Past Sins
Past Sins coverart by Dreatos

Past Sins cover image

Writer(s) Pen Stroke, assisted by Batty Gloom
Date published July 18, 2011, completed on August 29, 2011
Words 179,000
202,689 (FIMFIction revision)
Status Complete
Type/genre Normal
Featuring Twilight Sparkle
Story link(s)
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Past Sins is a fan fiction written by Pen Stroke, with editing and other assistance from Batty Gloom. It spans 21 chapters plus a prologue and can be found on Equestria Daily. The custom cover image caused a huge stir and was likely a major source of the fic's initial popularity, although the story itself soon proved able to stand on its own merits.

It has caused considerable controversy due to the inclusion of an alicorn OC as the central character of the story, and also when Pen Stroke and Batty engaged in a large-scale revision to answer concerns over out-of-character behavior by Princess Celestia and Nyx's borderline Mary-Sue traits.


"What else can you be when the world can only see a monster?"
— Quote from the cover image on the right.

The story opens with Twilight Sparkle being held by a cult of ponies who are fanatically devoted to Nightmare Moon. The cult's leader leads his ponies in a ritual ceremony deep in the Everfree Forest to restore Nightmare Moon's power and give her a body of her own, separate from Princess Luna, so that she may claim the throne of Equestria and usher in eternal night. Some of Twilight's blood is added to the scraps of Nightmare Moon's armor along with other ritual ingredients. As the spell nears its climax, Princess Celestia and a battalion of Royal Guards descend and scatter the cultists, interrupting the spell before it can be completed. The guards attempt to track down the fleeing cultists while Celestia takes Twilight back home to Ponyville.

After getting over the worst of her shock, Twilight realizes that her saddlebags, containing rare books borrowed from Celestia herself, are missing and she tracks them back to the site of the ritual. When she arrives, she finds a small, black filly with both a horn and wings, along with Nightmare moon's distinct dragon-like turquoise eyes. Although initially driven back by the filly's appearance, her pitiful state convinces Twilight to at least take her back home, clean her up, feed her, and approach the situation rationally. After gaining the filly's trust, Twilight poses several questions to her and learns that she has no memories beyond a few hours previous, reaching back to the time of the ritual. Despite Spike's insistence on alerting Celestia, Twilight decides to allow the filly, who she names Nyx after a storybook hero with a black coat, to remain under her care for a while until Twilight feels confident about the filly's true nature.

A few days go by, during which Nyx proves to have a very timid, curious nature, a love of learning and reading, and begins to express a desire to go outside the library. Knowing she can't keep the filly hidden forever, Twilight calls in a favor from Rarity to create a vest to hide Nyx's wings and enchants some glasses to make Nyx's eyes appear normal. She convinces Rarity to keep Nyx's origin a secret. When the dressmaker is left alone with the filly, she offers some tea and cake for her good behavior during the fitting. She discovers that Nyx has an extreme amount of magical power when she tries to levitate her tea cup to herself, only to rocket it into the ceiling. The conversation turns to etiquette and how to be a "proper mare." Nyx manages to gain Rarity's permission to visit occasionally and learn more about being a proper mare. With the disguise finished, Twilight finally introduces her to the rest of her friends. Nyx asks Applejack and Fluttershy many intelligent questions about their livelihoods, which they happily indulge. Rainbow Dash considers her to be "a bit of a crybaby," a blunt opinion which Twilight does not appreciate. Considering the introductions to be a test of Nyx's outfit, she nervously saves Pinkie Pie for last. Though the party pony does make a subconscious connection between Nyx and Nightmare Moon, that is where it stays, to Twilight's great relief. Passing her off as a half-cousin from distant parts, she enrolls Nyx in Ponyville's school.

Nyx's insatiable appetite for learning earns her the ire of several classmates, especially Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. Their teasing prompts Apple Bloom to come to Nyx's defense and the filly becomes friends with her, Sweetie Belle, Scootaloo, and Twist. Determined to teach Nyx a lesson about asking questions in class just before recess, Tiara and Spoon trick the filly into wandering deep into the Everfree Forest. By the time Twilight realizes Nyx has gone missing and manages to find her, Nyx has stumbled upon the ancient castle where Nightmare Moon was defeated, and memories of her past life force their way into her mind. Her presence causes dispelled magic from Nightmare Moon to creep to her and seep into her body, and the Nightmare's hate begins to taint her memories of her current life. However, Nyx's rejection of Nightmare Moon's hate causes a surge of power that attracts the attention of Celestia and the leader of the Nightmare cult, who turns out to be Spell Nexus, the head of Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns. Each engages in their own investigation, the former by accelerating studies on the ritual to learn its purpose, and the latter by assigning cult members in Ponyville to watch for signs of Nightmare Moon.

When Twilight arrives to rescue Nyx from the forest, she sees Nyx with the mystical mane and tail of Nightmare Moon, but before she can think about this too long, she sees Nyx is crying. Upon noticing Twilight, Nyx apologizes for everything Nightmare Moon has done, even though she doesn't understand the memories she experienced, and Twilight comforts Nyx until her hair returns to normal. While Twilight is concerned about Nyx's true identity, she is convinced enough that Nyx just isn't enough like Nightmare Moon, at least not enough to alert Celestia just yet.

Life seems to be good for the two until Nyx's class decides to put on a stage play. Due to Twilight having left out the book that she had discovered the legend of Nightmare Moon and the prophecy of her return, Nyx reads about it. After suggesting the story at school, Apple Bloom adds that they could also cap that with how Twilight met the other Element bearers, restored Princess Luna, and the Princesses' reunion. The school will have its own slot as part of a cultural fair, and Nyx, due to her black coat, agrees to be cast as the Mare in the Moon herself. Twilight's initial fear that re-living the events may have a chance of sparking unwanted memories in Nyx are compounded when she learns that the Princesses will also be attending the fair, due to their interest in the school's play. Twilight is concerned that not only does her play costume makes her look too much like Nightmare Moon and that would cause others to draw unwanted connections, but that Nyx's regular disguise will not fool the Princesses, and that if the Princesses recognize her, Nyx would be banished on the spot. She tries to forbid Nyx to participate, but the filly manages to puppy-dog-eye Owlowiscious into letting her out of the library in time to make it to the play. In the process, Nyx accidentally forgets her glasses and breaks the fake wings on the Nightmare Moon costume, but she manages to make her real wings appear to be part of her costume by keeping them rigid.

The play goes off smoothly and, even after spending time close to her at dinner in a restaurant afterward, the Princesses are unaware that Nyx is in any way unusual. However, back in Canterlot, a member of the Cult overhears Celestia mentioning Nyx in passing to one of the professors at Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns that she assigned as head researcher of the cult's spell. The professor, Bastion Yorsets, is a foalhood friend of Night Light, Twilight's father, and knows Twilight Velvet, her mother. When he tells Celestia that only Night Light has siblings, all of whom share the same parents, this spurs the princess to research Twilight's family tree and any records for Nyx. A member of the Cult is also in the restaurant during the Princesses' visit and later reports to Nexus the possibility that Nyx is their Queen.

After the play, Nyx talks to Twilight about how she found out, from both from a book and from her classmates when they see her "costume", how she looks like Nightmare Moon and she tries to ask Twilight if she's the Mare in the Moon herself. Twilight tells Nyx about her origins and Nyx begins to break down when she comes to the conclusion that she's Nightmare Moon. Twilight comforts Nyx by telling her that she isn't Nightmare Moon and she never will be, and that even though she was born from a spell, she still has a family: Spike is Nyx's brother, Owlowiscious and PeeWee are her pets, and Twilight will be Nyx's mother.

A few weeks later, Cheerilee sponsors a Learn and Play Day event, where the students come together to put an educational display and participate in a series of games. Nyx starts to raise suspicions when she performs a couple of feats of magic, accidentally going too far. Twilight confides in Rarity that she thinks Nyx is Nightmare Moon reborn after all, but Rarity convinces Twilight that just because Nyx was the Mare in the Moon in the past doesn't mean she still is or that she even has to. Twilight feels better about Nyx and let's her go to a Cutie Mark Crusader sleepover, where as part of a game of truth and dare Nyx reveals she is an alicorn to her friends, who accept her just the way she is.

After the end of the school year, Twilight and Nyx arrive at home from a play day together to find Celestia waiting for them. After sending Nyx out of the room, the Princess confronts Twilight and gets the true story of the filly from her. Celestia then tells Twilight that the spell the cult used was in fact meant to bring back Nightmare Moon and they even used the shards of Nightmare Moon that was purified from Luna by the Elements of Harmony. Twilight has to face the cruel fact that Nyx is, in fact, Nightmare Moon after all. After a long, emotional conversation, Celestia comforts Twilight by telling her that even though Nyx is Nightmare Moon, she isn't going to punish Nyx and knows she can still change for the better. She instead simply wants to see into Nyx's true nature, so she and Twilight can know for a fact that Nyx is anything but a good-natured filly, despite her past.

Nyx, unaware of the conversation and thus the reason she is being separated from her mother, begins to feel abandoned. Celestia had put Spell Nexus in charge of the spell to examine Nyx, unaware of his connection to the Nightmare Cult. The spell meant to look into Nyx's soul instead teleports the cult back to Ponyville, where it quickly gathers the remains of Nightmare Moon's power that was scattered at the beginning of the story and completes the ritual.

Nyx awakens with her power fully restored and her body fully grown and, overwhelmed by the return of her memories and her feelings of betrayal and being lied to, snaps as she declares her intent to take over Equestria and bring in eternal night. She publicly blames Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon for her resurrection, brushes off Scootaloo by saying she is no longer Nyx, verbally attacks Cheerilee for making her play herself in the spring play, and disowns Twilight as her mother. Declaring herself to be Nightmare Moon, she teleports herself and the cult to an underground castle Spell Nexus had built for Nightmare Moon's return, where she can plan her take-over and gather her strength.

While Nightmare Moon is struggling with her memories of Nyx and her lack of desire to act as ruthlessly as the cult expects her to, Twilight, through use of a scrying spell on a Cult member Pinkie managed to identify, locates the stronghold and sneaks into it with the sole purpose of apologizing to Nyx. She mistakes Nexus for a prisoner and is captured and beaten by the guards before being taken to Nightmare Moon. Still conflicted, the alicorn rejects Twilight's apology but orders her followers to treat Twilight's injuries, lock her up in a dungeon cell, have her given proper meals and warns them not to harm her.

Nightmare Moon then sneaks into Canterlot and defeats first Celestia, who is emotionally drained by the realization of what she unwittingly allowed to happen, and then Luna in single combat and imprisons them in their respective celestial bodies, despite the two trying to reason with Nightmare Moon that she doesn't have to do any of this. With her conquest complete, Nightmare raises her stronghold to the surface near Ponyville and begins her reign of eternal night. The remainder of the Mane 6, along with Trixie as a last-second substitution, try and fail to use the Elements of Harmony on her, but their fears and worries over their families convince her to spare their lives, opting to simply confiscate the Elements. She also takes Trixie's signature hat and cape as a trophy; she puts them on and shape shifts into Trixie to make a mocking speech in her own voice, but due to everypony being afraid, the joke falls flat.

Over the next several days, Nightmare Moon struggles to understand her new feelings of mercy and compassion while Nexus tries to coach Nightmare Moon in the way he believes Nightmare Moon should desire to rule the kingdom. The Cutie Mark Crusaders, after finding out about Nyx's true nature from Cheerilee and driven by their desire to help their friend, make a new Crusader cape and sneak into the castle, only to be finally caught by Spell Nexus as the three are catching up with an emotionally conflicted Nightmare Moon. After she agrees to lock them up with Twilight so they can finally understand she can't be their friend Nyx any more, Nightmare Moon, at the advice of Spell Nexus, tries to more actively rule her kingdom in order to find her cutie mark. Her attempt to hold open court results in a long line of requests for the sun's return, and after she orders any sun petitioners to leave, she finds the two petitioners left are Rarity and Sweetie Belle's parents, who ask that she free their daughter and her friends. Feeling guilty over what she did, she apologizes to them once the three of them are alone, and promises to release the fillies as soon as Spell Nexus is satisfied that it's been long enough. Nothing else she tries earns her the cutie mark she feels she is denied, nor makes her happy. After a failed attempt to recreate the night sky in her own design, reminding her that she was terrible at art projects in school, Nightmare Moon looks over Equestria and sees how the countryside is suffering from just two weeks of eternal night.

No longer wanting to try to be the tyrant that is expected of her, Nightmare Moon instead raises the sun and informs Spell Nexus of her intent to rule Equestria through both day and night. After sneaking into Ponyville to take in the sight of her subjects happy for the sun's return, Nightmare Moon is emotionally crushed when the townsfolk assume that the sun's return also meant the return of the royal pony sisters and Nightmare Moon's defeat.

Nightmare Moon sulks off to think things over under the shade of a willow tree. She tries once again to understand why she is struggling to enjoy her kingdom and asks why she wanted to rule Equestria in the first place. She finally understands that Luna, before she became Nightmare Moon, simply wanted to be loved and appreciated just like Celestia, and that desire for love was carried over to Nightmare Moon. She then proceeds to quietly cry as she realizes that she was loved as Nyx only to throw it all away by chasing old desires that were never truly hers to begin with. She remains by herself under the willow tree until she is interrupted by a concerned Twist. The two friends talk and Nightmare Moon, finding out why Twist didn't hang out with Apple Bloom after school, retrieves her new Crusader cape, gives it to Twist, and makes her an official Cutie Mark Crusader by both her own membership with the club as well as her position as Queen of Equestria. Before she heads back to the celebration, Twist insists that Nightmare Moon accept a peppermint stick from a batch she had just made that morning, which the alicorn quietly enjoys under the tree.

Spending the rest of the day under the tree, although glad that she give the cape to Twist, Nightmare Moon realizes that she wanted to keep it, but could not just take it back. After raising the moon, she decides to retrieve her original cape from her private hiding place in the library after Spike goes to bed, a hollowed out book. She sees Spike tell Rarity that he has to clean up for Twilight, assuming that she'd be returning soon. Knowing that Spike will wait up all night for Twilight, Nightmare Moon heads back to castle, not wanting to witness Spike's hope fading away.

Nightmare Moon orders her guards to sneak out her treasure book from the library, saying it held her "grand plan" for Equestria. Alone in her room for the morning, she takes out the cape and other personal mementos, but they only remind her of the happiness she lost. Becoming even more concerned that she may never truly be happy or accepted by her subjects and she secludes herself in her castle in a fit of depression, taking the time to make sure Equestria isn't suffering from Spell Nexus while tending to the sun and moon but doing very little else. Her depressive cycle of thoughts are interrupted when Pinkie Pie forces herself into her courtyard to invite Nightmare Moon to Twist's birthday party, not because Pinkie wanted her there (she confesses that even she didn't think it was a good idea to invite Nightmare Moon) but because Twist convinced Pinkie that Nightmare Moon isn't as mean as everypony thinks she is and that Twist really wanted her there. While Nightmare Moon politely refuses the request, she is touched by Twist's kindness and reciprocates this by delivering the rest of the Cutie Mark Crusaders in a gift box along with fudge made by her royal chef.

Spell Nexus furiously confronts Twilight, blaming her for poisoning Nightmare Moon with thoughts of kindness and mercy but then hatches a plan to use Nightmare Moon's own love of Twilight against her. He infects Twilight with the blessing every member of Children of Nightmare get when they join the cult.

Nightmare Moon, having been informed of Twilight's request to see her, enters Twilight's cell and finds the unicorn lying on her cot, slightly afraid when speaking at first. No sooner does the possessed unicorn apologize for finding the alicorn in the forest, when Nightmare Moon is hit with pain in her right shoulder. The alicorn discovers that Twilight is regretting her "mistake" and tries to attack using a magical dagger. Nightmare's screams alert Nexus and the guards, who hold Twilight, help Nightmare Moon out of the dungeon and bandage the wound.

Nightmare Moon stays in her room for the rest of the afternoon, heartbroken over losing her adopted mother's faith in her. By sheer luck, she walks out onto her bedroom balcony just before the sun fully sets and witnesses the cult about to execute Twilight by hanging. In the seconds that pass, Nightmare Moon creates a working doppelganger for her room as Twilight is shoved off the platform, races down as a cloud and at the last possible moment, snatches Twilight, noose and all, from the jaws of death. She moves so fast, it appears to the unblinking crowd as if the condemned has vanished into thin air.

Finding safety at the ancient castle in the Everfree Forest, the alicorn discovers that Twilight was blessed, and has the possessed unicorn inform her about the attempt to drive the love from her heart, as well as the infection inside Twilight and acts to remove it. Finding the infection at the back of Twilight's skull, she phases it out of Twilight's body using her mane and destroys it. Twilight recovers her rather hazy memories of being infected and apologizes for putting the alicorn through the moments of fear, although she was controlled by the blessing. Nightmare Moon also apologizes for having been fooled. She tells Twilight to retreat to Zecora's hut for a few days, until she has ceased the guards' search for her.

Nightmare Moon later confronts Spell Nexus in her castle and discovers the "worst part of herself" has corrupted the, originally innocent, unicorn. That part was full of the emotions a true Nightmare Moon would have borne. A binding spell, likely cast by Spell Nexus himself, locked the majority of it inside Spell Nexus's own body, but it couldn't prevent the possessed unicorn from removing bits of it as "blessings" to infect others, thus forcibly recruiting ponies for the Children of Nightmare such as Shining Armor and the rest of the royal guards. After fighting the temptation in her thoughts to merge with it, Nightmare Moon commences with the destruction of the dark, poisonous magic through bolts of arcane lighting, cast from a storm formed from her mane and fueled by righteous anger, while Nexus' binding spell prevents it from escaping her wrath. The attacks leaves her in physical pain, her dark self having been burned to nothing. Nightmare Moon later takes advantage of the bit left in Spell Nexus to have him order the rest of the cult to gather at her castle so she can remove the blessing in them all, and releases them from their service. She then renounces her title as Queen and breaks the news to Equestria, much to Twilight's delight. Nightmare Moon however begins to contemplate releasing the Princesses and subjecting herself to their judgment, but admits to herself that she fears that they will lock her away in the moon and thus does not do so. Alone in her castle for days, she only sits at her throne, raises the sun and moon, and hides from Twilight whenever she returns to look for her.

Her contemplation is cut short when Zecora informs Nightmare Moon that a horde of monsters from the Everfree Forest, previously kept at bay in fear of Celestia's power, have begun to march on Ponyville with the intent of devouring its citizens. Not wanting anyone else to suffer for her mistakes, Nightmare Moon splits herself into dozens of duplicates, and together with the aid of the Mane 6, drives the monsters back into the forest, but is critically injured as a result. In the aftermath, Nightmare Moon's castle becomes a safe haven for ponies whose homes were destroyed in the attack. As she slowly recovers from her injuries, Nightmare Moon tearfully reconciles with Twilight, leading to an emotional reunion between mother and daughter.

Nightmare Moon confides in Twilight that she feels lost; she no longer wants to be the Mare in the Moon, but doesn't believe she can ever go back to being Nyx either. After showing Nightmare Moon some thank-you cards from her classmates, Twlight encourages her daughter that, while it will be difficult, she can be anypony she wants to be, but it's up to her to decide what that will be; Nyx resolves to be a better pony with friends who also protects the ones she cares about. Lastly, with some assurance from her mother, Nyx decides to release the Princesses with Twilight's assistance so they may tend to the sun and moon, as Nyx herself is too weak to do so.

After the Royal Pony Sisters are released, Twilight gives Celestia and Luna an account of all that Nyx had done as Nightmare Moon, both the good and the bad, and then the unicorn offers to take Nyx's punishment upon herself, but Nyx boldly refuses her offer. Ultimately, the Princesses decide to defer Nyx's judgement; Princess Luna travels to Ponyville to gather opinions from the citizens, including the rest of the Mane 6 and the CMC, about what should be done with Nyx.

The responses from the Element bearers reflect their Element of Harmony. Applejack wants to go easy on her as she cleared any personal debt with the farmer, but admits that she's probably not the pony to ask. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie give their unconditional forgiveness. Rarity does her best to be unbiased and proposes a generous sentence of community service, later happily relating stories of Nyx visiting her with and without the CMC.

Rainbow Dash, however, puts her loyalty behind the citizens of Equestria. Having seen how the eternal night was affecting other towns when she searched for Trixie, she explains that even if Nyx was jailed one minute for each pony affected, it would likely amount to a few years. She argues over such a punishment with Fluttershy, but does find her resolve weakened a bit when her oldest friend reminds her how Twilight would feel about it. Although Luna observes that Rainbow's point is valid for any written laws that Nyx broke, Fluttershy counters that stealing Philomena is likely also a law, but she was forgiven by Celestia; Nyx strived to make amends on her own without being forced to, and for that she has earned forgiveness.

The CMC later find Applejack and not knowing the invisible Luna is present, relate for several minutes of the what, how and why Nyx is their friend; AJ remarks to Luna afterwards that as Nyx's real friends, the fillies are the one who know her the best. Meanwhile, Celestia watches over an exhausted Twilight and Nyx, and, through her interactions with both of them, finally realizes that Nightmare Moon is no longer the monster she used to be shortly before Luna returns to place her judgement on Nyx.

By using a unique spell she had created in the past to steal knowledge and power so she could become Nightmare Moon, Princess Luna strips Nyx of all the magic and memories that belonged to Luna when they were one being, including the experience of the millennium in the moon, and dispels the rest of the magic that shouldn't be in Nyx. This reduces Nyx, in mind and in body, back to a filly with no more power then a filly should have at her age, and simultaneously transforming Luna herself into a more celestial entity like her sister. Luna explains to Twilight that the sisters and Nyx are different from the average pony, in that not only is their immortality and strength tied to their magic, but their physical maturity as well. Nyx retains all her own memories from the moment she began breathing on her own, and her memories as Nightmare Moon that are closely related to the school play and all she was after her forced transformation, so she may remember what led her to choose to be a better pony, and then gives Twilight the task of being Nyx's legal guardian from that point onward. However, Luna also warns Twilight that not everypony will agree with her judgment, Princess or not, and Nyx will have to face those she wronged as a consequence of her actions.

After returning to Ponyville, it is revealed that Nyx has received her cutie mark: a night-blue kite shield with a crescent moon that symbolizes her desire to protect other ponies by utilizing her alicorn nature. After a surprise party to thank Nyx for saving the town and a happy reunion with all her friends, everypony goes home for the night, and after tucking in Nyx and Spike, Twilight proceeds to write a letter to Princess Celestia detailing the lessons she's learned from this whole experience.



See Nyx

Spell Nexus

Past Sins chapter 4 artwork

Spell Nexus, headmaster of Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, and the mastermind behind all of the events.

Spell Nexus is a blue unicorn who serves as the true main antagonist of Past Sins.

The head of Celestia's School of Gifted Unicorns, Spell Nexus is secretly the leader of the Children of Nightmare, a cult that worships Nightmare Moon as the true ruler of Equestria, and recruits members by bestowing what he terms "the gift" on potential candidates. The "gift" in questions changes the subjects eye color to match Nightmare moon's turquoise and brainwashes them into devoting their lives to their Queen. He has a very firm and unwavering picture of how Nightmare Moon should behave toward her enemies, and mercy in any form is not part of that picture.

It would later be found out that Spell Nexus is actually possessed by the disembodied evil of the original Nightmare Moon, using the unicorn and the other members of it's cult to create a body for itself. Upon being exorcised of the evil entity Spell Nexus shows immense regret for his actions and locks himself in the dungeon voluntarily, but later accepts to be the headmaster of Celestia's School of Gifted Unicorns once more, and also has a talk with Nyx in Winter Bells about how she was formed and if she is actually Twilight's daughter or she isn't.


During the weeks leading up August 29, 2011, Pen Stroke and Batty Gloom undertook a major revision of Past Sins to address concerns made by a large number of commentators on Equestria Daily. Their stated goal to was revise Nyx's character to highlight her flaws more and to re-write the scene between Twilight and Celestia in chapter 10 when Nyx is taken away. Prior to the change, Nyx was liked by most of her classmates, save for Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, and managed to gain instant approval from any pony not designated as an antagonist to her. After the change, Nyx's occasional showcasing of her exceptional magic, especially during the tug-o-war, garnered as many uncomfortable stares as they did applause and her curious and sensitive nature made her very unpopular in class, her only friends being Twist and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

The original conversation between Celestia and Twilight regarding Nyx was declared "out of character" for the Princess, since she her tone was far more harsh and she threatened Nyx with immediate dissolution should the analysis spell reveal her to be Nightmare Moon reborn. Twilight was forced to choose between her loyalty to Celestia and her love for Nyx. In the revised chapter, this moral dilemma is lessened by Celestia taking a more sympathetic tone and agreeing to allow Twilight to continue to raise Nyx even if the spell declared her Nightmare Moon reincarnate, allowing for the possibility that being raised in love would override any possible instinct towards taking over Equestria.

The revisions were generally accepted, but some fans of the story fell away, fearing that Pen and Batty were giving in to outside interference with their story.

A revised version was posted to FIMFiction and elsewhere;[specify] this version was revised to incorporate season two ideas into the fiction, and resulted in the story's word count jumping from around 179,000 to 202,689.


At the end of the last Chapter, Pen and Batty left an author's note that said they may return to the Past Sins world at a future date to write slice-of-life stories for Nyx. Upon the release of Trinkets, Pen Stroke declared that Nightmare or Nyx?, Trinkets, and one other unpublished (at the time) side story are part of his In The Family side story trilogy. It was later revealed that Winter Bells is the third and final story in the trilogy. It has also been confirmed that the upcoming printed edition of Past Sins will contain an exclusive short story sequel.[1] The short story sequel, later revealed to be First Hours, remained exclusive to the book for approximately two months after the printing began shipping.[2]

Pen Stroke began writing an additional story, The Road Home, shortly after the airing of Twilight's Kingdom.[3] The first chapter of the ongoing fan fiction was published in March 2015.

Nightmare or Nyx?

Main article: Nightmare or Nyx?

Nightmare or Nyx? is a short story, one chapter sequel to Past Sins, and is the first part released in the In The Family trilogy, though chronologically, it takes place after "Trinkets".[note 1] However, it is not the same sequel that will be included with the printed version.[2] It involves Spike's lingering apprehension over Nyx's current state.


Main article: Trinkets

Trinkets is the second, in terms of publication date one chapter short story in the In The Family trilogy. However, it is the first, chronologically, in the aforementioned trilogy. It involves Nyx receiving her possessions back after her reign over Equestria.

Winter Bells

Main article: Winter Bells

Winter Bells is the third installment of the In The Family trilogy. It involves Nyx visiting her relatives in Canterlot for Hearths Warming's eve. Nyx has to face the fear of her new family, especially Shining Armor, who is determined she is still Nightmare Moon.

First Hours

Main article: First Hours

First Hours is the fourth side story and the only one not to be a sequel. Originally exclusive to the printed project, First Hours is a parallel to Chapter 1 of Past Sins from the perspective of Nyx.

The Road Home

Main article: The Road Home

The Road Home is the fifth side story and is the only sequel to not be part of the In The Family trilogy. It involves Twilight, Nyx, Spike, Shining Armor and Princess Cadance going on an adventure, courtesy of Discord, while the rest of the Mane Six works on Twilight's castle.

Derivative works

The Past Sins post on Equestria Daily includes a large number of pictures and comics created around Nyx and events in the story. A couple comics were incorporated into later chapters as the subjects of flash-backs Nyx experiences while alone, and one was made into a present-day scene that helps to continue Nyx's realization of what she had given up. Additional pictures and comics exist beyond those showcased in the EqD post.

Another author, Mr. Boltitude, has taken Nyx as a central character in a new fiction title Fandom Crisis! Judging by the inclusion of other common fandom themes such as Doctor Whooves and Slendermane in the first chapter and the author asking others for permission to use their characters, Crisis! seems likely to become a massive cross-over of multiple fan fictions, and thus does not belong to the original Past Sins universe.

YouTube user Forcedemodo has composed a "Past Sins Main Theme"', and started publishing a "soundtrack" meant to be listened to while reading the story. He is also providing the music for an upcoming Past Sins animation, being done by Cartoon Bronies.[4]

A fan fiction named Class Sins by The Only Regidar is an authorized parody of the story.

Printed edition

It has been announced that Past Sins will be coming out in a printed edition, with exclusive content, such as Valcron's original concept sketches for Nyx, and First Hours, a short story sequel to Past Sins.[1] The people running the pledge to buy a copy made an additional pledge due to the expiration date expiring on the first, and then another when the date expired on that.

On August 26, 2012, the print team opened up a site, under the name Equestria Publications. Said site contains an in-depth look into the work that has been put into the Past Sins book thus far.

On December 9, 2012, an e-mail was sent out to all those that had signed up to buy a copy of the book, explaining the delay of the project was caused by the team losing contact with the first artist shortly after the sign-ups to buy a copy of the book closed, and having to locate a new artist who could emulate the quality and style of the first artist. The projected release date for the book is now Q1 2013.[5] In an e-mail newsletter sent out on March 25, 2013, it was announced the book was done, and would be shipped in about two months.[6]

On April 19, 2013, it was announced that the project had been put on hold, due to the fact that PayPal would not release the money to the team until the book was printed and shipped, despite the fact that the money was needed in order to get the book printed and shipped. Everyone who paid would be refunded, according to the announcement, and the book would be released in e-book format while the team looks for an alternate way to distribute the book.[7]

On April 23, it was announced that the project was not dead, and that questions were being asked to ensure that a problem like PayPal presented would not be run into again.[8]

On July 12, the first edition books became available.[9] All printed copies have been sold.

On June 2014, sign ups for the second edition of Past Sins began. In the second Edition, fan art, and the side story, First Hours, was excluded.


Nyx and Twilight Sparkle Mother and Daughter by Madmax

Past Sins image gallery


  1. According to the Equestria Daily post for Past Sins.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Calpain (2012-06-09). Nightly Roundup #344. Equestria Daily. Retrieved on 2012 June 9. The 5th post down
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pen Stroke (2012-10-04). Comment on "Nightmare or Nyx?". FIMFiction. Retrieved on 2012 October 23. Archived locally
  3. Pen Stroke (2015-03-26). The Road Home. FIMFiction. Retrieved on 2015 June 22.
  4. Cartoon Bronies' official tumblr. Retrieved on 2012 June 19.
  5. E-mail explaining the delay
  6. Equestria Publications Newsletter, March 25, 2013 - announcing completion of the book
  7. Sethisto (2013-04-19). Past Sins Printed Version On Hold. Equestria Daily. Retrieved on 2013 April 19.
  8. Equestria Publications Newsletter 2
  9. PenStrokePony (2013-07-13). FC,FS - Past Sins Hardbacks Available. deviantART. Retrieved on 2014 April 21.