Hibernation's End
IC date: Spring 17, 1007
OOC date: April 7, 2012
PCs: Manyara, Snowfield
NPCs: None
GM: None

The sun is sinking low on the horizon as afternoon gives way to evening, casting a warm orange glow across Horseshoe Harbor and lighting up the great ice crystal in the middle of the water. Though slightly smaller than it started out a week previous the crystal is still large enough to take several weeks more to melt on its own, a dangerous proposition both for the ships sailing in and out as well as a certain pony who hasn't been seen in a week…

A tall, slim creature picks her way carefully across the ice floes, hoofbeats light enough to barely stir the melting chunks. She had, for once, forgone her cloak, all the better for being less noticable in the orangey glow. She moved carefully, but with purpose; her eyes never strayed from the tall ice crystal in the center of the harbor, a small smile on her lips.

The ice, mere hours from breaking into floes of its own accord, crackles beneath the purposefully placed hooves but does not give way to the frigid waters below, allowing safe passage to the central crystal.

A closer look at the crystal reveals the source of the rumors that some fel creature might be sealed inside the harbor: backlit as it is by the setting sun over the ocean a small form is silhouetted inside of the ice, hardly larger than a child and curled up as if sleeping.

Manyara peers calmly up at the crystal as she approaches it, then narrows her eyes to look in at the frozen form. She gazes into the crystal for a long moment before stretching out a hoof to *taptaptap* at the ice, horn glowing faintly golden.

The ice is EXTREMELY solid, like something straight out of a glacier. The tapping of Manyara upon it has about as much effect as—

Oh, hey, magic. The crystal cracks easily beneath her gentle ministration. Lines spiderweb out at every point of contact and chunks of ice begin to flake away after the first fiew impacts, making way for a large dent to be slowly but surely carved out of the crystal and inching the abada ever closer to the creature frozen in time at the center.

The abada's smile widened as the ice gave way. She continued to tap at it gently, breaking it away bit by bit, careful to leave enough of the crystal intact to give herself places to step as she neared the center.

Larger pieces of ice begin to slough off of the crystal as Manyara taps away, making her way deeper into the crystal. Eventually she weakens the structure to the point that the entire upper half of the block breaks away, falling to the sides and piercing through the surface of the harbor with a great crash of shattering ice.

Revealed in the middle of ice, still buried from the waist down, is the small, slim form of Snowfield. She doesn't shiver now that she's exposed to the ice but that could be for any number of reasons, few of them good.

Manyara looks the little pony over, giving the ice around her a few more taps to make completely freeing her a bit simpler. She leaned forward to give her a gentle nudge with her nose, possibly in attempt to rouse her, possibly just to shift her so she could better reach the ice. Her horn never lost its golden glow.

Completely freed from her ice prison and nudged into consciousness, Snowfield looks up bleary-eyed at the strange being before her. Such thin features, and two horns… this can't possibly be a real creature, can it? "Are you the Bone Mistress?" the mare asks weakly. "I thought you'd have wings."

Manyara gives a warm, lightly amused chuckle. "No, my dear. It is not yet your time to be meeting her." She knelt down carefully. "Would you like assistance to shore?" she offered good-naturedly. "You managed a good run out here, it's a bit of a trot back. But I daresay the sand will be a warmer spot to recover yourself."

Snowfield's gaze turns towards the distant shore over Manyara's shoulder. "…yeah, well, it was either get all the way out here or destroy the town. I didn't want to stoop to Salty's level." She tries to stand up on her own, legs wobbling under her weight after having gone a week without using them. "No, I'll be fine," the little unicorn protests even as she slips and stumbles over the uneven remains of her prison.

Manyara nods obligingly and stands again, though she kept close enough to her to assist should she stumble too much. "I'm sure the town is quite grateful for that decision!" she stated cheerily, smiling down at her. "It was quite an impressive burst of magic, I must say. Freezing the entire harbor over… waves and all, and saltwater too! You must have potential for great power."

"It was beautiful and terrible," the unicorn mumbles as she makes her way towards the shore. She doesn't seem to have any trouble with slipping on the melting ice, although the unevenness of the harbor gives her trouble. "To have that much power flowing through you at once… it echoes in the mind like a harmonious cacaphony, if that makes any sense?" Snowfield must not have her wits about her just yet if she's opening up so easily to this strange being.

Manyara smiles and nods agreeingly. "Oh, it does indeed. Weilding such power can be a frightening and lovely experience." She glanced down at her. "It's a very unique feeling, I'm sure. Magic is a strange and living thing."

She climbed carefully over a wave, somehow managing to stay graceful even in this usually awkward kind of movement, and turned back to assist Snowfield if she needed it. "The town has been quite abuzz with theories as to exactly what happened… I daresay you've made something of a legend of yourself, though nopony can quite agree who or what caused the sudden freeze." She smiled warmly down at her. "So you don't have to worry much about a sudden gain in interest in you specifically to be a bother."

The nice thing about breakers is that they're only unclimbable walls when you're going out to sea. Coming in is much easier, one just needs to be mindful of footing while jumping down from their crests. Snowfield takes the waves slowly, inching up close to them, crouching as low as she can and swinging her back hooves over the edge to minimize the distance of the fall.

"It's just as well," she continues to say quietly, perhaps still assuming that Manyara is just a product of her mind as it recovers from stasis. "I don't like dealing with other ponies, the less I'm hassled the better. I look foward to returning to my cottage and resting undisturbed for a time."

Manyara nods. "Some time at home will do you good, I wager. Rest and recover. You've had a while there in that crystal… but after that burst of magic, more time to recover is certainly not a bad idea.

Snowfield stumbles to a stop and stares at the setting sun. "…how long has it been? It hardly feels like any time at all. One moment all I could see and hear was the rush of magic out of control, and the next it was silence and…" She strains to find words to describe her self-imposed stasis. "Fading lights? Light and darkness flowing into and around each other."

Manyara glances down at her. "A week, I believe. If I have my days right. It's Friday past, the seventeenth day of Spring."

"How strange," Snowfield says to the sunset. "It most certainly doesn't feel like a week… magic truly is a strange and fickle creature." She turns and begins moving towards the shore again, the pair having almost reached it now that they've crossed the breakers. "I still don't understand how it happened. Ever since New Years Eve nothing seems to be working as its supposed to. Perhaps there's some truth to that accursed pegasus' curse talk after all."

Manyara nods, looking a bit thoughtful herself. "It is unusual. Such a powerful burst rarely happens on its own. Especially not without the caster's control. It certainly would suggest something out of the ordinary going on."

Several long seconds are spend in silence as Snowfield considers the abada's words. "I can't think of anypony who I've slighted that would have the power to suffer a hex upon me," the finally says upon reaching the shore. "I do what I can to leave other ponies alone and be left alone in kind. I do not see myself as the sort to associate with friends nor enemies alike."

A significant time has passed since the journey back to shore began, and by now the sun has set below the horizon and the last traces of orange in the clouds are disappearing along with it, making way for the starry blue blanket of the night sky. Still, the unicorn does not stop, cutting across a block so she can walk down a back alley rather than down the main boulevard of the town and in doing so avoid anypony finishing up their last business of the day.

Manyara seems to consider this for a moment as she walked with her. "Perhaps something more incidental in nature," she suggested after a moment, twitching an ear towards her. "No ill will towards you in particular, but something more widespread. After all, are you the only pony having strange occurances beyond their control?"

"The only one I know for sure is Jellybean," Snowfield says, considering the events of the past two weeks— no, three weeks, she must remember that one has passed in the interim. "Unless you cound that idiot stallion who crashed a dirigible into my cottage, or the silly unicorn who was prancing about town summoning flowers whever she went. Her lavender was exceptionally robust."

The tiny unicorn shakes her head. "I can think of nothing which would thread those occurances together. The stallion wasn't even in town when the events started and I had never encountered the mare before that day, nor seen her since as I recall."

Manyara smiles faintly, eyes twinkling. "Ah. But so many little, seemingly insignificant things can be connected by unknown strands. Perhaps they are related and you just are unable to see the thread yet. Who knows what it is that ties such things together? Never rule out even the remotest possibility. There may be a web in the weaving that nopony can yet understand."

Snowfield gives Manyara a tired look. "Brilliant, another master manipulator," she grumbles. "So are you behind the magical mishaps? Because if you aren't then you're playing a dangerous game, 'cause you seem to know what's going on but are hardly lifting a hoof to help." She hopes it's the latter, bad enough they have ONE Salty who is actively ruining the town with her shenanigans.

Manyara chuckles and shakes her head. "No, no, dear. I am neither behind it nor do I know particularly much about it. I am, in this situation, just a mare who enjoys speculating. You see, I can admire a well-spun web." She looked down at her. "I am certainly willing to help, but to tell the truth, this is the first I've heard of such issues! I am new in town, and with all the talk of the frozen harbor, I have heard little else in the way of rumors. Only what you've told me just now. But I am intrigued… a Pegasus thinks he's cursed? Your magic not obeying your whims? Another Unicorn seeming to be suffering from an inability to turn off her magic? It's interesting, is all, and speaks of possible connecting factors."

"Of course," Snowfield says in the tone of voice that implies she trusts the abada's words about as far as she can throw the taller pony. "Well, whatever the cause, I don't know what the relation might be. I hardly come into town, so unless it's a curse born from the magics of the Wintersong Forest then it wasn't sourced from me." Considering the facts before her, Snowfield bets it's Jellybean's fault. This seems like exactly the sort of accident that would be his doing, the bum.

The town is not a particularly large one, and even now the couple is leaving the main street (or at least the alley behind the main street) and approaching the outskirts. "I know not where you make your home, Observer, but mine lies the way of the forest, so we likely part here."

Manyara nods good-naturedly, not seeming at all put off by her tone. "Well alright. I am glad you are well after that whole ordeal. I wish you a good night… and feel free to stop by my tent if you ever feel so inclined. It is not far from here, difficult to miss." She smiles and shrugs one shoulder lightly. "Perhaps I can be of some assistance beyond mere speculation."

"I doubt that," Snowfield says dismissively. "I'd rather trust my own powers than rely on another's." She begins to trundle off into the night, making it several paces before stopping. "…though I appreciate your aid in the harbor, regardless." It's the closest the unicorn has come to thanking anypony, a world first.

Manyara chuckles. "Well, maybe just for a chat then. Or a quiet lunch. You're quite welcome, Snowfield, I am glad I found you well. I hope you have a good rest and a pleasant night."

With such well-wishes given and somewhat received in turn, she turns to head back towards the hills.

Snowfield 'hmph's noncommitally and continues on into the night. Unfortunately, she won't make it all the way to the forest— between the exhaustion from her ordeal and her legs still weak from so many days not using them, she grows too tired to make it all the way back to her cottage tonight. Luckily, somepony built and abandoned a lean-to against a tree stump halfway there. How convenient!