Into The Woods I
IC date: Spring 26, 1007
OOC date: April 16, 2012
PCs: Lavender, Sadaka, Siyana, Snowfield
NPCs: None
GM: Snowfield

Today started out a great day! With the town having been utterly destroyed by the Nabber's Curse all of the adult ponies were busy with construction and telling their foals to stay out of the way to avoid getting hurt. This lack of watchful eyes was more than enough opportunity for certain fillies to get into mischief… of course, nopony expected outright DANGER to be on the menu today.

As afternoon gave way to evening and every tree continued to look the same as the last one, one might get the feeling that perhaps a botanical tour into the Wintersong Forest wasn't the brightest of ideas.

"I'm sure that if we just walk this way we'll find our way back to the trail, Cap'n Lavender," Siyana announces, faithfully using Lav's new moniker as much as she can. "I'm almost totally certain that we have not seen that rock before." They have. "And I can tell you with a hunnerd precent accuracy, that it is still early enough in the day to get home before dark." It's not.

Lavender follows right behind Siyana with head held high, bearing that everpresent captain's hat. "Excellent work, navigator! We'll find that scary forest pony in no time at all. Lead on, with boldness and gallantry~!" She prances in place a little bit.

Sadaka trots along after them, not looking at all concerned -- she was, in fact, looking around quite curiously. She'd never been this deep into the forest before! It was… confusing. But she felt she was… sort of starting to recognize things? Maybe. Possibly. She thought she'd seen that rock before, anyways. But she didn't want to mess up any new friendships, so she kept her mouth shut. Well, on that matter, at least.

"So what kinda cutie mark do you think you're gonna get? Do you think it'll really work? Mr. Blackbird says cutie marks are special an' that magic can't make 'em show up unicorn or not, but maybe this is different! What's she want a flower for, anyways, is it a magic flower?"

Siyana doesn't seem to worry about all of Sadaka's questions -- she has questions herself, of course, in general. "I dunno! Maybe something to do with flowers, like my dad! I like flowers. And -- and she asked me what I'd give up for it and I said I'd find her a special flower, and Miss Hayseed said that Miss Snowfield knows where to find special flowers, but I know that Miss Hayseed knows about special flowers too but she didn't tell us about it probably because Miss Hayseed was almost eaten by a Monster yesterday. That's what I heard. It was a flower monster. Maybe she swore off of flowers?" She uses her stubby little legs to try to march in time, at the head of the pack, but the uneven ground made for lots of stumbling and staggering, and not at all a decent marching beat. Still, she persevered.

Lavender runs up alongside Siyana, then makes a galloping circle around her despite the uneven ground, around Sadaka, around an elaborate and sometimes-confusing figure eight before eventually stumbling a bit and regaining her previous following position. "Was it a monster monster? Because I know there were these scary plant things before but I thought she was just being all dramatic." She coughs. Maybe it wasn't as simple as all that. "I dunno, I'm just so excited that you're gonna get your cutie mark! You're probably even going to get yours before meee," she says, but it's more thrilled than jealous. "I don't see why magic wouldn't work, because this isn't even like normal magic. It's all weird and spooky and maybe it's even more powerful than Princess Celestia herself!"

Sadaka blinks in surprise, pausing mid-step to ponder this. She… still wasn't entirely sure who Princess Celestia was, but she had certainly gathered that she was something big and important and powerful, and the idea of something more powerful than however powerful she was was startling.

"Wow," she finally managed, moving again. "I want my cutie mark too! But… I dunno what I'm good at. What if I'm not good at anything? Can you get a cutie mark in nothing?"

The sun continues its slow descent towards the horizon. Not that the trio of Cutie Mark… er, Pirates? Whatever they are, it would be difficult for them to discern the passage of time as anything but a slow descent into darkness.

Oh, and a distinct rise in creepy background noises. Growls, howls, hooting owls, and other miscellanious things that prowl of whom you wouldn't want to run afoul are waking up for the approaching night. That's a good indicator of time.

Siyana is really good at walking out front, even when Lavender crosses paths and runs in circles around her! Really, she's great at it, chest out, head high … but with it descending into darkness, her posture descends too. "I dunno! Maybe you already have your cutie mark and it's blank cause it's nothin'?" Siyana doesn't mean this meanly, really she doesn't. It's just a logical thought! The brave little zebra is less brave now though, as she trots a bit slower, and a bit…hunchier. "I-I'm pretty sure it's this way…" She takes a hard left. Because why not!

Lavender lowers her head a little bit as the noises start to rise in volume. She doesn't jump at a sudden owl cry! She just…decided to take a look around from…a little higher up…in the air…shut up. "Um, you're sure? Navigator? Because aren't you supposed to go by the stars to tell that? And I don't see any stars." She drops back closer to Sadaka, partially because she feels safer that way, partially to keep a better watch over the other zebra. "Don't worry, you'll get something…"

Sadaka doesn't look at all uneasy at the animal noises. Maybe she should have, but… she'd slept in the forest for weeks! She was used to them, and had only ever actually seen like… maybe four owls. And two bears. And some squirrels. What noises did squirrels make? She didn't think they… howled like that. Maybe she'd never seen whatever it was that howled. But none of 'em had ever done anything to her! So they must be safe.

"It's hard to see any sky through all these trees… wish we could fly." She tilted an ear. "I'd like to fly. I'll bet that's fun. Wish I had some wings. Can we be Pegasuses?"

Something that sounds terrifyingly like a low snarl comes from the general vicinity of 'directly behind the trio'. And then everything goes absolutely quiet for several long…



The silence is abuptly broken by the *snap* of something stepping upon fallen twigs.

Siyana pauses, and looks back at Sadaka with wide eyes. "Oooh! Maybe I shoulda asked for that! You should wish to be a pegasus, Sadaka! That'd be so cool! A Zebra pegasus wo-- YIPE!" She leaps onto Lavender, clinging like a limpet. "What was that?! Was that a monster? M-m-maybe we shoulda asked Cap'n Mwai to come with us. I dun wanna meet the Bone Mistress yet!"

Lavender whirls around at the noise, eyes wide open, and promptly jumps between the source of the noise and the other zebras--well, one of them anyway. She seems to be bearing the other. "Avast! Who goes t-there," she asks in a voice that starts out loud (from the surprise) and trails off into quiet (from the quaking of her entire body). Soon after that she starts to back up towards Sadaka at a measured, rapid pace.

Sadaka spins as well, startled by the noise but somehow still distinctly not scared. She's not particularly brave… she just doesn't know any better! Well… she's not scared at first. But her companions' reactions are rather quickly changing her mind. Maybe this was a bad noise.

"What… what's there? …What's the B-bone Mistress?" That didn't sound… pleasant. She took a few steps back herself, ears twitching. "…M-maybe we should… move…"

Whatever is lurking in the trees does not respond to Lavender's challenge. Whatever innate magic is giving the forest just enough ambient light to see by, though, reveals what might be movement between two trees.

And between those two trees, too.

And the trees over there.

There's another rustle of leaves being brushed in passing.

Siyana jumps and squeals at the movement, and releases Lavender. "B-Bone Mistress takes ponies away to become stars when they die," she stammers, before the movement around them makes her spook completely and run.

Lavender gives a not-so-small shriek! "Sadaka~~..!" she says, trying to keep track of the zebras. She tries to back away from the noises, quickly finds it impossible to do so properly, then glances back to look at Siyana who's already turned tail and ran! She justifies her fleeing as pursuit of her good friend!

Sadaka squeaks in alarm, backing up quicker and nearly toppling over herself. Or a root. Or a rock. She really wasn't sure. All she knew is by the time she'd recovered her balance, the other two fillies were away! "H-hey! Wait for m-me!" She whirled and dasked after them, hooves skittering on the uneven ground.

Lavender bolts right after Siyana, but sees that pond before she hits it--she's had enough of skidding in the harbor already! With a plume of forest debris she doesn't quite stop, and finds herself sliding out onto the ice, barely keeping her footing on all four hooves. "Siyaaanaaa! Is, is there a monster? I'm coming!" She starts running in place to try and get toward that waterfall, but merely drifts that way.

With a good few yards of warning, Sadaka manages to skid to a stop before hitting the slippery surface, hooves throwing up dirt a bit as she dug in to halt herself. The sudden stop may have kept her from sliding out onto the ice, but didn't quite stop her from toppling face-first onto it. Ow.

She picked herself up stiffly, front hooves clicking on the ice, back hooves still in the dirt, and looked around. "Are you guys okay?!" She called out after them worriedly.

Nothing leaps out of the trees to eat the fillies… yet.

Siyana scrabbles and squeals, trying in turn to run toward Lavender but only managed to drift in place herself before faceplanting like Sadaka. "I heard growling and I dunno and I just wanna go back to the ship!" she wails. "I don't wanna get eaten by Timberwolves!"

Lavender continues to slowly drift across the ice towards Siyana, and out in the middle of the pond she finally gets a good look around (as she does spin a little). "I'm fine…and Siyana's fine too, mostly. Hey, do you see that over there?" She lifts a hoof, and promptly faceplants onto the ice before picking herself back up and gesturing with her nose. "There's a light." She tries to scrabble over towards the side of the waterfall.

Sadaka sighs slightly, looking relieved that they were okay. "What's a Timberwolf?" Wait, maybe she didn't want to know. She didn't want to be eaten by anything, really.

She blinks and peers over at the waterfall. "Hey… yeah, I see it too… something's… glowy."

Closer inspection of the waterfall's glow reveals that there's a gap between the ice and the rock wall behind it, and that the source of said light is DEFINITELY coming from within that gap. The space is just wide enough for a pony to squeeze into, though a grown draft horse would have a lot of difficulty managing it. Whatever is chasing the three fillies probably doesn't stand a chance of making it through.

Siyana throws herself down on the ice and crams her hooves over her eyes. Very good offensive posture, that. Great for attacking chasing monsters! But by the time Lavender scoots by, she squeezes an eye open. "What?" She turns and looks at the waterfall, and blinks. "It's glowing!" Stating the obvious, especially after the other two already points it out. Brilliant!

One good thing about Siyana: she's got totally limited attention span. She forgets entirely about whatever's following, to scramble over to Lavender's side. "C'mon, Sadaka! Maybe we can get in here and see what's around!"

Lavender lets herself finally hit the waterfall, reasonably gently. She leans against it, braces herself as she moves forward towards the glow. "Do you think there's magic or something? I bet it's warm at least, girls…and it is starting to get real cold and dark out…C'mon Sadaka, you don't want the Timberwolves to get you out there."

Sadaka squeaks at the thought and scampers onto the ice, slipping and sliding clumsily towards them, doing her best to steer herself. "There's a way in? We're going back there? What's back there?"

A surprising sight greets Siyana, Sadaka and Lavender once they get through the waterfall. The tiny tunnel gives way to a small cavern, walled on one side by a thick sheet of ice. It's illuminated by a lantern on the ground, a crystal inside of it giving off the ethereal blue light that could be seen from outside. Several shards of ice of varying sizes cover the ground, at least in the places where blankets don't.

Oh, also Snowfield is here. Her horn is aglow the same color as the lantern, as is an ice chunk the size of a grapefruit floating in front of her half-carved into a pegasus. She doesn't say anything to the three girls, instead opting to just sit there, stock still, staring at the fillies with an expression half way between shock and confusion.

Siyana squeeeezes through the gap and practically faceplants into the new area, blinking a little. Ice! And a lantern? And-- "Snowfield!!" Siyana's up on her hooves and running toward the similar-sized filly. "We been looking all over for you!!"

Lavender's eyes widen, big as dinner plates as she looks around. "This place is amazing! Is, do you think there's treasure?" Then Siyana diverts her attention to Snowfield. "Oh! It's her! Hi Snowfield!" Perhaps a little brighter, she keeps her distance.

Sadaka stumbles through the opening, still trying to get her purchase on the slippery ground. "Oh… neat! What's this, like, some sorta ice cave hideout place thing… Oh! Ms. Snowfield!" She brightened, ears perking. "We've been lookin' for you! Do you live here? This is so cool!"

Having a little zebra rushing towards her is enough to bring Snowfield back to reality. She drops her half-finished ice sculpture, which shatters against the ground without magic holding it aloft, and takes a few cautious steps back as she lowers her head warily. "Why are you here?" the unicorn asks as she casts her gaze across the three youths. The fact that they've apparently been searching for her makes her even more leery of them.

Siyana bounces obliviously toward Snowfield. I'm sure from her side it looks like a slow-motion, deep-voiced monstrosity of a creature: 'Snooooowwwwffffiiiiieeeellllddddd!' But in reality, Siyana is quite quick, and practically on top of Snowfield in no time. "Hayseed I should talk to you about flowers!"

While the zebra is conversing, Lavender is sidling around the edge of the cave, looking at all the things. Like ice carvings, and blankets, and…ice carvings. And where that light is coming from. She is very distractable.

Sadaka hangs back as well, looking around curiously. She was particularly interested in the carvings… these were pretty. And shiny. And… icy. She'd seen snow, sure, but this was new. And interesting. And preeeeetty.

Despite her size, Snowfield is not particularly agile under normal circumstances-- put some ice under her and she'll skate circles around you, but the rock floor of the cavern isn't doing her any favors tonight. She takes another step back and finds her flank resting against the wall of the grotto. "Flowers?" she repeats. "You wandered into the Wintersong Forest, at night, to ask me about… flowers."

Her bright blue eyes glance again between the three little ponies. They appear to be trying to divide and conquer her cavern, with one questioning her, one looking at her Norwhinnygian blankets, and the third prodding her sculptures. "You dumb foals," she sighs, not bothering with that 'tact' thing she's heard of. "You're just begging for a meeting with the Bone Mistress."

"Well… it wasn't night when we first tried to find you…" Siyana reasons, "It just kinda turned into night by the time we got here. It's kinda hard to navigate the forest! And I gotta get a flower for the weird lady in town. For my cutiemark!" She bounces, getting a bit closer. "And it's okay! The Bone Mistress won't bother with us tonight. We found you first!"

Lavender makes a nervous "nngh" sound and starts scooting back towards the entrance, pressed up against the wall. "Hey Siyana? I mean, she doesn't sound that happy to see us. Are you sure we have to stay here? Maybe you can get your flower somewhere else…"

Sadaka blinks and glances up at Snowfield's tone, biting her lip and tilting an ear. "…Are you mad, Ms. Snowfield? We didn't mean to be here so late, we just got lost, and Siyana really needed to ask you about something… and we didn't know you were in here, we were just trying to get away from the Timber-thingy…"

Snowfield gives Siyana an incredulous look. "You need a flower for your cutie mark?" She's about to question the 'weird lady in town' line when a certain pirate captain begins making moves towards the exit. The unicorn shoulders Siyana out of the way and glares at Lavender. "Don't you dare take one step out of this cavern," she says sharply. "I will not have your blood on my hooves tonight, do you understand?"

She waits to see if the filly takes the hint and sits her flank down before her attention turns to Sadaka. "What in Equestria could be so important about this flower that the three of you would come into the forest looking for me? Nightfall aside, this is a dangerous place at the best of times."

Siyana shakes her head dismissively at Lavender, turning to face the other two foals. "It's just Snowfield," she counters, apparently believing in the intrinsic goodness in everypony. And especially when Snowfield stops Lavender from leaving, she seems perfectly satisfied. "Well, the weird lady in town with the two horns? She's like a zebra but not! And she said, she said she could grant wishes, and I wished for a cutie mark, and she said I had to go and get a very special flower for her. And Miss Hayseed said I should talk to you because you know where to get very special flowers. And I'm not afraid of the forest." Nevermind that she was running and screaming not ten minutes ago. PISH TOSH.

Lavender hits the ground at Snowfield's chastisement. "I thought you were a nicer pony," she not-quite-wails. Then she stays there and decides to sulk for a while as Siyana explains her predicament.

Sadaka blinks and shrugs. "I… dunno, I wasn't there… but I spent a lotta time in the woods at night. Not this far in, but nothin' ever happened to me…"

"Oh," Snowfield deadpans when Siyana reveals who the flower is for. "The gypsy. That explains it." She sits down and raises a hoof to rub at her temple. "She'll want something rare with intrinsic magic. Something like a Frost Catcher or a -- I am saving your life, thank you very much, it doesn't get much nicer than that -- or a Windigo's Kiss."

The unicorn opens one eye to look at Sadaka through her bangs. "The dangerous creatures rarely wander out of the forest's depths, I imagine the scariest thing you've seen is probably an armored bear. They leave you alone if you keep your distance from their young."

She once again considers Siyana's words and the zebra filly's reasons for going on this misadventure. "If you're foolish enough to come this far into the forest looking for a flower, I don't imagine there is anything I can say which will disuade you from your search, is there?"

Siyana rolls her eyes behind her blue bangs. "No," she replies with a little childish huff. "Because we came all this way! And I don't wanna hafta do it again. Come onnnn, Miss Snowfield! Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?" Oh, yep, that's a pleading face.

Lavender looks worried at 'armored bear', and also a little ashamed. "Sorry Miss Snowfield, and…No, you can't diss-ade us, and besides we kind of have to stay here tonight anyway, don't we?" The cave suddenly looks a whole lot smaller to her.

Sadaka tilts her head curiously, noting the names of the flowers -- well, she assumed they were flowers -- that Snowfield mentioned. Not that they meant anything to her. She knew what frost was, and 'catcher' was easy, but what was a Windigo? Or a kiss, for that matter. She could sorta kinda maybe guess what a Frost Catcher might look like, but she had no clue on the second one. She shuffled her hooves, reeeeally hoping Snowfield wasn't going to make them go hunt for mystery flowers on their own again.

Siyana doesn't even get halfway through her drawn out 'please' before Snowfield's hoof is at her mouth silencing her. "I can show you where Windigo's Kiss grows near here, but I shall only show it to you if you do exactly what I say. Is that clear?" Lavender's outburst prompts a hard stare from the unicorn. "You most certainly do. My first order is that none of you are to leave this cavern until daybreak, and you are not to leave the pond without my escort. You're lucky to have found me, I can get you back to town from here come the morning, but it's a fool's errand trying to track somepony lost in the forest." Sadaka does not get a personalized response from Snowfield because she didn't actually say anything out loud.

The forest witch moves between the ponies to the pile of quilts that Lavender had been examining before. "There should be enough blankets here to cover you for the night, but if I were you I'd sleep together under the pile. It'll be warmer if you share your heat than just trying to ward off the cold." She moves some to the side to reveal a large blanket at the bottom. "Make sure that one stays on the ground, it's the thickest and helps make the floor more tolerable to sleep on."

Lavender 's lip quivers a little. She's still not sure what to make of this all…what a strange mix of kindness and toughness. She does take the initiative with the blankets, tugging them into a more managable pile for three fillies with her teeth. Then she looks up, "Umm…Maybe I shouldn't ask but, isn't it always cold for you, being all alone?"

"--eeeeeaaaa--mmf!" Siyana gets a hoof to the mouth, and she blinks. At least she's well-trained enough to know when to shut up, and now is clearly one of those times. She nods each time to Snowfield's words. Yes, she'll follow her orders. Yes, she'll stay in the cave until daybreak. Yes, she will not leave the pond without her. Yes, she will huddle with the other fillies for warmth. Nod, nod, nod. "Aye aye, Miss!" she finally adds. "Thank you, Miss Snowfield! You're the BEST!"

Sadaka all but bounces over to help Lavender, a good bit cheerier now that Snowfield had agreed to help them. "Yeah, thanks, Ms. Snowfield! We'll be good and do just what you say!" She had no hesitation to spend the night out here. It was an adventure! And it didn't really occur to her that anypony might, y'know, miss her for a night.

Lavender's question gave her pause and she blinked, ears laying back a bit as she glanced over at Snowfield. It wasn't… so bad to be out here all alone, but… she clearly remembered it being… well, lonely. "Is that why you come into town sometimes? So you aren't all alone all the time?"

Snowfield cocks her head at Lavender's question. She considers for a moment simply telling the pirate wannabe to shut her yap, but something in her restrains the sharp words long enough to say, "I hardly notice. I've been alone since I left my home to seek my fate and after so many years you adapt."

She nods at Siyana's single-minded agreement to the unicorn's terms, only frowning at the last bit where she is declared 'the BEST'. "I'm doing it for the gypsy, not for you. You're not the only one in debt to that watcher."

Sadaka's question elicits a huff of annoyance from the unicorn. "Hardly," Snowfield begins. "I go to town for supplies. A pony can't survive on winter berries and melted snow alone." It absolutely isn't because she desperately craves pony interaction, nosiree. She turns her back to the three fillies and begins to snake through the cavern exit, having a far easier time than the other girls did despite her equal size. "Go to sleep, all of you. I'll be back shortly with something to eat in the morning."

Lavender lets out a small, long sigh and settles down onto the blankets. "Okay Snowfield… Thank you for letting us stay here." She flattens out the other blankets around her to make space for the others.

Sadaka frowns and looks down, nodding slowly. "Oh… okay… y-yeah, um, thanks." She scuffed a hoof, shyly moving to settle down on the blankets and stifling a yawn.

Siyana doesn't seem to care that her compliment is rebuffed, and instead the ebullient zebra scampers over to join her friends under the covers. She scoots in roughly, bumping the others and settling in. "Our adventure continues tomorrow!" she says cheerfully, as she nestles down and yawns, closing her eyes. All that running for your life is exhausting!

There is a very 'Harumph'-esque sound from the direction of the exit when Lavender thanks the retreating Snowfield for her hospitality, but no other response from the miniature pony. She'll be back within an hour with a collection of berries and mundane flowers to munch on come the morning light, hopefully arriving at the grotto to find the three fillies have fallen asleep and won't be asking her any further prying questions.