A Grate Idea
IC date: Autumn 3
OOC date: September 22
Location: The Belly of the Beast
PCs: Freeze-Frame, Hoarfrost, Sadaka, Makuru, Dream-Daze, Fugue
GM: Applejack

It's possibly late again. Or early. How can one tell that in a place that has no windows or other visible links to the outside world? Well, all the batpony foals are asleep for one. Whatever internal clock cave-dwelling ponies goes off of says 'it's sleepytime now', and that's exactly what the great majority of them are doing.

This may not mean much for the foals recently introduced to their new cellblock homes, with Sadaka and Makuru in a cell, Freeze-Frame and Hoarfrost in an adjacent cell, and three smallish foals in the cell next to that. Dream-Daze, Spearmint, and one other little foal, possibly one of the more recent additions to the orphanage. Next to that is a cell with a single batpony and a lavender-hue'd filly, the rest of the cells are either empty or have batponies!

Most of the batponies are sleeping, but the other caged foals are in various states of sleep and wakefulness. Dream-Daze, in particular, has been squinting at the newcomers since they got placed (unconscious) into their respective cages, pacing back and forth to see if she can figure out exactly who's who. The two zebras she recognizes. The other two, not so much…

Freeze-Frame yaaawns a bit and lets out a squeaky groan, her ears flicking as her eyes slowly open at first. Then she bolts awake. "Oh no!" She sees Hoarfrost passed out by her and tries to shake the other unicorn awake but to no avail. She then starts taking in her surroundings with her ears folding against the back of her head. "oh no, oh no…"

Makuru snorts and grunts from the floor of his shared cell with Sadaka. "No, momma, I've gotta… gotta tune the picture frame… rusty cows… snrxxn…" He rolls over.

Sadaka stirs and gives a wide yawn herself. She twitches an ear, and streeeetches, trying to spread a pair of wings that are conspicuously not present. She blinks blearily, twisting slightly to try and get a good look at her back. "Wha… where…" Wait. This is not her room.

Wakeful foals! Yay! Dream-Daze starts hopping around in her cell, bouncing back and forth between two spots and trying to poke her nose through two of the bars to get a closer look. Nobody seems hurt! That's a plus.

From the cell next to that, the batpony bunked with a sleeping Lavender has apparently been roused by the waking foals. Sharp ears perk, the dark purple colt lifting his head from his hay bed to squint through the several sets of bars between himself and the new guests. "Oh. Look. More guests." he mutters sleepily.

Freeze-Frame peers on over at her friends first, leaving Hoarfrost to rest while she looks at the two zebras. "Makuru! Sadaka! are you okay…?!?" She then gets a better idea of the scope of all this as she looks at the rows of cages, noting Dreamy. "Hey, you're that one foal from scool who like… never -ever- talks…!" but then the batpony from all the way down by lavender is somepony who she doesn't reconise. "We're -guests-?!? guests don't get put in cages! Guests get cookies and tea…!"

and then a loud tummy grumble reminds her of what angers her the most about this situation

"They better let me out! The Choco-Peanut butter chip cookies aren't gonna be fresh!"

Wakefulness is for losers and squares, and also for ponies that aren't Makuru. "gotta… cut the rope… zzz…"

Sadaka blinks around, scrambling to her hooves. "Dreamy? …Is that Lavender? Where… where /are/ we? And where are my /wings/?!" Because that is a concern, yes, it very much is. "Makuru? Makuru, wake up." She prods at the other zebra's shoulder. "C'mon, get up, there's no more rope. You're snoring."

Makuru mumbles and rolls over. "No'm not."

Dreamy beams! She's been recognized! That always has a habit of making her day. Even if it's for something like 'not speaking', which is something she's /really really/ good at. Nontheless she waves at the waking pegasus in the other cell! She's nothing if not polite.

The purple batpony's ears flick back at the yelling. "I meant that figuratively." he mutters, stretching forelegs out of the haybed to tap them upon the cell floor. This is just so he can drag the rest of himself out of the hay, stretching his wings out. "Mmmmnf. Keep it down, please. We've all had a long day of running and some of us are trying to sleep."
Freeze-Frame she quiets down and instead looks at her own pile of hay in the cage, taking a small mouthful… ugh, it's so bland and it isn't even cooked, but she's hungry enough to eat it. "Running…? there isn't a lot of room to run in here."

"Yes you are," Sadaka counters, poking at him again. "C'mon, we're in a cage. Wake up. They took my wings. …They took your bag."

The zebra colt finally rolls to his butt and stares blearily at Sadaka. "Whoza?" he grunts. "My bag?" Makuru looks around as lucidity slowly returns to him. "…my bag! Where's my bag!?" He gets to his hooves and trots around the small cell in a panic. "Where's my bag!? My homework's in that bag!"

"There will be." the purple batpony grumps, leaning up against the bars and giving out a big yawn. "Mmmmnf. That's what we do here. We get let out, we run around, we get put back in these cages and get fed and talk about escaping. Then repeat."

Dream-Daze squints back at the batpony. Such a grumpypants when he wakes up!

Freeze-Frame frowns at that… she -HATES- running. but then a new panic rises in her heart… her bag is missing too! not to mention her camera! "oh nooooo~! My latest draft of 'Flash in the Dark'…! they better not read my script or try and shoot it without me getting credit!" Freeze frame plops back on her chubby rump and crosses her forehooves.

The purple pony likewise has sat his flank down. Another yawn, covering his muzzle with a hoof this time, now has him looking more awake and alert. His ears begin flicking again. "I somehow doubt that's their intent, new kid." he states in an even tone. "They took all your things when they dumped you in here." A pause. "I didn't know some ponies had detatchable wings…"

Makuru sits his butt back on the floor and wails, "I can't do my homework without my bag! All my ingredients are in there!" He moves to the bars and troes to poke his head out between them to look down the length of cages.

Sadaka frowns faintly, looking around. "…I kinda think we got a bigger problem than missing stuff." Even if she's, y'know. Not very pleased about her missing stuff. Her back feels so… naked. She looks over to Fugue, and blushes faintly. "My Papa made 'em." Then she blinks, ears perking. "Oh no. Papa's gonna be real upset I'm gone."

Freeze-Frame nods in agreement. "So are Maku's parents… and my daddy! I'm gonna be like… grounded forever if I don't get home! heck, being in this cage is -like- being grounded…!" She then looks around her cage one more time and humms to herself.

"Momma!" Makuru shouts as he hears Sadaka. "Momma's gonna be expecting us back! Oh no, she's never gonna trust me by myself again if we don't get outta here right now!" He tries to force himself through the bars of the cage. At best he is going to succeed in getting his head through the bars and promptly get stuck.

It would be a very tight squeeze to get one's entire head through the bars, but it's possible to try and get some kind of glimpse. There's a lot of cages. A veritable ton. An army of batpony foals tucked into so many cubes of bars. Some of them are waking up, too, peering at the new foals with curious, if sleepy, expressions.

The purple batpony, Fugue by name, hums. "Well I'm not sure where they took them off to… It was around the corner after they dropped you off. That's probably where they took your bags, too." he states, gesturing to the other two alarmed foals. "It will be okay. My daddy's going to show up any day now and break us all out, and give these evil ponies a real wholloping!"

Dreamy pokes a hoof through the bars of her cage into Sadaka's cage, to try and give the poor striped filly a consoling pat. Pat, pat, pat.
Freeze-Frame crosses her legs just a tad as she prepares to ask the most pertinent question one could ask in a situation such as this… "… where's the potty 'round here…? I like… have to go to the lil' filly's room!"

The question is met with silence and a whole lot of suddenly-embarassed looks trying hard /not/ to look towards Freeze-Frame. Even Dreamy blushes.

Makuru stops his poorly formed escape attempt at the awkward silence to Freezie's question. "…that's not gonna be good."

Eventually Fugue speaks up with a cough to clear his throat. "We're expected to sleep through the day. They usually give us bathroom breaks with breakfast…"

Sadaka blinks and flushes faintly as well as this line of thought processes. "…Oh. Um… well can we… like, call somepony? Who's 'they'?"
Freeze-Frame scrunches her snout and blushes, trying tu hide away from all the embarassed looks. she keeps her legs crossed as best she can before nodding in agreement with Sadaka's line of thinking. "Yeah. Can't we like… get somepony to come and let me go to the bathroom…?"

"I don't know that anyone listens." Fugue states with a hint of a frown, "But you're free to try. I think you've woken most of us up anyway, maybe they'll see fit to grant us an early breakfast."

Freeze-Frame has now been given carde blanche to scream her little head off, and she's going to do just that! The chubby pegasus draws in a deeep breath before screaming out! "HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! I GOTTA USE THE BATHROOM!!! YOU BETTER LET ME OUT OR ELSE!!!"

"DON'T MAKE HER 'OR ELSE'!" Makuru calls out after Freezie. "FOR THE LOVE OF CELESTIA!"

Sadaka is not much of a screamer. This may explain why she looks somewhat impressed at how good Freezy seems to be at it. She blinks over at her, and clears her throat, and edges closer to the bars, leaning over to Dreamy. "So who's 'they'?"

She can't yell, but Dreamy does do a few rounds of dragging her horn across some of the bars to make noise. Clangclangclangclangclang!

All the yelling's definitely woken up all the other batpony foals that were snoozing before, the ones that weren't already awake, and soon many of them follow suit too! A veritable symphony of young voices crying out for stuff!

Apparently someone's listening, whether they wanted to or not. Two lights come down the hallway, belonging to two fairly big stallions with lanterns in their mouths come to check out what all the ruckus was about. They glance at each other, sigh in unison, and then one puts the lantern down, both of the stallions trudging back out. "Fine, fine. We'll be back with the food cart and your potty breaks. Hold your horses."

Dreamy blinks, the question interrupting her bar-clanging. She trots back over to sit next to where Sadaka's sitting, rubbing her horn.. A moment later it lights up and gives the new foals a little mental image of, well, those two stallions. And a certain pea-green batpony. Those are 'they'! At least as far as she knows…

Freeze-Frame goes up to the front of her cage and makes big pouty faces to the two big stallions, her hind hooves tip-a-tapping behind her a bit. "p-please hurry, Mister…!"

Makuru turns to Freezie in the next cell and smiles. "Hey, it worked. And we're getting breakfast, too." It is a weak smile, though. He'd rather be home. There are choco-peanut butter cookies there. The sight of his friend trying to hold in her discomfort is a pretty sad sight, though, and he doesn't smile very long. "Just a little longer, Freezie."

Sadaka blinks and tilts an ear. "Hey. That's the pony that grabbed us." She pauses, then looks around. "…I wonder what happened to that poor bunny."

A pair of fuzzy ears pokes up from the hay pile in Freeze-Frame's cell. Someone mention a bunny?

The attendants come back moments later, wheeling in a food cart. One begins levitating pieces of fruit around to all the foals, a fairly decent helping all things considered, while the other makes the rounds for 'potty duty'. This seems to consist of checking each cell one by one for foals that need to go, leading them around the corner, and then back to their cells when they're done. Another minute or two and the attendent makes it to Freeze's cell! *Click* goes the door, swinging open. "C'mon out then. Don't try anything funny, or we'll sic Snakebite on you again. Come along now."

Dreamy nods at Sadaka… Then she puts up another little mental image. Of Dream-Daze enjoying ice cream with Spearmint and this nameless foal, following a clown around town that had these odd red eyes. Like a slideshow. Foals follow clown. Clown goes around corner. Foals follow clown around corner. Suddenly BAG and everything goes dark.

The lesson? Never trust a clown.

Freeze-Frame quickly hops on out of the cage and lets the adult lead her along, keeping her eyes out for a few various things; the possible location of her's or her friends' things, any dropped bit coins on the ground or any sort of flat metal ojbect she can pick up and hide quick, and finall, any sort of ventilation shafts that might be on the ceiling.

There's a ventilation system for sure! A vent in the bathroom, which is one of the rooms down the hallway Freeze is led along. Another room is marked 'Inventory'. There's a decent chance that might have Things in it. Every room has some kind of vent in it, and most of the vents are small enough that a foal might be able to wriggle through if they were small enough. Most of the vents are also pretty heavily bolted to the walls too though… One can imagine the thought process that went into designing that.

The attendent is patient at least, gesturing to the bathroom when they make it there, letting Freeze have a little privacy and all.

Hoarfrost is out cold, has been for some time. Sprawled out on her back, likely left how she was dumped in her cage, one back leg sticking up and twitching in the air as sleep drug induced dreams rattle about in her head. The squeeking cell door opening causes her to stir though and she groans and tries to shake the sleep from her head. "Where …" she mutters eyes blinking open, stairing up at the bunny. "Ohno!" she squeels flailing up to her hooves. "Snowfield? Freeframe?" the filly panicing for a moment as the events of last night come back to her. "Sadaka?" she meeps at last seeing the two other zebra. "Is everypony ok? Whats going on?" she demands to no pony in particular.

Freeze-Frame takes care of her business first and foremost while she's in there and washes her hooves like a good filly… She leaves the ater running, using the cover of the noise to flap on up to start trying to loosen one of those bolts on that bathroom vent grate!

"We're in cages," Makuru says matter of factly as he receives his own fruit breakfast. "Freezie's taking a bathroom break and we have no idea where we are." The zebra colt takes a tentative nibble of the fruit. "Hey, this stuff isn't half bad." Omnomnom!

Those bolts are pretty secure! It's going to take a tool of some sort to probably get those things loose… Or at least more force than a little foal is likely able to bring to bear. The attendant's ears flick, listening to the water run. And run. And run…

The bunny hops out of the haypile near Hoarfrost and gives Hoarfrost a pat on her hoof. There there…

Fugue, too, is enjoying a nice snack. Breakfasts really haven't been bad here! The hay is soft, the fruit is nice, just it's all in cages. Cages and running. Running and cages. The din of wailing ponies is dying off now though, now that there's fruit and such being tended to, so that gives Fugue the chance to pipe up. "Everything's alright. Nobody's hurt, and we're getting an early breakfast. Thanks to your filly friend with the loud voice."

Freeze-Frame gets her plan in order before she glides on down and shuts off the water and walks on out. "okay, Mister. thank you for being patient. I wanted to make sure my hooves were nice and clean!"

"Y-you all seem pretty calm about being foal-napped." Hoarfrost frets hoof going out to pet the bunny. Cute things are calming right? The witchling takes a deep breath and sighs. "Why are they keeping us though? What did we even do?" poking over to collect her own bits of fruit that she quickly stashes in the hay only eating a small hoof full. "Hey gaurd ponies?" the filly calls from her cell "Why are we here? Did we steal your cute bunny or something?"

The attendant grunts, leading the filly back to her cage and a wakeful Hoarfrost! "In you go." he gruffs, ever helpful in getting Freeze right back inside. That same attendant blinks at Hoarfrost. "Hm? You're here to run, filly, and if you do a good job we'll give you a prize. That's how it works around here." Grunt.

The bunny leans on Hoarfrost's leg. For warmth, see.

Makuru shrugs. "Ah urredeh pahnuked wull urr wah afreep," he says around a mouthful of fruit. Chew chew chew swallow. "The other foals said something about letting us out to run, so I'm gonna see if I can break out then." Said the zebra with no sense of conspiracy while the guards feeding them were mere feet away.

"Why do we gotta run? What if some ponies don't like to run and instead like to write? or take pictures? or be out in the sun?" Freeze Frame grumps out a bit as she's hefted back into the cage… then, bunny! She smiles at the little guy, giving him a quick nuzzle.

"Why can't I have my wings?" Sadaka pipes up, frowning. "Lotsa these ponies got wings, why can't I?" She looks like she's trying to make a logical argument, but there's a bit of a foalish 'it's not fair!' whine in the statement. Those are her wiiiings.

The attendants don't seem too keen on answering questions, but they've learned that once a foal starts it don't usually stop until it gets an answer. So while one attendant continues to pass out fruit cups towards the end of the line, the first attendant comes back to the new 'recruits'. "Everybody runs, or nobody gets fed. Them's the rules. Nobody gets to fly. Maybe if yer good we'll give you your wings back." The attendant turns away, moving back to the lamps. "If yer really good you might even get let out again when yer old enough to work on yer own."

Lies! Ice Witches are not warm and snuggly. They are fridged and hard, and … nopony is buying it, Hoarfrost snuggles the bunny right back … for warmth. "At least we are all together. I'm sure we will figure something out, or, or Snowfield will bust in here and have her Windigo eat all the badguys." hooves crossed emphatically. "Well I'm no good at running otherwise you wouldn't have caught use, but I can cast magic. Do … you need some ice?"
GAME: Freeze-Frame has returned from AFK.

"Not if my father busts in here first and frees everybody." Fugue mumbles from around his fruit cup.

Freeze-Frame hmphs a bit at that answer and instead looks at her fruit cup, starting to sample the various bits of eats within.
Sadaka frowns, flattening her ears. "But… but… what if I /don't/ fly with 'em, can't I just wear 'em?"

It could be worse. The bunny could be stuck with no foals at all. This way he's got two of them to snuggle up to! More warmth for the cute fuzzy!

With all the eating going on, the attendents finally pass the last few cups out and begin to wheel their cart out of the place. "A'right, rest up kiddos. Running starts in an hour. You all wanna wake up early, you gonna start running early." it seems they've ignored Sadaka's plea for her wings. Poor zebra!

Frost pokes her head at the bars trying to see this pony who claims his father is going to save them. "Well he is going to have a hard time with Snowy being the best snow witch ever and all." take that random bat colt! "Freezy at least we got put in the same cage." offering a small good in all this nasty. Look for the bright side of things right?

Fugue isn't random! He's important! He's a chief's son! And now he's puffing his chest up, standing straighter in his cell. "Oh yeah? Well my father's the best /chief/ ever, and when he gets here he's going to curse all these numbskulls into jelly and make them wish they'd never laid hoof on anyone!" Huff!

Freeze-Frame nods a bit and smiles. "Uh-huh! and Maku and Sadaka are like… right next to each other…! What I'm really hoping though…" Freeze frame lowers her voice to a whisper to speak to hoarfrost. "… is that the batpony didn't see that my camera instant-develops photos. before I passed out, I got a picture of him that I managed to toss in the snow, I think… I don't remember if he saw it or not."

"Well Snowfield convinced Death itself to give her more time because she is just that cool." Heh Ice humor. "She is going to turn all bad pony here to ice sculptures then give us all icecream." Snowy can probably make icecream with her magic right? Hoarfrost likes to think so, she just doesn't because she hates sweet things. Almost as an after thought she huffs too. It wouldn't be a proper contest if there wasn't huffing. "You did? Thats great!" lowering her voice as she almost squeels with delight. "They will figure it out for sure! Till then though I should make us some tools." the filly gives a conspiratorial glace to Frame, "They can't take the water out of the air I can freeze it to make stuff!"

"Well /my/ father made Death play a part in one of his plays!" Fugue counters again. This may or may not be true. "Also he knows more curses than anyone, ever, and once caused the moon to disappear for two days straight!" Fugue's ears perk. Of course he's listening to the other side of the converstion. Something about it irritates him too. "Freeze the air… Hmph."

Freeze-Frame smiles a bit as an idea starts to spin around in her head. "Hoarfrost, I like… think I have an idea…! you could use the water from the sink in the bathroom to freeze the door shut and there's a vent shaft in there! all you'd have to do is… wait, you don't have wings… well, maybe you could borrow Sadaka's wings and become like, a super Alicorn super hero princess that freezes the door and then gets out through the vents!

Makuru looks between Fugue and Hoarfrost arguing over who is going to be the best pony to rescue them. "My papa married my momma," he gloats. Though nopony here knows it that is undoubtedly the most impressive feat recited.

Sadaka blinks and looks over at Freeze-Frame as though she's suggested sacrilidge. "Hey! Not just anypony can use my wings, y'know." She stamps a hoof for emphasis. "They're /mine/."

Makuru nods emphatically. "They're Sadaka's wings. Nopony but Sadaka can use them."

Frost is torn from important conversation to the escape conversation. "O-oh-ya?! Well Snowy fought a Dragon all by herself!." Technically she made it run away but that is fighting right? Blushing though as Freeze tells her to be a princess. "I dunno I'f I'm princess material…. Sides Sadaka really likes her wings. I would be soar if she started playing with my umbrella." favorite toys that she can understand. "Why don't I just give her a Ice screwdriver and we all can start a ruckus so the gaurds leave her be?"

Fugue frowns, maybe snorts. "Out through the vents, indeed… As if this were some silly play." Seriously. Why didn't he think of that?
Freeze-Frame frowns a bit and flattens her ears against her head. she turns to Sadaka and Makuru. "Sorry, I just thought… maybe that'd work?"

"If you can get to the vents, maybe you can get my bag," Makuru says. "There's enough hay here, I bet I could hide it and my potion supplies underneath. I'll need to check what all is in there, but maybe I can brew up something useful to us on the down low."

Freeze-Frame nods. "I'd like to get my camera so I can take some pictures of this place… y'know? get evidence…!"

Sadaka sits back on her haunches, looking the slightest bit grumpy. They're not toys. They're her /wings/. And she hasn't been without them for any real period of time in almost a year. She feels like somepony took away a limb. It's not a fun feeling. "If we find 'em I want 'em back," she mutters sulkily. Then she blinks in alarm, and reaches a hoof up to one ear, because IF THEY TOOK HER EARRING TOO SHE'S GONNA SCREAM AT SOMEPONY.

Frost wants her umbrella but … there is really no good reason to go get it. Nuzzling Freezy the witch smiles up at her "It was a good plan, your picture likely saved us, and once you have evidence you will have all teh adults here. Cheiffs and cool Witchs alike." nodding happily "Together I'm sure we wont even need the adults!"

Sadaka freezes, hoof on ear. She somehow manages to pale and flush at the same time. Her eyes get rather wide. And then she tilts her head back and lets out a /WAIL/. "AAAAAAAAAAAA!" She bounds back to the front of the cage and tries to shove herself through the bars. Failing that, she sticks her hooves through and flails them wildly. "GIMME MY MAMA'S EARRING BACK YOU MEANIES YOU CAN'T EVEN DO ANYTHING WITH IT GIMME MY WINGS MY PAPA'S GONNA KICK YOU IN THE FACE YOU BETTER NOT DO ANYTHING TO MY EARRING GIVE IT BAAAAAACK!" Okay, maybe she /can/ scream when she wants to.

Makuru jumps up when his cellmate suddenly starts screaming her head off. "S-Sadaka!?" he says. He takes a step towards the zebra foal. "H=hey, Sadaka…" He hesitantly reaches out a hoof to touch the filly on the back.

Freeze-Frame gulps and winces at Sadaka's sorrow… she's at least still got her braces, since those can't exactly be removed all that easily. she slumps on over into the pile of hay, lowering her head. I think like… I'm gonna save my energy. I don't like running. I was always the worst at runnin' the mile."
The tap on the back cuts the little zebra filly off mid-tantrum. She flops onto her belly, front hooves still hooked through the bars, and blinks back at Makuru, ears flat and eyes teary. "…I-it was my mama's…" Wibble. Sniff.

Hoarfrost whimper's ears folding back pushing in against Freeze Frame and the bunny to snuggle. "This reminds me too much of home." Underground check, unable to leave check, evil ponies after foals check. All they need now is an evil pony riding a dragon. "Sadaka we will get it back ok? Your wings too."

Makuru looks helplessly at the foals in the other cages. How does he help in a situation like this!? After a moment of confusion he lies down alongside Sadaka and puts a forehoof around her, pulling her close to him. "It's alright, Sadaka. We'll get your mama's earring back. I'll bet it's right there next to your wings right now."

With the wailing renewed and threats issued, Fugue ducks back into his hay pile! There's a distinct silence that follows Sadaka's outburst… But the attendants don't come a second time. Within moments there's the sounds of soft snoring as several of the groups of batpony foals have fallen back asleep in preparation of the coming run.

Sadaka is all yelled out. She sniffs, and blinks, and then leans into the hug with a faint squeak, pressing her head against Makuru's neck. "I want my Papa," she mumbles unhappily. "He'll kick all their faces."

Makuru hugs Sadaka tightly. "He sure will. As soon as you don't show up at home Mister Bird'll tear down the whole forest trying to find us, and he'll find Freezie's picture and know right where to go." He sniffles and decidedly does not start crying himself because he wants to see his own momma and papa. He's gotta be strong for all of his friends!