• Published 9th Jan 2017
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The Atlantean-Dominion War - The Atlantean

Crimson Dawn enlists in the Atlantean Reserve Emergency Army (AREA) to defend Atlantis from the Dominion of Apollo.

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21. The Battle for the Hive (Second Battle of Emberforge Valley)

The great stone doors creaked open as their gearbox mechanisms whirled. Bronze and wooden gears spun at ridiculous speeds, risking friction heat and a possible fire. Worst case scenario, the gears would all melt and burn. Best case, the doors would open.

Mirage stood at the spearhead point of her wedge-formation army, flanked by Platinum and South on her left, with Crimson and Pseudonym on her right. A predatory grin spread on her face as the ten thousand pounds of rock swung inward, the mid-morning sun shining brightly into the entrance corridor. Her Changelings buzzed with excitement. The three Atlanteans tensed. Then the doors opened sufficiently for a charge.

Mirage looked at her bodyguard. “For Mother.” She swung an Atlantean steel sword in a wide circle with her magic, racing through the open entrance.

The four entrusted with the Princess’s life ran after her. A split second later, the entire remnants of the Changeling army followed. The buzzing of wings and thundering hooves were terrifying. Thousands of Changeling soldiers ran at full speed into the two miles of open field.

The weary, terrified Dominion soldiers sat in what remained of their camp. Then a picket ran into the area, screaming that the enemy had come out. Everypony gathered up their arms, jockeyed into position… and were wrecked by Atlantean artillery that couldn’t resist the juicy targets they posed. Return fire from Music and Lyrics kept the guns from firing much more, however, since it turned that section to dust.

The ragged Domination Army regiments above ground saw the charging wedge of furious Changelings. Some immediately dropped everything and ran, but most stayed in formation, waiting for the order to fire. An officer called it out. The troops raised their smoothbore rifles and shot a volley into the masses.

Mirage dove over a bullet as it hit the ground. She ran on, casting a magic shield in front of her. Other Changelings followed, expanding the transparent green shield into a wall that blocked everything shot or thrown at it. It washed over the defending Doms without effect, but the thousands of pissed Guards and armed civilians behind it definitely had one.

A melee clash ensued. Ponies and Changelings jabbed at each other, cast and avoided spells, and fired their guns if they had any and room to do so. Crimson’s own rifle went off several times. The rest of the fight, he and his friends were in a circle with their backs to each other, hitting oncoming enemies with their rifle stocks and short swords.

Platinum swung his sword in a wide arc in front of him, feeling a jar when it hit the leg bones of an opponent. Blood poured onto the ground from the cut artery. Platinum yanked his sword out and swung again, finishing the job.

South used his rifle bayonet instead of the sword he practically hated. A quick slash cut the throat of his attacker. Then he thrust forward into the eye socket of another, literally feeling the scream of pain in his bones. He twisted his gun, causing the bayonet to cut even more, then yanked it out and slashed again to put his opponent out of his misery.

Crimson fired his rifle at point-blank into a Dom, then turned to the next pony and fired again, emptying his magazine before resorting to melee combat. One moment, his back was to Platinum and South; the next, he was alone; the next, Mirage stood next to him. The Changeling Princess panted from the constant exertion of battle.

“I think we have this down, Warrant,” she said between breaths.

Crimson stole a glance at her. Sweat glistened off her mauvish mane, dripping slowly into the blood-soaked slush that used to be solid soil. The many holes in her form had been added to with cuts, bruises, and tiny bullet holes. Her left wing hadn’t taken much damage, but that couldn’t be said for her right, as it had been ripped in half. His expression told her everything.

“Don’t worry about my wing. It’ll grow back in a couple months. For now, we need to block the valley entrance.”

The Dominion ponies were gone. No soldier loyal to King Jagged Edge had survived the surface battle, and those below were afraid to come out.

“How many did we lose?” Mirage asked a Changeling Guard captain when he came to report.

“Out of the 7,000 Guards left from the evacuation and the 90,000 militia, about 4,000 Guards and 70,000 militia were sent to the heavens, Princess,” he replied.

“Captain Pseudonym?”

The captain lowered his head. “Gone, ma’am. He was right next to me when one of their big guns shot little balls and absolutely shredded him. His final request was to give you this.” He held a small, green-blood-soaked envelope with his magic. Mirage held it in her own, opening it to find a photo of herself and Pseudonym as youths, playing army with others their age. It was signed at the bottom with a single note:

Thank you for the adventure. Now go have a new one. ~Pseudonym

Mirage broke down. Tears flooded her eyes and her knees buckled. She fell into the mush sobbing. “No… He can’t be gone…” Then her spherical face turned harsh. Creases of anger and rage began to appear as her eyes shut tightly. She turned her head to the sky and screamed. Crackling green lightning shot up from her horn, some of it hitting a range limit and expanding over the entire valley in a ring.

The lightning continued on up, the magical heat finally losing its buoyancy and spread out like an oversized mushroom originating at Mirage’s horn. Green magic branched out into a circular tree formation. Then the concussion came. As the magic hit its ceiling, some rebounded down along with a shockwave that ripped the few remaining trees and shrubs right out of the ground. Rocks and boulders flew in an expanding ring of death. The cloud reached the base of Mt. Emberforge, racing up its slopes and over the top.

The ponies themselves weren’t affected outright by the shockwave. It was the flying debris that decimated unlucky ponies. Crimson ducked as a pebble zipped overhead and through a Dominion tent post, cutting the thing in half. Platinum sidestepped a tree branch. South dodged his own debris, as did the rest of the Changeling army.

Silvercrest viewed the battle from an artillery post high up the mountain. The spell’s sheer brightness caused her to cover her eyes in a vain attempt to protect them. The flash faded over the course of a few seconds, soon being dim enough for her to see. As soon as the lightning churned up a storm ring, she called for everypony to get inside or behind cover. Her instinct told her to run, but she instead became rooted to the spot in terror. Is this some kind of Dominion weapon? The thought briefly flashed through her mind before she was consumed by the cloud.


Silvercrest coughed. She’d been knocked back about ten feet and was lying on her side. She stood up shakily and looked around at the devastated artillery pieces and ruined valley. Almost nothing save for the army down there had survived the blast. Glancing at the sky, she saw traces of a greenish glow that faded slowly into the blue.

“What in all Harmony was that?” she asked in wonder.

Crimson looked to the Changeling Princess standing dizzily on her weakened hooves. The spell had taken much of her magical energy, maybe even spent it all. He saw Platinum walk slowly, cautiously, toward Mirage, and followed suit. A pack of Changeling Guards were behind him, even more frightened than he was.

“Princess? Are you alright?” Platinum asked.

“He’s truly gone,” Mirage whispered before her knees buckled and she fell onto her right side.

Author's Note:

Yeah. Damn.

Anyway, sorry it took so long. I had lots of school and I felt that the Emberforge Valley Changeling Hive needed background before I did anything too major with them.

Feedback appreciated!

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