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Supplementary material: File 7GBQ-RR3S2654B: DISCORD | The World on Fire (spoiler-free) | House Songbird and Offshoots (spoiler-free)

This is a comprehensive overview of the World on Fire, my name for the alternate future setting of To Keep the Fire Burning, hopefully showing how it links with the rest of the Borderworld, and how it became the way it did.

This version of the overview contains only minimal spoilers, mostly just detailing the background worldbuilding that isn't relevant to the main plot of the story, and explaining the broad strokes of the backstory without giving away any major reveals. I also plan to make a fully-spoilered version of this overview once the story is completed.

The World on Fire
World History:
Once the mightiest kingdom that the world had ever seen, old Equestria stretched across almost the entirety of the Heartland, and wielded influence across the globe. But for all its size and relative prosperity, the kingdom would eventually fall to war and disaster.

Queen Chrysalis, former ruler of the Changeling Kingdom, is commonly considered the one most responsible for Equestria's downfall. For many centuries, her control of the changeling hivemind was absolute, and she and her followers attempted numerous times to conquer Equestrian territories in both the Heartland and abroad. In the waning years of the period known as the Golden Age, a failed attack on Canterlot itself, as well as several other incidents, led to a wave of changeling paranoia across the nation, particularly in the Crystal Empire. In an effort to end the fear, Equestria's royals reached out to the changelings, and an uneasy peace was established.

Although the exact history surrounding this time is murky, it is known that the peace held for some years, with many changelings leaving the hivemind to integrate properly into Equestria, but that the Queen of the Changelings would eventually betray the peace agreement. What followed was a long period of war, initially just between Equestria and the Changeling Kingdom, but later drawing in other factions. It is from roughly around this period that many of the common elements of the world today have their founding.

The bonfires and the Order of the Fire-Keepers were established throughout old Equestria and her colonies and protectorates during this time. Changelings first began going feral due to starvation and disconnect with the hivemind. The undead curse appeared, and began turning the soulless victims of the changelings into mindless, immortal hollows. And perhaps worst of all, the Crystal Empire was consumed by the Great Chaos, becoming known as the Lost Empire, and birthing demonkind in the far north.

Although Equestria was eventually able to win its wars, defeating and banishing the Queen while also holding back the demons, the kingdom ultimately couldn't survive. The alicorn princesses all seemingly vanished during the conflict, cutting off the nation's head. Canterlot City and Friendship Castle in Ponyville both shut themselves off to outside contact, while the other cities of Equestria and the surrounding countryside were left to the mercy of hollows, ferals, and bandits. This was not helped by the later arrival of the Darkwraiths, powerful and malignant beings who hunt in both the dreaming and waking worlds to consume the souls of the living and the dead, and whose only known weakness is the Fire of Friendship.

With Equestria in ruins, and little if any word from its leadership, the populated areas of Equestria began operating more autonomously. The Equestrian colonies and protectorates largely became independent once more, while surviving cities and smaller communities in the Heartland itself went on to form entirely new kingdoms, as they had never done before. All the while, the changelings, the undead, and the demons continued to spread out from the Heartland.

World Religions:
The Way of White:
The Way of White is a modern incarnation of Alicornism, the old religion of Equestria long before the Golden Age. Unlike the old Church of the Royal Sisters, however, the Church of the Way of White includes Princess Cadance and Princess Twilight in its pantheon, and also has a certain degree of reverence for many other figures associated with them, including Discord, the Bearers, Spike, Shining Armor, and even Prince Blueblood.

Though the religion got its start after the fall of Equestria, and began in the colony of Maretonia, the Way of White considers the Heartland a holy place, calling it the kingdom of the gods and the land of the ancient lords. Pilgrimages to important sites in Equestria are common, and the Heartland as a whole has embraced its status as a sacred land. As the world today is ravaged by disasters and constantly in crisis, the Way of White holds a great appeal to many, offering hope and comfort in exchange for faith. As it has been many centuries since the largely secular direct rule of Celestia, the Church's misinterpretations of history and the religious dogma it propagates is largely accepted as truth, and the neo-Alicornism of the Way of White has spread far and wide across the northern hemisphere.

The Way of White is ruled by the Pontiff. Under the Pontiff are the cardinals, and under the cardinals are the bishops and archbishops, with one archbishop residing in each nation where the Way of White has a presence. The Pontiff and the other higher-ups are directly served and protected by the Church Guard, but beyond them, the Way of White is divided into four factions, one for each goddess. Each faction has two religious orders, one of which is always a knight order.

For the knight orders, there are the Cleric-Knights of Celestia, who go on crusades; the Blades of the Darkmoon, who hunt down criminals in the name of Luna; the Embraced Knights of Cadance, who are anti-changeling specialists; and the Knights of Friendship, who protect pilgrims and other travellers in the name of Twilight. The other religious orders are the Twilight Acolytes, who are monks dedicated to the scholarly pursuit of knowledge; the Pardoners of Luna, who are both confessional priests and judges; the Ministers of Love, who are Cadencian priests that conduct marriages, divorces, and couples counselling; and the Sisters of Solace, who are pacifistic Celestian nuns who care for the wounded and dying, and conduct funerals.

Notably, the Way of White does not recognise or acknowledge the legitimacy of Flurry Heart, the Princess of the Storm, whose mere existence is considered an unsubstantiated rumour at best, and a lie spread by the vilest of heretics at worst.

The Order of the Fire-Keepers:
Founded in the Heartland long before even the Way of White came to power, the Fire-Keepers are an ancient and noble order, allegedly established by the goddesses themselves, though some heretical rumours claim that they date back to before even their arrival on this plane. Their purpose is to watch over the bonfires, the holy flames connected to the Fire of Friendship, which they must protect from dying out. Their secondary purpose is to help those in need to feed from the bonfires. Those in need are primarily changelings, but can also include undead in need of new souls.

As dictated by the Accords of Need, the Fire-Keepers have upheld this solemn duty since the bonfires were first lit, swearing sacred oaths to the Fire itself. Because of the connection between the Fire-Keepers and the goddesses, they are held in high regard by the Way of White, and by almost all kingdoms in which they hold sway, even those who have turned against the changelings and the undead. To harm a Fire-Keeper is considered a grave heresy by the Church, and Fire-Keepers are often the most respected members of the communities they reside in, alongside White priests.

The Chaos Paladins:
The Chaos Paladins are an evolution of the old Cult of Discord that rose out of the Minosian Civil War, and are the fourth major iteration of Discordism. Theirs is a less total form of chaos, born not out of an actual desire for chaos itself, but out of respect for Discord, personally, whose will they believe they are serving and carrying out in his absence. However, they are still notably more chaotic than the original Cult of Discord, even going out into the larger world with the purpose of spreading further chaos in Discord's name.

The Chaos Paladins are loosely united in a common cause, but operate with a great degree of independence and very little in the way of stable power structures or clear chains of command.

In their homeland of Minos, the Chaos Paladins are basically the only government, and operate by a strange kind of democracy, in which executive decisions are made by representatives taking sides and literally fighting it out in a great arena. In the Heartland and other nations, however, the Chaos Paladins have no readily apparent ruling bodies whatsoever. Instead, the Chaos Paladins roam the lands either alone or in great warbands, pursuing their own ideas of chaos according to their own individual interpretations.

Several of these warbands make it their business to go on crusades, though their targets differ. A few fight demons and other monsters, or hollows, changelings, or Darkwraiths. Others instead fight against orderly power structures such as the Way of White or the ruling governments of other kingdoms, essentially making them bandits and outlaws. In the Heartland right now, some Chaos Paladins have joined the Way of White in their crusade against the deerfolk of Thicket, who they believe literally worship Order. Still other Chaos Paladins have even stranger targets, which can include inanimate objects, abstract concepts, and almost anything else.

Notably, the Chaos Paladins have a great affinity for chaos magic, and their ranks include many accomplished chaos sorcerers, the most famed of which is the Legend.

The Path of Harmony:
The Path of Harmony is a religion followed in the ancient days, before the undead or the Fire of Friendship were ever even heard of, and was taught by the Tree of Harmony to a cult of followers. The greatest of the Tree's followers, who most clearly understood its teachings, were eventually elevated beyond flesh to become the first crystal ponies.

While the Path of Harmony later became lost to time, the Tree has been rediscovered by others several times since. On at least a few occasions, the old cult has seen minor revivals, with new followers learning the Path of Harmony and rediscovering the art of becoming crystal. Though these individuals are rarely seen or spoken of, they do still exist, and with the fall of the Crystal Empire, they represent the last of their kind in the world today.

The Many Kingdoms:
The Free Cities:
The Equestrian Heartland today is fractured and wild, with civilization only continuing to exist in the major towns and cities, and the countryside in-between being largely unsafe for habitation. While there are rare exceptions, such as Sweet Apple Acres, most of the homesteads and small villages that populated the Equestrian countryside in the Golden Age no longer exist. Many were destroyed in the wars, either by the demons or the changelings, and many more were unable to survive after the fall of old Equestria, wiped out by either bandits or monsters. Even some of the larger cities in the Equestrian midlands suffered this fate, including Cloudsdale. For the most part, these lands today are occupied mostly by hollows, feral changelings, and other beasts, along with the occasional demon. The lack of actively-maintained bonfires in these lands also means that the Darkwraiths prowl through them with impunity.

The coastal cities fared much better by comparison. On the east coast, cities such as Manehattan and Baltimare are still thriving ports, maintaining trade with Thoroupe and the Griffish Isles, and a loose military alliance between the cities keeps them safe from piracy and other outside threats. These cities tend to be highly intolerant of changelings and undead, fearing for their own safety, and are also extremely religious. The Way of White hold great sway over these cities, and the Fire-Keepers are highly venerated for their role in holding back the Darkwraiths.

The west coast is a different story, with a sharp divide between those north and south of Equestria's great western peninsula. In the southwest, most of the old frontier towns are now gone, but Las Pegasus survives. The harsh desert environment deters the feral changelings and hollows, but banditry is still rife in the region, and Las Pegasus itself has become a hive of crime and corruption. The northwest, in contrast, is much more like the east coast, with cities such as Vanhoover, Shorebreak, and Seaward Shoals all being fanatically religious, intolerant, and fearful. However, they are also far less prosperous than the east, being more exposed to demon attacks, lacking any partners to trade with by sea except each other, and also suffering frequent raids from pirates sailing out of the southwest.

Yakyakistan:
Yakyakistan, being positioned so closely to the Lost Empire, suffered immensely when the Great Chaos erupted in the north. With help from Equestria, the yak nation fought off the onslaught of the demons for many years, but the yaks only barely survived, not just as a nation, but as a species. The Demon War saw their kingdom's capital sacked and profaned, their old royal line wiped out, and many hundreds of their kin killed senselessly.

Those yaks who survived did so by splitting into smaller clans and tribes, and scattering across the Yaket Range and the Crystal Mountains. However, with time, those surviving tribes became adept demon-hunters, and the yaks gradually restored their strength. For over a hundred years, the divided tribes migrated back and forth across the mountains, and continued fighting off the invading demons whenever they encountered them, eternally dreaming of their lost home.

Eventually, the yaks did reunite once more. Just as Rutherford's ancestor once conquered the many yak tribes and formed Yakyakistan, so too were the yaks brought together again by a conquering warlord. Rallying his people in the common cause of taking back their old home, this warlord purged the demons from the Profaned Capital of Yakyakistan in a bloody war that cost many lives, and rebuilt the old city as a heavily fortified mountain stronghold. The descendants of that warlord still rule in the restored Yakyakistan today, acting as the kingdom's first line of defence against the demons, and protecting it from their seat of power in the Capital.

Dimondia:
Dimondia, the kingdom of the diamond dogs, took losses in the wars just as every other community in the Heartland did. However, it was largely unaffected by the worst of the fighting. With their above-ground city being so small, the kingdom was beneath the notice of Chrysalis during the Changeling War, and the rare demon attacks that Dimondia suffered also did not affect the undercity that greatly, allowing it to weather the fall of old Equestria fairly well.

In the aftermath, Dimondia continued to operate as it always did, finding its wealth by mining and trading with the east coast cities. As was typical for Dimondia at the time, the kingdom burned through leadership at an appalling rate, as the diamond dogs continually elected incompetent or reluctant monarchs that failed their electoral mandates. The Diamond Crown sat atop many heads over the course of several hundred years, with the reigns of each monarch being typically short, until eventually the great dragon Shulva was crowned monarch.

King Shulva, driven by greed for the gems of the diamond dogs, was happy to accept rulership over them, but actually proved to be a far more competent monarch than almost any that had come before him. He also had a much greater tolerance for the ignorance and stupidity of his subjects, a trait which many previous monarchs had lacked. As their ruler, King Shulva reformed education and raised living standards in Dimondia, founding the Dragon School to educate the diamond dogs in the ways of magic. Knowledge soon replaced gemstones as the kingdom's true wealth, although Dimondia never ceased its extensive mining operations.

The rule of King Shulva still continues today, despite his many falls into dragonsleep gaining him the title of Shulva the Slumbering. In his time as ruler, the king was also responsible for igniting conflict with the Way of White, as he was too proud to acknowledge the alicorn goddesses as being above himself, an act which earned him the secondary nickname of Shulva the Sinner. But despite these failings, King Shulva remains fondly regarded by his subjects, and Dimondia has never been stronger as a kingdom.

Thicket:
The history of the reclusive deerfolk of Thicket during and after the Golden Age is obscure and marred by conflicting accounts. Although it is known that the deer were worshippers of Order and nominally allied with Equestria at the time of their wars, it is said that they remained uninvolved in the conflicts, and ignored appeals to contribute their assistance in dealing with either the demons or the changelings. Instead, it is believed that King Aspen and his deer remained in their stronghold in the Everfree Forest, and waited to see who would win. Order's involvement with the deer in this time, if any, is unknown.

What is known for certain is that deer finally acted in the aftermath of the wars. Although their previous interactions with Ponyville were rare, Thicket now made itself an enemy to the town, with the deer launching attacks on Ponyville for unclear reasons. As Equestria had already fallen by this point, government assistance did not come, but the town was eventually relieved by the arrival of a band of knights and mercenaries. Records indicate that Thicket was briefly captured and occupied in the following conflict, although the deer apparently expelled the invaders some time shortly afterwards.

Through the following centuries, Ponyville and Sweet Apple Acres continued to hold animosity for the deer, and several more attempts were made to take Thicket and defeat them once and for all. The Way of White were behind the majority of these attempts, with their Cleric-Knights going on dozens of crusades across the centuries in an attempt to conquer the Everfree Forest. However, not a single one of these subsequent crusades or invasions have succeeded since the first.

Leota:
The Forest of Leota, located on Equestria's southernmost border, was a largely uninhabited land during the Golden Age. Years prior to the peace argeement, the changelings occupied this region, wiping out its original inhabitants and using it as a staging ground for a failed plan to conquer Equestria. Castle Black, the largest standing structure in this region, was used as a base by Queen Chrysalis during this plan. Afterwards, it was used as a prison for her by the Royal Guard, though she would later escape from it.

In the Changeling War, the castle would be occupied by the Queen's forces once again, and it is commonly believed that it was also the site of her last stand before she was finally defeated for good.

In the years following the wars, a diverse community formed in the Forest of Leota. Refugees, both pony and changeling, fled as far south as possible to escape the Demon War, and settled in Leota. A few survivors of Chrysalis's side also stayed in the forest when the fighting was over, carving out a new life for themselves now that they were no longer welcome in Equestria proper. Ponies from Hayseed Swamp and the Badlands also migrated west over the years, joining these communities.

The Leotans of today, descended as they are from refugees, war criminals, and swamp folk, are an odd bunch. In their isolation, they developed their own culture and religious customs, worshipping strange deities, and taking up widespread practice of chaos sorcery. They are not well-regarded by the rest of the Heartland, who dismiss them as degenerates and heretics, and they are particularly scorned by the Way of White. They do, however, make fast friends with the other outcasts of the Heartland, and Leotan chaos sorcerers can often be found in Las Pegasus, in pirate crews and bandit gangs, and in the ranks of the Chaos Paladins.

Griffonstone:
The formerly Equestrian independent city-state of Griffonstone existed in relative anarchy for some time following the loss of the Idol of Boreas, but was reunited in the final decades of the Golden Age under the rule of Queen Gilda, who made great efforts to restore the kingdom to its former strength.

Her rule would be tested during the Changeling War, as Griffonstone contributed its military support to Equestria, while also accepting the establishment of bonfires and the settlement of friendly changelings in its territory. This later turned out to be a mistake, as the outbreak of the undead curse and swarms of ferals soon proved extremely problematic for Griffonstone. By the time it had gotten bad enough to warrant asking for help, Equestria's leaders had already vanished, and the griffons had nopony to directly appeal to for assistance.

In response to Canterlot's silence, Queen Gilda and the leaders of several other nations marshalled several thousand knights and marched upon Mt. Canterlot, seeking to force their way into Canterlot City and demand answers from the princesses. However, this venture was doomed to failure. The assembled armies broke upon the mountain, and Queen Gilda never returned to Griffonstone.

Despite this, Gilda left an heir, and the new royal line of Griffonstone continued without her. As the kingdom gradually withered and died, her descendents looked with envy towards the west, until eventually one young king decided to act upon generations of ambition. Gilbert the Conqueror, as he later came to be known, flew his knights across the sea and landed in the Griffish Isles. In a long, drawn-out campaign, he conquered the northern Isles, including Trottingham, and established the kingdom of New Griffonstone.

Old Griffonstone was largely abandoned following the conquest, with the griffons leaving the middle country of their ancestral homeland to the hollows. The citizens of Griffonstone migrated over to the new lands instead, and only a few small towns and castles on Griffonstone's west coast are still maintained today.

The Griffish Isles:
The Griffish Isles were Equestrian colonies during the Golden Age, and were mostly unaffected by the wars in the Heartland, as they were safely across the sea from most of the fighting. However, when Equestria seemingly collapsed, the Isles were forced to adapt to a new status quo, becoming an independent kingdom of their own. The Duke of Trottingham was crowned as the first ever King of the Isles, and his line ruled over the Griffish Isles for some centuries, until Gilbert the Conqueror came from the east in the Griffon Conquest.

The north and southwestern lands of the Griffish Isles were all lost in the conquest, with the Islers suffering a devastating string of crushing defeats, and only barely managing to hold the southeast. The ruling King of the Isles was killed in the fighting, and his heir was left with severely depleted forces and only a quarter of the land her father had held. Despite this, she put up a fierce resistance in the southeast, and eventually a peace was brokered between the Islers and Griffonstone.

Gilbert the Conqueror kept the land that he had already taken, and formed the kingdom of New Griffonstone, which his own subjects from Old Griffonstone soon began settling. The southeast, meanwhile, remained the dominion of the descendants of the Kings of the Isles, although they no longer ruled enough territory to claim that title. As the southeast of the Griffish Isles had only a very tiny pegasus and griffon population, and couldn't maintain controlled weather like New Griffonstone could, they came to be known as the Sunless Realms.

Over the following centuries, peace was maintained between the two sides, and both came to be nominally adherent to the Way of White and the Order of the Fire-Keepers, but relations remained perpetually frosty.

In time, New Griffonstone grew rich in trade with the eastern cities of Equestria, and picked up their fear of undead and changelings. Under the rule of King Ironside, known as the Old Iron King, they began taking a hardline stance against both in order to protect themselves as the Fire began dying. New Griffonstone allowed the Inquisition to begin operating in their lands, and also allowed them the use of Castle Defiance in Old Griffonstone, which became the Changeling Asylum.

The Sunless Realms, meanwhile, have remained tolerant of undead and changelings so far, but are poor, and have suffered problems with piracy for a long time. More recently, the Duke of Brightstone Cove also attempted to betray the kingdom to Arachnian invaders. However, the current monarch, King Vendrick, has proven a more effective ruler than many of his predecessors, having crushed this rebellion swiftly, and dealt effectively with the piracy problem. Many believe that King Vendrick will be the one to finally bring the Sunless Realms to glory, though he has yet to show any sign of any greater intentions.

Tauros:
Largely neutral to Equestria, the centaur and gargoyle nation of Tauros was mostly uninvolved in the wars that brought old Equestria to its end, but did accept changelings and undead in their lands for a time, as well as the Order of the Fire-Keepers and their bonfires. This would later change, as the royals of Tauros were among the first in the world to begin exiling their undead and changelings after they started having problems with them.

Since that time, Tauros has survived mostly intact, and is among the many kingdoms to have taken the Way of White as its state religion. However, Tauros has also suffered intense civil strife, with the exiling of the undead and changelings marking the beginning of a cycle of peasant revolt, ruthless crushing of rebellion, royal tyranny to dissuade further rebellion, and then new revolt in response to tyranny. Tauros has intensely regressed in social freedoms since the days of the Golden Age, becoming a brutal dictatorship. Its current ruler, Queen Mytha, also known as the Baneful Queen, is known and feared across the continent as a butcher, fond of torture and poison, intensely spiteful, and known to hunt her own subjects for sport with packs of tamed cockatrices.

Tauros is currently undergoing yet another rebellion against the Baneful Queen, with the peasants this time being unusually optimistic about their chances of success, despite low numbers and an even lower previous success rate. Rumours abound that a Warrior of Sunlight is currently in Tauros, working covertly with the rebels, though this is unconfirmed.

The Valley of Eden:
Through the Golden Age, the Valley of Eden was an independent kingdom, ruled by the immortal King of the Valley, who was worshipped as a god in much the same way that the Four are today. Though that god-king would eventually die, and the state religion of the Valley would fall into decline, the kingdom became a stronger ally of Equestria for it, and participated in the Changeling War and Demon War of Equestria. Afterwards, when Canterlot went silent, the strongest of the Knights of Daylight were also sent to join Queen Gilda's crusade, though they too failed in their task.

Many years later, the Valley of Eden under its new royal line has completely abandoned its old faith of Secondism, and has instead embraced the Way of White. The Daylight Cathedral, also called the Cathedral of the Deep, has since been converted to this purpose, and is now one of the three White Cathedrals of Thoroupe.

The Valley of Eden is notable for its staunch support of the Warriors of Sunlight, despite the group's sometimes shaky relationship with the Church. Members of the Warriors of Sunlight (specifically the Phoenix Knight and the Pale Hunter), saved the Valley of Eden from the Evil-Eyed Beast some centuries ago, and this act of heroism was never forgotten. To this day, statues of the two stand in the capital city of Daylight, and the Archdeacon of the Cathedral of the Deep is one of the Warriors of Sunlight's greatest advocates in the Way of White.

Arachnia:
Existing as it did near a great volcano, the kingdom of Arachnia was destroyed in an eruption several centuries after the Golden Age. This event, known as the Doom, put an abrupt end to the once mighty empire of the great spiders, and left only a small handful of survivors from the old imperial government. Queen Freja, last of her line, made the fateful decision to take her Spider Legion and abandon the lands that her ancestors had ruled for centuries.

As Arachnia was consumed by volcanic ash, the last surviving great spiders sailed west across the sea, making for the Griffish Isles. Inspired by the historical example of Gilbert the Conqueror, Queen Freja attempted to invade the Sunless Realms with the remnants of her army, and even married the treacherous mad duke of Brightstone Cove to secure his port to land in and his levies to supplement her forces. However, her plan failed, as King Vendrick and his Blue Sentinels fell upon Brightstone Cove and crushed the Spider Legion before they could gain a proper foothold.

Queen Freja herself was slain in this battle, ending the royal line of Arachnia once and for all, and the remaining Spider Legion forces were scattered in the aftermath. Those on land were caught and slain soon after the battle, while those still at sea sailed north, and are thought to have either turned to piracy, or sought refuge in Port Cruelsea and the Free Cities.

Trotsylvania:
As a former Equestrian colony, Trotsylvania was involved in supporting Equestria in the wars, and was also among the coalition of kingdoms that sent knights to march on Canterlot with Griffonstone. After the failure of this crusade, Trotsylvania became an independent kingdom, and the land was swept by religious fervour with the rise of the Way of White.

However, much like in Tauros, this came with social regression. Feudalism came back in a big way in Trotsylvania, mirroring the customs of the kingdom's centaur and gargoyle neighbours, and the forbidden ancient customs of impaling were revived by the new ruling kings. King Arstor Impaler III was the one to reintroduce his family's namesake, and inflicted it not just on his rebellious subjects, but also upon changelings and undead after they had become unwelcome in his kingdom. Trotsylvania also frequently hosted undead hunts, led by the Cleric-Knights of Celestia, and Trotsylvania's own noble lords and ladies.

The anti-changeling and anti-undead sentiments in Trotsylvania were the strongest under Arstor III, and so it was also under his rule that Trotsylvania warred with the Changeling Kingdom itself. Even though Chrysalis and her forces had been defeated in Equestria centuries ago by this time, the king still despised the changelings as a people, and made it his business to wipe them out, whether feral or otherwise.

Though he never achieved his dream of total genocide, the Changeling Kingdom did fall in Arstor's campaign, and he is said to have personally cast down and smashed the Darkstone Throne himself. Rumours also persist that the king kept pieces from its remains, and fashioned the darkstone into sinister artefacts, but these claims remain unsubstantiated.

King Arstor III would later be overthrown by a people's revolution, supported by the Warriors of Sunlight, with the Lady of Dusk and the Pale Hunter leading the charge. However, the end of King Arstor's reign was not the end of Trotsylvania's troubles, as the eastern country was soon hit with reprisals from vengeful changelings that survived the fall of the Changeling Kingdom. The changelings intentionally targeted the noble families and undead-hunters that had been amongst Arstor III's staunchest supporters, and made them into undead themselves, whom they then drove hollow with ritualistic burnings.

Though these changelings were soon killed, the undead they created persisted, and Trotsylvania today is on the brink of total collapse as this horde of hollows continues to gradually spread across the country.

Minos:
The minotaur republic of Minos was once aloof to the problems of Equestria, and remained outside the initial conflict of the Changeling War. However, the rising of the Great Chaos in the Lost Empire and the birth of demonkind was a matter of great concern to the minotaurs, who revered Discord as their creator god. With Discord's apparent disappearance, and with his last legacy being a horrific and brutal form of chaos worse than any the world had ever seen before, Minos underwent a collective crisis of faith.

The Cult of Discord, having always been a disunified entity, suffered severe infighting and underwent multiple schisms that led to open religious warfare across Minos, torn between factions who stood by the old teachings of Discord, and those who wanted to embrace the newer, more violent form of chaos that the demons brought. Meanwhile, a secularist faction taking an anti-Discord stance began to gain power in the ruling government of the time, with some popular support among the common people.

The nation was plunged into bloody civil war over the issue of Discordism, with the conflict lasting several hundred years. Over that time, several governments rose and fell, entire cities were raised and destroyed, and over eighty different factions vied for control of Minos at different times.

While initially a purely religious conflict about secularists vs. Discordism and the internal schisms of the Cult of Discord, the war later expanded in scope to include political and class struggles as well. Every religious faction was itself further divided over what kind of government, if any, they wanted to build. Some fought for anarchy, others for democracy, and still others even fought to establish themselves as monarchs and dictators.

Not helping matters were the many random riots and rebellions staged by those who just enjoyed the fighting for its own sake, or who desired to take advantage of the nation's suffering. Bandits and outlaw gangs did very well for themselves in this period, and mercenary bands found no shortage of work in Minos.

Towards the end of the conflict, after the Way of White had formed, it too sought to involve itself in matters. The Cleric-Knights of Celestia entered Minos in the Minosian Crusade, with the goal of defeating and unifying all the warring factions under a White theocracy. However, this crusade was destined for failure. While the minotaurs were still divided on religious and political issues, their shared national identity remained, and the Way of White was unanimously rejected as the strange religion of unwelcome foreign invaders.

The Minosian Crusade was massacred, and Minos finally gained some semblance of unity in the aftermath of the invasion. The secularist factions fell out of popular support due to the reality of rival religions, and a splinter group of the original Cult of Discord called the Chaos Paladins eventually seized power. Under their rule, Minos was established as a democratic theocracy, beginning a new age of fervent devotion to the ideals of Discord and chaos, though Discordists characteristically remained in disagreement about how this should be expressed.

The Changeling Kingdom:
The Changeling Kingdom, ruled by Queen Chrysalis, was the primary aggressor in the wars that brought down old Equestria. However, the kingdom itself, located in eastern Thoroupe, was not at the forefront of most of the conflicts. Protected by the magic-absorbing abilities of the Darkstone Throne, the Changeling Kingdom was a safe redoubt for Chrysalis's forces, but was too remote to be an effective staging ground for an invasion of Equestria. Although Equestria and its allies did take the fight to the Changeling Kingdom, it was ultimately Castle Black in the Forest of Leota which served as the main base of the changelings during the wars.

Following the defeat of Queen Chrysalis and the scattering of her forces, the Changeling Kingdom itself fell in short order. Changelings loyal to Equestria soon occupied the Changeling Kingdom, and attempts were made to raise a new changeling monarch to rule their species as Queen Chrysalis once did. However, this proved to be difficult for the changelings. For one, the art of manipulating changeling biology in order to create a new monarch was unknown to the Equestrian loyalists, and the changelings also lacked a strong leader figure who could take such a position. Not helping matters were the rise of the undead curse and the disappearance of Equestria's leadership. The Changeling Kingdom was left alone and surrounded by neighbours who had reason to fear and despise them, and their greatest ally had just disappeared.

Although the new Changeling Kingdom tried to ingratiate itself on the world stage by participating in Queen Gilda's crusade to take Canterlot, the changelings as a species were unable to escape the stigma that had been attached to them. Between the Changeling War, increasingly common feral attacks, and the link between changelings and the undead curse, it was not long before the changelings were so hated worldwide that their kind began to be hunted and exiled. For a time, the Changeling Kingdom accepted refugees from the likes of Tauros and Trotsylvania, but later the Changeling Kingdom itself would come under attack.

King Arstor Impaler III of Trotsylvania led his forces in a crusade into the Changeling Kingdom, with heavy support from the Way of White. Although the war was hard-fought, the changelings lost in the end. Their people were slaughtered in the thousands, the Darkstone Throne was smashed, and the Citadel of the Changelings at the centre of their kingdom was pulled down brick by brick.

The land once held by the Changeling Kingdom was abandoned for some time afterwards, an empty wasteland claimed by no kingdom for any purpose. This would later change when the land was claimed by the Warriors of Sunlight, who partially restored the Citadel to serve as their new base of operations.

Saddle Arabia:
Saddle Arabia was an Equestrian colony in the Golden Age, and contributed its own military forces in the fight to secure the Heartland in the Changeling War. The horses of Saddle Arabia, known for their size and strength, made a great difference in the many battles they fought, but were few in number and thinly-spread.

However, Saddle Arabia was also one of the few allies of Equestria to find their own homelands invaded during the Changeling War, as Chrysalis's forces from the Changeling Kingdom flew south and began raiding the Saddle Arabian countryside. These attacks hit the kingdom hard, and strained relations between Saddle Arabia and Equestria, as the former had to withdraw many of their troops in order to defend their homelands.

As a result of these attacks, Saddle Arabia was one of the first nations in the world to fall to a horde of hollows and ferals, having mostly collapsed before the wars were even over. Many of the surviving Saddle Arabian knights never returned home from the Heartland, instead either settling down and intermarrying with the locals, or joining Queen Gilda's last crusade against Canterlot in a last-ditch effort to save their homeland. Instead, however, the last of the Saddle Arabian knights died upon the mountain, and Saddle Arabia itself collapsed completely within a generation, now home only to bandits and ghosts.

The Dragon Lands:
The Dragon Lands under Dragon Lord Ember were nominal allies of Equestria during the tail-end of the Golden Age, and contributed some meagre support towards the war effort, though even a few dragons on Equestria's side made a big difference. In particular, the dragons were most useful in the Demon War, and were vital to the defence of northern Equestria as the first waves came south from the Lost Empire.

However, despite the power of the dragons, their nation would later fall when Dragon Lord Ember disappeared around the same time that the princesses of Equestria did. With the previous Dragon Lord and the Bloodstone Scepter both gone, rallying dragonkind to elect a new leader proved to be an exceedingly difficult task, and fighting broke out between the most ambitious candidates.

In this war of succession, many more strategically-minded dragons brought in outside help, and one in particular made common cause with the defeated remnants of Chrysalis's forces, promising them that they would feast upon the souls of dragons if they supported his claim. Though the changelings could not have posed any threat to the other dragons on their own, they proved to be valuable supporters, and the dragon kept his word. The changelings feasted upon the souls of young dragons, and an outbreak of the undead curse spread across the Dragon Lands and northwestern Zebrica, affecting not just dragons, but all other native creatures.

The living dragons attempted to burn the undead to death, but could not burn the undead dragons, and only succeeded in creating hordes of skeletons for those they could burn. In time, the Dragon Lands fell to the undead hordes, just like many kingdoms to follow, and the changelings too would eventually starve and go feral when there were no more souls to consume. The previous dragon inhabitants fled, scattering across the world, and alone in his kingdom of bones and ashes, the conquering victor named himself not the Dragon Lord, but the Dragon God.

Though the Phoenix Knight and the Storm Lord of the Warriors of Sunlight would later venture into the Dragon Lands and slay this Dragon God, the land has never recovered, and remains empty and clouded in a perpetual fog. To this day, the dragons have no nation of their own, and the location of the Bloodstone Scepter and the fate of Dragon Lord Ember remains unknown.

You left out the most important character: Queen Starlight, Monarch of the Undying Waifulands, and leader of the Nebula of Purple covenant.

Other than that, I guess it's okay. 7/10. Minus one for not being color-coded.

I really love this. Really need to get on finishing that story :twilightblush:

Speaking of which, about the Leota realm...

Castle Black, the largest standing structure in this region, was used as a base by Queen Chrysalis during this plan. Afterwards, it was used as a prison for her by the Royal Guard, though she would later escape from it.

Speaking on the castle, do you think the Luvcats/Wuvy-duvy cats survived the onslaught, whether in your story or otherwise? Or were they all lunch for channelings (i think one met with Spike and Angel when they were narrating the story.) I'm hoping that the cats fate was at least found out by the ponies when they.

Never mind, wiped out...:twilightsheepish: There stil could be some survivers. (Maybe, kinda, sorta, if that one that met Spike and Angel was totally not canon.)

DannyJ
Group Admin

5720193

Hard to say. Certainly, I think they're dead and buried as a culture, as a community. The changelings completely wiped out their village, and it still wasn't restored by the time of Chrysalis's escape years later, when she was being held at the castle as a prisoner. If any fled, I wouldn't give them strong chances at ever rebuilding.

As to whether they survived as a species, that's a detail I haven't decided yet; I haven't yet gotten around to the felines in my species series, so I'm not sure what to make of their relationship to the talking cats of Anugypt. If they're the same species, and the luvcats were just an ethnic group, then yeah, sure, the species survives, because the cats still rule that kingdom in the present and there's loads of them. But if they're a separate species then they're probably extinct.

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