Cold Reception
IC date: Autumn 22, 1007
OOC date: October 11, 2012
PCs: Ruby-Blossom, Solar-Wind, Windrose, Magpie
NPCs: Lady-Pegasus
GM: None

- > Horseshoe Base - Main Base <--------—-

An oasis of warmth hidden from the moon's light.

The broad, cavernous room is lit by several flickering lamps. This is a place for meetings and discussion, and the large number of mismatched and foraged chairs, seats, and old cushions attests to that.

A heavily fortified door stands on the far wall, marked in scratched and erratic graffiti: ABANDON HOPE ALL YE WHO EXIT HERE

Time is a moot point when the sun doesn't rise or set - whatever time it is Ruby stands near the entrance to the base while motioning Solar-Wind towards the entrance. "We'll go out for a bit - just like last time - we do this as I see fit." she chimes before tugging down her visor. "Lets see if we can find anything useful." She attempts to push the door open - succeeding with much effor on her part; it's liekly something Solar could do without effort. A powerful chill hitting the pair the instant the door is cracked.

Solar-Wind assists readily as he too tugs his garb into place, "Didja talk to the Professor though, what, what was he talking about with the clouds, he said they were dangerous" he gulps, though you don't necessarily see it. "Useful right, the costume fixings, err, Ruby, I've got some of my rescue harness, I , I can lift you if it comes down to that" he comments

Ruby-Blossom wave a hoof dismissively "Everything is dangerous here, and frankly I've no intention of sitting idle. Why if I could get to Canterlot I'd show that crank a thing or thing." she scoffs before pushing the door further open. "If the dead walk then I imagine dead pegasi might reside in clouds. After all - where would you prefer to be, even after death?" The mare can say some scary and rather insightful things at times can't she? "Just how strong of a flier are you, anyways?

Solar-Wind nods slightly, "understood" he sighs, "that sounds about right, though I'm probably guessing he's referring to the icing problem that would come from flying through the clouds. He points out. "As for how strong?" he smiles and unfolds his wings. He has some adaptations mounted to his wings in somewhat gloves over one surface, "in an exchange for some minor maneuverability, I’ve got some adaptions that help me with load and lift. I can under strain handle two full sized barrels of water in a full clip, near gale position." he taps his chest with a hoof, "strong enough to cary that load and maneuverable enough to get tight places to dump it"

Ruby-Blossom 's smirk goes unnoticed with her visor lowered. "Strong enough to fly to Canterlot?" her tone curious, and a tad challenging! Stepping out into the cold night air, chills running through her body as wades into the white snow and trots several feet into the snow. She glances back at Solar-Wind waiting for him to join then shut the door behind. "Seen anything interesting out here so far?"

Solar-Wind helps get the door closed and he tucks in his garb unfolding one of his over-backpacks, no saddlebags as it distracts his wings. "To Canterlot in one go, I doubt it, Ten minutes in flight and I was already having crystallization problems on my wingtips" he notes "walking, I'm good for a go, though this snow" he pauses, "I'm not particularly good with it" he admits. "To Canterlot with a load, he shakes his head, I'd get to the top of the WhiteSaddle mountains, but I don't know how much further I'd get thereafter, and I can't risk you like that." he notes. "I am strong though and I'll take any challenge you issue"

Ruby-Blossom waves her hoof dismissively. "I didn't think so Solar-Wind; I know this crazy weather prevents you from flying far - I was just curious." the mare struggling through the heavy snow as she begins to trot forward and out into the open wilderness. She lets her eyes draw upwards to examine the sky. "I recommend getting some sky time in while you can, Solar." the mare jumping forward before rushing out into the snow.

Solar-Wind untucks his wings from his garb and lifts off, "Ruby, I can lift you and we can recon, I've heard some dangers on the snow that I don't want you to encounter" he offers, "something about pony-sized spiders that hide their webs in the snow" he mentions, "Fizz mentioned them" he hovers before you, Him just flying is giving him confidence in himself, he pretty much turns into the bold creature you'd presume him to be when he's not so messed up

Ruby-Blossom stops to glance up at the hovering pegasus. "I suppose. Do your harness thing or whatever. Far as spiders go - I've seen them before in the Wintersong back home." she digs at the snow with one hoof. "Recon sounds good, lets do this thing."

Solar-Wind lands beside her, and pulls off his snow gear, "Whew, that’s chilly" he mentions while he undoes his side pockets, and drops the rescue harness. then pulls his winter gear back on, checking his wings and their minor modifications. he then gently lifts the harness over your neck, and shoulders, slipping one side under one fore hoof then the other, and then a loose web behind to make it comfortable for the wearer. He performs this quickly and efficiently, obviously with much practice, he steps to the side, then takes off slowly till you feel a taught sensation from above, You can hear and then /feel/ the absolute power of his wing beats and then you feel nothing under your hooves. You hear a grunt and then his strain toughened voice, "Here we Go" he announces as he lifts and turns towards the White Saddle mountains. "You should see this with your own eyes" he announces

Ruby-Blossom looks more than a little apprehensive as she's strapped in - to a thief like her it almost feels like being bound. The mare shifting uncomfortably the whole while - the sudden upwards momentum making the mare tense notably. "You can imagine - I haven't flown before." she finds the whole situation rather awkward - good thing Kludge isn't here to see this; he /might/ actually get jealous! Despite her tense nature her eyes are wide open.

- > The Horseshoe Wastes <---------——

An endless ocean of frost and shadows.

A strange and alien landscape stretches before you. Snow flurries down from an endless night, sculpting the world into unnatural shapes. Long, swooping ramps of snow curl down into scalloped dewdrops and carve outward again like the trail of a wild animal. There's something vaguely peaceful about this glittering landscape — a peace that belies frozen limbs and an undercurrent of foreboding.

A small, dilapidated hut sits, buried almost entirely by the wintery landscape. The door hangs off its hinges, the wood slicked in ice.

Solar-Wind has managed to lift Ruby-Blossom probably about fifty feet from ground level using his fire rescue harness and his overwhelming strength the pegasus is making good time and good altitude, "I'lll keep it low and slow for you Ruby, I know this might be disconcerting" he offers tightly through the strain, "But we really should aim for the hills, there's something you should see, I saw /something/ there, that didn't match what our Whitesaddle mountains looked like.

Applejack pages: You silly pony. Trust me, I'll let you know if and when you ever bother me.
Ruby and Solar snuck out! It's highly possibly /somepony/ saw them sneaking out! A unicorn er, earth-pony strapped into a harness and being flown about by big-strong pony is certainly a tad disconcerting for the said earth-pony whom nods ever-so slightly; certainly not the best form of communication when strapped below another pony. "Lets see this thing. Just don't strain yourself, you big lug."

"And just where are you two going?" Sure enough somepony did see them sneaking out… but curiosity over where they could be going overrode any common sense like telling others, and instead Windrose was just catching up to the two of them, after having pulled on the thermal suit that had been fixed up for her. "And more importantly, why didn't you invite me first?! You shouldn't be going out without someone that can guide you back to the hideout after all."

Solar-Wind angles slightly down, but still working those massive wings of his, his strength is plain to see, and you can hear every lungful as he muscles overhead slowly though with increased speed, its faster than Ruby would ever be able to run through the snow He strains out with his voice, "But Ruby could you watch my wings closely, if you see reflective shine , let me know" and with that, he really muscles into action and is rightly cruising forward, a steady stroke of wings, and his deep breaths literally throbs the air above Ruby as he makes his way for the hills.

- > White Saddle Mountains - Rubble <-------—-

Snow-slick peaks scratch jagged tears into the sky.

The familiar mountains are no longer white-capped but robed entirely in snow from peak to valley. An ancient landslide decimated this part of the mountain, leaving it only a treacherous pile of rubble and ice. An ancient spear is wedged between the rocks, its standard no longer flapping as the torn fabric hangs heavy and stiff with ice.

Ruby-Blossom glances up at Solar-Wind even though the stallion can't see her from his vantage point. "We got caught." she tells the pegasus as Windrose catches up - grinning at the mare through her visor - which means the grin can't be seen; but she waves at least Windrose can see that. "I thought everypony was asleep - and this big lug was practically ready to wet his bed; I had to think of something to tucker him out - and frankly Kludge wouldn't of liked the alternative." A very suggestive tone emphasizing her point with the second option - although a lie it's delivered with a straight face and entirely serious tone; quite convincing!

Windrose gives a snort in return to the last comment, smirking a bit herself. "Bah. Like we did anything but cuddle to keep warm the night you slept next to me instead," she teases right back. "Don't worry, I didn't tell anypony else. I wanted to see what you two were up to, considering Ruby's talent for mischief." She's hanging back a bit, mostly so she can watch Solar-Wind's form as he lugs the other pony along. "You sure are making good speed for carrying that extra weight."

Solar-Wind huffs a little deeper hearing your comment, "Hey I may be a firepony, but that’s /NOT/ how I put out fires" he pants out as he strains further into the deep wilderness still altogether strong. Ruby would hear a quick gasp, and might even feel a little quiver in the line holding her as he hears her rather risque comment. He grunts deeply and looks back to the other Pegasus, "Good to have another flier with us" he mentions deeply, and grunts, "this one, heh featherweight" rrrrrright, but he is keeping up, and keeping her up too though anyone can hear the strain in his voice, and the strain in his breathing. "I'm a fire rescue pony, Captain of the Royal Fireguard, its the training" he pants out raspily

Ruby-Blossom shakes a hoof at Windrose angrily. "Watch how you phrase that." clearly miffed at the suggestion of 'extra weight' but seems to forgive Windrose rather quickly as she chuckles. "I should have guessed you would have caught me sneaking out of bed - you do tend to be a cuddler when you're asleep." despite suggestive wording - the two simply share a bunk for warmth; not like she'd sleep with a stallion in public or the like - that'd simply be uncivil! She watches Solar's wings for any signs of frost or freeze. "Regardless - this is clearly wearing you out. I am almost an adult you know.

"Just don't drop her on top of any pirates like I did," Windrose jokes again. Despite keeping up with the conversation though she's also keep a watch around them, tracking the direction they came from thanks to her innate talent and mentally mapping through some of the area below them. Because it may be useful later, and because it's just what she does. "Honestly, I don't blame you. I was starting to get a bit stir crazy myself. Us pegasus don't like being cooped up for long periods of time after all."

Ruby-Blossom beams brightly "I know you guys can't stand it - why do you think I went through the effort of repairing /and/ modifying your suits." seemingly quite proud of her contribution. "I wanted to do what I could for everypony." she grumbles for a brief moment before beaming. "I just want to do more - I won't settle for simply hiding, I'll take care of all you guys.

Solar-Wind looks over his shoulder and slightly down to Windrose, "Just watch your wings for icing, it creeps up on you out here, Ruby's watching mine, n I think I'm warm enough not to have an issue with it" he rasps out sounding a little deeper voiced than before, "Ssok Ruby,it takes more than this to wear me out" he pants, "You're fine down there right?" He looks back to the other flier, "I have some other issues, got a bad case of Claustrophobia, its been bad lately here" he mentions as his breathing gets harder, stronger or something, the strain is tiring him most definitely, but he's still muscling through.

Ruby-Blossom beams brightly "I know you guys can't stand it - why do you think I went through the effort of repairing /and/ modifying your suits." seemingly quite proud of her contribution. "I wanted to do what I could for everypony." she grumbles for a brief moment before beaming. "I just want to do more - I won't settle for simply hiding, I'll take care of all you guys." She reaches up to pat the big lug on the chest. "I think we should set down - I won't have you hurting yourself on my count.

Windrose would fly closer so she could bop Ruby, but she doesn't want to get in Solar's way, so she has to just settle on doing it verbally. "We all appreciate it, but don't overwork yourself either, you silly girl." Then grunts in acknowledgment of the warning. "I'm aware. It's why I'm flapping instead of gliding. Motion generates more heat, more warmth. I may not be a weather pegasus but I did take Basic Harsh Weather Flying when I was in Cloudsdale." You never know when you're going to have to fly through a storm to help find somepony, after all.

Solar-Wind 's body shudders intently and you all hear a cough then he flaps a few harder strokes, another cough, "Ok, ok, going down" he swallows hard, but Ruby feels the decent is at least controlled, "there, wanted to get ya closer in but this will do" he mentions sounding alot more strained than before. The other pegasus will likely feel a draft and wind pattern change opposing their previously easy flight here. The big guy obviously buffeted because of it and it caused him some serious strain going right there, you even hear a soft, "Oww' as he counters the wind change. "Watch the crosswind" he mentions as he hits it first.

Ruby-Blossom mummers softly "I told you so…" as Solar-Wind audibly drains while descending - both hoofs raised to hold onto the stallion above despite being harnessed in. She gazes curiously about - intent on seeing what Solar-Wind finds so interesting.

Windrose gives a wicker of annoyance, but thanks to the other pegasus' warning she's able to adjust quickly. But just feeling the crosswind hit her is good encouragement to drop low, even if she's not as tired out as the load bearing flier. She's not trying to call Ruby heavy, honestly! A few moments later she sets down next to the other two, landing so she can tuck her wings back in to keep from frosting over while they're on the ground. Then looks back the way they came. She can't see the base entrance (partially due to it being hidden) but her special talent for directional senses can tell exactly the way they came. "You made it pretty far even for this cold!", she pipes in encouragingly as she turns back to them.

Solar-Wind lands her gently and steps aside loosing his attachment harness and just stands there oh so slowly re-tucking his wings into his gear. He is just panting head hung low breathing out deeply, he nods his head forward looking at the massive spear and standard hung upon it frozen, no words from the big guy, no words can come from considering how deep he is drafting in his breathes.

One thing about it being night all the time - it's awfully dark out. The distinct sound of flapping wings lingers in the air for the briefest moment following the landing of the party - the sound quickly lost amid howling winds and pony chatter.

Ruby-Blossom places one hoof consolingly on Solar to comfort the stallion before using both hoofs to rub his wing before helping him tuck them away into the warmth of his suit. It's at this point she approaches the spear to curiously examine it. "It's too dark…" she mutters while facing away from the group - a bright light suddenly glowing in front of her as she examines the spear.

Windrose gives the panting pegasus a brief concerned look, making sure he's actually recovering from the flight and not just trying to sound like it. Then trots up next to Ruby as she starts casting some light. "… Is that what you came out here to see? A big stick stuck in the ground with some ratty cloth hanging from it?"

Solar-Wind is seriously strained from the crosswind and the trip, but he is in the proper recovery mode, and he nods some, "the mountain, look at the mountain, something big went down here" he huffhuffs before actually just laying down still panting deeply, "look at that cloth, why would they leave a flag?" he rasps out.

Ruby-Blossom has a light source while all four hooves are planted firmly on the ground, and she speaks which indicates she's /not/ holding anything her mouth - almost as if she's casting light from a horn - but earth pony don't do that! "I don't know…" she leans in to try and examine the thing. "I'm sure the professor can give us some answers." light vanishing as she turns to face the pegasi. "Interesting none the less.

Windrose looks at Solar. Looks at the mountains. ".. Wait a minute." Something seems to click as she looks around. "You're right. I'm just going on memory from my mapwork back home, but this area is different. And it looks like it was -smashed-, not just wore down." She turns back to the spear. "Maybe some sort of battle was fought here?"

Solar-Wind nods his nose some, "That’s why I needed you to see this" he mumbles oh so softly. though makes little other noise or movement, he is still just laying sprawled in the snow.

A faint flitter and flutter of wings can be heard on occasion among the whistling winds.

Ruby-Blossom trots in a small circle before a particularly chilling gust of wind makes her shiver. "I'm sure the professor will have some answers, have you considered asking him?

Windrose glances up, ears perked as they strain a bit. Was that just the wind…. or something else. "… Did anypony else here that?"

Solar-Wind slowly gets up though looks a little shaky, he exhales, "did hear something, don't think we should stick around to find out necessarily what it is." and with that he slowly untucks his wings with a little bit of a strained expression on his muzzle, He bounds over to Ruby and re-clicks the harness.

Ruby-Blossom stops mid-step to listen - hearing only the howling winds and Solar-Wind's panting. "I think we should make a hasty exodus…" glancing to Solar-Wind. "As much as I /want/ you to say yes - answer honestly, - can you make it back yet?" she's latched onto the big pegasus "I'll take that a yes…let's roll.

Windrose frowns and nods a bit to Ruby. ".. Yeah, We should just get back. Y'know, just in case."

Solar-Wind practically jumps up just to get up, He's still a polite flier and the ascent is slow and steady, though Ruby can likely feel an intent shudder in the lines every other breath that he takes /flaps "get back, yes, I agree" the big lug definately wasn't rested enough to make this trip back, but something was egging him on, he didn't want to be caught by whatever that noise was. He regains his former altitude though its obviously Very tough for him this go around.

A distinct, feminine chuckle can be heard among the howling winds - clearly something is watching the trio lingers. The sounds soon lost among the flapping of the pegasi's wings.

Ruby-Blossom looks up at Solar then over at Windrose - clearly she's concerned. "Just hold out a little while longer. I'll think of something." Rather she already has thought of something - patting Solar softly. "It'll be okay, I promise.

Windrose shudders a bit. "… Suddenly this isn't so entertaining." She takes off after the other two… and once they're steadily aloft she gets up behind Solar just enough to grab onto Ruby with her front legs and take up some of the weight. "Not that I doubt your strength there buddy, but you didn't get a chance to rest entirely."

Solar-Wind feels the lifting sensation from the other pegasus, he nods a little, then does something strange, he veers hard right, but his body motions are clear to the trailing pegasi, she'd see his direction now veers sharply for the forest, "If we're being followed, this will throw them" he notes softly and huffffs deeply, "Thank you both" he murmurs as he lowers to just above the treetop level, one could run across the branches its almost that close. The help with the weight balance is obviously helping him. Then he veers left and down over the tops of snowbanks, then back up and in direction of the base. the zigzagging was meant to throw off whatever was tailing them. He gets his altitude again and starts to quiver a little.

A strike of moonlight reveals the stranger accompanying the trio - a pegasus mare. The mare is tall and sleek with a coat of blue hair and black as if she were frozen - blood red eyes locking with Windrose for the briefest moment. "It's been years since I've had a warm bath - I'll enjoy bathing…" suddenly darting close so she's all but atop of the trio "in your blood." a deep, maniacal laugh ensues.

Ruby-Blossom all but freezes at the sight of the mare - to here the mare is very familiar; only the Queen she knows is pink and blue - this one appears dead and cold; but clearly just as evil. "What the flank!" she gasps before roughly tugging her legs from Windrose's grasp. "Sorry Solar, I need you to trust me. Get back to base." suddenly pulling something /out of/ one of her hooves and throwing it right at the creepy pegasus - the majority of the small marbles whizz past the mare without incident but one manages to strike her dead in the eye - smoke billowing out as the small orb pops open. "Get back to base." Ruby chimes before snapping the harness! This of course sends the other barrelling downwards "Don't wait up!"

ENOUGH!" Windrose practically shrieks at the shocking visage, pace picking up to a frantic wing-beating. "Fasterfasterfaster!" Definately not the way she wanted to find out the reason there were warnings about going outside for two long… And unfortunately Ruby pulls herself loose while she's panicking, slipping out of her awkward grasp as well. "WHAT THE HAY ARE YOU DOING?!"

Solar-Wind literally shoots straight up at loosing that weight, the weight is gone but so too is his friend, enough so that he nearly spirals out of control right then and there. But Her rolls again and dives around looking. It clicks, locks, and he remembers what he did, He gave her his command, he stepped down in a way, and let her give the orders. He remembered, that much. Heart stopping in his chest as he practically growled out "Windrose, with me!" he calls out, then shoots skyward in a spiral, not leading necessarily back to base, he doesn't want to lead the baddies back 'home'

The strange pegasus hisses at the sting of the smoke pellet in her eye - unintentionally veering off course and losing track of the other pegasus - if there was a perfect time to escape back to base it would be this! Ruby on the other handle tumbles down into the barren wastes and quickly does one of the things she does best - hide! A soft hiss escapes as she conceals herself near a snow back and a large rock formation. (Idiots better head back to base like I told them too, otherwise this won't end well.) She'll make her way - it's only a few miles!

Solar-Wind tucks his wings and goes sleek aiming down from his high apex turn, and plunges down down down at nearly sonic rainboom speeds. he could never pull that off, but he's rightly hauling tail he zips through the hut door, and massively airbrakes before almost hitting the main door

"We can't just—" But then Windrose cuts herself off. Ruby knew what she was doing. Or at least acted like she knew what she was doing. HOW she knew what she was doing, well, that can wait until later. Scowling she spirals up after Solar-Wind, and once they're sure the thing isn't following them, dives out of the last loop and, just to be on the safe side, takes a slightly longer curve in her path so they're not both going -exactly- the same way, just in case. Regardless she reachs the doors not long after the other pegasus. "Claustrophobia be danged buddy, inside, NOW."

Solar-Wind sulks after Windrose as we enter the base slowly, The big pegasi pretty much drops beside the door, He's going back out as soon as he stops shaking. and feels strong enough to perform a rescue, and be the first pony to open the door for the returning Ruby-Blossom.

"And I thought the legends about Windegos was bad enough," Windrose mutters. Then turns to give Solar-Wind a look that's equal parts stern and concerned. "I know what you're probably thinking. No… at least not until you get -some- rest, or you're just gonna be a sitting target out there before you can find her, and does neither of you any good."

Magpie looks up from the first room as the door opens. She slides off the bench she was sitting on and slowly walks up to Solar Wind. "Where's… Ruby?" she asks carefully.

Solar-Wind eyes Windrose, "but I'm a dang good flyer" he huffs out then blinkblinks and looks over to Magpie, he gulps hard, "She's out on recon" he mentions , "Like usual" he adds to make it sound perfectly normal " even though his stare could burrow straight through that fortified door that keeps us from the them.

Magpie shifts a little. She brushes the mane back from her eyes with one hoof. "Um… do you mind if I wait with you?

"Even a Wonderbolt would tire out quickly in that cold," Windrose murmurs, but then sighs. Really she'd be surprised if he -did- listen to her. She opens her mouth as if to say more, but quickly stops herself when somepony else joins in and Solar spits out a cover-up. "Yeah. Well, I'm gonna do something useful, like start working on a map."

Solar-Wind looks to Magpie and nods, "I'll be going out later to do a survey, but first I have to let my wings unfreeze, and recouperate some" he announces, though it would be lucky to keep him here for altogether too much time. He obviously blames himself for this disaster.

Magpie puts a hoof on Solar's. "….what happened?" she asks quietly.

Fat chance he's going to wait -that- long. But Windrose has pretty much accepted that's how its going to be, and honestly, if she had the stamina in her she'd probably be right there with him. "Just be careful when you go out again," she says instead. "I'm gonna go get something to munch on and find where I left my bags for my mapping supplies."

Solar-Wind looks to Magpie, "We encountered another pegasus Pony" he notes, "though she wasn't a resident of the base of of the harbor…" he notes to Magpie, "not sure on that, that Creature, what she was really, it wasn't the queen, but" he murmurs trailing off.

Magpie blinks. "….creature?" she asks. "Like… a monster?" That chill is just a draft. Honest.