Destiny Awaits
IC date: Summer 41, 1008
OOC date: July 31, 2013
Location: Horseshoe Harbor
PCs: Magpie, Tale-Chaser, Thunnini
GM: The Contact

The town may be cold and gray but the water in Horseshoe Harbor is as warm as blue as it's ever been thanks to the magic of oceans being friggin' enormous. Today isn't just a day to swim, however, though. There is work to be done at the bottom of the harbor. Work that involves /treasure hunting/.

Treasure Hunting! Underwater! This is something Tale Chaser is a little more comfortable with than anything up there on that dry world of scratchy dirt and far too few crustaceans. He seems positively giddy as he scoots along the bed of the bay, weaving between plants and rocks, whirling about every so often to look back and make sure his company is keeping up. Which is unlikely, seeing as his company lacks proper seapony fins, although he thinks she'd look really really good with some.

Thunnini is swimming around, still looking for the Destiny. The seafilly had searched a large part of the harbor already, and while she foun dsome interesting minor treasures, she hadn't found the ship yet.

It's not JUST a day for swimming, but swimming is certainly a part of it! A borrowed misnamed floatie thingummy means Magpie can mooch around underwater without all that pesky breathing, but now her coltfriend with the handsome tail got away from her and she's kind of tangled in this… stuff. It's either seaweed or kelp. Whichever, it's problematic. "Tee Cee," Magpie burbles. "Hgggelp?" How far away did he get? She can't even see!

"Oh!" Tale Chaser hastens back to Magpie and goes about the business of untangling her. He is efficient about this because every young seapony learns to untangle themselves from seaweed as a matter of necessity, and he even manages to do it WITHOUT eating any of the kelp. "Sorry, Maggie…" he says, smiling sheepishly. "Here, you- why don' you hold onto my hoof and I'll pull you along? We'll let Thunnini scout ahead…"

The seafilly in question swims around, looking for any debris that looks like part of a ship, then darts over to investigate what she finds. This keeps going as she swims along.

While there are some interesting finds at the bottom of the harbor there are surprisingly few shipwrecks down there. Perhaps those ponies who scuttled their crafts had the good sense to do so further out to sea so as to not risk being a hazard to anypony else, or maybe the Spire flung everything to Celestia only knows where when it ate up all the sea floor. Either way, what few ship fragments are here do not bear any indication of being from the Destiny.

Magpie gives a bubbly giggle, blushing a little. She hugs Tale Chaser firmly, then holds up a hoof. "Hagng ogn." She scuffles around in her saddlebag for a minute, then pulls out a length of rope. She holds out one end to the seapony. "Hagng ogn," she repeats, pushing it into his hooves, while she ties the other end around her floatie. There.

"Maygbe we should loogk further ougt?" Magpie suggests. "The Spigre progbably threw everythign everywhegre."

Tale-Chaser goes and cinches the rope around his middle and takes a moment to tie it off. Then takes another few moments to undo his knot and retie it so it's less terrible. He looks at the ensuing tangle and adds another square knot just to be sure, then smiles up at Magpie. "Heh, I'm… I'm a tugboat. Choo choo." And he sets off, paddlin' along. After a bit of a lurch, Maggie is pulled into an easy glide. She can just sit back and relax!

Tale Chaser raises his voice and calls ahead to Thunnini. "Yeah, uh- maybe- maybe further out, below the shelf of the bay? That mighta… mighta been a bit more sheltered from the storm's currents…"

Ah, the continental shelf. Nature's way of saying 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here'. Unless, you know, you're a seapony. Then the 'abandon all hope' sign is facing the other direction.

Regardless, one can hope that there's something interesting over the edge and the currents here are pretty weak— no risk of being dragged down into the depths here!

Magpie giggles. She tries to help a bit with some kicking, and she tries to keep looking around for boat bits.

Tale Chaser's tail is pretty distracting, though. Urge to hug… rising…

"Good point," admits Thunnini as she swims along. "Still, just had to make sure it wasn't in the harbor." Makes sense, right?

"Yeah," agrees Tale Chaser. "Maybe it is after all. Maybe it got… buried by some of the silt that got churned up. Maybe it got pulled out of the harbor and banished with everything else…" While he chatters, his tail continues to weave about in front of Magpie. Wave wave wave. She could hug it, but it's also the pair's primary means of locomotion. Dare she risk it?

Magpie bides her time.

"Hopefully it's not too buried," sighs Thunnini. "If we have to burrow through every cubic fin of silt…" She shakes her head to push that thought aside.

There's no sign of anything in the silt here. Well, no, that's not exactly right. There's a treasure chest half-buried! And also open. And empty. Down one direction of the shelf there is a kelp forest, down the other there is a strange rock formation.

Tale-Chaser continues to swim along, heedless of the danger he has so foolishly tethered to his person. As Thunnini continues to scout to no avail, he starts to venture away from strictly following her, towards the shelf and the gradual darkness waiting beyond. But wait, is that a treasure chest?!

Even if it's empty, Tale Chaser enjoys closing and opening the lid repeatedly, imagining what it may once have contained.

Tale-Chaser soon pulls away from the chest to paddle towards the Strange Rocks. "Those rocks… they look a bit weird," he says. "Kinda… kinda strange, too…" Obviously, that's why they're strange rocks. Please don't hold his lack of interesting commentary against him, though- he is preoccupied with treasure chests and considering how he'd fill one if he had it back in his apartment in town. He'd have clothes in there, or maybe a stack of books on one side and clothes on the other.

It turns out what makes these rocks so strange is that they mark a more gradual drop in the shelf. A portion of the sea floor here seems to have collapsed as if victim of an underwater avalanche, making for a relatively shallow descent down the rocky incline. A rocky incline which is studded with flotsam and other assorted wreckage. It's a promising start!

Promising indeed. Tale Chaser pauses above the incline, studying it carefully from above, and takes a moment to re-check the frankenknot that keeps Magpie tethered to him, and checks his saddlebag to ensure he has some light spheres handy in case they're needed. Yep. Everything's in order. With a touch more trepidation he starts picking his way down the slope, checking around rocks and inside hollows. "Lesse… the Destiny was sunk about… a li'l less than a year ago, I think… so… so we're looking at something a bit not too old…" As an undersea archaeology nerd, he knows his undersea decay like whoa.

Magpie nods idly. She slowly pulls herself closer to Tale Chaser, then suddenly lunges and wraps her hooves around his tail! Eeeee!

Unfortunately, Maggie does that just as Tale Chaser is going still and tense as he peeks around the corner at what could very well be a lurking spot for a moray eel or something else that's scary. So he gets hugged and jumps. "AAHH!" he bubbles, thrashing for a moment, then calms as he quickly realizes what it is. His tail wiggles about in Magpie's hold; he smiles crookedly back over his shoulder at her while circulating his hooves for stability. "Er…"

Thunnini darts around, looking at the not-as-rotted chunks of ships. She starts at Tale Chaser's scream, but then giggles when she notices that it's Maggie glomping TC.

Magpie blushes warmly and giggles, grinning. She lets go slowly, and blows a bubble at TC. ^^ "Sgee anythigng?

A crustacean crawls over the top of the rock that Tale Chaser was about to peek around, its body sporting a camouflage pattern reminiscent of stained wood. It scratches its head with its oversized claw, emitting a clear, musical strain that carries through the water easily before it skitters away.

Tale-Chaser reaches out with a hoof to pop the bubble. Because you can do that underwater thank to pony magic. He grins at Maggie. "Nothing yet. I-"

Wait! Is that an adorable crustacean!? Tale Chaser turns to stare at it, mouth open, then goes to follow. We are doing this now.

Magpie eeps as she's dragged along by a rope around her floatie. O.O

Thunnini follows along, partially watching the crab, partially watching the two lovegulls, and still glancing at any ship debris in the area.

The crab emits a shrill note of alarm when it realizes something is amiss: "!" It skitters faster down the rocky incline towards a large shadow poking out of the avalanche zone.

Tale-Chaser follows along, of course, although he maintains a more respectful distance. He's curious, but also slightly concientious, as one must when handling matters flora and fauna. He's starting to wonder if this fiddler crab would get along with the crawdad he has in a jar on his table back at home.

Then he hesitates, and looks up, and blinks at the looming shadow. Something about its profile looks unnatural- this doesn't seem like a mere rock formation. With a lingering, wistful look towards the scuttling crab, Tale Chaser starts towards the Shadowy Presence, glancing back over his shoulder at Maggie more than once.

The fiddler crab disappears into the shadow with a warble and all is once again quiet in the depths of the sea. From this angle it's hard to make out the exact shape of the mass. On close inspection it appears to be a wooden structure, heavily charred as if it caught fire more exuberantly before going down but not for so long as to cause meaningful hull damage.

Magpie waves back the second time Tale Chaser checks her. She oohs up at the boat and grins widely. "Is that the boat? Or a whale? Or a —" Oh, it IS the boat!

"Thunnini!" calls Tale Chaser, waving the other seapony over. He looks back to the wreck. "S'not a whale," he says, to Magpie, as he cautiously approaches the wreck, keeping an eye out for any identifying features. "We gotta show you more whales if you think that's what they look like. We'll go on a whale tour sometime, how's that? Have a picnic on one's back or somethin'…"

Thunnini swims up, looking at the charred remains of the ship. "Awesome! And it seems to be mostly intact! Well, as intact as it probably was when it sank…" She checks it carefully, looking for the captain's quarters.

While Thunnini goes scouting the wreck further, Tale Chaser pauses and treads water, turning to look back to Magpie. "So, uh- what… what are we looking for, here, again…?"

Magpie huffs. "I've never actually /seen/ a whale," she grumps at Tale Chaser, then oohs at the idea of eating on one's back. That sounds great! "Um… Sunken treasure?" she suggests. She's hardly going to inform her coltfriend that a mysterious unnamed contact wants her to plant a homing beacon on the ship for unknown but likely nefarious purposes.

The ship appears to be buried in the avalanche by the stern with its bow free and pointing out into the ocean. Unfortunately for the trio of youths if the ship's name is written across the hull somewhere it is on that very stern, rendering simple attempts at identification problematic.

Thunnini swims around the ship, looking over its outsides to see what kind of access is available to the inside of the ship - and taking careful looks into the ship when possible, as well!

There's a large door on the deck of the ship leading into the stern! Or rather, into the rocky shelf, since it's only barely poking out from the avalanche.

Tale-Chaser watches Magpie for a few moments, openly considering her response. He knows she's a slippery type, and that 'um' was more slippery than a buttered-up eel. But the colt smiles a bit and decides not to press the issue, because he's sure whatever she's being slippery about isn't worth worrying over. Maybe she's on the lookout. For presents. For him. Or something. Who knows. Anyway he likes underwater exploration and he gets to bring his fillyfriend with him so WHY WORRY

And so he swims towards the wreck, following Thunnini for a moment, before spotting the doorway. The colt swims forward to give it a testing tug. Locked? Did someone take time to lock the doors as the ship was sinking? Some sailors are attentive like that.

Magpie flail-swims down to the bow of the ship and pulls herself along the rail. She gives Tale Chaser a funny look. "What's wrogng? Opegn it."

The door doesn't budge in the slightest. It doesn't even jostle about on its hinges. Nosiree, that thing is stuck tight. Perhaps there is another entrance into the ship— a hatch in the deck, or a crack in the hull.

Magpie huffs, and swim-climbs over to the door. She nudges TC out of the way, winds up, and gives it a good hard buck! Which is harder to do underwater than she expected…

"Do you think it's the captain's quarters?" asks Thunnini as she swims over by the door before looking around the rest of the ship.

Tale-Chaser tugs a few times, then gives Magpie a pained look. "I'm tryin'… Hey!" While Maggie pushes past, he looks up past the ship, towards the slope. "If it got caught in a landslide, then that mighta punched some holes in the hull…" The colt takes a few moments to undo his knot, leaving Maggie on deck, then swims over the edge and starts looking for damaged spots leading into a lower deck.

The door appears to be buck resistant, almost as if somepony reinforced it in expectation of a potential mutiny. Or to keep the really good booze out of his or her crew's unappreciative stomachs.

There's a large grate in the middle of the deck which would, under normal circumstances, be removed to allow larger cargo to be put in or removed from the lower decks. Time has not been kind to it, however, and the locks upon it are rusted shut. The side of the boat sports a large hole, the jagged edges of the wood thoroughly charred. This may have been the source of the explosion which set the ship so viciously on fire in days of yore.

Magpie just gets pushed by the force of her buck — which wasn't much to start with — and finds herself drifting across the deck. She flails herself down towards the cargo hatch and gives one of the locks an experimental tug. TUG! Somethin' on this ship's gotta be breakable!

Tale-Chaser calls out. "There's a blast hole in the side of the ship! I'm gonna check in here!"

And then he does- but not before pausing to dig around in a saddlebag, produce one of his little glowing spheres, give it a few shakes to get it nice and briht, and then keep it held close as he slips into the wreck.

Thunnini swims up to Maggie, giving the older filly a chance to hang on before swimming after Tale Chaser. "Find anything interesting in there?" the seafilly calls out.

Magpie eeps, grabbing onto Thunnini. Oh no, is this cheating? Hugging a different seapony? Is it okay as long as she doesn't hug Thunnini's tail?

Several decks are exposed to the open ocean through this hole, including the top deck where Tale-Chaser will be able to see Magpie struggling with the grate before grabbing onto Thunnini. Hammocks for the crew to sleep in are only moderately rotted. The lower decks sport some unopened chests as well as a couple of chains and locks where chests used to be but have apparently been scavenged already. Cannons and related cannonry equipment are still tied into place in front of the miscellaneous gunnery ports.

Tale-Chaser keeps his light sphere held close as he drifts further into the ship, guided by careful movements of his tail. He observes for now, not wanting to touch anything, remembering various lessons about how a site should be catalogued before it is disturbed. Granted, these lessons are more applicable to ancient sites of mysterious origin than a relatively recent wreck that a whole town full of ponies remember the details of, but now that he actually gets to explore some underwater remnants it's hard to resist the urge to put all his book learnin' in action.

Hard but not impossible. After a few surveying sweeps of the deck he starts trying to haul open chests until he finds one that yields.

Thunnini is always willing to help provide propulsion for a friend! As long as she's able to do so, that is. Pulling a swimming pony along? Fairly easy! The seafilly hauls Maggie along in through the hull breach, eyes going wide as she sees all of this ~stuff~.

The chests are more than happy to jostle on their hinges. All appear to be locked, unfortunately, but careful application of one's hind legs (oh, wait) may be able to dislodge the weakened wood.

The decks continue in this fashion towards the stern of the ship. It would appear that, despite being caught in an undersea avalanche, the ship did not actually suffer any structural damage as it was drawn halfway to the deep sea floor.

Tale-Chaser eyes the locks. Stubborn. He turns away from the chests, makes for the stairs headed further into the wreck, and goes to see what's down in the hold.

Magpie oooohs appreciatively. She lets go of the seapony and sort of floats there, looking around. "Wow, neagt! Sgo is this the Degstiny thegn?" She clumsily swims over to one of the chests. Aha! She digs in her saddle bag until— yes! A set of lockpicks, in pretty rainbow colors! (Who even MAKES something like that?) Magpie starts tinkering with one of the chests' locks with 'em.

»GAME: Magpie made an unskilled roll with an outcome of Okay.

The lock on the chest is no match for Magpie's picks, clumsy as they are under the spell of an inexperienced lockpick. The chest swings open and reveals an inner glow— several bottles of liquid inside were smashed in the ship's descent and their bright green contents were held in place only by the chest which stored them. The glowing liquid begins to float lazily out of the box. Closer inspection of the bottles reveals the logo of a griffon brewer's guild, but does one really want to get that close when self-illumated mystery liquids are concerned?

"Do we have a way to prove that this is the Destiny?" asks Thunnini. "I mean, the explosion marks are fairly distinctive, but is there anything that can be used as proof?"

The ship's hold appears to be full of textiles. The have not done at all well being submerged for the better part of a year under Horseshoe Harbor.

Tale-Chaser waggles his glowing sphere around a bit as he observes the textiles, but the longer he's down there, the more sediment and decaying material he's stirring up, and it's already pretty gross and not getting much better. The colt hurries out of the hold, suppressing a shudder, and does a few circles in the clearer water of the upper deck before making his way over to the glowing fluid escaping the chest. "THAT doesn't look healthy… uh?" He turns to look to Thunnini, then frowns. "The captain's quarters seemed to be sealed up tight… I wunner if we can get in 'em from below…" He starts scouting the ceiling, looking for possible alternate routes into the sealed up rear portions of the ship.

Magpie gahs! And flail-swims back away from the spreading cloud of green. "Uh…"

The scholarly seapony's search seems to have borne fruit! There's a strange glistening near the ceiling of the upper deck, almost like… light reflecting off of the surface?

The green cloud oozes slowly out of the ship and into the greater ocean, where it will undoubtedly do strange and terrible things to the local wildlife. Oh well!

Tale-Chaser swims up. A pocket of air trapped in the back of the ship?

Not just any pocket of air— it's the captain's quarters! It would appear that it was ordinary, run of the mill water pressure which was keeping the door outside shut. The captain's personal chamber is entirely filled with air and, though incredibly dishelved thanks to the explosion, sinking, whirling about and avalanching, is mostly intact!

Tale-Chaser stares around for a few moments, suitably agog, then turns to call back down into the water. "Guys, c'mere!" He's about to haul up out of whatever pool he's in, into the revealed quarters, then pokes back under. "I mean girls!" Because they are both girls. Okay, NOW he hauls up, through whatever hole is opened up, emerging into the air-filled space with a slosh.

Thunnini swims after Tale Chaser. She looks around the captain's quarters and grins. "If this /is/ the Destiny… then Miss Dockworker will be happy about this!" she grins, carefully looking at the various items in the room.

Magpie climbs up inside and pokes around a bit. "Dock worker?" she asks, idly, as she scuffs through some papers. Really that isn't gonna help unless one of them says "DESTINY" in like huge letters.

Tale-Chaser shrugs his way along without doffing his phylactery, too distracted by his surroundings to remember that legs are an option. "Who's that, Thunnini…?" he asks. Soon he's looking over Magpie's shoulder, or maybe looking sort of up at what she's doing while sitting beside her.

With the light of Tale-Chaser's little sphere the interior of the captain's quarters are revealed. The previous owner of the ship was definitely one of a zebra persuasion. It bears a number of ceremonial masks of welcoming and homecoming upon the walls, at least where they haven't been knocked to the ground. The overturned furniture seems like it would be very comfortable if it were in peak condition— not particularly plush, but obviously built to be used.

There are tapestries upon several of the walls. Those fond of the arts and especially of zebra culture and creation myths would appreciate the representations of certain mythological figures in an artistic style not often seen in Equestria. Those not of such a mind would likely blush instead at how they might be described as 'questionably pornographic'.

A single, large painting in Equestrian style breaks up the theme of the room. It is a portrait of an alicorn whose coat is adorned with a skeletal motif. The frame sports an inscription in gold leaf: "Do come on, this alive thing is really messing with the books."

The entire room smells like booze, likely the fault of several bottles which have smashed upon upon the ground and soaked into the floorboards.

"There was a nice dockworker who asked me to help look for the Destiny," Thunnini explains as she carefully rummages through various things in the room. "She even offered a bonus if the captain's quarters was intact." The seafilly blinks at the large painting. "Do you think this painting is unique enough to identify the ship?" she inquires inquisitively.

Tale-Chaser keeps his sphere held aloft, slowly surveying the surroundings. He nearly jumps at the quasi-skeletal painting that leers out of the darkness, but calms as he realizes she is a two-dimensional recreation of the spectre of death and not she herself. The seacolt stares for a few moments. "The Destiny WAS a Zebra ship… an' this is fitting the bill so far…" he murmurs. "I've never met the captain, though. He…"

He trails off as he notices the questionable tapestries, looks down and away with a blush, glances up, and looks away again.

Magpie blinks. Looks over at TC. "What?" she asks, following his gaze. Her cheeks heat, then she scootscoots over and peeks a little closer. Blushes, giggles. "…look what these two are doing," she stage-whispers to the colt.

"What /are/ they doing? And why are you two blushing?" asks Thunnini, honest innocence plain in her voice.

"Yeah…" says Tale Chaser, smiling nervously to Magpie. "They're, um- a couple of figures from… southern Zebreka creation mythos. Fertility figures, as you, er…" He rolls his little glowsphere around in his hold. "Well, anyway. It's a popular motif with sailors. So I think it's… safe to say that these are the quarters of a Zebra pirate."

Magpie peruses, occasionally covering her muzzle and giggling more. Who said treasure hunting isn't educational?

Should the fillies and colt find it within their power to tear their gaze away from the tapestry, they might find clues littered about the writing desk. In addition to some relatively high quality navigation tools, including a rather ornate astrolabe, a number of maps with locations and routes mapped that one would not find on legitimate navigation charts, and a ledger which looks suspiciously like the ship's logbook.

Magpie coughs and shrugs to Thunnini. "Um… do we have to swim back with it? It's kinda big."

Tale-Chaser gets his phylactery up and off, tucking it in a saddlebag, and goes rooting around the desk. He frowns thoughtfully as he pores over whatever has survived and is legible, handling thngs carefully so as not to destroy any sodden pages. He starts sorting things into a pile of salvageable materials, because old maps are cool and he's got bookbags and you bet your sweet bippy he's taking what he can. "I dunno if taking it out through the water would be a good idea…" he says, glancing up at the painting.

Magpie says "Also, it's creepy."

The painting seems to stare into everypony's souls. At once.

"I… don't think so?" the seafilly shrugs. "I think we just have to make sure that it /is/ the Destiny." Thunnini thinks for a moment. "If Miss Dockworker wants proof, we could come back later with something waterproof to carry some items in," she finally suggests.

"I got the ledger," says Tale Chaser, glancing up, even as he goes about tucking the book in his saddlebag. Which, yes, is built to be sealed against water. Because he is a professional underwater nerd and he accessorizes in an appropriate fashion. "This will have the proof we need."

Magpie grins. "Okay! Well then. Treasure time~!" She stuffs the astrolabe in her sadlebag. Free stuff! Also anything else that looks shiny and portable.

Thunnini makes a quick list of the items looted - er, claimed - and tucks it into Tale Chaser's saddlebags. "I should probably get a set of those of my own someday," she admits sheepishly.

Much of what can be ransacked from here is alcoholic in nature. Whatever actual valuables were stowed here have been long since scavanged by whoever opened the chests in the ship's hold, leaving only things of moderate value or inordinate bulkiness. Bottles of Firefly Ale, Fireberry Wine and various rainbow extracts are neatly stacked in a liqior cabinet.

Magpie skips the bottles. They're not shiny enough to be valuable.

Tale-Chaser finds himself gravitating towards the booze before long. He stares at them, utterly unsure what they do besides get you drunk and ruin your GPA. Eventually, though, he nabs a sampler platter of them and starts adding them to his bags. The colt smiles across to Thunnini. "They're toally useful… I'll have to find out the address of the shop that made these ones. S'in Silver Shallows, though you should be able to find a trader able to pick you up a set easily enough…"

Magpie slips back into the water. "Welp. I guess we're done here," she says, and unseen by the others, slips the spherical tracking device out of her bag, lets it fall to the deck under her. There. Mission accomplished.

» Tale-Chaser rolls 1d20 (Notice check) — Result: 6 | Sum: 6
» Thunnini rolls 1d20 (Did I see that?) — Result: 11 | Sum: 11
» Magpie rolls 1d20 (Stealth check) — Result: 6 | Sum: 6

Tale-Chaser fumbles his phylactery back on with one hoof while glancing sideways at the tapestries. Tracking sphere? What tracking sphere? "Yeah…" he says, looking to Magpie once more. "We can always come back, too… not that there's a lot left. Besides, um… the…" Glance. "The art." Cough. "That is, the painting, but I don't like it much." He flops into the pool and circles about, then treads water as he waits.

Magpie hugs TC tight and giggles, glancing one last time at the "art".

Thunnini blinks and watches the sphere roll, then shrugs and makes her way back into the water. "Now I just need to contact Miss Dockworker and let her know that we found the ship!" she smiles.

Magpie nos to Thunnini. She has a sneakin' suspicion that she already knows Miss Dockworker… but best not to mention that.

Tale-Chaser returns Magpie's hug, blushing so hard that it's a wonder he doesn't set the water to boiling aroudn him. He takes Maggie's hoof in his and starts to swim back down into the ship, pulling the unicorn along with if she so chooses.

Magpie chooses! She chooses!

Tale-Chaser is glad!

Thunnini swims along, humming cheerfully!