• Published 19th Sep 2015
  • 4,022 Views, 764 Comments

I, Chrysalis - Scarheart



Imprisoned, Queen Chrysalis writes the story of her life, her legacy. But not for those pathetic ponies! Gifted with a daughter, she cherishes what could be the last changeling she will ever interact with...

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Chapter IV

Mother kept them from discovering my existence. They always took what they wanted for their own needs. The whole hive protected their own and hid their hatchlings. Greedy queens wanted to fill their nurseries with the eggs of other changelings. They were always the most powerful of queens on the Savannah. Those who had might ruled. Those who did not have the might were slaves or made dead.

My understanding of life beyond Mother’s protection was a brutal revelation. If I wished to stay with Mother, I had to learn when to be silent and when to hide. After my first molt, I began to develop the mental and physical capacity so I was better able to do Mother’s bidding when they came to the hive to collect their...taxes.

Small changeling hives had very small reserves of love. The smaller a colony is, the less love is collected. Colonies who served under larger colonies were slaves. Slaves served their masters by providing a large portion of their love. Those who did not or could not have the required amount ready for the minions of their masters had their hatchlings snatched from them.

I was a clever girl. Mother said so and was very proud of me. I listened to Mother because she, too, was clever. Too many times did I hear the sound of a hatchling found out and taken, its cries echoing piteously throughout our home. Some mothers simply did not hide their children well enough or their children did not hide themselves properly. The Ravagers were merciless and did the biddings of their queens with brutal efficiency. Those who resisted, died.

Serve or die. That was what we lived under.

But, there was happiness. There was play. There was a sense of family and togetherness. Our hive was small, but it was also a very close-knit community. I would come to know all the changelings who served Mother. They loved her and she loved them. In our hearts, there was no room beyond those who had suffered and lost together. Every mother felt the loss of every hatchling, even if it was not hers. Mother mourned with those who no longer had their hatchlings. She sang with them and shared their pain. We all shared the loss through our Bond.

We were very close. We looked after each other. Brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandfathers… I was happy around them. Mother made sure the youngest had plenty of love. The adults could go without for long periods of time, but young ones like myself suffered terribly if we were not given the only thing which truly muted the Ever Hunger.

We were Lesser changelings, considered inferior by the Greaters. The ancient queens of the Savannah largely left us alone, but we always lived in the constant fear of the next Culling. We were smaller than them, weaker. Their magic could crush us on a whim and they flaunted their power at every opportunity. Posturing and a shows of force was how we dealt with them. To offer one’s wings to a another changeling was a means of offering peace through service. By presenting wings, a changeling was offering the delicate wings to the whim of the other, thus offering subservience.

There were several colonies of changelings who were enslaved to one Greater queen.

I suppose you are wondering how one queen can come to gather other queens to serve her. The answer was already given. Those with might ruled. Might meant a large hive. Might meant a queen who commanded more soldiers than other queens. Might meant having the power to take on several other colonies at once and crushing their forces. Might meant slaughtering the soldiers of other queens and replacing them with your own. Instead of having their own guards, Lesser queens were kept in line with the constant presence of the Greater queen’s soldiers.

And let us not forget the Ravagers.

Not only did we have to pay taxes to the queen we were slaves to, but we also had to pay her taxes to the queen she in turn served. The Ravagers did not discriminate. Many a time did a Ravager slay a Greater queen because her tithe was pitiful due to her own misuse of her Lesser colonies. If there was not enough tribute from the Lessers, the remainder was taken from the Greater.

Might was right.

Princesses like me were coveted. To the Greaters, fillies like me could be molded into broodmares for the sons of Greater queens to spill their seed within. We would quickly produce an army of soldiers if given a special jelly before their second molt. Such a life was torture. Few mares would willingly subject themselves to the thankless life of a completely enslaved broodmare. That was a life of having no other desire than to produce eggs as quickly as possible, eating when not mating or sleeping or laying clutches of eggs.

Mother did not want that for me. Broodmares were the most pitied of all changeling mares, for most never wanted a life where their worth ended the moment they failed to produce warriors suited to the taste of the Mistress. Often, the brutal pace of laying so many eggs would eventually drain the mare until she was a barely functioning husk after five seasons. They were often taken into the wilds and left to die of exposure once they were no longer of any use.

I met a broodmare once, in my later years. I will never forget how pitiful a sight she was. Changelings were never meant to breed so voraciously. If they could only be allowed to live as themselves, then there would be no need for the Cullings!

We are an ancient race, Atalanta. We are a flawed race. Accursed pride permeates our very being and we have fallen deep within our own self-perceived greatness. It drives us to make decisions normal changelings would balk at. We see things that might be impossible and talk ourselves into saying what cannot be done can be done.

Our pride breaks us.

It cost me the one thing that I held dearly above all else, before you came along.


It had been two weeks since Chrysalis woke up to the horrifying visage of Princess Celestia smiling down at her like some demented goddess. In that time since the immortal pony stamped herself permanently in the growing nightmares of the Queen, Chrysalis spent less and less time sleeping while shifting her anxious nights into her writing. She would lose herself in her feverish writing, the only sounds she heard were the scratching of pen to paper and her breathing. Every once in a while Atalanta would fuss, being either hungry or need a diaper change.

Diapers. Such a useful invention. Chrysalis never had diapers when she was a nymph. Changeling mothers would use large fronds gathered from fuzzy palm trees at the end of the monsoons to clean their nymphs with. Those without used their tongues to clean. Those moronic ponies actually invented something that was of practical use.

Chrysalis was glad she did not have to resort to using her tongue. She loved her daughter dearly, but some things were simply disgusting.

She sipped at a cold cup of coffee, mindful of her jitteriness whenever she drank too much. The bitter taste suited her and the Queen thought absently she might have developed an addiction to caffeine. Chrysalis was not at all pleased to learn coffee was the favored beverage of a certain pretty professor purple pony, but supposed as long as her nemesis did not know, no harm was done.

The Queen knew it was morning when the knock at the door soon revealed a maid pushing in the breakfast cart. Chrysalis would, as always, stand in the rune circle and sit patiently (and glowering at the maid) while holding Atalanta. The maid pointedly avoided making eye contact, as always, and asked, as always, if Chrysalis needed anything for the day. As she did this, others would stream in and begin cleaning up. Nightstorm always watched, though for some time appeared shaken in the eyes of Chrysalis.

Their staring contest had done something to him. Whatever ability he had tried to use on her had barely worked. It was as though it was meant to do something more than whatever it was that had happened. Still, he appeared to watch over the maids, making no attempt to speak with the Queen. Instead, he always told the mares to hurry up.

Chrysalis could not help but feel his resentment.

Sometimes she would tell the maid in charge if she needed something. Usually it was a request for her daughter. The maid would write the request down on a small notepad with a pencil, wait for the other maids to depart, bow politely to the Queen and depart. Nightstorm would follow, pulling the door quietly behind him.

Ten to fifteen minutes, every morning. Chrysalis would glare, fitting smoothly into the rule of the monarch ruling her kingdom as unwanted visitors traversed her kingdom. Princess Atalanta was indifferent, considering she only wanted her mother, her food, her naps, and the occasional song from her mother.

Chrysalis would sing for her daughter. It was necessary for their Bond. She wanted it strong and unbreakable. Changelings sang to reaffirm the Bond of the hive. It was a simple ritual so ancient its origins were unknown. It was an instinct, a part of what was a changeling. They sang at births, deaths, ascensions, coming of age, and sometimes simply because a song was needed.

Chrysalis had wondered if there was a song appropriate for mourning the loss of her hive. Try as she might, she could never find the words as the toll of stress from the ponies had effectively placed upon her. They were always watching! Always judging! Every move she made was questioned at every interrogation! She had been subject to none since Celestia had paid her a visit and the Queen managed to settle down internally enough.

After the last of the ponies left, Chrysalis went over to her daughter as she lay in the crib. There beneath her favorite blanket and sleeping peacefully was Atalanta. Her mother gave a small, sad smile, nuzzling her sleeping daughter. She felt at peace for the first time, relaxed and no longer encumbered by what the ponies thought of her. The hatchling would molt and soon be considered a nymph. Chrysalis knew her daughter was growing. A part of her wished she would never grow up, never see the things she knew would hurt her. The other part was determined to prepare the future queen for her own role in life, whatever it might be.

Chrysalis began to hum softly, slowly moving around the room seemingly in aimless fashion. She closed her eyes as she moved, lifting her chin as no words were suitable to describe her loss. Tears fell and she was unashamed to let them go. Gently she swayed as she walked, falling into a pattern around Atalanta’s crib. The very air around her grew cool as she mourned. Her humming grew louder and louder and she found her sorrow welling up more and more into her heart. The trickle of tears became a torrent. The grieving queen paused, sucking in a deep breath.

Then, she wailed. It was a keening sound, all the emotions she had bottled up for her changelings roared forth with the eruptive force of an exploding volcano. Throwing her head back in her cry, she screamed at the heavens beyond her stone ceiling, to her ancestors so they might hear and feel her pain. The Queen sank to her knees and wailed on and on. Her shoulders heaved with each ragged breath she took. Her misery, her failure, the chains of responsibility heaped themselves upon her shoulders.

For what seemed an eternity, Queen Chrysalis wept.

When the torrent of pain, suffering, and sorrow abated until it had fallen to a trickle, she found Atalanta cradled in her hooves. Gentle kisses were placed over her daughter’s wriggling form. Sad chirps shared her mother’s sentiments. Bonds had been broken and would never mend. The void in her heart gaped like a bottomless chasm. Atalanta had, in a sense, peered into the void and found it very, very wrong. She was so young and knew nothing more beyond the touch and feel of her mother. The hatchling also had her Bond. The emptiness she sensed through her mother only made her cling to the Bond all the more. The Bond was Important. The Bond meant never being alone.

And Chrysalis was so very alone.

The little daughter of the fallen queen felt, with her very limited understanding, her mother needed her. So, through the Bond, she held fast as though her life depended on it.

Chrysalis loved her daughter very, very much. She was so thankful to have her, she smiled through her tears. “Thank you.”

Atalanta chirped and snuggled against her neck. She was hungry and announced it in a tone that sounded almost apologetic. Unable to help herself, Chrysalis laughed, sniffled, and did as her daughter bade. As she fed her daughter, the Queen began to purr lightly. Soon after feeding, Atalanta fell asleep in her mother’s hooves. Said mother gathered up her only child and crawled into her bed. She wanted her daughter close right now. Tired, worn out, and mentally exhausted, Queen Chrysalis fell asleep the moment she closed her eyes.


She stood in a wasteland. Everything was either in grays or a dull shade of brown. White objects dotted the landscape in the distance. A cold wind whipped about her. Chrysalis walked, not knowing why, only knowing she needed to go forward. Her wings settled and resettled as her nerves were on edge. Where was Atalanta? Where was her hatchling?

“Atalanta?” she called out.

A familiar chirp sounded off in the distance in front of her. Without hesitation, she charged forward on her hooves, wondering with stark trepidation why her daughter was not at her side. She had to be at her side! She could not properly develop her mind if she was not close enough to keep the Bond growing!

She passed the skulls of dead changelings, knowing who they once were immediately. Her rage and sorrow were distant, as all she had left was her fear for her daughter.

“Atalanta!”

As she hurried along, the world around her slowed her steps against her will. The skies darkened as clouds rolled in with unthinkable speed. Rain fell like steel bolts in a blink of an eye. Lightning flashed blindingly and thunder pounded her eardrums. The night ruled now. Everything was darkness and storms.

Chrysalis felt a hoof break through something. She looked down and saw she had crushed a skull. It grinned up at her, as if part of a joke she was not aware of. It was mocking her, whispering words of failure into her mind. The Queen flinched away and shied, hissing as her fear gripped her heart. Her wings buzzed, but she found she could not fly.

They fell off and she felt numb.

As she moved forward stubbornly, she found more and more bits of herself falling away. Chitin fell away with every step she made. Her heart ached and she wanted her daughter.

“Atalanta!”

Chrysalis suffered. The blow of loss came out of nowhere and she wept as she went. She could make out something in the distance, through the sheets of rain slowly tearing her apart. Something tiny, helpless, and white. In the hooves of a familiar form.

The little form chirped. The big blue form holding it nuzzled it.

“Atalanta!” Her voice was hoarse, ragged.

She made out the form of a dark blue changeling queen feeding her daughter. No rain fell around them. The ground was dry beneath them. The sopping wet Queen pushed herself harder to close the distance. Why was it so difficult to cover so short a distance?

“Why do you mourn, Queen Chrysalis?” asked the other queen. Indigo eyes rose and met with Chrysalis’ green ones. “They are but expendable extensions of yourself, are they not?”

“No! That is not true! That was never true!”

“Then why did you kill them?” The blue changeling brushed a hoof gently over the hatchling. “Why did you forsake your changelings, Chrysalis? Did the burden of being a queen prove to be too much? Could you not stand up to your enemies? Was preying upon the unsuspecting the only way to feed your hive? Did they die because you could not lead them properly? Why, Chrysalis? Why did you fail? Why is there nothing left for you but a daughter and a prison cell? How much longer until you have nothing but a prison? What will you do then? Declare yourself forever the Lonely Queen?”

Chrysalis could not answer. Tears again fell.

“You came so far only to fall so short. How pathetic.”

“I had no choice,” snarled Chrysalis suddenly, glaring at the strange changeling. “The Ravagers were hunting us. We needed love to protect ourselves! We needed a distraction to throw at them! Nine centuries. Nine! I led my changelings! We were free! I kept them ahead of those monsters! They do not stop! They do not rest! They know only the will of their queen and carry it out until they succeed or they die! You should…”

Her anguish fell away.

“You…”

The blue changeling queen cocked her head at Chrysalis.

“You!”

“There is still time, Chrysalis.”

Atalanta was floated over to her. Chrysalis found herself reaching out for her precious daughter, not realizing she herself had become nothing more than skeletal remains.

The hatchling sensed the nearness of her mother. She chirped happily, struggling to reach for her mother. Chrysalis reached with a hoof. To her horror, her hoof fell away from her. She tried with the other forehoof. It, too fell away to dust. Atalanta wanted her mother and could not understand the rejection. She began to wail.

“It’s not too late.”

“Atalanta!”

“You can still help them. Let me help you, Chrysalis.”

Author's Note:

Strike while the iron is hot!

Have another chapter! I apologize to one of my editors for springing two chapters behind his back. It shocked him (pleasantly, I might add). I really need to give those guys a chance to kill my bad writing skills before I thrust them upon you unsuspecting people

...erm...I did it again, didn't I?

Comments? Questions? Spot a typo?

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