Dawn of Darkness, Part 2
IC date: Autumn 44, 1007 AC
OOC date: November 2, 2012
PCs: Brume, Carronade, Rising-Chaos, Rocket, Seaside-Sunset, Spindrift, Stormdancer, Thunnini
NPCs: Maelstrom, Salty(?)
GM: Applejack, Trixie

Horseshoe Harbor is under seige! The population is terrified in ways it hasn't been since… about a month and a half ago! Maybe two months. Okay, so unfathomable horror isn't all that strange a situation for Horseshoe Harbor to be in…

Today's monster of the week? Still zombies! Because it's still Ghostwalk. They've been out in force since the zombie attack on Nightmare Night, roaming the streets and groaning malevolently. Thankfully all it takes to keep them out is a locked door and a firmly shut window, and the inevitable disaster supplies kept in most houses for the next time everything catches fire means that most ponies have been relatively comfortable in their homes, if not a little stir-crazy.

Of course, not EVERY home is intact. In addition to the zombies it would appear that the soulless shell of the ex-mayor Salty has been possessed by an evil spirit! A spirit who has decided to sow as much chaos as possible in the empty streets by destroying as much as possible. So far the several residential homes, the distillery, the auction house, a bakery and the jewelcrafting trainer's shop have fallen prey to her reckless disregard for all things not-razed.

Suffice to say, many ponies are not amused. They may even be planning to take a stand against the zombie invasion and the Dread Ghost Salty…

Not -quite- empty streets… A blue mare in a dark cloak peers around the corner of some rubble at the ruins of the best place in town. "Not the distillery! That… that monster!" Stormdancer wails softly, a cookpot strapped onto her head as a makeshift helmet. When not running scared, she's surprisingly light on her feet!

"WAAAAH" Cry the twins as they run down the street being chased by a shambling quartet of zombies; the twin mares scrambling as they search for a place to hide. "This isn't fun anymore." "I told you they were real." "Neither of us wanted to believe!"

Dustdevil sits atop some random roof-top yes they still exist around here, and watches the calamity of the dead, or undead or whatever the heck is going on around here. He swoops down making a pass near that evil spirit just to get a better view, and maybe distract the thing into following him, for which he practically dances midflight near the docks. "Come on over Creepy Creeper you" he shouts hoping to draw its 'attention' away from the town

Seaside cries addorably. "This is your fault for being a giant flirt!" "You're one to talk! Remember Charlie?" "You know that was nothiiiing."

Two such ponies primed to make a stand are Spindirft and Brume, and with their help, the Town Square is probably fairly sort of safe. It's no designated safe room, but they're doing a good job of maintaining a little bubble of security in the middle of town.

Part of this is because they've come prepared. No more pawn shop guitar- Brume is armed with his dulcimer, his weapon of choice, and in his skilled hooves it is a thing of terrible beauty. A lush, wandering musical soundscape draws up a thick well of arcane power, and with it Spindrift is painting the town red.

Bits of bone and worm-eaten organs line the streets; the walls are painted with zombie ichor. The moment something undead rears its head and approaches the meager light cast by the street lamps, it finds itself obliterated. Only when the zombies approach en masse do they get near- and the two are riddled with the marks of numerous such near-misses: scratched and bitten, bruised and, in Brume's case, limping about when he sits up from his stationary instrument. And both of them look utterly exhausted, with circles under their eyes and a sluggish inaccuracy to their movements. They've been at this forever, and when they haven't been blasting zombies they're working to shore up bulwarks at the major entrances to the square: piles of furniture and crates, something to help funnel the zombies into the destructive potential the two can conjure as a pair.

Okay, maybe they were primed hours and hours ago. Maybe now they're worn out and past their prime, but there's still re-killin' that needs doin'.

The fountain is the current home-away-from-home for a face that is rapidly becoming more familiar. Thunnini still has her quarterstaff from the other day, and she has decided to stay in the fountain for the time being. While she's never heard of zombies that swim, she doesn't want to take the chance that they exist.

"THIS WAY!", a volumenous voice familiar to the Twins booms across the street as the burly form Carronade emerges from a side alley, pushing his piece of mobile (for him) artillery into the path of the swarm of trotters. "GET TO THE SQUARE, ITS BARRICADED IN DEFENSE." Depsite the near constant fighting of waves of undead ponies the hulk of a stallion doesn't seem to winded, scowling behind the blast goggles strapped to this face.

And turns his namesake weapon towards the swarm. "SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!"

*BOOM!* The angry roar of a cannon rings out, and a shower of scattershot pellets ring hopefully through some zombies to give the girls a chance to flee for cover.

Rising-Chaos is skulking along the streets, doing recon around town. She's been maintaining her shadow spell for a while now, keeping herself out of sight. She's finished her scout, and is looking for a familiar face. She creeps up behind Stormdancer. "Hey, you," she whispers, "let's get to the square, it's defended, we can't do anything out here alone." Chaos slips along the street, trying to keep quiet. The bursts of magic and cannon fire gives her the distraction she needs to slip into the square, hoping Stormdancer follows.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!" a powerful, masculine voice bellows from somewhere in the Harbor. Several streets away there's a flash of purple light. "I AM GOING TO SHOOT YOU WITH MY FACE!" There's another flash, this time one that seems to travel the length of the town. A few blocks down from the Town Square a large purple laser lances across the street, creating a pressure wave that blows everypony's manes back dramatically. On one end of tat laser is undoubtedly Maelstrom. On the other end? Probably a crater. Somewhere between points A and B are some ash piles that were once zombies and maybe a fruit stand or two.

Seaside-Shimmer and Tropical-Sunset dive for cover when the thunderous roar of Carronade's cannon fills the streets - the pair quiering adorably before scrambling towards the instructed direction. "Nothing like this ever happened back home!" "Just had to watch out for the mafia!" the pair scrambling behind the barricade and collapassing in two-pony pile-up. "Why here?" "Why now?" The pair finally cry in unison "Why us?!?"

Stormdancer looks back and nods to Chaos, before she pushes her helmpot back up from where it'd fallen over her eyes. The pegasus wriggles backwards from her hidi- /scouting/ spot, and darts from cover to cover, following her employer back towards the square.

Keeping towards the center of the square means he's near the fountain, which means Brume is within chatting distance of Thunnini. "So! Enjoying your time here in town, Minnow?" he asks, conversationally, as his narrow hooves work the strings before him. Shimmering waves of magical energy flow from the instrument, drawn by Spindrift at the far end of the plaza, as she repeatedly misses at a rambunctious gargoyle flitting around overhead.

Dustdevil dodges down into the town square having not done much good at leading anything away from anything. He lands at the side of the fountain, "Hey, need any air support, got anything that blows up when it hiits things?, Or what about that" he points a hoof to the other flying things, any ideas?

"It sure is lively," admits Thunnini as she sends the occasional splash of water at the pesky gargoyle. These micro-jets of water might just be an oversized squirt gun, but by golly she's still going to do what she can, even if it's just pestering the foes to distraction while more skilled ponies deliver the significant damage.

Carronade isn't far behind the Twins, covering their retreat and then pushing his cannon up behind one of the barricades. In the lull of the moment he pushes his goggles up onto his forehead, then trots over and leans down to nudge the girls with his snout. "YOU TWO OKAY?"

The mare pair let out a heavy sigh as they're nudged. Seaside looks over Sunset's shoulder, and Sunset looks over her own shoulder; pair looking at Carronade as they chime. "We're okay." "Thanks to you." some akward pony-pile-up squirming ensues until the pair can plant a kiss on both of Carronade's cheeks.

Rising-Chaos slips into the square proper and lets her spell drop finally. She moves immediatly to the fountain. Her cape is drawn tight around her neck. A pair of saddlebags is evident beneath the cloak, stuffed with medical supplies and spellbooks. She leans against the fountain near Brume and Thunnini to catch her breath. "Lively is an understatement, this is insane." Chaos looks Brume up and down, seeing his wounds. "You want some help? I can fix you up a bit, if you like," she offers.

A creepy cackle of a laugh bounces down the alleyways and into the streets! A cackle, joined by the sound of hoofbeats, running on the cobblestone. This is followed by the sound of an explosion soon after, out towards the docks, as a certain tavern at the edges of town finds itself forcefully remodeled into a pile of debris and an alcohol-scented mushroom cloud.

More cackling! More hoofbeats… Oh yes, whatever this creature is that's inhabited the shell of the ex-mayor is enjoying her new body! It has such power! And now that eerie, haunting sound, that insane laugh is getting closer. Closer to the barricades, to the group of ponies so expertly holding off the seemingly endless hordes of undead.

"I'm coming for yoooooooooou! I can /smell/ you! I smell the blood! I hear your delicious little hearts beating! Oh please let us come have a taste!"

Stormdancer gaaasps as the Harbor loses another precious landmark, plopping down on the gore-encrusted ground in the square. "We have to stop her!" Then pauses, as things get just -creepy-, and looks thoughtful. "On the other hoof, she's not really hitting the homes… On the third hoof, she wants to kill us horribly. And on the -fourth- hoof, I might not have to pay off my tab!" She sprawls out, panting from her run. "I'm not sure what to think!"

"'Lively!' Yes, that perfectly describes the problem, Thunnini. Dead things should be anything but," says Brume, with a little smile. He seems to be in good enough spirits, though his fatigue is showing. He's not so out of it he doesn't notice Rising approach, and flashes her a grin. "Miss Chaos. Glad you could join us. I hope you packed your knife. And, if you're offering, I'm not about to pass up on the skilled ministrations of a concerned lady- though you'll excuse me if I don't pause my music." He continues to pluck at the strings, strumming along at a brisk rhythm, seated on his hindquarters while his front hooves work the stationary strings. His pace slows a bit, though, at that awful voice, and he glances up and down towards the docks.

So does Spindrift. She leaves the rambunctious gargoyle limping off with a hole in its stony wing, as she turns and makes her way back to the center. She glances about, to Brume and Thunnini, to the others arriving, and to Rising Chaos… and though there is room for some sort of glower or nasty comment or something, Spindrift doesn't take it. She is clearly worried about more pressing concerns than a petty rivalry.

"The Mayor," she explains. "Or the ex-Mayor, as it were. Ready yourselves."

Brume chuckles, and takes a moment to rest his hooves, seeing as Spindrift doesn't have any more magic to sling at the moment. "We weren't just going to sit around and let her take us by surprise, don't worry."

(OOC) Brume http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9HnRZlMiKQ
(OOC) Brume: What the music generally sounds like.

Carronade's steel grey coat just makes the flush of red at his cheeks from the dual kiss all the more obvious. "Aw shucks…"

Alas, there's little time to bask in the moment tonight, the stallion pushing himself back up and pulling his goggles down with one hoof. "Ya girls like FIREWORKS?" He tips the cannon back, picks up a bundle of said colorful explosives from a stack behind the blockade and shoves them into the cannon. Tilts it forward to angle over the impromptu bunker, then hunkers down next to it to wait for either the next wave of zombies of the ex-mayor to come into view.

"OF COURSE we're NOT going to." Grabs the firing string, and waits….

Seaside and Sunset yell their reply in unison - top of their lungs "NO! STOP BEING CREEPY!" the duck behind Carronade - cause you know, protection. "I like my heart right where it is." "I plan on giving my heart away to somepony special, not a creepy mare." Carronade gets a flank pinch from one of the mares but good luck figuring out which.

Rising-Chaos unpacks her medical supplies from one saddlebag and sets to administering Brume's wounds. She uses some small heal spells to help out, which take care of the surface cuts and bruises. The worse wounds she bandages up as best she can. Finished, she sits back up. "You're as fixed as I can get you Brume, though I'm no expert." She turns to Spin, eyeing her suspiciously. "Would you like some help as well ma'am?" she says, her voice betraying no emotion at all. She draws her knife from her other bag, which bursts into green smoke right away. She won't be caught off guard for the next wave.

Dustdevil steps over to carronade, "Heya boomtown, do ya have anything that explodes on impact?" he asks, "If ya got something, I could drop it on the mayor from high up" he points a hoof from his wings to the air high above. "maybe take care of the problem that way?

Stormdancer ruffles her wings as she picks herself back up, trotting up to the edge of the barricades to serve as a lookout. "Just a lil' thought, but," she calls back as she peers towards the docks. "Was she always evil and explodey? Anypony think it's worth trying a not-explodey thing to make her neighborly?"

Spindrift also took points in a flinty demeanor, and so she meets Rising's coolly-delivered question with a flat gaze. "I will be fine- what I need most is sleep." She turns away, then, to face towards the docks, and reaches back with a slender hoof- 'dainty' would be an appropriate description if she didn't carry herself in such a bold fashion- to adjust a saddlebag hanging off her flank. A moment later, and she glances back, gaze looking a little below Rising rather than directly at her. "… but thank you for the offer."

Brume quirks a brow at this but says nothing, slowly massaging one shoulder with a hoof. He flashes Rising a smile after that. "Well, -I- feel a few fathoms better, at least."

Closer and closer! Creepy laugh and hoofbeats! So many hoofbeats… Salty is not alone.

This is apparent as the creatures that come 'round the bend are more of the zombies. Faster. Sleeker. Perhaps fresher. Runners, they've been nicknamed, for that very trait. They run. Dash, even, up the cobblestone, like horses from Hades, tearing up the street in their haste to get to the meaty morsels holed up within!

"We're so /hungry/! Please just a nibble! Just a bite! Just a limb! One lung? How about a kidney! Anything but the liver…" More cackling! "All the livers around here taste like pickles!"

Thunnini readies her quarterstaff and pumps up the strength of the current she's built up in the fountain. She hasn't quite figured out how to use both of them together, but she's ready to use either one as needs fit.

And here comes the next wave. Can't see the ex-mayor herself yet, but that's besides the point as far as Carronade is concerned, becase there's more than enough targets to go around. "Time to DECLARE our INDEPENDANCE from ZOMBIE APOCACLYPSES!" He gives the pullstring a mighty yank.

*THWOOM!* Firecrackers of assorted size and colors blaze through the streets to rain down upon the inbound rotbags, as beautiful as they are destructive.

"HAVE A TASTE OF SOME ROCKETS RED GLARE, ROT FOR BRAINS!"

Rising-Chaos gets to her hooves, packing the last of her things away. "My pleasure, as always," she replies evenly. She moves to the barricade which is getting rushed by the newly arrived runners. She inspects the barrier critically, shifting a few things around to give her a better advantage, namely elevating herself to stand above the hordes. Carronade's salvo earns the stallion a approving look. "We could use more of you here, it's a pleasure," she yells to the cannoneer, before bracing for impact. The first zombie to get close is going to have a /very/ bad day.

Stormdancer ducks down as the cannon goes off, just, yanno- In case! Then sets herself up by a different gap in the barricades from Rising, bracing herself to buck the first living dead pony that pokes its muzzle through in the hopes of getting another zombie-domino. "Oh, for a thundercloud," she complains.

Brume sighs, and would crack his knuckles of he had them, though he does waggle his hooves about at the end of his legs to loosen them up. Spindrift waits nearby, making the most of the lull, resting while she has the chance. She turns to glance back over her shoulder at him. "Ready?" she asks.

Brume settles back down with a smile and adjusts his instrument on its simple folding stand. He answers by beginning to play once more, and though they are nearly lost against the thunder of approaching hooves, the groans and snarls of the zombie hordes, the notes he hammers out with the tips of his hooves ring out across the town square once more.

Spindrift gallops forward, quickly moving to a position back from Rising and Carronade, someplace where she has a good view of all the incoming hordes. She draws a deep breath before shifting her weight, bringing a foreleg up, and with a swing, directing bolts of energy, shimmering like hot air, at the running zombies. One is clipped on the knee and tumbles to the street; another is blasted back only to be replaced by another.

There's so many. There's so many, but maybe with everyone here, they stand a chance.

The twins squeek at the cannon burst then wave their hooves in the air and cheer "Go team?" More of a squeek than a cheer - not very useful pair are they?

KABOOM! Cannonfire of fireworks rain destruction down on the Running Zombies! Fast as they are, explosions are that much faster, and the Runners go down in a hail of fire and gunpowder, little craters left behind in the wake of so much Boom.

The smoke caused by the barrage swirls….and then splits like a curtain thrown aside, the image of Salty, with her darkly glittering eyes and bloody cutie mark, stands in the road amid the corpses of re-dead dead.

"I see yooooou~" she chimes at the blockade, her horn alight with a crimson glow. She breaks into a full trot, cackling all the way! "Knock knock my sweet little cupcakes!"

As the Mayor- IF YOU ARE, IN FACT, THE MAYOR- reveals herself, she finds herself the subject of focused fire. Spindrift rapidly disregards mooks and starts lobbing her waves of force at "Salty" instead, swinging her hooves in rapid succession. Surge after surge of powerful, buffeting forces attempt to blast the mayor back- or into a wall, or apart. Spindrift will take whatever she can get. The rapid series of bursts are taxing, though, and the seapony winces with each swing, head throbbing. So, too, is Brume taxed, a sheen of sweat quickly forming on his brow as he closes his eyes and focuses only on playing. It's all he can do to keep up, and though he's at his strongest when playing this particular instrument, he and Spindrift aren't built to fight zombie hordes. But for now, he sustains her spells, and she keeps slinging them.

"… back… back!" she shouts, in between blasts. "Get back! Get out! You awful dead thing, return to the winds or the stars or wherever you came from!" She pants heavily as she maintains momentum. "Rising! Do you have an idea what sort of beast this is?!" Let's have an academic discussion of undead varieties while they assault us, this is a brilliant plan.

Carronade doesn't get to utilize the full capacity of his talents very often, so despite the grim outlook he was reveling in the chance to do so. That he did odd things like use his cannon to skip large stones across the harbor may seem like weird hobbies most of the time… But the refined precision from such practices becomes so much more clear when he drops a load of brightly colored explosive ordinance upon the advancing horde.

"I DO WHAT I BEST CAN," he replies to Chaos as he pulls the cannon back down behind the barricade. Unfortunately he still needs time to reload between shots, so somepony else is going to have to be the hero at the moment.

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: rolling to see if Chaos spots what it is~ that okay?
(OOC) Mad-Mare: Sure, make a roll.

Rising-Chaos rolls 1d10 (perception check) — Result: 2 | Sum: 2

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: of course XD
(OOC) Mad-Mare: You see a living pony. :|

Rising-Chaos starts to lsoe confidence as Salty charges the barricade, seemingly right at her. Her blade wavering in fear as the enormity of the opponent hits home. The sight of magical blasts looking like they are doing nothing the charging possessed pony only worsens her anxiety. She takes a step back, on the edge of fleeing altogether.

Spindrift's question snaps Rising Chaos back to reality. She halts her backwards movement, thoguh she seems no steadier than before "I have no idea," she yells back, panicking. "It looks like any other pony. It's terrifying though, so much power." The time vainly trying to figure out what Salty was could have been better spent. Chaos is now horribly out of position and unprepared.

Splash! A jet of water from the fountain hits the fiendish Salty. Thunnini still isn't sure if that was a good idea, but the other option was to *not* splash the scary posessed pony and let the helpful adults get eaten or worse. Desert-bound if you do, and desert-bound if you don't…

Stormdancer breathes rapidly, pumping herself up. All the magic and explodey ponies can't slow down that booze-destroying monster! With a yell, she does what she does best- Charges headlong into a questionable situation, and hopes for the best! And throws in a leaping buck for good measure. Mebbe the others will get back on their hooves in time to keep her kidneys un-nommed?

Waves of force seem to slow the mare down at first, knocking her off her hooves, skidding the crazy creature back! But only the first couple waves have much impact, the not-exactly-dead creature's crimson horn glowing bright. Salty begins tossing her head in counter-rhythm, sending equal waves of force right back! Brilliant showers of sparks light the skies where magic collides with magic, that creepy cackle echoing with every wave of force stopped! She's still coming. Walking instead of trotting, but advancing all the same, a murderous gaze locked in her eyes.

So intent on this game, the possessed pony doesn't even notice other things coming until she's first splashed with a spout of water, and then there's Stormdancer bucking her sideways into a cart! Oof! Crash! "Ngh! Oooh such a /spicy/ meal…" she mutters, climbing out of the wreckage. "I love it when my dinner has a little kick to it!"

From somewhere else in town there is another flash of purple light, this time followed by a loud explosion. A blue and yellow form streaks overhead momentarily. "THAT WAS A TERRIBLE IDEA," Maelstrom yells as his imprompty rocket jump sends him over the town square and to a block on the far side of it. "OH, HEY, ARE YOU GUYS DOING OKAY?" he calls out with no time to actually get a response before he crash lands somewhere over yonder.

Seaside-Sunset rolls 1d10 (Sneak Attack?) — Result: 9 | Sum: 9

Spindrift grits her teeth, inwardly cursing at Rising's reply, but having no more breath to verbally respond. She hauls upright, then, and swings both hooves forward. All of her channeling powers are focused not on discrete bursts of force but a constant wave- pressing down atop Salty like a waterfall of ice… a force that, it seems, the ex-mayor can apparently resist without stopping. Spindrift leans forward, hooves reaching around as if she were herself trying to restrain a building force strong enough to keep her propped up on her hindlegs at an angle. The air whistles around her with the unseen momentum of the energies pouring down onto the ex-mayor, trying to pin her in place. And, back towards the fountain, Brume is deliriously lost in the music, seafoam-green hooves a blur over the strings. The performance would be inspiringly passionate if not for its desperation, the sound of cracking wood and howling wind and explosions and Maelstrom all but drowning the song itself out entirely.

In a very sudden and unexpected turn of events the twins are soaring through the air after launching themselves from a perch atop the make-shift barricade; it's amazing where you can get to when no pony pays attention to your cowering. Perhaps even more amazing is the fact each mare does a complete 360 flip before flying rear-hooves first towards the attacking mare. Double double-leg kick? What are these mare's wrestlers now?

Rising-Chaos rolls 1d10 (illusion score) — Result: 4 | Sum: 4

Rising-Chaos musters her courage, seeing her assistant charge out and actually do something helps, shattering the aura of invincibility around the charging enemy. Using some of the last of her magic, she summons a cloud of smoke to obscure her form. when the smoke clears, a illusionary double of herself is standing beside her. She curses under her breath, then charges out from the barricade, following Storm's example. The twins ambushing Salty gives her an opening, and she darts in to slash at Salty's face. Chaos falls back to stay safe, circling around the stricken pony opposite her illusionary clone.

Stormdancer paces back uncertainly as Salty gets right back up- and stays back as violence ensues upon the poor possessed mare. Magic and muscle and machete- the pegasus grins as she launches herself to join in the ponypile with a cry of: "I have an idea! FLICK HER HORN!"

Admittably, while he can blast away at entire hordes of zombies, copious amounts of cannonfire aren't really that great for single targets. Thusly Carronade leaves it to more suitable ponies to engage the ex-mayor, but Celestia above is he ready to blow up more zombies that may try to come help her!

So much for one mare to take in! How could she possibly withstand such a focused assault? How could Salty possibly survive?

The Undead/Unalive Salty begins to charge at Stormdancer, tongue lolled out of her mouth, looking all too happy to come take a bite out of a back-bucker! But then she gets another boot to the head. Twice! Followed up with a knife-slash! Oof. Ooh! Bloodied! A scar of crimson streaks across the possessed mare's face, but she doesn't so much stagger back as she does duck down and giggle uncontrollably.

"Ooooh pain! I haven't felt pain in forever… It feels… it feels goooooooood! Teeheehee!" Salty ducks down, "Let me share some with you! I've got a little… For EVERYPONY!"

She rears back, and Salty seems to explode with a sudden burst of power! Crimson tendrils of energy lance out from her in every direction, leaving burning scars across several houses, a trail in the cobblestone, and woe be to any pony that dares get in the way! She's sure trying to hit someone too, with Stormdancer and the Twins being her closest targets. "Stand still so I can fry ya! I'm HUNGRY!"

Well, when other ideas don't seem to work… Thunnini launches a jet of water right at Salty's horn. Who knows, it might even do something!

Seaside-Sunset rolls 1d10 (Dodge?) — Result: 5 | Sum: 5

The twins fall to the ground after kicking the evil mare from both sides an audible 'oof' as each has the air knocked out of them - then the big powerful attack - well they don't get hit; but it sends them flying off somewhere and out of the thick of battle. Their sillouhettes disapearing with a small *ching*.

Spindrift rolls 1d20 (Magical Jujitsu) — Result: 2 | Sum: 2

Rising-Chaos rolls 1d20 (getting away) — Result: 9 | Sum: 9

Caught in mid-leap, all Stormdancer can do is whimper as the flamey whips lash towards her. "Not again…" The good news is, she has that nice, thick cloak! The bad news is, it goes up like a candle, and the pegasus resembles a comet in her brief flight back over the barricades. A bounce, a skip, and a splash later, and she just barely lands in the fountain, mane smouldering.

Magic- that is something Spindrift can work with. She abandons the fountain of power Brume's music creates, instead focusing on the tendrils of red energy. Channeling is what she can do- whether that is magic from a friendly source, or something… less so. Dropping to all four hooves once more, she gestures towards one of the red tendrils, feeling it out, exploring its arcane profile. It stings her mind to contemplate, and she winces immediate after she feels it out, but perserveres. The refraction of the negative energy off of local ley sources, the heat imbalance between the source and destination guiding them- Spindrift concentrates, and twists with a thought, and tries to redirect the tendrils so they arc back in upon their source…

… but she's just too tired. She can't do it. Though she is missed, one of the tendrils zips past, and narrowly avoids striking Brume. He gasps, shaken from the reverie of his music, and scrambles back a bit, glancing up and down towards the mayor. Though shaken, he recollects himself, sitting up and lurching forward to resume plucking his strings.

Spindrift pants heavily, dropping to a kneel, exhausted beyond measure. But without her casting anything, sapping energy from the well Brume creates, he has a chance to build a charge… and Spindrift has an idea of what she's going to do with it when she catches her breath.

Rising-Chaos back up in horror as Salty seems, if anything, invigorated by her attacks. The burst of power has her scampering back towards the barricade, she's been outclassed! Her illusory double makes it just fine, but Chaos herself is grazed by the tendrils, scorching the back of her legs and flank. She tumbles over the barricade, breathing heavily, the only real damage being done to her pride. "How are we supposed to hurt something that enjoys pain?"

TSSEEEEERRR! It's an impressive screech. An attack cry, apparently! From above the town, a red-and-gold blur plummets, beak open, talons outstretched. Wings flare, another screech sounds, and talons strike! Aimed right for the possessed pony's back and neck. Rocket picked a heckuva time to come see what was going on in town! Apparently what is going on is /ACTION/! And, you know, ponies in mortal danger. Can't have that. These ponies give her food sometimes! It'd kinda be bad if they were dead.

Salty's cackling tirade continues as her energies of red /death/ whip around! Several buildings are on fire now, and little streams of molten cobblestone line the streets, forming something of a circle around the cursed mare. "Yes, yes! Run ponies! Run from me! It only makes the meat sweeter!" She begins to step again, her eyes leaking that same dark crimson energy she's whipping all over! All the tendrils of power lash out at once…and the barricade erupts into flames! "Ahahahahahah-AHH!"

Screech! More pain! A griffon suddenly attacking her back, lines of red crisscrossed over her hide! "Owwww! Plucky bird! Hahahahaha here!" She spins around, whipping her energies about to follow, fully intent on passing that mass of fiery doom through a griffon assailant!

Well, the jet of water on Salty's horn was about as (in)effective as Thunnini thought it would be. Since that didn't work, she uses the water in the fountain to douse Stormy. "You okay, Stormy?" she asks with concern.

Spindrift slowly picks herself up, having caught her breath somewhat. She's still exhausted, but she can at least think straight now. But still she bides her time, eyes narrowed, teeth bared as she pants, long black mane frizzed and hanging in her face. Just a little while longer… and hopefully not when there's a gryphon in the way.

Brume relaxes slightly, and keeps playing. It's the same song he's been playing. Thunnini, nearby, might be getting tired of it. But he's not really at his most creative, so, you'll forgive him if he worries less about style and more about substance. At least it's easier, not feeding Spindrift's INSATIABLE LUST FOR MAGICAL POWER, but he knows this is no time to relax; he can tell she's winding up for one last shot, and he intends to help make it count.

He does have to stop, briefly, and lift his instrument up, as a red tendril lashes out where it was a moment earlier. He adjusts, sets the dulcimer back down, and gets back to work. Spindrift, in the meantime, hisses as she's forced to jump-rope a blazing red ray of energy like some undignified schoolfilly.

Embers hiss in complaint as the seafilly ends their tiny, burning lives. Stormdancer, though, smiles weakly at her, huddling (mostly) under the water. "… Not really… But thanks." And looking back over the edge of the fountain at Salty, she swallows. "… How fast can you scoot?"

Suddenly! A crash from one of the side streets that enters into the town square! "I'm alright!" Maelstrom says as he, finally, makes his proper entrance. "I'm okay! Nobody needs to worry!" He stops to look around and take in the situation. "…wow, and I thought /I/ made the big explosions," he says with a hint of being impressed by the damage and Salty's master of firewhippery. The stallion begins to run across the square towards the battle in progress! "Hey! Hey you! Evil chick! What'cha doing?"

Another screech sounds, this one much less attack-y and much more pained. Rocket's got quick reflexes, but from close range like /that/, all that really amounts to is 'a hit in the side instead of being cut in half'. Preferable! But not exactly great either. She tumbles quickly; burning feathers don't do much for flying. AAAAAAHHHH THAT DID NOT GO FULLY AS PLANNED. Still, she flails her talons, trying to get in another good scratch or three before she's taken down.

Rising-Chaos gets to her hooves, growling with anger. "I've had ENOUGH of this," She screams. She stamps her hoof on the ground, bringing her magic powers together for one last spell. She conjures a fireball, nothing compared to some of the spells flung around ealier, but it's of not inconsiderable size. She keeps it close as she charges back across the barricades. Once she's close, she hurls her fireball right into Salty's face. She slashes her machete furiously at Salty. "Why won't you die!?"

More screeching, more flailing, more clawing, more…whipping! Salty's having problems keeping Rocket off her back, even with the firewhips of death chasing after her! It's like trying to swat a fly with a sledgehammer. She's doing more destruction to the town square than she is actually hitting Rocket at all. It also means she's totally distracted! Perfectly distracted for the fireball to the face, singing her eyes and cooking those cuts on her face. More cuts appear too, with the machete swung about!

"I'm already /dead/! What do you expect? Ahhhh the sweet sting of a blade… How I've missed thee!" When Maelstrom trots up, her ears perk, and she stops her whipping around to turn and say, "Do I look like I—-"

"WHOOPS TURNS OUT I DON'T CARE!" Maelstrom interrupts. His horn glows for the briefest of instants before it EXPLODES into a bright purple beam that more than covers the remaining distance between him and Salty.

And the far wall.

There's a familiar pressure wave in all directions which, once again, blows back everypony's mane and tails dramatically. Maelstrom's spells are nothing if not dramatic. This further incinerates Salty's face! It's looking more than a little cooked now, more like the undead she's supposed to be, with her eyes cooked white and face pulled back! Ewww.

Spindrift sits up with a start as Maelstrom finally makes himself ready, and Brume, too, glances over, eyebrows upraised. As far as last-minute cavalry goes, they could do far worse.

It's looking like the time is right. The ex-mayor is reeling from the cuts and scratches, she's roasted in the face by Rising, and Maelstrom will soon- wait he's going now? He's shooting now? Brume winces at the light show, while Spindrift, sensitive to such things, cringes backwards, the sudden burst of energy like a foghorn in her ear. Her long black mane whips back behind her in the fashion everybody expects.

And, with a huff, she skips forward a few steps, rears up on her hind legs, and whips her forehooves around. That gathering force around Brume is suddenly directed- without much planning and certainly without grace- into a rapid-fire barrage of concussive bolts, raining down and around Salty. While lasers batter her from the front, waves of pressure buffet her from the sides- and, ideally, the discordant forces will press in from all angles, smashing that borrowed body even as it pins it in place. Spindrift strikes a fearsome grimace of effort as she channels the power in just such a fashion.

Brume slouches over the strings, still playing. Even he is tired of this song by now. "No more encore, no more encore!" he gasps.

Thunnini ducks as Maelstrom's beam goes off, taking what cover she can inside the fountain. As the shockwave passes, she carefully peeks out over the edge of the fountain. She'd grab her quarterstaff, but it kinda blew away.

Stormdancer capsizes in the fountain from Maelstrom's backblast, hooves flailing in the air briefly before she rights herself- and then proceeds to be blinded by Spindrift's lightshow. Sadly, all this magic flying around fails to turn her into an alicorn, or even a superpony. She coughs up some water, then asks to whoever's nearest: "Are we winning?"

Rising-Chaos is blasted away by the explosion of magic, thrown like a ragdoll across the road. All her existing illusion fizzle out of existence once she hits the pavement, a roaring headache pounding in her head. She tries to get back to her hooves, failing to do so. She is more or less out of commission for the fight, unless some miracle happens. Chaos groans and flops onto her side, no mireacles are likely.

"We're not dead yet!" pants Brume, set up near the fountain. "That's as good a sign as any, I suppose…!"

Yipe! Rocket is blown back a bit herself, toppling head over paws. HEY! Still smoldering over here! Way to hit a girl when she's down! Oh, wait. Okay. So that was aimed at big bad evil firepony. Okay, that's not so bad. Maybe that'll be handled and she can take a moment to concentrate on /not being on fire/. Because that would be a good state to be in right now, not on fire. "Somecreature just kill it already!" she caws irritably, trying to flail her way back to her feet.

Fireballs, griffons, stabbings, lasers, and a barrage of arcane force! How much abuse can one pony take?

Apparently this much. It was, afterall, just a pony body. A malnourished shell (likely with a horrible liver) that once belonged to a total drunken fiend. There was only so much durability left!

She screams throughout the final barrage, a cackle of a laugh screamed at the top of her lungs, that only stops when the last concussive blast hits her in just such a way that she crumples down, face-first, into the cobblestone.

"Geh… Heh… But I never got to…finish dinner…" the creature whines out, a final sigh of breath rattling out. So ends the unlife of a possessed pony, faceplanting into one of those molton streams of cobblestone. A soft sizzle arises from the motionless body.

The cutie mark fades… A black presence seeps out from the corpse, rising up on dark tendrils and crying out a supernatural screech! It melts straight into the nearest batch of shadows. And is gone.

Brume flops over his strings with a sigh and a laugh. "What a ridiculous holiday!" he declares.

Spindrift drops to a prone position, panting heavily, and then hangs her head, long hair hanging forward to obscure her face while she once more struggles for breath. She agrees, in a sort of angry way.

Thunnini carefully crawls out of the fountain and slowly makes her way over to the remains of the malfunctioned Salty. She carefully nudges the body, hoping that the clueless pony is still alright. She kinda liked the odd pony, and would've been happy to have tried to be her friend.

Maelstrom beams at his handiwork. "That was pretty exciting!" he says before looking to the other ponies. "…wow, you guys look like crap." The unicorn, looking fit as a fiddle if not a little mussed up from his crash landing, trots over to Spindrift and gives her a poke in the shoulder with his hoof. "Maybe go see a doctor about that."

Spindrift lifts a hoof and waves Maelstrom off mutely, still plum tuckered and not about to budge.

Stormdancer drags herself halfway out of the fountain before just giving up on movement. "First one I go to in years, and…" She looks back at where the remains of her cloak and wings have become one. "… Must've added some bits since I was a filly." Cough. The unicorn ex machina -would- get a glare, but… later. Everything just, later.

Rising-Chaos sees the fight is over, and starts trying to get back to her hooves. She succeeds on her fourth try or so, and starts to stagger home. She stops to try and pick up her machete from where it had fallen, but cannot muster the concentration to levitate it, so picks it up with her mouth. Her face is a mask of humiliation, relief and anger. Chaos needs a nice long sleep. She pointedly ignores Maelstrom's statement, and in fact, ignores the unicorn altogether.

Rocket rolls about as best she can, flailing her talons in the air. It's difficult to roll when one is all scorched up, however. "I WOULD VERY MUCH LIKE TO STOP BEING ON FIRE RIGHT NOW!" she calls pointedly over at the gathered ponies. /Geez/. Try and save the town and this is the thanks she gets? Owowowowow. The cobblestone is hot. THAT DOES NOT HELP. Why are feathers so flammable?! She uses those feathers!

"Oh, woah, bird's on fire!" Maelstrom says in surprise as Rocket calls attention to her phoenix impression. The unicorn's horn lights up with the soft, pleasant glow of a nightlight and a blast of air strong enough to knock the poor bird flank over teakettle zooms out of it at her. It's also enough to blow out all those flames! But mostly knock her over.

Brume sits up. "Fire?" he asks, glancing back. Sure enough. He watches the blast, then nods slowly. "Crude, but effective." Rocking to his feet, he sets about bundling up his dulcimer, and then strides over to give Spindrift a nudge. "Up we go. Let's go hide before any more show up. Wouldn't want someone to mistake us for REAL heroes, now, would we?"

As before, Spindrift silently waves the nudger off with a waggle of her hoof. Brume won't have any of it, though, and thumps her in the side; she grunts quietly behind her curtain of black mane.

"Hey. Hey, wake up. Hey…" Thunnini keeps nudging Salty, still hoping that the damage done to the unicorn will fade away or something, and that the pony that was posessed is somehow still okay. But with each nudge, the seafilly's face comes another step closer to tears.

Aaaaand tumbled again. Rocket rolls the /other/ way, somersaulting a few times before coming to a stop. She sprawls on her belly, remaining feathers and fur on one side singed and smoking, one wing hanging limp, just generally looking a mess. "I'm /not/ a bird," she squawks faintly before dropping her head to the ground. Flumph.

Now that Maelstrom has averted another crisis like the heroic saver of the day/glory hound that he is, he glances back at the inert corpse of Salty. "…you know, evil chick over there is giving me the heebie jeebies," he says, not really expecting anyone to ask him 'Why is that, great and powerful Maelstrom?' on account of everypony being completely drained from the prolonged fight. "Something about her feels… familiar." He trots over to the body with a careful jump over some molten cobblestone rivulets and pokes /that/ with his hoof, too. "Kinda warm and fuzzy. It's hard to place."

Mael glances down at Thunnini. "Hey, are you guys done with this?" he asks with a gesture towards the ex-Salty. "Mind if I borrow it for a bit?" He doesn't wait for a response before magicking the body into the air to do Celestia only knows what with it and undoubtedly scarring the poor seafilly for life.

Spindrift lifts her head; through her mane she stares at Thunnini, at the body, and at Maelstrom. She does not get involved.

Brume is a little more concerned. He watches Maelstrom for a moment, then approaches Thunnini, kneeling down beside her. Reaching out, he offers a spindly foreleg. "Here you go, Minnow. Come on up now, I can't imagine squirming around on land like that is all that comfortable. Do you want a lift back to the beach?"

Thunnini sniffles a bit, but isn't at the crying stage… yet. "Yes, please," she replies to Brume's offer, her voice very subdued.

Brume carefully scoops the seafilly up and deposits her on his back. "There we go. Hold on, I tend to prance." He glances back at Spindrift, who is just now picking herself upright, knees a little wobbly under her. "Spin, I'll see you back at the place. Going to run a little errand, first." She waves him off, and he turns to make his way back to the boardwalk, as much of a spring in his step as he can manage, there to see Thunnini back into water that isn't choked with ash and zombie bits.

Once back over at the water, Thunnini gives a quiet mumble of thanks. She'd normally have given Brume a small hug, but at this point she can't seem to muster the will to do so. Instead, she slips into the water and swims into the secret tunnels where she hides her stuff.

Above the water, the night is relatively quiet. The waters of the Harbor muffle any sound that might come from below, like the quiet weeping of a seafilly.