Helpful As Can Be Ponies
IC date: Winter 28, 1007
OOC date: January 16, 2013
PCs: Crescent, Kludge, Lorelei, Magpie(?), Stormsailor, Windrose
NPCs: Captain Rill
GM: Diamond Dog

The storm in the harbor presents a now-familiar image. The tune is the same; all that changes is how aggressively it's played. By now the whirlpool encompasses all but the entirety of the harbor, and sloshes erratically, no lng constrained to a tidy, glassy blow but wobbling about, churning inward upon itself, sending up thick sprays of water that catapult high into the air only to land like a downpour on the docks. There's been little change in the Spire, save that it's still big and forboding, several shipwrecks bound up in its mass. That plateau that was forming at the top seems mostly complete- there's something up there, but it's much too high to see, and the howling wind defies all conventional attempts to fly near. The clouds roil about, the storm elementals within as delighted to frolic in the chaos now as they were when the maelstrom formed several weeks ago. They're easily entertained that way.

And along the docks, newcomers have arrived. Seven ponies otherwise unfamiliar to the town are gathering and sorting supplies. With a murky sunset providing light, they're either hauling several crates of slick, laquered wood up from the beach, or opening them up to take stock of what they have. All of them have slender and graceful builds, and all of them are wearing armor of a sort: silver metal boots on their front hooves, and helmets that bear a unicorn-like horn on the forehead.

They're being bossed about by a broad-shouldered mare, with a lavender coat and a short, white mane, who is loud and efficient with her language. "Vacation Spot, double-check the combinations on the battery containment," she commands a pony colored like a tropical drink. "Sand Dollar, you and Flashflood make sure to re-secure the next load when Bobber brings it in." Her team responds quickly and capably, offering nothing in the way of guff but pleanty of "Aye-ayes!" and "Yes ma'ams!"

(OOC) Stormsailor thinks we actually have a pony in town named Sand Dollar. Runs a prosthetics shop, if he recalls.

"It's 'Sand Penny,' Ma'am," corrects Sand "Dollar."

"Sorry, private Penny. Consider me duly corrected."

The storm grows! Things are getting dire now, it feels. The mayor's been busy, trying to help where she can. She didn't go along to seapony lands after all! No, she decided to stay, and try to control things on the townfront. At least that is the reason she gave. /Somepony/ has to be around to issue the growingly-inevitable evacuation orders. It is with that thought in mind that Lorelei is trotting about about town, calling encouragement up to the weatherponies working at the clouds, trying to haul sandbags and other barricade-sorts of things around (she's not the strongest hauler, but she tries), and just generally attempting to be helpful and active.

Where is Stormsailor to be found when the storm is reaching its strongest? Not anywhere on the docks, that's for sure. The moment he caught sight of the mysterious, slender, graceful newcomers to the port he bolted outta there. His flight may coincide with Lorelei's patrol through the town.

Kludge is also assisting with hauling things around and into position, discreetely following Lorelei. Just because he's able to haul more than she can doesn't mean he's going to overshadow her.

Lorelei's faithful goons are also present, trotting back and forth, helping efforts and hauling and pushing lower goons into doing their bucking jobs literally bucking sandbags into place. It's after moving one such sandbag that Rock'em finally notices there's a few new ponies lurking aabout on the docks! Which warrants a subsequent tap on the mayor pony. "Boss! Company!"

"Magpie" lurks around the edges of the seapony deligation. "So… so… so what're you gonna do? Are we gonna blow it down? Make it spin the other way so's it gets blasted into the sky? Burn it? Can we burn it?"

Initially her surveying had been to help ponies organize the rebuilding of the town, but now Windrose was putting that knowledge to use instructing various ponies where the best places to place their sandbags and flood blocks would be, or to help move the more vulnerable locals to places towards the back of town away from the shores. As such she was hovering overhead, one of many maps stretched out between her forehooves. "Take that load over to the south edge, Kludge, they're running short on supplies. Then we're gonna need… hmmm…" She gets distracted conversing with another pegasus asking for directions, and doesn't notice the new arrivals yet.

The seapony delegation- and they are quite clearly seaponies, especially as one washes up on the beach, doffs her phylactery, and assumes a leggy guise before making her way up to join the others- works around any interference from curious fillies and without concern for observation. A few stop to eye Magpie curiously, though. One of them wonders, "Weren't you on the Rusty Bucket the other day…?"

Their leader watches. "No, that's a different foal. Believe it or not, not ALL land-dwellers look alike," she chides then goes back to surveyin the effort and giving orders. Two of her underlings are setting up what appears to be a big glass sphere, held in a ring, on a pole, itself wedged securely into the gap between two of the boards on the boardwalk, and lashed in place so that it stands upright. She stops every now and then to look up and eyeball the Spire in the manner of someone trying to figure out how to kick its bonker.

The sound of a pony-drawn cart can be heard in the distance…

Incoming Stormsailor! Lorelei skitters out of the way. "Hey! Where are you going?!" She calls after him, frowning. "All able hooves are helping out!" She glances back down the way he came from, blinking and perking her ears. Visitors! /Now/? And… seapony visitors too. She blinks and tilts her head slightly. Who in the wide sea would be swimming into the Harbor in /this/ weather? She can only hope they're here to help!

Stormsailor's hooves clatter on the cobbles of the street when Lorelei calls him out and he comes awkwardly to a halt. "Nnngh," the captain grunts awkwardly, casting a glance back towards the docks and the newcomers upon it. "…I'm not getting paid enough for this," he eventually grumbles, well aware that if Lorelei catches him skipping out entirely he's probably not going to be paid by this town ever again. He trots after her with his head bowed slightly, as if trying to be unobtrusive. Nevermind that he's a pretty beefy stallion who looks like he really ought to be pulling sandbags. May the ocean spray will mask that sort of glimmery quality his coat has and the seapony soldiers won't comment on it.

The commotion raised by Stormsailor's near stampede through the ranks draws Windrose's attention from her layout, and she flicks her wings to lower a bit closer to the ground. "Is something wrong guys? … Wait a minute." She squints, holding one forehoof to her head to shield her eyes, though it's more out of habit since the storm blocks out most of the light already. "… Why are there ponies in armor on the beach?" Lowers her hoof to pull her map open again. "Setting up barriers that close to the overrunning tides isn't going to do a thing!"

The soldiers keep going about their business. A few more pop up from the water- there's ten milling about on the docks, now, the newcomers filing a report with the leaders, a few others watching the setting up of the glass sphere on its stick. One more heads down to the beach, where a big, broad seaturtle with a bunch of crates tied to its shell with a net is chillin' like a cool turtle bro, smiling in a relaxed fashion at the soldiers. Or maybe his face always looks that way. Maybe he's angry and he just looks like he's chill and smiling.

Rock'em trots up next to Lorelei, Sock'em shortly thereafter with a great big sandbag thrown over his back. "Uh…" Rock'em squints, noting the turtle, and the crates, and the soldiers. "…Did we miss a memo, boss? Those look like armed forces to me." Sock'em dips his head. "You want we should go investigate before they do somethin' dumb like try martial law?" Not that he really knows what Martial Law really means. He just heard it somewhere and thought it sounded like a perfectly militaryish thing to do.

"I hadn't heard anymore communique from Seapony territory," Lorelei answers to her goons. "No, no, I'd better go to see too. Diplomacy and all that." She takes a deep breath, hesitating perhaps a beat 'too long' before beginning to trot down towards the shore, pausing only a moment for Stormsailor to catch up so she can eye him sideways. Yeah, that's right. You keep working, you lazy thing you. She lifts a hoof to wave, and calls a greeting over the winds towards the growing band of soldiers. And draws herself a bit taller as she approaches. She's a nice sight, all things considered, slim and delicate, tall. The rain hasn't mussed her mane or coat at all; in fact, it seems to have given them a nice shimmer! Moreso than her usual slightly shimmery quality. In fact, next to the couple four-legged soldiers, she'd almost fit right in with this group! Not that that seems to allay her nerves at all.

Crescent comes lightly trotting up the street, with her usual supply cart in tow. There doesn't seem to be much in it at the moment though; it bounces pretty lightly and clatters behind her. She makes her way towards the beach, unhitching from her cart and stretching a bit. It seems she's here to help but doesn't quite know where to lend a hoof. Her ears perk as she spots the group of soldiers.

The leader, ever-attentive to the reaction of the town as more and more harborites become aware of the armored presence on their shore, spends more time eyeballing the various land ponies, especially any that look like they're about to approach. Like that one, there. The slim and delicate one that is a nice sight, all things considered, and might look right at home with the rest of the soldiers if-

The leader narrows her eyes briefly. That's interesting. That's very interesting.

She strides forward and regards Lorelei evenly. Though surliness looks built into her features, and her tone is brusque, it doesn't SEEM like she's trying to be rude. "Captain Rill of the Starlight Harbor Overwatch Outriders, B Division. Am I to assume you are one of the ones in charge, here?" she asks. How does she know? Maybe it's Lorelei's inherent mayorliness. Maybe Rill justa ssumes that, hey, that seapony there, she must be the one in charge, because obviously she's the best-suited to the task. Or maybe it's because everybody else is just stopping and staring, so far.

Behind her, the soldiers with the orb on a stick turn to look back at the captain. "Ma'am, we're ready."

Rill turns to glance back at them. "Hold on a moment."

Rock'em and Sock'em both naturally follow their leader, one with a bit more effort than the other. More sandbags were needed near the docks anyway! "Right, boss. 'Diplomacy'." Rock'em agrees. "…You want I should go fetch my Diplomacy Club?" But then the leader of the armed presence starts to come their way too! So the goons promptly shut up. For now.

Windrose is once again distracted by some ponies putting up some wood struts to help reinforce the sandbag walls. "No no no! You're at the wrong angle! Oh for the love of Luna." Strangers on the beach are going to have to wait as she darts over to help correct the insult to her perfectionism. "Over, over! If the bunker isn't hit straight on to repel the waves it will just crash apart. Get those supports flush!"

Kludge trots over to help Windrose and the strut-placing ponies with the placement of structural reinforcements.

Stormsailor winces at the mention of the Outriders, but otherwise tries his best to not draw attention to himself and, perhaps, slink away while Lorelei is distracted by diplomacy. And possibly by Diplomacy, depending on how riled Rock'em gets.

Lorelei nods, bowing her head slightly in greeting. "My name is Lorelei. I am the Mayor of this town." She glances back at the town in question as Windrose speaks up, taking a moment to survey what's going on. No, it looks like she has it well in hoof. She turns back to the Outriders, nodding again. "Welcome to Horseshoe Harbor. I apologize for the… chaos about. You've come at a rather disastrous time for us. Though I'm sure you know that. I can only assume this is why you've come."

Crescent hears Windrose's shouts, and it sounds like this is an area that could use her expertise. She walks over to the somewhat irate pony, only to see Kludge arriving at the same time. She waves her hoof, "Hey there! Figured I'd lend a hand an' all." She uses her horn magic to help get everything in it's proper place.

Windrose looks up as Kludge comes over. And a unicorn as well. Thank goodness there are ponies around that actually know about fixing things and carpentry! She grabs the board from overhead and helps guid it into place. "Just a little farther… there! Much better." She darts clear of the structure before landing, and looks the unicorn over. "I don't think I've seen you around before." Thrusts out a hoof to Crescent. "Hi! My name is Windrose."

Captain Rill grunts at the mention of being mayor, which is apparently as impressed as the stoic soldier gets. A few of her troops exchange glances, though. A few are starting to notice Stormsailor as well, giving him Looks, but nobody says anything, least of all the designated speaker of the group.

Rill nods as Lorelei finishes. "Precisely," she explains. "We are under orders from the offices of Queen Abalone to help ensure the threat of this storm is contained, as well as to see to the apprehension of the sea witch that caused it."

She turns to face the Spire, tilting her head slightly as she looks up at. "Presumably she is holed up inside. We encountered her briefly, harassing the crew you dispatched on the Rusty Bucket, several days ago, but she escaped before we could deal with her."

The other soldiers go about their business. The rest of the crates are unloaded from the turtle's back, and he just sort of chills.

"You saw the witch? Did she still look like Tartarus frozen over?" Rock'em pipes up, prompting Sock'em to casually step sideways, shrug, and push the sandback he was carrying onto Rock'em's back. With a grunt, the other pony stumbles sideways, tips over, and sprawls. Oof.

Sock'em nods with some small measure of satisfaction, returning to stoic staring at Captain Rill and her hearty seapony crew.

Lorelei blinks and frowns a bit at mention of Spindrift, twitching an ear thoughtfully. But she doesn't comment on that, not right now. Something else catches her attention, and she perks up a bit. "The crew made it safe?" She looks incredibly relieved at this. "Oh, good. Good. That… that's very good." She casts a glance back at the toppled Rock'em - and can't help a giggle. Okay, so it's hard to keep one's mayoral composure in the midst of all this! She blushes and clears her throat a bit, turning to look back at the seaponies - and blinking as she spots Stormsailor, slinking off again. "Hey. Look. You're getting paid for this, so do your part. If you don't want to stand here then don't, but you'd better be thinking of slinking off /back to work/." Peer.

Rill turns to look back at Lorelei over her shoulder, waiting for her to chide her assorted underlings (including that very interesting, burly one, who looks like he's trying to avoid being noticed by the authorities, which is something Rill has learned to notice very quickly), before responding. "They did. I left two of my men with them to ensure they arrived safely in Silver Shallows. They sailed into port two nights ago and are currently enjoying the hospitality of the local Magistrate." She looks back to the two troops standing near the orb on a stick, and nods them. "Do it."

They salute, then turn towards their contraption. After quickly checking it over, making sure it stands properly, one reaches up to give the glass sphere a little tap with the metal horn on her helmet, before both draw back. All of the soldiers fall silent and watch, expectantly.

A muffled *thump* abruptly reverberates across the port, briefly shaking windows in their frames and causing the boardwalk to lurch underfoot. A faint flash accompanies the sound, and passes in a blink of an eye. When it does, the stand on which the orb rests is jarred to one side, and the orb swirls with a murky black cloud inside.

And the storm itself- the one looming large in the harbor- has a big bite taken out of it. The clouds aren't entirely gone, but in a patch above the docks, evening light filters through in a somewhat uninterrupted fashion. The constant wind of the Maelstrom has lessened considerably, and the whirlpool sloshes erratically as it adjusts for a slightly smaller size. Things are, of course, still forboding- but noticably less so. Only as forboding as they were half a week ago, as if some of the energy built up in the storm since then has been captured inside the glass sphere one of the soldiers is now delicately pulling down from its stand.

Crescent extends a hoof in return to Windrose. Things are lining up right, so she takes a second to stop using her magic, "Hey there! The name's Crescent. I haven't been in the Harbor too long…few weeks or so at most. I've been the one fixin' up all those burnt buildings in town and such."

"And to answer your question," says the Captain, apparently unimpressed by the test of whatever system the soldiers are setting up, as she turns to glance back at Rock'em, "I'm not a fair judge of that. If you've seen her, you're encouraged to report any and all information you have as to her whereabouts."

"You know, you're awfully good at that whole 'keeping an eye on your surroundings' thing for a newbie mayor," Stormsailor says with a roll of his eyes when Lorelei calls him out once again. He straightens up and moves to grab some sandbags and move them… somewhere. That over there, that looks like a good place for them.

The sphere's consumption of a chunk of the storm's energy catches Stormsailor's notice and he takes a few moments to pause in his sandbag toting to marvel at the device. He thinks he's heard of them, but they're so rarely used since seaponies so rarely have to worry about the clouds making things to choppy since the waters stay pretty calm far beneath the waves.

Lorelei peers at the orb, and then, with much interest, at the somewhat diminished storm. Actually, that's not peering anymore. That's gaping. She looks like she might swoon with relief. It's /smaller/. Okay so it's still there, but that is improvement, and /that/ is better than she'd expected. That is a relief, that is. She lets out a breath. "…I'm not entirely sure what you just did, but that… that is helpful. Thank you." She clears her throat a bit. "I don't know much of this 'sea witch's' whereabouts, Captain. I know she has been in town once or twice since." She hesitates a moment. "She's shown concern for the remaining residents. I imagine she was hoping we'd have evacuated by now." That's all the detail she seems inclined to go into on that front.

The sudden calm is shocking. Like, Sock'em gives a sudden nervous prance, glancing about wildly. "Who? Wha? Did the world just end?" Rock'em, still on the ground, pinned by a sandbag, just stares. "…Whoa."

Windrose beams at that. "That's great! If this disaster doesn't entirely wipe the city off the map, remind me to show you the surveys I did of the damaged areas to help keep things organi—eek!" Her ears stiffen up and her wings flare out sharply at the *thump*, due to the natural affinity pegasi have to weather in general, and in a flash of lavander she bolts closer towards the shore. "What in the name of Celestia's heavenly hindquarters was -that-?"

The other weatherponies bravely working the clouds seem similarly thrown into a tizzy much like Windrose's. This earns a look of surprise from the seapony soldiers milling about, who have frequently been sparing glances up to boggle at the *flying ponies.* So strange!

The orb is very, very carefully lifted from its holder and brought down to an open crate, which seems to have plenty of padding and a round slot made specifically for the sphere. The soldiers set it inside and are quick to start sealing and securing the box, then bring it down towards the beach. Rill observes this idly, then turns to nod to Lorelei.

"We'll be able to help contain the storm… to an extent. I am not sure if you are familiar with these Storm Batteries, but they only transfer the energy, they do not eliminate it. The process is delicate and our supplies are limited, so we cannot disarm the storm entirely. Still- we should be able to prevent it from getting any worse from here on out." She turns to look down at the water once more. "We'll have to hope we find the sea witch before then. I don't know if I can believe she's actually concerned for the lot of you, but she holds the key towards stopping this in any case."

A soldier near Windrose pads her way over, metal hoof-booties going tink tink tink against the cobblestones, and leans in to peer at one of her wings. Real feathers! Goodness!

Crescent plops her rear down in the sand as the chunk of storm vanishes, containing itself in the strange orb. She scratches the side of her head with a hoof, "Well I'll be…"

Windrose's lips pucker in an 'oooooooh' fashion. "So its like a lightning rod!.. but it stores energy instead of just redirecting it. And… like… from the whole storm instead of just lighting… actually, forget I even tried to make a comparison, I'm sounding like an idiot." That strange sensation shook her up quite a bit, that's all.

Then she leans a little to the other side as the soldier fusses at her wings, giving him a really strange look somewhere between confusion and fluster. "Yes? Where are you from that you've never seen a pegasus before?"

Yeah, that part hasn't quite dawned on her yet.

Stormsailor comes back to grab another sandbag— the one pinning Rock'em this time! "Come on, don't laze about," he says chidingly to the bodyguard pony. "Your boss isn't a big fan of that, she'll throw a fit if she catches you lying down on the job."

Rock'em whimpers. "help me-' when Stormsailor does just that! A great breath is gasped in from the bodyguard pony, struggling up to his hooves with a cough and a grunt of acknowledgement towards the 'responsible' sailor. Sock'em snickers under his breath, but both of the goons acknowledge the need to get back to work and do just that, back to sandbags. Since with the slightly calmer storm, they're going to have to probably…move some of the barriers to slightly more useful spots. Or something. Useful.

Lorelei nods, watching the Storm Battery with interest. "…I think I've heard mention, but never seen." She looks back out at the Spire, sighing softly. "But anything that can help keep the town intact is welcome. Thank you all for your help, truly."

The soldier peering at Windrose's wings looks up with a start, then shuffles his front hooves. "U-uh," he stammers. "They're just real pretty, that's all." He glances up, catches the Captain giving him an eyeballin', then turns and romps off to get back to work.

Captain Rill looks back to Lorelei, and nods. "We'll be set up here on the beach until such a time as this crisis has passed. The assistance of your weather team will still be helpful. Otherwise, please advise your citizens to keep an eye out for the sea witch and to let us know if there are any further sightings of her."

She turns to face the soldiers again, and barks a few orders down below. "Make sure that crate is tight! I don't want it blowing up underwater if Bobber cruises into a reef after a glowfish again!"

The turtle waggles his flippers as the crate with the storm battery inside is lashed to his back. He's apparently Bobber. He apparently likes glowfish.

"Ooooooooh kaaaaaaay then." Windrose still looks confused as the soldier flusters and hurries off, but just sort of shrugs it off as the kind of weirdness she's grown almost uncomfortably use to seeing around the Harbor. "… And why are they transporting it underwater…" Though its debatable if anypone even hears that.

Partially because she's distracted by the comments about the weather team. A snap of her wings holds her upright just off the ground, just so she can salute with one forehoof. "Don't worry ma'am, we'll keep doing our best to keep any stray clouds or elementals from causing too much trouble." Pause. ".. err, not that I'm in charge, but Jellybean is busy elsewhere in town doing just that I bet."

Crescent giggles a little at the curious soldier investigating Windrose's wings. After he walks away, she turns to the pegasus, "Curious fellow, isn't he?"

Windrose shrugs her shoulders in return to Crescent. "This whole place is 'curious'." She even uses her hooves to make that quotey mark gesture. "You get use to it after a while. Welp, I better get back to work." Thus putting the whole odd incident behind her as she flaps her wings and makes off to check on the other dike builders.