Along the shores of Baltimare Harbor, in the halls of old 33 Hoebuck, our heroes have discovered a dark secret. What started as a mundane mission to stop illegal immigrant smuggling has uncovered something far more horrific - a cult from Griffonia. The party has successfully challenged and defeated many of the cultists and hired criminals, but in the process, has nearly died themselves. Now, low on health, they must both recover and put an end to the evils in 33 Hoebuck once and for all - before it puts an end to them first.
Way up north, in the Iron Range of Whinnysota, the ponies their inquire into exact who or what is damaging so many machines. Investigating and following leads, they may unveil the faults and problems of the Haysabi Iron Mine, and gain favor with Changeling authorities.
Damn it, I missed 123,000
Hi, fluff pone!
So does Silver do anything now?
Iron opts to snore softly on Silver's barrel.
Silver begins to make his way to the infirmiry, once everypony's gathered.
Silver walks his way to the door that separates the southern dormitory building from the administrative building. Opening the door, he can immediately feel air rush onto him. Cooler and fresher, lacking that horrid burning cloth smell that now permeates the dormitory. Looking down the hallway no creature is visible along so much tile floor and whitewashed walls, unlit at the midnight hour.
Mala: "It's on the second floor, I think"
Silver smiles at his newfound companion, before making his way upstairs.
Mala smiles back, moving his tail back and forthDo you want to go down through the first floor in this building to find the staircase to go up, or go up to the second floor in the dormitory before going across?
At this point, though only at this point, Khoi walks down. Her mouth hangs partly open, almost in a frown, and her ears droop. She says nothing.
Walking along the tile floor, Silver's hooves clop, a little louder than would be prefered, and the clopping reverberates down the hallway. Some light comes in near the center, evidently from a window or door to the illuminated outdoors. Walking along, he eventually makes it towards what seems to be a staircase in the center of the building
Silver slows down to talk with Khoi.
"What is wrong?"
She looks up at him, and her eyes betray much, with pain and sadness
Sensing she needs it, the old unicorn gives her a hug.
The creature is hugged. She doesn't seem to have been anticipating the hug, and even pulls away for a moment as Silver pulls on her. Scales cover her back and are kind of cold. But on the bottom of her barrel is more equine fur, and this is a softer touch
Silver doesn't try to trap her in the hug. If she doesn't want it and she pulls back, he'll let go.
"What did you see?"
She doesn't push him off. At least, not when she realizes what he's doing. But she doesn't hug back either.
"They left their youngest in a room on the third floor. I tried to care for the chicks"
Silver lets go.
"You did well to, Khoi. You are good person."
She scrunches her mouth in a mix between a smile and a frown. Her eyes seem watery
"It is not out of place of what we have found, so far. Come, we are heading to infirmiry to treat our wounded before facing off against Maakie."
She moves her hooves along in a trot
"I came here to get away from civil war, not fight in one"
Opening a large, wooden door into the stairwell, here too the stairs go from an underground level to at least two floors above. The steps are concrete, and the walls are painted in whitewash. Though far from inviting, the whitewash is less old
than in some locations, like the fourth floor of the dormitory
"I am sorry, Khoi. It will not be too much longer."
Silver continues to look for the infirmiry.
Silver, going to the second floor, opens a heavy wooden door onto the second level. It's less well lit even than the first level, with little light from outside coming in
"I think it's one of these rooms"
His face betrays a look of uncertainty"
There are a few doors on both sides, some with plaques above them
Silver tries to read what's on the plaques.
One has nothing on it. The other seems to be covered up, though shifting around a piece of paper there seems to be "maternity ward" in faded white lettering. That has since been at least partly covered up
The good news for Silver sword: it doesn't seem like there are that
many rooms on the second floor. Rather a few big ones
Is there any way for him to tell which room is the infirmiry from the outside?
A little further down, one is marked as "infirmary"
Silver gets set in front of the door, motioning for the party to support him when he enters.
Mala is by his side, and Johann, Jubilosa, Khoi, and Blue Skies follow
Silver takes a deep breath, and enters the room.
Opening the door (it is unlocked).....
The room is dark. There are the edges of two beds visible, at least, though most of the room is not visible in the darkness
Cautiously, Silver turns his flashlight on to look inside.
Turning it on..... from Silver's position, he can see two beds on the opposing side with white sheets and a single dresser. There is a curtain on rails between them. Silver can now see that there are also beds on his side of the wall to the left and the right
Silver lets out a sigh of relief at the lack of enemies. He first checks the dresser for medical supplies.
The first dresser reveals a blanket, a surgical mask, a catheter, and a rag, but no medical supplies. But the room stretches on past the narrow light in both directions
Then onwards does Silver search.
On each side of the room there are two beds against the wall, and then two opposite those. Eight total. At the very end are wooden doors with glass windows through them.
Silver peers through the glass windows with the flashlight.
Two rooms. One is smaller and looks something like an office, with a chair in it. The other is a big room with a sink, open space, and a number of drawers and cabinets
If we gain favor with the changelings, does that mean there might be even more changeling friends?
Hopefully you can find out
Brie looks around with a start. Had he imagined it? Had he nodded off? No, there are the Lings sitting there, in the coach as before,.... He rubs his head for a moment, certain he could remember exploding in a vibrant display of blood and gore, and then nothingness. An intangible nothingness, which he berates himself momentarily for the redundancy, but something of a 'lapse', and yet here he is. Everything seems as it was. Odd.
Over to his right in the carriage, a Changeling in white, gendarme fur coat taps against the carriage. To his left, and in front of Brie is a bigger, angrier looking Changeling wearing an officer’s cap and grey underneath a white coat.
His right fang is noticeably longer than his left
“What are you doing! You come and threaten our manager”
Patting his coat for a moment to verify his fine sword and throwing knives were still on him, his face brightens and looks at the apparent captain.
"Ah, yes, the manager. No, I didn't come to
threaten him, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. I came - on behalf of the Queen - to find out why production has faltered and who is responsible. I do hope none of you are party to the," he clears his throat artificially "arrangement that is going on between the mine, the sabotage, and all the rest."
The Changeling commander, full of energy and rage, now steps back a half foot, and is silent for a moment. His head twitches and his big, solid blue right eye twitches
“So they have... they would be well to send a company, or battalion. Production has fallen because of agitators. They operate out of the woods, and come in at night or when they can blend in with the workers. We dismissed the native workers a few months ago for that very reason. I have gone through my drones personally. They do not have the courage I would expect of them, but they are not disloyal. No one
here is helping the insurgents, except maybe disobedient ponies!”
Then he pauses for a moment
“It’s about time they sent someone
to do something about these insurgents anyways. I don’t know why you’d want to wear the skin of a bat
of all creatures. You stand out like that.”
"Now now, flattery will get you nowhere,...." He pauses for a moment. Seeing that the captain has stepped back, he slowly rises to his feet and steps out of the carriage. "So! I'm to understand that a bunch of rabble-rousers and guerilla ponies has evaded you and your drones?" Tsk tsk tsk. "You'll pardon me if I have a hard time buying that explanation. I mean I suppose its possible
, but if thats the case it would be disappointing in the least. What can
you tell me about these insurgents?"
"And he didn't even compliment me on the suit." Brie mutters to himself, deliberately loud enough to be heard.
Zu Lang steps another step back, while the Changeling to Brie’s left moves slightly closer, looking down on Brie
Zu Lang to gendarme: “Ist er legitim?“
Responds: “ Ein anderer, der behauptete, von der Königin geschickt zu werden, hatte Papiere. Ich glaube schon”
He then looks over at Brie, opens his mouth and waves his tongue like a snake at Brie, and there’s a sensation almost if being pressed
To Zu Lang: “Er schmeckt wie ein Wechselbalg”
The gendarme moves back a step, and Zu Lang nods
Zu Lang Speaks to Brie:
“They are a menace everywhere. There are thousands of miles of forest, and two pits. The pits along are two square miles. Besides there are a thousand workers and dozens of machines. Our soldiers can only guard so much, while they can blend in among the workers. Besides the worriers themselves are supplied and emboldened by their ‘brethren’ who hide in the forest. They probably do half the attacks themselves. But they cannot he stopped until those who live in the forest are stopped.
They are likely few in number. We do not know if natives further north are helping them or not. They seem to be recruiting from among the workers, as they do not always report back. My drones are afraid of them. Not so much in the mines. Going into the woods”>>123104
He looks back to Brie, noting his lack of military uniform
Brie smirks at Zu Lang. "Kein Wechselbalg, nur eine wirklich clevere Fledermaus."
"Very well then. So I'm to, what, scour the forests? Has it not occurred to you to make an example of anypony?"
He closes his mouth and twists his head at the bat remark, twitching once
“It would be helpful. Or have the queen send more forces. My drones are afraid to go into the first for long, especially at night. Of course I make them do it anyways, but aside from clashes with native squatters last June and the occasional runaway they have not found much. I would rather not leave too few drones guarding the mill, rail line and mines. Maybe a bat
would fair better.
Of course we’ve made examples of ponies. Those who are lazy, defiant, or let their machines be damaged. So long as they have friends in the woods, they are emboldened. It is hard to catch saboteurs anyways, and when we do, we prioritize information.”
Brie sighs and thinks for a moment. Not just thinks either, he tilts his head to the side, his eyes fixed at a non-specific point in the sky as though he's listening to someone whisper in his ear. His eyebrows furrow for a moment. "But thats...." he trails off, listening again. After a moment, his expression brightens again. "Night-time it is! You wouldn't happen to have any high explosives to spare would you? Perhaps I'm getting ahead of myself." He proffers his documentation to Zu Lang.
Zu Lang looks at the documentation, then hands if off to the Drone next to him, who looks at it, and hands it back to Brie
“This is a mining operation. Of course there are high explosives.”
"Splendid! May I see them?"
He narrows his eyes, twitching again
“What is your intent?”
Hi little pony! What is Spark doing now?
I think he was last talking to the Lieutenant about the prisoner
"Its a little
early to say with any specificity, but I'm thinking of a high-altitude reconnaissance/infiltration, and then I'll figure it out from there. Blowing something the fuck up - whether thats the insurgents, their supplies/resources, or perhaps making essential movement routes impassable - is on the menu, but I'm not sure if thats the main course or simply dessert." He says with a bit of a glint in his eye and a mildly unnerving smile.>>123112
I'm trying to recall. I think I was attempting to make a distraction with the prisoner calling out the "guilty" while Onyx goes around to surprise them from the woods. I may have to delay that plan now that Brie is back.>>123113>>123115
He nods, and in this he is the most comfortable
“Aerial reconnaissance and support is something I sorely
miss from the war. Their fires in particular must stick out. But don’t place too much faith in it either. The pine canopy is thick out there, and will cover nearly anything up. You will want to ask around to learn more about these... superstitious
creatures, and you may want to sortie into the forest yourself”>>123113
Hi pony. The bat is back and probably near onyx>>123116
Yes, I think he was trying to get the prisoner free somehow. He could also go see Brie
"Oh I've no doubt that they will have done their best to avoid scrutiny, particularly from the air. However, they will be practicing to elude Changeling fliers which - no offense - aren't known to have the strongest wings." he says with,... was that a diss? Hard to be sure.
"In any case, yes. I'll be going there in person. You're welcome, by the way."
Hmmm, onyx leads his parade of foals to find the bat.
This is actually pretty easy. He is right by the carriage Onyx was at earlier>>123118
He narrows his eyes
“Just don’t come back mumbling about demons, or with arrow wounds from the wildlife”
And he twitches
"Demons? Heavens no" he waves his hoof dismissively. "But they may come out mumbling about me." he says, hiding his confusion about the reference to 'the wildlife'. "So then, to the explosives? Oh wait, one moment." He pokes his head in the carriage.
"Hallo Jungs. Interessiert an einem Mord?"
Onyx stares at the clinically insane
bat as he goes about his business, waiting for his turn to speak
Zu Lang nods, and even smirks at Brie’s boast
Looking into the carriage, a grey earth pony lays in one side and a brown one on the floor, sharing the same quilted blanket. They look up to the bat with a look of mostly concern
Fun: “Solange wir es nicht sind”
The two small ersatz foals come close in curiosity while Ruby keeps a little more distance, looking on from behind Onyx
Onyx pats the colt's head>>123123
Onyx clears his throat
"Brie, I'd like to speak to you. Now"
The colt, with a look almost of a frightened deer on his face, is pat. His ears eyes close in the pat, but afterwards he smiles a little >>123126
Yes. Both near the carriage
Oh, splendid. One moment.>>123124
"Ich meine, bist du bereit dafür? Wie geht es deinen Wunden? Oh, ähm, denk einen Moment darüber nach.">>123127
"Yes hello! What can I help you with?"
"Yes, I'd like to know how much longer we will be here. I've probably already lost my job by now, and I'm not keen to stay here."
Fun: “ Ich werde einen Mantel brauchen, um sie zu verstecken”
Seb: ”Sie sind besser. ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob ich versuchen möchte zu fliegen.”
"Neither am I to be quite honest. Its far too rural for my taste. I had hoped this might be over and done with by this point, but its a bit more... involved than I anticipated. Nothing a bit of high explosives can't fix though. I'd wager we can be on our way before sunrise."
"Good, the sooner the better."
[1d20 = 1]>>123130
Brie eyes them a bit. Can I roll to assess their battle-readiness? Not sure which modifier to apply, but rolling anyway.>>123132
"Do try to relax, this will be far more rewarding he means financially
Looking to Zu Lang. "Almost finished!" he says reassuringly.
These hardy creatures are ready to fight against anything
Zu Lang nods slowly, his lips pulled back a little
"Oh, it will be fine. Would you like to join in on the murder?"
Pic related >>123137
He continues looking back, as do Seb and Fun from within the carriage
Brie can't help but fist pump at this, before turning to Zu Lang and proclaiming: "Lead the way to the high explosives!"
Dare I say, quote of the week?
This.... actually more or less works.
“Very well. We keep them in a hut nearer the town”
Zu Lang starts to walk away, and first the nearby Changeling accompanies him, then another standing further away. They walk towards the ramp, and soon enough go over it, then down the roadway by the railroad tracks that goes towards the direction of the town, alongside the pit. A cold wind from the north blows down, reducing the temperature
Zu Lang speaks to a guard
And he goes off.
They walk further down the road until the reach and area where the rail tracks fork off, and the road goes up a hill into town. Not far down the road is a fenced in area. One of the guards pulls out a key, and goes towards a gate on the fenced in area. Then a unicorn, kind of a mint green color, walks up along with the guard before. With a glow of blue magic he pulls the keys out of the Changeling’s own glow. The Changeling looks back in irritation, but the unicorn pulls a different key on the ring, placed it in the lock, and rotated it, unlocking the gate. As he pushes it in he looks back to Brie
“Hello. I’m Saltpeter. What can I do for you?”>>123141
It just might be
Brie looks at this Saltpeter, then at Zu Lang, then back at Saltpeter. "Well, since you asked, I will be in need of one,... better make it three charges of explosives, small enough to be carried by one or more individuals without overloading them. One or more of these charges will need to be carried in flight, so not too
heavy, but big enough to 'get the point across'" Brie replies with a sweet smile.
He pushes the door open
And walks through
Looking inside there are a couple small igloo shaped buildings with doors close the ground. Like concrete eggs stuck partly in the ground.
“For most of the bigger charges we use AMFO. Just regular bags of Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer mixed with diesel, the sane we use for the trucks. But if you want something a bit easier to carry, you may want dynamite charges. We use these for smaller charges and to ignite the AMFO.”
He runs towards one of the huts, and pulls out a different key
How big are these concrete partial-eggs?
"How heavy is this AMFO?"
No bigger than 20 feet across, perhaps less.>>123146
“Well, it is made of pellets, so as much as you put in a container or a hole in the ground. It comes in bags of 55 pounds”
Nevermind, I thought the egg-things WERE the explosives
"Hmmm. And you say dynamite is the activator? I assume that flame is the dynamite activator?"
Gleefully, he starts to open the egg, to show an inside with bags and sticks
“We usually use an electric detonator, but you can use fuses as well, yes”
"I think flame would be preferable,... easier. Alright. Let me think,...."
He again thinks for a moment, with that curious tilt of the head.
"I'm thinking 2 20lbs charges, and 1 50lbs charge."
He looks back at Brie, the smile coming off for a moment
“In... dynamite? That’s 90 pounds...”
"Well not in one
charge, of course." Brie says as though the pony isn't grasping his meaning. "Three of them. 2 at 20lbs, and 1 at 50. You have those, yes?"
“Well... that’s about 200 sticks...”
He digs deeper into the igloo
"Oh, and enough fuse to make the detonation somewhat delayed. A minute each should do fine."
He comes out with around six or so packs of nine sticks. It’s not clear exactly how much explosive he’s holding, and it’s certainly not three sets either
“Let me grab some pre-mixed AMFO”
He goes back in
"I assume the fuses are summarily bundled together? This seems suited otherwise."
He gives Brie two smaller white bags and a bigger one
“Yes, these should have fuses. And what doesn’t have a fuse will detonate when other explosives next to it are detonated”
"Marvelous. Thank you Mr. Peter, do forget our exchange, it will likely be less consequential if you do." Brie turns to Zu Lang. "I think I'm suited. I'll need to coordinate with my associates, and I'll also need a bit of an inkling of which direction we would do to set off in,... not all of us are capable of flight, but rest assured," he says patting the bundle of explosives ||seriously hoping its not like 19th-century dynamite|| "This will do nicely." ^_^
“These better not be used against our mine or forces”
Zu Lang says, almost through his teeth
“If they are getting to our mine and to the town, they must cross through these local woods, even if they do not use a base anywhere near here. In any case, you may do well to take some of our
soldiers with you. They know something of the area.”
"Sir, you wound me, suggesting I would betray your hospitality - not to mention the Queen's good graces - with shenanigens. No, these will be put to good use on whoever plagues you."
He deliberately doesn't respond to the offer of assistance.
“Very well. Be on.”
He directs a gendarme soldier over towards Brie, however
Brie rolls his eyes and proceeds to lead(?) back toward Onyx, Sparks(?), and the 4 lings (both adults and jungetiere). He seems quite chipper, carrying a pile of high explosives.
And so he does. It’s a pretty big load, surely helped by a companion carrying most of it. Saltpeter waves bye
Onyx looks up to the returning bat
Laden with dynamite. "Don't worry, I've got a plan!" he shouts, his eyes barely peeking over the pile of explosives he's carrying.
Few more dangerous phrases exist than “I’ve got a plan”
And this one is no exception
"Oh celestia is this how I'm going to die?"
Yes. Yes it is, little pony
Alright. So, Brie is going to rig the explosives at a ratio of 2 - 2 - 5. As he does this, he will have gathered everyone involved and will explain (in his not-so-sufficient explanation manner) that he will be carrying the 50lbs charge, and that 2 others should carry one (or both?) of the 20 lbs charges. The objective is for him to fly up to a great height and then glide, surveying the forest to attempt to ascertain the location of the insurgents. Throughout this explanation he would lament that they have no communication, but whatever. Assuming Onyx doesn't want to carry any explosives (an educated guess) he would then ask Fun and Seb to each carry one of them. The objective would be to either A., blow the fuck out of the insurgents, B. blow the fuck out of their resources, or C. blow up any essential roads, landscape, or essential travel lines, with the intent of crippling the insurgents' ability to engage in shenanigens. As he is detailing this he emphasizes "This will be a bit of an on-site interpretive mission, so feel free to get creative. Also, if you can, try to gather heads to bring back." in his usually nonchalant way of communicating grim things as though detailing groceries to be acquired.
Each charge should have about a 1 minute fuse to it, so that should he decide to light a fuse and then drop it from altitude, or should someone else decide to set a fuse and then run, they won't(?) get blowed up too
And so, the creatures what to do when they locate the insurgents.
Locating them... That's the matter that remains
I'm confused. I issued that as, not a directive, but an indication of what Brie had concocted.
Well, I assume he communicated at least part
of that to Seb and Fun. The "hold this" part. But now Brie may go to the next step in his plan
Yes, thats true, but the plan involves Onyx' participation too. Its not JUST a bombing run after all
Not to mention, Sparks has been unrepresented so far. Where's he at?
It's also a stabbing run. Onyx is good for that
Any actions for Brie before Onyx comes back? (talking to other creatures or otherwise?)
Spark talked to Zu Lang himself, who directed him towards a prisoner who was suspected of sabotaging his machine. Spark talked to him, and now has the prisoner in chains before a Lieutenant outside of the mine
At this point, all thats left is refining the plan and making sure everypony knows what to expect,... which is either Brie coming back with recon (he is a rogue after all) or blowing shit up.
Are there ponies tonight?
Hello Spark pony! Did you read what happened in the thread last night?
Something about Brie blowing something up.
Not yet, but all in good time
It might actualloy work with my plan.
Does Spark have any actions to declare?
I think I will wait until everyone is ready to play again. My actions are going to determine the fate of the prisoner rather quickly, because if I play around, the guards would call it out and return him to the cell.
Too bad there are never ponies when I can play.
It's okay, little pony, You'll have an opportunity soon enough
Lets do this thing yeah!!!!!!
Kek, that's a cute drawing
Adrian Cloudburster finds himself in Baltimare on midday, his train arriving one half hour late. Exitting the train car, he finds ceiling of vaulted square panels recessed into the roof with golden color, a tile flooring with checkered and swastika patterns, and a newsstand further on. There are a number of ponies walking about, some lazily, some standing still, waiting no doubt for an arriving train, and some pegasus in business outfit running towards the platform, presumably to catch his train.
Where does Adrian want to go now?>>123217
Hi Spark Pony!
I jump over the crowd and fly to my train
Well, his train has just arrived.
It's a stainless steel Pullman coach car pulled by a not quite so modern 4-6-4 steam locomotive, the steam of the idling train slowly bathing the platform in a thin mist
I'm going to think up a new character to join him.
I settle into the train car, brashly pushing past people so I can find a spot to sit, being tired from getting here>>123222
I mean I fling myself off the train and fly out, stretching my wings after such a long ride
"home sweet home" I say as I take flight, rising above the station
I head towards my best friends house, sunny rays. smiling in the cool breeze
This is rather difficult to do inside
the station, as it is still an enclosed space. Nevertheless the ceilings are 20 feet high or higher, making flight indoors possible, though Adrian annoys a mare whose black hat almost flies off as he nearly grazes her. Stepping down to go through brass trimmed revolving doors, Adrian exits onto a stone landing at the top of many steps that lead down to the street level - Ionic columns to either side giving a neoclassical build to Baltimare Union Station.
Taking off from the steps, adrian soars higher over Baltimare. It is not a city of many high rises, though the insurance building and the offices of the Tall Sails Shipping company do indeed tower twenty or so floors above the ground level. Far more numerous are smaller buildings with shops on the ground level and apartments above. So too are their rows of townhouses to the west, and tenements to the east. In the north and in the east, the brick walls of factories, mills, and smoke stacks break the monotony, and further east - perhaps out of sight - Adrian may catch a glimpse of a mast of two of a ship in harbor>>123225
Further south, and a bit west, the urban sprawl gives way to smaller lots of individual houses. Some, older and colonial in origin. Some, cheap shotgun shacks made more recently
I head towards the the smaller houses where my bestie for life lives <3
Navigating across streets not quite familiar enough to be comited to memory, over a School house, a tan stucco sided post office, past a lot selling automobiles, and past the gleaming dome of a Temple of Boreas, Adrian finds the location.
Down a street carved in the new grid patterned style, until he comes upon one running diagonally too it. An older street. And past so many little pink houses of a singe story, Adrian comes upon a triangular lot with a willow tree in the fore, and a white, colonial style two story house, with a raises porch, as is typical of that style
I land on the porch and clear my throat before I begin banging on the front door in a panic
"HELP HELP I'M BEING ATTACKED BY HERETICS SAVE ME!"
Sunny rushes to the door and opens it.
*prances past her laughing*
A stallion walking his dog, a reddish collie, stands still and looks over for a moment from the side walk. After three seconds pause, he turns his head away and trots away. Quickly
"Why do you always do that? One of these days it won't be a laughing matter."
She pouts a little.
*he baps her gently on the nose*
"I'm sorry I just love how quickly you rush to my defense. Keep it up and one day I'll be in your debt from your amazing magical power!"
"I wouldn't call my magic amazing. But thanks. Do you want to come in?"
Sunny Rays can feel it now. A dark wind blows across the horizon, bringing with it a future of godlessness, where the gods of old and their worship are swept away, and with them, their awe and justice >>123235
For a winter’s day, the weather is fairly pleasant. In the 60’s
I sit in her living room and stretch my wings
"So how have you been Sunny? I missed you" :3
The wooden floor makes a "knock" with each clop of the hoof across it, and Adrian Cloudburster makes his way to a floral patterned love seat to sit. The living room is a bit warmer than the outside, owing to a fire in the fireplace
"I missed you too. I have been having a really bad feeling lately. I can't quite put a hoof on it though."
well thank god for the fire in the fireplace that's on fire>>123240
"Oh? what kind of feeling?"
"It's hard to explain. Like Celestia's warmth is gone from ponies' hearts. Everything seems a bit darker than before."
Oh, it's been souring for a decade now. The revitalization that flowed out from Ponyville and filled much of the rest of Equestria - or the planet, for that matter - did not penetrate so far here. Like light blotted out by a dense thorn bush.
Adrian gets a bit worried, he likes to tease sunny but he trusts her with these sort of things. Her knowledge of the divine was unmatched in his opinion.
"What can we do?"
"I'm not sure. I guess I will just do what I can to keep the spirit of Celestia alive in my heart and share that with ponies."
She shakes off her sadness.
"I don't want to dwell on it though. You are here now and that is making my day that much brighter. What have you been up to?"
"went north and got into fights mostly, won some sweet prize money. Oh and I got you something"
He digs in his saddle bag and produces a book of divine hymns for celestia
"Oh thank you Adrian!"
She eagerly looks through the book.
She gives him a hug.
"You are the best."
"I hadn't seen it in your collection and I figured you'd like it"
"Hey what's say we head to the church and ask if anyone needs some help? maybe that'll make you feel better from all this darkness talk"
"Yeah. Sounds like a good idea."
She jumps up and heads to the door.
*walks behind her with a small grin on his face, glancing at her flank*
Past more little pink houses, along a grid line street that cuts through older streets, and past a new elementary school, there stands in a lot truncated by a newly constructed bowling alley a church. Made of darker stone covered by a white marble on the front, and with rectangular support that protrudes from an otherwise mostly rectangular structure. A rectangular stone bell tower stands up from above the vaulted slate roof. The building looks older, much older, than what has built up around it, like something from the old Equestria
>>123251Sly. You can get her after the adventure. Wouldn't want to ruin the GM's fun.
She is oblivious to the looks, for now.>>123252
Sunny heads to the church door.
>>123253No no, let's see where this goes
Openning the door, there is no pony inside at the moment, put so many rows of pews before a central altar, and another row to the left, and the right, with a door further behind. The ceiling has a vaulted design, and the floor is covered in white marble
Adrian walks in beside her, brushing against her flank
"Wow empty today I see, should we look for someone?" int 9
She blushes a bit, but shakes off the brushing.
"Sure. Let's check inside first."
She attempts to open the door.
The door opens easily.
From the door in the back of the church, a somewhat older stallion - a white unicron - walks out, wearing a vest of white, black and trimmed in gold. Sunny Rays recognizes the Stallion as Father Caldera
"Oh, nice to see you Sunny Rays. You brought a friend?"
"Good to see you too, Father. This is Arian. The colt I have been friends with since I was a little filly."
"wow I didn't know he was your father">>123258
He reaches out a hoof towards Adrian, holding it up high enough it seems as if he may pat, rather than shake the hoof of, Adrian
"Well nice to meet you, Adrian. Your friend here has been a very good pony">>123259
He lowers his hoof an now shakes Adrian's hoof
"We don't get too many ponies this time of week. What brings you here?"
"I have been feeling bad, Father. I need to do more for the Church. Ponies just don't have the light of Celestia in their hearts anymore."
He goes silent for a moment, and looks at Sunny Rays. Then he nods his head
"Yes, I know. Over in the city center a church was vandalised today. They broke the windows and spray painted the walls. It's terrible what hatred has been stoked up. And even among my own herd I fear for one of them. Gambling debts may get to him..."
"surely there's a way to help? we can't just give in to despair" :c
"Stay strong, and fight against the darkness. There are many ways to help, and many who need help">>123266
"Oh yes. Not all ponies have great strength of will. Some fall into vice. Addiction even. And they borrow money from less than ethical types"
"Yeah! maybe we can lead him back to the light!"
Adrian ruffles Sunny's mane
"Oh it's uh..."
He looks around, down then up and around and back to Sunny Rays again, and sighs
"I guess I may as well tell you. All the wrong ponies know anyways, and his habit is well known in the community. Three Leaf Clover. He's a good pony inside. He knows he needs to kick the habit. But he's already ensnared deep in debts"
"Sounds like he needs an intervention. We are going to go talk to him and find out what we are looking at in terms of his debt."
"so we have to make him stop gambling but what about his debts, couldn't he get hurt?"
"Yes, he certainly could. These are not the ponies at the bank he owes money to. Though I wouldn't want to owe money to them either"
"Well I may not be one of those fancy College ponys what with a degree and all, but I'm mighty good at punchin stuff, so I aint scared"
Calmly, he nods
"You may need to be, to help this poor fellow"
"Oh dear... we better hurry Father. Where might we find this poor pony?"
"He's on 14 Carnival"
He answers with concern
"Of course I don't like to give addresses of church goers, but he needs help I can't give"
"Don't worry Mr. Rays, we'll save him!" >:3
*stamps my hoof firmly*
"Thank you Father. And may Celestia's will be that we succeed."
She looks over to Adrian>>123280
"Let's get going. We have to hurry."
She gallops out the door.
"May you protect this lost foal, separated from the herd"
"Thank you sir, we wont let you down!"
*gallops after her*
Travelling down the street, through a commercial area, and branching off to a new, grid-patterned street, the buildings are closer together. despite being only a few decades old they look worn out, sometimes with decaying or chipped paint. Other times the houses are brick. Sometimes there is a yard, sometimes only a brick patio, but usually there is a small, green curtilage around the house.
34 Carnival is a small, rectangular house with a steep, tin roof, and a wooden exterior painted in a weathered red. The small patch of grass surrounding is high, though not quite up to the elevated, grey painted wooden porch. A black door stands between two low windows
“You never told me ur dad ran the church”
Sunny cautiously approaches the house.>>123285
"Oh, not my father silly."
"He is just called Father. He leads the church like a father would."
No contact from within. Further off in the distance, there is the sound of a barking dog. But the house is silent, save maybe for a slight wind from the northwest, moving around the right side of the house
*hangs his head in shame*
"Jeez I musta made myself look pretty stupid back there, why do you hang out with me"
Let us hope Adrian can make up for looking stupid by doing something cool later
"No. You are perfect Adrian. I just didn't explain it to you in my rush. That was my fault."
She hugs him.
"And I hang out with you because you are the pony I can trust the most. Now, let's save this pony and then I will make it up to you."
She turns back to the house and tries the door.
"I hope we aren't too late."
She knocks for good messure.
"Hello? Is anypony there?"
"tap on it a few times, lets see if he answers"
Once more she knocks.
"Three Leaf Clover? This is Sunny Rays. I'm from the church. I want to make sure you are doing ok.">>123293
"Can you look around the house and see if he has another way in? I have to know if he is home."
For a moment, nothing.
But then..... There is a sound of a lock coming undone, and then the door cracks open, held from opening by a door chain. Through the cracked opening a blue eye looks out
"What is it? Everything's fine"
"Mr. Clover, I have heard about your situation. We want to help. We are going to make sure nopony hurts you while we find a way to get you out of your debt."
He seems to move around, moving his head to where the other eye looks out, looking another direction
"You say it's.... it's the church who sent you?"
"Yes. Father Caldera is worried about you."
"Well then.... who else is out there?"
"Just my friend. He is going to make sure no pony hurts you. I'm going to plan a way to get you out of this trouble. Nopony should have to fear like this.">>123301
A pause for a moment. Then the eye moves away, and there is the sound of still another lock being undone
The door opens quickly, though only most of the way. revealing a grey earth pony stallion
"Get in. Hurry!"
Sunny hurries inside along with Adrian.
*scoots in quickly behind her*
"bein a bit overcautious aren't you?"
When Adrian (presumably) comes inside, he immediately looks around outsidde, closes the door, and proceeds to deadbolt the door, lock the standard lock, and slide in the door chain.
The room is not terribly large, with a coffee table, a couch, a love seat, a small table that seems to be a sort of dining table pressed up behind the love seat, and to the left of that is a sort of kitchen area. There are paper bags on the coffee table, a couple articles of clothing on the floor, a pervasive smell of cigarettes, and pots on the stove
The grey earth pony stallion has a black shirt that covers only his forehalf, and a three leaf clover cutie mark
"Okay... What is it you want? Be quiet about it though">>123306
"No" He says, not quiet looking back before going to the love seat, leaving the main couch for Adrian and Sunny Rays
"We want to help you Clover. Just who are you in debt to?"
He pulls his lips up, exposing his teeth in an awkward smile
"Certain.... ponies. Mostly they are ponies, anyways...."
"tell us more man we can help"
"There is no judgement for past deeds if you repent from them Clover. You don't have to hide it. If you are honest, then we can help you."
"I kind of.... borrowed some bits from the mafia. And then borrowed some more bits from the mafia. And sort of haven't paid it back."
"See I aint so good at math but that don't sound like a good idea"
Rubbing the back of his neck
"A few hundred bits... And I'm already past an extension...."
"That's alot, why'd ya do it?"
"Well ya see there's this place down on Arabian Avenue that's got this back room where there's blackjack tables. I'd go there once a week but last march - I started winning. And I mean like, big winnings. A hundred bits a night. The mare's would come up to me. I found a rhythm to it. I could guess what card the dealer'd pull next. You shoulda' seen me then. Now I don't know if they changed somethin' but I didn't quite pull it off in the late spring. One of the tables was different. I don't know if they were doin' something sneaky. But I wasn't quite winning like I was before. But, let me tell you, I wasn't losing either. More modest gains, you know. I had some expenses too, back then, you know. So I did it some more, and well, I still had my groove. Then came september. Oh.... September. One night and it was gone. So I tried again. Didn't quite work. Borrowed some money. This was about the time I told Father Caldera and he said I had a gambling problem. I tried to explain to him 'no, I don't have a gambling problem, I have a losing problem, and I didn't have this before.' So I went to a new place because I think they rigged something there, and what do you know. I lose more! So I borrowed more and tried again. And I had a great night! And another great night! And then.... lost more. Anyways it's been a couple months and I am completely out of money and then some"
"Any ideas Sunny?"
*looks over at the mare, sad he can't punch this problem away*
"Gambling can ruin a pony's life Clover. You need to be wiser with how you use what Celestia gifts you.">>123318
"Well, I think we are going to have to confront the mafia. We can only offer so much, but hopefully with some talk and some muscle, we can get them to forget the debt. It won't be worth the trouble."
"So... what do you think Clover?"
"Anything that'll keep them away from me"
"Then I will just need one thing in return."
"Well it's uh.... It's Nickel and Dime I owe money to. On 74 Old Cross.">>123323
He looks up, concerned
"If it's money, I don't have it"
"Ok see that's something I can punch >:3">>123319
"Just so long as I'm not the one getting punched"
He turns his head somewhat
"I am going to need you to go to the church and apologize to the Father."
"Yes a good idea, you need to repent!"
*whispers* "did I say that right?"
His muzzle is tight together in a scrunch
"Mmmm - Mmmm"
*gets annoyed at his hesitation*
"Stamps both hooves on the floor and spreads my wings wide"
"REPENT SINNER, WE HAVE COME TO SAVE YOU BUT CELESTIA HELPS THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES IF YOU DO NOT REPENT YOU WILL BE IN AS MUCH TROUBLE IN LESS THAN A FORTNIGHT, YOUR SOUL DAMNED AND YOUR LIFE IN TATTERS! REPENT! REPENT!"
"The Father is experienced in helping ponies change their lives and getting back on their hooves. Celestia believes in second chances and so do we. If you don't do this, you will wind back in this same situation, but we won't be able to help the next time."
He falls down to the ground, tries to inch back, places his head against the ground and places both forelegs over his face
"Alright! Alright! I repent! I repent!"And a visit from Best pony for the GET
Well, he's sulking on the floor now. Fallen under the weight of his own vice.BLUE SKIES IS BEST PONY AND SHE WILL LET YOU KNOW IT
*leans over and whispers*"I read that in the book I gave you, I dunno what most of those words mean maybe you should say something"
Sunny walks over.
"It will be ok Clover. Just go to church and we will make it all better.">>123337
She pats his head.
"I'll do it! I'll do it!"
He is still cowing on the floor, occasionally trembling
"Good. Then there is nothing to worry about.">>123337
"Ready to go Adrian?"
*begins to head to the door*
"We should hunt these guys down and persuade them to stop being dicks"
"Just... make them keep away. Solve it. Please."
"First we have to offer to solve it the peaceful way. Though something tells me that they won't be so rational."
She follows Adrian out the door.
"Peace means having a bigger stick than the other guy, but I'll follow your lead."
*cracks his neck*
They go out, and are on their way. Despite the changes in buildings they are not very far from Sunny Ray's house. Yet they go further still, through the center of town past commercial district, into an area of shops to 74 Old Cross. They come into what seems to be a restaurant and bar>>123346
*I put my hoof out to stop Sunny*
"Hey promise me if it gets bad you'll get out fast, I don't want anything happening to you"
"Hmm... do you think he meant this place?"
Sunny heads closer to the restaurant.
It's not a bad establishment. There is a new sign over the door, the Fall Harvest, and a dark brown lacquer over the exterior. Going inside, there is a bar off to the left and seating over to the right
She looks around for somepony that looks to be the boss, most likely surrounded by some goons.
No one immediate, instead a mare of a whiteish color and orange mane comes up in a black jacket.
"Can I serve you today?"
I am being ignored and I do not like it
"Not now, but thank you. We are looking for somepony.">>123355
What? What's wrong?
I PUT MY HOOF OUT TO STOP SUNNY AND HAVE A FUCKING MOMENT BEFORE SHE WALKED INTO THE GOD DAMN BUILDING
I'm sorry. I missed that post. I honestly didn't mean to.
"I promise Adrian."
She kisses his cheek.
"Just promise me you will be careful if you do have to fight."
"Aw shucks u know I can kick a bull through a wall..."
*he paws the dirt*
"These ponies might have guns though. They aren't in it for honor either. Don't let them make a move."
She steps closer.
"Nothin will happen to me I promise, I'll kick the guns out their hands and knock em over with a gust of my mighty wings"
*he puffs himself up as he says this and spreads his wings out*
"Alright big guy. If you say so."
She smiles and stares into his eyes for a moment.
*he bites his lower lip and stares down at her*
"You remember when we were kids and I couldn't fly and I wasn't good at school stuff and the other kids would make fun of me, so you told em off and stuff?"
"Of course. What about it though?"
*breathes deep, he can smell her she's so close*
"I started getting strong then, because I always wanted to be the one who protected you"
"You always have, haven't you? If I didn't know better, I would have guessed Celestia herself sent you."
*takes a step closer*
"I aint one of them smart stallions what can talk with pretty words, but I've always cared about you, I just always wanted to be good enough for you"
The off-white mare with the orange mane looks outside
"Would you two lovebirds care for a hayburger? How about a drink?"
"Good enough? But Adrian, there is nothing that you have to do to prove yourself. You have always been perfect in my eyes.">>123373
*he gulps nervously and then goes in for a kiss*
*kisses her deeply, relishing every moment that he's waited for for so long*
She wraps her forelegs around his neck as she slightly moans into the kiss.
*He wraps his wings around them both as he enjoys the sound of her moan*
A mare walks by with her foal. Her foal starts looking at the sight, before the mare covers her foal's eyes with her wing, and pulls him away
She runs the frog of her hoof along his face, breaking the kiss for just a moment.
"Oh, Adrian. I love you."
"I love you too Sunny, we should probably continue on though I think we're causing a scene..."
She again meets the off-white mare, now smiling
Sunny smiles a bit awkwardly.
"Can you help me? I am looking for somepony that I hear might be here."
"Well I'm just the server. Who are you looking for?"
"Nickle and Dime."
She wonders the kind of reaction she will get for this inquiry.
The smile immediately leaves her face, to something harder
"What do you need them for?"
"It is business of the church to try to get somepony out of crushing debt the best we can."
She raises eyebrows at Sunny Rays
"The pony effected attended the church of Celestia. It is my duty to try and set this pony on the right path, which means wiping the slate clean of his debt, lest he be tempted to return for more."
Her head is lowered towards her
"And how will you be 'wiping the slate clean'?"
*takes a defensive position next to her*
"Paying what I can and asking the rest be forgiven."
Hmmm.... roll a diplomacy check
Do you want to attempt intimidation?
*I step forward and Puff my chest out*
"IT WOULD BE IN YOUR BEST INTEREST TO CONSIDER IT"
She is not impressed with Sunny Ray's words, or rather, is concerned. But with Adrian's words...
"I'll... see what I can do"
She goes off, out of view
A midnight blue Unicorn Stallion wearing a black jacket comes storming out
He removes glasses with purple magic
"What the hell are you doing here?"
mlems all the cute ponies
Yeah. Silver's gonna look through all the drawers and cabinets in the room he's in.
The room has at least six cabinets and drawers. Opening them, Silver can find several batches of medical supplies and equipment. Iodine, Aspirin tablets, IV bags, Saline solution, empty hyopdermic needles, a metal drawer filled with a number of tools such as scalpels and forceps, surgical masks, latex gloves, rubbing alcohol, cold packs, bandages, needles and threads for surgical sutures, splints, rubber and cloth tourniquets, cotton balls and cotton swabs, penicillin and a few other anti-biotics, tongue depressers, and a number of other items not necessarily recognizable. There is a small array of vaccines for typhus, typhoid, diptheria, and even tuberculosis. Little glass bottles labeled as antidotes for two species of snake, some venomous creature that lives in the bay, and even manticore, can be found in another drawer. There are boxes claiming to have color coded tests for the presence of certain bacteria and viruses, or certain drugs collected by various methods. A drawer has orthopedic slings, ostomic pouches, diapers and douches. A corner has a couple walkers. Ontop of the counter, between drawers and cabinets, is an oven that seems to be for sterilization, and there are two sinks, as well as a tube rack with two test tubes. One cabinet is locked, and full of what appear to be medicines
Can Silver see what kinds of medicine are in the locked cabinet?
Yes and no. The medicines are in white bottles, transparent glass bottles, visible through a glass or plastic upper part of the door and above what looks like a stainless steal bar across the bottom. There are two levels of medicines. Some has readable labels, some do not. Among those legible are painkillers like morphine, oxycodone, and even diamorphine. There are a couple labeled as tranquilizers. And perhaps most interesting of all, there are bottles that appear to contain magical potions - though these are not identifiable from visible labels, but rather from mint green and pink-purple color
[1d20+2 = 4]>>123437Strength
: Considering this to be better than nothing, Silver attempts to bust the lock to the cabinet open with the pommel of his sword.
Silver's pommel simply bounces against the plastic-glass.
It seems that the door is made out of that composite of plastic and glass that high ranking mafia members use to armor their cars for its alleged ability to withstand even bullets. Whether or not it is actually that tough, it's tougher than normal glass
"...Fuck." Silver stares degectedly at the cabinet, having been foiled and thinking himself unable to open it.
It's also worth noting that Silver's last attempt missed the lock off to the side, and instead landed closer to the center
[1d20+2 = 15]>>123441Strength
: "RAAAAH!" Silver tries smashing the lock again.
The lock is recessed into the side of the door (it's covered in stainless steel). Silver hits it this time, and does real damage. The lock itself seems to break and bend in, and the steel siding is bent. Some of the contents inside have shaken, and glass containers clink against glass containers. Nothing inside seems to have shattered or tipped over though.
Silver sees if he can open it, now.
Silver tore something loose, but just a little more force is necessary to pull it free
[1d20+2 = 3]>>123445Strength
: Silver grabs on, and pulls.
Silver pulls on the door....
But whether through faulty legs, or something on the floor, Silver slips and falls to the ground, his right two legs both sliding forward and hitting a cabinet as he falls onto his hind. There is a light "clang" sound though no sound of glass breaking. Jubilosa pokes her head through the door, rather dexterously from an extended neck.
Silver must look rather pathetic, on the ground like that. He slowly gets up.
She keeps her head poking through, moving occasionally in sudden, birdlike movement. The door slowly opens more as Mala slowly walks his way through, behind Silver
[1d20+2 = 9]>>123449Strength
: Once up again, Silver tries once more to open the cabinet.
Now, Silver rips something loose, and the door is forced open. There is another sound of glass clanking, but nothing seems to have been damaged in the process of breaking the door open
Silver now has a closer look at the potions.
It's a decent array of potions. Multiple healing potions - it looks like a couple vials of cure moderate wounds, maybe four of cure light wounds, two of delay poison, and one each of neutralize poison, magic fang, lesser restoration, and remove paralysis - give or take a vial or two. This is besides containers of more than one variety of opiate anesthetic, tranquilizers, and a single container of chloroform. There is also a cylinder of nitrous oxide
Silver takes it all, as well as the painkillers like the morphine.
As most of the containers are small there is not much concern for weight, though the dozens of vials constantly "clang" in his bag as Silver moves
Silver gathers all of the wounded party members together.
These are Iron, Silver himself, and midnight. Dark Star has a light wound, though nothing serious. None of the rescues nor Blue Skies have any injuries, though Jubilosa and Zwolf were injured before and given potions
Silver knows how badly wounded he's been, and how badly wounded Iron's been. What about Midnight?
Midnight suffered the worst of anypony in the big fight, but was healed in part, and also did not take part in the later fight against the two interlopers. She is wounded, but better off than both Silver and especially Iron
(~20 hp of damage, maybe 24 or so remaining. This is an imprecise estimate)
Let's put off distributing the potions for the moment. Is there anything else of interest in the room?
This particular room only has the aforementioned medical supplied and equipment across drawers and cabinets, mostly along a single wall, though with some on the opposite side
Silver sees what's in the other rooms in this area.
In another room on this side is what appears to be a very small office, with a desk, a chair, and a type writer. Papers show nothing interesting. On the opposite side is a closed room with a bed. The most interesting things in this room is an oxygen canister and a surgical drill
Is the surgical drill the only bit of surgical equipment in the room?
It is the only powered piece of equipment. There are, however, scalpels, lancets, retractors, pipettes, forceps, and clamps in a cabinet
Ah. The sight is slightly
less gruesome than I had imagined. What's inside the desk in the other room?
(And a few separate types of drill bits)
Note that the great majority of the equipment seems to be more recent that the building's last function as a poorhouse, with most of the drugs having dates within the last three years - though some has expired anyways. Some equipment, especially crutches, is much older though, either inherited or purchased second hand.
The desk is mostly empty, with only a few papers inside, such as requisition papers, medical and surgical records, notes, and a few birth and death certificates.
Hand written, and all of a medical nature. Some notes about triage on a number of wounded. A question of whether an unsuccessful attempt to treat a bullet wound should be transferred to a public hospital (answered in the negative) and the same question about treatment for cancer (answered in the affirmative). A question of whether excessive sleep deprivation may be resolved by means of stimulates - no written answer. A series of questions about what body parts may be disposed in the landfill, the bay, or even sewage. Answered with immediate skepticism towards the placement of any parts of corpses in trash or the harbor bay, though with some suggestion that cremated bone fragments may be spread in either trash or the harbor bay. Suggestion that blood and digested bone fragments may be disposed in sewage. Discussion and notes about what seems to have been a typhus outbreak in miniature, with suggestions to burn clothing, vaccinate, and treat for lice.
Discussion about harm to legs and claws/hooves by restraints and equipment, and treatment. Some actual notes on how to prevent death by blood loss on a claw that is caught in stamping machine, as well as notes on cheap, reusable prosthetics. A single note asking questions about the removal of skins - but this appears to be only the first page of a larger set of notes that has been cut off or is unavailable. An actually fairly long series of questions about Changeling draining and its effects - no quick description can be given because of the complexity of the subject, but the document doesn't seem to offer much in the way of answers.
Finally, there are notes on some specific way of cutting open the chest cavities of several kinds of creature while still leaving the creature alive, with particular detail taken to how to avoid death by blood loss. This one is several pages long and includes some drawings, as well as ways to make cuts or stabbings. It's almost like cuts of steak
Most of these discussions are disorganized scribbling on paper, mostly are one or two pages in length, some include drawings but most don't, and some visibly have multiple colors of pen with orange written next to and over-top of blue ink. Some are written solely in blue ink
The notes are mostly in blue ink, and seem to have primarily two handwriting styles. Responses, comments and answers are usually off to the side, underneath, or after sections of writting, and written in orange. Some of these are in one of the aforementioned two styles. But some are written in a very fine, careful calligraphy. And one set of notes, the very last set about vivisection, is written entirely in black ink with the careful calligraphy
"...why would these griffons need to open living being's chest cavity?"
Only Mala and Jubilosa are around to hear this remark. Jubilosa slowly
pulls her head out of the room
Silver puts the notes back.
Are there any other rooms?
Not as a part of the infirmary. But there is at least one more room on the other side of the hall on the second floor
Silver decides to check it out.
On the opposite side is a door with the plate over it falling off in part. It opens up to a small room less than 20 feet across that has some seats off to the left. To the right is a long glass window covered over on the opposite side with something like a curtain, and a door.
"Curious...what is room meant for?"
Silver tries the door in this room on the right.
The room Silver was in is a bit... faded. There were a couple chairs. Older, though the wall could have held more, and the walls were a faded white wash. The glass is cracked. Going through the door (unlocked), he enters a very new room. Tile floors, and tile half way up the wall until white wash, and some marks in the wall where something was removed. But it is what is there now that is most interesting. Two large machines, each with rolls of paper and presses. And a table with several books.
"Is this book press? Here?"
Silver inspects the books.
A book press does indeed seem to be exactly what it is. Looking at the books, they are all the same. Bound and covered in leather - or at least, it looks like leather. No markings of any kind on the outside
Is there anything inside them?
Oh yes. Yes there is. Here now, there is variance. Some have portions in Ponish, some are largely in a foreign language that is probably Herlandish, and some have both. But all
have some third language. A language not identifiable, and not sounding much like any speech of griffin, nor kirin or zebra. There are many creatures out there, and who can say what they speak or don't speak? But the harsh consonants and bizarre grammar of this alien tongue seem... wrong
.>>123483This leather, you can bet is
What do the Ponish portions say?
It's difficult to grasp the entire contents of a book in only a few minutes, flipping through. Yet a scanning read, and a few pages flipped here and there, gives a glimpse....
A wise griffin, a sorcerer or druid, named Vortigan, consults with spirits under moonlight. Using the mind as contact to something deeper... broader. Broad as the vastness of space. A tribe called the Maarverni, who found these secrets. Here is an illustration. It's like a giant statue of a griffin, made of sticks, wicker and twine. More than one griffin is inside, and another outside carries a torch. Another illustration of the location of stars, though these are not stars visible in the sky. Descriptions of shadows dancing across mist filled craters on the moons far side, whispering their wisdom to those hidden things that pass in black ether of space
"Maarverni...were these original worshipers of Maar, then? These must be books of worship, then."
Silver investigates the book presses.
A number of plates with lettering on them that rotate and press into ink, then onto paper. They are smaller than the printing presses of formal publishing companies and newspapers, yet still fairly large. Only black ink seems to be used, and there are plates off to the side that are not in immediate use but must rather be switched out. The press seems to be powered a black
coated electric cable that comes down directly from the ceiling and no through normal electrical outlets. It isn't entirely clear how the leather cover is added, but one of the machines has many pages in it
"Hmm...seems normal, I suppose, though I have never seen printing presses before. But why is window looking into this room...?"
From this side, it's completely covered up. They must not have wanted what is in this room to be visible into the other any longer. Over to the right is another door.
At this point, a couple of Silver's followers make their way in. Johann almost seemed to have smelled it, walking in and taking a look. Blue Skies, likewise looks around, becoming less interested when she sees the room is clear. And Mala walks in after the griffins, keeping his head low
He nods to the new arrivals to the room.
"Looks like they have been printing Maarist 'holy' books."
Johann is already staring down the presses. The room is dark and Johann is only barely visible in the light Silver uses to illuminate the presses. But his eyes gleam, and Silver can see the death stare he gives the presses, as he slowly walks closer, and looks down to the books on the table. He does not bother to pick them up. After a pause, he responds to Silver
"So they have"
Then he reaches out a claw towards a book, and four inches away, pulls his claw back
"All of this... must be burned. Kill it before it spreads. Metastasizes..."
Skies walks around, looking at other parts of the room, and is somewhat confused. She actually speaks before Johann starts
"Like a damned cancer spreading"
Silver looks at Johann and his reaction.
"You act as though merely touching the book would corrupt you...does Maar truly have that effect on Griffons?"
"No... Maar comes into the soul like a grub, or a termite, eating through wood. He never goes for where the soul is strong, and hard. Only where there are weaknesses. Cracks. Rot in the soul, finding his way through weak parts, his tendrils feeling about, eating and working their way in to eat it from the inside. Hollowing it out. Even those who seem to be strong of soul are sometimes corrupted. Maar takes particular pleasure in that. But he may do so only because, and only where, there are weaknesses to exploit.
In that way he is a vulture. Having not the strength of beak to pull apart the toughest flesh, but waiting for it to rot and soften.
But it is not fear of corruption that makes me revile those covers. It is what they are made of..."
The pony look down at the books, reexaminating them.
The covers are certainly hide, though at least partly tanned and may qualify as leather. They are light brown or tan color, often lighter towards the center. Silver cannot tell what animal or creature they are made from
Blue Skies reacts:
"What is wrong with these... creatures"
She seems to stumble over words for a moment, and looks to Johann
"It's like Hellsword all over again"
Johann narrows his eyebrows and looks over to Blue Skies for a moment, but stops just as quickly, and looks back to Silver
"I can't say for sure... But it is a good bet"
Anywhere else to be explored?
A single room in the back. But openning the door shows it to be another room of tile floor and half tile walls. A clean environment, like the surgery room. But whatever was in it has been replaced by a table with a device to cut leather, another to sew it, and a couple bindings on the table.
"Well, this is where they were bound..."
There's thread - it looks like normal thread - for sewing, and a Springer sewing machine. Johann again looks judgmental at the seen, and Skies even more visibly disgusted. Mala slowly walks around, sad and solemn
Silver pets the sad gnoll behind the ears.
The ears go back, then his mouth moves up to a kind of smile. But it goes back down, and he looks over to Silver.
"We haven't run into all of the Society's security yet... I think they must be upstairs. The Society at least. I don't know where their security is"
"This Society, it is where Maakie would be?"
"Maakie..." he looks away for a moment
"I think I know who that is. No. He was never a full member. Or didn't quite act like it at least. He did work for them. He would be with their security"
"Then he will still be in same area. Perhaps we might confront members of this Society at same time."
"I don't know if the Society wants that. Their leader wants to stay out of fighting if he can, or at least that's how it was in skirmishes with the gangs. I am not sure I would want to face all of them at the same time. They are strong. Very strong. Especially when together at the same time. All of us together were very strong when the soldiers came in. There were many of them. Not street gangsters, not police. Soldiers by the dozen. And we beat them back. Of course there were more of us back then. Now they only have the townies, and what is left of their 'security'."
"In all honestly, I could not care less about what society wants. They have not earned that privilege. What do you know, or think you know, about what they have at their disposal to fight with?"
"Well.... there is the head of the hired help himself, Maakie. He was in the military, or something. Or maybe he was a pirate. But he can fight and he still has a couple of his own employees. You killed most of them already I think, or disabled them. He hires zebras and gnolls. I was one of his. I was not a part of the society.
Then there is the society. We... well we... handled? Handled the heartlanders. They are not a problem now. It's only the townies. The townies will not be as willing to fight. The heartlanders fought so hard because they could be deported. No one wants to be deported. Especially not the heartlanders. So it was better for them to fight, and they did, and many of them died. But I don't want to talk about that...
Oh, right. The townies. The townies will probably be more cowardly. They may fight, I don't know. I would not be surprised if some of them have guns. They will surely be willing to use them if they know we handled the heartlanders. It's really their leader that is the most dangerous. The leader of the society, I think he is the founder. He is a townie. He has magical powers. And he has friends who have magic, or who are dangerous. I think there is a heartlander there who was something like a knight. There is another Kaftar I have seen in the townie group. They may be good fighters. The lesser members, I think, will have less reason to fight. But the leadership, they have their backs against the wall"
"Hmm...this will be difficult fight, indeed. We will need to prepare ourselves.
Mala silently nods, his brown eyes reflecting perhaps more than normal
"Those creatures you have out in the hallway. The hippogriff, the horse, the pony colt. What are they going to do?"
"I do not entirely know. I am...not very used to leading others in situations like this."
Mala twists his head left and looks at Silver, causing his left ear to fall down.
"But you lead us so far"
He smiles at him.
"It is first time in very long time."
He turns his head up and looks up at floof pone. Or he does so slightly, as his shoulders are about equal to Silver's, and only because his head hangs lower is Silver's head higher. But as he looks up to Silver, he says,
"I will follow you"
I hear rumors of playing tomorrow.
Are you free to begin today?
Yes. What does Spark do next? I don't recall if he went with Brie or not, but either way, the lieutenant is with the prisoner
I didn't see Brie yet. Can he be seen from outside?
Coming back? He would be at some point, for the reason that Spark at this point is not far from the ramp between the pit and the mill
I suppose if I can see him, I would head his way and listen in to his conversation. Can I glean anything from what I overhear?
A bizarrely sanguine tone of voice from Brie, Zu Lang saying something, and varied tones from Zu Lang ranging from taking offense to sounding defensive to serious talk. A couple words that can be heard are "explosives" from Brie and "insurgents" from Zu Lang
Spark is definitely worried to hear them talking about explosives. But he politely waits for their discussion to end before interrupting. He also looks around to see if they are heading to something that obviously might house said explosives.
It takes them a little time before they leave from that spot in the pit, but they eventually go up the ramp, and out of the pit, on the route that goes back towards the town
Spark decides that he better make explosives work with the light show. He looks for a spot to better servey the area, to plan the logistics of the unpredictable bat of destruction and his bomb surprise.
To the left (west) of the pit there is an area a few hundred meters wide with a paved road, a railway track, a clearing, and a little bit further north is processing facility. To the west of that is forest - pine and fir trees 70 feet or higher.
Spark decides he better check out the forest everypony is so concerned about this days. Perhaps Spark can use it to his advantage when the chaos breaks out.
Walking up the big stone ramp, Spark finds his way on a small dirt path that quickly merges with a small and somewhat damaged asphalt roadway partly covered in mud. Beyond that a few feet is a railway. Spark may be concerned by the train, with attached black steam locomotive and a few dozen open cars. But it's stationary for the moment, after moving backwards some feet. Beyond this Is an area of stumps, grass, and a few seedlings.
Further beyond this, the pine sea. Some of the trees seem to have damage to bark, or knocked down limbs. Most do not. Looking through the tree line the space between trees is mostly clear enough of brush and vine to allow movement below the trees. It's dark under the canopy. Not so much by the edges where the light bleeds through, but deeper into the trees. It's almost like twilight at midday in some areas.
Spark didn't expect a train. He carefully investigates.
Well, to begin with, where the train is. Is this a loading station? Just track? Why did it stop here?
The train goes along the track to an industrial facility. The facility itself has metal sheets on the exterior, at least one visible conveyor belt on the outside, and is fairly loud, making clanking noises. It's hardly a large factory or anything like that, but is still the largest building Spark has seen in the area. The track - it's a single track, goes underneath an over hanging part of the building covered in grey paint. The train backed up a little, but is now stationary, letting out some steam that turns a thick white in the cold air
Spark looks for anypony tending to the train.
Looking down both sides, it's hard to see any pony. But upon closer inspection, there are actually at least two. One is on the right side by the facility, looking forward towards the train. The other is hanging out of the locomotive itself
Spark observes them for a few moments. Perhaps they are loading the train.
As the train lines up, there is a wait of at least a couple minutes. But before too long, a stream of small rocks starts to fill into one of the black-painted steel hopper cars
The pony on the right seems to make signals, then goes closer to one of the cars. After a minute or so he moves over to the side, and watches the car slowly fill. The pony on the left gets out and looks at a car, then gets back into the locomotive. There is shouting, either from one to the other or to persons unseen
Though hijacking the train and leading the ponies out in a large escape might be the first thing that pops into my head, it is probably best I continue checking out the rest of the place. While the ponies are distracted, Spark crosses the track and continues to look around the forest, wondering why changelings fear it so much.
It isn't too
difficult to evade observation by the workers, given they are distracted or disinterested at the moment. Peering back into the woods, again, there is only so much grass and bushes on the forest floor. Most of it is covered in brown and decaying needles, pine cones, and in some instances bare brown earth, occasionally depressed by hoof prints, or with knocked down limbs. The first thing about the forest that is noticeable is also a contributing explanation to why it is so scary. Most of the space under the trees is non-distinctive from any other, and though you may see a hundred or more feet out, visibility beyond maybe a tenth of a mile, or even less, is non-existent in the dense woods. There are few landmarks, and it would be easy to get lost.
He doesn't go far, keeping the tracks within eyesight so he can head back, but he makes note that he can make this work to his advantage later. After some exploring, he walks back to the tracks.
Spark walks away from the trees, which sway with the north wind, and back towards the pit. Off in the distance a power shovel picks up rock and ore, and places it into the bed of a waiting truck. More processed ore falls into a now-different hopper
He walks along the track away from the train and workers, seeing where it may lead.
The track goes two ways. Towards the ore processing mill, and in the direction of town, though it splits and goes around town to the west, as Blackwood is up on the hill, and the tracks go around it. It always stays by the forest, though with a clearing separating them. In this section it is on the other side of the road which follows alongside the pit
I suppose next I will see about the town, and how far it is from the tracks. Perhaps this will come in handy.
Past where the tracks and road seperate, the track becomes a double track, goes on for a quarter mile or so, and there is a small train station, or at least a small building with an elevated wooden platform and a red tile roof next to the track. This is at the bottom of the hill Blackwood is partly built overtop of.
He sneaks to the building. Are there ponies in view?
Through a window in another room is one stallion, he looks like a railway attendant, who is not paying attention
Anything around the building of note?
In the train station? Not particularly. An inside section has a room with an attendant - aforementioned stallion - and a waiting room with some chairs. There are posters on the wall. One is a poster of a pony couple eating cotton candy on a Ferris Wheel, with the words in big red letters overtop - "Whinnyapolis State Fair - August 28 - September 8". This Poster is faded, and Partly covered over by a new, blacker themed poster of the close up of a Changeling Queen's Muzzle merging to look out over many Changelings, in uniform and not, standing at attention, who are placed above many ponies standing and dressed in varieties of mundane clothing. At the very top is "Chrysalis, Queen Mother Over All".
On the other side of the room is a poster of a streamlined Diesel Train travelling over a rocky bank, through wheat fields to the left, a lake over to the right, with a forest and a lone wolf visible over in the background. The text is "Ponytown Northern Railway - Serving Whinnysota"
He shrugs and goes for some conversation with the pony.
He pops up, like he's startled
He looks back to Spark. He's an elder unicorn of an approximately brownish color with an orange tinge
"Hi there. Didn't see you walking in. You looking to buy a ticket?"
I got no clue how many bits I have left.
"Where you lookin' to go? It's 10 bits into Whinnyapolis. 30 bits into Crystal City."
Brie has just collected a very large set of explosives from the mine after talking to Zu Lang. Spark should be there to meet up with
Alright then. Brie returns to the cart with,... lots of explosives, and I would emote a spring in his step to boot.
Brie finds himself followed in light step by another drone, also wearing what appears to be an officer's hat, with a black and white coat.
Opening the door to the cart, some miner ponies stop their work to watch him as he loads it in. So too do Seb and Fun seem impressed, or perhaps concerned, by the quantity of explosives
Brie busies himself rigging up the 3 charges (2 at 2/9 capacity and 1 at 5/9 capacity). "There! This should leave a hole." he says with a bit of satisfaction. He then looks for Sparks, as he's the only party member Brie hasn't checked in with. And the Lings, but they're not gonna want anything to do with this mission (not that Sparks is likely to either, but we'll see).
Seb and Fun have been following Brie, and watch him rigging up the explosives. Kerr and Wesley are with Onyx, presumably close by
So like,... the bombs will only go off if they're lit right? They're not made with nitro-glycerine, are they? Does Brie know? I don't wanna be that guy from Lost.
Don't worry, the nitroglycerin in the dynamite is mixed with dolomite. It can still "sweat" and cause headaches if you hold it, but only fire, high temperatures, and adequate electric shocks will cause it to go off
“I’ll take one for Whinnyapolis.”
I’m finishing this scene, then I will
"Alright." He looks down
"Ten bits" He looks back up
"Now you have to have an official Hegemony passport to travel on the rail"
“Ah. That was the other thing I wanted to talk to you about. Mine has expired and I need to get it renewed. Where is the best place to get that done?”
"Go to the office of Changeling police in town. The old police station, right across from the mining office, which is the biggest building up on the hill. Go down the road leading back in town and take a left. You can't miss it."
Spark heads out, but back to the pit.
Spark soon enough stumbles upon Brie packing.... something
into a cart >>123570 >>123568
"Ah Spark, how are you? Lovely day isn't it? The perfect sort of weather to blow things up with don't you think?"
“Umm.. hey there Brie. What are you up to?”
"Well, it seems that a number of these insurgents are hiding somewhere in the forest, and a protracted campaign of pressing them and vying for position sounds far too troublesome. I figured," and as he says this he presents the finished bombs "We could just strategically bomb the shit out of them!" ^_^
Spark ponders for a moment.
“Not bad. I would love to hear more of this plan.”
"Well there's not much to it at the moment. It involves me and either Seb or Fun flying in to gather recon, and then where we go from there depends on what we find. We might bomb them from the air, we might infiltrate a bit and make a more tactical strike,... it really depends."
“I interrogated a prisoner and might have an idea of what to do next. Not a great one, but an idea.”
"Technically, the plan could work with me flying in solo, but one never knows what one will find." He sighs. "This would have been so much easier if they had foal-napped somepony like I had hoped."
"Oh? Oh! There's a prisoner! That's marvelous! What did he say? Is he still alive? Has he been tortured? CAN he be tortured?"
“He has been tortured, but gave me all I need to know just by asking. However...”
Spark looks around.
“I might need more privacy to tell you the details.”
"I like the sound of this!" Brie looks around to find a secluded spot to converse.
There does indeed seem to be somecreature not far behind in probable listening range. It's the middle officer - the one Spark met before. He stands still and silent, though with an occasionally wobbly right foreleg. He stands there as the ponies go around to the other side of the cart, or perhaps deeper into the pit mine to talk in relative privacy
Looking at the officer, Brie the looks at Spark with a deadpan expression. "I'm gathering we should do this in the cart." :3>>123592
“Well, I found out the answer to the trouble, though not as satisfying as I had hoped. Turns out all of the issues that have been going on have been accidents due to parties or drunkenness. So even if we executed suspects, the problems will only manifest again. The lost ponies died swimming while intoxicated. The wounds the changelings had were celebratory gunfire gone wrong. The damaged equipment, just fooling around while out of their senses. Apparently both changelings and ponies in this area get wasted and party hard, which is allowed because the changelings think this will help morale.”
“So... we have a bit of a problem. There is no target we can hit that would stop this from happening. And even if we could crack down on it, which the commanders don’t believe is the truth, hence the torture while he was saying it, then productivity will grind down anyway. That said, I do have a plan...”
"Alright, I'm listening," Brie says, trying to not be disappointed at the idea that doesn't need to be explosions.
“I’ll need you to blow up the bombs rather close by in the forest to get everyone’s attention. Then, I’ll make an illusion of a monster, make him appear to smash something with a little more explosive, then make him vanish in the forest again. That will make them all believe that operations must cease here and they will move in actual troops to hunt through the forest.”
"So, you want to trick the lot of them into thinking there is a threat that requires full military support, so that the cause of the lack of productivity is revealed without us having to be the bearers of bad news?" Brie thinks for a moment. "You're sure this pony was sufficiently and thoroughly tortured?"
“Well, he might have been able to take a bit more if you did it right, but he seemed pretty drained of much of his will to live.”
"Under what circumstances were this pone captured?"
“Being suspected of being one of the terrorists they are looking for... because he dented a shovel.”
Brie runs his hoof across his forehead. "Thats horribly underwhelming."
“Well, I suspect seeing a monster will be more than enough to get them to change their minds.”
"Not really, to be honest. Let me get this straight: the productivity loss is due to drunken-ness and a lack of discipline, and the Changelings who are 'in charge' are afraid to send the truth up the communication lines?"
“Well, seeing as the pony that told them is being tortured to the point of hardly living, I would think they would want to keep south of that. And besides, the commander is stopping the chain of command himself, in order to save his own hide. So we have a choice to make, screw over the ponies and changeling grunts, or the high command.”
Brie smiles. "The high command it is! We'll still go with your plan, but it needs a little refinement to accommodate the new target."
“Sure thing. What do you suggest?”
"The queen isn't going to want to hear that we sleuthed the cause of the lack of productivity, the High Command is responsible for maintaining discipline. Its quite simple, they have failed in their duty. An example must be made."
"Well, its probably best to go ahead with your existing plan. For one, that will make an impression on the ponies in this town, and for two it will give plenty of distracting cover to acquire the bug in charge."
“Alright. Sounds good. Shall we begin immediately, or should we wait for closer to night to give them a good jolt?”
"The detonation of the bombs, is that to draw attention? I'm wondering if we can do that with just one bomb, rather than all three."
“Yeah. Just one, but closer so they believe all three went off. Then another on some structure for the ‘monster’ to destroy, then the last you can keep and do with as you please.”
Brie smiles. "Sounds good. So one at the entrance to the forest, one at a 'random' building, and one underneath the High Command? I'll get right on it."
“That might work, but then again, we need the command to report this as a monster and not terrorism. If they are dead, then they will assume the ponies or even changeling grunts are responsible.”
"I'm not planning on killing the whole
command, just the guy at the top. I'm also planning on taking credit for the kill when the time comes."
“Cool. When do you think the right time will be though?”
"Can you see in the dark?"
"Cover of darkness isn't going to help then. Hmmmm.">>123594
Is Zu Lang the head bug of the gendarmerie?
K, what time is it 'currently'?
Some time in the afternoon
Comparatively early nightfall because of the northern latitude and a little less than a lunar cycle after the Winter Solstice
"In that event, I would advise nightfall. Just before full darkness, where light is largely diminished but not vacant."
"No offense, but somehow I don't think this is going to go entirely according to plan. Having said, as long as I end up with,..." he glances around and then whispers the following "As long as I end up with Lang's head, this mission should be a success."
“Anything else we should do in case they don’t buy it?”
“How do we sneak the explosives by Lang?”
"Well its not ideal, but if we start blowing things up and they're not buying it, that will hurt our position. As long as the ponies are sufficiently panicked it shouldn't be an issue, I should be able to make somebug disappear in a crisis."
“Anything else before we start setting up?”
"Not really. These have a 1-minute fuse on them. I'm keeping the big one, but there's the two smaller ones. We'll need 2 units, one at the forest and one at the to-be-demolished building. Demolitions can be one of us, or we might get one of our Bug-friends to lend an appendage. I would prefer to not be setting the two bombs, so I can be close to Lang when they go off. Beyond that, I've got nothing."
“I think I can work with that.”
Spark gets to work setting up the explosives out of sight.
They are very big sets of explosives. The fuses are set, either by Spark or Brie
Spark stands near the forest, by the tracks, reay to cast an illusion.
The officer, before this standing still and stoically, comes to the cart, and knocks
Brie opens the door and steps out.
"Yes? Something I can help you with?"
From a quick look, it seems to be another officer of the Gendarmerie, though one lower ranking than Zu Lang. He blinks
"You are one of those allegedly sent by the queen, are you not? I met your partner, but not you."
"You'll have to be more specific, I have many associates." Brie smiles
"Your unicorn friend who asked the prisoner be brought out. But never mind him. I trust you spoke to Zu Lang?"
"Once, yes. I suppose I should update him on our plan for the insurgents though."
"So he told you his theory about insurgents then. What is it, pray tell?"
"I am First Lieutenant Drie Zwanzig. Zu Lang's Executive Officer"
He shakes a little in his right foreleg, but otherwise does not move nor inflect his words
"Very well. The plan is to engage arial reconnaissance until the target site is determined. Afterwards, to approach the site and bomb essential supplies/equipment and engage any hostiles. This insurgency should be over before dawn."
"Well I hope you have found something then. Have you found information from the workers or the drones?"
"Oh yes, I understand the prisoner you're keeping has been most,... reluctantly, helpful." Brie smiles.
"Well, he is still up at the top of the mine. I take it you will scout the forests for yourself?"
"Yes, we have enough preliminary intelligence to move off of. We're just waiting for nightfall."
"Very well. I can have a drone help guide you. We don't know where anycreature is in the forest... if indeed it is a creature. But we do have the location of where a patrol disappeared"
"I think we're fine with the preparations we've made so far."
"Really? In such a short time?"
The limited muscles on his face constraint much of his attempt to emote
"Very well. We shall see"
Will there be explosions?
We shall see, little pony
Maybe we can play some tomorrow.
I will be free tomorrow if there are ponies.
I shall watch if there are ponies.
All ponies in this thread are beautiful horses.
Where's Undertoe, in relation to Silver?
Behind, evidently. She did not come into the Printing room
Silver trots out of the prinint room to look for her, then.
She's there in the hallway. Towards the back. With an anxious looking White Sands, and Khoi and Jubilosa outside coming towards Silver
Silver looks to the approaching Khoi and Jubilosa.
"Is something wrong?"
Jubilosa makes a sound as if about to form words, opening her beak, but little comes out as she seems a bit unsettled. Khoi stands silently in suppressed haste, staying silent out of politesse and deference. Then Jubilosa gets her words out:
"The prisoners in the main area, I am not sure they will be secure if unguarded. Those creatures earlier almost set them free."
Khoi speaks now, though she speaks so quickly that it seems to take the form of an interruption, undoing whatever good form she maintained in her initial silence:
"And what of the straglers? Where will they stay? The big horse, the colt. And her."
She moves her muzzle a bit to the left, as if to point behind her to Undertoe
Silver acknowledges them both, but addresses Jubilosa first.
"Do you have any suggestions about how to deal with prisoners?"
During a momentary pause her wings move an inch upwards and forwards, moving back down as she speaks
"Well, just do not let them be untied"
"Hmm...I see. Give me just moment to think on what to do."
Next, he turns to Khoi.
"I know about Loputu and Meadows, but is something wrong with Undertoe?"
"I will go speak with her, and think of plan for how to proceed forward."
With that, he he bids them goodbye for the moment, and trots over to the hippogriff.
She's looking forward at him, making her purple eyes contact Silver's Blue, until he nears her, at which point she moves a step back and breaks eye contact
He stops when he sees her take a step back, and he sits down. He smiles at her.
"It is okay, I do not bite. I just wanted to talk with you."
"I wanted to know how you were doing, and holding up. And learn more about you before we got into next big fight."
Her head wobbles around looking kind of like a magnet repulsed by another magnet, turning around clockwise, moving from up to level and right, to down and center. With her head down, her eyes come back up to Silver and look at his directly.
"What do you want to know?"
He smiles again at what seems to be an attempt by Undertoe to be friendly.
"Well, perhaps you could start by telling about yourself. You know, hobbies, interests, where you come from, that kind of thing."
She blinks for a moment. Now she levels her head to where she is staring directly at Silver
"That's quite a question from some one I just met"
He looks awkwardly at her, and rubs the back of his neck.
"Sorry...I am not so good with talking to others...where did you come from, before this?"
"Alright... I was born in Hippogriffia and raised there"
"What is it like, living there?"
"It was different in those days. We weren't under water, but we were inland, up cliffs away from the coast. There were caves caverns beneath the rock though, at it was our outlet to the sea. We were in a small town, and I can't really say how much different it would be from most anywhere else."
He raises an eyebrow and lowers an ear.
"You were not under water?"
"So you've heard"
She blinks slowly closing her eyes and opening them
"We were further away from the pearl. Something like holdouts. Not wanting to give up our land, but too afraid to be conspicuous either. Or so most of the town was. Farms further way were abandoned. I don't have memories of before the Storm King. Except maybe for one of attending a festival on a mountain, but it is vague. We stayed close to the water though. Very close."
He nods slowly, after a few seconds.
"I see...what happened to cause you to be in this mess?"
She blinks. Her eyes are rounded like a pony's and her ears have tufts of fluff
"I was a student at Jim Haykins, and had been for several years. A friend wanted to visit some part of town, and I went with her. A few wrong creatures trusted, a few mistakes made, and I ended up where you found me."
Silver lowers his head.
"I am sorry to hear that, Undertoe. This 'Jim Haykins' school, where is it?"
"Right on the edge between the North and the city center. Nicer neighborhoods to the west. But to the east of campus that's a pretty quick declination."
"I have to ask...what about your friend? Was she captured as well? Do you know?"
"I know she was held up by gangsters. I think she was transported with me after I was blind folded. What happened afterwards I've spent a lot of time wondering about. She may have been ransomed, for all I know. But I don't know."
She clearly speaks Ponish better than Jubilosa and Khoi, and has much
less of an accent than Johann.
He looks at her with genuine sorrow. She might notice that her Ponish is less accented than even Silver's.
"Мои соболезнования...I am sorry."
There's still something... proper
in her speech, whether it be a hippogriff accent or something bourgie she picked up in Equestria.
She looks silently at Silver, breathing in and out. As she said it she doesn't seem to express much emotion about that
set of events, though she doesn't look comfortable
After a few seconds of awkward silence, Silver speaks up again, breaking it.
"What is it you were studying?"
As if picking up where she left off
"Mechanical Engineering. I was looking to work with a shipping company before the war broke out, and with the Navy afterwards."
"Huh. You must be very intelligent, Undertoe."
"I'm charmed you think so"
She says it fairly quickly, and with a similar inflection to all of her previous answers. Still, something in her response sounded slightly sarcastic
He gives her a confused look.
"Is something wrong?"
"Alright then...I suppose after this is finished with, you will want to return to your school."
"I don't know. It's been a long time, and it feels like longer. I imagine the world has changed since I left it."
"Hmm...what was last big event in world before you were captured?"
"Well, the war started. I think Tall Tales fell?"
Silver's eyes widen a bit.
"It...has been while. War has been over for short time, around one year. We lost."
She is silent for a moment
"I figured as much. I had heard murmuring. Certain items became harder to find... Then there was one day I thought soldiers were going to storm the place. I thought it had happened... But I had to hear it confirmed. You say 'We'? Did you fight for Equestria?"
"Yes, though I was not enlisted soldier. Too old. But I can do mercenary work still, so that is what I did. Changelings own Western half of Equestria now, and New Mareland owns Eastern half where we are."
She squints her eyes slightly, and nods
"You say you are working for the city against these monsters?"
"Yes, though it seems city was unaware of true scale of what is going on. They will have field day with this, i am sure."
"Oh they were?"
"But if the fascists are in control... They may use it to incite suspicion of foreigners. Or immigrants. Or as proof of the 'backwardsness' of Griffin cultures"
"That already exists in this part of city. It is inhabited by Severyanans and Skynavians, and these griffons have been terrorizing them for well over two years now, at least."
She moves her eyes to look past Silver, into the hallway and down it. It's not clear if she is looking at somecreature behind him or nothing in particular
"They will take it far beyond 'this part of the city'."
She moves her head back and looks straight at him
"Does Equestria still exist as a puppet state?"
"As far as I know, somewhat. Equestria has been split up into numerous Protectorates."
"Is there anything like the old government?"
He shakes his hoof in a "maybe" motion.
"I think they have kept much of old government, at least locally. I think leader of Baltimare Governate was mayor of city before end of war."
"I am at once shocked he would want to work with the Fascists and the Fascists with him.... And yet, I'm not surprised at all.
Do the Fascists' secret police swarm over the city like flies on a carcass?"
"Black Hooves? They have occupied Grand Baltimare Hotel, but I have not seen evidence of them leaving there all too often. Their philosophy for occupation seems to be leave Equestria alone for most part, to avoid building unnecessary resentment for current regime."
She ponders for a moment, and even brings her right claw up towards her beak
"How badly 'infested' are the Fascists, or the city, if you understand my meaning?"
Silver understands what she means.
"It is hard to tell, naturally. It is unknown how many are in Fascists, but some were found to be infesting police station."
She stops moving, and her mouth, opened in part for a brrief moment as she moved around, remains in the exact position she left it. Her body freezes as a whole for two seconds. Then she starts to slowly breath out, her chest visibly contracting. After a few more seconds, she responds
"You say you are working for the city?"
"Alright... Do you need anything of me?"
"Hmm...I do have question. We will be getting into fight with second group of griffons here, including their leadership. We also need people to guard prisoners in atrium. Which would you prefer to do, Undertoe?"
"I can fight"
She says, looking straight at Silver
"It is your choice. We will give you rifle, then."
He nods again, and smiles.
"So...perhaps you could tell me about your skills and hobbies, now?"
"Pearl diving I couldn't equal the full seaponies with their magic, but that didn't stop me from trying. Where are these rifles?"
Silver pulls a rifle off of Iron's unconscious form, and shows it to Undertoe.
She takes it off of Silver, grabbing it by the butt
She takes the rifle, and moves back onto her rump, balancing herself so that both claws can cover the rifle. Then she looks at it. It has a black barrel, what looks almost like a second barrel underneath, and a grey metal plate around the chamber. She places her claw on the bottom cylinder, pulls something up, and must have unlocked something because she twists the top of the bottom cylinder off. She looks down the cylinder, then twists it back into position. She levels the gun, and pulls the butt of the rifle towards her shoulder. A strap wraps around, and she shows that she can hold it steady with only a single claw. Lowering it slightly, she uses her claw to pull a lever out - the gun evidently having a lever action. There is a loud "cling" as it is pulled out, and she looks into the breach. There is a "clack" as the lever is pulled back up. She lowers the gun to inspect the firing pin. A cartridge falls to the floor. She picks it up, and slides it through the loading gate into the rifle.
Now, she looks down the sight with the cocked and loaded rifle (no talon on the trigger) down the hallway into the blackness. She lowers it down, and finds a slide that looks like a safety, pulling it down, then back up.
"This will work"
He looks a little surprised.
"You are quite knowledgable about that rifle."
"A little" she says
She looks back to Silver and lets the rifle slide in the sling around her. The sling of course is not simply a sling. The sling is rather tight on her. She sits back on her rump to try to use both claws to reach behind her head, and manages to untie a golden necklace around her neck. She starts to pull it off, though it has to be pulled from under the strap.
She takes the golden chain, and holds it up. She is naked, save for the rifle, and the big, black socks that went far up her hind legs, as far as her hocks, when she was first found hiding in the closet, are nowhere to be seen.
"Do you want this?" She asks, tendering the necklace to Silver
He continues to look surprised, and he looks up at her. He does not take it from her, at least for the moment.
"But...is it not yours?"
She holds it out for another moment, and then starts to pull it back
"I suppose I should exchange it for bits somewhere. I'll need some
money after all of this"
"I can give you Bits, if you need them. What do you need to purchase?"
"Food, boarding, transportation tickets. The basics" She says
He smiles at her.
"I will see what I can do to help you with what I have, Undertoe."
She places the necklace back out towards Silver
"If you could give me a few bits for tickets, a hotel and some food, and it's not conditioned on anything else
you can take the necklace"
He looks in his bags, counts out a total of 500 Bits, and gives it to her with a smile.
"Here, take it. And keep your necklace. It looks nice on you."
She takes the bits. And looks to Silver. And looks back at the bits. And looks to Silver. She holds out all of the bits to him, to show the amount, although only after turning her body to try to hide line of sight to the bits from the other creatures
"Did you mean to give me this
He looks confused for a moment, then blushes, and chuckles awkwardly. He keeps his voice low to avoid others listening in.
"Oh, no no no, that is not...I mean, you are
very beautiful creature, and I would very much like to...but no, it is not for anything like 'that'. It is gift, to help with lodging, food, and transport. I figure it is better to give too much than not enough."
She smiles (or seems to, the ways she pulls her beak), now with a look like embarrassment
"Thank you. I had... forgotten what the kindness of the old Equestria was like. I didn't mean to accuse..."
He waves it off with a smiles.
"It is nothing to apologize for, trust me, I understand. Take those Bits with my blessing, Undertoe."
She seems to smile more
"Let me get those socks.."
She walks off, right past Silver
Silver feels quite nice, seeing her smile. He looks to the other present people to talk to.
She walks off, and bends down on the floor.
But Khoi is standing there, and so is Jubilosa. White Sands is a little further off, and Blue Skies has taken up a sort of rearguard, staring into the blackness. Johann does not seem to be in the hallway
Silver looks around for Meadows, realizing something he can do to help her.
Meadows is on the hall on the right side, kind of facing Silver, but her head is hanging down. She's almost "listing" as she stands, with her left shoulder touching the wall, and her right hoof up and rubbing against the wall. She's strangely tall and large, and looks like she'd only barely fit through doors. She doesn't acknowledge Silver.
Blue Skies is actually behind her, in the center of the hall and facing the other way
Silver trots up to her, bringing out the flask of changeling honey he got from Zwolf's prison room. He looks to her, speaking softly.
"Meadows? Can you work with me for moment? I am going to give you something that should help."
She looks up at him
She looks tired
"Oh? That would be great"
She sounds tired, too
"Oh boy...uh, here..."
He holds Meadow's mouth open. Using his magic as a kind of spoon, he scoops the honey out of the flask and onto her tongue. He then closes her mouth.
"Okay, now swallow."
She has a fairly long muzzle, and a tongue both long and wide, at least as long as Zwolf's. She licks it up like honey, and licks more, as if she likes the flavor. Her throat moves visibly as she swallows, repeatedly
For a moment, nothing happens. Then she moves her head side to side, scratches the ground with her hoof, and whips her tail. She snorts
"I feel... So much better"
She looks first at Silver, then right into his eyes. Her eyes become a deepr grey, then add blue, and yellow, and brown color to them. Her coat becomes a darker, with more brown and yellow. Her mane becomes a darker brown. All this over the course of some seconds, perhaps half a minute.
"Your eyes... I can see them. A blue."
She smiles, and looks over to Khoi
She seems excited, and jumps up on her hind legs. She doesn't quite rear - the ceiling isn't high enough to guarantee that could be done without hitting her head - but she jumps up, and stomps back down on her hooves. Skies looks back
"It's so much better! I feel like I could run. I could run if I weren't in this small hallway. I could run from the orchard to the town again, and maybe back!"
Silver smiles at the sight as he puts the flask away.
"Heh...heheh, it worked!"
She tries to run - or really, trot - down the hallway. She goes around Undertoe on the left and Khoi on the right, unsettling both of them, as she goes on by. She goes down the hallway someways before turning around (though she has some difficulty turning her body in the hallway) and trots back past a somewhat irritated Undertoe and Khoi. Undertoe is wearing her black socks again, and the necklace is run around the trigger guard and her shoulder
Silver shakes his head in amusement at the further sight of her enjoying her newly rediscovered vigor. Still, he trots up to her to reign her in and keep her furth irritating any more of the party members.
"It is good to see you up and well, Meadows."
Reaching up, he can place a hoof - or more likely, magic - around the base of her neck, and reign her in
"Oh... Sorry. But I really thought I would never
run again. I was surprised to see in black and white. But to see, and to remember, in color... It is a blessing of Mazda"
He nods, understanding that feeling at least in part.
"It is good to hear, Meadows. What is it you remember, now?"
"The orchard. My old home. The mountains beyond the valley"
He smiles, softly.
"That sounds very nice. Can you tell me about them?"
"The trees waving in the wind in the light of the afternoon. The mountains shining in the same, and the gap between them filled with mountains more distant. And the old family home... Beautiful white walls with arches, and intricate painted patterns on the top of every level. The courtyard with arches on every side. And Running down green hills... All these things I remember"
She has a tear in her eyes
The old pony smiles more at hearing Meadows recount the tale of her home.
"It truly sounds amazing, Meadows."
She breathes, in and out. Her eyes are fixed at some point on the ceiling 40 feet or so down the hall
"It was. It truly was."
Silver looks at her, wondering is she is sorrowful at remember her home.
"...would you like hug, by any chance?"
She moves her head on top of her long neck, and looks back at Silver. She is visibly smiling, wide
"Yes. I would"
He takes a step forward, and wraps his forelegs around her long neck in a hug. It's in this moment where he privately amazes to himself about how nice it is to hug somepony who is roughly the same height as him.>>123816Bit by bit...
Maybe not so much the "same height" thing. Her shoulders are somewhat higher. Her fur has some "give" to it, letting it move. Her fur isn't quite soft, if anything it's a bit courser than most ponies, and it's somewhat short as well. Underneath her fur is muscle and especially bone. She's skinny, and whatever fat she had - even healthy, natural fat - is gone. But she is hugged, and she tries to place her neck and head down to him, to give a hug of her own back. A long, scrawny leg wraps its way over Silver's back.>>123816
The Severyanan stallion gladly lets her hug him back. He wonders to himself if her lankiness is natural, or the result of the feeding they put her through.
Her ribs show, and she generally looks emaciated. Johann looks much the same.
>>123820They could really use some food...maybe I could cook for all of them if I managed to find suitable stove.
He speaks up to Meadows, continuing to hug and hold her if she needs it. If she decides no, she can easily pull out of his grip.
"If I may ask...how did you end up here, Meadows?"
She continues to hug, though her rear hooves move a step back to reposition herself
"I got on a ship in Bitsra to take me to Equestria. And I ended up here..."
He grips more for just a second, hearing her tell what happened, if only briefly.
"It is sadly too common story for this place, those people that end up here...I am sorry to hear that these people tricked and trapped you, Meadows."
"They chained me to a table and made me stamp horse shoes. Or carry steel. This went on for a while. Before they sent me to the Rakshaka... This is terrible place"
Can ponies play tomorrow?
Silver's Herd grows by the minute.