An Open Invitation
IC date: Summer 14, 1007
OOC date: July 4, 2012
PCs: Mad-Mare, Snowfield

It seems at first that nopony is home, or at least that the occupant has no intention of opening the door. Half a minute easily passes without so much as a rustle of the window dressings. Eventually the door opens about six inches— more than wide enough for Snowfield to look through at whoever is intruding upon her solitude, with a hoof braced against the inside of the door to keep it from opening any further. She looks up at her cloaked visitor.

Patience. Not traditionally one of the cloaked one's strengths, but something she's certainly had to work on. It feels like an eternity in the snow and cold, remarkably cold here despite Summer being in full force just past the forest borders. When the door finally does open, the diminuative unicorn inside peering out and up towards the cloaked figure, she's met with a very familiar face.

For a moment she's content to stand there, studying Snowfield from under her hood. Assuming the door doesn't immediately shut on her, she speaks, her voice as smooth as when she'd first arrived in the harbor. "Evening, little witch. Is your invitation still open? I could do with a spot of tea…"

Snowfield tilts her head thoughtfully at the visitor then steps away from the door and pushes it open. "Of course. Though I must say, I wasn't expecting to see you this soon." Or at all, really. She was only joking about getting rescued by seaponies! "Is this just a social call or should I be fetching the snow golems?"

The inside of the cottage is incredibly spartan. The living room has a couple of unimpressive sofas and a small table, there's a cast iron stove in a corner near some cabinets in what is a close approximation of a kitchen, and a door off to the side is ajar revealing a bedroom which has a bed and dresser and nothing else. Nothing hangs upon the walls, the floors are bare wood and the only decorations to be seen are a couple of blankets thrown over the top of the sofas in geometric blue-and-white patterns.

"Social." the cloaked Mare states, dipping her head on her way into the quaint, if rather bare cottage space, her gait containing an extra heavy *thump-thump* when her rear legs make contact with the hard wood flooring. Her head turns this way and that, peering around the space. "Nice place you've got here. I don't know why, but my first impression of you invoked images of mysterious ice caves or something…" She picks a comfortable-looking cushion to settle herself onto, pushing her hood back with a forehoof.

"Now I'm sure we'll get to settling our differences at some point, but after our last meeting I felt this urge to see what you're all about first. Why you'd bother with the whole invitation thing." One eyebrow lifts, Maddie's eyes fixing upon the unicorn. "Why you bothered to spare me."

"The ice cave isn't very good for entertaining," Snowfield says dismissively. "I've only ever had guests there once and they complained the whole time. Hardly worth the effort." She stays by the door and watches Mad Mare walk over to the sofa and sit down. The little unicorn hmms at the removed hood— someone is looking a little bedraggled these days.

Once Maddie is settled Snowfield walks to the stove in the corner, magicing open a cabinet and pulling a small bellows out from it. "Truth be told, it was to make you suffer. I wanted you to watch everything around you crumble to nothing and be swallowed by the ocean. A swift, killing blow just didn't feel appropriate to the situation." She floats a few pieces of wood into the stove and sticks the tip of the bellows in, making the resting embers inside flare to life again. "I suppose you've earned your life as I challenged you to, though, so I can't hold a grudge for you not dying horribly."

"Is that so?" Maddie quips quietly, watching the snowpony at work making tea."I suppose I can see where you could have come to that conclusion. That blowing up my ship, and my legs, and all that might have caused some modicum of suffering or whatnot. I probably would have done the same thing in your position." She ponders, one ear splaying, "I think I have done the same thing. More or less."

Her eyes close, Maddie settling back as comfortably as she can on metal legs. "Since we're telling the truth and all, I ought to confess I had intended to end the blockade anyway. Or didn't your pony folk notice the battle they'd walked into? You just…helped. Gave me perfect justification to my boss, in fact. So for that, I suppose I should thank you."

Snowfield puts the bellows back into the cabinet and opens another one, pulling out a few different varieties of tea and considering which one she wants. "I hadn't noticed, no. I was busy rooting through the hat collection in your cabin. You didn't actually wear any of those, did you? They seemed far too ostentatious." She settles on which tea she wants and puts the others away.

"Really, I couldn't have cared less about the blockade," she says as she opens a window and pulls some snow in from outside, putting it into a kettle and placing it on the stove. "I was only there because I was concerned for Blackbird. He can get caught up in his emotions and I didn't want him to do something he'd regret in front of the foal, like viciously murdering somepony."

"I am upset you interfered with that… He was coming along so nicely!" Maddie sulks, for all of half a moment. "I wore some of those hats. Mostly when sailing around with nothing else to do. Most of them were just there because I liked how they looked. I…miss my hats, but that's the price you pay for progress."

Maddie leaves a moment or two of silence, ears twitching to the generally quiet surroundings. When she speaks again, her tone is thoughtful. "If you didn't care about the blockade, am I to assume you don't really care about the harbor either? I'm not exactly done there. I'm sure you've probably already supposed as much."

"Not so much, no," the unicorn confirms, finally looking back at Maddie now that she has nothing left to do but wait for the water to boil. "So long as it doesn't affect me directly it's really of no importance to me. Leave the bakery and the general store alone and I doubt you'll see me interfering in whatever it is you're planning to do."

The tea kettle begins to steam slightly.

This brings a grin to Maddie's features, the crazy pony alternating between keeping tabs on the snowy unicorn, and the steaming pot. "That's easy enough. I have no intent of closing businesses down. All I want to do is take the harbor over." She purses her lips. "I doubt you'd be willing to offer aid on that front, all things considered, but I'll stay out of your mane if you stay out of mine."

Snowfield frowns as Maddie keeps glancing at the tea kettle. How is the pot supposed to boil if she keeps watching it? "I'm not the world domination sort of pony, no," she says. "You're on your own if you want to conquer the town. You needn't worry about me getting in your mane. Someone needs to put Salty in her place, she's been running the town into the ground far too long."

"Then we have an accord." Maddie decides, her eyes closing again. She's unable to keep a smug look from crossing her expression. "I doubt you'll even know what or when it happens. I'll get rid of Salty, my boss will be happy, and who knows? Maybe business will actually improve." Because organized crime has always done a good job of making business profitable, right? At least she's stopped watching the pot.

As if to punctuate the pact the tea kettle finally whistles. Snowfield opens the cabinet again and pulls out a couple of mugs and begins to prepare some tea balls for steeping. "Naturally, your boss' happiness is my greatest priority," the mare says flatly. "Maybe he'll be so pleased he'll send congratulatory hats for everyone."

Maddie clucks her tongue, easing herself into a more upright position suitable for tea-drinking. It takes some doing, what with the metal limbs and all. "He might! If he did, what kind of hat would you prefer?" She taps her chin thoughtfully. "I'll admit, you don't seem like the hat type." it's not that she didn't note the sarcasm.

"I don't do hats," Snowfield says as she waits patiently for the tea to finish steeping. "The occasional maneclip or band, perhaps, but not hats." She looks over her shoulder at Maddie adjusting her position and her metal legs. "That's some impressive craftsmanship for such short notice. Does the Syndicolt employ unicorn artificers?"

"You do seem more the cloak and hood type." Maddie notes thoughtfully, raising her nose to the scent of the tea. "What kind did you brew up for us, if I may ask?"

On the subject of her legs, the Mare grimaces. She hasn't made up her mind yet if she likes them or not, though it's true that they are rather well crafted. "They have a goodly amount of resources in their command." she says, tapping a hoof on one of the metal legs. "They weren't cheap to make, and absolutely excruciating to learn to walk with, but they're very well built."

"Cayentine," Snowfield says as she pulls the tea balls out. "The leaves have a hint of the fruit's citrus flavor and a spicy back end a little closer to ginger than it is to the fruit's hot pepper, though you still probably don't want to chug the whole cup. It's difficult to find around here since it doesn't grow naturally in cold climates. It needs long, warm days that the harbor and forest can't provide for." She levitates the mugs and floats one over to Maddie. "I traded some exotic Wintersong herbs for some from a trader a while ago but haven't had much opportunity to brew any of it."

She finally sits down on the other sofa and takes a sip of the tea. "You must be held in very high regard by your associates if they were willing to invest in you like that," she says with a nod towards the legs.

Taking the mug in both hooves, Maddie takes a sip of the tea to sample the flavors described to her. Mmm, tea~ "Difficult to obtain for you then? I'm honored you'd choose to brew some for this social call." Another sip later, she cradles the cup carefully, savoring.

Again to her legs! Carefully the Mare adjusts herself to stretch one out. "I am…considered to be Mr. Syndicolt's right-hoof mare. The title does come with a few perks."

It is a very intriguing topic, one must admit. "I see," Snowfield says simply as she takes a sip of her own tea. She seems to have had enough of the topic for now, at least, because she chooses next to wave off the 'honored' comment. "Don't be. I'm not looking to please or impress anypony. You asked for tea, I felt this was a suitably good one, end of story."

Maddie can't hold the posture for very long, having to settle back into a more comfortable position for tea-sipping. "So be it." she chimes, happy enough to take any honorable comments back. "You didn't seem like the sort of pony that'd enjoy being honored either. Just left alone?" The topic of the snow witch is rightly interesting too. After all, this pony was the whole reason Maddie had to have such extensive work done. "How does that…Blackbird pony fit in then? How'd you come to be his protector of sorts?"

"That sounds about right," Snowfield says over the rim of her teacup. "Too many ponies are interested in being friends and 'hanging out'. If I wanted to have neighbors visiting all the time I would live close to town. So long as I have ice to work with I'm happy enough in solitude." She is quiet a moment as Blackbird enters the conversation. "He's interesting to watch. Somehow both jaded and naive to the world, if that makes any sense. He cares greatly for the things around him but I don't think he knows how to express it properly."

The unicorn waves a hoof vaguely. "I wouldn't say I'm a protector by any stretch. He's more than capable of taking care of himself, the problem is he gets tunnel vision easily and doesn't consider the whole situation." She drinks some tea. "In the case of the ill-fated raid on your flagship, he was fully prepared to tear you limb from limb. I imagine he may very well have had I not forced him to retreat and played the part of the monster myself. What sort of lesson would he have set for the foal had she seen her father figure do such a thing?"

"Right. You've said as much already." Maddie sips her own tea, casting Snowfield a sideways look. "But you don't have to, and you've also said, in no uncertain terms, that you don't exactly care about most things in the Harbor." A moment of silence, then, "So why help them at all?"

"Because he came to me for help," Snowfield says shortly. There are absolutely no other reasons she would go out of her way to help Blackbird, nosiree. "He did not say how he wished for me to render aid, so I decided the best way would be as a moral guardian rather than as a warrior or thief." She finishes off her mug of tea with a final swig. "Just because I enjoy being alone doesn't mean I am so heartless as to turn away every pony who comes to my door, as you see for yourself. If somepony truly needs something of me I will assist as I am able."

"If you say so." Maddie decides, finishing off her own mug. With some effort, she settles herself onto three of her hooves, managing a difficult hobble to the nearest table to set said mug down on. "I do appreciate the hospitality. Perhaps I can extend a similar invitation later, once I've settled some of my business with the Harbor."

"Only if it's an invitation to the mayor's manor," Snowfield says as she picks up both mugs and moves them to the counter over the cupboard. She'll wash them after Maddie leaves. "I'd prefer to keep my hooves on solid ground, ships are far too unsettling. I'll leave that to the sailors."

She's certainly on her way out. As nice as the visit has been, she's learned what she needs to, and enjoyed a cup of tea in the process. "It should be thereabouts, if things work out." Managing the door open on her own, the Syndicolt Mare tugs her hood back up over her head. "It's been pleasant. I don't often bother to stop for conversation, so it makes a nice change of pace now and then. Until next time~" With that, she trots off, nudging the door closed with a metal leg behind her.

Snowfield watches Maddie leave and nods. "It was an interesting change of pace. Have a good afternoon." She regards the mare's awkward gait upon the false legs then the closed door once the pirate lord has gone. "I imagine our next meeting will be significantly more violent," she comments to the empty building. As intriguing as this turn of events has been, Maddie still hasn't taken Snowfield up on her invitation: it wasn't for a tea party, it was to settle the score.