Look to the Stars
IC date: Winter 42, 1007
OOC date: January 30, 2013
PCs: Brume, Dream Daze, Goody Horseshoes, Heartsong, Lavender, Magpie, Muzaji, Ruby Blossom, Skyflower, Thunnini
NPCs: Eddy, Tale Chaser
GM: Diamond Dog

Since the surface ponies returned from the temple of the Faceless One, there hasn't been much in the way of progress regarding the focus of their journey. The city of Silver Shallows has continued to serve as little more than a wet sort of vacation spot rather than a place with real answers.

At least until today. "Tale Chaser has an idea!" explains Eddy, as she rounds up interested ponies, either drawing them from their rooms at the hotel, or chasing them down in the streets, or whatever it takes. She's very good at finding ponies when she wants to. "He says he needs a bunch of, um, living ponies to help him, and anybody interested should meet up with him near the elevator at dusk. He seemed very motivated! I can't wait to see what he has in mind, ha ha ha!"

Dusk has arrived, though as always, there's little sign of this down here at the bottom of the sea- a bit less light filtering in from above. Eddy is milling about in the broad, domed plaza at the base of that elevator in the center of the city, looking up every now and then to take note of who is showing up. As insistent as she is on finding everybody and offering them the opportunity for tours or spa treatments or adventure, she is surprisngly okay with people never actually taking her up on the invitation.

Thunnini is waiting around in her borrowed water-cart, old broom in hoof to help her push herself around in the dry regions of the city. She's curious as to what Tail Chaser's idea is, and is looking forward to hearing it!

Dreamy comes trotting up to the elevator! Right on time and all that. She'd been meaning to chase Eddy down anyway, though it seems now may not be the /best/ time to ask questions and get answers and whatnot. So she opts for a wave and a smile and a curious perk of her ears, ending up mimicing Eddy's own milling-about posture for something to do while other ponies show up.

Skyflower wouldn't dream of avoiding this. She wants to be here to help, even if she's been… distracted. Yes, that's it. She's milling around, trying to look thoughtful and determined.

Heartsong blinks and looks about sheepishly as she heads into the plaza, blushing. She's not /entirely/ sure she's the sort of pony one would want to show up to such things. She's not the most academic, or the best at puzzling, or the most adventerous. But she /is/ living, and, well, that was what was requested, right? So here she is, hoping to help. Somehow. …Why would 'living' be a requirement, anyways?

Magpie coincidentally wanders by the elevator area about twilight. She certainly wouldn't be showing up here for the meeting, not after getting unceremoniously kicked out of the libarary for /no good reason/ when she was just trying to help and/or nuzzle at Chaser. But seeing as there's a growing crowd, she might as well come see what it's about. Y'know, in… in case there's pockets she can pick or something.

It's not long after ponies start showing up that Capt. Goody shows up. He's got his 'fancy' new saddle bags packed with him. There's an addition his ensemble though, most likely forethought based on the last adventure. An interesting looking sword hilt extends from a just as interesting sheath clipped underneath one of the bags.

"Thunnini! Always a pleasure," chirps Eddy, moving to take place behind the seafilly's cart and help push it a bit. "Dream Daze, Skyflower! Thank you for coming to help. Not that… not that I know what it's with." She turns and directs a wave to Magpie. "Magpie! Over here! Oh, Heartsong! And Captain! Yay, you all made it!" She claps her front hooves together for a moment, grinning broadly. "Hopefully Tale Chaser won't be much longer… ahh! There he is now."

Here he comes indeed. The young colt has a little wagon hitched up to him- it's a small wagon, but even that looks like a bit much for the scrawny little scholar- and he's industriously tugging it into the plaza from a tunnel to the north. He glances up as he approaches, eyes darting through the gathered group, taking quick stock of how many warm bodies are present, then tucks his head down into the tuggin'. Scrawny and overburdened he may be, but he pushes through it with pure grit. The wagon is stacked with a number of small bags, sealed up, along with a large device that looks like a telescope mounted on several heavy bronze legs- albeit a telescope with half a dozen different lenses and a variety of dials. There are a few books in there, too, and you know how books are.

"This everybody?" he asks, panting a bit as he draws close. He does another little count. "Okay, this will work. Thanks for coming, folks…" He trails off a bit as his gaze nears Magpie, and he looks more at her hooves than her face. "Eddy, can you get us a spot on the elevator?"

"At once!" burbles Eddy, tromping off to where merchants are queueing for the next ride up to the surface. "OFFICIAL SILVER SHALLOWS BUSINESS!" she hollers, taking charge of the ponies managing the queue and making sure the party gets bumped to the head.

Magpie crosses her hooves over her chest and glowers at the sea-view wall. She keeps shooting glances at Chaser even though she clearly isn't here for him and obviously isn't going to help him with his stupid plan or whatever. Dummy.

Skyflower peers curiously at the wagon and the contents of said wagon. Clearly an explanation is forthcoming. "Oh my. Good shouting, that one. Capital shouting. Job well done."

Goody-Horseshoes looks around the area for a bit, his brow a little low, "Any sign of Muzaji? I would expect she'd be here for this."

Thunnini looks at the telescope-like thing quizzically, inestigating it as best she can without actually touching it - after all, this thing is odd enough, who knows what it will do if poked the wrong way!

Magpie coincidentally wanders by the elevator area about twilight. She certainly wouldn't be showing up here for the meeting, not after getting unceremoniously kicked out of the libarary for /no good reason/ when she was just trying to help and/or nuzzle at Chaser. But seeing as there's a growing crowd, she might as well come see what it's about. Y'know, in… in case there's pockets she can pick or something.

Not quite done with her mimicing act, Dreamy marches right up with Eddy to pretend like she's also shouting! Yay shouting! …But the novelty wears off quick and she scampers back to the rest, setting herself down next to Thunnini and waving at other ponies whom have gathered about. …And after that? She stares. A that telescope. Oh wow that's a good lookin' piece of hardware.

Eddy soon finishes her business and returns to the group, smiling brightly. Half a dozen merchants bumped into the next ride back up to the surface look a bit miffed, but them's the breaks. The perky near-filly shakes her head to Goody's question. "Nope! I did run into her in the market today to let her know but, well, I guess she had other things to do."

The elevator arrives from its latest trip from above, hydraulics hissing as it slows and settles into its little round groove in the floor. The ponies on board begin to disembark, heading off the side opposite where the party gathers. Tale Chaser, glancing anxiously at Magpie every few seconds, gnaws at the ground with his hooves, his little art of myriad goodies rattling and creaking behind him. "S'okay. I think we have enough," he murmurs, in response to Eddy.

Eddy quirks a brow and glances over. "Enough for what, anyway? Why are you being so cagey with what you have in mind?"

Tale Chaser jumps a bit at the question, looking away from sulking Magpie to Eddy instead, his expression distraught. He's on the spot! He HATES being on the spot. "It's, uh, it's hard to explain, s'all…"

Suddenly Ruby - standing right near Tale Chaser, y'know in the spot Maggie would prefer to be at the moment. "Yeah, what do you have planned?" she brings a hoof to her muzzle "Or are the things you have planned for Maggie to inappropiate to speak in public?" rolling her eyes upwards and to one side while hiding a broad, mischevious grin behind her hoof. Turn about is fairplay, Maggums!

Heartsong blinks, tilting an ear curiously and leaning up a bit to try and take a closer look at the cart. She's curious, too! But trying not to be nosey. Well… okay, trying not to /appear/ nosey.

Goody-Horseshoes frowns a bit at Eddy's response, but this means he's in charge of the group in more ways than before so it can't be too bad. He walks up alongside Heartsong and smiles, "So, what do you think it is?"

Skyflower 'ahems' delicately behind a hoof. "Though I too have a weakness for gossip, Ruby, I think that perhaps we have more pressing matters to attend to?" She gives a smile to Tale Chaser. "Go on, darling, tell us what you've in mind, there's a love. No rush."

Magpie scootshuffles over just a tad to sit on the edge of the elevator. She blinks and flushes red, shooting a DEATH GLARE at Ruby. She whirls back to address the wall. "As if she'd do ANYTHING with that — that — pointy headed — bookworm — catfish! He's probably gonna sacrifice you all on an altar or somethin' anyways."

Tale Chaser startles once more, going from on the spot to being… being someplace even worse, his mouth hanging open and his eyes wide. The question that follows doesn't help matters, ane he sputters and looks away, pink tone turning even pinker. "I wasn't… it's… it doesn't have anything to do with…" he stammers.

That's about when the elevator is unloaded and it's time for everybody to get on! Huzzah! Escape! The colt lunges into his harness and pulls the little cart up onto the broad, flat platform of the lift, gaze averted from every living thing ever.

Eddy watches, then turns to gesture at everybody else. "Okay, folks! We're up. All aboard!"

Dream-Daze hops up into the elevator, bouncing on her hooves. Whatever's going on, it sounds exciting if it's got ponies all sorts of flustered. Secrets are the /best/ adventures.

Heartsong shrugs slightly, blushing and trying to keep her voice down. "I'm… not sure. There's some big… tube thing? With glass an' stuff all over it." Yeah she's never seen a telescope before in her life! She shrugs a bit, blushing and moving to follow the cart out. "…Do you have any clue what we're doing?"

Ruby-Blossom throws her weight forward into a playful, overly exaggerated trot as the elevator arrives - following Tale Chaser's lead. "Hoo~" is her response to Maggie's little outburst. Reaching out to gently ruffle Tale Chaser's mane with a hoof amid her energetic strides. "High tension moments are the best time to take light heart." she offers a strangely large smile to the group as she turns to plant her flank on the elevator. "Or maybe I just have more trust in all my friends and the other ponies about town than the rest ya'll?"

Thunnini wheels after Tale Chaser, thinking that there are several ponies in this group who are being rather silly about emotions and things.

Lavender scrambles up from where she'd been out of earshot, distracted by food stands, when she sees Dreamy get into the elevator. "Oh I am not gonna get left behind!" She takes a place next to her filly friend.

Skyflower joins everypony else in the elevator, swishing her tail this way and that. "Be that as it may, Ruby darling, it's a question of distraction from the matter at hand. We can always make probing questions later, don't you think?"

Dream-Daze totally flank-bumps Lav for joining up with them! She shoots her filly friend a mental image of the whole group of them in dark cloaks and /spy/ looking outfits, infiltrating some base filled with weird ponies in evil-looking masks. That's totally what she's thinking is about to happen.

Goody-Horseshoes shakes his head with an honest smile, "To be honest, Tale Chaser seems to have been keeping it a bit under wraps, so I haven't got a clue!" He laughs at the foal's shyness as he walks onto the elevator.

Lavender gets all wide-eyed at Dreamy's image, and buys into her story in a very nearly literal way. "Whoa, this just keeps getting more and more exciting." She kinda wiggles with the anticipation of good trouble.

Ruby-Blossom lazily rolls her head to one side then the other before agreeing "Oookay." she sighs in that defeated manner foals often do before hopping to her hooves - only to sit back down again; gotta behave!

Oh how she would love to snoop in that wagon. But whatever Tale Chaser is planning is the only lead they might have now, so Muzaji is forcing herself to behave. Not that she isn't giving the wagon a disconcerning eye on and off. "I just hope this works, whatever it is."

Thunnini is managing to remain patient while waiting for when Tale Chaser's plan will be made clear, but the energetic nature of her friends is certainly contagious.

"Now now, whyever should we doubt this charming young colt?" Skyflower seems perfectly happy to wait and see. Her mood does seem rather good today: this no doubt has something to do with the fact that she's been seen stepping out with her Brobdingnagian beau here in the city of the seaponies.

Tale Chaser ducks his head at the mane-ruffling, then reaches up to fix his glasses and straighten out his mane a bit. He's still blushing and unable to help but keep flashing guilty glances Magpie's way. Standing off to the side, he waits as the party loads up on the elevator, blinking a bit at the arrival of new faces, but staying quiet.

It's a big elevator, so a few mechants- those that weren't bumped by PONIES with CONNECTIONS, that is- board as well, but they stay off to the side.

Eddy shoos the last few groups of stragglers onto the lift. The cordon that marks the edge is settled in, and with a hiss, the lift starts to rise towards the hole in the ceiling, and beyond that, the long shaft leading upward to the surface.

Glass windows soon open up on the walls of the elevator, offering a view of the city spreading out in all directions… the now familiar murky darkness of the water, and the starlight lanterns scattered throughout. Eddy takes a moment to admire the view, before turning to eye Tale Chaser. "You really should at least give us SOME idea, Tale Chaser, at least if there's going to be any danger involved."

Tale Chaser glances at her, then swallows heavily, and nods, looking down. "A-ahh… it's… it's not a very good lead…" He glances up. "It shouldn't… be too dangerous. I think I know what I'm doing."

Eddy glares.

Tale Chaser jumps. "We're going to talk to the dead," he blurts.

Magpie 's ears are laid back in annoyance. When Chaser starts to talk, one ear tilts his way, though. And at that comment, she spins around. "Hey! Hey, I was just kidding about that altar thing!" she protests.

Dreamy tips her head. She floats up another mental image. This time, instead of infiltrating a CULTIST BASE, it's a GRAVEYARD. With skeleton seaponies. Everywhere.

That's still a pretty good adventure in her book!

"That explains the telescope," Muzaji replies like this wasn't anything unusual. Then again, considering some of the mystism zebras are into, maybe she isn't surprised at all.

Despite being near Skyflower one moment, the next Maggie finds a comforting hoof on her shoulder as Ruby settles beside her.

Heartsong blinks and freezes, eyes widening and ears shooting straight up in alarm, wings flaring a bit. "We're going to /what/?!" This idea clearly does not sound like a good one to her! Although, granted, she might have quite a different view of how one might go about talking to the dead than most. Where /she/ comes from, the dead are not particularly sociable!

Lavender's wide grin doesn't go away. "Oh boy! Everyone else gets to play with dead ponies! This will be fun!" To a non-harborite, she probably sounds downright insane. Probably a little to harborites too.

Blink blink. Thunnini has an informed puzzled look on her face, the type where it says that a question was answered, which leads to several new questions on a different line of conversation. "So, how exactly are we gonna talk to the dead?" she finally asks once she finds the right words.

"Good heavens! Do seaponies have magic for that?" Skyflower can honestly say that she'd never heard of any such thing before outside of the more lurid fiction that usually stays outside of her reading circle. "What do you need us for?

Goody-Horseshoes perks up a brow. He puts a comforting hoof on Heartsong, "Looks like we get to go on yet another interesting adventure. Don't fear, though. The dead have many tails to tell us. You can learn a lot from them."

Heartsong prances in place. It's lucky they're in an elevator or she'd probably be prancing not-so-in-place. "Who c-cares about tails when they're t-trying to eat you?"

Magpie wiggles away from Ruby and shuffles hesitantly over towards Tale Chaser. "Is it Brume? We're gonna talk to Brume?"

Eddy's glare turns to one of outright suspicion.

Tale Chaser ducks his head and watches the floor. "See, this is why…" he starts, but doesn't finish the sentence, as everybody erupts into horror or curiousity or skepticism. He sighs and lifts his head and looks up. "A specific seapony. If we have the phylactery, we can do that, provided we're on the proper boundary between realms and enough energy is channeled into an aperture. That's… that's what all this is for." He reaches back to getsture at the wagon. "It's a bunch of the… the lesser artifacts from the archive's collection. Knick knacks. They're gettin' smashed to fuel the process."

Eddy gasps. "Artifacts! From the archives? You can't do that! The Curator-"

"The Curator tried to kill us all, an' now he's gone, an' -I'M- in charge," asserts Tale Chaser, voice quivering a bit. Eddy falls silent. Tale Chaser remains quiet as well, glancing about at the group.

At length, he nods glumly to Magpie. "I retrieved his phylactery from the Halls earlier today. It's in the wagon." He sighs. "I know he… he died before all this started. But he's…" The young colt falls quiet for a few moments. "It's the only thing I could think of. An' I have to do something."

He frowns as he looks up, to Magpie, and then to Goody and Muzaji, and so on to the other harbor ponies. "You guys aren't the only ones this is affecting. I'm sorry about your town, I really am, an' I wanna do what I can to save it an' save all your homes. But I've lost MY family because of this, too. ANYTHING I can do to help, I'm gonna do it." He's blinking rapidly behind his glasses as he says this, voice continuing to quiver, but he powers through to say his piece. Eddy listens, then nods, staying quiet for now.

Skyflower, for her part, looks down and away from Tale Chaser at her explanation. She seems midly abashed, possibly even a trifle shamed by the display. "I did say that I trust your judgement."

"It'll be nice to talk to Brume again," admits Thunnini.

Goody-Horseshoes gives a soft nod. He walks up to Chaser, putting a hoof on his shoulder and speaking softly, "You've been left with quite a hole to fill. Not everypony will agree with your methods…but every great leader has to face that at some point." Goody gives a deep bow, "You have my support."

Magpie blinks. She looks over at the wagon — smashing up that expensive stuff? And… wow, yeah, guess he IS kinda the only one… She shuffles awkwardly to the side and leans up against Tale Chaser. "I, um… didn't mean what I said about, y'know. Catfish."

"But nopony knew Spindrift like Brume did. It's a place to start." Muzaji stops trying to circle around to get a closer look at the cart after Tale Chaser explains. "There may be insight into things all the same." She looks back to the cart, for a moment looking sad herself. Probably from thinking of how much some of that stuff could be worth. "Sacrifices need to be made."

Lavender lays down by Dreamy as she listens. Somber isn't an emotion she's as used to, and her excitement is starting to feel less appropriate.

Heartsong blinks and calms slightly, ears laying back. Brume? She remembered Brume. Not /well/, but… well enough. She looked down, clearing her throat awkwardly and rubbing one foreleg with the opposite hoof. The idea suddenly seemed a lot less scary - but still pretty intimidating.

Dream-Daze doesn't quite /get/ all this, and with the attitude and mood and whatnot, but all the revelations keeps making her rewrite her mental scenario. So now /they're/ all in spooky seance attire, surrounding a grave piled high with odds and ends, with a ghost seapony sitting on top of it telling them stories. Ghostpony Storytime, that's what this is.

Dreamy flumps onto her side next to Lav, idly toying with the necklace she still has on.

The elevator hums softly as it rises, magic-augmented mechanics hauling it higher. The ocean thrums with its constant wet burble outside. Silver Shallows falling further and further away, spreading out in all directions. INdividual buildings are less and less distinct, as it is only the starlight glow that reaches up this high- just as the gleam of the actual stars above grows brighter and more intense as the lift rises.

Tale Chaser snuffles a bit, reaching up to wipe his nose with a hoof. He leans back against Magpie, offering her a slight smile, before looking back to the group. "Magic drawn from inanimate sources s'safer, anyway," he mumbles. "The process is… it can…" He shakes his head. "It opens a bridge between this realm an' the next, whatever you want to call it. Living ponies help anchor that bridge. Not enough, an' something can go wrong. You get sucked up into the stars. I think. It kind hasn't been don for a while either 'cause of the risk or because it's just kinda… ponies don't like messin' with these things. So if any of you wanna back down, I won't hold it against you. S'not.. s'not a risk I should make anybody take."

Eddy is squirming around nearby. "I don't know if… it's strictly ILLEGAL," she muses, "But I'll help until I have a chance to review city ordinances on the matter."

The top of the lift beckons; soon it will arrive.

Heartsong blinks and glances up. "I'll h-help," she states faintly, blushing and looking back down. "I want to… I m-mean… I d-didn't mean to… f-freak out. …Sorry."

Skyflower coughs delicately and steps forward. "I might be able to provide some assistance? I don't know seapony magic but I know a thing or two about assaying. If we're trying to reach a certain total without smashing too many artifacts, that is."

Goody-Horseshoes walks back over to Heartsong, comforting her again, "Don't worry about it. You are being brave enough as it is, so there's no need to apologize!"

Muzaji on the other hoof merely laughs a bit as she puts a foreleg over Tale Chaser's shoulders. "Daring to skirt the lines of legality for the sake of saving the world. We'll make a proper adventurer out of you yet my boy."

Tale Chaser maintains that glum demeanor, taking a moment to adjust his glasses, even though they are pretty much already adjusted. He smiles hesitantly across to Heartsong. "Thank you…" He grunts softly at the leg being slung across his shoulders, and offers his hesitant smile up at Muzaji next, before looking to Skyflower and nodding. "That'll.. that will help, thanks."

Eddy hangs back, smiling to herself.

The glass windows vanish, replaced by solid walls. A short while later, the elevator hisses as it settles into place, the domed chamber of the top of the tower swinging into view. Eddy moves to start leading ponies off of the lift, and Tale Chaser shrugs into his harness to follow. "We're gonna use the deck of the Rusty Bucket, if that's okay," he says. "S'the closest we can get to a private location up here."

Lavender shoulder-nudges Dreamy, and Magpie too, trots on out. It's the first time she's been back out to the surface in a while. "Oh it's so nice to see the Bucket again…"

"Good idea. We should make sure nopony's messed with her while we were gone, anyways. Right Cap'n?" While Eddy ushers everypony else off Muzaji keeps stride with Chaser, for appearances. "And if anypony asks, the wagon is stuff I've bought, or whatever." She gives a dismissive wave midstep. "I've been cozying up to the businesses on my reputation as a trader so it'll look totally legit."

Goody-Horseshoes gives a confirming nod to Tale Chaser and Muzaji, "As long as we're able to sail her back to shore by the time this is over, I will consider this voyage a success."

Dream-Daze snorts awake! She's up, she's up! Just a light dozing! …Oh. The surface. Right. The lil' unifoal yawns, stretches mightily, and trots out after Lavender, peeking up at Eddy and Chaser and Maggie and all the ponies. At least all this should be interesting now. And look! Stars! Seeing stars again does put a little bounce in this filly's step~

Thunnini takes a deep breath of the night air. Sure, it's nice down in the city, but there's just something about open air that's invigorating.

Magpie shifts and gives a little cough. "It's, um… nice out, at least. The moon is very… gibbous tonight."

The chamber at the top of the tower is filled with ponies finishing up their business for the day, or if they have already done so, hanging around to talk and drink and enjoy the seaside ambience. The chamber's broad door opens out onto the warfs that spread out around the top of the silvery, needle-like tower, and dozens of ships bob about in their moorings… including, at one end, the hodgepodge, drunken glory of the Rusty Bucket, there where she was left, and where Goody Horseshoes' crew has been tending her during the Harborites' time down in the city.

Dusk has well and truly settled, and the night blossoms above. The view of the starlit city below is replaced with actual stars above. It's a cool, clear night, the winds calm, the winter air a bit chill.

Eddy and Tale Chaser lead the way to the ship and up on board. Setting up from there is a simple matter- the empty booze bottles and chairs are cleared from the main deck, an open space opened up. Tale Chaser's telescope is set up in the middle, and he promptly angles it towards the horizon, switching from lens to lens, making small adjustments here and little turns of a wheel there, and consulting an old, large book every few moments. In the meantime, a small, bundled object is passed out to every pony present- something rattling around in a little, sealed bag.

"Okay, so, when I get this settled, what we're gonna do is everybody smashes their bag at the same time," says Tale Chaser, back over his shoulder. "The simultaneous release of the energies in these objects is channeled into the… the…" He stops and looks at the telescope. "This thing. They call it a Multi-Phasic Astronecromaticalabe and Aperturization Director, but that's kinda a… a mouthful…" He shakes his head. "An' then it works. From there, we just maintain concentration an', uh, I'm not sure… not sure what happens then."

Ruby-Blossom settles quietly as she's handled a small, sealed bag - curiously looking it over before glaning towards the MPA&AD, sounds like a table top game when shortened…

"I said the moon is very /gibbous/ tonight," Magpie repeats as she's given a bag of her own. "Gibbous means when the moon is, like… more than half and less than full." Nod.

Goody-Horseshoes 's horn glows as he lifts the bag up to his face. He inspects it, turning it around at every angle. A shrug is given as he settles on the fact that if it was meant for him to know, he would know. He looks at Chaser with a perked brow, "So…it's a telescope for seeing the dead is what you're saying?"

Eddy smiles in a manner that says 'That's nice,' as she moves on to hand a bundle to Goody.

Tale Chaser looks up from his book and watches Magpie for a moment. Then another. Silent. Then he sets the book aside and trots over to lean in and give her a kiss on the cheek. "I think it's really kinda neat you know that word," he says, lamely, before returning to his book with a blush.

Heartsong nods slowly, peering over at the Multi-Phasic Astrothingamawhatzit Director curiously. Gee, and she thought it was just some tubey thing. She gets the feeling she's not much cut out to be a scholar. She looks down at the bag, biting her lip. Whatever they're doing, she hopes it works, because it'd be a shame to waste whatever artifacts are in here for nothing. "Think there are… e-enough of us?" she asks faintly.

For a few minutes while the other ponies were setting up Muzaji disappeared down into the lower decks and hold. Likely going through the supplies she initially brought along. Seems to be the case, as when she comes back up its with several scented candles and one of her incense burners. "Thought we could use a little ambience to help set the scene." They are almost conducting a saiance after all. Don't ask why she's prepared for it in the first place. It's probably meant for some strange zebra ritual that she's borrowing from.

Magpie squeaks and covers her cheek, blushing brightly under the gibbous leering moon and the glaring stars.

Dream-Daze balances her back on her head for the moment. She's horribly tempted to peek inside of it and see if it's something cool she's about to break or just…y'know…a bone of some sort. She gets the bag balanced right on the tip of her nose…

Lavender watches quietly. It's out of her league. While intent on picking up what's going on, this is one of few times that she sits back and doesn't get in the way.

Tale Chaser looks up and eyes the seance paraphenalia with a critical eye. This is science, not ritualism! But he realizes the line is blurred enough he's not about to deny a zebra their effects any more than he would their rhymes. "Should be…" he says, to Heartsong, nosing through his book. "Yeah. Okay, yeah, this is DEFINITELY enough. More than enough."

Eddy finishes doling out the party favors and settles back with her own little bundle, watching.

Tale Chaser takes one more gander through a lens on the Astrothigny, then moves to his wagon, retrieving a small box with his hooves. He lifts it slowly, watching it with a studious expression, then sets its aside and opens it. "I think we're ready," he says, reaching into the box. He withdraws a fine piece of jewelry- a lattice of delicate silver, from which small shells and lapis stones depend like notes on a sheet of music.

He watches it for a moment before looking up and around at the group. "Okay… everyone ready?"

Thunnini nods, bag of minor archeological items in hoof.

Ruby quietly fidgets with the bag while waiting for the word.

Dream-Daze doesn't nod. She's poised, completely still, waiting for that magical word. It's not every day a foal is asked to break something!

Goody-Horseshoes 's bag continues to float in front of his face, though hes paying more attention to Chaser now than trying to find out what's in the bag.

Dreamy's bundle rings like a small bell.
Skyflower's rattles.
Heartsong's catches on the sides of the bag as though its surface was rough.
Goody's bundle smells like garden herbs.
Muzaji's bundle crackles softly like an ember, but is cool to the touch.
Thunnini's bundle bounces.
Lavender's feels utterly empty.
Magpie's bundle is warm like a ray of sun.
Ruby's bundle jingles softly like a pouch full of coins.
And Eddy's bundle…. well, she giggles when she looks at it, so it must be doing something fun.

Magpie sets her bag on the deck in front of her and lifts her hooves, ready to trample!

Trust me, if it were possible, she'd have a mug of beer for him too. But like that's going to stay undrank around here. Oh well. Wonder if Brume even knows of all the drinks a certain cannon-pony orders for him in memory every time he's at the bar.

Her own finessing done Muzaji grabs her bag in her mouth and flicks it up to catch on one hoof. "As they say when on par, we're ready when you are."

Tale Chaser glances about the group. He settles back, seated on the deck, holding the phylactery up in one hoof, then nods. "Okay… go ahead an' smash 'em."

Goody-Horseshoes magic-slams his pouch into the ground, making sure to finish it off with a good double-stomp.

Heartsong gulps, hesitating only about a second before setting her bundle on the ground and rearing back to bring her front hooves down on it with what force the small pegasus could muster, idly hoping that 'rough' does not also equate to 'sharp'.

Magpie leaps and crashes down on the bag with both forehooves and her full weight.

Ruby drops her bundle and steps on it firmly - in repeated fashion.

*stomp stomp stomp* Do the artifact stomp ~o

Muzaji sits… and actually turns her head a little to the other side to cover her eyes with her other foreleg as she smashes the bag of goodies on the floor. Her wheeling-dealing side doesn't want to know what sort of valuable items she just had to break into bitty pieces for the sake of getting some hopeful answers.

Dream-Daze flicks her head up! The bag flies, drops in front of the filly, where she proceeds to jump all over it. Dreamy smash! Take that, bellthing! And that! And this too! Raaaawr!

Thunnini does a two-hooved slam, nearly balancing her entire weight vertically on her hooves. Not quite a forehoof-stand, but she was focused on making sure her item broke instead of bouncing.

Lavender pushes a hoof down on hers…and when it seems empty, she steps on it harder, then harder, and tries annihilating the bag itself with her hooves if nothing goes crunch.

As the first artifact is crushed, a small gem along the length of the Astronecromaticalabe gleams to life- released energies captured and redirected. Tale Chaser's ears flick backward, and he makes a little face. The prices we pay! Another gem gleams to life with the next smash, and then the next, and the next. The device hums as energy builds. Eddy brings a hoof down and smashes her little amusing bundle! Its contents fracture like glass underhoof. More and more lights begin to gleam on the device; an emerald in a setting along its handle lights up. One of its sides flips open, and a length of tarnished brass extends, something spinning on its end. It pivots slightly atop its tripod, angling towards the distant horizon of its own accord. Something hums.

And then a flash obscures the deck of the Rusty Bucket, bright white, then collapsing inward, drawing all light with it. The chill of the air vanishes; the sound of the surf and the soft breeze, the voices of sailors down the wharf, the creak of the ship underfoot, are muffled, then silenced.

The Rusty Bucket disappears, and the party finds themselves standing atop the ocean… or so it would seem. The surface of the ocean smooths over, becoming glass, then silver, reflecting the stars above… or do they? Is it the night sky reflected above, or the lights of the city below shining up from the deeps? Stars fill the darkness on all sides, such that the only indication of the horizon is a thin line of silver in the distance.

As soft humming fills the air… low and melodious, comforting, welcoming. At the same time, it is distant, as if it were a song heard from afar, being sung for someone else.

Tale Chaser blinks as he looks around, stunned into silence, and still holding Brume's phylactery aloft before him. He turns to watch the others, eyes open wide, obviously not sure what to expect… which means he's obviously surprised when he turns back to the center point of the circle and finds that space occupied where it wasn't a moment ago.

There sits- he's not sitting on anything in particular, but he does sit- a seapony, tail curled up beneath him, propping him up. He's a seafoam-green in color, with a lanky, beanpole physique; his mane, a deeper shade of the same color of his coat, is gathered into a ponytail, and a little goatee adorns his chin most artfully. His cutie mark depicts a harp hanging from a single, broken string.

And he's idly strumming a boxed instrument on a stand before him. He looks up from it with a grin and smiles to Tale Chaser. "Clever lad, Tale Chaser. I knew you'd figure something out." He turns and flashes the group a grin. "And welcome! Welcome to the border between realms. I, personally, like to refer to the realm of the dead as ~The Eternal Stage,~ but there's many who have their own preferences on the matter."

Tale Chaser stares still, mouth agape. Those nearby can hear him murmuring, "it worked!"

Ruby takes a quick glances about - making not of any other pony who was present at Brume's passing; certainly it's something Ruby remembers and in all the greater detail at the moment.

Goody-Horseshoes sits his rump down, one brow perked with a bit of a thoughtful look smeared across his face. He's seen many strange things in his time…this isn't the strangest but certainly isn't the most normal. His glance turns to Muzaji, the leader of the expedition, then to Tale Chaser.

Muzaji wasn't there for that, but she did have her own adventures with the Wandering Strangers to get to know them well enough to match the appearance, which does bring a smile to her. Considering she's gotten somewhat good at picking out seaponies after enough dealings with them. But that's neither here or there.

Including an instrument as well -was- clever, though.

"So many questions do yet burn; so to another venue the crew did turn.
Guided by a youth so bright; to pursue console of the starts bright.
After a bold ritual between life and death they now sort.
To speak once more with the Wanderer's former consort."

Whoa. Trippy! Dreamy plants her rump down on…whatever this surface is supposed to be. She's now in another place. With a bunch of living ponies. Staring at a presumably dead pony. This is…awesome~ So much so that she bounces over to where Lav is standing and bumps her, pointing at the ponyghost! Look! Ghost! Isn't it exciting?

Heartsong blinks and lays her ears back at the flash, looking around timidly and blinking at the changed landscape. This is… different. She gulps thickly, tilting her head and casting her eyes about - and freezing, staring over at the seapony wide-eyed. So… so he /was/ a seapony. That had never really been clarified in her presence. The fact both does and does not matter at the moment. She flattens her ears, blushes, clears her throat a bit, scuffs a hoof. Oh. It worked. Yay? This is a good thing, right?

Magpie stares out at the weird horizon, then looks up at the ghost pony. She isn't exactly startled — this was the plan, wasn't it? She trots over to nudge Chaser. "Don't look so surprised," she hisses under her breath.

Thunnini headtilts and looks at Brume. "Can I hug you, or would that mess up the spell or something like that?" she asks with a thoughtful expression.

Lavender's eyes are wide, and she pauses for a bit staring, about to run over to Dream Daze herself before she gets bumped. "It's exciting alright…I've never been anywhere like this!" She does huddle closer to the other filly. In case, y'know, Dreamy is scared.

Goody-Horseshoes stands back up and scoots over to Heartsong. He sits down next to the pegafoal and puts a comforting leg around her, "Everything's fine. I know it seems strange to you. Just remember…not everypony gets to see a sight such as this. Consider yourself lucky, little one."

Brume quirks a brow as he glances about, taking stock of faces both familiar and otherwise. He grins at each in turn, though, in a genuine fashion. The rhyming catches his attention quickly enough, and he turns to listen to Muzaji. "Ahh! Muzaji. Your being here is…" He pauses. "Well, about what I expected. Good to know you maintain an enterprising curiousity, my stripey friend! And you…"

He eases up from his instrument and drifts towards Heartsong, floating as though swimming. Those who look close might find he suddenly seems quite insubstantial indeed- like only the idea of a pony, rather than a physical presence. He bows before the young pegasus.

"I'm truly sorry our little duet back there was cut so tragically short- you have a lovely voice, my dear, and you were a joy to join in song." He sits back up with another broad grin. "I hope you have been cultivating your talents in the meantime. I'd hate to see such potential go unfulfilled!"

Tale Chaser stares in the meantime, apparently agog, until Magpie nudges him. He blinks and clears his throat. "Oh, uh… yeah…" Drawing forward a step- moving hesitantly, as if he, too, is unsure just what he walks on- he approaches the older seapony. "We need your help…"

Brume hmmmms? and turns to flash a crooked smile at Tale Chaser. "Hold on, hold on. We'll get to the exposition in a minute! Let me say my hellos, first." He then turns to grin down at Thunnini, and kneels beside her. "Hugs wouldn't work, I think, minnow. But it's the thought that counts." He leans in and peers at her. "You're very brave to have come this far… you and all of your young friends." He nods towards Dreamy, Lavender, and Magpie. "Thank you for standing with Tale Chaser, here. He's not very good at showing it, but I know it means a lot to him."

Tale Chaser quiets. "The old ponies are brave, too," he adds, in a self-conscious fashion.

Brume nods, and turns to flash Goody Horseshoes a wink. "Yes, they're also pretty brave. Now then." He draws himself up. "You can spare me the explanations. We have a pretty good view of things from up here, so I think I know what you're all looking for."

Magpie gives Brume a sort of crooked half-grin. "Falling Stone, the third piece of the faceless guy, a way to get Spindrift some hope, a big bag full of treasure, and a daisy sandwich?" she suggests.

Heartsong blinks slowly, looking over at Goody and attempting a faint nod, though it's hard to tell whether she's looking awed, or just a bit overwhelmed at it all. She turns her attention back to Brume as he approaches her, ears flicking forward to listen, and opens her mouth and closes it a time or two as she tries to get words to come out. "I… y-yeah… y-yes, sir, I… i-it was… r-real nice…" She takes a deep breath and lets it out in a huff. "I should've done something!" finally bursts out. "I was /right there/, and you were… and it… and I could've… but I just… and you… I'm /sorry/," she half-mewls, half-wails, hanging her head. Articulate she is not. Apologetic, certainly so.

Muzaji laughs heartily. "It is good to hear your voice again too while we can, Brume." But besides her amusement she lets the bard have his time getting reaquainted. She does snicker a bit more when he actually says 'exposition', to her self. And then some more at the last to parts of Magpie's list. "Sinking Stone, you mean." …. She wouldn't mind treasure, either, but priorities! She just keeps reminding herself of all the -business potential- with Silver Shallows when this is over to tide herself from getting… desperate.

Brume pauses, mouth open, as Magpie rattles off her demands. He frowns. "That is admittedly a pretty tall order. Particularly the sandwich." He eyes the glassy, star-filled landscape- if it is indeed land!- thoughtfully. "Not many daisies here. Perhaps I'm not as well-suited to solving all your problems as I thought! Alas, alack!" He drops back into a seated position, as if relaxing in an invisible lawn chair, and shrugs. He's about to relax, but Heartsong's outburst catches him off guard. Arching his eyebrows, he eases up and drifts over to her. "Come now, don't be like that. You did nothing wrong!" Kneeling down, he flashes her a grin. "Not only do you not owe me an apology, you're doing a lot to help some ponies I care very much about. So if anything, I should be thanking you." Drawing up, he casts a glance about the group once more. "Thanking all of you, in fact."

He drifts over to settle beside Muzaji, and slings a foreleg out as if to hook it around her shoulders. It passes through her for a moment, and he pauses to adjust his positioning to maintain the effect. "Now, this may get a little long-winded, but there is a point to it, so bear with me."

Dream-Daze re-shoots her mental image of 'ghostpony storytime' to Lav. At least she got /one/ idea right!

Lavender grins back at Dreamy. "It could be a lot worse! You know, as long as we get back home alright." Involuntary shiver. Then settles in to listen.

Goody-Horseshoes gives Heartsong a small comforting hug when Brume makes his way over to Muzaji. He nods to the spectre, "You have our attention."

Muzaji gives a little playful sigh as Brume's forelimb passes through the first time. "Alas, making you tangible isn't a voodoo that I would happen to know how to do." But she doesn't seem to bothered by this. Considering everything -else- she's been through just settling in the Harbor, not even counting before then? This.. is just another amusingly unusual incident really.

Brume flashes Muzaji a grin. "We'll just have to fake it." He clears his throat. "Once upon a time," he begins, gesturing grandly with his free hoof, as his tail slowly churns the aether below him. "The Silver Archive had a regular staff of intrepid archaeologists to its name. There was yours truly, of course, the hero of our story, tragically cut down in his prime, but he was not without his sidekicks! You already know Tale Chaser, of course." He gestures to Tale Chaser, who squirms uncomfortably, as he sidles over to stand beside Magpie and listen with a muted demeanor. "The youngest member of our troupe. I believe you also met Sinking Stone." Brume's smile grows a little dry. "A father figure to us all, though one who proved to have his own agenda. I'd tell you were he is if I knew, but, well… I may have a nice view from up here, but that doesn't mean I know where to look."

He turns to smile to Muzaji. "There's Spindrift, of course. And there was one other- Verse. She was the first to leave: at the behest of Sinking Stone, she followed a lead regarding something related to the Faceless One someplace on land, off in the White Saddle mountains. She bid us all goodbye and went up to the surface… to Horseshoe Harbor. And there…" He shrugs. "She perished, when the town first burned down a little more than two years ago, following the ascent of Mayor Salty."

Heartsong sniffs and wipes at her nose with one hoof, not looking entirely convinced, but seeming to relax a bit all the same. She sits slowly back on her haunches, listening to the story, even if she's not terribly certain how well she'll follow it. She's not exactly up to snuff on this dimension's history yet.

Muzaji frowns slightly. "So that is the Verse that was previously mentioned briefly before." The zebra pays more attention to small details than she is sometimes given credit before.

Magpie gives a little squeeze to Chaser when he gets squirmy-embarassed. This… may or may not actually help.

Brume shrugs slightly at Muzaji's observation. "Perhaps. Tale Chaser should have mentioned this, but, well, he's not very good at explaining things unless you ask first." He lifts a hoof. "A common thread in our tale, you'll see. A lot of trouble on everybody's part could have been saved if ponies made more of a habit of just being up front about things."

He relaxes and lowers his hoof. "Verse was my cousin. But to Spindrift, she was something much more. As such, when she vanished, and we received no word from her…" He shrugs. "Spindrift took it poorly. In time, not knowing Verse's fate was too much to bear, and together we set out for Horseshoe Harbor ourselves, to try and find her."

He smiles brightly. "That's when everything went all pear-shaped, but you know that. The Elements of Harmony, Nightmare Moon's twisted ice realm of perpetual misery, all that nonsense."

"Suddenly a few things make a lot more sense." One was bad enough. Losing -two- to the land about the waves? No wonder she snapped and got dragged down by her own undertow of sorrows. Muzaji pauses after her little comment, and then achems softly. "But I should stop butting in on the tale."

Goody-Horseshoes remains silent as Brume tells his story.

Heartsong lays her ears back a bit, clearing her throat. Yeeeeah, that part. She sighs softly, biting back the urge to apologize again. It wasn't /her/ fault her home was a miserable ice realm. "But… but isn't there something we can do for her?" She pipes up, then blushes, realizing she's probably interrupting. She glances down and scuffs a hoof. "Losing ponies you love is b-bad… but… b-but we can b-be more friends… s'not the s-same… but it helps." She admittedly speaks with the tone of somepony who is unpleasantly familiar with such matters.

Brume flashes Muzaji a smile. "Indeed." He then nods to Heartsong. "And perhaps. Still, first things first- and you have a town to save before anybody can be anybody's friend." He draws himself up. "And Verse can help. She learned something during her time in Horseshoe Harbor, something that never made its way back to us, about the… Black Heart. About how it can be disarmed. And much as we'd both like to simply relay that information to you, it's something only -she- can put into action. So you're going to need her phylactery- the thing Spindrift and I were unable to find for ourselves- and you're going to need to bring it to the top of the Spire."

Brume grins brightly. "Then everything should sort itself right out. Devilish details aside, of course."

Magpie says "To the top of the spire? Oh… is that all?"

Lavender's ears pin back. "It doesn't look /that/ hard to climb. I mean, there's all these things sticking out of it all over the place… How bad can it be." She seems understandably uncertain.

Brume waves a hoof vaguely. "There might be some other steps along the way. I don't have the entire score- only liner notes."

From afar, Magpie wants to ask Brume an awkward question right before he leaves.

Magpie lets out a little sigh and looks out at the starry not-sky. Suddenly thinks of something. "Brume! Wait, Brume? I-is everypony — over there? Can they all see, y'know… everything? Are my— do my par—" She can't seem to get the question out.

Muzaji idly shakes a hoof at Brume. "That's what you two were looking for all along, wasn't it?" Then sighs, shaking her head, a bemused smile returning to her. "Of course not. Where would the fun be in the adventure if we were told everything right out." Taps her hoof to her chin for a moment. "Granted, if -you- couldn't find it…"

Heartsong blinks and tilts her head. "Her… phylactery, that's… th-the necklace thing? We've gotta find it?" She blushes faintly. YES SHE'S BEEN PAYING ATTENTION THIS IS ALL JUST REALLY WEIRD AND NEW OKAY. "Do… do you have any idea where it is? Like, a… a general idea? At all?"

Dream-Daze has sat still too long. She's dazing again. And idly resting a hoof on her necklace. Lav is so warm~

Brume lifts his chin as Muzaji and Heartsong peg him with questions about the phylactery, but Magpie touches on something much more… personal. Personal for everypony, in a way. He smiles to the pegasus and zebra, and then slips away from Muzaji to approach Magpie, kneeling besid her.

Tale Chaser draws back a step, watching her carefullly.

"I wish I could tell you, minnow, truly I do. I know you all must have lots of questions about what happens and who is up her and what we do with ourselves. But…" He shrugs sadly. "The sky is vast and full of stars and I've only been up here a few short months, and really… you don't really get many answers when you get here. Maybe just leads on where to look for the answers next." He grins. "That, and I don't know your parents, so I wouldn't know where to look. But I'm sure if they ARE here, they're doing well. And if they're like me, they're still watching the ponies they love and hoping the best for them." Sitting up, he turns to smile back at Muzaji. "It's really just… a big adventure, really."

"As for the phylactery… a few days before the… escape, from the portal, I found a lead. But I hid it, since it confirmed that Verse was lost to us. Spindrift would have been heartbroken, and she needed to be focused for the sake of everypony fighting to save those trapped in the frozen world." He shakes his head sadly. "And I never got the chance to tell her. But! Lest my dallying cost you all once more:

"Verse's last place of residence was at a book store in Horseshoe Harbor. It is called Margin Notes, it is located on Main Street, and it is owned by a nice mare named Marginalia. With any luck, she has the phylactery, or at least, she can help you find it."

Magpie 's eyes tear up and she just stares back out at the stars. It's not fair. He doesn't even know.

Nothing's changed. But it feels like she lost her chance.

Magpie's question makes Heartsong's ears twitch, and she casts her a sideways glance before looking down, scuffing her hoof. She doesn't seem to pay attention to Brume's answer, though she does snake herself back into paying attention to get the part about the book shop. This is important. Remember it. Book shop. Marginalia. Right.

Tale Chaser seems surprised. He draws close to Magpie and leans in to nose her cheek, worriedly.

A look of regret crosses Brume's face, but he smiles wanly as Tale Chaser moves to try and comfort the filly. The older seapony looks away and smiles to Muzaji.

Muzaji shakes her head a bit. "You could of just said yes… but she's a smart little whipper, she would of realized you were just being nice." Meanwhile Muzaji files away the assorted bits of information. New target to find and otherwise. Brume's exposition has also finally answered several things she wondered about the pair and why they were poking about land pony lands as well. "I guess a trip back to the Harbor is in order at this point."

Brume shrugs sheepishly, glancing back over his shoulder. "Hey, I've been skipping out on my 'all-knowing ghost guide' courses," he offers, in hushed tones, to Muzaji. "They offer those, by the way. As well as basket knitting and juggling."

He sits back up and turns to watch the group, after a moment's further consideration of Magpie. "Unfortunately, that's all I have to tell you. I wish I could help you more, really I do. But…" He shakes his head. "Ultimately it is your adventure, my friends, and you will have to carry it onward." He drifts over to his instrument and pokes at it idly; the notes, as his hooves hammer the strings, echo softly across the glassy plane underhoof.

Eddy lingers nearby, glancing about the solemn gathering. "Hey, uh… Mr. Brume?" she wonders.

Brume lifts his head to glance back at her. "Yes?"

"I've always wondered- they say when you rattle a dead seapony's phylactery, it tickles their ghost. Is that true?"

Brume frowns slightly. "Either it's not, or nobody has rattled mine." He turns and nods to Tale Chaser. "Try it sometime, TC. We'll find out eventually."

Goody-Horseshoes puts a hoof to his chin in thought. Something crosses his mind, "Say, Brume. I know you are unable to to locate Sinking Stone. But, if it's not too much of a question, or if perhaps you can even nose us in a general direction…do you know where we might find Spindrift? "

Brume then looks to the rest of the group. He flashes a grin at Goody. "She mopes on the beach when she gets the chance. If you really need help finding her, ask Rising Chaos, that surly little sorcerer back in town, and she can find her easily enough. Now…"

He reaches out and strums the strings. "If there are no more questions, I'd just as soon play you all off. The harbor beckons, and the magic that sustains this bridge will only last so long."

Magpie glances back towards brume. "Bye," she says in a husky voice. "Have a nice… whatever."

"… Somehow I'm not surprised," Muzaji murmurs when Rising's name comes up in such a manner. "Those two…" But then brightens up again. "Though this means I get to tell her I was right, hah hah hah!" Whatever that means. Thunnini is probably the only one here that would get what she's talking about. The zebra lets out a soft sight. "You have your path now and we have ours. We can only be glad they crossed for this short time as it was."

Lavender glances behind her, nervous about the magic running out. "It was nice…meeting you, sir."

Heartsong blushes, glancing back up at Brume and tilting an ear. "…I… d-dunno if we know any of the s-same songs," she offers, sheepishly. "…I'm glad you're… you know. …Alright. Up… out… well. Here."

Goody-Horseshoes stands up and bows politely, magically tipping his hat to the ghostly pony, "Everything you have provided has been very helpful on our quest. I only wish I could have known you while you were still alive." He looks down at Heartsong to make sure she's still doing okay before turning again to the voice, "If you ever come across a stallion by the name of Redmane in your eternal realm, could you give him a message for me if it isn't too much to ask?"

Dream-Daze spends an extra moment or two dazedly looking at Brume before she realizes things are wrapping up. She hops up onto her hooves, bows her head once to the ghost out of respect and whatnot. She's ready to go home!

Brume flashes Magpie a slight smile, then nods to Tale Chaser, who returns the look. The two hold eachother's gaze for several long moments- perhaps as much of a goodbye as they're going to get, circumstances being what they are. Tale Chaser hooks a foreleg around Magpie's withers and gives her a quiet squeeze, staying quiet.

Brume looks back to the others. "And it was nice to meet you, too," he offers, to Lavender, and then Dreamy as well. To Heartsong, he grins. "And I'm alright. As I said, it's an adventure. Treasure your time down below, but don't fear what comes afterwards." He grins to Muzaji, and waggles his eyebrows. "Those two, yes. It's been quite an entertaining show to watch. Do me a favor and make sure they don't kill eachother when this is all over, hmm?"

He then turns to regard Goody curiously. "I can try! We seafaring types tend to travel the same circles, here. What is it?"

Muzaji flicks an ear in amusement. "I'll -try-. But I'm a zebra, Brume, mot a miracle worker."

Goody-Horseshoes smirks a bit at the notion of getting a message to somepony who's long past, "Let him know Goody's sorry about the ship, would you? I did what I could. And…" he pauses for a moment, sentimental, "Let him know his son forgives him…"

Brume winks at Muzaji, and then grins at the good captain Goody Horseshoes for a moment. "We all have our own little stories, don't we, captain? Would that we time to hear them all. If only we had the time…" The bard clears his throat and nods. "I'll tell him if I see him. And now… you may have heard this one before, but it's one of my favorites."

He then extends his hooves, gives them a little waggle, and starts to play. The notes of his dulcimer echo across the altered landscape, clear and distinct, describing a tune laden with both sorrow, longing, and hope.

Slowly, the line of silver on the horizon brightens, like a sunrise from all directions. The stars are gradually drowned out, the smaller ones at first, then even the brighter ones. The greys and blacks of the sky give way to blues and soft clouds; the glassy landscape underhoof wavers, then rolls, becoming a tossing surf.

Creaking wood soon sits underhoof, while gathered sails rustle softly overhead. The Rusty Bucket rolls softly in a low breeze rolling through the docks, carrying with it the last few notes of a fading song.

Lavender looks up at Magpie as the ship fades back into the party's reality. She seems mystified. "Is this what real, grown-up adventures are like?.."

Magpie sniffs a little and gives a shrug to Lavender. She leans in against Tale Chaser. "I need… to go to bed."

Eddy pushes herself to her hooves and glances about. "I hope not! This is spooky!" she says, glancing about. She turns to the rest of the group. "Sounds like you have what you need… what you came here for." She hesitates for a moment.

"I want to go back with you! You guys are sooooo nice and you let me show you so much. I want to make sure I'm there to help see this through."

Tale Chaser watches her, then nods. "Me too. I'm goin' back to Horseshoe Harbor with you guys…" He trails off, looking to Magpie, then squeezes her once more. "Tomorrow, though. I think we all need to rest first."

Heartsong lets out a breath, shaking herself as if trying to wake herself from a daze. She gets to her hooves with some effort. "…I don't… th-think I have the, um… r-right to… s-speak for anypony, but… we could… probably use all the h-help we can get."

Lavender gives a little nod. "Yeah…Rest. Lots to think about."

Goody-Horseshoes smiles, watching the scenery change back to that of the Rusty Bucket. He looks down at Heartsong and nods, "You are correct, though. We can always use help." He gives the foal a snug, knealing down next to her, "Just promise me this. You may not understand now, but you will when you're older. Never be too bitter to say goodbye to someone you care about. It could be the last chance you get." He looks at the spot Brume had been, a bit of a smile as if his life is more at ease.

Muzaji gives Brume one last smile as he starts to play, pleased to get to listen to him one last time. Eventually she closes her eyes and just lets the music guide the way home as it were.

The ship beneath them once when she opens her eyes, the zebra trots over to a railing and leans on it. She doesn't look back, but she can be heard snickering a bit at Eddy and Tale Chaser's euthusiasms, before turning her lavander gaze up towards the sky.
"A visit with a sparkling star; the most answers given yet by far.
A treasure that may hold the key, to stop the storm and set the Wanderer free.
Dulcimer tones have shown the way; for our brave crew to save the day.
Thus with mates old and friends anew; to return home and see this through."

Heartsong blinks, blushing faintly and looking rather shy to be so directly addressed. "No, I… I… d-do, sir. Understand. I know." She lays her ears back, following his gaze and letting out a heavy sigh. "I won't. I promise."