Nightmare Moon? Despite the wording on this very page, there are arguments for both sides. Interestingly, this is never completely answered in the story; when Celestia herself doesn't have an answer, you know you've got a big question on your hooves...
    • In the end, during her trial by Princess Luna, she declares she is both Nightmare Moon and Nyx, though not the original former and identifying as the latter.
      • A last, though not publicly announced, revision makes it much more clearer that Nyx actually was Nightmare Moon after all. But being Nyx changed her for the better, so it really doesn't matter any more.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Even Bad Mares Love Their Mamas: Nightmare!Nyx will NOT tolerate anypony harming Twilight Sparkle.
  • Expanded Universe: Storytime., a promoted fancomic which is referenced with a Call Back in Chapter 14.
  • Fandom Nod:
  • Fan Nickname: Even after Nyx becomes Nightmare Moon, she doesn't act anything like the original Nightmare Moon, much to her confusion. Because of this, many fans call her Nightmare Nyx.
  • Fan Sequel: It's gotten one: Point of No Return
  • Foregone Conclusion: The cover art blatantly shows Nyx in her capacity as Nightmare Moon, along with the defeated Elements of Harmony and her face-off with Celestia. It is quite obvious that Twilight's attempts to protect Nyx will fail and that Nyx will become Nightmare Moon. However, that makes the scene where it happens far more heartwrenching, because you know it cannot be averted.
  • For Halloween I Am Going as Myself: Nyx, who normally hides her wings and unusual eyes to pass herself off as a normal unicorn filly, exposes her wings and eyes when she plays the part of Nightmare Moon in the school play.
  • From Nopony to Nightmare: Nyx started out as a sweet, innocent, timid and cowardly filly to becoming Nightmare Moon again, banishing Celestia and Luna in the process and taking over Equestria.
    • Subverted Trope when we see that Nightmare Moon is... actually a fairly decent ruler.
  • Go Mad From the Revelation: When Nyx becomes Nightmare Moon again and regains all of her lost memories. "The alicorn then raised her head, looking at the night sky as her laughter became crazed and maniacal, ringing loudly over the dead silence that had fallen in Ponyville. It was the laughter of somepony who had just realized a cruel and terrible truth."
  • Foreshadowing: Two notable examples:
    • It's mentioned twice, both from a narrative viewpoint and from Twilight herself, that the original Nyx from the legends was a black-coated pony that defended her village against monsters. Nyx does the same thing as Nightmare Moon.
    • Nyx tells Twilight about how Diamond Tiara doesn't think she'll be any good in the play and she claims she'll show her.

  Nyx: But I’m going to show her. I’m going to do my best and I’m not going to forget a single line. I’m going to be the best Nightmare Moon I can be!

    • It's revealed that Nyx really was Nightmare Moon reborn and once she is fully resurrected, she actively tries to play the part.
    • That line is a double foreshadowing: firstly as stated above Nyx plays the role of Nightmare Moon once she forcibly receives her Plot-Relevant Age-Up, but Secondly and more subtly, as Nightmare Moon the now transformed Nyx tries to be the " best" Nightmare Moon possible from a moral/ethical standpoint. That is while fulfilling the " requirements " of Nightmare Moon ( overthrows the Princesses/ eternal night etc) she also attempts to be a benevolent and effective ruler who looks out for the best interests of her ponies. When these two roles conflict she sides with " helping out the ponies" instead of " playing Nightmare Moon by the Book" much to Spell Nexus's chagrin
  • Happily Adopted: Nyx. When Nyx realizes that she has no blood relatives, Twilight then explains how she, Owlowiscious, and Spike form a family for her. Nyx happily accepts Twilight as her mother. Spike's relationship with Nyx is brotherly, although he says to Twilight that he prefers to be thought of as an Honorary Uncle.
  • Hellish Pupils: Because Nyx is Nightmare Moon reborn, she has these. Still cute though.
  • Heroic BSOD: Twilight Sparkle, as Celestia is taking Nyx away.
  • Hypocrite: The Dragon considers compassion a "weakness" and a "poison", but has no problem with grovelling for mercy when it's his neck on the line.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me: What happens to Twilight Sparkle when she sees that Nightmare Moon Reincarnate is confused, frightened, and alone in the Everfree Forest and needs a hug.
  • Heroic Sacrifice Nyx was willing to pull this when she went up against the horde of monsters that were attacking Ponyville, on the hope that Death Equals Redemption
    • She never once mentions wanting to die; it's more like she doesn't want anypony to get hurt, even if she has to take their place.
  • Incendiary Exponent: The Rage Shift.
  • Identity Amnesia: Nyx has no idea at the start of the story that she's really Nightmare Moon reborn. Even when she starts to put two and two together, Twilight inadvertently lies to her by saying she's not. Much of the later half of the story deals with Nightmare Moon struggling with how she acted as Nyx compared to how she used to act when she was just a part of Luna. See Loss of Identity below.
  • Ironic Echo Cut: A scene cuts from Nyx thinking, "School was not going to be fun at all." to her thinking, "School was amazing!"
  • Kick the Dog: Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara's giving Nyx a verbal beatdown for delaying their recess serves to establish their villainy for this fanfic. It doesn't help their case that they revel in her tearful breakdown and then continue said verbal beatdown.
  • Laughing Mad: When the Children of Nightmare Moon cast their second spell on Nyx and causes her to become Nightmare Moon again, she does this from the stress of regaining her memories. See Go Mad From the Revelation above.
  • Light Is Not Good: Princess Celestia, especially in the first version of the story. The retcon turns the issue into a To Be Lawful or Good dilema.
  • Loss of Identity: Because of her time spent as Nyx, as well as missing the worst parts of her own soul, Nightmare Moon struggles with her own identity and thoughts. By the time she makes a Heroic Sacrifice in order to protect the town from monsters, she blatantly says “I... I don’t know who I am any more". Twilight tells Nightmare Moon that she doesn't have to be the same mare she used to be during the Summer Sun Celebration.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: While Nyx got her powers and memories from Nightmare Moon's magic, her body was essentially generated from a drop of Twilight's blood (so Twilight technically was her mother, at least genetically.) Yet apparently she inherited her wings (and her odd eyes) from Luna, possibly making this the weirdest case of this trope ever.
  • Mama Bear:
    • Twilight Sparkle becomes this for Nyx. Upon discovering a pair of school bullies who had sent Nyx into the dangerous Everfree Forest as a particularly mean spirited prank and finding them to be most unhelpful, Twilight Sparkle bursts into flames and threatens to transform them into cacti if they don't start cooperating.
    • Twilight, a second time, in chapter 21. When she thinks Nyx has been banished to the moon, she rage shifts and attempts to magically beat down Princess Celestia using bricks ripped from the surrounding castle walls.
  • Me's a Crowd: In order to infiltrate Canterlot Palace, Nightmare!Nyx uses her shape-shifting abilities in order to gain a foothold. Later, she pushes this ability to its limit, creating dozens of clones of herself to fight off an invasion of monsters from the Everfree Forest and save Ponyville.
  • Mind Control Eyes: Every member of the Children of Nightmare. Including, for a brief period, Twilight.
  • Mind Rape: This happens to Nyx when some of the memories of her previous incarnation force themselves into her head and is forced to think about hurting the unicorn she loves most.
  • Mood Whiplash: Nyx and Twilight are talking about how much fun they had had together that day, only to find Celestia and her guards at their home preparing to take Nyx away.
    • Chapter 16. While the mood doesn't change as quickly as many examples of this trope, it changes enough times in this chapter to possibly qualify as this, if not Cerebus Rollercoaster.
  • MST: These news posts reveal a MST is in the works for the original edit of this story.
    • And just to clarify, Pen Stroke himself approved this.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Princess Celestia, after ripping Nyx from Twilight's arms, inadvertently hands her over to the leader of the Children of Nightmare cult. He then completes the interrupted spell that gave Nyx life, transforming her into Nightmare Moon.
  • Novelization: Chapter 15's ending is based on the fancomic Nightmare Toot.
  • Oh Crap: Celestia, on realizing that she had just handed over Nyx to those who would return Nightmare Moon to power.
  • Orwellian Retcon: The authors just completed a massive one to clear up spelling errors, tweak Nyx's personality, add in some Luna, and make Celestia nicer (while still keeping her an antagonist) among other things.
    • YMMV on Celestia being an antagonist.
  • Painting the Medium: If Pen Stroke and Batty Gloom want something to reverberate inside your skull, they will use the medium to let you know. They also make liberal use of italics to display emphasis, and use another kind of style change to signify onomatopoeia.
    • Given that the story was written with Google Docs, the two actually links to a looped Castlevania song during chapter 17 in order to help accompany the mood of the main scene.
  • Parental Abandonment: After the events of chapter 10, Nyx thinks Twilight did this to her.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Twilight Sparkle suffers from a brief bout of this when she doesn't recognize Nyx's reluctance to go out and play with her self-proclaimed friends Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon.
  • Pet the Dog: Near the end of chapter 17, it's shown that all Diamond Tiara wants to do is spend some quality time with her Brainwashed dad, who's gone to neglecting her and her mother after being given a seat of power.
  • Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Poor Nyx. And it was against her will, too.
  • Punctuated for Emphasis: Used to tell the audience when It. Is. ON!
  • Puppy Dog Eyes: Nyx and the Cutie Mark Crusaders use these to great effect.
  • Reformed but Rejected: Nightmare Moon, after her resurrection was completed, believed this was the reason that Celestia convinced Twilight to let her to take Nyx away and become a big motivation for her to actively act like her former self. After becoming Nyx again, there are some who can see she's not the same while others still fear her, so it's played with at the end of the story.
  • Reincarnation: While the term is not used specifically, it is one of the biggest themes since Nyx is the very essence of Nightmare Moon reborn. The other theme would be redemption via the reincarnation
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: Twilight initially passes off Nyx as her cousin who came to live with her indefinitely.
  • Religion of Evil: Children of Nightmare is a cult bent on bringing back Nightmare Moon and plunging Equestria into eternal night.
  • Reluctant Monster: Guess who. It's Nyx!
    • Celestia may qualify as this, as highlighted in her confession to Luna shortly after all heck breaks loose.
  • Say My Name: Twilight, as Nyx is being carted off to Canterlot by Celestia. "NYX!"
  • Schedule Slip: When the fic was first submitted, it was updated in parts every other two days or so. After the retcon, it has updated less often. Word of God states that the authors are much more concerned with the quality of the updates rather than the pure speed and quantity of them.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Spell Nexus, according to Celestia.
  • Sealed Inside A Pony Shaped Can: The overwhelming bulk of Nightmare Moon's malice and hatred were sealed inside Spell Nexus the entire time, as he had willingly locked as much of the corruption inside himself as he could before succumbing.
  • Self Made Mare: Done by Nyx herself who, when she realizes that the corruption infecting the Cult consists of the remaining (evil) fragments of her own soul, systematically and agonizingly burns it away piece by piece.
  • Shock and Awe: Nightmare Nyx's standard response to enemies is lightning. Lots of lightning.
  • Shout-Out: At the end of chapter 13, Pinkie Pie's saying "Who's going to make the cake when I'm gone?" is a shout out to one of G La DOS's lines near the end of the original Portal.
  • Show Within a Show: The school play in which Nyx plays the part of Nightmare Moon. Said play is based on the events of the pilot episodes of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Pinkie Pie helped to write the script, and said that she had read the episode transcripts to help her remember what they had said.
  • Shrinking Violet: Nyx. With her purple mane, she's even Color Coded for Your Convenience!
  • Slice of Life: Much of the first half of the story focuses on Nyx adjusting to life in Ponyville.
  • Spoiler Opening: The cover art. See Foregone Conclusion above.
  • Thicker Than Water: Twilight leaves her friends to track down Nyx so that she can apologize to her for going into a Heroic BSOD when Nyx was taken away.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Celestia faces this dilemma over what to do about Nyx. She chose Lawful at the advice of a trusted friend who is secretly the leader of the Religion of Evil and under the influence of The Corruption.
  • Ungrateful Fillies: In Chapter 21, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon attend a party in Nyx's honor. Twilight encourages her daughter to apologize for what she did to them. Nyx grudgingly does so and is told by Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon that she's 'not fooling them'; they know she and everyone else hates them as much as they despise all of them and they just came for some free cake. May also count as Bratty fillies cannot comprehend kindness.
    • It's worth noting that only Diamond Tiara spoke while Silver Spoon just stood there...
  • Wham Chapter: Chapter 10. Celestia takes Nyx away, the cultists succeed in turning Nyx into a fully grown Nightmare Moon, and Nyx publicly disowns Twilight.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: From chapter 8: "No pony makes Pinkie Pie miss Pin the Tail on the Pony!"
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Luna's response to Celestia's ripping a child from its mother's arms, and to Celestia's neglecting to tell Luna about the whole "Nightmare Moon Reborn" debacle ahead of time.
    • Twilight gives Celestia two of these in the last two chapters. In Chapter 20, she calls Celestia out for threatening to banish Nyx to the moon immediately upon release. In Chapter 21, she attacks Celestia when she thinks she banished Nyx while Twilight was locked out of the room.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: What Nightmare Moon learns at the end of the story, with the help of Twilight, some pictures from a few grateful children, and a heartfelt letter from Cheerilee.
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