Many species reside across Equestria, and in the lands beyond its borders, but none are more dangerous than the Changelings. With their origins as enigmatic as they are, the Changelings sweep across the lands like a living plague. Everywhere they go, they have but one goal: to devour
The Changeling's diet is unlike any other species in all of Equestria. They have the power to feed off of emotions (love, joy, etc.), by using their special powers to syphon it straight out of the victim's soul. Once within the Changeling, the emotion serves as a source of energy/metabolism. It is also common for a single Changeling to fill itself with an excess amount of emotion, so that it may give some to other, fellow Changelings. It is by this method that classes such as troopers and warriors are able to deliver it to the peons and hive queens, who rarely leave the security of the hives.
Though vital to the Changelings, emotions do not sate their physical hunger. To satisfy their appetites, the Changelings will literally devour just about anything that lies in their path. Vegetation is left barren and living creatures are stripped to nothing but bones as the Changling legions move over them as a single, eternally hungry mass. If need be, Changelings will even feast upon themselves, often devouring the bodies of those who have fallen due to unsatisfied hunger.
Along with being a very deadly species, the Changelings are also a very adaptable one. They can live in almost any environment, ranging from barren deserts to frigid tundra, so long as they can find any sort of life or substance upon which to feed. They are also unhindered by natural barriers, as records have reported them being able to scale sheer mountains, cross vast seas, and traverse seemingly impenetrable forests. Their ability to survive in such a wide range of conditions also allows them to live on in the places that they themselves have reduced to nothing but wastelands.
Peons These are the lowest and most common of the Changeling species. They are inefficient at fighting, lacking large enough claws or teeth. Their carapace is also very weak. Instead, their primary purpose is to tend to the hives, and the higher ranked Changelings who dwell inside them. They carry and store food, tend to the queens, and other, similar tasks. They are also forced to take orders from any of the other higher Changeling species.
Troopers The next rank in the swarm, these Changelings make up the bulk of any Changeling attack force. They are distinguished from peons by their slightly larger size and fangs, and by their lightly armored carapace. They are also, by comparison, faster and stronger. Troopers can give orders to peons, but they must obey any orders given to them by Changelings of higher status.
Warriors A step up from troopers, warriors make up the airborne members of the vast Changeling legions. Though they do possess a slightly more armored carapace, the warriors' difference from troopers is almost indistinguishable, except for one key factor: their wings. While vast hordes of troopers attack by ground, masses of warriors will often attack their foes from the air. It is also common for warriors to be used as shock troops in quick Changeling invasions, when full-scale hordes are not desired. Within the Changeling hives, like the troopers, warriors can command the peons, but are subject to command from all of the other higher-ranked Changelings.
Spitters Spitters serve as the ranged combatants of the Changeling legions. By appearance, they are similar to troopers, except that their body has an overall sleeker, slimmer form. They also have a slightly lighter carapace, and thinner frontal limbs. The spitters' main method of attack is to vomit a sort of corrosive, acidic venom, which can do terrible damage to whatever it hits. They can also spit very fast, and very far, allowing them to battle their foes from safe distances. Though slightly smaller in numbers, hordes of spitters will most often go into battle amidst hordes of troopers, as a combined force.
Assailants One of the deadliest classes in the Changeling swarm, the assailants are masters of stealth and disguise. Visually, they are similar to warriors, except their body has an overall lighter and slimmer build, and a lighter/thinner carapace. Compared to most other Changelings, the assailants are not built for head-on combat. Instead, thanks to their exceptional skills at hiding, sneaking, and even transforming into other beings, they serve the swarm as spies and assassins. When the Matriarch Queen desires to conquer a certain locale, it is not unlikely for her to first send in a small force of assailants. Once that first step has been achieved, the assailants will be tasked with acquiring information, secretly slaying certain, prominent opponents, or any other espionage-based duties.
Centurions One of the most prominent Changeling ranks, the centurions serve as the swarm's field commanders. For every legion of troopers and/or warriors, it is up to one (or a small few) centurion(s) to lead them. They are terrifying to behold, standing significantly larger than those they lead, armed with massive claws and deadly jaws, all of it adorned in a nigh-impenetrable carapace. Centurions also have a large pair of wings protruding from their back, but their sheer size limits them from flying great distances. Instead, they prefer to do most of their traveling on foot. Centurions are tasked with giving orders to any and all warriors and troopers around them, while they themselves take orders only from the queens of their hive, or from the matriarch queen herself.
Sentries Another solider class Changeling, sentries are tasked with guarding the hives, and all of the Changelings who reside inside. Their appearance is similar to that of the warriors, except their wings are notably smaller (and less useful), and they instead have an extra-large pair of pincers. Rank-wise, sentries are equal to warriors and troopers, and can give orders to any peons inside their respective hives.
Praetorians One of the highest ranking members of the Changeling swarm, the praetorians serve as the elite guards of not only the Changeling hives, but to the queens who live at the center of each one. Appearance-wise, they resemble sentries, except they are notably larger in just about every way, their carapace is significantly harder, and their wings are fully grown and functional. Needless to say, praetorians can give commands to any sentries, warriors, troopers, or peons who reside within their respective nests. One could say that, in terms of rank, praetorians and drones are equal, except that the latter is primarily tasked with breeding with the queen, while the former lacks such fertility and is instead given the job of guarding both the queen and her drones. It is also common to see a large horde of praetorians accompanying the matriarch queen, any time she wishes to travel from one location to another.
Drones Drones are the entirely male rank in the Changeling swarms. They are easily identified by their long, lean build; long wings; and notably large mandibles. As ordered by the matriarch queen, the drones are primarily tasked with mating with the hive queens, so that they may produce more Changelings. When drones are not busy mating, groups of them will often reside together in and around the queen's chamber of a hive, serving as her protectors and care-takers. When new hives are being settled, it is also common for a troop of drones to be traveling with its founding queen. A particular drone will also be tasked with mating with the matriarch queen, on the rare instances that she desires to do so.
Hive Queens Very large, and very bloated, these Changelings serve the mundane, but crucial, task of populating their race. Laying eggs day and night, they rarely (if ever) venture outside of their respective hive. Under the control of the matriarch queen, the hive queens are initially tasked with forming new Changelings hives. Once that task has been complete, they begin their second goal: continually mate with drones, so that they may continually lay eggs that will soon hatch into more Changelings. Hive queens have the ability to communicate telepathically with other Changelings, but only with those who reside in their respective hive. All Changelings who reside in a particular hivemust obey any and all orders the queen gives them. All hive queens also have a telepathic connection to the matriarch queen. Because of their bloated size, which highly hinders their mobility, hive queens have barely any means of defending themselves. Such as task, instead, falls upon all other Changelings who reside in her respective hive.
Matriarch Queen The matriarch queen is the highest-ranked and most powerful Changeling in the entire swarm. Below her are the lesser hive queens, whom she commands to build nests and produce more Changelings for their seemingly-endless legions. Along with the hive queens, the matriarch queen possesses a telepathic connection to any and all other Changelings in the entire swarm, and all must immediately obey any and all commands she may give. Unlike the hive queens, the matriarch queen rarely mates, and rarely breeds. Instead, she has a body that is built for travel, often going from one hive to another, as she pleases. She also possesses the greatest powers of any Changeling in the swarm, and is the most intelligent among them all. In the rare instance that a new matriarch queen is ever born, she may challenge the current one for control of the swarm. Either queen, upon victory, takes leadership, while the other is immediately slain.
Ponies Troopers, Sentries, Spitters, and Assailants
Pegasi Warriors and Drones
Alicorns Centurions, Praetorians, and Queens