Missing Zebras
IC date: Winter 47, 1066 A.C.
OOC date: 2/5/2012
PCs: Dusty, Skedaddle, Siyana, Lavender
NPCs: Mayani
GM: Fluttershy

Horseshoe Harbor - Portside

There are shops! And a pier. And a beach! And a lighthouse!

The boardwalk runs through the harbor's Portside district, along the town's many and sundry shops and restaurants. A short wall, just high enough to sit on, separates the boardwalk from the sandy beach that stretches down toward the ocean where seashells dot the shore. On one end of the boardwalk is the pier, where boats and ships come and go, including the seasonal Zebra trading caravel. A little ways off in the ocean is a little island with the town lighthouse that winks along at night.

The boardwalk leads back southeast to the town square, and stretches all the way around toward the sand that leads northeast to the residential outskirts. Directly East, along the trotting path through the fields, lie the farms. And of course, there's the ocean, stretching invitingly past the sandy beach.

Lights are hung from the eaves of every building, and wound around every tree. Snow blankets everything the whole place, though the walkways are cleared.

Obvious exits:
Glimmering Sea <GS> Carrot Corner Cafe <CC> Farm Country <FC> Outskirts <OS> Town Square <TS>

The sun is starting to set, and Horseshoe Harbor is covered in snow. The brightly colored lights that are customary from the Parade until Winter Wrap-Up are wound around lamp posts and building eaves, winking happily in the twilight. (No, not that Twilight!) Denizens of the harbor are milling about, on errands or just wandering or whatever.

There's one weird thing though: the zebra caravel was supposed to have left yesterday, but it's still docked, and the crew seems to be skirting about through the crowd. One such zebra is a strapping male type, with a light scar across one eye. (These traders don't really look…like traders…) He seems the most panicked though, stopping everyone as they go by, asking some sort of hurried question.

Lavender ducks around the hooves, Caravel-wards, looking for someone else her small height. Someone zebra-striped. Someone…that doesn't seem to be here at the moment.

Skedaddle peeks over the edge of a dark cloud, still a little bleary-eyed from an afternoon nap. She cocks her head to the side curiously, she had heard the rumor tat the traders were to be heading out and wonders what has held them up.

Dusty Went for a walk to enjoy the crisp winter air but becomes curious about the traders

Lavender finds one of the zebras, and starts following along behind him. In firm belief that she's interrupting the big scary sailor-trader-pirate, she pipes up a little worriedly for her own wellbeing: "Uh…Mister zebra…sir? Have you seen Siyana anywhere?"

The big zebra approaches Dusty, though Lavender's question derails him. He looks between them, his hardened face creased with worry. He addresses them both: "I am searching for Siyana myself," he says breathlessly. "Little zebra filly? Long hair, about yea high?" A hoof lands on Lavender's head. "She's been missing for almost two days now."

Skedaddle spreads her wings and glides down to the street below. Her ears perked, she hears the zebra and Lavender asking after the filly. "Oh, you're looking for someone? Maybe I can help. I can get a bird's eye view yanno."

Dusty says "I don't know what I can contribute other then my time, and my attention but I am willing and able to look. Where did you last see her maybe we can start from there and work outward."

Lavender trots in a circle around the zebra and starts looking a bit distressed. "Wait, she went missing? Last I saw here I was just sayin' goodnight after we cleaned the ship's mess all up…" Blatant lie, "But then my parents didn't let me out to go say hi again… Do you know where she went last?"

The zebra looks very grateful. "Thank you. Thank you so much. She went out to pick some flowers for me in the mountains. I went to look for her but…I couldn't find her." He gives Lavender a little ruffle of her hair though. Even if it's a concerned ruffle.

Skedaddle hides a worried look quickly. "I'm sure she'll turn up soon, after all, how much trouble can she get into here?" Err… maybe that wasn't as reassuring as she was hoping it sounded! "I'll just pop up and scan the area for ya. Be back in a jiffy!"

Dusty says "in the mean time perhapes we can ask anypony else we know and get a small party togeather, maybe somepony who knows the woods well"

Lavender looks up, "Are you her dad?…" She bites her lip. This probably isn't the right time to ask about joining the pirate crew. She looks up to Dusty, "I know the mountains pretty well, kind of. She might just be lost in the snow, I can go take a look out there for her…"

Skedaddle flits up above the rooftops and hovers in place. She scans the nearby roads hopefully, on the lookout for small stripey persons!

Dusty says "well not alone I will come too. And you too? he asks turning to the zebra"

The zebra nods. "I'm her father. Ah— I am sorry — you can call me Mayani." Skedaddle's reassurance gets a bit of a forced smile. "I'm sure…" But he nods to Dusty. "If you can get some ponies together, that would be wonderful. I…I would appreciate if I could accompany you."

Lavender runs around. "Okay Miyani! We'll go look. Um, I'll see if I can find any hoofprints. You go get other people," she says to Dusty and scampers off.

Dusty looks suddenly embarrassed. He tries to say something but fumbles with the words.

Dusty says "Well I…I am not sure if I really know who to ask. I mean enough ponies to ask. Or rather enough ponies who to ask."

As Skedaddle crests the buildings, she can see the road leading up north toward the forest, and the road leading east through the farms to the mountains. Ponies are around in all the areas, but there doesn't seem to be any zebras at first glance.

Mayani, meanwhile, pats a hoof on Dusty's back. "Perhaps this little group is enough. The caravel is about to leave without us."

Dusty is slightly reassured by the pat

Dusty says "I hope you are right. Maybe we should bring a warm blanket or something just in case"

Skedaddle glides back down, with a sad shake of her head. "Didn't see her nearby. But I can't see the mountain from here so I think we should follow Lavender and check out that area." She mutters to herself, "And kep her outta trouble before we have two missing fillies."

Lavender is, at least, visible from said rooftop (and probably for a while from the others) as she bolts out towards the farms. She crouches down for a moment…There are hoofprints! Looks back and forth…but there's an awful lot of them, too. She starts running back and forth to look for smaller prints then turns and waves a hoof to Skedaddle and shouts something not really hearable. Eventually she turns and bolts for the mountains, sure enough, on her own.

Mayani nods. "I will fetch supplies, and catch up. Thank you so much for your help." And off he runs.

Indeed, Lavender is off and running to the mountains! Better catch up. D:

Skedaddle rolls her eyes, sighs, and flaps faster. "Sorry, I gotta make that silly foal slow down," she calls to Dusty as she stretches out in flight and puts on some speed. "Wait up!"

Dusty's horn starts to glow a little and a pale grey light is cast outwards in a short circle. It's no floodlight but it will help navigate. Besides which the snow reflects it magnifying the effect.

Lavender has no time for waiting! She looks out across the farms…the vast farms with the mountains looming ahead…and just takes on off into them. Dashing across them! Her new best friend, missing! This cannot stand!

Dusty looks back and forth between the retreating zebra and Pegasus turning around worriedly in his spot.

Dusty says "Wait or go? Wait or go? oh dear."

Skedaddle 's eyes narrow as she zips over a field, closing in on her quarry. She reaches out with her teeth to try to nab the filly's tail!

Dusty follows the pegasus before turning back, then shakes his head and once more follows.

Dusty says "No best to go. Our hoofprints are here to follow."

Lavender lowers her head as she dashes faster, cutting straight through a fallow field, leaping from small mound of dirt to other small mound of dirt—and then she jumps and misses the ground, and starts flailing all her hooves instead.

Skedaddle grints her teeth and just barely manages to hover carrying the extra weight. "Nph lifthn hrrr yooo. Canth guh runny ofth lithe thath inna darkth!"

Dusty progresses slowly keeping his head down he is following the tracks as best he can in light he is casting. Suddenly he feels his forward motion arrested. He tries to raise his head up and see what the problem is but he realizes he can't. His horn seems to be stuck in something. Looking at the tracks he notes they curve slightly to the side. Turning his head slightly he can also see the low boughs of a pine tree. He sits down awkwardly as best he can and starts to pull backwards to free his horn from the offending tree.

Lavender struggles and twists around to try and get a good look at her attacker/helper. Oh, it's the pegasus. "I can't hear a word you say, but we gotta get out there and rescue her fast! It's dark! And only going to get darker." She looks back at Dusty upside-down and yells over, "What're you sitting there for, c'mon!"

Dusty says "I am…ah stuck I think. Could you give me a little tug perhapes"

Skedaddle touches down to the ground as gently as she can and looses Lavender's tail."Don't run off again! We need to stay in a group and this kind unicorn has light. We don't want to lose MORE ponies in the dark." She tries to explain gently, but a little exasperation creeps into her voice towards the end. "Now let's go help this poor guy!"

Lavender drops off, and sulks briefly as she's deposited on a hillock. She trots back to Dusty and gets in front of him, pushing on his collarbone to try and free him. "Rrr~!"

Dusty throws his own weight in and with the combined help goes flying backwards. His head gets buried in the snow, but he comes up fine.

Skedaddle hides a giggle behind a hoof and manages to keep a straight face when she plants her foot back on the ground. She flicks her tail over Dusty to help brush off the snow. "Didn't catch your name? I'm Skedaddle."

Lavender takes his own turn at someone's tail, and grabs Dusty's, starting to drag him farmward throughout the introductions. "Rrr~."

Dusty says "How embracing he thinks to himself rubbing his head. "thohks foh dhat," he says, swallowing snow. "Oh and its Dusty," he adds, mouth now clear

Dusty rekindles the light spell which has dissipated when he lost his concentration with the tree. It shows off his eyes (perhaps his only interesting feature in his dull drab aperence) which are the color of beaten copper. Right now they are full of confusion and concern.

Dusty says "So where to from here."

Lavender hops up and down a little. "Come on, guys~, we have to get going, it's getting really dark now! She's my best friend, and I'm not just going to leave her out there to get eaten by bears." And indeed, she takes off.

You head east toward the distant farms.
Horseshoe Harbor - Farm Country

There are farms! Farms farms farms.

A few farms have been established to the east of the harbor proper. Their fields and orchards stretch out toward the mountains amongst the lush grasses of the Galloping Fields.

A main trotting path leads to the Southwest, back toward the town proper, and another Northwest up the hill toward the residential area of town. Straight West is the beach. To the East, meanwhile, are the foothills of the White Saddle Mountains.

Obvious exits:
Town Square <TS> Portside <PO> Outskirts <OS> White Saddle Mountains <MT>

Skedaddle folds her wings neatly and starts off at a brisk trot, keeping within Dusty's circle of light.

Lavender points. Distant mountains!

Dusty is left once more in the dust and pushes himself to catch up

Skedaddle tries to keep Lavender from outpacing Dusty too much. It's a struggle.

Lavender eventually huffs and slows her pace. "I don't know why she'd go all this far away…I mean she talked about flowers and stuff and we don't have any around town…She must really like her family."

Dusty lacking both Lavender's familiarly with the landscape and unconcerned nature only manages to catch up thanks to the filly's shorter strides, panting a little.

As they approach the mountain trail, one thing is clear: the snow is pretty steep here. But on the plus side, it hasn't snowed for a few days, and there are tracks in the snow. Deer tracks, squirrel tracks…hoof tracks?

Dusty says "what sort of followers grow in the winter?"

Skedaddle blinks, and nods, "Yeah…. are there ICE flowers?"

Lavender gives a little shrug "I don't know! There's stuff, though. Oh! Oh, hoofprints, hoofprints!" She lowers her head to the ground almost comically to follow them.

Dusty keeps pace so that the filly can find them in the dark

Skedaddle flutters her wings in excitement, "Wonderful! If only hoofprints had stripes too so we could know if we were following the right person though."

Dusty says "speaking of stripes I hope Mr Mayani finds us eventually"

You head east toward the White Saddle Mountains.
White Saddle Mountains - Foothills

The edge of the mountainous area. My goodness.

The grass of the Galloping Fields gives way to the dusty rock that sets the foothills apart. Craggy rocks rise above and crest against the sky, as the ribbon-marked trotting path heads upwards into the White Saddle Mountains.

The path continues East and upwards to the summit of the White Saddle Mountains, while another path leads back West to the farms. To the Northwest lies Wintersong Forest, its treacherous trees looming in the distance.

Obvious exits:
Wintersong Forest <WS> Summit <SM> Farm Country <FC>

The hoofprint lead up the trail. Golly! But they eventually veer to the side, away from it, into steeper climes. (Still no sign of Mayani, at the moment.)

Skedaddle frowns, "Don't like the look of that. Let me fly ahead a little and make sure the path is okay for climbing." She launches herself up off the snow and scouts ahead.

Lavender looks up to watch the pegasus, but keeps following those hoofprints. "Hey, Dusty was it? I'm Lavender. You know there really are bears out here, right?"

Dusty says "Well I am sure if we leave them alone they will leave us alone. I hope."

The path appears to be narrow, but crossable, if you're careful.

Skedaddle flies back down and lands in a swoosh of snow! "Okay, we can get through, but go single file. Carefully! And I'm gonna hover, I think we should be careful of starting a snowslide."

Dusty nods. He puts one hoof down at a time tredding as best he can along the path testing each step frist.

Lavender follows…but only because Dusty got there first. She heaves a long, eye-rolling sigh, and walks close behind him in a 'can't we go any faster' kind of way.

As the ponies start to creep down the path, the mountains seem eerily silent. Only Skedaddle's soft wingbeats, and the quiet crunch of hoof-fall can be heard. The path is treacherously slippery, but easy enough to cross… until Dusty mis-steps on an icy patch, and skids rapidly towards the edge. Uh oh!

Dusty scrabbles for purchase suddenly he has an idea. For the second time that night his horn is stuck in something, this time though it's intentional as he drags it in the ice to slow his decent.

Skedaddle hears the crunch and slip of ice and whirls around in midair, "Eep! Hang on Dusty!"

Lavender was close enough behind that she might have gone down too! But she's really, really good on ice. When Dusty gets his horn stuck in the ice she creeps/slides over to him and grabs onto his ear with her teeth. Rrr. o.o "I'll sahe youh!" Even if he's taken control of himself already…

Dusty is about to nod ok when he realizes that would be a really bad idea

Dusty's horn digs swiftly into the icy wall as he slips, and while it doesn't fully catch him, it does keep him from toppling entirely. Instead he finds himself clinging precariously to the ledge with a filly grabbing him by his ear. It's unlikely he'll fall, but a hoof up might be helpful.

Lavender uses that ear-bite for leverage, finds a safe spot to stand on the path, and gives the larger unicorn a hoof back to safe ground. Ground with a little more snow to get traction on.

Skedaddle hovers near the edge of the path, and peeks over the edge into the darkness. She looks back at the other two and breathes a sigh of relief. "Nice job, Lavender," she congratulates the filly.

Dusty accepts the hoof gladly and struggles up to the more secure ground. He rubs his ear gently. "Well this has been a fun night so far," he says with only the slightest hint of sarcasm.

Lavender looks back up at the two. Then she trots up ahead, maybe a little faster than advisable, but she's excitable. "Come on, time's a-wasting!"

Dusty shrugs and follows even more carefully then before

The unicorn is saved! And the rest of the path seems clear enough, once you side-step that icy bit! Though it begs the question — did Siyana hit the same patch…?

But luckily there's not much time to think about that, because after the narrow trail widens out, there's a shadow under an overhang. A rather dark shadow. Somewhat between a cave and a hole, it seems, as it descends rather steeply.

Skedaddle backwings and squints into the darkness. "Urrrr. Do the hoofprints go in THERE?"she asks incredulously.

Lavender peers into the cave-thing, "It's hard to tell…And there's no snow inside…Well, we've got light, so let's go look!" On ahead she struts proudly. Into the face of danger, be it bears, or snakes, or…well, who knows, really!

Dusty says "yes. Who knows…"

Dusty sounds rueful

Skedaddle's eyes go wide and she swallows hard."But wait! There could be… a dragon or a bear or…. anything in there!"

Skedaddle adds quietly, "And I can't fly in there…."

Dusty considers for a moment

Lavender glances back "So, what are you afraid of? You can run, aint'cha? Oof." She runs into a wall.

Dusty says "maybe you should wait out here too. Maybe what's in there isn't in there. I mean what if its out here and comes back. Somepony should keep watch."

Skedaddle lands and puts one hoof in front of the other with a force of will. "No, no, if you guys are going in there I'm going too. If there is something in there it might be more afraid of three ponies than two."

Lavender creeps deeper, and /down/. "Hey, I wonder if it echoes in here. SIYANA! SIYANA!? ARE YOU IN HERE!!"

Dusty thinks or it might get more full eating three then two

Dusty cringes at the sound of the shout

Dusty says "if she is we'll find her in our own time please please please be quiet"

Skedaddle nodnodnods complete with comical rattling sound.

"Make that four." Mayani manages breathlessly. The zebra crests the hill, just as Lavender shouts her lungs out into the cave — causing an ominous rumble above. …That can't be safe. The zebra looks worried at that. "Yes, let's be quiet. And…if need be I can keep watch, and protect you three."

Lavender looks back "Mayani! Oh I'm so glad you're here—Wha? If you're sure…But I'm going in!" Off into the dark, beyond Dusty's magical lanternlight. An attempt at a quiet but brisk trot!

Dusty says "thank you Dusty stammers. Wait do you have the blankets and such we should bring those with us"

Skedaddle brightens, "Oh, so glad to see you! I was hoping the trail wouldn't be too tough." She hears the retreating hoofsteps, "Wait!" she calls softly after Lavender, then helps Dusty with supplies.

Lavender gives a soft huff, and sits down, looking deeper into the dark.

"Yes. It's dangerous to go alone. Take this!" Blankets! And some rope! And some first aid. Ta da! Dusty is loaded up, and Mayani smiles faintly at Skedaddle. "Thank you — good luck!"

Skedaddle loops the rope around her shoulders so Dusty doesn't have to be pack mule. She grits her teeth and trots quietly down the passage.

Lavender goes on ahead, whispering "Siyana…Siyana," as she goes. Well, with her in front at least she'll be the first one into the pit or whatever may lie ahead…

Dusty moves ahead admiring the way the light reflects off the cave, perhaps with some less focus then the situation might normally call for.

In fact the light reflects rather stunningly. The walls are made of ice and crystal, refracting beautiful blue-hued rainbows for a little ways. Lavender, meanwhile, indeed finds a sharp pit, rather suddenly, when her hoof lowers and finds not ground, but air, and it overbalances the filly to send her down, landing — oof! On a warm body. Which earns a familiar squeak!

Skedaddle stays well within the circle of light, but she's not admiring the glittering cave walls… she's trying to ovvercome her sense of claustrophobia. Pegasi weren't made for caves! She steps back sharply and cringes at the clatter and squeak noise from ahead. "Eep!"

Lavender shrieks on the way down…then shrieks again in a happier tone (which may or may not be at all evident to those above)! "Siyana! Siyana, we found you! Oh thank Celestia you're alive! Oh I knew you would be though. Why did you come all the way up here? What did you find! Are you okay? It's dark out. We should probably go home. Your dad's here."

Dusty looks around suddenly

Dusty says "umm where did lavender go?"

Skedaddle blinks, wide-eyed. "Urrrrr… I heard her. Over that way." She tiptoes forward.

"L-Lavender?" Siyana stammers. "Oh my gosh why are you here you're gonna die too now!! I fell and got stuck down here… Dad's here?!" The little zebra tries to scramble up but she has another filly weighing her down at the moment. Oof.

Lavender scrabbles off. "Ooo, ooo, Dusty and Skedaddle came to look for you too! I think there's rope. Yeah! Can you hear me up there? Anyone got some rope?"

Skedaddle tiptoes to the edge of the pit and peers down, Dusty's light catching up to her. "Oh! It's you and not a dragon! Shh, shh, though. We'll help." She unwinds the rope from herself and gives one end to Dusty, then takes the other in her mouth and flaps down into the pit.

Dusty digs little pockets in the snowy floor to put his hooves in so as to gain more traction

As Dusty's light illuminates the pit, the little zebra filly squints up. "Um, hello!" she calls, staggering up to her hooves. She's not the only thing down there. In fact there's a little pack full of blue flowers, and a little bed she's made out of … what is that, old scrolls? Those look /very/ old, actually. And some of them are ripped.

Lavender ties the rope onto Siyana, well…tries. She was never been very good at knots, but either way: "Just hold on and we'll be out of here and back on your boat in a jiffy."

Dusty looks over the edge carefully

Skedaddle huh's, glancing over the scattered items. She knows lots of unicorns are fond of scrolls and old historical and magical stuff like that and makes a mental note to gather those up after she helps the earth ponies out. She puts her hooves on Siyana's flanks and boosts her up, flapping her wings hard.

Dusty says "Is everything alright… What are those?" He is looking right at the scrolls, mind whirling. He nearly falls in himself.

Lavender hauls herself on out without the pegasus's help, at least, and flomps at the top. "Hey, what are you staring at? It's just a pile of old paper."

Lavender corrects herself. "Unless…Treasure maps?!"

Skedaddle gives Lavender a deadpan stare."That would be a lot of treasure. They're probably history stuff. But I'll get them."

Siyana peers critically at the knots then looks at Lavender, giggling. "We're gonna have to teach you how to tie better knots if you're gonna be a good pirate!" She tugs at the ropes. She shoulders her pack, and manages to scramble up with Skedaddle's help. "Thank you!" she pants. The scrolls appear to be very delicate and old but not so delicate that Skedaddle can't gather them.

Dusty can hardly contain his glee. This was well worth nearly dieing over….oh yes and saving the filly…that was very important too

Skedaddle jumps back down, opening her wings to land softly. She picks up a scroll in her mouth, then two, then three… then thinks better of things, and retrieves one of the blankets and wraps all the items she can fit carefully inside and carries them up.

Lavender nudges Siyana and giggles. "Yeah! I really look forward to it! Then maybe I can tie the pegasus up a little better the next time I try…But let's go get outta here!"

Dusty braces himself as the rope goes taut, now having tied it around his waist.

Within the span of ten minutes or so, they manage to get all the scrolls and fillies out of the pit! Hooray! And they make it back out of the cave, where the ruffled Siyana tackles her dad with many hugs. AND THEN THEY ALL MAKE IT HOME SAFE AND SOUND.

(OOC) Fluttershy: Dear Celestia, I learned not to be a total dipshit and wander off in the middle of winter into the mountains. :D
(OOC) Fluttershy: On the plus side, I found some scrolls that are ALMOST as old as you!
(OOC) Fluttershy: Luna is best princess. ~Siyana