Little Black Rainclouds
IC date: Winter 7, 1007
OOC date: December 26, 2012
PCs: Rising-Chaos, Spindrift
NPCs: None
GM: None

A lot of things have been dredged up from the bottom of the harbor, lately. Old ships, well-worn hunks of driftwood previously mired in the ocean floor, rocks and kelp and shells and the bones of fanciful sea creatures. Not all of it is getting incorporated into the growing, tower-like mass of the Spire- much of it is washing up on the beaches. For those interested in the castoffs of the ocean, it's fun times!

But not all castoffs are fun to find. One of them huddles on the beach, tail curled and forelimbs folded such that she can assume a diminutive profile easily shrouded by a black cloak. From afar, Spindrift might just look like a dark rock or a chunk of inanimate something, but closer inspection reveals her true nature readily enough. She's much as she was the other day, simply watching the storm and waiting, though why she's doing it from a beach a ways down from the docks of the down is anybody's guess.

Nearby, the Black Eyed Elemental lurks, likewise huddled downward into a single, hill-like mass of swirling sand and fog, its dark eyes sleepy as it looks up towards the town. Seems it's playing watchdog while its mistress does watching of her own.

This beach has seen a lot, over the past few days. Sorrow, doom, and once, even a bit of joy. Rising Chaos walks along the beach slowly, back to where she found her Queen only a few days ago. She comes in from the direction opposite town, it seems she's walked up and down the beach several times. Before she reaches her destination, she spots the form on the beach. Curiosity overwhelms her and she approaches. Soon, the true nature of ti is revealed.

Rising's first instincts are to recoil, run away, hide. But she doesn't care enough to, and where would she go? Instead, her plan defies logic. Slowly she joins Spindrift on the beach, laying down beside the mare without a sound. She lays her muzzle on her forelegs and looks out at the maelstrom.

Rising Chaos' mind races with possibilities. for a while, the nervousness keeps her from saying a word. Eventually, however, it's conquered and she finds herself able to speak, even if it's nonsensical. "I have no regrets, you know that? Not one."

As Rising approaches, the black-eyed elemental shifts slightly, turning to watch her. There's no audible communication between it and Spindrift, but a moment later, she shifts slightly, a gleam of sea-green visible below the ragged black hood and behind the hanging curtain of dark mane. She keeps a close eye on Rising as the unicorn approaches, her whole body tensing visibly under the wet shroud that hangs over it. She seems ready to burst into action, though it could be to attack or to flee.

And she remains that way for several moments after Rising settles, watching her, waiting, only gradually beginning to relax after that unusual conversation opener. The seapony stares for a moment before resting her head back on her folded hooves. "Do you think I expect you to regret anything?" asks Spindrift in an edged tone. After a moment she shifts slightly and speaks again, a bit less confrontationally. "The pirate. Did she live? I left her on the beach after she fell into the water the other day."

Rising-Chaos shivers and winces at Spindrift's confrontational tone. She's more than comfortably aware of just how much danger she could be in right now. After a moment she gets herself back under control. "I don't expect you to do anything Spindrift," she manages, her voice shaky. The mention of Queen Pegasus makes her shiver again, she's laying near the spot Queenie was washed ashore. "Yes, the Queen lived. I made sure of it." A sigh follows her words, she may as well get this out of the way. "There's one thing that confuses me though."

"And you're asking me?" responds Spindrift, turning slightly to watch Rising once more, clearly suspicious. She turns her head to look up the beach, then, taking note of who else is there. Nobody. The unicorn appears to be alone. Spindrift settles back down. "… what is it?"

Rising-Chaos notices the suspicious looks, and shakes her head. "This isn't some trap, or trick." She's being completely honest, she has nopony who would even WANT to back her up. She's completely bare, not even wearing her ever present cloak, which is torn to pieces at home. "I am currently unable to even perform magic." She grimaces, admitting that hurt. "What's confusing me is you. You can't seem to decide on anything, you keep contradicting yourself." She shoots a glance the mare's way. "You are a smart mare, so why can't you get your story straight?"

Spindrift shifts slightly, rolling the weight of her body from one side to the other. She's still wearing her heavy, collar-like phylactery, so she's still in full seapony mode, and therefore hardly a graceful presence on the sand. Propping herself up on a coiled tail seems to help a bit, but only so much. "Perhaps I am only inconsistent because none of you have ever understood why I did this," she answers. "You assume it is petty vengeance for Brume, when it is not. You assume my goal is to hurt everybody, when it is not. You assume I want to harvest power, or fear, or to enjoy the suffering this is causing, when I do not."

She settles back down. "Brume and I never came here looking to destroy anything, you know. We were looking f-" She catches herself, and pauses. "We had other business. The nonsense with the Elements and the frozen world… that was just bad timing."

Rising-Chaos shakes her head again, it seems spindrift has her own preconceived ideas. "I had assumed nothing of the kind, about your intentions. In fact, I am trying to believe you when you speak of your intentions, absurd though they may be." She's silent for a moment, wording her next sentences carefully in her head. "I ask because, though you claim to not want anypony to suffer. You actively cause it, intentionally or not. I do not see a mare such as yourself being so shortsighted with the consequences to your actions. So I'm trying to believe you Spindrift." The comment about Brume confuses her for a moment. "I don't care what business you and Brume had here. It was none of my business and I never sought to stand in your way." She grimaces, now for the scary part. "Are you so naive though, to think that intentions are more important than actions?"

The black-eyed elemental yawns mightily. One would be right in asking why a creature that doesn't breathe and has no lungs and doesn't sleep needs to yawn, but then, such things are mysterious. It has disregarded Rising for now, instead looking up towards the town.

Spindrift shakes her head. "None of this is noble or heroic," she says. "I realize that this is an ugly solution to the problem, and I've made myself into a monster in pursuing it. But it has to happen sometime. Horseshoe Harbour will fall eventually. Better now, when it can be guided, when its people can be given the chance to leave, than in another fire that will not give them such a chance. And if not a fire, then something else. A pirate takeover, perhaps, by a crew not so easygoing as the Dread Pirate Saltlick's."

Rising-Chaos shakes her head. "You misunderstand me again Spindrift. The only problem here is with you, and your inability to see what's clear in front of you." For the first time a hint of emotion creeps in to her voice, but it isn't anger, it's pleading. "You think these ponies will leave? How many dozens will starve or die in the Everfree? How many more will have their lives ruined as you destroy their homes and livelihoods. Fires can be fought, Pirates repelled. What you are doing here is dooming the residents of a town, save for a few. And why Spindrift? To destroy this town? One that, according to you, creates misery and suffering? Meanwhile, all I've seen are stories of hope and joy, ponies raising families… Finding love." Her voice becoming more and more shaky as she speaks. As she says the last line she sounds almost in tears. Taking a moment to compose herself, she lies her head back on her forelegs. This is all a bit much right now.

As Rising's pleading tirade plays out, Spindrift stirs, turning her head, watching the unicorn. Her expression is predictably impassive, though there's a brief flicker of something in her tired eyes. She considers Rising for several moments after she finishes, before sitting up a bit herself, legs pushing her forequarters up into a quasi-seated position. "If I didn't know better, I'd say you were starting to grow attached to this place. I am surprised- I thought you beyond empathy." The seapony gazes glumly out to the sea. "Or perhaps you are simply skillful with your choice of words." Spindrift shakes her head again. "The people of this town are resourceful. They will not suffer so greatly. You land dwellers are…" She pauses. "A welcoming bunch. Refugees from another town, crossing the mountains from their ruined homes? They will find shelter elsewhere. Or am I that mistaken?" Spindrift's jaw sets as she stares at the distant Spire. She moves to say something else, stops reconsiders, then shakes her head, looking away with a shudder. "Why aren't they leaving? Don't they understand?"

Rising-Chaos just keeps her head on her forelegs and stares out to sea. "As I've said before, I do not care for this town. All I can do in understand." And it's true, as far as she's concerned it could burn. She was close to burning it down herself. "They aren't leaving because this is their home. They have lived here all their lives and they love it. You think they want to live as guests, refugees in some other town? Their livelihoods are here, destroy this town and you are tearing lives apart." The sea is oddly soothing, in it's chaotic roiling nature Rising can find a measure of peace. "You've already hurt some Spindrift, hurt them badly. Or is it their fault as well?"

Spindrift doesn't respond for several moments, turned away from Rising, reaching up to wipe the rain and salt spray off her face and push some of the ragged locks of her dark mane back out of her eyes. When at last she finishes, looking back to the sea, it is with a cold and measured composure. "If this is about the pirate, save your breath. She lives a life of violence and conquest, and it will end with violence unless she sees fit to change. This will happen whether or not I am an agent of her end. And lest I find myself swayed by your words I must remember it is -her- consort that is speaking them."

The seapony rears up and turns to face Rising, eyes narrowed. "She is so much -beneath- you. I don't know what benefit you find in your arrangement with her but ultimately she will hold you back. It is… distressing to watch."

Rising-Chaos twitches at the mention of Queen Pegasus, but says nothing. She keeps her silence the whole time Spindrift speaks and a few moments afterwards. "I wasn't talking about her. She brought that pain on herself by challenging you." She shivers, looking terrible. Suddenly the sea is the opposuite of relaxing and she turns away. "I guess it doesn't matter though, who I was talking about. Since you don't seem to care." She pauses again, when she resumes her voice sounds shaky. "Why don't you just end me and get it over with?"

Spindrift maintains that reared posture, watching Rising closely. "I've no interest in ending you," she says, simply enough. She stares for a few moments, lips tense as though ready to belt out any number of harsh follow-ups, but she hesitates at last, lifting her chin. "… who else did you have in mind?"

Rising-Chaos growls, the suspense is killing her. "Of course you don't," she says, her voice harsh. "Of course not. I'm probably so far beneath you that it hasn't even occurred to you." Shakily Chaos gets to her feet. "I don't know why I'm wasting my time here. It doesn't matter who you hurt, obviously." She takes a couple steps away before dropping back in to a sitting position. It's been a trying couple weeks.

Spindrift pushes herself more upright, now standing up as much as she can, to face towards Rising. "You mean yourself." She pauses. "Always you have been loathe to show weakness, Rising Chaos. Why, then, did you come here now, speaking openly of your vulnerability? Is being destroyed by me really the only conclusion you can be satisfied with?"

Rising-Chaos keeps her back facing Spindrift. "I came because everypony deserves another chance. And because I don't think you really hate this town as much as you claim." She turns around, doing her best to keep her face void of emotion. "That thing around your neck is poison, it's effects are even now tearing me apart. But even that will not stop me from challenging you." She's shivering constantly by now. "I can't beat you, so I wanted to reason with you. I am not losing, I am not failing again!" the volume of her shout seems to startle her and she turns back around to cover her embarrassment. "If you persist, I'll send a letter to Canterlot. We'll see if you can match the power of Celestia, Luna, the royal guard, the elements of harmony. I am not failing again."

Spindrift meets that placid gaze, staring Rising Chaos down, then narrows her eyes once the unicorn turns away. She reaches up to tap a hoof against the Black Heart. "You're very right- this thing IS a poison, one I doubt I myself will survive wielding. In this you can be sure, Rising Chaos: eventually, you will be the victor, here, and this cursed thing will be cast back into the sea." She drops back, then, and reaches up to wipe her face once more. "And write your letter if you so choose. By the time the royals deign to look towards this frontier town, it will too late for them to intervene."

Rising-Chaos sighs, all anger gone from her voice. she's spent, terror has been around her so long that she's just tired. "I won't, you know well I won't send that letter." She stares at the ground, face completely blank. "But you're wrong, I won't be the victor." She stands up and starts to walk away, back towards town, which takes her across where Spindrift is sitting. She maintains her posture, no shivering, no expression as she speaks. "Because I give up, you win. Are you happy now?"

The black-eyed elemental stays where it is, eyes alternating between watching the town and watching Rising, who started to be interesting once more when she started yelling. Even if that has passed, though, it continues to monitor her, though it seems more curious than cautious.

Spindrift is settling back down into the place she was when Rising first came upon her, tail curled up and hooves folded, soggy cloak drawn close. "No," she answers, then nods her head up towards the distant Spire. "Not even I can claim this vile thing is a victory."

Rising-Chaos walks in to town. In one way, a great burden is lifted from her shoulders. In another, the weight of yet another failure, yet another loss drags at her. It's just another small drop in the ocean though, she'll survive. She ignores Spindrift's last comment, it doesn't matter any more. Nothing matters any more.