Of Mares And Fillies
IC date: DATE
OOC date: DATE
PCs: Mad-Mare Sadaka
NPCs: Bazi Talhia Rock'em Sock'em
GM: None

The last couple days aboard the Good Ship Madness have been…startlingly tame.

Tame is, of course, relative. The blockade is still in full force, and there are still occasional explosions that happen when the Syndicolt Flagship has to fire warning shots at incomming vessels, but for the most part things have been calm. This may be, in part at least, due to the new 'crewmember' zebra filly being allowed to roam free among the ship decks, and all the crewmembers know to treat her with respect, if not kindness.

Even the lessons with the Mad Mare have been surprisingly simple and hardly fraught with the emotion-crushing activities she seemed to imply to other parties. This comes as a great relief to the two parental zebras aboard the ship, whom have spent the last couple days between learning all they can about their little lost filly's time in the Harbor, her friends, her experiences, and such, and..fretting about how they're going to keep their promise of keeping dear, sweet Sadaka safe.

As far as the lessons are concerned… They've mostly involved swordplay and cannon-firing, and some exercies Maddie deemed necessary to keep even young foals in shape. She's been watchful, and almost even kind in a 'tough-but-fair' teacher sort of way. The lessons have been mercifully short…since Maddie both is well aware of everyone's nervousness about /her/ teaching Sadaka anything, and because she's had other things to tend to off-ship, leaving the lil' filly free to roam as she wants otherwise.

Today is the third day on the boat. Bazi and Talhia are already up and about, Bazi out of the cabin on his duties, Talhia bringing a bit of breakfast into the room. A small bowl of maple and sugar oatmeal, by the smells of it, trusting the scents of breakfast to wake her daughter. They haven't been the most experienced of parents, but they've sure been doing their best to learn!

And indeed, the sweet scent is enough to stir the sleeping zebra, drawing a wide yawn and streeeeeetch. The little filly had been taking to the ship… moderately well, all things considered. Seasickness had been /mostly/ avoided — although, granted, the ships weren't moving much — and as long as she kept far from the railings, she didn't panic too much at the 'constantly being over water' bit. She missed her friends, and her little loft bed, and often spoke quite fondly about Mr. Blackbird and worried over all the school she was missing, but all things considered, she didn't seem unhappy.

Speaking of school, she actually took to the lessons well. She had a good eye for aim, and while she had little /skill/ with the sword, it didn't stop her from making a valiant effort. As for the excersize, well, she was not unfit, and enjoyed the activity for the most part as long as it kept far from anything involving swimming. But for all the physical stimulation, she seemed to be missing the mental work; she spent a good portion of her free time poking around for books and things to read.

The one thing she was taking to fastest was her parents. After getting over the initial shock and unease, she had quickly become quite fond of them. Maybe they weren't exactly what she had expected, but… why should that matter? They were parents, /her/ parents, and that was quite enough. She spent as much time with them as she could, always full of questions and chatter.

Talhia smiles warmly to the wakeful filly, waiting to let her sit up and get situated before offering up the oatmeal breakfast. "Good morning, dear daughter. I hope you slept well? It's looking like it may be another nice day." Settling herself down next to Sadaka's bed, the motherly zebra dips her head down to give her kid a fond nuzzling. "We have been working on a surprise for you. A trip to the harbor for the three of us after your lessons today, since things have been so calm."

A cheery "Good morning!" comes in response to the greeting as Sadaka sniffs at the oatmeal before digging in, pausing only to return the nuzzle. Well, until a trip to the harbor is mentioned, that is. She brightens immediately at this, squeaking out a "Really?!" around a mouthful of oatmeal but remembering to swallow before continuing. "Oh, thank you thank you! It'll be so much fun, I'll show you my school, and you can meet my friends, and see Mr. Blackbird, and we can shop through the market, and…" Yaaaaaay! How exciting! OHOHOH maybe they could get ice cream!!

"Really." Talhia quips, pleased at the response. "I don't know why, but the boss has been extra…generous lately, so we're trying to take advantage of it while we can. But first you have to get through your lessons… Boss hasn't come back from the other boats yet, but she should be back any minute now."

As if on cue, a nervous-looking Bazi pokes his head in past the cabin door. "Talhia! There's been an accident on another ship! It's sin-", he stops, silenced by Talhia's glare. No doubt both from the sudden barging in that could /scare/ somepony, and by the fact that it's followed by grim news. "-king." he finishes in a much softer tone. "Mad Mare was apparently on the ship at the time of the accident. We haven't yet received word if she's been involved." He bows his head, "Ah… Good morning, daughter."

Sadaka jumps, indeed startled by the sudden entrance. But she relaxes quickly enough — well, somewhat. The news makes her tilted her head nervously. "Sinking? In the w-water? What happened… is anypony hurt? Did someone attack?" A little bit of possessiveness, maybe? Someone went after /our/ ship? Or maybe just fear at the idea of anypony having to deal with the dreaded /water/.

Talhia sighs softly. This wasn't the sort of way she would have preferred news to be broken to young fillies! But Bazi has turned out to be the sort that just lets everything out and deals with the consequences later. The stallion grimaces, then nods to several of Sadaka's questions. "We don't have all the details yet, but it seems there was an attack that caused the ship to explode… It sunk fast. Several lifeboats were spotted, so most of the crew should have survived." His gaze turns to Talhia. "If we're lucky, one might not have."

Talhia's ears flick back. That's another thing she would have rather not have in front of her daughter. Even if it's a veiled and subtle mention of a threat against their superior officer. "Don't say such things." she admonishes Bazi, sneaking a hug in on the surprised and shocked filly. "I'm sure we will find out the full details later. Maybe it really was just a..horrible accident."

Sadaka blinks and nods slowly, frowning a bit as she tries to follow this adult subtlety that she hasn't quite grasped. "It… exploded?" How did that happen by accident? Well… no. Explosions could happen by accident. Mr. Blackbird had done it once! A little one. And the mechanic's shop down the street had exploded a couple times! She was pretty sure that wasn't intentional.

Bazi looks doubtful, but he can't deny the lack of knowledge. "Maybe…" he murmurs out, pushing his way into the cabin to take a seat and shut the door. No sooner does he plant his rear down on one of the room's cushions than a knock interrupts Family Time.

The door opens before Bazi can even think to get up to get the handle, and a goonpony pokes his head in. "Bazi? Talhia? Boss is back. She wants to see you two and your…" he clears his throat, "…Runt on the top deck. Pronto."

His message delivered, the goon disappears quickly! Leaving the two zebra parents to squirm nervously. That doesn't sound good. Not when Sadaka was, in no uncertain terms, named to come with. "I'll go on ahead…" Bazi offers, to which Talhia nods, the stallion leaving to go to the deck, and the mare giving Sadaka's oatmeal bowl a nudge. "Better finish breakfast quick then… She won't want to be kept waiting too long."

Sadaka nods slowly, picking up on the nervousness without much trouble. Uh-oh. This didn't entirely sound like lessons. She gulps down the rest of her meal quickly, ears twitching. Well… it's not like any of them did anything wrong, right? They weren't even on the other ship.

It's true! None of the zebra family had been on that ship! Or had anything to do with that ship. So maybe everything will be okay!

After Sadaka's breakfast, Talhia quietly, if quickly, ushers the little filly along to their impromptu 'appointment', though when mother and daughter step out onto the deck, they see Bazi already pretty much in Maddie's face. And he looks /angry/.

"I do NOT approve!" he's shouting, to an equally-fuming looking Maddie, holding her ground despite the fact that Bazi's got a very good bit of muscle on her.

"I don't care! This is my ship, and what I say, goes!" The Mad Mare pokes a hoof into Bazi's chest. "And /I/ say it's /her/ fault! Her and her friends! I was even being nice to them! I was letting captives /go/! But they blew my ship up anyway…and I demand justice!"

Sadaka blinks and lays her ears back. Shouting… shouting is usually not promising. She gulps and skitters a bit closer to Talhia, drooping timidly. This seemed less than good news.

"Justice!?" Bazi practically roars, stomping at the deck planking, "You, whom takes pride in destroying the lives of others, speaks of Justice? You know nothing of Justice! Or honor! Or anything other than greed! If anyone deserves justice, it's those ponies out there, in the harbor! Justice from /you/!"

Maddie scowls. "That was a nice speech, dear cannoneer, but it doesn't change my mind. In fact, I daresay you've gone soft on me over this whole 'family' thing." She turns away from Bazi, nodding to her two ponygoons…

Rock'em and Sock'em haven't been the most eager of bodyguards lately, but they still do their job. They close in on Bazi, but the scuffle is brief, the zebra stallion ending up pinned beneath the weight of both of the goons. "Urgh…" Bazi grunts, flicking his gaze towards Talhia and Sadaka, then back up towards the suddenly looming Mad Mare. Without being able to effectively get up, the zebra father grits his teeth. "Punish me instead… Boss. Not my filly!"

If ponies could look whiter than usual, Talhia would be pulling that off. As it is, she's trying to keep Sadaka as much behind her as possible, wincing at the sight of her mate being taken down so quickly! The Mad Mare squints down at the trapped Bazi, then fixes her gaze towards the mother and daughter of the quaint family. "I think…not." she decides after the longest moment, beginning to advance towards Talhia/Sadaka. "You three have chosen blood over duty. I can respect that, but it's annoying, and I really can't have that attitude on my ship. So… Now I'm going to have to show all three of you what it means to go against my wishes, and…" her gaze tilting down specifically to Sadaka. "…what being a 'hero' on my ship earns you." She stops, not ten feet from Talhia, standing protectively in front of her filly.

"Sadaka." the Mad Mare says, with not even a smile. "Will you come forth and accept your punishment for the destruction of one of /my/ ships at the hands of your friends?"

Sadaka watches the scene wide-eyed, giving a worried yelp as Bahi is pinned. She shrinks back to cower behind Talhia, ears flat as she tries to make herself as small as possible. But but but… she didn't /do/ anything! She wasn't anywhere near that other ship, and… her friends? What could they do? They'd tried that once, and it… hadn't gone well at all! Had Lavender tried again? Maybe Siyana got her dad involved? She gulped as she was more directly addressed, cowering further and looking rather as if she'd like to disappear through the floor. Squeak. Stammer. More squeak. But… She glanced over at Bazi and gulped again. "A-are… are you g-gonna… l-leave my p-parents alone if I d-do?" she stammered. Still very squeaky. And quivery. And cowering. This bravery thing is hard.

(?? Missing pose ??)

Sadaka shrinks back down again at Talhia's exclamation, ears flattening as she went back to cowering. Well, for a moment. Then Talhia is kicked, and she leaps to her hooves, eyes wide in alarm. "Mama!" She gapes down at her for a moment before looking up at the Mare timidly, trembling and for a moment looking too terrified to move. Her eyes flick back and forth between the two zebra and the pointing pony, mouth opening and closing a few times with little but squeaks managing to get out before she swallows thickly, closing her eyes and trying to gather herself. She's a /pirate/, right?! Well, not entirely, okay so she sucks at it, but Lavender and Siyana were brave! Fidget was brave! And she'd just have to be brave too. She stamps her little hooves a few times as if actively trying to shake the terror out of herself before finally squeaking out a little, "F-fine!" Ten isn't so bad, right? Ten isn't that high a number. She'd seen the switches some ponies kept for misbehaving foals. Mr. Blackbird would never have used one, of course, but if some ponies did, they couldn't be /that/ terrible. Right? As long as nopony else got hurt.

If nothing else, Sadaka's bravery does seem to appease the Mare's initial tirade! In fact, it makes the crazy Syndicolt boss grin. "That's more like it! You two-" at which point she gestures to Bazi and Talhia both, the former absolutely /fuming/, and the latter managing to groggily sit up, "-could learn a thing or two from your kid. Now, squirt, just go stand yourself over by the mast."

Maddie breaks into a brief ordering spree after that, pointing at random goons. "You! Fetch a rope to keep the runt still. You and you, go hold mummy dearest down. I don't want those two getting all heroic when I'm disciplining their daughter. And /you/! Fetch my whip…"

As things start hopping, goonponies all over the place, the Mad Mare calmly steps her way next to the mast as well, keeping an eye on Sadaka. "You've made a good choice. Today's lesson is what it means to be a hero, little one… And it will be painful."

Moments later, Sadaka's parents have both been bound, several of the Syndicolt ponies keeping them under control. Two others tend to getting Sadaka tied to the mast, and a third goon arrives with her whip. A rather mean-looking item… Surely designed to strike absolute fear into the crew of a ship! No small switch, this, and with it in mouth the Mad Mare steps back to a proper distance. "Ten lashes!"

Sadaka squirms a bit as she is tied down, trying to keep the brave face and not look nervous. Or, well… /terrified/. Hero? She was just trying her hardest not to be a coward. You had to be something special to be a /hero/. She wasn't sure she was it.

And then the whip was brought out. O,O That… that is not what she'd been expecting. Indeed that is no small switch. This is enough to start her trembling again, even pull a small whimper from her. So much for brave… but there's nothing to be done for it now. She closes her eyes and braces herself as best she can.

Such a sweet reaction! Maddie always loves the look on pony faces when she brings her whip out. Really she'd do it more often, but then it might lose its effect. With Sadaka prepared, cowering even, and everything ready, the Mad Mare lifts her head, and the whip proudly.

"One!" she growls, bringing her head down in a quick gesture, each of the many strands of the whip snapping in the air, whistling as they streak in a unified mass of writhing leather upon a bare filly back! A world of pain awaits that first lash, like scraping ones knee multiplied by a thousand times, all over that small foal back. And that's just the first lash!

"Two!" the Mare growls again, her head snapping the reverse direction, sending those questing lines of whipping leather a second time across Sadaka's back. "Three!" *CRACK!* "Four!" *CRACK*

It's all Bazi and Talhia can do to sit there, forced by rope and Syndicolt muscle, to watch their little daughter, their pride and joy, be torn at by a weapon meant for much bigger and much broader backs! They wince at each crack, they whimper and cry, Bazi locking eyes on the greusome punishment whilst Talhia can't bring herself to look past the deck flooring after the first lash.

By the tenth lash, Maddie's worked up a sweat! She hasn't held back on the foal, venting every ounce of frustration, at the Harbor, the blockade, its insufferable mayor, every brave soul she's had the displeasure of meeting… All of it, channelled into those whiplashes! "Ten!" the Mare shouts, dropping the Cat o' Nine after her last effort's spent, breathing hard from the effort of swinging such a big, bulky, dangerous item. "And that… Is enough. I'm satisfied~"

As though nothing just happened, let alone any capitol punishment of a little filly for something she didn't exactly take more than a tangent part in, Maddie turns to the filly's parents, all smiles and sunshine. "So! Who wants breakfast?"
To the little filly's credit, aside from an initial pained yelp at the first strike, she does manage to grit her teeth and take a few silently. She gets to maybe three before the tears start, though, and by six it's all she can do not to wail at each lashing. Nothing had /ever/ hurt like /this/, and Maddie's counting out of the strikes is probably the only thing that keeps her from begging for it to stop, because at least there's an end in sight.

Sadaka finally drops limp against the mast at the tenth blow, tears streaming freely as she gives little whimpers and wails and hiccups and all the myriad of noises a child could summon when hurt. She didn't want to be a brave pirate anymore. She wanted to curl up in her bed with her little pegasus doll and wail. But Maddie is still there, so she's left trying to be quiet and still as possible lest she attract more attention and somehow inadvertently do something wrong again or something.

"No? No breakfast?" Maddie attempts, again, staring at Bazi and Talhia expectantly. Both of the zebra parents just…glare. Well, Bazi glares. Talhia's looking teary-eyed at her daughter. Neither one speaks.

"Alright, fine. I suppose I should let you have your brave little pony back. Boys~" she gestures to her goons. All three of the zebra family members are released, Talhia immediately bolts to Sadaka's side, intent to scoop the wounded filly up, retreating into the ship to cart her back to their cabin. Bazi stands, stepping to the Mad Mare, the deepest of frowns on his face.

"May you live to regret this." the deep-voiced zebra stallion rumbles. "…Boss." Then he, too, chases after. They don't stop until they reach the cabin, Bazi helping Talhia settle Sadaka into the lower bunk.
And now, safely out of earshot… waaaaaaail. "Maaaamaaaaa!" and the little filly clings to Talhia, trembling and crying. One would think it'd be easier to be brave after the fact, but that does not seem to be the case. The ordeal is done, but that doesn't make it hurt any less now.

It absolutely breaks Talhia's heart hearing her child wail like that! All she can do is crawl into the bed with her foal, cradling the poor filly, trying to be as comforting as she can in the face of the sheer pain and terror Sadaka went through. "Bazi…" she murmurs through a dry throat, her own tears dropping onto filly ears. "Ointment, please."

As Bazi, stonefaced and stoic, fetches medical supplies, Talhia croons quietly to her child, letting her spill her tears. When he returns, jar of ointment and bandages in mouth, he sets to work gingerly cleaning his foal's wounds from that horrible whipping. "…We can't let this happen again." he mutters under his breath.

Eventually the wails fade to whimpers and sniffles, occasionally squeaks when the sting of the ointment flared up the pain again. Sadaka blinks up at him, then at Talhia. "…A-are you guys o-okay?" she finally stammers. That looked like a pretty hard kick… and those goons must've been rough to wrestle Bazi to the ground. Her daddy was strong.

"We've been hit by rougher things." Talhia murmurs, her ears flicking back. Bazi finishes up with cleaning all the whiplash marks, then puts all the first aid away, settling himself next to the bunk beds. "You are one tough little filly, little one." the stallion rumbles, managing to find some small nugget of goodness after all that. It's short-lived though, Bazi's head dipping to almost touch the bed's edge. "…Forgive us Sadaka. I thought we could protect you on this ship. But it's…clear that we can't keep that…Mare's reach."

"Not as long as she's in charge." Talhia murmurs, brushing Sadaka's cheek with the edge of a hoof.

Sadaka can't help but look a bit pleased at the momentary praise, ears perking slightly. Talk of the Mad Mare makes them droop again, however. "Why's she so mean?" she finally asked. "I didn't do anything… neither did you… we were over here the whole time, we didn't blow up her dumb ship…"

Both of the zebra parents sigh. How does one explain a pony like Maddie? Let alone to a foal? They have theories, and Bazi's the first to speak up with one, propping himself up against the wall next to the bunkbed. "She is mean because she feels she has to be. Because she's afraid if she stops being mean, she will not have any power, and without any power she will be alone. Nopony wants to be alone, do they?

Sadaka blinks and frowns, mulling this over for a few moments. "But… but if you're mean… nopony will want to be your friend. And then aren't you all alone? 'Cause… 'cause you don't have any friends." 'Power' is a vague, uncertain concept to one her age. What good is it if it means you have to be mean to have it? :< Wouldn't someone rather have friends? Especially if you're trying to avoid being alone. When she felt lonely she always wanted Siyana or Lavender or Mr. Blackbird.

Talhia smiles to her daughter, giving her a kiss on the forehead. "Indeed, that is true. That's what she doesn't understand." The motherly zebra begins to rock her child, gently so as not to aggrivate a freshly bandaged backside, "That is why it's an endless circle for her. The more power she has, the meaner she thinks she has to be, the worse she becomes. This is why you must never value power over friendship, dear daughter. Friends give you power, but power does not give you friends…"

"It's also why she hates the word 'Hero' so much." Bazi notes, snorting. Apparently this is a familiar topic for them to discuss now and then.

Sadaka nods thoughtfully. "So she's… mean 'cause she doesn't wanna be alone… an' she's alone 'cause she's mean… which just upsets her and makes her meaner?" That seemed rather like a downward spiral. Maybe somepony should just be her friend and be done with it! …Somepony else, at least today, because she was /scary/.

Both parents nod in agreement. "That's exactly right." Talhia states. "And that's why somepony will have to do something about it. Sooner or later…"

"Before she does something even she will regret." Bazi mutters.

Sadaka frowns and lays her head on her forelegs, twitching an ear. "…Can't we just… g-go to town? Stay here? Everypony's nice, we could get a house, they'd let us, and… and she couldn't be so mean to us anymore…"

"We have been thinking about that." Bazi admits, tipping his head up. "Just…quit. Escape. It would be nice not to have to do /this/ anymore."

"But it's not that easy." Talhia murmurs. "She would give chase. If you thought what she did up there was bad, you should see her when she's really upset. But we're still thinking about it…"

Bazi nods, slowly, "We will figure something out, Sadaka. Don't worry."