• Published 21st Dec 2013
  • 638 Views, 7 Comments

Dawn of the Harmony Corps - MarkOfKhorne



As the Second Changeling Invasion approaches, the Elements of Harmony discover new abilities that might bring upon a new age of truth, justice and the Equestrian way.

  • ...
 7
 638

Prologue

Darkness. That’s all I've ever seen. Darkness. We were born in darkness, you know? My brother and I. We played in the dark. We fought in the dark. We lived in the dark. And we embraced the darkness. I hear that foals are afraid of the dark. Not us. No. The darkness is blankness, nothingness. It’s where we can make anything happen. It’s where we can dream for a world beyond the walls that confined us with the rest. The darkness was our friend. And it’s funny. Because while the darkness is a foal’s bad dream, the green fire from the Queen’s horn is a Changeling’s worst nightmare. But enough of that. I think you know all of that. After all, I am talking to myself.

Deep inside one of the countless of Royal Guard prisons, the lone Changeling prisoner found himself in an undersized prison cell, all of his limbs chained to the wall. The confines of his cage perfectly deprived the room from all forms of light, leaving him submerged in absolute darkness.

I’m just waiting, the Changeling said. Waiting for those guys in armor to come right in and finish my sentence. It should be coming soon. I might have lost the track of time a long time ago, but if it isn't today, it’s surely tomorrow. What an interesting thought, death. I have some things I wished I had done and so many things I wish I hadn't. “Guilty by association,” they said when they captured me. At first, I was frightened that I’d die for merely “being” a Changeling, but c'est la vie. They do as they must. After all, I’d kill myself if I ever ran into myself.

He had heard of these cells. Truly these had to be the pinnacle of the Royal Guard's wondrous pony torture. He had heard that the prisoners that survived long enough would go mad by merely staring into the dark abyss, having it stare back at them until their minds snapped like a twig. The cold resembled those harsh winters in Stalliongrad, and the floors were like solid ice, making it hard to tell if the biting condition of the room was the freezing temperature or the bitter chill of death. Add in the near-silence, and every second passed in this hell would bring the strongest of wills closer to the brink of insanity, losing their grip on reality. But that must be why they call this "The Grave". If this isn't what death is, it has to be as close to it as possible.

The Changeling starved for days, or weeks? He had already forgotten, and his energy was nearly depleted, leaving him unable to shift his form or perform the smallest feat of magic.

You know? I don’t think I want to leave here. I know I have to. Not for me, but for them. They don’t deserve the wrath of the Queen. They don’t deserve it anymore than I deserve to live. After everything I’ve done, after everything they made me do, I can’t just give up and find that sweet release. I have one final mission. What’d I call it? “My first and last gift to Equestria?” And then I might possibly meet the end of my rope in prison or under the Royal Guard’s rusty guillotine. I mean, that’s the way the Royal Guard works with the captured Changelings. I had heard of the several beheadings, with those die-hard savages thrashing and fighting about until the end. They even got rid of all of the sleeper cells that had been incognito for months, some even years. But I do hope it’s quick. Then maybe I can see him once more. Maybe we can play, and live, and fight once again. Maybe I can see his white smile and I’d tackle him to the ground and I’d pin him to the ground, the both of us laughing togeth-

A loud slam broke open from what the Changeling guessed was the iron prison door. He hissed at the light flooding the small cell from the magical torches outside. The quick change of scenery nearly blinded the prisoner. He could barely make out the large figure standing at the doorway, only noticing that he was a unicorn stallion walking into the cell. As he stood a few feet in front of the Changeling, he saw the unicorn’s menacing, tall stature. A small flash of light conjured up a stone chair and slab table from the floor. The stallion sat down, and his ominous entrance was followed by a long silence.

He merely stared at the Changeling. Time dragged on until after a few, excruciating minutes, the stallion shouted, “Care to introduce yourself, bug?!”

The high intensity of the stallion’s voice resonated within the Changeling’s ears, inflicting a throbbing pain upon the weak Changeling.

“Well. I’m WAITING!” he once again shouted, punctuating the statement with a loud thud against the table. The snap of stone cracking echoed out into the hallway.

“Well... my name is Vandal. I am a rogue soldier from the Changeling Hive,” said Vandal.

“Very well, bug,” said the stallion, uninterested in the Changeling’s name. “What is your business here? And you better tell me the truth if you want any mercy from me.”

Vandal stood unfazed by the stallion’s aggression. He was a professional at analyzing body language, often taking in tasks requiring the finest attention to detail. He merely said, “It's urgent that I speak with you. I’m here to warn you as there is not much time.”

“Not much time for you, you mean,” the stallion barked. Vandal paused to notice that the stallion was growing more and more agitated at every word he spoke.

“I do not care what prejudice you have against me,” said Vandal. “There are important matters I need to inform you about. This is my token of peace, as I have nothing left in this world. Now, take heed at my-”

The stallion’s rage burst out and he snapped. “No. Listen to me, Changeling scum. How dare you have the audacity to think that I would listen to a disgusting insect as yourself?! Don’t you think I’ve heard enough of your Queen’s little messages from your brothers? After your kind endangered my country, after your kind endangered my queen, you expect me to believe anything that would come out of your disease-infested mouth? I know you Changelings better than anyone else. You’re just vermin, and I’m going to exterminate all of-”

When he regained his senses, the stallion realized he was clutching Vandal with his magic, strangling him in mid-air. The tight glow radiating around Vandal’s neck faded away as he fell to the floor gasping for air. Shining Armor sat back down, sighing as he realized he’d lost control.

Vandal caught his breath and snidely replied. “Wow. That sure was enough for me to figure out who you were. The brutality in your movements, the rage in your voice? Those are the signs of a vengeful stallion meeting the villain who’s brought harm upon his loved ones. Also, the light from the outside shimmers off of your armor than it would on any average grunt in your Royal Guard. That means that you take pride in your job. Someone among the highest ranks of the Guard. And your little pound on the table shook a small hair to fall from your locks. You see, I’m a man of observation, and I saw a small tint of blue in that quick instant. So, your highness, will you let me finish? Or will your love for your beloved Princess Cadence cause you to slip off one of the greatest leads for a possible darkest moment in your Equestrian history?”

Shining Armor wore an astounded, calm face to hide the immense fury bubbling inside of him. His rage hadn’t subsided, but it store itself somewhere deep within him, causing him pain to hold it all in. He stared daggers at Vandal with his teal eyes, speechless.

“Good. Now listen up, because I’m sure you will only hear this once. The anger in your eyes tells me that I’ll probably be dead in a few minutes. I mean, I know I’m not leaving this cell alive, no less than leaving this prison in one piece. Now, you ponies of Equestria thought this was over, that this would be the only wave. But with the news of Celestia’s illness, bless her soul, Queen Chrysalis plots something sinister. She plans a full-fledged march towards Equestria, burning and pillaging everything in her path. You will not hear from this as entire towns will be replaced with Changeling drones. I’m unsure what her goal is, but her words in my head weren’t of desperation, nor hunger. I could only feel pure hatred, a burning vengeance residing within her. But you’re probably not believing any of this. I mean, why would a Changeling leave the Hive and inform the enemy?”

Vandal was silent. He held back tears in his eyes and gulped down the sorrow in his throat. He calmed himself as he trained himself to do. “Let’s just say that I’ve come face to face with the devil himself and I couldn’t stay in that place. Not after what happened to me. Now go. Go and warn your guards. Prepare for the full force of war. Do whatever you wish to me. I’ve already past the point of no return, but protect the ones you love. Protect them from what’s coming because many will die in this war fueled by the burning inferno of hatred. The Demon of Darkness approaches.”

Shining Armor closed his eyes. He had no words for what he’d just heard. Thoughts of the Equestrian countryside flooded his mind, several of villages ravaged by an army of thousands of Changelings. He felt himself split between two sides of an argument. Should I listen to him?

Vandal looked at Shining Armor’s face. He saw beyond his powerful stature and saw fear in his slightest movements. The smallest twitch in his ears, the tightness he was closing his eyelids. He was glad. Not that he was afraid, but that he was considering what he’d said. He succeeded, and now all he could do was pray that Changelings and Ponies could eventually find peace.

Why should I listen to this insect? How do I know he isn’t lying? Why shouldn’t I just kill this damn bug here and now?! But... what if he’s telling the truth. What if danger is coming? Canterlot, the once-impenetrable fortress, was heavily guarded, and it still was infiltrated for several weeks right under his nose. What if these moments of peace are just the calm before the storm?

After several moments of deep thinking, Shining Armor opened his eyes, quickly regaining his stoic composure. He stood up, nodded to Vandal, and left for the door. He stood at the door, and turned to face Vandal. “Damn bug, you will not ruin any more lives. Did you really expect I’d fall for your little mind tricks? That you’d make me doubt the trust I have for my subordinate officers?” Vandal’s eyes shot wide open. “I’ve personally talked to Lieutenant Cruciform in Appleloosa. The defenses are up and dandy. You are still sentenced to death in a few days, and your silver tongue will not change that. The decision is final.” Shining muttered a curse under his breath and closed the door, leaving the shadows to engulf Vandal once more.

Vandal’s eyes shot wide open. Was this it? thought Vandal. After everything I did to escape, everything I said to help, was he really going to throw away my warning? Did the Changelings really cause enough destruction to create this much hatred for us?

Vandal pondered what he could do. Perhaps I could convince Shining Armor to listen to me. Perhaps I could tell a guard to spread the word. Perhaps I could leave and-
Vandal stopped in mid-thought. He looked at the other side of the cell. Unlike before, now there was a dim rectangle of light that was barely perceivable. Vandal gazed and then sighed. And he made the worst decision he ever made in his life.