Getting Trough-Walloped
IC date: October 2, 2012
OOC date: Fall 13, 2012
PCs: Amber-Shot, Blackbird, Captain-Mwai, Snowfield
NPCs: The Bone Mistress
GM:

It's still pretty early in the night but that hasn't stopped Snowfield from indulging far more than she has any right to. She and her partner for the evening have succeeded in securing one of the tables in the Champagne Bay, one of the harbor's classiest bars (which admitedly isn't saying much about the place). It is square in the middle of the room and currently sports several empty glasses around the littlest unicorn.

Blackbird's side of the table consists of a single water glass, but he seems amused and indulgent for Snowfield's binge nonetheless. "Feeling any better?" he asks her, as he brings his water up for a sip.

"I can still feel feeleelings," Snowfield says angrily as she points a hoof accusingly several inches to Blackbird's left. "This stuff is useless, I must still have some kinda… some kinda… thing." She keeps her hoof raised as her mind chugs along trying to find proper word.

Blackbird chuckles a little, and shakes his head. "Never stops the feelings, Snowfield; sorry about that. Just makes you more likely to forget them in the morning when you're dealing with the hangover from Tartarus. Maybe there are more magical remedies for feelings, huh?"

"I'm still not entirely convinced that's gon' work," Snowfield says as she takes another swig from her mug. "I mean, maybe the Joke was just a one off thing. Some kinda… side effect… thing." She points at Blackbird with the mug in her hoof— actually in the right direction this time! "I mean, if Salty gave me some of her time then I could be, I dunno… part chaos or somethin' now." She drains the rest of the mug then stares uncomprehendingly at the empty drink. "I think this one's defective. Hey, whatsyerface! Another!"

The bartender looks crestfallen at Snowfield's demand. "Really? Another Night Mane? If you're going to drink yourself into a stupor can't you at least do it on something better than the worst-brewed swill in town?"

"I happen to like the taste!" Snowfield snaps back.

The bartender rolls his eyes as he brings another mug to the table balanced on a tray on his back. "That'd make you the first," he mumbles. To Blackbird the yellow stallion inquires, "You want a refill on that water or anything?"

Blackbird watches in some wry amusement and shakes his head. "Perhaps. On the upside, maybe Salty is less chaotic now." He pauses, looking out the window at the wrecked boats in the harbor, pauses, then amends, "Well… maybe not." Ahem.

As for the water? "Yes, actually, that'd be great. Just keep 'em coming for her, and put it on my tab. Thanks so much."

The bartender nods. "If I didn't know you were the responsible sort, Blackbird, I'd kick you out for feeding someone that much liquor. I'm guessing she'll be crashing on your sofa by night's end?" He takes the white stallion's glass back and trots back behind the counter to top it off again.

Snowfield stares entranced at the liquid in her new mug. It's such a curiously murky color, as if warning everypony nearby that it's not fit for equine consumption. Not to say that this has stopped the mare yet, or that it will this time, either.

"Yep. But this is how she wants to deal with crummy life-altering news, so more power to her." He shrugs again, and then looks back to Snowfield. "Pretty sure nothing's growing in it," he teases.

"Don't talk to me about growing," Snowfield says dismissively as she picks up the mug and drains half of it in one go. "Tha's the last thing I want to think about when I'm trying to not think about thinking." She pauses to count if that was the right number of 'thinks' for the sentence, lips silently moving as she does so. With a nod to herself she puts the mug back down. "You're a pretty good friend, Blackbird. I dunno why I didn't do more stuff with ya' before." Her slurring seems to come and go.

"Right. Sorry." Blackbird chuckles and leans on one hoof, watching the spectacle for the moment. "Uh oh. Is this going to devolve into drunken 'I love you, man's? Should I take photos for posterity?" he grins.

Snowfield waves a hoof in irritation. "Blackbird, when I say I love you to you it's 'cause I mean it, not 'cause of some lame flank fortified wine giving me beer-colored glasses." She waves her hoof weakly again and then puts it back down. "You know, I haven't really cared about anypony in… more years than I can count."

The bartender shows up with Blackbird's glass of water. And another mug! "That one's apple cider," he whispers to the other stallion. "She's too drunk to realize it's not liquor, getting some real fluids in her before it's too late is your best bet for the hangover."

Blackbird lifts a brow in surprise. "Oh. Well… in that case, I'm glad to be of help, and to be a friend. You're a pretty good friend too, Snowfield." He looks up and takes his new water gratefully, and pauses, before nodding to Amber's words. "Excellent, thanks," he whispers back.

"No problem," the bartender says as he taps the side of his nose knowingly before heading back to the bar.

Snowfield puts both hooves on the table to steady herself and stares at Blackbird with eyes that are surprisingly focused. On a spot several feet behind Blackbird's head, granted, but she thinks she's giving him her full attention and that's the important part.

"No, really, I mean it," the unicorn says. "You're one of the only ponies in this town I like. I mean, this whole mess with Salty, that was just me panicking. I've never seen somepony die that violently before. Everyone would always… they'd waste away, you know?" She goes back to staring into her mug. "After the first century I stopped hangin' around with other ponies cause it was too friggin' sad. Eternal youth ain't as nice as all the foals' stories make it out to be."

Blackbird tries to hide his smirk at her full misfocused attention, and he just barely manages to keep it down to a tiny smile. But as she tells her story, it lessens into sympathy instead. "Eesh. That's rough, Snowfield. Not that you need me to tell you that. Violent death's not a walk in the park, but I thought you dealt with it…admirably. Crazily, maybe, too, but admirably."

Snowfield doesn't seem to notice her drinking partner's complement, so engrossed is she in her own reminiscing. Rest assured, however, she'd be pretty happy to hear that her efforts were appreciated under normal circumstances.

"And then you come along and you're not a complete dunce like everypony else," she continues, "and you know what I do?" The forest witch puts her chin on the edge of the table forlornly and taps at her half mug of questionable alcohol. "I don't even bother trying 'cause it'll just be more of the same. I figure, you wouldn't even give me the time of day 'cause I'm stuck looking like a Celestia damned filly, and even if you did you'd just die in a few decades like everypony else."

Suddenly this monologue doesn't seem like it's about Blackbird being a good friend anymore.

Blackbird lets her talk, sipping his water. This is one of those times you just gotta let a pony ramble! So he nods in sympathy, and lets her continue.

The unicorn finally just pushes her mug away. "And now you're hooked up with Rusty so even if I could work up the nerve to tell you I love you there'd be no point in it," Snowfield says sadly. "Forever alone. Story of my life right there. Maybe that's why I hit it off with the Watcher so well, she's in the same boat. 'cept she's got foal-bearing hips that won't get any stallion she has a fling with labeled a filly fiddler."

Mwai slumps listlessly into the Champagne Bay. "Bartender, have you got anything that can make me forget my lovely caravel is on the bottom of the harbor in a thousand tiny pieces?"

» Blackbird rolls 1d10 (How's your recovery, BB?) — Result: 10 | Sum: 10

The bartender narrows his eyes at Mwai as he cleans a mug behind the bar. "Depends, how much money did you manage to get off that boat before it went down?"

Blackbird's in the middle of taking a drink when that drops and he sputters and chokes for a moment. OH. THAT KIND OF LOVE. He manages to pass it off like he totally meant to do that, though, and he takes another drink like meh whatever! "Well, maybe we can…extend your lifespan but help your body, uh… mature?" he suggests weakly.

Mwai rummages in his pouch. "Oh, I have that covered at least. A little clam diving goes a long way, let me tell you." He tosses a couple of ten-bit pieces on the bar.

"What's the point?" Snowfield says with a sigh. "Everypony I know is getting family-minded and pairing off, it's downright depressing." She decides it's time to start drinking again and reaches for the mug of cider. "Even if we CAN find a way to con somepony out of some of their time, d'you know how early I died? It'll be years before I'd have a serious chance with a stallion."

The bit pieces clatter jovially against the bartop for a few moments before the bartender has a chance to sweep them behind the counter. "If you're planning on sulking and nursing a couple of drinks through the night I've got some good whiskeys that are worth savoring. If you just want to get drunk and get it over with, I've got the last couple kegs of summer ales I've got to get through before the harvest brews start coming in."

"Maybe there's a way to artificially age you," Blackbird points out. "Because it's certainly not fair that you're stuck in a foal's body for all the years — centuries? — you've lived." He drinks his water, and looks over at Mwai. "Boat trouble?" he calls, sympathetically.

"Start me off with something smooth, and we'll see how far into rotgut territory I need to go tonight, eh?" Mwai takes a whiskey and plops down next to Blackbird. "Oh yes, you could say that. Saltlick's return has cost me a hat and the place I usually 'ang it. Blasted to smithereens right in port."

"No way, I've had enough of stupid magical bullhonkey," Snowfield says. "If you're gonna get something you've gotta earn it. That's why I keep hassling Manyara for all of her wish mumbo-jumbo. You get what you want too easy, you don't appreciate it." When Mwai sits down at the table she points her mug of apple juice at him. "Yeah! This is all Salty's fault!" she agrees exuberantly. "Next time she dies I'm letting her stay that way. Less trouble for everypony."

"It's not rotgut," the bartender says sullenly. "It's a fine weissbier from Foamy's brewery that nopony is going to order when it gets colder out."

"So you're saying your life has been too easy?" Blackbird asks dryly. "Tell me, what's the non-magical way to reverse a magical ailment? Because I refuse to accept that dying's your only way out. That's not an option." He finishes his water, then flags down the bartender. "Hey, mind getting me some soft cider, barkeep?"

To Mwai, he winces. "Ooh. Yes. Right, the Destiny. Want to throw your drinks on my tab too? Sympathy Beers all around."

"I will take you up on that," Mwai says to Blackbird. "Tough luck on the undeath there, Snow. I'd recommend you complain to the management on that but I don't think she's in a good mood lately…"

"S'pretty easy," Snowfield says before chugging her apple juice. "After that first hundred years or so you stop caring, and it's all coasting from there." She looks at Mwai. "Apparently a certain ex-mayor of the harbor cut a deal with management so that I'd have a year to live. Can you believe it? I'm not doing any more good deeds for anypony. 'least, not ones that involve fighting death. Death's a dang dirty cheater."

Mwai leans way back on his haunches. Salty's cutting deals now, is she? "Now, in my experience, Death is more like… she's… she really wants you to THINK she's tough but usually she's so flustered that you keep ending up alive again that she can't concentrate, and that puts her off her game, so what you do is you fast talk her…"

"Yeah, she really could've stood to at least dole out a few more years from her worthless hide," Blackbird mutters, rubbing his face. But then he pauses. "Yeah— you know, hey, haven't you cheated Boney a few times, Cap'n?"

Mwai continues, oblivious, "…and that's when you hit her with the briar patch ruse—" here he mocks up a quick look of panic, "Oh ~please~ don't throw me in the Canterlot dungeons, oh please Tartarus, anywhere but the Canterlot dungeons!"

The Bone Mistress, standing behind Mwai, looms a bit harder than usual, which is saying something, as looming is one of her more prized skills.

"And of course I don't let on" Mwai is cut off by the Bone Mistress "That thou hath knowledge for picking all of the locks. CHARMING," she says.

Snowfield squints over Mwai's shoulder. "Hey, Blackbird. I think this stuff's finally kicking in." She swirls the alcohol-free apple juice in her mug around and stares at it for a moment before looking at the Bone Mistress again.

Blackbird drinks his own assumingly delivered apple cider, and turns, only to spit a little. "Uh— nope, I'll never get used to that. Hullo, Miss." Koff.

"You may rest at ease, Captain, your deal has been…" here a grin that nopony with a remaining grain of sanity would like spreads across her face, "renegotiated." Her gaze becomes more solemn and turns to Snowfield. "I am here to speak with you. You did not have a chance to speak in the matters of your life, and matters…" the Bone Mistress looks out the window at some unknown point on the horizon. "Have gotten a bit more complicated."

"I think I have had far too much to drink to be negotiating with anthropomorphic personifications of abstract concepts," Snowfield says with the sort of amazing vocabulary that one can only achieve with the perfect balance of alcohol in their system. "Blackbird, will you speak to the hallucination on my behalf?"

Blackbird eyes Snowfield and then the Bone Mistress, and opens his mouth to explain to the unicorn — then shakes his head. "Sssssure. Hey, I'm her — lawyer? I guess?" he haphazards to the spooky alicorn. "What's new?"

The Bone Mistress sits gracefully and does not give any sign that this arrangement is odd. "When Salty first came back to life, her original time was returned to her. However, a group of fools believing themselves in possession of divine power summoned her soul into an… appropriated… body, which now belongs to her." Death's eyes narrow. "As unusual as this is, Salty now is in possession of TWO lifetimes."

Snowfield slams her mug on the table. "I knew it! That bitter berry was holding out on me! A year! Feh!" She looks at Blackbird and orders, "Tell her 'feh' for me!"

Blackbird blinks, and pauses thoughtfully. "…My client requests that you pass on an emphatic 'feh' to Salty — whichever, I suppose. Does this mean that Salty can theoretically grant a lifetime to Snowfield? Would it need… permission?"

Mwai meanwhile does not like the idea that he's been renegotiated.

Not one bit.

The Bone Mistress turns her gaze to Snowfield with what might be pity, or hope, or even the love of a mother who can't decide whether to be angry or relieved, or all of those things. "The Pirate is not in a condition to make the right choice. There are forces at work on her mind. But if she can be restored to something more closely resembling herself, and made to understand the gravity of her choice, she could grant you one. Ordinary. Life."

Snowfield stares into her drink. "An ordinary life, huh? That would be… weird. I can't remember mine at all." She swirls the mug around. "But Salty would need to okay it? That's a pretty long shot."

"…I'm sure there are ways," Blackbird says slowly, narrowing his eyes. He's this close to punching one hoof into the … palm? of the other.

The Bone Mistress nods. "This is not easy, or a sure thing, but it is less unfair than the last deal you were given, even if it did have to be cut from cards as dogeared as these. But perhaps if the rules are going to be bent," and here, it's hard to tell if she glances at Mwai because she doesn't have pupils, "they might as well be bent for the better."

Snowfield stares blearily at the Bone Mistress for several long seconds before becking Blackbird to lean closer. "So like I said, I've got this thing about cutting deals with otherwordly powers," she whispers, "but I'm in for it this time if it means getting some proper compensation from Salty. Equivalent exchange, you know? Very important concept."

Blackbird eyes Boney for a long moment before Snowfield catches his attention. He turns toward the ancient filly and leans in, nodding slowly. "Indeed, an eye for an eye; a life for a life," he says sagely. "Alright. So let's get this deal brokered, hm?" He straightens and looks at The Bone Mistress with a sharp and serious look in his eye. "Okay. So we have your word then that if Salty gives one of her lives, Snowfield can have a normal, properly aging, typical pony lifetime, no strings attached? Is there a contract we can sign?"

The Bone Mistresses smile this time is much less menacing and almost… cheerful? "You know, we don't get many who actually ASK for paperwork these days?" There's a swirling rustle of paper, pots of ink, and quills, all of which phase eerily in and out of reality. No fewer than six quills simultaneously work over a piece of strangely sparkling parchment. "A lot of ponies react badly to having this sort of thing written down but this is much more secure and comes with all kinds of Deep Magic that can shield you from goodnes KNOWS what so…" a contract is being written. There are clauses. These also have clauses.

Mwai looks at the contract nervously. "Do… do I have one of those?" Without skipping a beat, The Bone Mistress' smile flashes VERY menacing just long enough to say "Oh YES, we signed you in by proxy."

Snowfield watches the contract phase into existance and begin writing itself. "You know, for it to count as fine print it needs to actually be print and not just a bunch of lines really close together," she says as she tries to force her way through the alcohol-induced haze and see what she's actually agreeing to.

Blackbird also leans in to squint at the contract. He's really got no actual helpful experience with legalese but he's sure going to put on a good front! At the very least, he can try to puzzle it out. … If he can actually make out the words. "Contracts are an excellent way to protect both parties of an agreement," he says absently, as he tries to read. "Don't understand the stigma, myself."

The Bone Mistress brightens in a way that would be cute on somepony who wasn't very very tall, glowing, and occasionally slightly transparent. "Me neither! And this is really very favorable, I'm just putting in lots of things you wouldn't think about to make sure this has the best chance of working."

Also having pupils. Having pupils would have given that more of a chance of being cute.

"You're awfully affable for a grim reaper," Snowfield says as she looks for wherever she'll need to put her name. "Is this one of those 'signed in blood' deals or is ink enough for you?"

The Bone Mistress telekinetically sorts through pots of ink, which seem to phase in and out of existence off to the left and right of the few she's looking at at any moment. "Ink will do fine… ah, you can use this one." A pot of ink and a large, red quill move themselves into position in front of Snowfield.

Blackbird just watches, finishing his perusal by now. And really not having gained anything from it. Is that even written in Equine…?

The unicorn tries to pick up the pen with magic but can't seem to get a grip on it. After a few false starts she reaches forward to grab it in her teeth instead and signs on the line. "Alright, wishful as that thinking is, I think I've had enough hallucinating for a while. Blackbird, be a gentlecolt and find me a sofa I can sleep on. I think all of that Night Mane is starting to hit me at once." Little does Snowfield realize that she won't even make it halfway back to his house before passing out and needing to be carried the rest of the way.

The Bone Mistress pleasantly snaps the contract out of phase with the rest of reality and and bows her head thoughtfully. "Signed around then. Rest well, Snowfield, you have a chance now."

Mwai is caught mid-sneak for the exit by her parting words as she phases out. "Oh and Captain, we may be needing to call in a few favors as per our prior agreement soon!"