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Petrichord


Have you any dreams you'd like to sell?

More Blog Posts106

  • 4 weeks
    JINGLEMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS 2021!!!

    Yeah, I know, I'm like a week late with this announcement. I'm aware that I've been getting more and more scarce on here, but that doesn't mean that I'm not interested in some Fimfic events from time to time - and this is certainly, certainly no exception.

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    1 comments · 40 views
  • 13 weeks
    Commissions are closed

    I was in a strange mood yesterday, forgive me for that.

    Still don't know what I really want to do with my writing anymore. Still struggling.

    Sorry about this, y'all.

    2 comments · 57 views
  • 13 weeks
    Open for Commissions!

    Need something to kick my butt into gear, and I figure this is the best way to hold myself accountable.

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    5 comments · 56 views
  • 13 weeks
    A Brief Break from Brief Histories

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    3 comments · 53 views
  • 14 weeks
    A Brief History of Ost-Equestria

    Depending on how you define it, the history of Ost-Equestria is either very short - a mere twenty-four years - or quite long indeed, a saga spanning back since the dawn of ponykind. The races of Ost-Equestria tend to take the latter interpretation; in other countries on Equus, the former interpretation is generally considered the correct one. But, whatever the case may be, the causes leading up

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Aug
21st
2021

A Brief History of the Großeswechselndes Reich · 5:19pm August 21st

If you asked almost any changeling off the street whether they thought changelings were superior to ponies, their response would be “yes, of course.” Even the more egalitarian-minded changelings know that’s a simple fact: Ponies can’t shapeshift or access a hivemind, have slow reproduction rates and rely on physical, land-depleting food to survive. And it’s for the same principle that changelings know that they’re superior to deer, yaks, griffons or any of the other myriad races of Equestria: proselytizing about love and tolerance doesn’t change the fact that changelings are just plain better than their continental neighbors.

So why hadn’t they taken over Equestria long ago? Though your average changeling will deny that such an insinuation has any basis in fact, it’s for a quite similar reason: how changelings were - and are - wired. Any given population of changelings eventually develops a queen, either through spontaneous mutation of an individual or through uncommon but periodically recurring gestation of a hive’s “queen egg.” These queens possess stronger physical, magical, shapeshifting and telepathic abilities than an average changeling and quickly assert positions of power over any given hive, subconsciously suppressing any dissenting feelings within their hive and compelling servitude and obedience toward the leader. While numbers vary based on the mental fortitude of any given queen, an average changeling queen will be able to manage a hive of roughly one hundred changelings before their passive mental assertion starts to weaken, and most queens subconsciously suppress any sexual drive amongst them or their populations before they reach their limit.

The problem with these genetic quirks is that they inherently lead to tribal structures: with hive queens effectively considering their hives to be extension of themselves and without any implicit desire to extend their hives beyond their mental capacity, most hives were not tempted to build any sort of large-scale infrastructure. That’s not to say that there wasn’t any growth or development, of course - Changelings formed communities, traded and grew and developed as a whole. But even at their most unified, Changeling society functioned as nothing more close-knit than a loose confederacy - and more often than not, it was a confederacy prone to infighting and jockeying for territory. The latter issue was the result of the changelings’ second major problem: the changeling’s primary source of nutrition, love. In the wild, love grows in limited quantities, among animals and their ilk, and in order to survive a changeling tribe needed to have a relatively large area under their domain to avoid over-feeding on the wildlife, depleting the area of resources and starving to death. This was exacerbated by the fact that the primary parts of equus that changelings lived in were frigid forests - territory far up in the northwest that none of the other races of Equus deemed fit for living.

As such, for thousands of years changelings were a race that was by and large ignored. They weren’t ignorant - occasional incursions by one tribe or another into territories filled with non-changeling races allowed them to occasionally capture technology that was reverse-engineered and taught (willingly or not) to other tribes. But despite some degree of technological parity, they never developed the same sort of centrilized society and large standing army, and were thought of as a backwards nuisance at best and generally not thought about at all.

Then, in 972 ALB, a miracle happened.

That miracle’s name was Chrysalis, a young queen from the Vesalipolis tribe. Chrysalis was magically talented, but not particularly so, and her capacity for shapeshifting was mediocre at best. But her raw force of personality and telepathic assertiveness were quite literally unprecedented, the sort of genetic fluke with such a low probability of manifesting that Chrysalis’ power seemed almost outside the realm of the possible. She was one of a kind, uniquely suited for uniting all of changelingkind under one banner - her banner - and she knew it.

Abruptly, the Vesalipolis tribe went on the offensive - and never stopped. Any tribes in any territories that Queen Chrysalis laid eyes on were assimilated into Chrysalis’ tribe, peacefully or forcefully, and quickly found their previous allegiances subverted and pressed into the will of their new queen. Hundreds of subjects swelled into thousands as Queen Chrysalis expanded her empire without stopping, never once feeling any sort of constraint or weakening of her almighty will and telepathic might. If anything, her powers grew as she opened her mind to more and more subjects, until her force of will was strong enough that her very presence on the battlefield caused other changelings to surrender without a fight. And, by 982 ALB, Queen Chrysalis had united every last changeling tribe under her banner and set about turning the collection of tribes into a proper country.

The changelings understood the basic principles of industrialization, but hadn’t been unified enough in the past to put large-scale industrialization into practice. Over the next two decades, Chrysalis changed that standard with a vengeance. Trees were chopped, ores were mined and factory complexes - tangible, large-scale factory complexes and the supply lines to support them - sprung up all over the vast country. Large cities were built wholecloth, with the necessary infrastructure to maintain them, and the distribution of goods and services appeared almost out of thin air as the previously stagnant world of the changelings shifted paradigms virtually every day. With Queen Chrysalis keeping all the changelings in her tribe - no, her empire - subservient to will, any possible dissent among her subjects was smothered in its crib, and soon enough Chrysalis’s powers grew strong enough that she became able to temporarily force even more of her will onto some of her subjects like a puppeteer making their puppets dance.

Yet Chrysalis felt lacking. She didn’t want parity with her neighbors - she wanted to be better. If that meant looking elsewhere for inspiration, then so be it. Early modern ships copied from stolen Olenian designs allowed the changelings to cross overseas and seek potential trading partners, and while their initial contact was disappointing, further treks inland allowed Chrysalis to make contact with a strange, bird-like race and their mighty “Griffonian empire.” Initial negotiations were tense, almost turning overtly hostile at several points, and what finally brought the two races together was mutual greed and respect for each other’s militaristic attitudes rather than any actual fondness. Still, an attaché exchange allowed both civilizations to bolster their militaries from each others’ respective armies. From the changelings, the ruler of the griffons - the somewhat sickly-looking Grover V - gained knowledge of how to engage in centralized warfare through inhospitable terrain and knowledge of whatever crystal weapons the changelings managed to plunder from the Crystal Empire. And from the griffons, Queen Chrysalis gained knowledge of advanced mobile warfare and the construction and deployment of tanks.

Lovely, beautiful tanks: Technology which saw little widescale use in the mountainous terrain of Griffonstone, due in no small part to griffon hangups about proper warfare and proper military equipment. But changelings had no hangups about their use or their application on their relatively flat and increasingly deforested terrain. Tanks, and vehicles to act as faster support units, defined changeling military equipment and the organization to make the best use of it - with one exception.

That exception was the year 1002: by all accounts an unmitigated disaster of a year. Having once again felt the urge to expand her might, Chrysalis turned her gaze southward towards Equestria: as rich in resources and potential sources of love as it lacked in sense, it seemed an easy target for conquest. The one issue was that the Changelings lacked knowledge of how strong Equestria’s army was: either it had virtually no standing army whatsoever or the composition and training of its troops was kept highly secret. Refusing to believe that a country as large as Equestria would be stupid enough to lack a proper army, Chrysalis opted to gain control of the country through subversion and trickery - a large-scale operation she would personally see was followed through. Opportunity struck when her infiltrators into the country’s capital revealed that one of the country’s royal figures was planning on marrying the country’s captain of the guard - and while trying to spoof a military commander might have proven difficult, spoofing some fluffy, powerless royal figure with the ability to exert direct control over her soon-to-be-husband’s military affairs would be a trivial endeavor. Quickly, Chrysalis kidnapped and replaced the princess and encouraged select members of her Forward Observation and Subversion Unit (FOSU) to similarly kidnap and replace ponies while the rest of the FOSU waited on standby. The plan was simple: after having gained sufficient control over the situation, Chrysalis would signal the FOSU to drop their disguises and invade the pony’s capital city - Canterlot - and seize control with maximum efficiency, total dominance and not a modicum of expense used on the Changeling’s behalf. It was an arrogant ploy, but one which Chrysalis had no reason to believe wouldn’t go to plan.

Of course, things didn’t go exactly as planned.

On April 21, 1002 - the day of the wedding - the actual subversion went off without a hitch: it seemed as if none of the ponies in the city believed that anything bad could possibly happen to the royal couple and remained blissfully ignorant. And, for that matter, so did the attack against Canterlot’s “army.” The few guards that were protecting the town and the ceremony remained safe in the delusion that the captain of the guard’s city-wide deflection spell would protect the city from any invading armies, and that a couple of watchers on a couple of telescopes was enough to scope out any possible threats to the royal wedding. While the ponies were safe in their delusions, the FOSU quietly installed themselves in the city before the shield came up while Chrysalis worked to weaken the captain of the guard’s will until his shield collapsed in on itself, at which point chrysalis’ forces would storm the city by force and claim it as their own. As far as countermeasures went, it was pathetic.

But Chrysalis hadn’t counted on Equestria possessing heroes. In any other country, having six celebrities and an overconfidant princess be the only individuals with any sort of power in the country would make for a laughable defense; in Equestria, they were apparently sufficient to almost beat Chrysalis in a duel, utterly crush her FOSU forces, rescue the princess Chrysalis had replaced and reconjure a magical shield so powerful that it physically blasted her and all of her changelings far away from the city. In the matter of a few minutes, total success turned into a humiliating defeat for Chrysalis’ plan. Worse, Equestria was now aware of their existence and likely willing to start preparing a proper army to properly defend their country.

So why, then, had Chrysalis elected to capture instead of kill her adversaries in Canterlot? The soft approach was much riskier than the hard approach, after all, and her hubris had caused her plan to fall flat on its face. The answer lay in the ponies themselves. Compared to the wildlife in Vesalipolis - or the infrequent incursions that the changelings had made into other lands - the very heart of Canterlot held intoxicating amounts of free-floating love. Better still, the ponies themselves were absolutely ripe with the stuff - an hour’s worth of sightseeing in the city might have been enough to harvest more love than most changelings had ever seen in one lifetime. Ponies were cattle, the ultimate food source, and they appeared to be so dependent on their heroes for national defense that waging conventional warfare would surely yield the results that Chrysalis was looking for. Painful and expensive as it may have been, a conventional military approach was practically guaranteed to be victorious - and when they won, the Changeling Empire would surely enter a golden age unlike anything they had ever experienced before. Ravenous with ambition, Chrysalis returned to Vesalipolis, intent on announcing the mobilization of her country and their assault on all of ponykind.

She returned to find almost all of her armies gone, the queens under her command missing and Vesalipolis literally up in flames. Desperately scrambling through her palace for some sign of anychangeling who could explain exactly what the hell had just happened, Chrysalis finally managed to extract one of her advisors from some rubble, who explained that the queens under her rules had long retained enough force of will to quietly plot for revenge, and - taking Chrysalis’ humiliating defeat as their signal to strike - properly seceded from Chrysalis’ empire and took their former tribes back with them. Her unification had failed, leading to dozens and dozens of fractious territories that even as the advisor spoke were fighting with each other over who could gain control of her former territories and the infrastructure on them. In one fell swoop, everything Chrysalis had worked for was gone.

After killing the advisor in rage, Chrysalis returned to her former throne, sat down and took stock of the situation. Less than half an hour later, she emerged with a maniacal gleam in her eye to address the loyalists in her army. The answer was simple, Chrysalis said: She had kicked everychangeling’s ass before, and she could do it again. In fact, with their military technology and knowledge of Griffon military tactics, she’d be able to do it faster than before, purge dissidents harder than she did the last time and bring the full might of the changelings against any possible race that would even think about challenging her rule.

On October 22, 1006 ALB, Thorax - the leader of the last holdout band of changelings in the frozen north - surrendered to Chrysalis. Less than five years after the Changeling Empire fractured to pieces, Chrysalis had made it whole again, purging every dissenting queen and soldier in her wake. Along the way, her faction had butchered nearly 875,000 changeling workers and queens deemed insufficiently loyal to her rule - roughly 2.5% of the country’s population - and destroyed a significant amount of the infrastructure and military hardware that the changeling army had developed during their industrialization period. Chrysalis had once again united the country, once again proven herself victorious and demonstrated that there would be no opposing her will - but at the cost of bringing her country perilously close to collapse.

Two options presented themselves to Chrysalis. The first, almost unthinkable option, was to postpone her ambitions of conquest until she had rebuilt her economy the traditional way - opened up her borders for trade, acquired more goods and resources, and dance the commercial tango ubiquitous among species that were plainly inferior to the changeling cause. The second, far riskier option, was to rebuild her economy through plunder and warfare - throw everything she had behind a military engine and pay for it all by taking over progressively more wealthy territories until she was rich and powerful again, without ever having to compromise her ideals or vision. Both required putting her plans of getting revenge on Equestria on hold, and snowball warfare stood a reasonably large chance of never making it there at all should the series of wars needed to sustain it prove untenable.

Since the alternative rank of cowardice and humiliation, however, war was the only option Chrysalis found palatable. Slamming almost all of her remaining production into military hardware and the supply lines to support invasion, Chrysalis temporarily rescinded any sort of spawning controls whatsoever among her population - allowing workers to breed openly with workers regardless of how much love could sustainably be harvested. Once they had conquered more territories and started sapping other nations of their love, there would be more than enough to feed everybuggy. And once they took over Equestria - and they would conquer Equestria, there would never be any doubting that - her empire would never want for food ever again.

Chrysalis ultimately did open herself up to trade - with the Griffonian Empire. Harbors were built and expanded, convoys and protection vessels were built in vast numbers, and changeling timber began to trade hooves with griffon ores. The broken factories of Chrysalis’ empire seemed almost to repair themselves as the empire’s debts skyrocketed, but with a singularity of purpose only possible with a species with a collective consciousness the country was quickly rebuilt into its former glory.

On December 7, 1007 ALB, the empire took its first steps forward. Thousands of them, actually, in synchronized formation, directly into territories traditionally held by Polar Bear communities. The Polar Bears were traditionally xenophobic, isolationist and pre-industrial: in short, the sort of creatures that nobody interacted with because nothing could be gained from interacting with them. Unless, of course, you were planning on somehow turning the bears themselves into some sort of commodity.

Of course, every living creature was a commodity to the changelings. Their invasion was unprompted, unprecedented and deaf to verbal negotiations: Chrysalis preferred to negotiate with bullets and bodies designed to withstand the arctic temperatures. Anger that the polar bears felt at having been invaded by an upstart band of insects quickly gave way to horror at how unstoppable and merciless said insects were. For the first time in the history of the communities, the majority of polar bears wanted to surrender after mere weeks of conflict, and were horrified to discover that the changelings wouldn’t accept just money or raw materials as adequate compensation. They wanted a workforce that could be used and disposed of at will, and they would see every last polar bear in the north broken if it meant achieving that goal.

By December 29, 1007 ALB, they were broken. Already, Chrysalis had set her sights on the two other major countries of the frozen north: the penguins of the Kingdom of Pingland and the griffons of the colony-state of Nova Griffonia. The latter, Chrysalis decided, was more trouble than it was worth; While the colony-state wasn’t part of the Griffon Empire anymore, griffons were still traditionally prideful and materialistic - and they had lots and lots of guns at their disposal. The so-called Kingdom of Pingland, however, lacked unity and guns: the former, elderly King Lolo II had died heirless on March 11, 1007 ALB, and a replacement monarch - the former aristocrat Count Orvar Njordin - had only been nominated as an acting regent after a week of fierce deliberation among the aristocrats that made up the closest thing that the Kingdom of Pingland had to a ruling council. Orvar was not unaware of his precarious position, and a formal missive from Pingland reached Queen Chrysalis on January 6, 1008 ALB, stating a desire to engage in military collaboration against the “disunited and resource-rich territories of Nova Griffonia.” By all accounts, the missive was a desperate gamble by King Orvar I to buy himself time by getting the changelings to focus their attentions elsewhere while the Kingdom of Pingland could build up a sufficient defense force to deter Chrysalis after her conquest of Nova Griffonia was done.

Of course, by the time Chrysalis had received the letter, her troops had already stormed deep into Pingland territories, leaving burned buildings and exsanguinated bodies in their wake. Pingland’s undertrained, underequipped army fell even faster than that of the polar bear communities, and on January 10 changeling infiltrators stormed Orvar I’s palace while the king and the aristocratic council deliberated over plans to flee the country and unceremoniously slaughtered everypenguin inside. The following day, Chrysalis accepted Pingland’s pleas to surrender unconditionally and set about establishing martial law in the country.

To say that Queen Chrysalis was pleased with her conquests was a gross understatement, but pleased and satisfied were different matters entirely. Powerful as her military-industrial complex was, it still had plenty of room to grow, and Chrysalis decided that taking more territory before launching a full-scale assault was not only manageable, but would help her military prospects in the long run. And, since the further pickings in the north were slim at best, Chrysalis focused her attention toward the south - specifically, the comparatively prosperous country of Olenia.

Historically - even in recent history - Olenia had been more trouble than it was worth to attempt to exploit. In the past, it had been a deeply spiritual and highly militaristic nation of raiders and traders who took what they wished and bought what they could not take; occasionally, this included plunging into changeling lands and taking entire tribes as slaves, working them ruthlessly and eventually sacrificing them to Olenia’s dark gods. While the modern era had curbed their martial tendencies, it had not curbed their wealth or control of the seas; as a result, while it was not as overwhelmingly prosperous as Equestria was, Olenia was still wealthy and technologically advanced. Still, like Equestria, Olenia was weakened by too much stability and prosperity; while their country had developed and advanced, their government had not, and amidst the rising tides of socialism and fascism Olenia remained firmly entrenched in a monarchy rendered increasingly impotent by capitalist subversion and the machinations of an increasingly reactionary royal church.

Said monarchy would be the country’s undoing. By 1006 ALB, King Aldar II sat on the throne; while not an incompotent or cruel king, he was thoroughly lecherous and not unwilling to “keep company” with commoners, bearing one official daughter - the much-beloved Princess Velvet I - and a great many illegitimate bastards to his name. Even so, his death on August 1 was a great surprise to many, as was the emergence of a bastard with a suspicious amount of knowledge of loopholes in inheritance law and a suspiciously substantial amount of backing from the church and several influential businessdeer. Despite the public’s approval of Velvet I, it was the bastard - the newly renamed King Johan I - who claimed the throne.

Johan I quickly became as hated as Velvet I was beloved. Abruptly, the commoners found themselves burdened with multiple “special taxes” that Johan I used to provide egregiously lavish gifts to the church officials and businessdeer who supported him, to say nothing of the wildly debauched parties that quickly became a regular occurrence in his royal halls. In court, Johan I proved himself spineless and prone to mindlessly taking counsel from his supporters regardless of the situations presented before him, allowing corruption to run rampant and souring the traditionally cordial relations between Olenia and Equestria. Convinced that public outcry to his rule was due to “traitorious subversion” over any faults to his rule, Johan I began to persecute those critical of his reign and attempted to have Velvet I “done away with,” only to discover that she had vanished under mysterious circumstances.

When she reemerged on July 21, 1007 ALB, it was with the support of thousands of armed citizens and an open declaration of war against the “False king.” Pockets of organized resistance sprang up throughout the country and ballooned outward, lead by Velvet and her trusted advisors and wielding a generous amount of Equestrian firearms and supplies. Johan I may have had the army under his command - alongside nearly unlimited “grants” from the businesses he had kowtowed to over the previous year - but Velvet had popular support and diehard loyalty and discipline from the militias under her command. Fighting did not relent between Johan’s army and Velvet’s loyalists, and dragged on for months without a winner; While no clear winner existed by the beginning of 1008 ALB, Velvet’s loyalists seemed to slowly be winning the war as Johan’s armies began to lose support and the kickbacks from his crown-sponsored businesses began to dry up.

Queen Chrysalis was unamenable to the idea of anycreature with Celestia’s support claiming any actual power, of course, and decided that subterfuge was in order. Documents began to “leak” out from Velvet I’s “personal memos” that showed her disdain for Olenian socialists and her plans to see them violently done away with after she had reclaimed the throne. Agitators sprung up in major cities throughout the country, drawing attention and support away from the succession war and causing socialist support for Velvet to plummet; eventually, Olenian socialists broke away from Velvet’s faction altogether and formed their own Free Deer’s Party, reappropriating their military equipment to fight Johan’s and Velvet’s forces simultaneously. Suddenly, the balance of power swung drastically in Johan’s favor, and he seemed to be the most viable candidate for the throne.

Before the month was over, however, the church unanimously cut off all support for Johan and publicly declared the king to be wretched and unfit for rule. “Correspondance” from all sorts of letters came to light of the king’s various deals with anti-clerical or clerically-critical organizations from Olenia and Equestria, as well as private statements from the king expressing his disdain for the church itself. Seeing no friends or candidates worthy of support in the war, the church called on its faithful to abandon their posts and join up with the church’s holy forces, wipe out the pretenders, claim the throne and establish a “righteous and moral theocracy” that would seek war with the “pagan nations” around it and “Bring Olenia the greatness it is due.”

By the beginning of February, all four factions - Johan’s Loyalists, Velvet’s Loyalists, the Socialist Army and the Church’s Holy Soldiers - were at open war with each other. Allegiances shifted and were broken on a daily basis, blood filled the gutters and all semblance of order was temporarily shattered as the government broke down under the constant, multi-factioned war lacking a clear winner or any sense of permanency.

The changelings, who had been responsible for forging Velvet’s incriminating memos and Johan’s incriminating correspondence, gave Olenia a month to tear itself apart before invading the country. By the time they did, none of the four factions in Olenia were in much of a position to form a proper defense, and all of them hated each other too much to cooperate. With barely any resistance to slow them down, Changeling armies poured over Olenia’s tall mountains and hearty plains, and the last remnants of the Olenian government surrendered on March 30, 1008.

As the saying goes, however: “Winning is easy, governing is harder.” Unlike the Polar Bear Communities and the Kingdom of Pingland, the Changelings saw Olenia as more than a vast pool of raw resources in a frozen wasteland. Olenia had plenty of infrastructure, a large industrial base, plenty of high-level manufacturing services and impressive architecture: it was a country not just worth conquering, but keeping. Unfortunately, despite the blossoming number of changelings, there simply weren’t enough changeling workers to run everything that the deer had once managed, to say nothing of the expertise required to competently manage everything. Chrysalis wanted to claim the wealth of the country and exterminate all of the deer in it, but was forced to confront the reality that she could only choose one or the other: either she could ruin Olenia while wiping out the deer, or she could save the country and save the deer inside of it.

Over the following year, a complex system of state slavery sprung up. It was Chrysalis’ first real exposure to managing conquered territories, and her first nightmarish headache. Reports came in full of crises large and small requiring immediate attention, small revolts periodically cropped up and forced Chrysalis to put them down with prejudice, and subversive elements lurked in the shadows. But more than anything else, it was the logistics that killed her - an endless stream of numbers and figures that all required calculation right then and without any room for error. Attempts to establish changeling management to do the brunt of the calculations and fiscal decision-making for her resulted in a sprawling, inefficient bureaucracy that constantly bickered with itself over unclear and conflicting reports and which spent more time repressing the local population than making use of Olenia’s resources and turning the conquest of Olenia into some kind of gain for the empire.

The ugly truth stared Chrysalis in the face: No amount of bureaucracy would allow her, specifically, to keep tabs on everything. More changelings were needed for the explicit purpose of managing Olenia if she was going to turn her attention towards more important things, such as the conquest of Equestria. Thus, Chrysalis eventually selected two under-queens that were the best in her eyes and elevated them to positions of more-than-nominal power. The first candidate was the exceedingly capable and level-headed Queen Tarsus; her elevation to dominar over the Olenia region was without question. The second queen, sent to perform the far less arduous task of managing the “resource extraction” of the north, was the exceedingly ruthless and cruel Queen Stylet - a ruler who Queen Chrysalis took a strong (and reciprocated) liking to.

Even with the establishment of her queens, however, Chrysalis wasn’t satisfied with the idea of relinquishing mental control over her changelings - the queens might help her manage things, that much was fair, but the Changeling Territories belonged to her and her alone. While the local Olenian populations were cracked down on and arrangements for forced labor were drafted by changeling officials, changeling scientists researched under intense pressure to find ways to allow Queen Chrysalis to maintain control over changelings far away from her. The solution ultimately took the form of a series of radio tower-like crystal spires, placed equidistant from each other and tracing long lines between her central office in Vesalipolis, Queen Tarsus’ central office in Hjortland - the former capital of the Olenian Kingdom - and Queen Stylet’s office in the former polar bear village of Mathair Feairinn. While not a flawless system, it worked reliably enough that Queen Chrysalis temporarily moved back to Vesalipolis while further spires were built from Vesalipolis down towards the Equestrian border.

Finally, by march of the following year, Queen Chrysalis’ army was as developed as it could have possibly been. Her crystal spires gave her a clean line of communication between herself, her officers and other administrators, allowing her to manage what she needed to and fight where she wanted. The tanks, APCs and trucks of her armies gleamed, her hordes of soldiers stood straight and were honed ruthlessly, and her tactics had prepared for contingencies and counter-contingencies. On March 15, 1009 ALB, Queen Chrysalis crossed over from Changeling-Olenian borders into Equestrian borders without warning and en masse.

The degree to which Equestria was still ill-prepared for the war was almost boggling to Chrysalis; even given the violence which had been occurring on the borders of Princess Celestia’s nation - or in her nation, if the rumors of a civil war were any indication - Equestrian troops seemed almost comically ill-equipped and ill-trained, with the forces sent up north using practically antiquated tactics, subsequently falling in droves and retreating en masse.

Speed and momentum were Chrysalis’ twin firearms, and she employed them to nearly excessive measures. Even when Equestria started fielding better equipped troops - and ones less likely to break, if not necessarily better trained - Chrysalis did not relent for even a second when plunging straight into Equestria’s northwestern territories. Rapid deployment secured territories and wiped out resistance before Equestria’s ostensibly larger armies could properly respond, and scorched earth bombardments prevented Equestria from retaking any salvageable ground from their advancement. With supply lines bolstered by a lack of necessity to transfer many conventional sustenance-related supplies, Changeling armies supported themselves through ruthless looting measures, needing only military equipment sent down from their icy territories before they could press the attack - and press it they did, over and over again.

Any advantage Equestria had in the first few months, Chrysalis had a counter to. The rigorous plans laid out by their chain of command - those which weren’t hopelessly outdated, anyway - were quickly rendered worse than obsolete when changeling infiltrators quietly funnled tactical data back to Chrysalis. Equestria’s admittedly much larger navy was stymied by changeling submarines, which were designed with the sole purpose of preventing Equestria from launching any sort of naval assault or bombardment on changeling shores - and Equestria’s reluctance to destroy Olenian infrastructure didn’t help matters. Even Equestrian air forces, pegasi and biplane alike, found their advantages quickly nullified when changeling military engineers began incorporating RADAR sighting throughout their military and negating any element of surprise Equestria could have gained through aerial assault.

Unbeknownst to Equestria - and unbeknownst to Queen Chrysalis and most of her troops - the Changeling Advance wasn’t unstoppable. While the changelings were a large and organized force, Equestria still possessed a massive industrial base and the potential to field a truly staggering number of troops, and a war of attrition - even at 2:1 trade-offs in the changeling’s favor - would eventually result in Equestria slowly and agonizingly grinding the Changeling Empire’s forces into the dust. But in the first few months, calculating odds seemed almost pointless in the face of how unstoppable changeling troops, trucks and tanks were, and Equestrian soil grew choked by chemical fumes and drenched in Equestrian blood as the changeling advance drained and butchered every creature in its path with sadistic impunity.

Despite their overwhelming success, Chrysalis recognized that the changeling empire was not in an unassailable position: a surprise attack from either The Crystal Empire or Equestria’s Yakyakistani allies could cut deep into their territory before they had time to respond, and a proactive response to dealing with the problem was clearly necessary. Electing to deal with the problem proactively, Chrysalis relocated several of her army divisions up towards the crystal empire’s borders and sent a token force towards Yakyakistan’s borders, waiting only long enough for her troops to logistically prepare for their upcoming battles before invading both countries simultaneously on June 21, 1009 ALB.

Once again, the lack of resistance Chrysalis’ forces faced was almost shocking to the queen. The Yakyakistani people, belligerent as they were, hadn’t come anywhere close enough to industrializing: What their troops possessed in courage and defiance, they lacked in equipment that could even really slow the changelings down. Meanwhile, The Crystal Empire suffered the exact same mistakes that Equestria had: blindly assuming that war wouldn’t come to their doorstep and being woefully underprepared to receive the attention of a ruthless and relentless country on the warpath. As such, both countries began to shrink and depopulate at alarming rates while the changelings annexed everything in their path, ignoring all communiques for diplomacy in their way.

Changeling populations swelled from the influx of new food; before processing, slave labor helped develop roads and transporation structure at a quite favorable rate (compared to overseers who cared about the lives of their underlings.) In twenty days, changeling forces had Equestrian troops tied up in an inescapable quagmire while they plunged deep into yak and crystal pony heartlands, culminating in the events of July 11, 1009 ALB: events that Equestria and The Crystal Empire referred to as The Battle of Three Peaks, and what was known throughout the rest of Equus as Kristalltag. After all, it would be remiss to call the day-long clash between the Changeling and Crystal Empire anything more than the out-and-out slaughter of The Crystal Empire’s large but grossly undertrained and archaically equipped army. What was supposed to be The Crystal Empire’s heroic stand against the invading menace left them virtually depleted of any soldiers who could fight worth a damn, and the largely untouched changeling forces celebrated that night and eagerly anticipated crossing the last fifty miles to the fabulously wealthy Crystal Capital and the spineless royalty that lived within it.

They never crossed the forty mile mark. Then again, they had no forewarning of Stalliongrad joining the war on The Crystal Empire’s behalf, and no way to anticipate the amount of modern, well-maintained military hardware that Stalliongradian troops brought with them. Flat-out rejection to even consider diplomacy had finally bitten Chrysalis in the ass, and the events of June 13 - referred to by the changelings as Die Grune Feldschlacht and by the rest of Equus as, ironically enough, Roteschildtag. The initial clash was brutal and unrelenting, with hours stretching into days of nonstop, continuous combat that left both armies standing but heavily battered. The stalemate was, to Queen Chrysalis, a humiliating defeat and a sign of weakness that could not possibly be tolerated in future battles; her wrath, rather than inspiring fanatical and suicidal devotion to her cause, lead to a quiet agreement among Chrysalis’ generals to overestimate their future aggression in battles while minimizing losses to a reasonable degree. False stories filtered back to the queen of the insidious communist armies that brought malicious ponies, inept crystal ponies, servile yaks and hordes of rapacious griffons together in an unholy alliance that would stop at nothing to bring Equus’ rightful rulers to their knees. 

The changelings had plans for how to defend their forces from direct assaults and wage counterattacks; on a large scale, they never used them. On a small scale, they found themselves picked at by skirmishes scattered enough that preparing a concentrated defense against them was nearly impossible, intermittent enough that it was impossible to time when the communists would strike but frequently enough that Chrysalis couldn’t afford to ignore them. Not for lack of trying: the bulk of September 1009 was defined by Chrysalis attempting to relocate some of her infantry battalions south to attack Equestria’s northern borders and subsequently fighting for weeks to reclaim territories that Stalliongradian forces swooped in to grab at her brief lapse of commitment.

But what of the changeling-equestrian war, then?

Truth be told, how can one possibly summarize such a thing so briefly? How can one succinctly summarize eight years of brutal conflict, of battles full of total and pyrrhic victories and everything in between? How can one summarize the totality of warfare fought on land and at sea and in the sky, with machines of war of every stripe clashing with each other until the wreckage of such fine-tuned machines is all that remains? How can one concisely summarize battlefield after battlefield left covered in twisted metal and lifeless bodies, of the three million changelings who gave their lives for Queen Chrysalis’ ambitions?

It can’t be done. All that could be summarized are the statistics of those eight years: One third of Equestria under the Changelings’ control on fronts that looked as if they would not yield an inch in either direction.

Internally, of course, it was a different story - a story that the changelings took ferocious pains to suppress. Undoubtedly, the Changeling Empire - or the Großeswechselndes Reich, as they had retitled themselves several years prior (to account for the Untermenschen non-changeling populations of slaves that inhabited the changelings’ conquered territories) - had the superior military complex, capable of churning out frightening amounts of military equipment of equally frightening quality. But while the Equestrian economy still held itself together despite nine years of constant fighting and the loss of much of its former territory, the Changeling Empire was starting to buckle under its own weight: debts accumulated as the plunder from the Reich’s frequent looting campaigns began to dry up, the demand of civilian goods by military troops clogged up underdeveloped supply lines and stunted economic growth, and the inevitable resistance groups of ponies, deer, crystal ponies and yaks that sprung up in the Reich’s occupied territories caused the changeling’s expected resource extractions from their conquered territories to fall far short of expected profits. A capable leader might have been able to navigate these pitfalls and hold the economy more firmly together, but if anything the Großeswechselndes Reich’s leadership exacerbated these problems: Queen Chrysalis was utterly disinterested in the fiscal management (or most aspects of management) of her growing empire, and her various queens were more interested in retaining the power of their demenses than in taking actions that would strengthen the Reich as a whole. Finally, their trade prospects with the Griffonian Empire itself all but dried up shortly after the Changeling-Equestrian war began due to the country’s collapse into its own civil war, forcing Chrysalis to seek trade from other countries with far less amicable and reliable trading opportunities. Denied this buffer and overtaxed from their military efforts, the Reich’s queens - save for Queen Chrysalis - realized that their military edge and their unambiguous rule over their conquered territories was on the verge of being rendered moot by a full-blown economic collapse.

In late July of 1017, Queen Tarsus of the Olenian territories arranged a convention between her and the three other queens aiding in Queen Chrysalis’ rule: Queen Stylet of the north, Queen Ganglia of the Crystal-Yakyakistani front and Queen Ocellus of the Equestrian Territories. Ostensibly about bolstering the Reich’s economy and supply lines, Queen Tarsus bluntly informed the other queens of the obvious: that the war would be concluded by immediate victory or protracted defeat, nothing else. After a brief discussion revealed that all of the queens had independently come to the same conclusion, the quartet hammered out a plan to approach Queen Chrysalis with the “revelation” that the Changeling Empire had effectively won the war: despite not conquering the entire continent as Chrysalis had envisioned, they had taken over enough territory that managing any more would be “too much of a hassle, even for her, regardless of the amount of queens she had assisting her” and that the changelings had both reaped great profits from the war and ensured that the supremacy of changelings would never be questioned or contested ever again.

The following week was spent flattering Queen Chrysalis, playing to her ego while subtly implementing their suggestions into her brain, deftly leading the queen towards their desired conclusion. Finally, on July 31, 1017 ALB, Queen Chrysalis called for a meeting with West-Equestria (Princess Celestia’s country, and not to be confused with the Ost-Equestrian territories held by Nightmare Moon,) Stalliongrad, The Crystal Empire and Yakyakistan with a generous cease fire offer: in exchange for allowing Queen Chrysalis to officially hold her conquered territories, she would grant each country five years of “Mutual de-escalation of hostilities.” Equestria, long past exhausted of constant warfare and the truly depressing death toll of their country, jumped at the chance to achieve something that looked even somewhat akin to peace; conversely,  The Crystal Empire and Yakyakistan briefly refused, before Stalliongrad “encouraged” them to take the Großeswechselndes Reich’s offer. Finally, by September 1, it was all over: treaties were signed in official capacities, troops were recalled from borders, orders were cancelled, policies were altered and the Großeswechselndes Reich inched back towards peace - a peace their government was ill-suited for, but a peace nevertheless more tenable than continuing to prolong a futile war.

Queen Chrysalis, of course, continued to assume that the war had ended in a total victory for her - and while she was not a brilliant tactician or clever leader, she was a superb statespony and had no trouble convincing almost all of her underlings that their victory was absolute. Confidence soared, the desire to settle debts was forgiven and changelings retooled their lives towards civilian sector work with zeal - and there was plenty of work that even returning soldier-drones could do. At that moment, economic renewal was possible: with the drastic scaling back of military expenses and reinvestment into infrastructure, Chrysalis could have minimized unemployment and worked up a stable goods and services distribution network.

Of course, that would have required forethought and the willingness to set her ego aside, and Queen Chrysalis had neither. Instead, she saw victory and decided to commemorate it in as grandiose a fashion as possible: By constructing a series of monuments dedicated to her (and the rest of the Großeswechselndes Reich)’s greatness. Borrowing the principles from the crystal spires used to relay messages between her and her other queens, Chrysalis exploited The Crystal Empire’s rich crystal deposits and employed tens of thousands of changelings to build a vast network of towering statues and triumphal columns, serving the dual purpose of being ostentatious (and exorbitantly valuable) works of art and creating interconnected transmission between changelings on an unprecedented scale.

The effects, though not recognized at the time, lead to the largest paradigm shift in the history of changelingkind since Queen Chrysalis’ rise to power. As more and more monuments were finished and “lit up” as hive nodes, the need to depend on individual queens for power lessened as common changelings began to interconnect with and relay messages to each other independently. While the war had encouraged changelings to organize and work with each other over the military effort, they still operated under a strict hierarchy of commands trickled down from the queen; as more and more nodes came to life, changelings developed the ability to collaborate autonomously and think individually on levels rapidly approaching those of Equus’ other races, and the influence of the queens waned from necessary to merely important. Chrysalis’ underqueens felt and observed these changes, but were unable to halt construction of the monuments or crack down on the largely loyal changeling population without Chrysalis’ express approval, and while Chrysalis felt something shift in her empire she was too drunk on her own power and prideful to care.

As the government spent its way into a deep deficit, changeling populations boomed due to war spoils and post-war employment bringing luxury to the race that it had never experienced before. Increased changeling populations lead to increased love demands, even as changeling appetites began to inexplicably decrease, and the massive changeling army was repurposed to watching over its conquered territories and bringing increasing numbers of non-changeling slaves into the fold to be used as cattle. “Sustainably harvested” or not, it proved to be insufficient, and Queen Chrysalis seemed reluctant to impose any sort of population control on her empire; love imports from the northern territories were increased accordingly (even as the area grew increasingly “dark,” difficult to contact and shrouded in secrecy), and slave populations were first permitted, then encouraged to breed, necessitating even more military investments to oversee the ballooning slave populations throughout the Reich.

And then, on December 19, 1021, Chrysalis suffered a massive seizure while on a tour of the country, and the house of cards came collapsing down all at once. As the seemingly infallible, unstoppable Queen Chrysalis was hospitalized and treated extensively, issues about the country’s deficit began to come to light, as well as its inability to effectively pay back the debts it had accrued to the various overseas countries it had borrowed money from to keep its plans afloat. Queen Tarsus summoned Queens Stylet, Ganglia and Ocellus to an emergency council, though only Ganglia and Ocellus responded - like the rest of its secretive nation, Stylet remained hidden and untraceable in the north. A conclusion was rapidly reached that the core Großeswechselndes Reich territories would need another Queen to act as a chief advisor to Chrysalis and resolve the ensuing diplomatic and economic crises in her stead: a thankless and highly difficult job, the failure of which would be grounds for declaring the acting queen a traitor and executing them. Convening in private, Tarsus and Ganglia agreed that they had been sufficiently strict with the Untermenschen populations in their territories, but that Ocellus had grown to treat them increasingly laxly, even as increasingly strict measures were necessary to work her territory’s slave populations appropriately. The next day, both volunteered Ocellus to be the chief advisor to the core Großeswechselndes Reich territories, effective immediately, and had their respective underlings compile reports of candidates most capable of managing the affairs of the Equestrian territories; surprisingly, the candidate with the most overwhelmingly capable administrative skills both on paper and in practice (as one of Queen Chrysalis’s previously overlooked administrative assistants) wasn’t a queen-in-training, but a standard changeling worker by the atypically pony-esque name of Lilac. After a cursory interview, she was assigned Queen Ocellus’ former role, and quickly rebranded the territories under her control the Vanhoover Protectorate and quickly began suppressing their former cultural identity.

By the time Queen Chrysalis had recovered, both from her incident and from the subsequent battery of tests that the country’s leading doctors exposed her to, Ocellus had largely kept the situation under control. The debt would be paid back piecemeal by raw materials, military equipment and “skilled workers” at prices that, while not advantageous to the changelings, were manageable without leading to the country’s total collapse. Fortunately, the funds for concluding the construction of the monuments had already been pre-allocated, which kept changelings in the country’s employ and a four year window to come up with a solution to resolve the impending employment crisis that awaited them after the monuments were completed.

Slavery expanded and intensified throughout the territories, and began to include changelings sentenced to penal labor for various crimes; this, combined with the export of slaves to certain overseas countries, allowed the changeling guard to be kept at a reasonable size and trimmed expansion of the military budget at the small cost of degrading the value of slave lives from “nasty” to “utterly brutal.” Sensing demand, overseas griffon corporations began to expand into the country, willing to pay tariffs in order to claim new and untapped markets, and griffon universities similarly sprang up to educate changeling citizens who could potentially be employed for the corporations abroad. Ocellus, smelling a way to forgive domestic debt, allowed changelings to have some of the wages of changeling workers garnished to allow them to attend these universities at slightly reduced prices, trading domestic debt (which would be difficult for them to pay back in their current state) for international debt (which they were in the process of paying off anyway.) Slowly, Changeling society started to crawl its way back from the brink on the broken backs of the non-changelings subjugated and drained under their rule.

Despite the eventual return of Queen Chrysalis - a re-emergence that was greeted by the thunderous applause of her subjects - Chrysalis never took as much of an acting role in the leadership of the country again. This was due in part to Ocellus’ reforms, in part to the subtly increasing autonomy of her subjects, and in part due to her declining mental and physical health. Unlike the other queens, who could tap into and out of parts of the monumental network at their own free will, Chrysalis was exposed to more and more of her country’s populace all the time, all at once, and while she could reduce the amount of neurological data she received to a fairly low level she could never eliminate it entirely. The success of her country was literally killing her, at an increasingly rapid rate - and her refusal to halt or slow down construction of the monuments was only exacerbating the problem. Increasingly, the all-powerful leader of the country was reduced to a figurehead, good for making speeches and inspiring pride, but little else.

It’s now 1033, twelve years after Queen Ocellus’ stopgap measures brought the country out of a death spiral. On the surface, things look better than ever; an increasingly employed, increasingly educated country with plenty of food for everychangeling, strong cultural relations with the Griffonian empire and a gradually decreasing amount of foreign debt; coupled with a military that was still strong and still highly disciplined, and The Großeswechselndes Reich’s position as the strongest country in Equus seems absolute. Internally, however, things are a different matter: The country’s dependence on harsh slave labor has taken its toll on economic growth, and even with bolstering from penal labor there appears to be no end in sight and a declining number of enslaved and love-taxable workers; yet, the country’s dependence on slave labor is absolute enough that were it to collapse, the Reich’s economy would surely follow. Heavy corporate employment ensures that large amount of the country’s wealth outside of the slavery sector is funneled out of the country, and Griffon Empire cultures - as well as cultures from non-GE countries due to the GE’s less rigorous policies on cultural policing - are increasingly subverting the previously monodirectional changeling culture, with the Großeswechselndes Reich’s hooves increasingly tied on permitting a certain degree of said content to avoid causing a major diplomatic incident. With changeling autonomy on the rise, increasing levels of questioning about “the old culture,” the uneasy state of affairs between the provincial leaders and their managed territories and the possibility of a collapse of the slave system due to mass revolt or overuse, the only thing that seems to truly keep the country together is the absolute popularity of Queen Chrysalis. An increasingly ailing, increasingly befuddled Queen Chrysalis, whose mind and body have long since deteriorated beyond her ability to properly rule, little more than a symbol of the country’s pride and glory whose health is increasingly covered up by her state officials. A queen who likely has no more than two years left in her before her demise. A queen who, when she goes, will undoubtedly leave catastrophe in the wake of her passing...

Comments ( 7 )

Trying to set up a changeling race in GURPS shows just how incredibly OP they are.

In my most recent story, Pharynx mentions the only reason changelings haven't taken over Equestria is they're all attention deficit and can't keep their minds on what role they were playing yesterday.

5572188
Wow, another GURPS player. Rare!

Oh, this is an exquisite bit of fictional history, with some great hooks for the players to snag themselves on once the campaign begins. And this is just one nation! Looking forward to further lore.

Literally squeed when I saw Ocellus mentioned. AUs are always a good time to see how you can take both original and existing characters and let them be changed by the circumstances of the setting. Gallus actually showing up recently in EaW proper for example was really cool.

Please publish this as an actual story; it clearly had a fuck ton of work put into it.

This was a fascinating read! I very much enjoy read historical briefs and I can tell you put a great deal of thought and work into the lore and characters. I might not know the game associated with this, but it was interesting nonetheless!

History!

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