A Whiff of Home
IC date: Autumn 40, 1007
OOC date: October 29, 2012
PCs: Muzaji, Riptide, Seaside-Sunset, Spindrift, Brume, Rocket, Rising-Chaos, Queen-Pegasus
NPCs: Daffodil, Monsoon, Spectre, Hearth, Bonfire, Assorted Foals
GM: Trixie, Applejack, Fluttershy
The first night of Ghostwalk is always a somber time for the ponies of Horseshoe Harbor. Many of the town's residents come from backgrounds where death isn't exactly a rare occurance, and combined with the inevitable disasters that seem to raze the town on a frighteningly regular basis… well, there are plenty of spirits that need honoring every year.

A bonfire has been lit on the beach where it's highly unlikely to set anything important on fire. Wonderful smells waft from it as incense and other sweet-smelling objects are tossed into it.

Ah, holidays. Local traditions. A fine time for a newcomer to make themselves known…. By selling candy, fire starting impliments, and assorted tacky knicknacks to ponies for use in their costumes. At this rate Muzaji would be able to open a proper storefront in no time. Well actually she could already, but those monies came from… sources she did not need being revealed, so she's making a show of intergrating the long way with the local social network. The zebra herself wasn't in costume yet, but really, she's already fairly exotic just for being, you know, a zebra. Getting dolled up like everypony else would come later. For now she was just watching the bonfore from the spot she'd claimed for pandering wares to passerbys.

The somer mood is uneasy to a foal who's entire existance is to make others happy. Daffodil has been excited to see the coming holiday, to see how different it is from what he's used to. To know that costumes are for /fun/ and not for /safety/. That candy…is real…and tastes like liquid gold from the heavens and a choir sings every time a piece is unwrapped~ Seriously, the first time Daffodil tasted candy was the day the phrase Sugar Rush was given new meaning. There's still a little bit of an indent worn in the dirt roads from where the little guy kept running back and forth across it!

But right now? Right now there's no candy. Just glum ponies and bonfires. Which strikes him as very odd, because bonfires are supposed to be cheerful…ish. He's been sitting there a while, watching others throw things into the fire that smell /great/.

Near the beach is a chubby little green colt, standing shakily in the foamy waters as he wobbles out into the sand. His nose works as he smells all the delicious things, moving unsteadily toward the bonfire while cautiously avoiding the gaze of as many ponies as he can.

Monsoon and Spectre, however, sit and watch with Daffodil. Monsoon is silent and grim, but Spectre is /completely drunk/, and nudging the little foal. "HEY, look! Look! They got gummi worms!"

Seaside and Sunset are certainly curious - the pair settled on a log, grinning ear to ear as they admire the bonfire as if it were a entirely foriegn; the twin mares whispering to one another with an occasional bout of giggles.

Hey, you know who's not completely trough-walloped and making a fool of himself? Maelstrom. You know who isn't here right now? Also Maelstrom. What a class act, completely blowing off a rememberence festival.

Mysterious Wanderers put in a predictable appearance. The good news about outlandish cloaks is that the colder it gets, and the closer it gets to holidays where you dress up, the less strange it looks. By now Spindrift and Brume hardly get any attention at all. Maybe people are used to not only having them lurking around all the time, but they just figure that, really, there is no mystery after all, that they're just two itinerants who, like so many others before them, reached Horseshoe Harbor, looked around, said, 'Eh, I could do worse,' and decided to settle down.

Brume looks like he might have appreciated such a decision if it was made. How festive this all is! He's smiling and pointing and laughing and have a grand time as he and his associate approach. He expertly holds a stick of something fried in the corner of his mouth, so that it hangs out like an elegant cigarette holder; when they stop, he reaches up to take the stick of fried something in hoof and munch on it.

It's hard to tell what Spindrift is doing, what with her hood pulled so low over her face it can hardly be seen, her steps dragging and her shoulders slumped. If you squint hard enough, you can almost actually see a little black raincloud hovering over her head.

Still, she follows along dutifully enough, nodding every now and then, mumbling something every so often. Soon the pair of them are approaching Muzaji's spread, and Brume slows to get a better look.

Rocket is, strangely enough, present at this pony festival! She's hung back from the festivities, a bit away from the fire, not wanting to alarm anypony with /sudden vicious predator/ appearing in the middle of everything. But she's here! And looking… rather somber, actually. She's holding a small pouch in one talon, and occasionally eyeing the fire, looking for a good moment to creep closer.

Hearth and Bonfire are, naturally, with the rest of their group. Both share Monsoon's more grim look. The mood is infectious, and for the most part, the mood in town is not incredibly happy! Not entirely /sad/, either, but one rarely honors their dead without some amount of somber mood slipping in.

And here comes some more potential consumers now. Nimbly Muzaji steps around the stack of crates and barrels that form the boundry/countertops of her set-up, grinning broadly at the two cloaked wanderers. "Greetings and welcome to our celebratory day. What brings you two to Muzaji's exotic array?" Relax, she doesn't do the rhyming thing -all- the time. Usually.

Several more ponies arrive on the beach and put several new pieces of incense in the bonfire, filling the air with a spicy scent reminiscent of some manner of gourd pie.

Off in the distance, on the far side of town, the sky momentarily flashes purple. It's a very faint flash, unnoticable to anypony who was looking into the fire recently and needs to have their eyes readjust to darkness.

Seaside and Sunset hop to their hooves and tro closer to the fire - curiously looking about before offering warm smiles to all the somber ponies gathered about - particularly to the foals. "It might not be our place." "But we think everypony should be remembered with a smile." "Not a frown~" "Friends and family may be lost." "But memories of those we love are precious." "So remember with a smile. ~o" the pair chime in unison before putting on the biggest smiles they can muster before each tosses a small bundle into the bon fire. "To those we've lost." they turn to offer everypony a big, goof pair of smiles. "Now for those we've just met~" suddenly springing on Hearth and Bonfire - giving the pair big ol hugs.

Spectre levels a hoof at Seaside and Sunset, nodding emphatically. "YEAH! It's a PARTY! We should be happy cause… cause their ghosts are gonna rip our faces off! … Wait, that's not here. Here you guys go to the… the… to the /stars/, and that's… pretty cool when your queen isn't an evil freak from Planet Moonbase! So— so you should, like… should, like… You should smile! For your departed loved ones."

Monsoon puts a hoof on his head. "Spectre…" he starts, trailing off with a sigh.

Daffy is nudged! And gummi worms are mentioned. The foal's ears perk right up, all grins again to Specter. "Ooooh really? Where? Where!? Lemme at'em!" He bounces! Hop! Hop! Hop! Ooh could it be over at that odd store that he's just now realizing is there? Oh and then there's this new foal walking out of the water! Maaaaan, always so much going on, it's hard for cheerful ultra-friendly foals to keep up! He maps it all out in his head… Waterpony, shop, /worms/! Zoom! He practically /tackles/ the other colt coming out of the water! Only he stops short and bounces instead. "Hi!"

Riptide tumbles and squeals, falling flat in the foam. "Aggh! Aaa!!! IT'S GONNA EAT MEEEE!" He scrambles backwards toward the water, kicking up mud and seashells as he goes, but he really isn't able to get far with a Daffy on him.

Rising-Chaos is occupying a different part of the beach, a small pool on contemplative silence, her cloak is wrapped around her tight. She's lit her own small fire by hoof, with flint and tiner. Before her, lying in the sand, is a small book of fairy tales, significantly lighter than her usual literature. She's not doing anything by magic tonight.

Brume stops altogether as Muzaji pops out to greet him, and smiles in his winning fashion, his stick of Fried Something bobbing at the corner of his mouth. "Just browsing! What do you have here?" He leans in and peers. "Is that real? Oh, that's glass. Very clever. Looks almost like an actual dreamstone." He leans slightly and arches his eyebrows. "Is that… is that a scorpion in that lollipop? Fascinating." He leans the other direction and turns his head, and gasps. "Goodness!"

Spindrift glances sideways, watching, before looking away, towards the bonfire. There's a glimpse of dull sea green visible under her hood as she scans the crowd, moving from face to face. There are the outlanders. There are the Twins. There are a hundred strangers, and none of them the one she's looking for. She turns away from the crowd and back towards Brume, just as he's turning to face her.

"What do you say, Spin? Look at this thing. It's either incense or a fried stick of cinnamon, I'm not sure. Perhaps both. Looks tasty. Do you want one?"

She grunts inarticulately.

Well at least one of them is an ethusiastic browser. The more cloaked of the two does get a curious look briefly, but Muzaji's attention is taken mainly by Brume's rambling. Particularly when he gets to the lollipop, to which she picks up. "In some lands, even insects are considered a delicacy. And this one has even been made into candy don't you see? A creepy treat for a spooky feat." She pauses a moment, then leans a bit closer to Brume. "But between you and me, this one is actually just gummi."

Then peers over at the sticks in a bowl sitting on one barrel. "Those are cinnamon, sharply hot in taste and smell… but does not mean they couldn't be used for aromatherapy as well." She taps a hoof to her chin. That's not a bad idea, actually….

A chill wind blows from the forest, overpowering the slightly crisp autumn breezes. It's a very biting chill. The sort one might expect coming out of a freezer. Which, where the Wintersong is concerned, isn't too far off. Still, winds like this don't usually blow from the forest, and it brings with it a very different scent. One that a certain group of foreign ponies may recognize. It even makes the bonfire dim as the chill wind passes through, as though it had the power to suck the very warmth away.

Daffodil giggles with his game of greeting Riptide, clinging for a few seconds, then falling off into the sand and surf. "It's just me! I don't eat seaponies, remember? Cuz' you won't eat me either! 'sides, there's candy to eat!" …Then the wind comes through, causing the now-wet yellow colt to shiver. Hard. "Whoa! Shiver…!"

Spindrift winces and tucks into her cloak; even with it drawn up and as all-encompassing as she can make it, she pulls it closer about herself and turns away from the cold wind. Brume's bright grin falters for a moment as he lifts a hoof to shield his face; the manner in which his stick of Fried Something droops a bit is most lacking in moxy. He doesn't answer Muzaji at first, waiting for the chill to subside, glances warily towards the northern horizon, then looks back to Muzaji, gradually brightening up once more. "Gummi? Fabulous. The only time I eat actual bugs is when I'm sailing near the short and forget to close my mouth. I'll take two." He starts fishing about in a pouch on that big trapezoid his bundled instrument makes on his side. It rattles in a coinish fashion. "Are you a traveler? Here for the festival, I take it?"

"Oh… 's you," Riptide mumbles as he shakily gets to all four hooves. (Four hooves?) He clears his throat and blinks. "What's candy? I never…brrrr…"

Spectre's rant about friendship and smiling is cut short by a violent tremble as she gasps, turns… and vanishes. Monsoon, however, doesn't seem alarmed; just tense. "Daffy. You feel that…?"

The twins are sufficiently chided but manage to keep most of their friendly smile even if it's a tad forced; the pair promptly plant themselves back to the log where they started. Confused and sufficiently dejected for something they don't quite understand it's not like they know about the Equestria or anything. The chill causing the pair to huddle for warmth. Cold. Not as cold as some pon…err..things.

Muzaji stifles a grunt at the cold wind blowing out of the forest, as the flaps and flutters a few tarps and cargo nets and other loose ends she has strapped down over the larger crates. "An odd way for the winds to swell. Prehaps I should of wore a cloak as well." Brrrrr. "I am, or was prehaps. But here I have set shop for now." And the rhyming is gone, partially because while she's still keeping up a chipper demeanor as she snags two of the items for Brume in exchange for his money; but there's something in that cold wind that has her hackles raised. Even if she isn't quite as 'mystical' as some of her kind can be.

"How could you not feel that?" Daffy answers, momentarily distracted from finding out his seapony friend has more legs than he used to. But just for a moment. "Oh wow! You've got legs! Where'd your tail go? I mean your… Water tail?" Bounce! Just can't keep a good foal down.

There's a sound rising on the wind too. Faint. So very faint. But it sounds like… A groan?

Rising-Chaos shivers as the breeze rolls through the harbour. Her fire splutters and nearly dies, prompting some frantic attempt to give it life. Once it's been stabilized, she continues to read. The only major difference is now her ears are perked up, Chaos is alert to anything now. She has learnt that it pays to be careful. When the sound finds it way to her, the alertness is doubled. She reshuffles her cloak so her saddlebag is within easy reach.

Brume pays Muzaji and aquires two fine and dandy gummi scorpion lollipops. He smiles giddily at them as he lifts them up, lavender eyes practically sparkling. Look at this candy, treasures untold! How many wonders can the surface world hold? He turns to offer one to Spindrift, but she's not paying attention, turning away and making her way towards the bonfire instead. She's watching the outlanders, hood still drawn but head lifted. Brume watches her for a moment, then turns to flash Muzaji a grin. "Thanks." He hastens to catch up with Spindrift, candy pocketed for now.

Spindrift glances between Hearth and Bonfire as she draws near the… the bonfire. The actual bonfire. "Is something amiss?" she asks them. The slump in her shoulders is ironing out, and though her voice catches at first, by the time she finishes her question, she speaks with her typical steady and direct tone.

Hearth and Bonfire both shiver, the outlandish twins inching closer together with perked ears and looks of alarm mirrored on their faces. "That wind…" Hearth says, Bonfire glancing at Spindrift. "It felt like the winds from home…"

The sound of pegasi wings approaching from the docks draw nearer; a lone form passing overhead towards Rising-Chaos. Some ponies may recognize the form - tall, slender and pegasi; the mare landing several yards away from Rising before trotting towards her 'underling'. Blue eye darting about "This is…" lifting on hoof to distastefully admire the sand that's already scuffed her finely polished hoofs. "Relaxing?"

Hersnother satisfied customer!… However that chill wind is putting a damper on things, the zebra's tail twitching in a mix of shiver and aggitation. That was not a normal fall breeze, that much was for certain. Muzaji took a moment to make sure the bindings tarping her stuff are good and secure, then ventured out farther along the boardwalk. Ears alert upright, purple eyes squinted. "A chilling calm, a bonfire glows; but something wicked this way blows…" This concerns her!… Well, souring the mood concerns her capacity to sell off trinkets to celebrators, that is.

Spindrift glances between Hearth and Bonfire, then looks up past the fire. For the sake of ponity she does not notice Queenie's arrival just yet… or maybe she does, and doesn't acnkowledge it. "Strange," she says. "But hopefully just a coincidence. The weather is turning and the forest has always been an unpredictable place- let us hope this is mere reminiscence and not a true omen."

Brume stands beside her now, and munches again on his Fried Something. It's getting cold, though, and not very tasty. Something tells him the atmosphere of sober festivity is about to go all pear-shaped, and his tail switches occasionally behind him.

Rising-Chaos hears the pegasus approaching, making her edge a hoof towards the saddlebag and the knife within. When she looks up, she recognizes the silhouette and moves her hoof back into the sand. She drops some more fuel on her small fire to keep it strong. She resumes her reading. "Merely doing some thinking, my Queen. May I help you?" Her voice is calm, collected. Her eyes remain on the book.

The wind blows again. Stronger, and somehow colder. Cold enough to send several ponies hunching over for warmth. This time Daffy joins those hunching over, the chill enough to make him consider going back to the bonfire. "Um… Candy can wait a moment. How about we warm our hooves up by the fire instead?" he suggests to Riptide!

There's definitely sounds on the winds now too. Some of them animalistic. Some of them very pained sorts of moaning. None of them pleasant. Several dark shapes slip out of the shadows along the forest's edge next to the portside. And now there's this /smell/ coming with the sounds and the cold.

Hearth and Bonfire cling to each other as more definite sounds come in on the wind! And smells! And everything! "I don't think this is coincidence…" Hearth whispers.

Riptide bobs his head a little, clinging to Daffy and skittering back to the bonfire with him. Spectre, though, reappears several feet away from her original position, splayed out in the sand. "Mffrrpf zrrmmfrr!" she spits.

Monsoon, meanwhile, is up and flying. "Get the young to safety!" he shouts, "Danger approaches!"

Seaside and Sunset perk curiously "Danger?" heads whipping around to look behind before hopping to their feet. "What's going on? No pony said anything about danger!" Eight hoofs frantically trotting in place. "Are we supposed to help?" the pair ask one another before deciding "Let's help!" hustling towards the foals "Come on everypony." "Let's head inside for cocoa and cookies."

Queen-Pegasus chuckles softly at Rising's response. "I just came to check on you, after all I know you've had difficulty making friends recently." Her grin suggests she might relish this fact. The odd breeze and scrambling ponies certainly catches her attention. "Rising, darling. I think something is ahoof."

Spindrift glances about with growing alarm as the moaning picks up with the wind, and reaches up to sweep her hood away from her head. She is revealed in a rather haggard-looking state, circles under her eyes and her hair a bit frizzy, but she is nevertheless alert and focused. "Brume," she says, before starting off towards the forest.

Brume nods and moves to follow, but hesitates a moment. He reaches over to tap Seaside-Shimmer on the shoulder. "Hey there, doll. You two could do a lot of good helping to mind the children. If any of them put up a fuss, try and lure them with this." He passes her the scorpion-in-candy lollipops, flashes her a wink, and then hurries after Spindrift.

Spindrift, in the meantime, is actively scouting for dark shapes by now, drifting away from the bonfire's glow and further down the beach, towards the woods.

Rising-Chaos turns a page with her nose. "How sweet," she deadpans. Not believing any concern for an instant. She takes a moment to consider the freinds remark. eventually she shrugs. "I have a few, ones that won't get in my way." She's finally drawn from her reading by the panicked cries of danger and fleeing ponies. With a sigh she puts her book away, grabs the machete with her magic and gets to her hooves. She stamps out the fire in one stomp. "So it would seem, would you like to go investigate?"

There's not a lot of them. Three, maybe four. But they're dark. And they're making /horrible/ noises. As the first one shambles into the dim lights offered by bonfires and street lamps, their true nature is revealed: Rotting flesh, vacant yet feral expressions, and the signs of having once fallen victim to that little thing called 'death' at some point. Zombies. Following the scent of things that aren't zombies, to a sleepy little Harbor town.

The first two that make it to the light pause there, looking around with dead, yet alert eyes, one of the ex-ponies growling a noise, while its partner in undeath wheezes through a gaping hole in its throat.

Hearth and Bonfire both squeak! They huddle as close to the bonfire as fire dares allow, with Daffy very much inclined to go with them, though he does so from behind Riptide. "Uh.. C'mon! I think we should go hang out with the grownups now, something big's happening!"

Ooo Brume is picking favorites - this earns him a endearing smile from Seaside-Shimmer, and a small scowl from Tropical-Sunset. The pair's mood oh-so briefly /not/ matching before returning to a uniform state of concern for the foals; the pair does their beast to corral the foals towards the town. "Hustle now." "Cocoa and cookies awake." "To the inn." "Everypony stay together." Tropical-Sunset leading, and Seaside-Shimmer tailing to ensure no pony is left behind.

"AAGGHH!" Riptide squeals in terror and turns around, crashing right into Daffy as he tries to bolt his rotund little self back to the harbor. "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!"

Spectre, meanwhile, hops up and stumbles, spitting out sand. A number of foals though stick close to Seaside and Sunset, shrieking and squealing. Some of them are also giggling, but that's neither here nor there. "Cocoa!!" a few cry. "Yaaay!"

A dark little chuckle escapes Queen "You underestimate my sincerity. Indeed, let us have a look." The larger mare grabs Rising by the scruff before launching into the air - carrying the smaller mare in a very, very indignified manner. Below is a sight to behold indeed - Queen's eye going wide with a mix of amusement and bewilderment. "Rising! Those ponies - what are they?" When unsure consult your magical pocket almanac!

"I dislike the way this evening is shaping up," Mujazi mutters, the rhyming gone again with the mood. She scurries back to her corner of the boardwalk, and a few random items of uselessness are sent scattering about the planks as she rummages. Comes back up for a moment, only to see zombies emerging from the shadows. ".. Great. Voodoo and curses is why I -left- the old homelands." Ducks back into the crates again. More rattling about follows.

When the zebra trader finally emerges again, she's got an ceremonial burner dangling from a chain in her mouth, eerie luminicent fumes waifing from it as it sways back and forth. Several tribal wards have been stuffed in the pockets of her trader's vest as well. "Shadows of cold, bones do behest; return to your graves and eternal rest!" If there's one advantage to her trade, it's keeping a stockpile of assorted charms and 'supernatural' trinkets."

Brume and Spindrift draw up short as the zombies make themselves visible, and both stop, staring. Spindrift glances back at Brume and takes a step back… and the two continue to ease away, maintaining a constant distance between themselves and the Trotting Dead.

Brume's face has screwed up into an expression of disgust. "Revolting. What are they?" he asks. Spindrift shakes her head. "I don't know, but I think this is what Hearth and Bonfire were worried about. Ready yourself."

With a nod, the taller stallion licks his lips and hums a few notes, finding a pitch. He then settles into a little whistled melody not unlike structured birdsong, and as the music rises, so does a small shimmer of energy around him- as it was yesterday, magical force channeled through song. But rather than attack, the Mysterious Wanderers merely watch the zombies for now. For all they know this is part of this weird land-dweller holiday. Wouldn't want to go blow up someone's dear, departed, and now returned uncle.

"Whooooah!" Daffy squeals, getting crashed into, probably barreled over! "O..okay then! You just run where you feel safest!" Oogh. Don't ever get in the way of a pony who's bigger than you when they want to get somewhere. Daffy stumbles back towards the bonfire, blinking at Spectre, "H..hey Spec! You okay? Something's happening!"

Stunned first by the light, the two first zombies are joined by two more, each one a study in horrific animated decay. One of the zombies with only one ear perks it to the sounds of a higher pitch. A whistle. One that quickly draws the attention of all four of the creepy shamblers, which begin an uneasy walk towards the source of said whistle. Each of them growling what noise they can in answer! "Grrroooarrrrrrhhh…"

Hearth scrambles away from the bonfire, scooping up Daffy onto her back. Bonfire's right at her side, looking up at Monsoon, "Where did /they/ come from? What do we do!?"

"This isn't what I had in mind by investigate, Queen," Rising Chaos snarks at the pegasus who is lifting her in the air. Her sass is disspelled by the gruesome sight around the fire. The emotions on Chaos' face flicker from shock, to horror, to fear, to anger in a small space of time. "Those are the undead Queen," she growls. "Vile abominations invading my- I mean this quiet place." With a flash, the machete is drawn from it's sheath, just in case.

Spectre tries to charge a zombie, but winds up falling flat on her face again instead. "Stupid…drunk!!" she shouts, windmilling her legs. Riptide scrambles back to the water, howling like he's been hit, and he charges straight under without a second thought. Monsoon alights on the ground by his friends, wings flared protectively. "Where is that stupid brute?" he growls, of Maelstrom.

Spindrift turns her head, watching Spectre and the others. "I saw him earlier today- but I don't know where he is now. We'll just have to make do." If they want Maelstrom around, that probably means explosions are called for. She glances back at Brume, who catches the silent signal, and alters his whistling pitch- the tempo increasing, and not just because his little skillful birdsong is drawing the ire of the zombies. As his current stanza reaches a climax, so does the thrumming bubble of energy around him- and when it does, Spindrift snaps a hoof back, gesturing towards it. The gathered forces flow forward around her hoof, hovering there for one moment before she throws it forward, letting loose the arcane potential in a sudden, concussive burst aimed at the first zombie, hoping to blast it back and across the beach.

Muzaji frowns as this apparently has no effect on warding off the zombies, and spits out the chain, incense lamp clattering to the planked walkway. "I know I paid that so called shaman too much for this!", she huffs, odd time as it is to be annoyed about a wayward purchase. A few cautious steps bring her not far from Brume and Spindrift, a scowling serious expression replacing the shyster's previously cheerful one. "The dead walk amongst the living; this night is cold and unforgiving. Bones and mold trotting grimly, for what reason—"

And then Spindrift's burst of arcane prowess cuts her off, ears flaring upright as she scatters back a few steps in surprise. "—What the hay was that?!"

Queen steadily descends until Rising is a few feet above the ground - at which point the smaller mare is released, and likely ends up in another undignified position before being pulled to her hooves by the now grounded Queene. The unwelcome pair standing several feeet behind and off to the side from Spindrift and Brume.

Meanwhile Seaside and Sunset have managed to usher the foals into the local tavern where they order a round of cocoa and cookies for the lot - intent on keeping all the foals calm, and paying special attention to those who are all freaked out (the offlanders).

Foals gather around the two tropical twins, clamoring for sweets. This town is adaptable, and disaster prone: the zombies are quickly turned to a topic of excited conversation rather than fear. "Wooow a dead pony!" "I never seen one walking before!" "I sawed a ghost once." "No you didn't, Wittershins! You're always saying that." "But I DID!"

Spectre finally makes it up to the rest of her group, standing unsteadily on her drunken hooves. "HAY. HAY. Bonhearth. Make me not drunk with your healy stuff. I can't even see my nose afront of my faces. Much less…smelly…zombie faces. We got any bombs? Bombs is good— whoooaaaa." She blinks, as Spindrift and Brume do their thing, eyes widening. "Wow!!"

Rising-Chaos does indeed land in an undignified way. She lands heavily on her side, knocking the breath from her. She is helped to her hooves by Quenie and retrieves her fallen blade. She takes a stance, her face locked into a scowl. A aura of green smoke springs to life around the blade. She watches the display of magic without being impressed. "Showoff," she growls, ironic, seeing as the green glow around the blade is nothing but illusion!

"Guys!" a voice shouts from down the boardwalk. "Guys! Guys guys guys! You wouldn't believe it, but I saw zombies out near Winterso—" Maelstrom, charging valiantly into action, is cut off by the arcane explosion and bits of zombie flying over his head. "…how did they get here before me? They're shamblers! Hey, Monsoon! Where you at!? The zombies are cheating again!"

Grouped by the Bonfire is Monsoon, Spectre, Hearth, Bonfire, and Daffy on their backs. The pegasus scowls at Maelstrom. "Get over here Maelstrom, before the shamblers kill everyone here! Could you BE any later?!"
Queenie ughs loudly as the booze-scented pony addresses her as 'Bonhearth'; the reaking smell of alchohal quite distasteful and prompting Queenie to rudely shove the drunk mare away. "Disgusting." she scoffs with distain while looking down at Rising. "This little Harbor gets more intresting by the day, doesn't it?" Surely actions like rudely shoving somepony you don't know won't have future repercussions!

Muzaji shakes off her surprise at the Wanderer's surprise magics, thanks to the drunken blaring from Spectre. Okay, forget the zombies, -this- is a problem she can deal with. She turns and trots over to Spectre, pulling a hoof-full of odd looking herbal roots out of a pocket.

And attempts to shove them in her mouth. "Normally we wait until the hangover for these, but this is an emergancy."

The roots are extremely bitter tasting, but that's the point, they're suppose to snap the sluggishness out of the senses with the horrible assault to the palette.

"Uh, yes?" Maelstrom says as if it was the most obvious thing. "I could have not been here yet!" He gallops down the boardwalk to meet up with the others by the bonfire.

Spectre goes faceplanting again when Queenie shoves her away. "Whaggh— oh. YOU'RE NOT BONHEARTH." Thbbttpptpt. Sand. Again. But as she straggles up, she finds bitter herbs stuffed into her gob. "HrmngffhaFFLLfriendGHGHGHHHH," hack! And then she leaps to her hooves — two of 'em, even — and flexes. "YEAH!!! Time to kick some zombie apple-bonker! Thanks creepy stripey lady!" And then she kung-fu hops in place, in case any zombies come near!

Meanwhile back at the tavern; Seaside and Sunset are busy distrubiting cocoa and cookies. "Come now, children. This is clearly a prank of some sort! We'll let out friends sort it out, then they'll come and enjoy cocoa with us." Of course the alternative is zombie victory followed by the sharing of brains.

Spindrift lifts her chin slightly but doesn't seem to exult too much in the successful blastening. Brume looks amused, though, but then, he usually does. She falls back for a moment as the stallion settles into another stanza behind her; the energy doesn't seem to gather as quickly, though. Maybe he needs a bit of time to recover. As she waits, Spindrift glances back, visibly acknowledging Queenie and Rising for the first time. She stares at them for one simmering moment before looking back to the zombies, and together with Brume, fleeing back to the bonfire party, where she adopts a protective posture before them, hooves solidly planted in the sand. "Maelstrom, you are timely, that's all. I trust you are capable of dealing with these?"

Beside her, Brume trails off from his whistling to beatboxing. The bubble of force that builds around him pulses and jitters with a lively urban vibe. Ambient magical forces cluck their tongues and mutter to eachother about falling property values and how this used to be such a nice neighborhood.

One shambling horror seems intent on Rising now, avoiding the gore of its fallen comrade and opening its spindly mouth to wheeze and hiss in anticipation of sweet pony flesh. The smell is just atrocious.

"Well explode something already! That's what you're good for, right?" Monsoon snaps, flapping his wings and rearing.

"I'm good for a lot of things, thank you," Maelstrom says sharply as his horn begins to glow. "Bucking, for example, and setting traps." He has to admit, though, explosions are pretty high on the list. They're one of the easiest of spells! You just gather a bunch of magical energy and then let it do its own thing without regard for safety or common sense.

The beefy unicorn demonstrates this concept by pointing his forehead at one of the advancing shamblers and blasting it with a beam of light from his horn, transfering the arcade power into the zombie and letting it discharge as it sees fit.

Well these ponies seem much more apt at dealing with the matter at hoof, so now that her questionable cure has been administered Muzaji shifts behind them, preferably out of the reach of hungry zombies. She emits a whistful sigh at being called 'creepy' but takes it in good humor despite the situation, it's not all that uncommon for a travelling zebra trader/smuggler.

She's been called a great many worse things, by authorities and drunken sailors alike.

"Muzaji has got your back; braver ponies go forth to attack."

"Muzaji," Spectre repeats thoughtfully, playing personal bodyguard to the zebra. Personal bodyguard with KUNG FU ACTION GRIP, that is. But, then, none of them are really shambling their way. What a shame, too. She squints, however, at the one going for Rising. "Yeah, you come over here and I'll pop ya one! Two! Right in the… ewww, I don't wanna think about that face having a kisser."

The foals elsewhere, meanwhile, chatter excitedly. "A prank? Wow, it was a really good prank, Miss Seaside! They looked awful real!" "They /smelled/ awful real." "Is it a Ghostwalk thing?" "Seems pretty mean for a Ghostwalk thing… Having zombies for a day of the dead…" "You're just sore cause your dad died." "…" The little filly looks down at her cocoa.

".. Yes, lets please not think about that, they are gross enough as it is," Muzaji deadpans back to Spectre.

Seaside snags the mean-talking fowl and gives em a good firm swat on the flank, while her sister Sunset gently hugs the sad filly. "Always remember with a smile." squeezing her extra firmly. "I'm sure that's what your father would want." "We lost are mother years ago." "We were sad." "We were angry." "We lashed out." Glare at the mean-foal. "We acted out." "We were bad fillies." "But we grew up." "We learned to honor our mother." "By smiling a little extra every chance we get." The twins offering a big, silly smile to the whole crowd including Crank-Flank.

Not to be outdone, Rising Chaos charges the zombie coming towards her. Her machete swings in a graceful arc, biting deeply into the shambling horror's neck. She dances back, avoiding counter attack from the wounded thing. A grin creeps onto her face. She summon a puff of smoke, obscuring her from view. The smoke clears to reveal two Rising Chaos', both wearing a cocky grin. They flourish their swords in perfect syncronization. "You want to dance, foul thing?" she growls, more for herself than anything, "let's dance." She darts forwards aging, scoring another deep blow on the creature's neck before retreating again. She doesn't want to stay near such a disgusting thing for long, it might get her in trouble.

"Bmf-chk-bmf-bmf-chk," beats Brume, mouth tucked into his hooves. "Wicka-wicka-wicka-wicka-bmf-chk, a-bmf-bmf-chk."

Spindrift watches him for a few unamused moments, but so long as he's bringing the music, the results are the same. At least he isn't attempting opera this time. She looks back the zombies as she reaches back, gesturing through the air, feeling the gathering force, testing it. She may not have much in the way of power herself- but what she can do is redirect it… sense it, follow it to its source, and angle it towards a destination. Brume's musical focuses fuel her spells, then, as before with the blast, but this next one isn't so destructive. Instead, as the Mysterious Wanderer sweeps a hoof out before her, the energy flows and crystalizes… shimmering curls and whirling waves forming and solidifying, a forcefield taking the form of a painting of an ocean, translucent in the air. It forms a chest-high bulwark between the bonfire party and the approaching beasties… something to hopefully protect those by the fire should the ones who have taken up the assault not kill fast enough. She pants softly as the spell comes to a halt, while Brume continues to rattle off a dope beat behind her.

Whack! Splut! The zombie's head is not entirely severed, but it hangs awkwardly at a mind-wrenching angle, windpipe exposed. "Reehhhkkgghh," it hisses, chewing on air as it stares at Rising's gullet…

By now, the first one was destroyed by Spindrift and Brume; the second one, obliterated by Maelstrom. The third is facing Rising. The fourth? It's finally closing in on Spectre and Muzaji.

Queen stiffles a small yawn as she watches everypony work hard to stave off the undead - single blue eye committing the ponie's tactics and skill sets to memory; after all it's not often you get to see your potential enemies fighting without putting your own flank on the line - no wait that's exactly what she has underlings.

Meanwhile, elsewhere~

The little filly sniffs and hugs Sunset, while the colt flattens his ears at the swat. "What!! It's true! How come I get in trouble just for saying true stuff?"

"He liked it when I smiled…" the filly sniffles. "I know Miss Bone Mistress took him to the stars, but I wish he were here…"

"You're such a baby," eye-rolls the colt. "My dad was taken last year. It's fine!"

"Your dad was /mean/," mutters another colt. And a filly: "Like father like son." A few small, subdued giggles.

Seaside quickly corrects the colt. "Just because it's true." Sunset continues "Doesn't mean it's okay to say." "It's important to respect others feelings." "You should respect your father through kindess." Seaside leans in to whisper to the colt. "Watch your mouth squirt, or I'll paddle you so hard you'll get a rowboat for a cutie mark." Both Seaside and Sunset smile oh-so broadly.

"That's it, next business trip I'm stocking up on anti-voodoo wards," Muzaji grumbles to nopony in particular. Let's see, she should do something to help, even if it is just to keep up appearances …. aha. Of course. "Oh how bad of me. I almost forgot the ceremonial sacrifice of sweets for the holiday." She pulls out a hooful of the candy she was peddling off to kids earlier in the day from a pocket, and flings the little hard candies at the zombie.

It's not going to hurt the undead. But it will hopefully distract it long enough for Spectre to apply her prodiginous pounding of faces to it!

Rising-Chaos back up uneasily as the zombie is unfazed by her illusionary self. She backpedals for a while, keeping her machete in front of her warily. Her illusion darts in, distracting the zombie for a moment. In her window of opportunity, Chaos darts in and severs the head with one final blow. She immediatly gets away from the corpse, just in case in comes back again. She observes the situation, deciding to keep both illusions active. The two Chaoses return to Queen Pegasus' side.

"So like I was saying," Maelstrom says casually to Monsoon and the others as if they weren't in the middle of a zombie attack, horn still glowing as he looks for the last zombie. "There were a while bunch of zoms hanging out around Wintersong. Has anypony around here mentioned having undead problems before? I thought they had some kinda Bone Lady to keep that sort of stuff in check."

"Hrrrnnhh??" Rising's zombie blinks, leaning for the illusion before WHOMP, off goes its head! It rolls and with a deflating wheeze, its body keels and topples over. Dead!

Muzaji's zombie, meanwhile, blinks in confusion as candies are flung at its head. Food? Not food? It's dreadfully curious and confused. And as it is thus, Spectre WHOMP smacks a hoof down on its head. It bites its tongue … off … and lets out a keeeening sound of pain, but it's certainly not dead; in fact a generous bit of flesh is sticking to Spectre, making her pull a face. "Euughh, gross!" If Maelstrom's lookin' for the last zom, it's right here!

Back at Foal Academy, the troublesome colt's eyes widen at the threat, and he scuttles back to his seat and his cocoa, sighing. The other foals giggle a little. "I like that one. Can I use it, Miss Sunset?"

Throughout all this, Hearth and Bonfire, and Daffy too, appear with the group of foals like the were there the whole time. With Daffodil bouncing on Hearth's back, cheering and squealing and all. "Yeah! Get'em! Get'em good! Teach those deadbeats a lesson! Go team living!"

"No," says Spindrift, in response to Maelstrom's question. "The undead have never been a problem like this." She settles back on her haunches and keeps her forelegs raised, evidently requiring some measure of focus to maintain the barrier she has erected before the bonfire party. It's a chest-high wall. Maybe someone with a gun can huddle behind it and pop up every now and then to shoot at the zombies. If first person shooters were a thing in this world, that would totally be a relevant reference. Brume's beatboxing trails off, and he hangs back for now- having supplied the juice, he leaves it in the hooves of his partner to maintain. While he waits, he glances around, then leans over to smile at Bonfire and Hearth. "Ladies," he says. "These things look familiar at all? Something from your world, perhaps?"

Sunset smiles at the foals - assuming somepony is asking if it's okay to use 'Just because it's true. Doesn't mean it's okay to say.'; after all Seaside /whispered/ the other bit to the colt =3 "Of course Sunset replies with a beamy smile while her sister consolingly pats the mean colt on the head.

Brume eyes Monsoon speculatively and not in a suave fashion at all. "So," he says, in a way that is in no way hitting on Monsoon, "These things look familiar at all? Something from your world, perhaps?"

Yes but some foals are /nosy gits/. :D

Monsoon looks frustrated, especially as he finds his comrades have up and vanished into town for cocoa. All except Big, Dumb, and Explosive, and little miss Muay Tai over there. "Yeah, we've got shamblers all over the wastes. Shamblers, trotters, zoms, sprinters…whatever you want to call 'em, they're there."

Whack! Smack! Spectre is kung-fuing that zombie like crazy! Unfortunately it seems to be pretty immune to bashing damage. At least of Spectre's piddly calibre.

And now while they're finishing up rekilling zombies, Muzaji will slip away into the background to live to swindle another day. And probably dip into her stash of rum to deal with the matter. Wonder how many locals she can fleece out of their bits hocking zombie countermeasures after tonight? Ooh, if this sort of craziness is normal around here though she can probably come up with all sorts of scams….

Meanwhile that lone zombie while distracted by candy has managed to get dangerously close to the party - maw gaping and ready to take a big ol chunk out of some unsuspecting ponies flank as they talk amongst each other. A gunshot rings out and a bullet zips dangerlously, dangerously close to Spindrift and practically takes a few hairs off Maelstrom's mane, and even closer to Spectre before popping the Zombie in the noggin - in proper Zombie execution style! Queen scoffs softly with her flintlock pistol still aimed at the group! "Tsk…" What is she tsking about!?

Sunset chuckles at the other foal. "You should find better ways to deal with your problems than threats." Seaside leans in to whisper to that foal. "Even if threats are sometimes needed for particularly bad foals." "Use your head instead."

Spectre's cry of dismay at getting zombie gibs on herself attacts Maelstrom's attention. "Hold that thought," the unicorn says to the other ponies at the bonfire as he points his face laser at the last zombie and shoots another blast at it. Unfortunately its head explodes like a ripe melon on account of Queen Pegasus' bullet, which means the shot continues lancing through the air and down the boardwalk. Somepony is going to be having a very bad evening.

KERSPLODE!!! The zombie's former head is nothing but a reddish greenish putrid bunch of blood spattered over the sand. Eeeyick.

There's a flash of purple light on the far end of the boardwalk, followed by a distraught scream: "MY CABBAGES!"

DOUBLE-KERSPLODE!!! There goes the boardwalk. Dang it all!

Nix that thought. Muzaji could make more selling zombie splatter cleaning supplies.

Rising-Chaos sees that the situation could get interesting, very quickly. Leaving her illusionary self behind, Chaos slips away. She extinguishes the glowing smoke from her blade and slides into the shadows. Her illusionary self looks unaafected by the gunshot, though is making a show of eyeing the Queen warily.

Spindrift, channeling the forcefield, shoots a glance towards Queenie as the bullet whisks by her. She gestures, then, redirecting the gathered magic. The whirls and curls of the translucent wave print in the air before her shift and flow, winding and rearranging, so that they slide between not the bonfire and the zombies, but the bonfire and Queenie. It grows higher, too- no longer chest-high but some six feet tall. Maelstrom and Monsoon, assuming they are far enough back, are partially behind the barrier, though Spectre, having been in prime tusslin' range, is likely caught behind it. Brume sighs and crosses his forelegs, regarding Queenie from a distance. "Really, now. Can't we all just savor this little victory against the forces of darkness?" he asks. "Do we really need to turn on eachother so quickly? Come now! We averted a zombie apocalypse! Let us revel in our mutual liveliness!"

Monsoon snorts. "Apocalypse? That was a Friday afternoon. More than likely there will be more where that came from. We need to put resources to protecting the town if there are more coming; these may have been simple but in force, they're not to be tangled with." He eyes Queenie, with a narrow look, while Spectre just sits there, covered in gore, and looking utterly disgusted. She smacks her lips a little before spitting. "Got brains in my mouth…" she mutters.

"If I was a meaner pony," Maelstrom says thoughtfully, "I'd make a joke about that being the first time you've ever had brains in your head. But I have too much respect for you as a friend to say something like that." He puts a hoof down for emphasis.

Queen simply shrugs at the group. "Certainly not the brightest lot - getting testy over a pistol that's already been fired." Certainly it would be lovely to have something better than a flintlock with a single shot; perhaps she should get herself one of those fancy dual flintlock pistols - perhaps pink varnish and gold plated, that does sound lovely. She attempts to grab the fake Rising by the scruff - finding her hooves simply go through the girl; this causes the mare to scowl angrily as she ascends into the air. "Bah, ungrateful munchkins." wings fluttering as she heads back towards her boat - where the pretty little element is stowed.

"You wouldn't be too far off!" Spectre replies cheerfully, "But thanks anyway, Maelypoo!"

"Any time, Specs!" Maelstrom says back with equal cheer.

Rising-Chaos cancels her last illusion, making the Rising in the street puff into smoke. Chaos herself emerges from the shadow and grins at Brume. "Exactly Brume, would you like to join the young ones for cookies?" she says. Her smile is carefully crafted to look warm, her machete is gone beneath her cloack. Without waiting she heads towards the building where the Twins and foals took shelter.

Spindrift keeps her hooves upraised, the forcefield maintained, until she sees Queenie is well and truly departed. Only then does she relent, lowering her hooves to the sand, and gasps for breath. The gathered forcefield dissipates, energies blowing away on the cool evening wind.

Brume trots up beside her and helps her sit upright, but she's only winded, so he can offically stop worrying in short order. Which he does. He turns to flash Monsoon a grin. "Friday for you, maybe, but another sunrise for you to enjoy." He turns to look towards the others. "Everyone okay? Maelstrom, fabulous show out there. Spectre! Here, let me get that for you." He sides close and reaches up with a fold of his cloak to help wipe the zombie matter off her face. He pauses mid-dab, though, to glance up towards Rising with noticable surprise. His eyes dart between Rising and Spindrift, who, if she notices Rising, doesn't react, instead turned away, collecting herself. Brume considers for a moment before smiling towards Rising. "Thank you for the invitation, miss Chaos, but I'd rather stay here and ensure the threat has truly passed. Please, go enjoy the cocoa. You've earned it."

Queen meanwhiles uses profane language and abuses her underlings - clearly not happy with Rising's little deception.

"And if the breeze I feel is any indication, that sunrise will be short-lived," Monsoon retorts grimly. Spectre though flutters her lashes and beams at Brume. "Thank you, kind sir!"

Brume continues to dab. He sidles closer. "Oh, not at all. I'm an artist, you see, and I just cannot abide seeing beauty so tragically dirtied." He smiles in a winning fashion. "Say, I hear they have cocoa. Let's say we go see what that's all about, h-"

He is interrupted as Spindrift grabs his ponytail and pulls him away from Spectre. "No, Brume, you were right. We need to see if there are any more, and help shore up the town's defenses." She glances about the rest of the group, then starts making her way up the beach. Brume sighs, watching her go, then grins back at the rest of the crowd, reaching back to rub the back of his head where his poor, poor mane was so tragically yanked. "Duty calls. Ta for now, fillies and gentlecolts." As is becoming customary, he launches into a brisk canter to help him catch up with Spindrift, who is, yet again, stalking off into the night to go be mysterious elsewhere.

Rising-Chaos thinks better of having cookies wihtout a partner, and doesn't want to spend time in foalish company. She decides to head home, she'll deal with Queenie in the morning, for now she's exhausted from all her spell casting. And to think, she had promised she wouldn't use any magic tonight. Remembering her promise puts her in a bitter mood, she goes home in a huff.

Maelstrom punches Monsoon in the shoulder. "Has anyone ever told you that you get real grumpy during zombie attacks. Because the mood is all the way up here," he gestures above his head with one hoof, "and you're bringing it down here," a gesture at knee level. "Seriously, we need to get you a marefriend or something." The unicorn glances around. "Hey, has anypony seen Seasbreeze Sunhoof or whoever that cute mare with the twin is?"

Spectre gasps, cheeks lighting up into bright red. "Beauty? O-oh, ummm…" BLUSH. And Monsoon stiffens, glaring at Maelstrom. "I only point out what's /important/," he snaps. "And I don't need a marefriend! YOU need a marefriend! SHUT UP!" Flustered, he flaps his wings and launches into the air. "I'm going to go do the RIGHT THING, and help get the defenses up instead of partying like a drunken idiot!"

"Hey!" Spectre calls.

"Not you. Anyway, you have fun doing…whatever it is big stupid lugs like you do." And off he flits, angry.