Cutie Mark Chronicles Part 2
IC date: Autumn 55
OOC date: 13/11/13
Location: Main Street
PCs: Rising-Chaos, Makuru, Kick-Save, Noodle, Magpie, Toybox, Mayflower, Midnight-Sun, Moonglow, Grusha, Winter-Solstice
NPCs:
GM:

Clear skies, what would be a warm day if it wasn't the tail end of autumn. As it is, the chill is acceptable, maybe even nice, depending on how cold blooded you are. Even so, it's a nice day and a local cafe has set up a couple table in the street for people to drop by and enjoy themselves. Rising Chaos has taken a seat at one, and she seems to be in at least somewhat of a good mood as she sips at an iced tea. There are some free seats around her, if ponies want to join.

You know who else is at a local cafe? Makuru is at a local cafe! What is he doing here? Something mysterious and zebra-y, undoubtedly. Like… eating a cream-filled pastry of some variety. His head sloooowly peeks up over the top of Rising Chaos' table, opposite her, delicious cornet hanging out of his mouth.

Winter-Solstice tromps down the street. No wagon! No harness, no scrap metal, no contested cutlery and no chickens. The big mare has her saddlebags and an expression of pleasant boredom, but perks up on seeing Rising Chaos surrounded by OPEN, INVITING SEATS. The big mare rambles over, clumsy hooves clunking on the cobblestones, and drops into a seat near Rising. "Rising! Hey again! Fancy seeing you so fast again today on this day in which I already saw you once before, earlier!" She then turns and blinks. "Makuru! You, too! This is- this is weirdly coincidental!"

While pretending not to notice the unbearably obvious Makuru, Rising Chaos contiues to sip at her drink. Maybe the zebra thinks he's being clever and it will give him some enjoyment to 'surprise' her. Meanwhile, there is a large mare on a collision course for planet table. "Hello Winter, still doing well, I trust?" And since the jig is up anyways, Makuru gets a nod.

CRUNCH. Loud eating sounds emanate from the next booth over, as Kick Save is chowing down on a huge sandwich of greens and soy. "Yeah. Astounding coincidence that is." Bite chew chew eww she's totally chewing with her mouth open. "You all live in the same town. And you all like eating. How wild it is that you'd end up here, the place in that town to eat, eh?"

Magpie saunters along Main Street, grinning. It's chilly and she's got a warm, forest green jacket, and she's wearing a cute newsie cap. There's only one way life could be better. "Hey, mister!" she calls up at the barrista (although these days she only has to look up a little…) and grins. "I like my chocolate like I like my colts. Hot, dark, sweet, and covered with marshmallows."

Makuru isn't trying to suprise Rising! He is just watching her in the least creepy way possible. "Hi, Miss Chaos!" he says cheerfully, though the cornet in his mouth makes it sound more like "Hurr, Miff Kaouff!" He takes a seat properly and greets Winter Solstice as well. "If guf fu hee yhou, fuu, Miff Fohlffiff!" Chew chew chew swallow. Smile!

And somehow there's another pony at the table with Rising. She wasn't there a second ago. Now she is. And she's totally unfamiliar — although she does bear a weirdly coincidental resemblence to Kick Save in color scheme. The tow-headed gangly pegasus mare just beams at the surrounding ponies with a greeting whistle not unlike a bird's.

The little zebra colt blinks at the sudden new addition to the table. Did she just tweet at him? That's cool! Makuru whistles right back in greeting to the new pegasus. Except he was just eating that cornet so it is less a whistle as it is a spray of pastry crumbs.

Winter-Solstice twists about to give Kick Save a bright smile. "I'll have you know that USUALLY I eat in my kitchen and it has been at least four weeks since I randomly found Makuru or Rising Chaos in there, thank you very much Miss Hockey Goon!" She turns back to the table and smiles at Makuru and Rising, then waves a hoof at all the other ponies showing up. "Wow! Herd instinct continues to be a thing that happens!"

Oh my ponies are just showing up at random again, what a surprise. Rising Chaos isn't even shocked at this point, just nods at the new addition. "Hello miss, may I have your name if you'll be sharing a table with me?" She's loosening up a bit, maybe. "And hello Makuru, it is nice to see you again." Because it counts as again.
Winter-Solstice points at Noodle. "See? Just- poof! Ponies! Appearing! Out of nowhere!"

She turns and shoos a chicken off a free chair. "PONIES AND NOT CHICKENS." The chicken flaps away with an irritable cluck.

Mayflower is also compelled to be here, despite her usual shy nature. She'd been out and about quite a bit today on various shopping errands, which had culminated in a heavy grocery bag sitting on her back. The pegasus mare keeps herself warm with a forest green scarf that is very nearly wrapped around her shoulders. She blinks when she notes the presence of chairs and those sitting in them. She takes a seat herself, moving the grocery bag to sit next to her.
Thump.

That would be Moonglow, not looking where she's going again. That chicken totally wasn't there a minute ago, anyway! As she picks herself up - "Oh, hi Rising, sorry about that!" She waves sheepishly.

Still has the book though.

A seagull circles down from up above and lands rudely on the edge of the table. Nopony said anything about no seagulls allowed.

The stranger whistles again! It's kind of melodic. She beams expectantly … and then looks confused for a moment … and then: "Oh! Right… You're not birds." She smiles blankly at the group. Apparently she's forgotten the question for her name. Already. "Why are there chickens everywhere?"

Kick-Save turns around, getting out of her seat, horn glowing to drag her sandwich along. "Oi. Hockey Goon is my dad. Don't you be sayin' nothing about my dad." Her tone is serious, but she can't help but cracking a smile through the bit, as she slinks behind Noodle. The similar-hued Pegasus gets a surprise pat on the shoulders, as Kick Rises up above her. "And /this/ here's my little sister." She leans over noodle, into the center of the table, and with a stage whisper , continues "Know she don't look like much, but don't give her the wrong look, eh? Cut ya." She puts her hoof to her own neck with a little 'ghhk' sound.

Magpie trots up next to Winter. She sets her mug of "Chocolate, With Marshmallows, Hot" down, a little clack of ceramic and hops up to sit at the table. She waves happily to Noodle. "Hiya!" she chirps. "Yeah, I dunno what's with the chickens. Don't make 'em mad though." She shudders.

Rising-Chaos opens her mouth to answer that, then closes it and frowns. "You know, I really have no idea. I try not to pay them any attention." Suddenly she notices them, and then shuts them out of her private reality again. "No, no we aren't birds. Your name, miss?" She looks so utterly unimpressed by Kick Save's threat that it might be criminal, but Moonglow is interesting. "Ah miss Moonglow, it's been too long. Come have a seat, everypony else is."

Makuru answers matter-of-factly: "Because Mister Stop hasn't caught all of them yet." He takes another bite of his cornet, making sure to chew and swallow BEFORE speaking again this time. "You sure have a lot of friends, Miss Chaos!" he says. Then Kick Save threatens the entire table and the zebra doesn't even bat an eyelash. "I've nice to meet you, Miss Save's little sister! I'm sorry if I said 'hello' wrong in bird talk, I don't actually speak it."

Somewhere nearby, a stray cat lets out a shriek and a hiss. It isn't but a few seconds later that an orange, black-striped feline is bolting down the street.

Noodle opens her mouth to, perhaps, give her name … only to blink blankly when Kick-Save identifies her as a little sister. She has to chew on that for a moment, and maybe she's about to comment on /that/, but instead she just smiles brightly at Makuru. "That's okay. You mostly just said ffffwffhhfhfh!" Which is a weirdly well-done sound of spraying crumbs, sort of.

Makuru beams. He is good at spraying crumbs! Sort of?

Moonglow plops down in a chair, and waves to the assembled ponies. And zebra.

Winter-Solstice turns and smiles at Magpie. "Heya, short stack! Dapper hat you've got there." She looks up and around at the chickens, then shrugs. "I figured the chickens had all just migrated here for the winter. They do that, right? Head north? I mean, obviously that makes no sense. There weren't any pegasi to guide them on the official day we set aside for that sort of thing. The poor things."
A few chickens watch the cat run by and start to waddle threateningly after it, clucking all the way.

Magpie tips her hat to Winter, but corrects, "Dapper /cap/."
The seagull on the edge of the table eyes all the ponies expectantly, more distracted by the prospects of food than by some cat.

Where there's smoke, there's fire and where there's an orange and black striped cat, there's Toybox right on its heels. The foal comes darting out of the alleyway behind the cat. The chickens were an unexpected exponent in the cat-catching equation and she's forced to stop short in confusion. "Hey!" she shouts, frowning at the chickens, "You letted it get away!"

Chickens continue to chase the cat but a few peel off from the group to turn and eye Toybox. MENACINGLY. … Or as menacingly as a pair of fat, squat chickens can.

A striped hoof rises to flag down one of the cafe employees. "Excuse me! Could I have another pastry? And some milk! Thanks!" Makuru polishes his off the last of his previous cornet and looks around at the assembled ponies. So many adults! Also Magpie, who is is a couple years older than him so she may as well be an adult. SO ALONE. Not that he minds. The colt looks around at the other ponies at the table cheerfilly and pauses when he looks at his alchemy mistress' special somepony. "Hey, Miss Solstice, how come your cutie mark is a shield? Is it for blacksmithing? Making armor and stuff?"

"Cap! Cap! My mistake," says Winter to Magpie, grinning. She then turns, and blinks at Makuru. "Oh! It's for bein' tough. I'm talented at being resilient. Weren't you there that one time I told my story? About the snow and sitting on my friend all night?"

Rising-Chaos opens her mouth to ask for Noodle's name for a third time, before looking around at Winter. "It occurs to me that I have no idea how you got you mark." She looks at the rest of the table. "In fact, depite knowing some of you, I don't know a thing about any of your cutie marks. " She settles back. "Perhaps that should change." A meaningful glance is shot to Moonglow, and maintained.

Mayflower does note the…multitude of chickens running around…unchecked…and slowly raises her groceries off of the floor and into the seat next to her, passing a small wave towards Winter, recognizing her from before.

Magpie blinks. "Sitting on who for the what now?"

Toybox stares back at the chickens, though this stare is a little less menacing and a little more confused. She narrows her eyes and decides there's only one thing to do. CHAAARGE! Her little hooves pound into the ground as she runs head-down, horn-first at those-who-let-the-cat-get-away.

Makuru thinks about this. "Proooobably? It rings a bell but I don't remember the details." He looks a little sad at the idea that he might've forgotten something as important as somepony's cutie mark story. "Sorry."

The seagull on the table honks.

Kick-Save, by this point, has taken a seat (uninvited) with everypony else. Wow, big table. Munch munch. "Resilience? That's what you got? You don't shiver in the cold, big deal. Got enough meat on you that that's not really much of a feat, eh?"

Noodle looks over at Winter with a smile and flutters her wings with a scattered sort of look. "You sat on your friend? And got a cutie mark for it? Did you squish them?"

Winter-Solstice turns and waggles a hoof at Kick Save. "That's not all of it! It's about being tough when my friends need it. Although yeah, some of that is about, uh, sitting in the snow. I can tell the whole story if ponies wanna hear it! It's got action and adventure in moderate amounts."

The chickens squawk and scatter out of the way of the charge, flapping. They're good at avoiding ponies!

Magpie waves a hoof at the seagull. "Hush, that's rude."

Kick-Save peers over at Noodle for a moment. "Hey. Uhh. You should probably tell 'em you're not my sister 'fore the more dim of 'em get that one confused for life."

I'll be back. Glowbug will sit back and listen for now.

Magpie says "She's not your sister?!"

Noodle looks at Kick-Save with a blank look. "I'm not your sister?"

Kick-Save 's hoof goes to her face. Quite impressive coordination to pull taht one off while still eating away at that sandwich, nary a soybean spilled.

Toybox harumphs, turning around and kicking dust at the chickens with her back hooves. She wanders over towards the gathering of ponies, though she only recognizes half of them. Thus, she scoots in next to Magpie while wondering what all the bigger ponies are up to.

Magpie sighs. "I wish *I* had a sister I could tease that way." She sneaks a hoof around Toybox. "You must be the best sisters."

Winter-Solstice beams a smile at Noodle. "Not your sister? That's too bad! I've met miss Kick Save here before and she'd be a great big-sister type. Totally tough. Kind of a jerk, but in that, y'know, character-building way." The big mare shrugs. "Anyway, so, uh-" She sits up and points at her cutie mark. "See, this is it." That is it. The big mare sits down. "I had this friend back in my hometown, okay? She was my best friend when I was a kid. Her name was Steam Whistle an' she was this cool as a cucumber pegasus. Kinda skinny. She got her cutie mark in taking things apart, though that's… ANOTHER story. But Steam Whistle and I grew up in this town called Bardington. it's way to the north, an' it's cold and frozen most of the year, ESPECIALLY in the winter, when the snow gets super deep."

Noodle's teeny tiny attention span is drawn away from the matter of that-sister-she-didn't-know-she-had-but-she-guesses-she-does to Winter's story, and she leans an elbow on the table, holding up her head while she drinks her cocoa.

…Sorry, Magpie's cocoa.

Magpie says "Hey, where's my cocoa?""

Magpie eyes Toybox.

Noodle sips.

Toybox lets out a soft squeak followed by a giggle as she's behoofed by Magpie. "Hey! That's not yoahs!" she says to Noodle as she notices the drink getting swiped and sipped.

Ah yes, now it is the time to gather knowledge. Rising Chaos settles back, and listens in that piercing way of hers. There may be a notebook under the table taking notes, maybe there isn't. But it's nice to hear some stories about ponies she knows, or doesn't know later on.

Noodle blinks at Toybox a few times then looks at the cocoa. "Oh! Sorry!" She hands it to Toybox with a distracted smile.

Winter-Solstice's story continues. "Steam Whistle an' I were some of the only foals of our age in town, so we were close buddies. We would plan big adventures that we never really went on because we didn't have actual swords and helmets or anything. Mostly just fake swords and helmets without real edges 'cause there's a lot of blacksmiths in Bardington but not many that will give honest to goodness weaponry to kids, which I guesssss is kinda a good idea but was sort of a bummer back then. We really wanted to go to this one mountain, you see, it was a few hours out of town, 'cause there was supposed to be this big treasure there? That's what we thought. Where else are you gonna put legendary treasures?" Winter quiets, and scratches her head a bit. "But anyway one night we had this big disagreement. I can't even remember what it was about. SOme silly misunderstanding that got us both sort of sniping at eachother over silly she-said-she-said stuff, y'know… like kids do." The mare glances up at the Cocoa Fiasco dawning over yonder.

Toybox blinks and wrinkles her nose, "It's not mine, eithah!" She picks it up with a hornglow and sets it back in front of Magpie, sticking her tongue out at the cocoa theif.

Winter-Solstice continues. "And Steam Whistle got so fed up she ran out and flew off. Which was kind of a bad idea… since it was really blizzardy that night. This was in winter when the snow was super deep and it wasn't a good idea to be out for long…" She pauses, thinking again. "But anyway the adults couldn't find her after a few hours and everypony was gettin' real worried. She was super skinny, probably real easy to lose behind the furniture or in a storm. And I thought I knew where she was going, she was going for the mountain 'cause she totally wanted to prove that she could, 'cause that's what we were arguin' about. But nobody would let me go off and look for her. So I got on my coat and got some cookies and went out into the storm to find her 'cause I knew that's where she'd be!"

Magpie ohs! "Thanks, Toybox." SHe nuzzles the little filly and sips her cocoa. Then whispers, "You can have some if you want it!"

Winter-Solstice gestures with her hooves. One can almost imagine two young fillies trekking through a winter stormscape! The pantomimery is impeccable! "But anyway, it took me a while to get up to the mountain. It was super cold! And super windy! And it really wasn't very much fun. Totally the wrong way to go about an adventure. I knew Steam Whistle was gonna need help, though. Or at least an apology. And there was a yeti and a magic pool of ice and an Abominable Snowchicken but that's kinda gettin' beside the point, that and I didn't have time to check 'em out 'cause I was in a hurry. Anyway I did find her up in a cave, an' she was in a bad way. It was really late, there wasn't much else to do, so all I could really do is hunker down with her and give her some cookies and get her under my coat with me and keep her warm until the storm passed an' we could start making it back home."

One of the chickens looks up at 'abominable snowchicken' and gives Winter a suspicious look.

Winter-Solstice sits up and points at her flank! "And that's when-" Then she pauses. She didn't get to that part yet. She sits down with a little squirm. "Actually not yet. Almost! But anyway the morning came around and we started back. The sky was clear and the sun was out and it was warm. A bunch of adults had followed my trail and helped get us back, and there was a lot of sittin' under blankets and drinking warm soup and parents telling us that we were grounded but they were so happy to see us even if we were kinda dumb. And later that day after they finally let me out from under the blankets I'd gotten my cutie mark!"

Winter hops up again! And points at her flank. "For bein' super tough and resilient when I had to protect my buddy! Because it's one thing to be tough- anybody can be a big wall of meat an' bricks. But the only real wall of meat an' bricks is one that helps protect the ponies that are important to 'em!"

She drops back down to h er seat with a proud smile, then reaches over to noogie Magpie. "The time I helped bring you back to the base over in the nightmare world reminded me a lot of it, actually!"

Makuru listens to Winter to great interest, taking slow bites out of his replacement pastry once it has been delivered. He doesn't want to interrupt her tale of daring and courage and protecting her friends. It almost makes him tear up a little! …actually, he kind of does tear up a little for tangentally related reasons. "…I should talk to Dreamy…" he mumbles absentmindedly. Oh, but the story is over now! "That's really cool, Miss Solstice! I wish I'd gotten my glyph in as cool a way as that!"

Magpie giggles a little and hugs Winter. "You saved my life."

The story cocludes, and prompts a smile from Rising Chaos. "Something about your story doesn't surprise me at all Winter, you've certainly lived up to your talent from what I've seen." the comment form Makuru gets a look. "Oh, and how did you earn your glyph?"

Noodle smiles at Winter and sips her — oh, right, no more cocoa. She looks bummed for a moment. Then she rallies. "That sounded very cold," she says cheerfully.

Winter-Solstice puffs her chest out. "It totally was!" she says, to Noodle, nodding her head- rattle rattle. She then grins at Makuru. "Aww, I'm sure your story is neat! I've never actually heard a Zebra glyph story, actually! You should actually share yours, I wanna hear."

Winter-Solstice also returns Magpie's hug, albeit gently. Maggie should not be broken. That'd make lots of ponies sad.

Magpie sets down her mug and grins… awwwww.

Toybox seems more distracted by Winter's story than she is by Maggie's hot cocoa. But, the mug is set down and she's reminded! She sneaks in a sip.

Makuru seems taken aback by the sudden interest in his glyph story. "You guys really want to know? It's super boring compared to Miss Solstice's!" But since he's being asked he may as well. "Momma and papa run a stall down in the market, selling ointments and salves and stuff, and I always wanted to help them out. Papa taught me a lot about different plants and herbs and stuff when I was growing up and I'd always watch momma while she was mixing up stock for the stall."

Noodle leans over and hugs Magpie and Winter too. That's what ponies are doing right now!

Winter-Solstice keeps quiet, watching Makuru as she listens, a little smile on her face. She blinks as she finds herself hugged unexpectedly by the whistling noodle pony, then turns to reach up and hug Noodle back. That's what you do, right? That's the protocol? She mostly looks confused as she turns and rests her cheek on top of Noodle's head.

Rising-Chaos abstains from the group hugs going on around her, and instead watches Makuru. that would explain the comments she heard regarding Sodium fizz. "Of course I'd like to know. Learning about the ponies who I live near and potentially conduct business with is never a bad thing." In town counts as ear, it's not a big town.

Noodle beams, having zero idea who Winter is except that she sat on a pony in the winter or something something she doesn't really keep track of these things. But she does try to focus on Makuru's story!
"One night there was a biiiig drinking contest at the Rusty Bucket,"
Makuru continues. He gestures widely with his hooves. "I mean, really big! It was one of their 'new booze is coming in tomorrow let's trick ponies into buying the crappy old booze' contests, and the next day tons of ponies had really bad headaches from drinking too much. Momma didn't have enough medicine for all of them! She told me to run home and get papa to mix up some more, except when I got there he wasn't there! Turns out we'd run out of Shyblossom and he went to the mountains to find more."

Slowly a mop of pinkish hair rises out from behind Makuru at the mention of 'Shyblossom', soon accomponied by pair of ruby-red eyes.

Winter-Solstice listens curiously, eyes still on Makuru, as she slowly runs her hoof over Noodle's face. Shhh. Shhhhh.

Noodle blinks, but submits to this face shooshing. Blink blink.

Makuru sits forward and puts his hooves on the table, completely missing the pink-haired creature rising up behind him. "I knew the recipe for momma's medicine, though, I'd seen her make it a hundred times. So I grabbed all the dried flowers and stuff that I'd need and I started mixing up a batch!" He puts his forehooves together and moves them in a circle, as if gripping a wooden spoon between them and stirring. "And it's a good thing I did! There was a huuuge line at the stall 'cause momma's hangover cure is really good! And mine was, too, 'cause everypony felt a lot better afterwards! That's when I…" The colt pauses, looking slightly lost momentarily as he thinks back. "Actually… now that I think about it, I don't actually know WHEN I got my glyph that day. Momma and I were so busy, we didn't even notice. Papa pointed it out that evening when he got back from herb gathering in the mountains."
Mayflower keeps her ears open as she listens to the recanted tales from the others, eventually going back to take a look at her own cutie mark. She rolls her eyes a little bit at that, reaching inside of her bag and pulling out a fairly large apple with the likely intention of eating it.

Rising-Chaos catches the eye of one of the waiters. "Please make sure that all the ponies can get the drink of their choice, and put it on my bill. I'll have another iced tea." She'll pay for one, and then you ponies are paying out of your own pockets. She turns a thin, cold smile on to Makuru, the same one she uses most fo the time in public. "That's a nice story, and doing good work is hardly boring."

Winter-Solstice sits up, pushing Noodle back into her own seat, and grins at Makuru. "That's funny! That's how it was for me. I didn't even know when it happened. It's kinda funny that way, isn't it? You get so wrapped up in your thing that you do that it's easy to miss. I think that's a sign that your mark is really totally the right one for you."

Grusha sweeps in. She has a proper figure for sweeping: when she sweeps past folks, they stay swept. She's been off the ship for two days and is only too glad to be away from certain silly zebras and their silly hats.
A cafe… yes, this will do. She approaches the counter and examines their pastries with a withering eye before ordering a croissant and a hot cocoa. She sees the gathering of ponies (in Grusha's book, zebras are ponies) and quirks a feathery eyebrow.

A fit of the sudden desire to socialize overtakes her, and she makes her way for the table. "You are telling stories of the way in which you find Cutie Marks, yes? I am not understanding this thing: so strange to think you find a thing you are wanting to do and wearing it on… backside. But is interesting. I am telling next story, da? Is about how I am finding my own purpose in life." A pause, as she sips her cocoa delicately. "Is very gloomy story."

Makuru beams once more at the compliments. "I guess when you say it like that, Miss Solstice, my glyph story is kind of like your cutie mark story!" His cheerful gaze drifts to Rising next and falters momentarily. "…Miss Chaos, that's a really creepy smile," he states tactlessly. Further 'foals say the darndest things' moments will have to wait for another time after a big, sweeping griffon joins the conversation, though! "Not too gloomy, I hope! It's too nice a day for super gloomy things. Maybe if it was a little cloudier… ooh, big black clouds sweeping in from the ocean. No! Over the mountains!"

Winter-Solstice grins at Makuru and nods with his assessment, before settling back once more. She doesn't know who this big tough griffon is! But she has an interesting accent, da. The big mare props her elbows up on the table, plants her head in her hooves, and watches,

Kick-Save lounges back, waving a hoof lazily. "Gloomy'd probably top most of the other stuff goin' on. I mean, it's cool that you're all nice and helpful ponies and all that, but, you know, gotta keep the talk spiced up eh?" She grins, leaning back even farther. How is she doing that without even falling over, gosh.

The griffoness clears her throat. "My story is beginning far from here, across the sea, in the mother country. I am Agrafena Arseniova, though you may call me 'Grusha,' as many do. My father is Arseni Vladisladovitch. He is a baker." She nibbles on her croissant. "In my home he is known as truly great, as was my grandfather, Vladislav Vladislavovitch, and his father, Vladislav Yegorovitch, and his mother, and her mother, and her father…" She pauses. "Many bakers. Many very good bakers. Many very good cookies. Have you had proper Griffon Tea Cookies? Is nothing like them to be found anywhere, I am telling you."

Makuru says "I haven't and I want one!"

Winter-Solstice's head rattles as she nods. "I want cookies! Oh. Oh! Is that what griffons get instead of cutie marks? They get cookies?" The big mare sits back with a little face, looking skeptically at the flanks of her fellow equines. Sounds like we're all gettin' a raw deal, gang.

Magpie swats Winter's chest.

Rising-Chaos changes the small gesture of trying to be nice to a more natural scowl. She huffs and settles back as trhe cool gryphon takes over the spotlight. After listening for a while, she takes note of both the proper name, and the 'Grusha' name, because both might be useful.

Noodle watches this griffon with rapt, curious attention. Her wings shift on her back and she tilts her head, unconsciously mimicking the griffonness's movements.

Grusha chuckles a little at Makuru. "Perhaps, one day…" She shakes her head. "But no. I am not making these things. I cannot: I am, as my father was, raised and trained in the Patissier's Guild, but I have sworn that there are to be no cookies, no cakes, no pies of succulent fruit-filled perfection such that my name is living forever. Not until I am regaining the birthright of my family." More sipping occurs. She's presenting this in a bizarrely matter-of-fact fashion.

Magpie says "What birthright? Did somepony steal your great-grandmother's secret tea-cake recipe?"

Noodle blinks. "Did they keep you from being born?" she asks in a hushed voice.

Winter-Solstice considers quietly, then furrows her brow. "Is it that you don't have a Vlad name? Is that the birthright they denied you?"

Kick-Save stares. And stares. A lot. "…You're being serious, right now. This is actually happening."

"It was a dark day. The new mayor, he was a greedy man." Grusha's expression darkens. "He comes to father's bakery and he says that he is wanting a cake to be made for his niece's wedding. A grand cake. A cake of grandness such as for Czars. Fifteen layers, he is saying. Marzipan and fruit and chocolate and sugared nuts, the creamiest, most perfect of icing. It is a grand cake, a cake that would give great fame to the baker of such a thing. Father is beside himself with joy, happy to have such a chance for our family, for the fame of our bakery. I am helping, of course," she adds, "as is only proper. I am heir to the bakery, I could be doing no less."

Winter-Solstice is slowly leaning forward. Drama over baked goods? Ponyfeathers is getting intensely real.

Noodle's eyes widen as she listens to this story. It's so… so… /so grand/.

Grusha's tail flicks as she continues, alternately nibbling on and staring into the croissant before her. "This cake, it is taking such preparation as I have never seen before in my life. Research. Experiments with new flours and recipes for icing. Careful consideration of the right aesthetics. My father, he is very consciencious. I am hoping one day to be worthy to follow him, to be half the baker he is being." She looks up, as though suddenly realizing that she has an audience. "No, no, this is too gloomy. You are right, is beautiful day. The sun is shining, the birds are…" she pauses, eyeing the chickens, "…highly suspicious. Happy stories should be told. Only happy stories."

Magpie 's chin hits the table. "WAH! No! No! Finish it! What happened?!

Rising-Chaos has yet to hear anything gloomy at all. "So you are traveling to learn how to become a baker?"

Kick-Save rolls her eyes. "How gloomy can it get? He messed up the cake or somethin'. Big deal. Use less flour next time."

Noodle looks wide-eyed to Kick-Save. "But it's her /birthright/, sis!"

Makuru tilts his head at Noodle. "I thought she said she wasn't really your sister."

Kick-Save 's head snaps over at Noodle, incredulously. "Okay, look, I don't even know your /name/."

"None of us know her name because she keeps getting distracted, it is most vexing." Rising Chaos is still scowling after the creepy incident, Makuru you jerk.

Noodle smiles blithely. "Oh, I'm Noodle! I don't remember your name either. I must have forgotten." To Rising: "Hmm?" Beam.

Rising-Chaos scowl

"No, it's *not* spying" a stallion's voice hisses quietly overhead. "It's Finding Things Out. And anyway, they're totally in public! I'm sure they wouldn't mind, I just don't want to distract them from telling their stories!" Sophie sticks her cephalothoarx past the roofline, then disappears again. After a moment, the voice continues, "And do you think I spelled 'Vladisladovitch' right? Shouldn't it have a 'vitch' on the end? Oh!" A pause, then muttering: "I know I had another bottle of ink in here somewhere… no, no… ah-haoops!" A small glass jar, half-full of black ink, suddenly comes tumbling past the roofline, bound for the little cluster of folks below. "Horseapples," says Midnight Sun's voice distinctly as the cerulean pegasus sticks out his head to inspect the damage.

Grusha slams a fist on the table, clenching her talons around the innocent croissant and tearing it in half. "SHE IS HATING THE CAKE. Mayor's niece is," she spits, scowling, "fussy. She is saying cake is not so grand, is wrong color. Father presents the cake, the greatest cake he has ever made - that ANYONE has ever made, and let none argue with me - and she is turning up her beak at it!" Her feathers fluff up with the wrath of a truly regal griffoness and chickens scatter. "Father spends effort and time in making beautiful, perfect cake and the Mayor, he insists he will not pay. Father is demanding his rightful payment and the Mayor continues to refuse. Begins speaking to moneyed people, aristocrats in city and elsewhere."

"Now business is slow. Dreadfully slow. Slow as hung-over bear in mighty wrestling match. And one day, the Mayor is coming to our bakery - our home, home of family for generations - and is saying we must be paying taxes. Father is saying taxes have been paid, but the Mayor, he says that they have not and presents father with the amount he is claiming is due." She shakes her head. "Is so much. Too much. The Mayor takes our home and closes it. Father and Mother leave home and go to live with Uncle Vanya, who is a farmer of beets. And I?" She shrugs. "I am leaving home, becoming sailor and ship's cook. On many ships. There are arguments. There are ALWAYS arguments. But is no matter. Only thing is important is money, you see. I am one day presenting Mayor with his tax bill in full and reopening bakery."

Makuru isn't a jerk, he's a foal! The two are very similar much of the time.

Noodle's hair is covered in ink all of a sudden. Which would be a thing if she weren't distracted by Grusha's rage!!

Kick-Save turns on the super goalie reflexes at the slightest sign of movement from above! Sticking a hoof out, she deftly knocks the falling inkwell out of the way and to the ground below…but not before most of the ink gets all over her hoof, and the mane of her sist-STRANGER PONY THAT SHE DOESN'T KNOW! "…Continue."

Magpie gasps. And sniffles. "That's terrible. And that's wonderful. You're so… heroic!"

Noodle rubs her head and watches the griffon with wide-eyed amazement. She's completely missed Kicky's hockey superstar reflexes. "…Ooh. So you were born a bakery?"

Winter-Solstice, tense and waiting, listens with breath very nearly held as the last of the story unfolds. So focused is she that the banging on the table doesn't even make her blink! noise? Bah! Now is the time for griffon cake politics. And as Grusha's story concludes, Winter gradually relaxes, leaning back… she looks down at the table, and her ears fold back against her skull. "That's really awful," she says. The mare mopes for a moment before her expression becomes dark. "Corrupt mayors. Corrupt regimes! Evil tyrants oppressin' the people!" With a mutter, Winter kicks back into her seat, a sullen mood settling over her.

Rising-Chaos relents on her scowl towards Noodle, who is a hard pony to dislike. It's like punching fog. She turns her attention to Grusha just in time to miss the ink incident, many incidents today. "A noble goal, Grusha, I hope you achieve it someday soon."

Grusha snorts, but it's a friendly snort, a snort of cameraderie, a snort with much to say about tolerance for the silliness of silly ponies. "Thank you. I am sure it will be doable. And on this day I shall be making famous griffon tea cookies. You shall see: they are quite good."

Makuru looks up at Grusha with wide eyes. "I understand why you can't make cakes now…" he says slowly. "But… why not tea cookies?" Look at those big foal eyes water!

Grusha says "Is baking. Baking is baking. I cannot be allowing myself to be dallying in baking, not with shame on family's head. Ancestors would be looking down on me and saying 'Who is this girl who is baking our recipes? Is not Arseniova, how could it be? She is not baking in the family bakery!' Pfaugh!" Yes, she says 'pfaugh.' "Such shame as I cannot picture."

Makuru wilts a little bit but nods in understanding.

Toybox leans up against Magpie. Evil Mayors? Snotty brats? It's a horror story indeed! With the fist on the table makes her squeak and almost fall over. She looks back at her own flank…still bare. A frown is given before she looks back at Magpie's cutie mark. "Magpie…" She looks almost embarassed to ask, "How did you get yoahs?"

Magpie blinks. "Uh… m-me?" She looks at her flank, then at Toybox, then the other ponies. Uh. Um. "W-well… let me tell you a story…"

Rising-Chaos smiles again, with her thin smile that is the best she can do. "Well, best of luck Grusha." Then Toybox goes and asks the question, and Rising looks over to Magpie. She doesn't know the filly well. "Yes Magpie, how did you get yours?"

"Once upon a time," Magpie says slowly, "There was a little orphan filly with no family and nopony who cared about her."

A little spotted felt filly walks along a little felt road getting covered with felt dust.

Magpie says "Some ponies took her to an orphanage, but they were wicked ponies who wanted to make her work her hooves to the bone in exchange for a crust of bread every night."

There are plain but comfortable beds set in ranks, one in an utter disarray of tangled sheets. The little filly and an older brown mare with horn-rimmed felt glasses are bouncing up and down, little yellow triangles indicating their loud disagreement.

In a whoosh, the beds are replaced by a sink full of dirty dishes. The bouncing and triangles continue.

Whoosh - a little garden patch full of felt melon vines and weeds.

Whoosh - an open schoolbook with a blank page of felt homework.

Winter-Solstice stops grumbling and looks towards Magpie, hardened expression softening. She tilts her head as she listens; she might not be angry now, but the usually chipper earth pony maintains a certain solemn demeanor.

Noodle's eyes go distant as she has the most entertaining vision while Magpie speaks. "…i like triangles," she murmurs.

Magpie says "So, the little filly finally decided to run away from the wicked orphanage keepers and went to the city to seek her fortune. She found out pretty fast that it's harder than it sounds."

The little filly is shivering in an alley between two ridiculously tall felt buildings, cowering in a felt cardboard box.

Midnight-Sun starts to apologize for defiling Rising Chaos' iced tea, but it seems the unicorn has no time for him. And indeed, when the filly starts relating her tale, he's too busy for social niceties — he has to try to remember every detail! He looks down from his roost, face scrunched up with concentration.

Magpie says "But then, one day, the filly found a shining gold bit on the ground. That night, the filly finally had a good meal."

A wealthy looking pony walks past the alley, and a small money pouch falls to the street right in front of the filly's alley. She blinks, startled, then scoops up the pouch. She throws a hoof high in a victory pose, with a gigantic coin twirling above her.
Then the coin explodes into a shower of candies and ice creams.

Grusha listens to the story, her expression unreadable.

Magpie says "And the filly realized that you can find all sorts of things just lying around, if you know where to look!"

The filly goes dancing down the street, her horn shining, while all sorts of things fly out of the saddlebags of the ponies passing her by and off the felt vegetable stands and out of shop doors. She's soon back in her box, wrapped up in a bundle of blankets, with empty wrappers scattered around and chocolate smeared over her muzzle.

Magpie says "She found all sorts of things she could use to buy or trade for food, and the next morning, when she woke up, the filly found a shining bit coin on her flank, to remind her that the things she needs are all around her, as long she's sharp enough to find 'em!"

Toybox listens intently. Her ears lower when she realizes just how rough the filly's had it. Of course, there's still one thing unanswered, at least to Toybox. She wrinkles her nose, "But…what does yoah name have to do wif that?"

Kick-Save blinks a couple times. "Uh. That's a cute story, kid. Yeah." She's dropped her sandwich, and has currently found her bit pouch from inside her saddlebags, and is frantically peering inside, counting under her breath.

Magpie ? Theft? What are you talkin' about? She *finds* things. Didn't you listen to the story?

Rising-Chaos pipes up. "Magpies are a type of bird that llove to collect things around them, they have very sharp eyesight and are very resourceful." She's nto going to give the meaner possible description, because Magpie is currently getting the chance to look good.

Winter-Solstice smiles some. The sad story is a bit better knowing that it has a happy ending, or at least it's happy so far. Winter reaches over to give Magpie another hug. "Every good party needs a rogue, Maggie! Good story."

(OOC) Magpie wants to be clear that the felt imaginary stuff was the real story, which isn't necessarily the story in your heads. :D

Noodle brightens. "That is very cool," she says, nodding. "One day, I was… I don't remember what I was doing, but then I had this on my flank!" She points to her cutie mark, which is … well, it's a yellow squiggle. She beams brightly. And that's her whole story.

Toybox turns to look at Rising, curiosity still in her eyes. She beams a smile…she got to learn something new! With a giggle, the filly wraps her hooves around Magpie and nuzzles.

Magpie blinks at Noodle.

Magpie hugs Toybox back!

Grusha stares at Noodle. Looks down at her cocoa. Stares at Noodle. Sips the cocoa. "…yes."

Noodle looks just pleased as punch to have contributed.

Rising-Chaos blnks. "How wonderful Noodle, I am sure." It doesn't take a post secondary education to find out what Noodle's talent is.

Midnight-Sun's eyes cross. He's going to have little trouble remembering those stories, but his editorial comments could fill volumes. He sighs, clambers down from his perch, a half-filled scroll tucked behind one wing, a spider on his head looking to see where his butt is going. "Excuse me," he says, and hoofs his bottle of ink out of Rising's tea. "I think I'll join you. It'll be easier to take notes." And he settles into place, quill in his mouth, as though that should be the end of it.
Mayflower ears raise up a little bit as she'd actually dozed off…not because the stories weren't interesting, but because she'd been out and about for several hours. Sometimes a nap is just needed! She turns to look at those still present and yawns loudly, slowly pushing herself to her hooves.

Winter-Solstice reaches over to hoof at Noodle's flank. For all she knwos it isn't an actual cutie mark and Noodle just described a scenario in which she spilled her lunch. Confirmation is required. Hoof hoof.
Noodle's squiggle is there for reals! She squirms a little. And then she waves at Midnight distractedly and points at Mayflower. "You should tell a story next!"

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: (Is that actually the whole story?)
(OOC) Noodle: That is for reals the whole story.
(OOC) Noodle: She has no idea when or how she got her cutie mark. XD
(OOC) Winter-Solstice: okay so
(OOC) Winter-Solstice: references to the event are made but details are never shared
(OOC) Winter-Solstice: noodle's cutie mark story is a Noodle Incident
(OOC) Rising-Chaos: outstanding, well done Noodle
(OOC) Grusha approves.

"Uhh…" Kick Save seems entirely onplussed. "Hey, it's alright if you forget. Not everypony's gotta have a whole, like, epic saga about it, you know?" She gives Noodle a friendly pat on the back. With her still ink-covered hoof.

Winter-Solstice leaves Noodle's flank alone, and smiles around the table. She blinks at Midnight. "Oh! Heya, Middy! Hiya, Sophie!" She then stares at Sophie. Do Spiders have cutie marks?

Rising-Chaos has long since forsaken the tea, ink is not her preferred beverage. She does nod to Midnight Sun as he joins them properly, however. The mare's gaze falls on a mare who joined quietly and stayed quiet. Mayflower. "You know miss, I must admit I do not recognize you. Perhaps you'd like to share your story?"

Noodle blinks a little and looks at her "sister." Blink blink. "I guess so! I'm not even sure what it means!" You know… Noodle… yellow squiggle… . . indeed, it doesn't take a rocket scientist.

Mayflower perks up her ears significantly when not one pony, but two point towards her for the mere act of waking up. She blushes a little bit, looking a little embarrassed. "Uhm…H-hey there. I've actually been here for a little bit but I kinda..stay out on the outskirts of stuff. Don't want to ruffle too many feathers so to speak…heh." Wing-flutter-close. "Anyway…By story, you mean the story of how I got my mark, right?"

Midnight-Sun must have been super distracted to wind up next to Winter. He eyes the big mare warily. Sophie waves six arms much more enthusiastically. "Heys, Winter," he says quietly, trying not to interrupt. She's showing no signs of punching him in any portion of the anatomy, though, and a new story is starting. He turns eyes on Mayflower, trying to figure out where he saw her before in the part of his brain not occupied with soaking up her words and preserving them for posterity.
Winter-Solstice looks back to the ponies at the table- no, Spiders don't have cutie marks, unless a large number of them just happened to have talents in keeping time with red hourglasses? what?- and looks to Mayflower. "Yeah! Cutie mark stories!" Pony I don't know. "Do you have one?"

Noodle picks up her drink and sips it pleasantly. Except she didn't order a drink. Whose drink is it? It's probably Kick-Save's. Either way, she doesn't really pay enough attention to know or care.

Yeah. Kicky will Linger to hear stories but i'll be mostly out.

Kick-Save gives a little glare at Noondle, but doesn't particularly want to give into an argument with her, lest she really end up with a sister. That's how it works?

Mayflower looks over towards Winter and blinks a few times, tilting her head. "Well..uhm..First off, I'm Mayflower. I guess that's..an introduction kind of. I'm from…a small city near Cloudsdale. My mom and dad are an Earth Pony and Unicorn and…heh…" She takes a deep breath and sets her tone a little bit more casual than the nervous one she had beofre. She lowers her ears a little bit. "When I was a filly, I used to go between the town and Cloudsdale so I could go to flight school. I stayed with some cousins there and came back home when I didn't have school. But even when I was little, it became really, really obvious that my wings were crazy big. They still are really, really big. I used to accidentally flare them into doors and ceilings and stuff. More than one morning where I would hop out of bed and stretch and knock everything off of my shelves. I used to like them…and then I started going to flight school and the kids there used to just flay me for it."

Noodle watches Mayflower as she tells her story, sipping on inky tea and getting covered with ink from the backpats and well— she's just inky inside and out. "…You should take them off?"

Winter-Solstice props her elbows up on the table once more as she settles in to listen, watching mayflower as she does. She smiles some. "Big wings aren't bad! My marefriend's got some, in fact. They're, um. They can be really pretty. Actually." Hoofscuff. Winter doodles a little circle on the tabletop with the tip of a hoof. "I think so, at least. hee hee."

Rising-Chaos notices somethign from the corner of her eye, and snatches the tainted drink from Noodle. "I hope you didn't drink any of that, Noodle." The drink is promptly placed on the far end of the table, and rising keeps an eye on the mare.

Midnight-Sun looks a little upset. "There was a colt like that when I was going to flight school." His ears splay. "We weren't very nice to him."

Magpie elbows Winter. Hee. "Tail fins," is her only comment.

Winter-Solstice has no idea what Magpie is referring to! She smiles daftly. "Yes!"

Rising-Chaos nods sagely.

Moonglow nods thoughtfully. "I never understood that. I mean, our wings don't even have a linear relationship to flight ability anyway, why do ponies care about it so much?" Because foals are jerks, Moonglow. Because foals are jerks.

Mayflower flexes her wings out at that and shows up just how large they are. They stretch out from her quite a ways, going so far as to provide some shade for some of the seats next to her. She quickly folds them back in and hugs them tight against her body, where they usually stay. "…Uhm. You can't just..take off wings. That'd hurt…alot. But anyway, the kids there weren't very nice at all. In most flight schools, they teach you how to be quick and acrobatic. They like for you to fly through hoops and do dives and stuff but when I started, I wasn't very good at any of it. I couldn't flap my wings fast enough; I came in dead last in every race we did and they started with the name calling. Fat-wings was my name in school there for awhile. I didn't like going to school much. But one day, we had a class field trip into the Foal Mountains. It was a camping trip to teach us some stuff about how to survive if we can't fly. We got squared off into groups of four with one adult and got our own campsite. I remember wishing I didn't have to go but…I did. And I was paired up with two of the worst kids I knew. Haybales and Straight-Shot. They were…pretty awful to me for the most part. But we got split up into groups and we found our spot and set up camp, one tent for the boys and one tent for the girls. That night though, a sudden storm rolled in, earlier than expected! I know Pegasi don't really do non-city areas, but they'd said that the weekend would be clear, and let me tell you, it was awful. Heavy winds, rain hitting you harder than a matress and the trees were howling. It's still the worst storm I'd ever seen."

Noodle stretches her own wings in mimic. They aren't nearly as big! She looks vaguely disappointed. "Did you drown?" she asks in awe.

Winter-Solstice makes a little face. "A storm! Gosh. Did you use your massive wings to-" She freezes mid-sentence, then snaps her mouth shut, not wanting to spoil the big reveal.

Midnight-Sun nudges Winter. "Way to be sensitive!" he hisses.

Winter-Solstice oofs at the nudge! She turns and bats Midnight's nudgers away. "I was just sayin' my marefriend has big wings and they're totally hot! -Gosh!- That is sensitive!"

Makuru nods. "Miss Fizz's wings are really nice," he agrees. "I like them."

Grusha is listening politely to stories at this point, enjoying another cup of fine hot cocoa in the meantime.

Mayflower continues on her story, despite shooting a small look towards Winter. "The clearing we were in was starting to become really muddy and slippery with so much wind and water, so our guide, an earth pony, decided we should come down the mountain, but we had crossed bridge to get there. When we got back to it, the bridge was barely holding on. When Haybales and Straight-shot tried to fly, they would lose their balance and couldn't stay up. So we tried to cross the bridge to get down and because it was our only hope and just like that, the bridge snapped in half. I flared my wings for the first time in a long time and found out that I could quite easily keep my balance. But I had to act fast since my other three class mates and my guide fell. I went down after them and flew faster than I thought I could, caught all of them and managed to carry them and myself out of the ravine where we'd fallen and use the wind as a booster to get down the mountain. It took me like half an hour to hit solid ground again but nobody said much of anything while I was flying…or maybe I couldn't hear them because of all the wind. But when we landed and I turned everyone loose, the guide who had been on my back pointed to my flank and there was this bad boy. It's not the most exciting story in the world but from that day on, I learned that just because my gift is alot different than most Pegasi, doesn't mean I shouldn't use it. I ended up teaching myself how to fly quite well and whenever someone needed a little bit of extra Wing Power, there weren't too many other Ponies who could push as strong as I could. And as a added bonus, Haybales and Straight-Shot never talked bad about me again." She jazz-hoofs immediately after that.

"Closure is awesome."

Winter-Solstice smiles cheerfully, easing back in her seat. "Aww, yay! That's a great story!" she says, wiggling slightly. "You were the bigger pony an' went and saved those two jerks even if they'd been super mean to you. That's really nice!"

Noodle flaps her wings a little and claps as well. "I liked that! I like it when good ponies save the day." She looks around for her drink. Didn't she have a drink? Where did it go? "Who's talking next? What about you?" She points at a chicken, who 'bu-kawk!'s appropriately.

Rising-Chaos watches Mayflower as the mare finishes. "Indeed, closure is nice, and it's nice that your story came to such a satisfactory conclusion." She sound slike a sueful pony to know, winpower is COOL. "Thank you very much for joining us today, Mayflower. I am Rising Chaos, it's a pleasure to meet you."

Noodle pipes up, "I'm Noodle!" Obviously.

Magpie stretches and smiles. "I should go home and see the twins. Thanks for the stories!" She pauses, then gives Grusha a hug. "I hope you get your cake back."

Midnight-Sun finishes the line and looks up at Mayflower. "That's a great story. I still feel kinda terrible about that colt back when, though. I hope something like that happened to him."

Mayflower offers a small wave towards the two who introduced themselves. "Great to meet you two as well, it's probably the best story I've got as far as positive ones go but that's a story for another, rainier, worse day. After that day, those two boys kind of just left me alone all together. I haven't seen them since I left Cloudsdale a few years ago." She slowly follows Noodle's hoof towards another chicken and peers at it strangely. "…Seriously though, who's chickens are these?"

Winter-Solstice pushes back from the table with a shrug. "I don't know! I asked one of the chickens and they only directed me to someone named Cluck. The problem is I think they're ALL named Cluck." Winter scratches the back of her head, looks around at the others, then shrugs once more. "I guess I'd better get goin' too, though. It was nice to hear everpony's stories, though! And every griffon's. In that we only had one. And she shared her dark tale."

Rising-Chaos allows the chickens to enter her personal reality again only so long as they need to be there. "I have no idea." And they're gone. "Midnight, since you seem so eager to chronicle the stories of others who are around the table, perhaps you'd like to share your own?"

Midnight-Sun's quill stops its scratching and his ears go back. He looks up from the scroll at a bunch of ponies he doesn't really know and a matron who doesn't seem to like him. He spits out his quill. "Umm." Looks around again. "I guess I should." He doesn't turn to look at the white mare ready to depart and just says, "Winter, could you stay a bit longer?"

Winter-Solstice freezes in mid-step, then blinks at Midnight. "Oh! Okay." She drops back down to her seat and smiles. There doesn't seem to be any more musical cups of cocoa being passed around, so Winter pretends to drink one.

Midnight-Sun half-mantles. Sophie is on settled down on his shoulder, eyes closed. Do spiders sleep? "When I was younger, I read a lot of books. I always liked finding things out — how long had that family lived there, what did cockatrices eat, who did Sunwind have a crush on this week, what happened to Puddinghead, what were cinnamon twists made from. All kinds of things. I wasn't overly picked on, but I was kind of weird and so I got my fair share of pranks."

Noodle reaches over to peeeeer at Sophie, eyes wide. That… is a spider. She's listening, honest! … Sort of! Not really. Noodle is distractable.

Winter-Solstice scuffs a hoof. She herself was- and still is- a big reader, something most ponies would likely be surprised at. She's starting to feel a bit guilty! All these nerdish ponies having had hard childhoods accordingly.

Rising-Chaos huffs quietly. She's a bookish pony, the bookishest of ponies in her neighbourhood as a foal, but she never got teased, for long. She does like finding things out though, it's a noble pursuit, especially if those things involve acquiring power.

Noodle pipes up, "Reading is boring. The words don't move! Unless it's recipes; then that's exciting!"

Midnight-Sun dry swallows, looks around at the many eyes, then away into the distance to concentrate on getting the story right. "One of those pranks was for the archivist's son — Dawnmist, that was his name — to tell me that a cache of pre-Equestrian records books had been brought in and I could totally have a look for myself." He shakes his head, snorts half a laugh. "Understand, I was *crazy* for pre-Equestrian history. And they were never going to let a colt near those records. So I packed some candles and let him lead me around as he pleased. And the archives were old and vast and… well, I'm guessing you can imagine what happened."

Rising-Chaos raises an eyebrow. "You got lost." It seems like the obvious next step in the process. Noodle seems to like recipes to, and that's a thing that is good to know.

Midnight-Sun shrugs. "So he's left me behind and scampered off. But I've got a candle and while I'm scared I'm surrounded by these great books. He wasn't lying about that. So I… spent the first three hours of the 'prank' finding out what Puddinghead ate for breakfast every third Thursday."

Noodle says "… Was it pudding?"

Winter-Solstice purses her lips. Puddinghead, she recalls, was a great hero of Earth Pony history. She would herself like to know more about the breakfast habits of the greats, but refrains from interrupting the story for now.

Midnight-Sun smiles a little. "Nope. Waffles, with raspberry jam and seasonal flowers. Good guess, though." He clears his throat. "And three hours in, that's when I start to hear it. Because these archives are vast and dark and sinister and if all you've got for lighting is a candle, they look *very* different than they do in the day." Sophie appears to be awake and staring at Noodle. "Even if you've lived above them all your life, you can get lost while trying to abandon a bookish colt to his own devices. It didn't take me long to find him or even to find a way out. He'd tried to lose me and just lost himself. And that's how I got my cutie mark." Kind of an anticlimactic ending.

Winter-Solstice twists about to take a look at MIdnight's cutie mark, then frowns slightly as she sits back up. "Is it specifically in navigatin' archives, or could you go to, like, any maze and be able to pick through?"

Rising-Chaos continues to watch Midnight Sun. She's not got a lot to say about that, there's not much to it.

Midnight-Sun looks baffled. "Mazes? What? I mean, I guess if I drew a map like I did that night, sure." He blinks, looks around at a sea of uncomprehending faces. "Don't you understand? *Waffles*! *With raspberry jam and seasonal flowers*! Nopony else knew that! It was just a little fact buried deep in a dusty old book about history nopony cares about. But Puddinghead was a real pony! And she ate the same thing every third Thursday and I *totally know what that thing is*! That is approximately the third-coolest thing ever!"

Moonglow perks up at that. Yeah, it is pretty cool!

Winter-Solstice arches her eyebrows, and nods a few times. "That is certainly a thing to know! I like books. I like reading." The mare smiles cheerfully around the table, then turns to reach over and pat Midnight on the shoulder. "That's a neat story! You had to sorta save your tormentor, too! I wonder how many bullies know they are kind of the catalyst for these things. I guess even I was a bully in my story, you know? Yellin' at my friend like I did."

Rising-Chaos nods sagely, yeah it's kinda cool. "So you're an archivist by heart? A historian?" She considers more as Winter goes and acts all cheery. "It was a good story, and a well earned cutie mark."Look at you ponies, going off and being good at things, impressive.

Midnight-Sun says "Every pony has a story like that! Something that is crazy cool and nopony knows about, sometimes not even them! It could be their cutie mark story or what they eat or why they declared war on Griffonia even though they were a small town in western Equestria, but it's there! *That's* what I figured out in that dusty archive. It was meant as a prank, sure, but… that part is just how we got there."

Winter-Solstice considers this as she eases back into her chair, staring across the table and into the sky over yonder. She tilts her head, frowns, and nods. "That's an interesting approach. Lots of stories out there nobody ever realizes are there in the first place. Huh!"

Rising-Chaos nods. "Fascinating, Midnight Sun. I'm sure you'll find many stories to tell." She looks around, and then up at the sky. "Not mine, though, I thnk I should be off. Thank you for sharing your stories, everypony." She gets out of her seat, and stretches, she's been sitting for a long time. "Have a nice day."

Winter-Solstice lifts a hoof, waving to Rising. "Okay! See ya, Rising! I'll get that fork to you later!" She lowers her hoof, and smiles around the table, before pushing upright. "Okay! I think I was leaving? I should try that again. Nice to see you all again. Or for the first time."

Magpie hugs Winter, and heads for home, eyes drooping.