• Published 14th Apr 2015
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Chrysalis Wins - Arkolo



Chrysalis's invasion is successful. The challenge of ruling begins...

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Ch.30 "King Avalanche" part 2

Chrysalis Wins

Ch.30 “King Avalanche” part 2

As King Avalanche worked his magic over the well, the scene around Chrysalis blurred and changed from the grey tones of the ruined city to something more… red. Eventually the obscure details solidified, and she could identify the volcanic nature of the surroundings.

They were in the midst of some large, ash choked chamber, which was illuminated by the hellish hues of molten rock. Many changelings fluttered and trotted throughout the chamber. All of them sported some kind of ghastly injury, whether it was deep claw marks all over their chitin, and/or any combination of missing legs, wings, eyes, tails, and horns. Most of them had manes, but they were either burnt or charred unevenly. Regardless of the injury however, angry grimaces were the most common expression among them.

A short distance away Chrysalis could see the primary figures the memory was concerned with. A younger Avalanche, covered in fewer pot-marks and gashes, stood close to another group of royal changelings.

“Ah yes, that cursed pit of misery, this magic recalls the details perfectly. My compliments Crafty…”

The familiar deep voice rattled the inside of magical observation sphere. Like the other times Chrysalis had used the well, she noticed the royal who shared their past was next to her, and also observed the memory as a viewer companion.

Older Avalanche looked onto the scene of his youth with distaste. It was written all over his massive muzzle. Chrysalis looked at the light shimmer that separated them, and saw she was close enough to reach out and touch him.

She put out a hoof and brushed it along the transparent barrier, which caused a ripple and distortion to the scene around her. Her hoof was lowered, and she waited for the vision to clear up.

When it settled again she let out a long sigh. She hadn’t been able to touch another royal since Shellish was around, and even then, Chrysalis had been resentful toward her mentor. It hit her how alone she had been over the past thirty years, royally speaking anyway. She had no changeling to rely on but herself. A slight shudder passed through her, and one of her wings twitched uncomfortably.

Her eyes roamed back over to the past king, who sat silent and observant next to her, separated by the barrier of time. Before the memory could progress any further, she raised a hoof to the well and flashed her eyes with white magic, halting the event.

A moment later her gaze dropped to the floor, and she slowly traced a hoof in circles over the ground. Her ears were lowered, and her tail remained still. In her little space there were no ashes, just the moist earth of the mountain complex outside of Canterlot. Here in modern day, she was the only royal. The only one the swarm could depend on for complete unity. The only one who directed the changeling future as a whole.

As helpful as her councilors Shade, Colony, and Vivisect had been, it was always a queen to servant relationship. She had managed to greatly improved the desolate circumstances her rule had begun. Things were better now for her changelings than they ever had been in many respects. Though the position was still precarious, and could be drastically shifted if she made enough mistakes.

She thought over the interaction she had just seen earlier between Avalanche and Crafty. It took her a while to digest the events in her mind. Did she want some changeling who would honestly challenge her ideas? Before she made up her mind, she raised a hoof, flashed her eyes, and allowed the historic scene to continue.

---

The younger Avalanche stomped about angrily on the other side of the cavern. His lion-like mane was a great deal shorter, and appeared to be singed in many places.

“I won’t stand for this anymore! We haven’t been able to get enough love to even heal our injured. Why are we holed up in these dragon infested tunnels when we should be out claiming what is ours!”

“Because we are too weak to go about claiming tribes and villages, you sodden idiot.”

A gangly royal barked with a scratchy voice. This older husk of a changeling sat upon a rudimentary throne of obsidian stone. A threatening glare from his red-orange eyes was directed towards the younger Avalanche. The crude figure lifted a badly chipped hoof and pointed at the massive royal across the chamber.

“If you suggest an attack again I will cut you off from the swarm!”

A brief flash of crimson light from enthroned royal’s eyes caused several sentinels to hover close by. Each of the changeling guards that had horns, ignited them with green magic.

The other royals that sat near the throne looked between the two contentious figures, and wore a myriad of interested yet cautious expressions. None of them spoke, as if restrained by the suspense before them. Avalanche resumed his angry shout.

“I won’t suggest it anymore. A fool like you would be content with all of us being slowly devoured, whether it’s by dragons or our own hunger!”

“Silence! You are the worst thing I ever created. I should have crushed you under my hoof for being the cause of my mate’s death… Sentinels, take him out. Take him in pieces if you have to.”

Many of the nearby royals gasped at their leader’s horrid statement. They muttered disgruntledly amongst themselves, but none of them spoke out. The sentinels the enthroned royal called advanced on the younger Avalanche. All of their sharp, bladed horns were a glow with magic, ready to burn, cut, and pierce through chitin.

Young Avalanche snarled, and paid no mind to the sentinels who stalked closer, his giant fangs were bared, and his eyes burned with hatred.

“Then you should have smothered me, High King Ardor…”

The enthroned changeling’s name was spat out as if it was the vilest thing to ever leave Avalanche’s mouth. One giant stomp forward caused many of the sentinels to pause. Another giant stomp forward caused several horns to fizzle out as the will to fight died. The third step forward from the massive royal caused nearest sentinels to back away. A crimson glow emanated from Avalanche’s eyes and the changeling guard cowered away from it. None of them could muster the determination to follow through King Ardor’s command.

A deadly smile crawled over the young Avalanche’s fanged muzzle, and his wrathful gaze turned to the royal. In turn Ardor stood up from his throne, furious that his order wasn’t being followed.

“Cut him DOWN, NOW!”

Ardor eye’s flashed a brilliant red and his bladed horn ignited in a swirl green magic. The Sentinels simply trembled between the crossfire of instinctual dominance, thus no progress was made. In a rage the high king jumped off his throne fired a blast of energy at his progeny.

It hit Avalanche directly in the chest, and caused a ruckus of an explosion,stirring up the ash in the cavern. For several moments the entire place was obscured in a thick blanket of black. There was nothing but the sound of several changelings, all coughing out the ashes they inhaled.

An earsplitting roar broke the darkness of the cavern, and the ashes were blown away by the force of it. As a wind whipped through the hot chamber it was obvious that Avalanche still stood tall. His wings beat with a deep hum and forced away the rest of the particles in the air. Blood hued light still radiated from his fiery eyes, and he continued his forward stride.

A large part of the chitin that covered his chest had shattered, causing green blood to seep from the exposed wound. Parts of his large wild mane sizzled with burning embers, his wings frayed on the edges. With a grunt the massive royal lit his horn.

Green fire raced around Avalanches horn and down the rest of his body. The blood ceased to flow from the wound, but his chitin remained sizzled and broken. Avalanche roared at the high king.

“The only weakness in the swarm is you!”

Ardor snapped his jaws and readied another blast from his horn, but didn’t anticipate the speed of his challenger. The flames of magical energy still licked over Avalanche’s form, helping propel him at unexpected speed. With another flash of magic, hooves were replaced with much sharper appendages.

Before Ardor’s blast could be fired a massive set of claws swiped at his horn, cutting it clean off. The cranial appendage soared through the air, landing in a nearby pool of magma, where it fizzled away.

The High King didn’t even realize what had happened yet, and thought his opponent had simply missed. When he willed his magic to fire again he was disappointed by its unresponsiveness. Avalanche stood close by with a devilish grin.

Something wet began to trickle down Ardor’s head into his eye, causing him to he blink to try and clear it away. It was only when he attempted to wipe it off did s he notice something missing. As soon as the realization his him, agony followed.

“GAAAW!”

He fell down and fidgeted, his eyes rolled about wildly in their sockets as he was thrown into a magically disrupted seizure. An enormous set of claws pinned down the High King where he lay, and Avalanche loomed over him. He was much larger than Ardor, much larger than any changeling for that matter, prompting every other creature in the chamber to back away in fear.

As the giant royal lowered his head close to his defeated progenitor, he opened his jaws wide to inhale deeply. All the love that kept Ardor alive was drained out of him, causing the High King to pale as his bodily functions failed.

When there was nothing left to take Avalanche grabbed him about the neck, and tossed him into the nearby pool of magma, where the High King sunk and burned away like his horn the moment before.

His temper still raging, the young Avalanche thundered up to the obsidian throne. His claws changed back to hooves and he began to angrily thrash at the black stone the High King once sat upon. It shattered into hundreds of pieces under the relentless assault of the massive royal. He wrathfully kicked the pieces towards the magma pool in an effort to get rid of any trace that it was ever there.

Eventually the fire went out of his eyes, his frustration finally satisfied. He turned to the rest of the changelings present in the chamber. A barely contained levelness held his red-orange eyes in check.

“A king’s glory shouldn’t be place he rests his flanks sits on, but in the state of his swarm. I am the High King now. Do any of you wish to dispute it?”

“No!”

Came a unified chorus from the intimidated group of observant royals. The sentinel guards in the room also hissed loudly, even as they lowered their heads in respect.

“Then we move, today!”

One loud stomp of his hoof caused the rest of the changelings in the chamber to spring to action, and soon the volcanic area bustled with movement.

---

“Ha, I was sloppy about that wasn’t I… taking the hit and all, what a bull headed numbskull I was.”

Within the well of memories the older king Avalanche looked down to his chest, slowly rubbing the spot he’d been struck prior.. There was a particularly large pot mark in his chitin on the right side. Chrysalis turned to him with an amused expression.

“But you asserted your place for the swarm, I agree with what you did. Weak willed royals are the bane of their swarms.”

She spoke as if Avalanche could hear her, though it took a few moments of no acknowledgement to help her realize the situation again. Her posture deflated slightly, prompting her to return k to her observation. The older Avalanche continued to voice his thoughts.

“In case you weren’t able to pick up on it, whoever you are, that festering pustule I threw into the fire was my seed father. He blamed me for the death of my mother, Queen Siren, which was nothing new. His behavior went back as far as I could remember. It was only a slight shock to the others he did it so openly on that occasion.”

Avalanche scratched his chin as he mulled over other things to say.

“I have no memory of my mother, though one of the royals explained to me that the rampant starvation and carrying me to term was too much. It doesn’t really matter though, I prefer to ponder on circumstances that I can control…”

Despite his words however, there was no hiding the sense of wistfulness in his tone.

“Speaking of which, it was his terrible sense of judgment that led us to scrounging around in that forsaken volcano. ‘Dragons deter the ponies’ he would say. As it turned out, dragons didn’t really care for the presence of changelings either, surprise, surprise. The only reason the swarm survived as long as it did was because of my efforts. Sadly, it was probably because of my submissions to Ardor in spite of my strength that allowed him to be bold enough to settle there in the first place. Personally, I think he was hoping I would die while defending the vanguard on their collection trips. As you saw, he was disappointed.”

Another deep grumble emanated from Avalanche’s chest, rattling Chrysalis’s bones as she listened. The queen of modern day lifted a hoof to pause the scene again, she taking several deep breaths once it stopped. The rumble through her body left her feeling rather alive, and she had to calm herself in order to focus properly again.

She also wondered whether she felt the heat of the volcanic chamber, or if the well was playing some kind of strange trick.. Eventually she calmed enough, and her hoof was raised once more to let the scene resume.

Avalanche thoughtfully tapped a massive hoof on the ground a few times, as the glow around his horn initiated a scene change.

“I greatly enjoyed what happened over the next several weeks. As it was high time the High King was replaced. I just happened to be the one to complete that unfortunate necessity. Ardor so grievously underestimated our potential as changelings. Oh, and ponies, yes, ponies. I’ll show you next how I dealt with our equine cousins…”

The imagery projected by the Well of Memories changed from the dark ember flames of the volcanic chamber to a grass covered field. The night sky appeared in its brilliant glory, surrounding Chrysalis and her memory companion. The stars of the past all shifted slowly of their own accord, and nothing in the heavens was set in a still frame. The moon also moved, in a lethargic and somewhat irregular pattern.

In the distance Chrysalis could see a rural village, a few evening torches were lit, but it was otherwise a quiet scene. A pair of ponies wearily patrolled the area, and settled down near the outskirts of a thatched building.

There was a rustle nearby, and that’s when Chrysalis noticed they were in the midst of very tall grass. Grass that was tall enough to obscure even sentinels, but short enough for Chrysalis and the enormous royal next to her to easily look over it. A nostalgic grin spread over the king’s lips as he reminisced.

“This was the first stone in my avalanche.”

Author's Note:

Hmmmm, change the story rating to teen, cause i don't see this flying as g-rated content anymore :twilightblush:

here's some thematic music i listened to while writing the volcanic scene.

and an honorary sketch for the short appearance of king Ardor

being a dragon chew toy does wonders for your looks, no? :moustache:

and lol and he's actually in better shape than many of the changelings of that swarm were...

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