Lesson Learned
IC date: Spring 70, 1007
OOC date: May 31, 2012
PCs: Lavender, Siyana, Snowfield, Manyara

It felt like an awful long trip back to port, and it wasn't on the same ship they set sail on. Nor was the whole crew still present. The Syndicolt, under the Mad Mare's direction, had sent the S.S. Mirage to the bottom of the sea, captured Fidget, and taken Sadaka for purposes that may have been wholesome (but stole her all the same). Captain Lav's voyage was an utter disaster, not just to her mission or herself but also to her crew.

And indeed, the waves seem choppier, the wind whips up a little chill, and small gusts ruffle the sails of the Pride. It seems solely from the intervention of Stormsailor and this ship of his, the Pride of the Seas, that Lavender and Siyana survived the ordeal at all. Just as soon as the Pride hit shore, the formerly-terrified Lavender starts welling up with tears so bad she can barely see. "Mommy~!" She takes off like a shot, shouldering cargo and ponies out of the way.

Siyana isn't doing too spectacularly herself. As far as pirate voyages go, that was just awful. Friends are gone, the ship is sunk, ponies (homunculi or not) are dead. Finally, she's just about to put a reassuring hoof on Lav's shoulder when the filly takes off like a shot.

The zebra filly blinks, and then runs after. "Lav! Hold on!!" Maybe it'd be good to wash the blood off her face before she sees her mom. Maybe.

But Lavender doesn't pause to listen, or maybe even hear, and starts galloping uphill back towards and through the town, oblivious to the red stains on her purple coat. The sight is a very unnerving one; some adults unlucky enough to be standing by are treated to the disturbing sight, but at least the blood is someone /else's/ and the filly does seem to be in an awful hurry to get somewhere. Eyes pressed almost shut, navigating the town mostly by memory, Lavender runs to (and by association leads Siyana to) a particular house.

It's a humble house, but a large one. Two stories high, it looks like it's managed to survive the worst of the town disasters thus far. From inside can be heard the voices of fillies, and of kitchenware: also the smells of some kind of carrot and potato stew. All in all, an inviting place. This is a family house, with an atmosphere about as far from piracy as one could possibly get. Lav runs towards it, sobbing.

"Lav! Lavender! /Captain/!" Siyana shouts, but she fails really to be heard through the filly's grief. Still, she darts after, not willing to leave the girl alone for right now. Of course, she looks a sight herself, missing a few teeth and blood smeared on her coat as well. But y'know. Pirating! Yarr!

Lavender jumps up on her hind legs and starts pounding on the front door, and looks over to Siyana as she catches up. "Oh Celestia I'm so sorry everything went so wrong I need my parents you can come too I should have never been a pirate~" she wails, and just keeps pounding until the door opens up. An apple-green earth pony mare stands there, and Lavender bursts into the inviting house, sobbing her little heart out, hugging her legs. With tremendous alarm, the mare puts a hoof around Lavender. "C-come in, both of you! Oh you poor little fillies, what in Equestria happened?!"

Siyana shakes her head. "Lav, really, it's okay!" But words fall on deaf ears. She gazes up at the earth pony mother bashfully. "Hi, Missus Lav's Mom. Sorry to bring her home like this…" But she slinks in after, feeling rather out of place.

The mare shuts the door behind the little fillies, pulling Siyana in close just the same as Lav, comforting and patting them as best she can (but rather worrying over the blood). The kitchen noises are mostly gone now, and several foal-heads are peeking in from around the kitchen door, trying to suss out what's going on.

Lav stammers, "I got in trouble with p-pirates…" The yellow-green pony looks between the two of them, and seems especially confused with Siyana. "No, no, it's okay but…Where are you ponies' parents? I'll get you bandaged up take you straight home!"

Siyana blinks a little and looks at Lav, and back at Lav's mum. "Oh, /my/ parents? My dad's back on the Destiny but they can't get past the blockade right now. But that's okay, I'm fine. It's mostly Lav who's shook up." Okay she's a little shook up, but she'll survive.

The mare kneels down to hug them both, and gestures a more orange-colored pony over with her head. "Oh, you poor sailor ponies you…All trapped here without your parents…Don't worry, we can take care of you or find you somewhere. There's always space, there's a spare bed and everything, Sienna go fetch us some water and towels." The stallion scoots off to the kitchen and starts gathering the filly-cleaning supplies.

Lavender blinks away tears in confusion, and backs away a bit. "Mom…We gotta keep Siyana here…And when did we get a spare bed? It's all packed in the bedroom, always has been…" She wibbles, but a look of dread is settling onto her face. It's confirmed when the green mare replies, "You must be so confused, and I'm so sorry but I'm not your mother…"

Siyana blinks too. "But… Lav, did you get the wrong house?" She seems pretty doubtful, but still she eyes the earth pony up and down. "I don't think she did, ma'am…. If this is a prank, it's a really /bad/ one." Pout.

Lavender stares in disbelief. "Mom?… Chartreuse? It's me, Lavender, I'm your daughter…your daughter who keeps running away and getting in trouble…" When it doesn't get the reaction she was looking at, she runs off towards the kitchen to leave a confused Siyana with her once-was-mother.

"Gamboge?…Olive?…C'mon, it's me, your sister…" They stare. "Daa~d! Come on, please, it's me! Lavender! Dad, you can't do this to me!" She runs back out to the front room, sobbing, tears and now-wet chimerical pony blood running down her face.

Siyana stands frozen, watching this. Her eyes are wide, ears back; she has no idea what she's seeing. "I…Lav… Ma…maybe we should leave. C'mere…" She tries to reach for her friend to embrace her and lead her out.

Lavender whimpers, dazed, and buries her face against her zebra friend's shoulder. "Oh Celestia, what have I done, I don't know what to do…" She lets Siyana take her out, while her confused ex-parents look on.

Siyana leads Lavender out, brow furrowed, to sit on the family's stoop and hug the poor filly to her. "Okay, so, your parents don't remember you. Maybe there's magic at work here. Maybe someone's messing with you! Deep breaths…"

Lavender shakes her head, slowly at first, then wildly. "No, no! It's my fault, I made them not my parents any more and now I can't /ever/ get them back, it's my fault I wanted to throw away everything to be a pirate and now look where I am…I don't have a family, I got my crew killed, I don't even have a ship, what can I do, I should go run away into the Everfree!"

"No!! Don't do that!" Siyana shakes Lavender. "No! No, you know what? /No/." She stomps a hoof and stands up, looking quite obstinant. "You know what? You— you know what? I wished for my cutie mark and /that/ went horribly wrong. I think the universe's idea of what my special talent is is /CRAP/. Okay?! CRAP. And you know what? Your pirating expedition and your parents forgetting you? That's crap too! I think, I think we should demand a refund! Because— because this is crap!" STOMP.

Lavender's eyes raise to meet Siyana's with no small amount of horror. Pain and bloodshed and losing family is one thing, but cursing too! It's enough to shake her out of it, because all of a sudden they were both /grownups/, with /grownup/ problems, and in the end they apparently had to fend for themselves. Against, perhaps, a certain two-horned abada. "You know…you're right! It is crap! We should go make her put this right!" She's downright angry too! "And if we can't do that, I'm dragging you off into the Everfree too, and we're going to go /deal/ with things. Who needs pirates and parents and town and…and…sniff!" Here come the tears again.

"Pff, if she can't make this right, we'll go on a quest, okay? And— and part of that quest is gonna have to be gettin Sadaka back because— No, no thinking about that right now. Okay. Come on, right now, we're going to go!" Siyana stamps her hoof and then hops off the porch, turning around to look at Lav. "Come on, let's go storm an abada!"

Lavender gives a huff, then a nod. She likewise leaps to her feet, in a kind of battle pose, and whips her head and tail fiercely back and forth. "Yes! We'll storm her tent! And take back what is rightfully ours… our /lives/! Or we'll die trying." So /dramatic/. "Let's go!"

You're greeted by a wave of incense as you enter the fortune-telling tent.


An irate zebra filly stomps her way into the tent, flaming mad and eyes on fire. "WE GOTTA BONE TO PICK WITH YOU!"

The familiar wall of incense is apparently no barrier to pirates or copyists, seeing as one of each just marched right into the tent. Unfortunately their quarry is nowhere to be found! Instead of the two-horned devil who single-handedly ruined the two fillies' lives, the one-horned witch of the Wintersong Forest is carefully putting a Windigo's Kiss in a vase full of the rare flower on Manyara's table of assorted knick-knacks, between an empty heart-shaped bottle and a pegasus figurine of some variety.

Snowfield glances over her shoulder at Lavender and Siyana, horn ceasing to glow as she releases the flower into the vase. "You're a little late, the Watcher has stepped out," the unicorn says without concern.

Lavender runs up to Snowfield and stares her down. From eye-level, which is a pleasant sensation for Lavender at least. "Tell us where she went, /now/!" Huff, huff, she breathes angry steam from her nostrils. "We demand to have our lives back!"

Siyana falters when she sees Snowfield and not Manyara, righteous anger dialing back to mildly peeved. Which is just fine, since Lavender has A Thing Or Two to say. The zebra's face flushes with angry embarrassment though. She didn't want the little unicorn to be privy and able to go "I told you so." But alas.

Snowfield tilts her head curiously at Lavender, eyes looking over her blood-stained flank and tear-streaked face. "As I said, she went out," the unicorn repeats in what is almost a lilting tone. "She was unprepared for the terms of my wish and had to go fetch with what to sate my selfish appetites."

Lavender huffs again! "What did you ask for? Ice cream? With ice cubes? On ice… … ..?" She can't seem to come up with another word, so she puts on her best 'that's what I meant to do' face. "Where did she go? We are going to chase her down because we're sure not gonna wait."

Siyana moves grumpily over to the table to peek at the things on top, rather than put in. Lav can totally take over this part. Yep!

Snowfield narrows her eyes at Lavender's attempt to mock her and her cutie mark but does not grace it with a verbal jab of her own. "I don't know," she says firmly. "It is not my duty to watch the Watcher. She shall return here soon enough, if you are so desperate to meet her then take a seat."

The table is a little more cluttered than the last time Siyana was here, though there is still plenty of room for more trinkets. Where once there was only a small toy pirate ship there is now a variety of knick-knacks and tchotchkes. In addition to the vase of flowers, the empty heart-shaped bottle and the pegasus figurine (which upon closer inspection is actually a very small plush doll), there is also a partially unfurled scroll, held open by a quill and ink bottle resting upon it and bearing a half-finished illuminated letter.

Lavender takes a deep, deep breath…then exhales it slowly, trying to calm herself down. "I don't /want/ to wait here," she says to Siyana. But not seeing any other option, she sits down with great determination and strength, and promptly begins to sulk. "Why do they call her the Watcher, anyway."

Siyana squints at the stuff on the table, blue eyes narrowing. When she spies the parchment, she bristles and stomps her hooves on the ground a little, but doesn't do anything rash like throw things or anything. Instead she just stomps back over and sits on a cushion sulkily as well. "Yeah, I know," she replies to Lav. Huff. Sigh. "But at least it's better to wait here than run all over and miss her."

"'They' don't, as far as I am aware," Snowfield says as she turns and begins messing with Manyara's tea set, looking curiously at a selection of jars and phials filled with assorted leaves. "It's my nickname for her. When we first met she claimed she could not interfere, only observe." Her horn starts glowing as she unstoppers a phial and sniffs it cautiously. "Ooh, no, not that one, too sweet." The container is replugged and another inspected. "What business do you have with her, anyway? Both of your wishes were granted, were they not? Or are you here to throw away another piece of your free will?"

Lavender spies the model pirate ship when she catches where Siyana is looking, and then leans up to grab it in her teeth. She sits back down with the ship and looks unhappy. "Fffh. Wishes are overrated. They don't get you anything good and they just ruin your life instead. All of 'em. She's like some crazy…monster…pony, who preys on stupid fillies and steals their lives." She starts chewing on the model ship. "Stupid other fillies," she corrects herself. "We weren't. And she got us anyway."

Siyana snorts a little and kicks at the ground. "Well, she granted my wish just fine. The universe is just /stupid/, and this special talent is /stupid/. I'd rather just go as a blank flank for my whole entire /life/ than be an Illuminator. It's boring and it's stupid, and if that's my special talent, then /no way/. I'll find another." Sulk.

"Hah!" Snowfield laughs. "Hah hah hah!" It's a wicked, halting sound, filled less with mirth than it is mockery. Almost as if the unicorn is not used to the gesture and is simply going through the motions. The mare puts down her jar of tea leaves and looks back to the fillies, a slight smile on her face which doesn't quite reach her eyes. "Oh, my little ponies, didn't you know what you were getting into? How is it Manyara's fault that you're just silly foals?" She shakes her head. "Cutie marks and independence are the trappings of adulthood. Part of being an adult is suffering the consequences of your actions, no matter how ill-thought they may be or how much you regret them after the fact."

Her gaze drifts to the Siyana, a look halfway between pity and smug satisfaction on her face. "I may not have been around to warn our dear captain, but you, little zebra… I told you to your face. You wanted a cutie mark so badly you'd accept any icon grafted to your flank. I warned you that it was life-changing and you weren't prepared for it. As did the Watcher, as I recall. Something about the search being half the fun of the discovery? Tell me again how her trying to push you away is what caught you in her trap."

Lavender spits the ship across the tent, and stomps up to the Snowfield that's verbally assaulting her friend. True as it might be. "Hey now! There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to grow up. But she did it all wrong to us. Not only did she give Siyana the wrong mark entirely, she took my parents away! She gets something she doesn't even like, and I lose my whole family. I've got nothing! No one! Nobody at all except Siyana and Sadaka, and Sadaka's gone!"

Siyana huffs. "I never said she caught me in her trap or whatever! And I didn't think she gave me the wrong mark! I just think the universe's idea of what the right talent is for me is /wrong/. And if I gotta grow up to figure out what's right then FINE. I'd rather be blank until then! Cause I'm going to find my own dumb talent! One the universe doesn't have planned for me because the universe's plan /sucks/!" Stomp! "But Lav did get pretty shafted…"

Snowfield does not tolerate Lavender getting all up in her grill and counters by taking a step forward and leaning in close to make Lavender stumble back, the mocking tone in her voice replaced by a low, threatening one. "Did she take them away? Really? Or did you give them up? I know not the terms of your agreement, little captain, but this sort of magic doesn't work in a void." She takes another step forward. "Equivalent exchange, they call it. You must have /wanted/ your parents gone. I bet they were getting in the way of your fantasies of pirates and adventure so you wished them away. It's a shame you got the short end of the stick, but /you/ are the one who decided what was most important."

The unicorn spares a glance at Siyana's little rant, looks back to Lavender, then abruptly turns back to Siyana with eyes widened in surprise for a moment. "…hmph. Your ink is running."

Lavender starts out with defiant fury, but turns her head to the side in red-faced shame when Snowfield suggests she gave her parents up. She grits her teeth, hard, and looks away.

Siyana's ears flick back as Snowfield rebuttals Lavender. Especially at Lavender's response. But that is not her fight. … Of course, when Snowfield mentions that her "ink" is running, she blinks and looks around her in confusion. "My what is what?"

Lavender is no longer a concern for Snowfield, she's clearly hit the nail on the head. Instead she clarifies for Siyana, "Right there. On your flanks. It's running."

The cutie mark on Siyana's flank, sure enough, is glistening like wet ink. The stylized letter being drawn by the quill glimmers in the diffused light of the tent, dripping slightly as if the quill was a little too heavy with ink when it was put to the parchment. Actually, the entire cutie mark looks like it's been smudged a little and a good rub of the hoof might wipe it right off.

Lavender turns and runs right up to Siyana. "It's…Your mark! It's starting to drip off!" She stands right to one side and starts to do just that, clean that mark off with a hoof. "I think you might be free~!" Of course, whether it actually comes off it uncertain.

The mark comes off easily under Lavenders hoof. Incidentally, Lavender's hoof is now covered in blue ink.

Siyana leaps up, looking at her flank in confusion and kicking one back leg. "What?? What, really? It's going away?!" And that might just be the happiest little sans-two-teeth grin a little filly has ever sported. She lets Lav scrub at the mark, watching in earnest. OHMYGOODNESS.

Snowfield sits down and considers the two fillies. "Looks like she has a soft spot for children after all," the little mare says with carefully crafted apathy.

Lavender's eyes widen more and more. She keeps at the pawing and gets the fake cutie mark off of one side, then hops around in a half-circle to the other and continues until Siyana's flank is properly blank once more! She starts scuffing her hoof on the ground to try and get it clean. Of course, she's still kind of a mess herself, but she's tremendously happy all the same. "Oh Siyana, I'm so glad for you!"

Siyana looks from flank to flank, clean as a whistle, and starts tearing up in honest-to-god(dess(es)) glee. And bounce! There she goes hopping excitedly in a circle. "It's gone! It's gone! I'M FREE! I'm not an illuminator anymore!!!" Eeeeeeeee!
Siyana (will get back to sympathizing with you in a sec, here, Lav.)

"One might be able to make an argument for that," the soft voice lilts from the tent entrance. "I wasn't aware we had more guests! It's a good thing I got plenty of supplies." And indeed, Manyara steps into the tent with a basket of myriad flower petals floating at her side, and a fresh loaf of bread visible in her saddlebag. She sets the basket down on the teatable, smiling. "Ah, hello, little ones! I see we seem to be celebrating something?"

"Ah, Manyara, excellent timing," Snowfield says as she circles around to place the two fillies directly between herself and the abada. She takes a step forward and aims to nudge Lavender forward. "Our dear pirate lord here was just telling me how she was going to give you a piece of her mind for some imagined slight or another. Isn't that right?"

Lavender gets up, growls, and charges straight at Manyara…which winds up with her running in small circles around the curious creature's legs, not letting her away for a moment. "We are not celebrating /yet/! We are not celebrating until we get my parents back. I'm not a pirate anymore! No! Never! Ixnay!" She takes a quick jaunt away from her circling to punt the chewed model pirate ship in Snowfield's direction, then comes back to Manyara again. "You stole my family away, you horrible, horrible person!"

Snowfield's horn flares to life and catches the ship mere inches from her nose in an icy blue aura. "Touchy touchy…"

Siyana bounce! Bounce! Bounce! — skiiiid. Siyana faceplants onto the ground, and then scrambles up again to see Lavender attack Manyara. Though the look on her face says she doesn't really /condone/ attacking the abada, she also doesn't /stop/ it, either, instead standing by to watch skeptically. And curiously. And elatedly! FREE

Manyara blinks, looking down at Lavender before weaving expertly around her circles to step free — and forward towards the table, merely to set down the bread. No attempts to escape being made here. "Oh, dear. Stolen? Child, I'm afraid there is some misunderstanding! I would never think of taking such a thing unbidden." She looks down at her, gaze gentle and perhaps a bit sad. "It has been a trying day for you, I can see."

Lavender starts whimpering again and goes from rage to burying her face in Manyara's leg…dried blood and all. "Ponies /died/, Manyara. They weren't real, they were the ship creations, but they were /my crew/ and it was so horrible. I wish I neverI meanNo! I don't wish everything! I want it to all go away. I want my family back. This all went so wrong…"

Siyana slowly trots over to lay a hand on Lavender's back, frowning gently. "It's okay, Lav. We can get it fixed. Right?" The last is directed worriedly to Manyara. (What a day to be accosted by overreactive bloodied fillies.)

Manyara immediately moves to hug the little pony gently, giving a soothing croon. "Such things /are/ horrible. And it is painful to experience them. But with adult dreams come adult responsibilities… it is not easy, wanting to grow up so fast." She can't help but smile a bit at the quick backtracking on the 'I wish', but it's more a knowing smile than a mirthful one. She leans down to look Lavender in the eyes. "Sometimes we all want things we're not ready for. It can be hard to know what's truly important until one has experiences without it."

Lavender sits up on her hindlegs and puts her forehooves up on Manyara's shoulder, "Please…Please, miss. I just want things back to the way they are so I can grow up like I'm supposed to. I don't think I wanna be a pirate, but if I'm gonna, it's supposed to be once I'm older…and…right now I just need my parents."

Siyana pets Lavender's back. Pet pet pet!

Snowfield is not concerned with the sobbing filly and any related mothering being done to her. She's fiddling with the teas again, trying to find something that smells pleasant enough to drink— Celestia above, is this one made of licorice? Yech, what a scent!

Manyara nuzzles her comfortingly, smiling and nodding faintly. "Indeed you do. And I'm sure they miss you." She glances between her and Siyana. "Don't try to grow up too quickly, little ones. Enjoy what you have while it's here… family, friends, yourselves. These are wonderful years." She gives a small chuckle. "It's trite, I know, but true." She looks back to Lavender. "I cannot solve all your troubles, nor should I. But I hear your convictions, and I can return something of what has been lost. While you're welcome to stay for supper here, I do imagine your mother's stew will be much more warming after such a trying day."

Lavender looks up, her eyes all welling up again "Th…Thank you ma'am..!" She looks back at Siyana and wibbles, then hugs Manyara tight and bolts back out the door without much more than a moment's hesitation, whether the zebra follows or not. A conversationalist she is not, at the moment.

Siyana perks considerably, beaming for Lavender. And as the girl darts out, the zebra pauses unsurely, not sure where to go, and not sure if she should really but in on that family reunion. But she pulls up to her hooves and bobs her head to the abada. "Thank you, ma'am, for that. … Um …" She glances at grumpy Snowfield and thinks better of asking to stay, instead turning to scamper out. "See you!"