Follow the Foal
IC date: Summer 31, 1008
OOC date: July 21, 2013
Location: Wintersong Forest - Forest's Edge
PCs: Gustaff, Magpie, Ruby-Blossom, Snapdragon, Sunshine-Stormcloud, Twilight-Dancer
NPCs:
GM: Snowfield

It just isn't summer in Horseshoe Harbor without a map to be followed and a mystery to investigate. Thanks to a certain feral little pegasus' adventures… somewhere… the 'map' in question is a torn page from somepony's diary and the mystery is who it belongs to. Perhaps if Snapdragon knew how to talk he could tell everypony where he got it, but alas the only pony in town capable of translating whatever the heck 'Sow oooaaa eeeaan rawrrooor grr! Aaaaeeeaaa wahn meh!' means is also currently too young to do anything but mimic the sounds she hears.

At the very least the diary entry is only mildly chewed upon and sports very few drool stains. One might go so far as to call it downright readable!

occupy my mind. If I can keep myself
I feel in my chest. No sign of
their lesson after their last
creatures, snowbunnies. What
as adorable as possible and then
get close to investigate?

If only somepony knew who the author was…

"And the elders complain when I chew on my homework out of boredom," Gustaff comments idly as he reads the note over somepony else's shoulder. Snowbunnies. That doesn't have to do with the thing the grown ups were arguing over, does it? Honestly he doesn't get why some would actually want to go -back- to their old world, but that's neither here or there. Just as long as that stupid cold wind pony thing stays away. Either he's too young to entirely understand why a windego has been around, or too rambunctious to care. "Okay, so where do we go now?"

Even Daybreak gets letters and, as one of only two postal ponies in the area (and easily the bigger and scarier of the two), it's Twilight Dancer's job to see that the Mail Gets Delivered, cold front or no. So he's here, wrapped in a scarf and sporting some brass goggles. He doesn't know anything about windigos or lost maps or cities-out-of-space, but he does know that the Mail Must Be Delivered.

However, every pony is at least a little bit curious, no matter how grumpy and scowly they are, so the mailasus drops out of the sky, landing behind Gustaff with a small thud and peering over the little gryphon's shoulder and the shoulder of the pony that the gryphon is peering over. Hrrrmm…

Snapdragon sits a bit apart from the group, looking decidedly disgruntled and pouty. He's not sure how these strange ponies got ahold of his trophy, but they've got it, and he's not too happy about it! That's HIS. He was BRAVE. …Apparently not brave enough to do anything about it but stare and pout, though. His is the mightiest of pouts.

Sunshine-Stormcloud has a mission.

She worked hard for this mission, pestering her superiors until she could be given permission to go. Not like the old times, nosiree, where she wouldn't have had to do more than cough and get what she wanted from her 'goons'. Sigh. Anyway today! Today she's playing escort, since technically it was Magpie who had the journal piece in question, and she's along to make sure nothing happens to the little filly while they're investigating who it belongs to. "I still think we ought to try asking Daybreakers first." she notes, casting Gustaff a glance. "You know anything about this paper piece, kid?"

Gustaff didn't notice the other ponies until they speak up. Though coming from a world where most of the pegasi are either dark militia or wild savages, seeing one tower behind him doesn't really phase the little gryphon. "Nope," he answers Sunshine. "I just came across them while I was out trying to figger out what's got the adults at the villiage all on edge."

Magpie is all bundled up in her green coat, which is STUPID because it's the middle of SUMMER. But what the heck, with the crazy weather, and walking into Wintersong on purpose, well… she kinda has to go with it. But at any rate she's hovering the note in front of the foals, with one hoof hooked around Snapdragon. "It's as good a place to start as any," she says to Sunshine. "Unless Snappy here wants to explain where it came from." Might as well give it a shot. "Show us where you got this, boy!"

Twilight-Dancer likes this gryphon; he's tired of ponies shrieking and diving for cover when he looms over them. "Looks like gibberish," he notes, peering at the piece of paper. Who would ever be afraid of snowbunnies? He snaps his tail, then peers out over at the assemblage. Oh, this is something important, isn't it? He huffs a bit, then leans over to peer a little closer at the paper. Hrm.

Snapdragon tilts an ear and gives a small, "Meh." They took his thing. But he perks up slightly at Magpie's voice, and edges closer. "Aaaeeeaa!" He springs upright, little wings fluttering. YES HE IS A BRAVE PONY HE WILL SHOW YOU ALL HOW HE IS BRAVE.

Magpie bounces on her hooftips. "Yeah! Show us where you got it! Show us! Good boy, good boy — okay GO!"

The only better than one escort is two, right? Sunshine, Magpie and Snapdragon are accomponied by Ruby-Blossom as well - after all it's been a while since she's been on anything resembling an adventure; well that's only if you don't count that whole motherhood thing.

"He seems…happy with the idea of showing us." Sunshine comments, peeking at Ruby. And at Twilight! "Oh! Hello there. You, uh, on the way to wherever we're going too?" Because now she doesn't know if it's going to be Daybreak!

Gustaff darts after the feral pegasus. "Well then, why are we sitting here when we could be seeing where he's going!"

"Aaaaaoooooo!" Snapdragon dashes off towards the forest at a cheery bounce, wings fluttering excitedly. He seems to know where he's going, at least! THATAWAY.

Twilight-Dancer hrms at Sunshine. He looks at the assemblage of foals, then sighs. "Apparently," he says, with a certain amount of grudgement. He doesn't want to follow a bunch of foals! This is not the optimal use of his time! But he can't rightly let them all wander into the forest and get eaten by bunnies. He flaps his wings and starts to hover above the group, keeping his keen eyes out for trouble. What he wouldn't do for a spear.

The trek through the forest is a familiar one for Snapdragon, but perhaps a little circuitous for the other ponies (and Gustaff) he has in tow. It's darker here than one might expect for the time of day, but that is likely because of the thick, unseasonable clouds rolling overhead. Wintersong can be pretty terrible like that sometimes, but that's what happens when one builds a town next to a magical forest.

There's… really not anything around here. A certain somepony who has been out in this part of the woods, assuming she can keep her sense of direction, might recognize this as being close to a certain cottage she visited once.

Ruby offers Sunshine a warm smile as she begins to hustle after the little colt.. "I figured I'd see where everypony was getting off to in a hurry. After all who wouldn't want a mother and mane stylist along in any situation?"

Sunshine is not known for a keen sense of direction. She's not known for getting lost either. She bounds off after Magpie, Ruby, and Snapdragon, trusting others to keep up! Only when they pass by a specific landmark does Sunny come to the realization where they may be headed; it sure as hay isn't Daybreak. She keeps her concern to herself for the moment though, just in case…

Magpie gallops after Snappy, giggling. "Yay! Go get it, Snappy! We're on the trail now!" All the talk about snowbunnies and investigation sounds fun! Let's go!

"Oh yeah, stylist is really going to help, if we need to hairdo a monster into submission." But the snappy comment aside, Gustaff bounds along with the others after the feral. Yeah, he's running instead of flying, but that's normal for him.

Ruby shoots Gustaff a glance. "I'm still more useful than a chicken, we'll let you know if we come across something that needs to be pecked." she sticks her tongue out while trotting after two of her foals, which she thinks is cuter she'll keep to herself.

While the little foal doesn't seem too interested in keeping to the trail, he's obviously going somewhere! Somewhere he's been before. (Somewhere he's probably not supposed to go!) He bounds along, pausing now and again to hop in snowdrifts or kick at bushes. For everypony else this is a serious investigation. For him, it's just fun!

Twilight-Dancer glides over the others, keeping his eye on them. Just in case. "Don't make fun," he tells Gustaff. "Best fighter ever seen, hairdresser. Terrifying in battle. Also: well coiffed mane." He nods seriously, before zipping up ahead to hover over Snapdragon. He keeps his eyes peeled for danger.

"How in the hay did he not get eaten before you got him, Ruby?" Sunshine wonders aloud, ducking around a snowdrift in pursuit of the little one. "There's all sorts of junk hiding just waiting for a little treat like him to prance by!" Gallop, gallop, gallop. Dangit, slow down kid, metal legs are only so agile!

Ruby-Blossom hmms thoughtfully at Sunshine's question before perking. "I think we've both seen how aggressive Dragon-Heart can get when it comes to her brother." she nods confidently. "Fiery little foal, I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of her fury were I to threaten her brother."

There's a startled cry as Snapdragon lands in one of the snowdrifts. A snowbunny emerges and takes off into the woods in search of a napping place where hooves won't trod on it.

DOOM BUNNY! Snapdragon scampers after it with a yowl - for a few bounds, anyways. Until he's sure it's good and chased off. Take that! Rawr! In fact, "Rawr! Waaauuuaaah!" Snuff. He prances back to Magpie, looking proud of himself - and ignoring just about everypony else. Look how brave he is! He chased off the evil monster for his big sister. (And completely forgot what else he's supposed to be doing, it looks like.)

Ruby pouts addorably when Snapdragon gives Magpie all the attention; pouty face glance down at the brave little colt.

Twilight-Dancer flaps to a stop, hovering as the snowbunny takes off. Well, that's not something you see everyday. He looks over his shoulder at the others, raising an eyebrow curiously. Are there many little death bunnies through here? He lands with a quiet thud behind Snapdragon as the little foal preens for Magpie. "Careful," he says, folding his wings back and pawing at the snow.

Magpie giggles a little bit. She reaches down to rub Snappy's ears. "You're very brave, but I don't think snowbunnies are actually dangerous."

Sunshine blinks at the fleeing bunny. Her ears flick back. "I don't think he knows the meaning of the word." she calls up at Dancer. …And then gives Magpie a lifted eyebrow look.

Gustaff may not be able to fly very well, but he can climb. Which he does up a tree while the rabbit is being dealt with. He hangs onto a branch, looking down at Magpie's remark. "You have no idea!" Then goes back to climbing, seeing if he can get a vantage point from the branches and see anything.

The higher branches afford Gustaff a view of a clearing up ahead. It's hard to see if there's anything in the clearing from here, but it's definitely… clearer?

Twilight-Dancer hrmphs at Sunshine. "You know meaning?" he asks, quite seriously. "Don't trust 'em." He nods his head in the direction of the shiny little bunny. "Careful." He scratches at the ground with his hoof again, now really wishing he had a spear. He looks up as Gustaff climbs, frowning severely.

Snapdragon leans into the pets with a happy, "Mah!" before turning back to the not-trail. He's on an adventure! And he's going thataway. Towards the clearing, apparently! "Aaaaoooo! Sow oooaaa rawrrooor!"

"Urg, here we go again!" Sunshine resumes the bounding after the foal!

"Hey guys!", Gustaff calls down from the trees. "He's heading for that clearing over there!" He helpfully points with his talons, before following himself, leaping from tree to tree much like a cat would instead of bothering to climb back down and run.

Magpie bounds after Snappy. This is way more fun than running for your life from zombies, snow spiders, or Nightmare Moon! She trails after the kid, with an eye towards that clearing…

Twilight-Dancer hrms. He flutters his wings once or twice before taking off after the foal. He swoops upwards, following Gustaff for a moment, watching the agile leaping with one raised eyebrow. It's not half bad, actually. "Need a hoof?" he calls to the gryphon, though.

Ruby keeps pace with Magpie and Sunshine, but has a very leisurely air about her. "A clearing." she ponders "I'd reckon not the hive clearing, that's more over there." a general motion away from the general direction the group is heading, not very precise.

Sunshine's ears flit back. "Nope. I think I know where he's headed…" she mutters, ducking her head down. Last time she was there it was on okay terms. What about now..? Hmmm.

It's all fun and games until someone finds a house that has seen severe battle damage and looks like it's been uninhabited for some time. Sunshine would definitely recognize this as being Snowfield's cottage from the one time she was here previously but it's pretty clear something terrible has happened here. Trees around the edge of the clearing have been coated with ice, as if struck by errant spells. Sharp icicles rise up out of the ground in strange criss-crossing patterns across the clearing. The cottage itself sports an open door, iced over in such a way as to keep it half-open and make it difficult (but not impossible) to squeeze through.

A few items from inside of the house have been strewn on the ground in front of it, as if some wild creature decided to investigate things that were potentially food in better light conditions. Judging by how a couple of scattered cans have been chewed open and licked clean the answer was 'yes'.

"Whooooooaaah." Magpie figures this is just about the coolest thing EVER, man. "This is awesome!" she says, poking at one of the icy spears.

Gustaff is all too glad to be doing this little adventure instead of sitting at the villiage listening to the adults bicker, that's for sure. "Don't worry, I'll be fine. I climb trees all the ti — whoa!" Gustaff comes to the end of a branch and stops short at the sight, nearly falling off in surprise. But he's quick to grab the branch with his talons. "Oh wow, giant ice spikes." He lets go of the branch and while not very good at flying manages to spread his wings like a parachute to keep his fall under control. "I hope one of those ice wind horse things wasn't here too!"

Twilight-Dancer nods at Gustaff. He hovers near the spides, then peers upwards at the gryphon. "A windigo?" he asks. He frowns deeply, then kicks at one of the icicles, hoping to break it off. Finally! A spear! Hopefully, anyway. Ahem. "Careful," he tells Gustaff as the gryphon glides down, and Magpie as she pokes the ice. He indicates the icicles. "Sharp."

Snapdragon doesn't seem too phased by all the ice! In fact, one might assume he's seen it before, as he hardly glances at it. He instead bounds off for the door, though he pauses to paw in the snow outside, batting a can around and digging here and there.

This was not what Sunshine expected to see! She slows her approach after seeing full well where they were about to go, pausing at the perimeter of the clearing first. She steps slowly past, towards the cabin itself, squinting at the ice, the mess, the destruction… "What ha-" Then someone else says it. "Ice wind horse..? Windigo?" She glances up at the trees above. As if she could, y'know, just spy one right there. "It… Does look like something with strong ice powers went and blasted the place up, doesn't it?" She glances towards Ruby. "You know who lives here, don't you?"

Gustaff bobs his head to the big pegasus. "Yeah, one of those! Some of the adults claim they saw one whisping about when Daybreakers were arguing over going back to Nightmare Winter or not." He makes a face, tail lashing in annoyance. "Don't know why any of them would -want- to, this place is so much better. And warmer! Even here in the snowy forest it's warmer still."

Wind whistles ominously through the trees. That's not particularly strange, though, the wind here is always ominous. Snowfield appreciated an environment which naturally warded off visitors.

Ruby was momentarily caught up in the sight and is stirred from thought by Sunshine's question; she blinks then ahs softly "I can guess - only one pony lives out." it occurs to her "She hasn't been about in a while, has she? How come nopony came to check…nevermind, stupid question."

Magpie glances over to Sunshine. "No, who?" she asks, though she wasn't addressed. She starts heading towards the house, trying the door. "Hey, Sunshine, think your metal legs can kick this open good?"

"Rawrrooor!" Apparently, Snapdragon's found what he was digging for. And now he has it in his mouth. And is shaking it vigorously. "Rrrrrraarrr!" Whatever he's got, it's small, and black. And probably drooled on now. He tosses his head and sends the object flying a few feet into the snow, only to pounce at it again. "Aaaaeeeooo!"

Twilight-Dancer hefts his ice spear appreciatively, then turns to face into the wind. He tosses his mane out of his face. He hrms a bit. "Should hurry," he suggests. "Just in case." He blinks at Gustaff, then looks over his shoulder at the others. "Nightmare Winter?" he asks. He knew he should've looked into the Harbour before he accepted this job.

Whatever Snapdragon is playing with, it's not weathering the abuse particularly well. With every shake of his head there is a tearing sound from the object… though over his joyful howls of mischief the sound may go unnoticed.

Sunshine nods towards Ruby, already starting to trot towards the house. She answers Magpie's question anyway. Both of'em even. "It's Snowfield's cottage. And judging by the looks of the place, whatever came for her might've gotten her." She contemplates the doorway, ice and all. "…And whatever it was, I'm not so sure I'd want to meet. It's her fault I got these…" she notes. Like she were innocent in the whole thing. She eyes Snapdragon's find for a moment, then the door again, squinting…tensing, turning on her front hooves, and giving that iced-over doorway a swift kick with those metal legs! "HUP!"

"Yeah, some of us come from an alternate world where Nightmare Moon took over and made everything a nocturnal winter wasteland," Gustaff explains to Twilight-Dancer. Then after a moment his expression tightens. "It's really not a pleasant place, you don't want to go there."

Twilight-Dancer blinks at Gustaff. "Ah."

Magpie cheers at the mighty kick! But.. "Hey, what'cha got, Snappy? Wait, no! Ack! Let me see! Give it to me — drop it! Drop it!"

The ice on the door splinters spectacularly under the force of Sunshine's hooves. As does the wood around the door hinges. One of them tears off entirely, the other hangs on by a few screws. It swings inward and hangs limply by the remaining hinge to allow full access to the interior of the cottage.

The cottage is a too room affair. The cabinets are all ransacked, as could have been guessed from the residental flotsam in front of the house, and the ice on the floor and walls are in even greater numbers here. The bedroom seems to have borne the brunt of the battle damage, being almost entirely iced over and sporting several crystalline structures with small, equine impressions in them as if somepony had been frozen in place and then pulled herself out.

Ruby trots towards the door once Sunshine has given it a good buck, in hopes of squeezing in to retrieve whatever it is that has Snapdragon's attention. "Snappy! Bring that to mommy, and I'll give you cookies!" already rummaging around in her saddle bag; forget your Equestrian Express Card - never leave home without cookies.

"Nice kick!" Gustaff peers around the doorframe into the cottage, but doesn't get much farther than that. Typically he's pretty brave, but seeing all that ice thrown about like that is bringing back bad memories. "See that?" He waves his talons idly at the inside of the cabin. "That is why it's a bad idea to live alone and away from everypony else!"

Cookie? COOKIE. Cookiecookiecookiecookie. Snapdragon snatches up the item again - it falls open, giving the distinct impression of a small book, only held by one cover now. He's gonna bring it to Ruby! And get a cookie! COOKIE! …But first he's gonna give it another good worrying. Shakeshakeshakeshake!

Now that he's taught the evil book a lesson, it's safe to bring it right on over to Ruby and present it for his reward. HE IS SO BRAVE COOKIE TIME.

Magpie can't decide if she should giggle or not, so she settles for a little snort while being awed by the beautiful destruction in the cottage.

Fortunately for SnapDragon, Ruby is not an alchemist and is not bound by silly rules such as Equivalent Exchange; because cookies are worth way more than slobbery books. She takes the icky, icky book then offers Snapdragon his cookie with a sweet semi-forced smile. "Good job." she praises him before giving the icky object a quick look over.

The book, gripped as it was by only one cover and shaken like a chew toy, tears in half. The other cover flies off and lands in the snow. The pages, no longer bound together, scatter across the clearing. The whispering wind blows several off into the trees.

(OOC) Ruby-Blossom: Ruby got ripped off!
(OOC) Snapdragon: No,I think the book did.
(OOC) Snapdragon: or at least the cover.
(OOC) Sunshine-Stormcloud ba-dum-tsh.

Twilight-Dancer keeps to the back of the group, in case of ambush. He blinks as paper goes flying around him. He grabs what he can, throwing his icicle at one of the papers as it starts to get really far away. "Little help," he calls, chasing after papers. This is not how he imagined spending his Sunday.

".. Hey, wait a moment!" For once having quickly flitting attention kind of pays off, as Gustaff bolts after the scattering pages. "That note looked like it was ripped from something too!"

Sunshine lets Ruby and Magpie worry about Snapdragon and his troublesome prize. She forges on into the cottage to peek around and see if she can find any other clues. Like the bedroom with the pony-shaped indents. That's a pretty interesting clue. And the fact that there's no bodies! That's a pretty good clue too. Or…blood. That's important!

After a few moments of poking at ice (and nearly slipping several times…she really needs to get some better grips on those metal hooves for ice walking. Snow legs?), Sunshine manages to get out of the cottage again to watch a paper storm suddenly happen. "…So. I see you guys found something!"

Snapdragon has done his part, so he just sits on back and watches everypony scramble after the papers he let loose. Yes, everypony, show those evil papers. They did come from evil book, after all. Clearly, he is an example for all to follow. OMNOM COOKIE.

Magpie aughs! She runs around, horn flashing as she snatches at one page and then the next! AUGH!

The quick reactions of Magpie, Gustaff and Twilight Dancer manage to rescue several pages of journal before they escape into the forest! Unfortunately they don't manage to collect the entire journal's worth. Snapdragon is simply too good at being a menace.

The mouthwriting (or more accurately magicwriting if this is Snowfield's quillponyship) matches up with the fragment of book that the little foal brought as a trophy into town.

Snapdragon a menace? Clearly one of Ruby's foals.

Gustaff passes the pages he caught to one of the adults. "Somepony was really out to get whoever lived here by the looks of it."

Ruby-Blossom suddenly frowns and nudges some of the ice with her hoof. "Sunshine?" she glances to the other mare, the only other adult familiar with Snowfield. "You think this is all Snowfield's ice…?"

Twilight-Dancer accepts the gathered pages, putting them into some sort of rough order before moving over to Ruby. He offers the (more or less) reassembled book to her, as the pony who seems most in charge. Everyone knows that hairdressers are at the top of the military hierarchy.

Ruby is starting to like Twilight-Dancer, any pony that recognizes her a figure of authority is good in her book; maybe it just comes from being a mother - after all foals and stallions are very similar. She begins to leaf through the pages.

"I don't know." Sunshine answers Ruby, honestly. "There's…a few imprints that are shaped kind of like ponies. I'm not completely certain if they're Snowfield or not. But this looks like it was a fight of some kind, and we're missing a pony, so… Either she did this herself, or a monster came for her." She glances towards Gustaff. "…You said something about a monster near Daybreak, didn't you?"

Unlike the page brought to town the journal pages salvaged by the investigation team seem to be complete entries. Thanks to the fact that they've been torn free from the cover it's hard to tell if the first one on the stack is the first from the journal or not, though.

I haven't been back to town in a week. There are supplies enough at my cottage to last me for some time, and should I run low on anything I can always forage in Wintersong. Once some time has passed I may show my face but for now it would be best to not risk agitating the hornets' nest.

Gustaff huhs at Sunshine. ".. You think one of those windegos came after her?"

Twilight-Dancer hrms. "If so, probably best not to stay around," he notes. He peers at the notes some more. What else is in here?

Ruby shuffles through the pages and hmms curiously. "It sounds like she was planning on avoiding town for some reason. She upset anypony? I mean more than usual?"

Sunshine just shakes her head. To Gustaff and Ruby at least. She does make a gesture towards Twilight. "I don't know. There's ice, there's no bodies… We should probably take that book and whatever we can salvage from it and go. Maybe hit up Daybreak to see what's going on there soon. Either way…" She glances back at the cottage. And shivers. "I don't wanna stick around…"

A new page, a new entry.

The forest has claimed another victim, though I know not when. While I was out updating my mental map of the forest I found some jewelry. It's a beautifully crafted silver pendant with a tiny flask held within it, containing some manner of green liquid. Normally I would leave the trappings of the dead where they lie, but something about this kept my attention. Besides, should anything particularly terrible befall me I have my trump card stowed away in the cliff face, assuming I wish to use it. I admit, the thought of giving it back has crossed my mind before. Is a second chance really worth it if it's just to be spent living in stasis?

Gustaff yeeeeah. "I think you're right, we should probably head back to town or the villiage before sitting around reading stuff, in case whoever or whatever comes back."

Twilight-Dancer frowns a bit. "Cliff face," he notes. Or possibly asks. It's hard to tell, as he doesn't use, you know, inflection. He hrms and looks at the gathered foals. "Mm. Right. Might be dangerous. Should note. For later."

Ruby purses her muzzle when she reads the next part; then she reads it again while quietly muttering to herself. Lifting her gaze from the pages she glances around to see if there's a cliff face in sight. "I can't quite place it." Ruby-red eyes shifting about as she glances about the area. "Alright. I'm with you ponies. Let's head home. We'll form a search party in the morning, I know Winny'd throw a fit, or something heavier if we didn't include her in any action."

"Yeah, later!" Gustaff turns on his heels and bounds back off into the forest. "If I hear anything more about windegos in the villiage I'll keep it in mind."