• Published 8th Oct 2012
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Blueblood: Hero of Equestria - Raleigh



Like all heroes, Blueblood will always do the right thing... after he has exhausted every other option.

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Bloodstained (Part 19)

Part 19

[One of the more frustrating elements of compiling and editing this document, aside from correcting the persistent spelling and grammar errors, is that Prince Blueblood was somewhat lacking as a chronicler, as he will continually gloss over or simply ignore events that he felt were unimportant. In this case, however, I can only assume that he believed that what followed immediately after the previous entry was such common knowledge that describing it in any detail would have been a wasted effort, or that he himself did not know exactly what had transpired. Either way, I feel that a more comprehensive description than what Blueblood provides here would prove useful, and I am once more forced to resort to using a secondary source to provide the appropriate elucidation. I have asked my sister, Princess Luna, to provide an account of the battle.

It appears, however, that Princess Luna had misinterpreted my request for a concise, factual account of these events from her perspective. Her flair for the dramatic and her fondness for the sort of epic tales of heroes sung by court bards that were popular over one thousand years ago (and enjoyed a brief resurgence in popularity following her return) is certainly evident in the following text. Nevertheless, despite her antiquated prose and meandering style, which borders on the unreadable at times, it serves its purpose in expanding the relatively bare and imprecise descriptions Blueblood provided for these events. Anypony with younger siblings will sympathise with me when I say that I hadn't the heart to tell Luna that what she had written was not what I asked for, especially when she was evidently so proud of it. As with Prince Blueblood's own writing I have endeavoured to keep my editing to a minimum, despite my better judgement, and aside from further editorial notes and the inclusion of those punctuation marks invented during her exile on the moon what follows is Luna's unadulterated work.

For those readers with a fine appreciation of the Equestrian language I can only apologise in advance.]

Lo! I, Luna, by the Grace of Faust, twice-crowned Princess of Equestria and the her Dominions and Territories beyond the Seas, Ruler of the Night, Mistress of the Moon, Sovereign of the Stars [My sister goes on describing her titles and style in full for about four more pages of what I believe is colloquially known as a 'wall of text' - a most apt description, I believe. For the sake of brevity I have included only those titles which most of our subjects are familiar with and still hold any relevance in this age], pray you heed this tale well, my subjects, for it is a tale of how even the greatest amongst us may drink deep the wine of our own hubris, and drunk on this heady elixir strive to climb the summit of our pride, only to be laid low by our own arrogance. Through this account I shall tell you of how even an alicorn princess may fail to heed these lessons of the past, and that to learn them once again is painful indeed.

Of Prince Blueblood much has been written, and through his deeds is his name gloried amongst the greatest heroes who have delivered our great nation from damnation in the ancient past, and perhaps standing as equal in glory with his ancestor Princess Hotblood, whose memory and sacrifice for her Princesses and her country I shall forever hold dear. In truth, however, I admit with great shame that in the first years I had known this stallion I treated him poorly, as my memory of his noble ancestor had clouded my sight and I could not see the bravery and strength of character that he possessed beneath his soft and fat exterior.

I can picture him now standing before me in the prime of his life, scarred by battle and clad in the black uniform of a Commissar like the holy vestments of a priest of war, with his sword for a sceptre and his peaked cap for a mitre, and pride swells greatly within my bosom. I had taken this soft, pampered, and supposedly 'noble' unicorn, and in the furnaces of Equestrian military tradition and warfare I had brought out the steely muscle and iron heart that lay hidden and suffocated by the fat of indolence and luxury that so chokes the arteries of the youth of today. In him we see that the noblest and courageous of all heroes may yet rise from the most incongruous of origins, as the beautiful lotus flower blooms only in the stagnant and decaying swamps of exotic Coltcutta. Likewise, in each of the soldiers of Equestria, every one of them a gallant and dedicated warrior in their own right, I saw despite whatever life they might have lived before their rebirth in the fires war that the same spirit, as strong as the mithril that protects them and the steel with which they slay those who dare oppose our will, that drove our great empire to conquest and victory thousands of years ago yet lives. They may have been led by effete, weak imbeciles, but the time-honoured martial traditions of the ancient warlike Pegasus tribes had yet moulded these stallions into true warriors.

In the cold depths of this ancient fortress I beheld Prince Blueblood and the stallions he commanded, and I saw in them the salvation of the Equestrian race from the Changeling threat. Most stallion-like was he, and though he presumed to question my judgement in lending aid to the beleaguered troops, I admired his dedication to following his orders. Yet in battle one must be flexible, as the mighty oak is felled by the storm and the weeping willow bends and twists in the wind. He heeded my counsel, and I had thus imparted an important lesson to him and to those learned ponies who have studied this in great detail; for though a commissar must enforce the rule of military law with great alacrity, so too must he readily adapt and change according to the unpredictable actions of the enemy, and thusly take advantage of whatever boon has been granted to him. I felt no shame in kneeling before him, and he was most gracious in his acceptance of my assistance.

From thence we smote with sword and spear and magic, and the enemy, robbed of their sight and thus made helpless, fell before the righteous warriors of Equestria. As we purged this corner of Equestria of the filth and degradations of the hated enemy, the soldiers with whom I fought alongside would speak to me of the great honour that had been bestowed upon them for a Princess to fight by their side. To them I spoke truthfully: "Nay, it is I who have been honoured by you, for to spill the blood of the enemy together with the flower of the youth of Equestria is the highest honour I can receive."

Blood we indeed spilt together; we waded through this emerald-hued ichor, scouring the enemy from the sight of mother Faust. In the Great Hall, in which, millennia ago, the now long-dead lord of this place did pay homage to my sister and me, I had found the prey I had been seeking since I first tasted his magic, sickly sweet, corrupting, and putrid, pulsating through the shell of this structure - the captain of this enemy legion, whose blasphemous mental powers directed its drones with uncanny and disturbing precision. To eliminate this Purestrain would be to cripple the enemy force here, more so than I had already done with magic, as one kills a dragon by cutting off its head, but yet I had greater things in mind for this lumbering monstrosity.

For the laypony war is purely about killing, and whomever inflicts the greatest casualties on the other must invariably win. To such ponies I say that they misguided, and that perhaps a suitably long lecture from Princess Twilight Sparkle might be sufficient to dissuade them of such a notion. Nay, a true warrior does not seek to take the lives of the enemy soldiers, but to destroy the willingness of the population that they represent to continue fighting. Slaying the Purestrain would have had very limited strategic advantage, as I was all but certain that the enemy would have had the forethought to provide more than just one to direct the horde, but the opportunity to instil within the beast's black heart the fear of the Princess of the Night and spread it amongst its brethren and even to Queen Chrysalis herself was too great to miss.

Its sight was restored and my blade rested against the creature's neck. Oh, how I wished to sink it into its exposed gullet as I had done with the drones that lay scattered around my hooves. But nay, I drank deep of the fear in the Purestrain's eyes, savouring the cold sweat, the wide, terrified eyes, and the shivering wreck trembling before me that was once a beast that inspired such fear in my subjects as my sister would a fine exotic tea. Inspiring such terror is invariably something that comes quite naturally to me, and here, in the turmoil of war, I finally had the chance to use my gifts for the greater good of the Equestrian state and not just entertaining foals on Nightmare Night, as I had done so over one thousand years ago.

I bade the Purestrain to flee like the wretched coward that his kind are, who are content to sacrifice thousands upon thousands of their drones upon our blades and yet quail in terror when the fight finally comes to them. With the Purestrain cowed and sent fleeing for his dark mistress like a frightened foal to its mother I took my leave of Prince Blueblood; the battle for me, it seemed, was almost over, and with only the mopping up of the last remaining elements of the enemy before our victory could be complete. [Princess Luna was unlikely to know at the time, but though the battle had undeniably turned in Equestria's favour the overall bulk of the Changeling force was still intact and committed to the fight, though they were very disorganised, and General Crimson Arrow's relief force was still some distance away.]

I then ascended to the highest tower of the castle, from which the artillery, new and fanciful weapons to me, continued to fire. Each roar of a cannon sounded like an exultation to the old pagan gods of war, and though my initial instinct was to mistrust these weapons that killed from afar, I was nevertheless impressed by their efficiency and killing power. The Changelings did not deserve the honour of a good death, anyway. In the heat of the desert night I watched from high above as our troops swept the enemy before them to the very walls of the courtyard, and from this vantage point I exhorted my stallions to purge the enemy from my sight. Oh, how I marvelled at how my stallions fought; only frail mortals destined to die and yet they did not despair of their limited time on this world, instead for reasons quite alien to an immortal being such as me they continued to strive and fight and conquer even if doing so would be to shorten their already desperately ephemeral lives. How could they want to fight, knowing that sooner or later their existence will be at an end, their souls elevated to Elysium or cast into the pits of Tartarus depending on their sins? And for what reason? To better Equestria and all of her subjects, so that their fellow equines might live in a world of harmony and friendship dominated by the Equestrian crowns. Truly, they who have fallen in battle have greater claim to divine immortality than any alicorn, for those who have given up that which is most precious to them for my sake shall indeed live forever in my memory.

Though I had resolved to keep my participation in this battle to a minimum, if only to avoid further political entanglements with Parliament, I soon tired of my inaction upon the spire. With the battle still raging both below and in the skies above I felt the call of war tug once more upon my heart, and the martial spirit within me proved stronger than my feeble attempts at self-control. Nay, while a single Changeling yet lived my task was not complete, and I there vowed under the sight of our mother that my sword shall never rest until Equestria was truly safe from the Changeling menace.

I took wing once more and hurled myself into my night sky; amidst the constellations and the patchy cloud cover that formed a dark, amorphous landscape of vast towers, deep valleys, and sheer cliffs rolling and undulating and forever shifting in a manner that reminded me of when the world was young and when my sister and I strode across the land like titans and moulded the landscape with our hooves. The noble pegasi of our Royal Guard hunted the blinded swarm as vicious predators would attacking a vast herd of helpless prey beasts. I joined them eagerly, and soon bodies and blood rained down upon the already grisly field of battle below.

It was when the slaughter was at its height, when Changeling after Changeling fell to my blade until it was drenched in ichor and my armour splattered such that not a glimpse of the fine engravings and delicate carvings could be discerned for all the sickly green life fluids, that by chance I saw something dark and wholly malevolent streak across my moon. Recognition was all but instant; the creature had the tall, elegant form of an alicorn, much like my graceful sister, but its flight, though undoubtedly skilled, was far too quick and jarring in its movements to be that of any true winged equine. No, there was something more disturbingly insect-like about the way it swept this way and that through the air, changing altitude and direction seemingly on a whim, but unerringly heading straight for me. I thus beheld Queen Chrysalis, the monstrous ruler of the Changeling hordes, mistress of a billion drones.

Powerful magic swept from her like a tidal wave, and I saw that her eyes, glowing with the dark intelligence that masterminded the near-defeat of Canterlot, were clear and unmarred by the powerful blinding spell that I had cast before. Excitement rushed through my being as she raced towards me; finally, perhaps she would be a foe worthy of my attention, with enough power and cunning to be a suitable challenge even for me. A duel between two rulers of powerful empires, of two demi-goddesses who command the most primal forces of magic, was certain to become legend; I envisaged bards penning great poetic epics, crafting in words the images of honourable combat to enflame the spirit and embolden the heart of those weak-willed foals in Canterlot who yet quailed at the thought of war, and those sagas would make them all think themselves accursed that they were not there to witness the destruction of their enemy, and their stallion-hood shall be cheapened when ponies would speak of those who were present to this glorious struggle.

Indeed, our battle would certainly become remembered, but not necessarily in the way that I had envisaged it, for in my arrogance I imagined myself as I had been in the past, vanquishing champions of those who opposed us in the earliest days of Equestria, to drag their bloated, bleeding carcasses back to Canterlot and throw them at my sister's hooves. Blueblood was right; in one thousand years, even war had changed so much. Nevertheless, my heart was filled with the hymns of battle, and my judgement was shrouded by the bloodlust coursing through my veins. Would things perhaps have gone differently if I had kept a clearer head, if, like my beloved sister, I could keep myself dispassionate and distant from such events, observe them quietly, and therefore make my decision based on purely objective matters? Alas, I fear such behaviour is beyond me, for ever have I been ruled by passion - as loathed as I am to admit it, it is my most grievous fault.

I was determined to make this fight worthy of song, and indeed as Chrysalis darted towards me, it seemed as if time itself had stood still to observe us. Circling around her, I raised my hoof to my foe to challenge her in honourable single combat in the manner of the champions of ancient Equestria, and bellowed with the Royal Canterlot Voice:

"I am Luna, Princess of Equestria and Ruler of the Night! The entire might of the Equestrian Empire is mine to command: eighty thousand stallions-at-arms stand behind me and ten thousand years of darkness and struggle and warfare. You think that you know darkness; you are foalish, for I am darkness. I have lived and breathed it, tasted it and bathed in its cloying mire, so what insanity has possessed you to think that you can harm my beloved subjects and not be repaid in kind? I have seen thousands of kingdoms and empires rise and fall, forgotten by history and remembered only by me, and yet my diarchy endures. I endure. So come, and know that your empire will soon join those others now long dead in my memory, consigned to the graveyards of history as all tyrants must be, and you will know that you are naught but dust before my hooves!"

Chrysalis did not answer, and instead smote me with the force of a lightning bolt. How dishonourable that she did not return my challenge! Yet I should have known that one as craven and low as she would have no inkling of the concept of honour. But nay, I believed that I should not lower myself to her level, so I bade my stallions not to interfere with our fight, much to their dismay. The blow had sent me reeling across the sky, but if anything the shock of her attack was far greater than the minimal amount of pain that had been inflicted upon me. I recovered with grace and alacrity, and I was more than eager to repay this grievous insult a thousandfold. Therefore I summoned forth my blade once more, which reflected grimly the bright light of my moon, and this glint of steel felt as if an old friend had been returned to me.

"I got your message," said Chrysalis, her voice hissing like the rain beating off a tin roof. Her appearance should have felt incongruous, but nay I was too wrapped up my delusion to question why she had decided to appear before me. Although it was known by all that she was unafraid to take direct participation in her own malicious schemes, as her kidnapping and impersonation of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza had proved, but it was known by all that she would only do so if assured of total victory. To face me in single combat was much unlike her, and that she appeared to know of my presence despite my best efforts to keep myself hidden from not only our own soldiers but from her spies as well was most disconcerting. For why else would she have come to the battlefield if it were not for me? As I remember these events I cannot help but feel that I must share some of the blame for what happened next, for it was my arrogance in ignoring my sister's advice that had invariably brought the hated Queen of the Changelings here.

Through the dreamlike vista of vast, undulating grey clouds and underneath the disc of the yellow moon shining brightly against a tapestry of stars and nebulae I danced with my foe; turning, twisting, diving, rising, pirouetting gracefully around one another as partners to a divine symphony of warfare. We would fly, turning this way and that, diving through the clouds and banking through the stretches of the muggy warm night air only to turn and strike at one another with magic or with steel, and the dance would continue. My early assessment had led me to conclude that I was the stronger in terms of magic and martial skill, but in terms of sheer flying ability Chrysalis was the clear superior. I was certainly the faster flyer in a straight line, but in combat pure speed, though useful, is only a secondary advantage compared to manoeuvrability; instead, her movements were jittery and unpredictable as befitting her disturbingly insect-like appearance. Each time I turned and twisted to strike at her, certain that had she been a pony or a clumsy gryphon that my blow would have landed true and inflicted a most grievous wound, only for my blade to slice through empty air and that my enemy had darted around me to strike with her horn against my flanks.

The exhilaration of the duel gave way to frustration and anger, but I recalled my sparring match with Prince Blueblood, and despite the evident cowardice of my foe I resolved to keep my passion under control. Nay, it was hard to do so, for every tiny and superficial cut upon this shell of flesh that my divine immortal spirit is contained within felt like a personal insult, and each only served to inflame the thirst for blood that swelled within my heart like a tide threatening to burst over the collapsing dam of my self control. That she was even able to wound my flesh was greatly troubling, for it implied that she was still empowered with the love that she had glutted upon from Prince Shining Armour, Captain of the Royal Guard, or that her origins were divine in nature.

I roared in annoyance at her cowardly ways; she was not even attempting to put up a decent fight. No longer wishing to indulge my opponent I dove down towards the ground with the sound of her mocking laughter ringing in my ears, ostensibly to open up some space between myself and Chrysalis, knowing that her delicate gossamer wings would be rent from her body should she try to follow, and gain some speed. In my descent I turned this way and that to avoid the blasts of eldritch energy that followed in my wake, though her shooting was pathetic at best, and accuracy was clearly something she and her kind were most deficient in. Those half-hearted shots harmlessly passed through the cloud cover, and where they impacted the soggy ground dirt and mud blossomed. The clouds parted, and as I tucked my wings and limbs in to take on the shape of an arrow loosed from its bow the ground rushed up towards me. With the wind rushing through my mane I revelled in the freedom that only those capable of flight could know, and as I swooped past the castle in wide arc and over the unicorns and earth ponies in the blood-soaked courtyard, crying their exultations to their Princess and to Faust, I could not help but feel pity for they who must spend the entirety of their lives fixed to the ground. Of the battle below I could only catch brief glimpses as I rushed over the heads of the combatants, but from my very limited perspective, rushing over the vast, writhing masses of pony and Changeling alike, that the battle was still not yet won. [Princess Luna does not mention it here, but further research into the battle indicates that Chrysalis' appearance on the field also heralded the arrival of considerable Changeling reinforcements.]

With a mighty thrust of my great wings I soared upwards, using the high speed that I had gained. In beating my wings in large, powerful thrusts I lost little of that velocity, and as I burst through the darkened steel of the blanket of clouds and emerged once more into that ethereal and tenebrous dreamscape betwixt heaven and earth I turned erratically to search for my foe. I found her lurking below by the amorphous, ever-shifting mass of a dense cloud that loomed high above us like the mountains around Canterlot, as I had expected her to, with the Changelings lingering close to her and darkening the murky greys and blues of the clouds beyond. Against the steely blue-grey of the clouds she appeared as a barely perceptible blackish-green speck that buzzed and flittered from side to side, like the pathetic insect that she is.

I wasted little time in adjusting my flight in a wide, albeit swift, arc, gaining as much altitude as I could but remaining cautious so as not to lose my advantage of speed, and I dived towards her once more. Blade readied, I focused upon my enemy, looming larger and larger in my vision. There, drifting alone but nevertheless resolute and implacable as only those about to face their imminent destruction can be, Queen Chrysalis stood alone in this expanse of sky. Oh, how perfect it would have been for her to face her own defeat at my hooves with the same quiet dignity and resolution embodied by Neighpoleon when he surrendered to me so long ago, but I knew that was simply not to be.

Moments before my blade could slice into the exposed neck of the Changeling Queen she darted to the side; her movement was so swift that it was as though she had somehow teleported instantaneously three feet to my right flank in a way reminiscent of that that rather disconcerting manner that Twilight Sparkle teleports frantically on those occasions when she forgets that doing so is rather unnerving to most other ponies. A slash of her long and jagged horn, a blasphemous mockery of the elegant spiralled form of that of a unicorn, scratched a thin, albeit deep, line across the mithril barding covering my flank. At that moment I spread my wings wide and beat them forwards, arresting my forward momentum in a risky manoeuvre that wrenched the muscles upon my back. I ignored it, for pain and I are well-acquainted bedfellows, and twisted my form around mid-flight to face my enemy.

Chrysalis did not expect this, for she was still hovering there, snarling in impotent rage as a second thrust of my wings, already burning with pain from that previous exertion, propelled me straight into her. I collided into the Queen of the Changelings clumsily, and I wrapped my limbs around her grotesquely thin and lithe body tightly so that she would not escape. In our embrace I fought the overwhelming sense of revulsion that flooded through my being when my skin came into contact with the disturbingly cold and smooth layers of chitin that stretched over skeletal frame like armour over a lifeless mannequin. She writhed and shrieked, but I held firm; her limbs thrashed wildly and her neck twisted and snapped in vain effort to blind me with that repulsive horn of hers, but I proved to be the stronger.

I was far too close to her to swing my sword comfortably, so I dismissed the weapon back to the ethereal void. Instead, I drew directly upon the most primordial forces of creation, summoned forth through the horn upon my head, which shone brightly as the moon on a cloudless night. With my horn charged with magical energy, such that the pressure built greatly through this appendage until it felt as if it was about to burst, Queen Chrysalis' attempts to escape only grew more fierce. Her hooves flailed wildly against my chest, but though the blows inflicted some rather painful bruises upon my flesh the force from her limbs, whose thin and wasted appearance belied the power and strength behind those emaciated appendages, was absorbed by my breastplate.

I let loose the magical energy in the form of a beam directed at Chrysalis' head, with the aim to stun her so that I might take her back to Canterlot alive, to throw her manacled and humiliated form before the hooves of my sister and prove to her that I was not some weakling princess to be kept merely as an ornament but that I still remain what I have always been - a Princess of action, warfare, and divine vengeance. The Warmistress of Equestria, as I have been one thousand years in the past and I shall continue to be so long as our diarchy yet lives and I still draw breath. The blast of energy was met with resistance, and through the iridescent glow of magic I discerned within the soft, pale blue of my aura a sickly, diseased shade of green. Beyond the clash of energies I saw Chrysalis, her haggard, twisted face made even more grotesque by this radiance of magic, snarling in rage.

"No!" she shrieked, and the emerald aura pulsed, almost knocking me back with the force. "No!"

I poured more power to compensate, but I had grossly underestimated her power. In the violent discharge of energies I was thrown back by the force of her spell, and I arced through the heavens in a clumsy, broken wreck. I had assumed that Chrysalis had been drained in her expulsion from Canterlot, but either she was still glutted from taking in Prince Shining Armour's love for Princess Mi Amore Cadenza or that she had recovered using love from another source entirely. I was unharmed, however, and, if anything, was merely surprised by Chrysalis' sudden aptitude for magic. Nevertheless, when I spread my wings and righted myself, laughing inwardly at how she had only inflicted a few mere bruises on me, I found to my utmost horror that I was surrounded completely by Changeling drones.

Where before they had merely observed our fight with a quiet and dispassionate outlook that was nevertheless menacing, this time they seethed with their dark queen's hatred for all that is good and pure in this world. The sky around me was virtually filled with drones, such that the air itself was permeated with the relentless buzzing sounds of thousands upon thousands of pairs of insect-like wings beating frantically. For each pair of wings a pair of compound eyes, devoid of all intelligence and yet gleaming with the purest malice imaginable, gleamed in a most wraithlike manner in the grim moonlight. It was then that I realised that I had fallen into a trap, and that it was not the subterfuge or malice of the enemy that had been my downfall, but my pride in coming here in the first place, in believing that I could destroy Chrysalis myself, and my naivete that she would necessarily follow the same rules of honourable combat that I do.

Without a word the Changeling drones advanced. I scoured them from the skies with blades of lunar fire, impaled them upon my steel, and crushed them beneath my hooves but yet they came on in a vast, organic mass of chitin and fangs. Soon I was overwhelmed, and all that I could see or feel were Changeling drones clinging to my body, biting and scratching in vain against my armour or divine flesh, and yet that did not deter them. Restrained, I struggled against the grotesque accumulation of so much horrid chitin that suffocated me, and though I could kill a few to send their frail, lifeless bodies falling to be dashed upon the unforgiving but welcome arms of Mother Equus below, they were soon replaced by what seemed like an inexhaustible supply of drones.

I knew not of what happened beyond the Changelings surrounding me as a hive of bees swarming a hornet, for I was occupied merely with trying to free myself from their cloying grasp, but beyond the writhing, wriggling mass of so much disgusting, putrid flesh I could feel within the ether a pulsating mass of magical energy growing, swelling, almost spilling over from the vessel struggling to contain it. I could do little except brace myself for the blast to come, and all of the magical defences that I could throw up in time would be in vain. Nevertheless I had managed to raise a shell of magical armour just before the blast hit me. The Changelings surrounding me were all vaporised instantly as a blindingly bright flash of emerald-hued energy washed over my frail protective bubble. I poured more and more energy into it until my horn ached and my spirit felt as if it was being wrenched from my body, but alas it was not enough; the structure crumpled, and a spiders' web of cracks formed over the thin surface of this eggshell form.

The magical shield crumpled in on itself, and was then shattered entirely and the residual energy drifted back into the primordial chaos from which all magic originates. The eldritch blast of obscene magic bathed me, filling my very being with a pain that I had not known since the Elements of Harmony had first banished me to the moon over one thousand years ago. My bones had become white-hot daggers that dug into the taut, strained flesh which was burned and shredded by the sheer force of the spell. I could only cry out as the agony wracked through my thrashing, flailing form, before, mercifully, this abominable spell was ended and I fell from the skies.

I willed in vain for my wings to spread and arrest my descent, but alas the muscles on my back refused and had become a burning knot that throbbed awfully with every single attempt at movement. It would have been futile, for as I turned my head this way and that, and stabs of pain seized my neck, I saw that the delicate feathers had been reduced to ash, the flesh below charred, and the hollowed bones snapped such that my once graceful wings resembled useless balls of crumpled burnt paper.

As I saw the barren and lifeless desert below rush up towards me through the dense cover of clouds, the ancient ruined citadel was at first a dull grey smear upon the rippled and cracked canvas of sombre yellows and greys. For the first time in an age I felt the fear of death take hold within me, amplified by the pain and by the ringing echo of Queen Chrysalis' sadistic laughter as she followed me down with a lazy glide that was almost contemptuous in its manner. It was a curious experience, in hindsight, that was at once both thrilling and terrifying; yet I know that for an immortal such as myself I cannot know the terror of a true death, for my spirit shall return to the primordial chaos until such a time that from this maelstrom of energies that a new form of flesh shall be knit for me to inhabit once more, but that, perhaps, would take millennia once more, and by then Equestria as we know it shall be all become ruin. [It is indeed accurate that alicorn princesses such as my sister and me were originally birthed of magic, and the physical form in which we inhabit is merely a vessel we use to interact with our subjects in a manner that is more pleasing to them. It is rather difficult to explain this using the limited forms of the Equestrian language, but this inelegant explanation will have to suffice. Times have changed, and loud ominous voices from the heavens and cryptic visions to soothsayers in dreams fell out of fashion shortly after ponies learned how to write.]

Nay, the fall would not kill me, though the impact from such a height would have certainly slain a mortal pony, but I knew that a fate worse than death awaited me; to be captured by the Changelings and forced into one of those infernal devices that clouds one's mind with a pleasing illusion to keep one sedated while they drain one of love until there is nothing left. Against all hope I struggled for the last time, my wings could only twitch futilely as I tried once more to extend them and glide the insurmountable distance back towards friendly lines, but pain was my only reward for trying. The fortress over which so much blood had been spilt rushed up towards me, and I plummeted past the crumbling towers and crenellated battlements from which the noble guardsponies made their stand. I then hit the ground on my side and darkness rapidly overwhelmed me. Such was the price paid for my own arrogance.

Author's Note:

Okay, this chapter was a bit of an experiment for me, and I hope it's worked out alright.

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