Out In The Snow
IC date: Autumn 59, 1007
OOC date: November 17
PCs: Heartsong, Jellybean, Kludge, Magpie, Ruby-Blossom, Sodium-Fizz, Solar-Wind, Winter-Solstice
GM: None

Amongst the many bodies piled up around the heaters of the makeshift refuge camp, one particular shivered of something other than the biting cold, just barely held at bay by the heaters they've hauled along with them. Sodium-Fizz hurt, a lot. Her memories of yesterday was hazy at best, she remember throwing herself at Nightmare's Eyes… but after that, not much. Just pain. No doubt a side-effect from the diluted depetrification potion. Pain and… warm lips? Oh, right… Winter-Solstice.

Soda opened a bleary eye and looked around, no Winter. She let out a sigh, one comming from halfway between dissapointed and relieved. Just her, the cold and the pain. Try as she might, the large mare just left her… stumped. Another sigh, this one for herself. Just… ugh. She shook her head, trying to clear it from the looming, gloomy thoughts and pushed herself upright, instantly regreting it as her head pounded. Her mouth tasted of iron. Why…? Right, the vial. She'd bitten through the vial.

Solar-Wind is in roughly in the middle of camp, He had brought several tents several days prior to the evacuation, some for himself and some for others at the impromtu fortress of snow drifts and icefields. He stood atop a mound of snow so that he could spy over the 'drift-walls' and keep an eye on the surroundings. Solar looked like the perfect guardpony or statue as he stood unmoving, well almost. He keeps fluffing his wings to keep them warm as they are exposed from his thermal suit, but other than that movement, and the slow scanning of the horizion, the big pegasus is stock still. There's no doubt about his background of being a guard of some fashion, ya might be able to bounce a pebble off his forehead or something. There's some foals about that keep making faces at him from some nook of a tent and he is just immobile and staring. At his feet bundled up in some thermals is his friend whom has also likely stood guard since last night, Together they make for one hay of a team!

Craning her neck around, Sodium-Fizz caught sight of something familiar. Or rather somepony familiar.

Several minutes later the grey mare colapsed against the drift-wall next to Solar-Wind with a loud whimper, her legs quaking beneath her. Though at leas she's gotten back the use of her formerly pettified limb. "S-Solar… Where are we…? Did…" another whimper forced Soda to pause, "Did you ge-get Captain Twist out of… there?"

Solar ducked around hearing his friend wake up, he called out "Polar-Breeze, up and here please, Please take over for me" he paused for a moment to let the other sleepy pegasus wake up, and trot over, "Need you to take over for a bit, got someone to tend to" he hops off his snow mound and alights beside Sodium-Fizz "Remember how you were with me, when I was recovering, well consider this turnabout, Sodium-Fizz, by Decree of the Royal Guard I hearby order you to lay back down, and let me and the others take care of you," he smiles a gentle caring smile then nods, "We're on the Ice-Camp, ya know the place where me and Twist always met up at, got snowbanks all around us hiding us from everyone but pegasi, but we've got that bit covered too more or less" he comments then gives her a gentle nuzzle, "Twist is here with us, I took first watch to let her rest, but yes, she's right over there" he points his nose towards the base of the guard tower/snowpile. "She's going to be fine I think. She really tried to help us too" he sighs, "didn't quite accomplish it, she couldn't quite bring herself to killing Will, don't know quite what it was, if it was still something inherant with the control, or something, or that maybe she had a sense of morals somewhere or other" he shrugs, "anyway, she's here, and she's safe

Sodium-Fizz let out a relieved sigh, "And everypony else…? They were about to attack us… and…" Her muzzle scrunched up for a moment, then shook her head. No, most likely everypony was safe, or else Solar would most likely be in a frenzy to get them back or, if she had a guess, be wallowing in self-pity over failing to keep them alive. That left… "How's Winter…?"

After a second of thought Fizz added, "And buck your Royal Guard decree."

The big pegasus smiles down at her, she is still shorter as he helps her get back up on her hooves. "Steady there" he comments lightly. "Everypony is fine, just fine as far as I'm aware" he offers her, "A bit chilled more so than usual, but we're all managing. "Winter's ok, she saved your tail out there, saved you from seriously getting into a bit of a tizzy with Eyes, and we weren't under attack, you just, you just over-reacted, uhh, pulled a Solar, at an emotional provocation" he blushes some, "Whinny bailed you out, and carried you here too, In fact, she's been curled around you for awhile now, but she being how she is has gone off to make sure our path is clear so we can move come whenever we get underway again.

Solar grins, "Seems you're as hard-headed as I am about being helped, and medical treatment, I guess its only fair" he states as he places a hoof against your chest and PUSHES with some strength hoping to get her to at least sit down in the very least.

"When t-things go ploin-shaped, Solar… you hit first, and you hit hard," said Sodium-Fizz as she was pushed back onto her rear end, panting softly. She's indeed not in much of a shape at the moment. And that's an understatement, even leaning lightly one her forelegs to keep her upright is enough to make them tremble with the strain after a few moments. "That's what I've learned… If it goes bad… always land the first punch, and make it a good one… And Winter… I…" She fell silent, her cheeks taking on a faintly redish shade, and her muzzle scrunched up as she seemed to think before sighing for herself, letting her head drop.

"I… I well, I don't need your help, Solar… I'm just a bit tired, exhausted from the pain. It's suposed to take a split second, not… twenty."

"Usually I agree, but This go around things didn't work that way, General Eyes had far more patience that I ever expected, a true leader that one is, one I have some Respect for" (thats a big compliment coming from Solar) "Our actions vs. the local ShadowBolts, and the Queen herself have been on the side of the Untoward" he comments, "making us look like the one's in the wrong, I err, I kinda feel a bit out of place" he indicates with a hint of guilt perhaps. "I'm used to working in the guard, working for the queen's, not against them" he states. "I know this is a whole diferint world here, but there's a common thread here too" he shakes his head, "Nevermind, really" The big pegasus just sighs some. "I want to believe we're in the right here, the rebels an all"

Solar nods some, "Well if you won't take my help, please know that I'm still willing to lend a hoof to get you on your hooves again, and don't be afraid to ask Whinny for help, she will gladly help you out" he smiles.

Sodium-Fizz shruged weakly. "Does it matter if we are or not…? I've been back and forth across that line enough time not to care… What matters is that we keep everypony safe and to… just get out of here…" She groaned. "Solar, I'd metaphoricaly -kill- for a plain hay sandwich. I'd fight a dragon for waffles. I'd even pick a fight with Celestia for a few cloudberries… I want home, I want this… this," she waved a hoof at everything, "to just go away. It's like being trapped in a nightmare… The only redeming feature is that it's not my fault for once…"

Solar shrugs some, "Just little feelings that have cropped up over time and with discussions with my love" he murmurs softly as he looks over his shoulder to the mass of blankets and improptu shelter around his very special somepony. Captain Plot-Twist. At Fizzies mentioning of food the big stallion's stomache practically reaches out to grab her, or would if it could at least, its all Rumbly gurggly wanting needing, and it leaves the big pony salvating "Awwfizz, stop talking about good food please" he clutches his stomache with a hoof trying to tame the beast before you. His growling stomache likely can be heard across the ice flats as loud as it is. "I'd experience it all again for one reason alone" he points his nose over to 'her' then looks back to Fizz, "And I think you'd likely too for your time with Whinny" he smiles, "this place has hurt alot too, in more than just physical, but the mental too" he offers softly with a gentle rub of her shoulder showing he cares. "Only redeeming feature is the friends we've made, and the time spent together, and that we've been able to help ponies through some hard times"

"What time?" came the question from Sodium-Fizz, the mare letting her forlegs give out and sending her keeling into the snow with a heavy sigh. "I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm not even sure what I'm suposed to say or do or anything. I don't think I'm ready for something like -this-, I don't think I ever will be." Soda ran a suit-clad foreleg across her face. "I'm not even sure I should even have gone talking to you lot. Or made friends, or…" She sighed. "Ugh… great, now I'm whining, too… Like I could get more pathetic…"

Solar just sighs, "those brief fleeting moments of being together, your friendship with her, your friendship with us, was all worthwhile in my book, I'd Do it all over again to gain that." he admits, "unquestioningly" he adds and sighs. "none of us are born ready, we just have to ease into it. Go easy on yourself even" he sighs "Shhhh Fizzy, just calm down, I know you're out of sorts with yourself and your surroundings, just give it time" he mentions quietly, as he glances back to the somewhat less guard-worthy Breeze, and back to his friend.

Sodium-Fizz sighed and draped her forelegs across her head, lying silent in the snow for several long moments before sighing. "I guess I can hope… I… I…" Her mouth clamped up. No, she didn't want to talk about this. "I… still want waffles with cloudberry jam… and hot chocolate. I can do without vanilla icecream…" A brittle smile broke across her muzzle. The apperance of normalicy restored. "Could… you help me back into the camp…? I… don't think they have waffles, but I supose I need to eat…"

Solar nods a little, "arrrgh stop talking about good food" he practically whimpers as his stomach roars out its desire, its protest" the big stallion looks a little sick for a moment as he looks to the tent where we've got some food, blue-leaves. *Gurgggle! Gurggle!* he gets a little pale looking and goes to help Fizz. He slips his wings to the side, then lifts her upright by the scruff of her jacket pretty much just being a big crane pegasus and straight lifting her. Dude's strong, no doubt about that, He does so so she can get her hooves under herself, Then he supports her. Big guy might actually shed a tear if you keep talking about good food like that. His stomach is certianly protesting though, its soo sick of blue leaves and in-edible rations

The short trip to the take most likely seems to take forever. For Sodium-Fizz the reason is her shakey, aching body and sheer physical exhaustion. For Solar-Wind, it's most likely the fact that to distract herself from litteraly everything, she keeps talking about food.

"…or sweetpotato, onion and apple stew. Curry, obviously, and with a hint of korriander and ginger, and a few nuts. Or tacos! Tacos would be nice, the roasted grain, the salad… Salsa!"

Solar steadies her and gets her under cover of one of the three big tents with some of the lesser able ponies, since she is in the range of 'special needs' at this point with her mobility being challenged, and her head being a bit zonked too for that mater. His stomach just gurggles thickly in protest, he hasn't had good food food in ages, and Ruby's offered Orange, was something practically to die-for when he got ahold of that. He right Whimpers now hearing Fizzy continue to list off such tasty deliectable foods as what she's mentioning, "Fizzy, do you happen to have any more of that knock out gas?

Solar stops just doubles over and clutches his stomach, "Cause you keep talking about food" he practically glares at her, maybe he's eaten something, likely not since this whole thing started, and you talking about food is just making him not feel good in akward ways, and he so-doesn't want any of those darn blue leaves.

Sodium-Fizz smiled, much more widely now than before. And more genuinely. Evil mares, the lot of them. "Lets just get something to eat…" With a strained huff she pulled away from Solar-Wind and ducked through the flap of the tent to the, relatively, warm insides. Her body still shook and shaked as she stood there, taking a moment to relish in the warmer environments.

"Hi," says Winter, who is standing immediately inside the tent, staring at Soda.

Steps inside with Fizzy and is rather startled by Whinny too, enough for him to make a quick backpace'd hop "Gah, winter don't do that!" he chokes out

To call Sodium-Fizz startled would most likely be an understatement, her face flushing darkly and a eep scaping her as she, somehow, managed to leap back. Only to bump her rear end into Solar-Wind, sending her leaping forward into Winter with another little startled sound.

Winter-Solstice isn't startled at all, of course, watching with wide eyes and an almost childlike curiousity as everybody FREAKS OUT around her. She catches Soda as she bumbles forward, then peeks past her at Solar with a little raise of her eyebrows. "Don't do what? Be inside where it's warmer?" She squints. "But it's cold outside and I'm not due for another shift of watch for a while yet."

Solar sighs, "oh nevermind" his stomache gurgles and he steps past the couple and retrives some rations from his saddlebags returning to offer each pony a packet of blue leaves, "Just imagine these are Waffles or something" he notes as he tears into his packet and stuffs the blue leaves on in. "Mmmmm waffles" he crys just sitting there to one side of the tent, "sticky warm waffles" he mumbles through evident tears.

On her part, Sodium-Fizz's facade of being a normal pony is as good as gone. Again. As she stands half blushing at Winter and half silently cursing her. One can practicaly see mentaly kicking herself as her head jerked. "Hello bea-… uh," her muzzle scrunched up. Was she really going to say -that-?! She rolled it over in her head 'hello beautiful'? That… feelt plain weird. She wracked her brain for a few moments.

"Hello Winter," she settled on, fighting back a sight as she leaned up against the taller mare. It just feelt… insuficient? "I… Thanks, for saving my skin… I knew I could depend on you…" A bit better.

Winter-Solstice lifts a hoof to Solar Wind, shaking it. "No thanks, I've eaten. And I'm saving room. For pie. When we get home. For there will surely be pie." She then turns to look back at Sodium, leaning back in even as she eyes the other mare with an upraised eyebrow. "Bew? That is a silly nickname and I don't get it at all, but that's okay. You can call me that if you want." She smiles brightly. "Also of course I'd save you! Silly. That's my job, isn't it?" She smiles at Soda for a moment, then turns to eye Solar. "… there is gonna be pie, right?"

"Pie, oh pie, sweet apple pie" the big guy sounds like he's dreaming or drunk or something, "hayfries, fritters n fluted funnelcakes, cakes, snacks, treats, oooooh" he groans

Sodium-Fizz blushed just a smidge brighter. "I… no, that wasn't it… Thank you, though. I don't think I'd make a good statue." She cracked a strained smile and shuddered, being a statue did not sound like fun. "Though, um… could I have that? I'm starving… I don't care if it's blue leaves."

Turned slightly, eyeing Solar-Wind for a moment, "I… think there will be. If nothing else than to snap him out of… that." She motioned at him.

Winter-Solstice stares at Solar for a few moments. She takes a moment to reach out and accept both offered packages of leaves, and pass them silently to fizzy. Winter's face crosses with a hopeful smile for a moment. "There's gonna be hayfries and funnelcakes, too?" she asks with a little wiggle of her backside. "Oh!" Reaching down, she makes a clumsy grab for Soda's forehooves. "Is your hoof fixed? Both of them? All four?"

Solar has checked out into somewhat of a food-coma of sorts, He is just munching on half a mouthful of blue-leaves salivating and naming off various snacks, treats, goodies, and even normal food for that matter while he munches, "MMmmthese waffles are tastey" he comments, looking over "You should try these Waffles!" he stares blankly, "Waaaafffffles, Waaaaffffles!" he practically moans out.

Sodium-Fizz giggled and nodded, "Yeah… I'm fine, now. Nothing a little potion splashing can't fix, heh…" Soda bit her lower lip for a moment, "not that there was much splashing… Eh… But yeah, I imagine you could have whatever you want. We could have whatever we want."

Winter-Solstice turns and stares at Solar for a few moments. His foodlust is almost lurid in its intensity. She settles down, then, seating her flank on the damp canvas that passes for a floor, and sighs. "I want a warm sunrise and singing birds and the sound of the ocean lapping away in the background," she says, wearily. "I know we're almost there but that's only making it worse. And… and I know that I'm wanting that stuff while leaving however many ponies here in this world without ever seeing any of that." She stares across the dim tent, expression sunken. "And a turnip turnover."

Solar blinkblinkblinks coming out of his foodlust to just gaze back over to the happy couple now focusing on missed feelings, sounds, and that warmth of the sun.

The slowly growing smile on Sodium-Fizz's muzzle winked out again and she sighed, nodding. "Yeah… I'm not sure what we can do about that though… I think… some part of me, the really pragmatic part… don't give a flying buck what happens here… it just want's to go back and forget everything ever happened…" She sighed and leaned up against Winter. "Other parts, better parts… Not so much. I wish I could help, somehow… I can't even leave behind any of my notes or teachings on alchemy, if anypony will ever need it…"

Winter-Solstice shakes her head slowly, and hooks a foreleg around Soda. Even if she's sitting and Soda is standing, Winter probably has enough of a height advantage she can still hug the other mare around the withers. "I'm just hoping the portal sort of stays open a bit, so we can come back sometime and do the job the right way, you know? Once we get, like… an army?" She shakes her head again. Then she does it for a third time, for good measure. Then she brightens up with a smile. "Oh well! Nothing to be done for it now."

Heartsong peeks her head into the tent, looking around sheepishly before edging in. She's not hurt! Really. She didn't, you know, freak out and sprain a wing chasing a rowdy foal mid-evacuation. That would be silly. Pegasi are made of tougher stuff than that! Totally. Ahem. But she's got other reasons to be here! 'Cause if anypony needs a good song to cheer up with, it'd be any who aren't feeling well, right?

Solar sees someother pegasus pony enter the tent more squeeze in more or less. Its rather tight in here, but 'cozy' would be the better term for it. Solar is off to the side dreaming about what its like to be back home, mentioning little things like the Oh, "sun, the clouds, real actual clouds, not icey painful ones to fly through even!" The big flyer just swoons and lays down in his corner while his mate is outside near the guard post at the other shelter point. "Everything's hit or miss, I want to go home so bad, but yet, I also want to stay, and maybe help get things back into order again" he comments then looks up he waves to the other pegasus, "Good Morning Heartsong, are you feeling ok?" he stands back up stepping into clinical mode more or less to be sure of for everyone's health. Another subject to dwell upon not home, not being lost.

Obviously somepony is. The seemingly ever-grumpy light-worlder alchemist in this case, seeming caught up in another bout of depression despite being wrapped in the hooves of her fillyfriend. Actualy, she doesn't look well at all, fatigued and trembling. And seemingly reslishing the ration of blueleaf she's just reached out and graped with a sigh, stuffing into her mouth. "Nothing we can do now… I supose, though it doesn't make it any easier. And just the notion makes my hooves itch, not doing anything feels like inviting trouble… Then again, doing stuff is trouble, too…"

"There's probably gonna be trouble no matter what. Just a matter of, uh, picking the right, er… flavor?" suggests Winter, wrinkling up her nose. That doesn't sound like catchy advice even to her, so for now she just squeezes Soda a bit more closely. After a pause she does glance across to Heartsong, though, smiling to her. She's not looking quite so bad as everybody else in the tent, but even she is looking rather tired, her naturally messy mane even more messy. "Hey, Heartsong! Are you okay with leaving, huh?"

Heartsong blinks. "Oh, uh… hello, everypony. Oh, yeah, I… I'm fine." She tilts an ear, blushing a bit; the mood in here seems sadder than she'd been expecting! "Oh. Well, um…" 'okay' with leaving is a complicated question. "…I… guess I don't really have a choice? I mean, it's what we're doing." She trots over to the group, stretching her sore wing and wincing a bit before sitting back on her haunches. "…They say the portal in the Hive goes back to where… where you're all from?"

Sodium-Fizz's muzzle scrunched up as well. Yeah, that didn't sound overly convincing, especialy not to Soda. Dropping onto her rear end she turned slightly, looking over at Heartsong and giving her a nod. "Suposedly, yes. That's what Ruby say anyway… Though," she hesitated for a moment, her gaze darting up to Winter before returning to Heartsong, "though I find myself questioning… Yes, how do you feel about… leaving? It's not like us, who wants to go home, but… you're abondoning yours…"

Winter-Solstice sits up slightly with a frown. "Abandoning! That's kinda harsh. That's not it at all, is it? We're just going to, uh, step out for a bit. Warm up, get a bite to eat. Raise up an army n'stuff." She reaches up to scratch her nose, then glances up at Heartsong. "And yeah, it goes back to where we're all from. We think. Ruby says so. Maybe it's just SORT OF like where we're all from, except everybody is a pod-pony duplicate and it rains orange juice. Except from the sound of it it's similar enough to where we're from that I think I'd be okay with those little inconsistencies anyway. I kind of like orange juice." She brightens up. "Oh! Oh, we'll have to get you guys some orange juice, Heartsong! I bet you don't even have oranges here. Oh, oh! And bananas! Man there's all kinds of crazy fruit you're gonna have to try!"

Heartsong tilts an ear. What's an orange? Isn't orange a color? Then how does one juice it? And then make it rain orange? Can you make orange clouds? What would that even be made from? "Um…" She shrugs slightly. 'Abandoning' does sound somewhat harsh. But… accurate, isn't it? She lays her ears back, looking down. "Well… It's… I… I don't know. There's not all that much left to… abandon, is there? The Hive is gone. …The Base is gone." She sighs softly, shrugging again. "…I was never going to save the world anyway. But I guess I never thought about… leaving it."

Sodium-Fizz nodded softly, "Yeah… It doesn't look like we -can- do anything… unless somehow Celestia and Luna comes charging through that portal with the Elements at their heels, anyway." Soda fell silent for several long moments, her face falling. "And… I must say, I'm sorry for having my hoof in making it this bad… I should learn not to get involved in… well, things. Not unless I have somepony to keep me in check and makes sure I don't do what I normaly do…"

Winter-Solstice shakes her head. "I think things were gonna get this bad one way or another, Fizz. Don't beat yourself up over anything." She's quiet for a while, then smiles back to Heartsong. "It's just a little vacation, that's all. You'll be back. If you want, that is. Maybe this will end up being the best thing for everyone?" Again, she falls quiet for a bit. "Maybe not. Glimmer was really sad when she found out we were all leaving. S'why I ask, you know."

Heartsong rubs at an ear with one hoof idly. "Well… it's home, you know? …Bad as it can get… it's ours. It was. …I guess it's hard to explain. It must look so bad to you all, compared to where you're from. …I've heard a few of the stories." She shrugs. "But to us, this is just… how things are, you know? We try to make it better. Even if we're not really sure what 'better' is. It might seem terrible to you, but to us it's home." She peeks up at them shyly through her mane. "…What's the sun like? A-and… and the ocean? When it's not all ice?"

That brought a chuckle from Soda, and a smile. "It's all bright and warm and wet… It's hard to explain, I guess… The sun is like this little sphere, hung in the sky much like the moon but so bright that it washes over everything. It's bright and warm, and while the sun is out it's like it makes the world it's own, banishing darkness into the shadows… and even takes the edge of that, even shadows become… kinda warm and soft. A bit of a reprieve from the light, in my opinion," she chuckled, "what with my coat… As for the ocean… It's just… wast, great, big, huge and stretches for forever it seems. Wast and powerful…" Her muzzle scrunched up and she glanced up at Winter. "I don't feel like I'm doing such a good job at this…"

Winter-Solstice lifts her forehooves up. "The sun is really really bright," she says, "Except when it goes down. And the ocean is really, really wet. All the time. Tastes salty, too. And it is full of fishes." She smiles at Heartsong. "And that's what I was telling everybody! This may be a horrible world- I mean, well… well, relatively horrible- but it's someone else's home, so it's important to them! But nobody ever really seemed to believe me in that department. Or take it very seriously." She shakes her head a bit. "I think it's 'cause everybody's from someplace warm and tropical. Back home? Back where I'm from? I'm from a place way up north where it gets pretty cold and dark. Not as much as here, but it's similar. So I don't think it's all awful." She smiles cheerfully. "If you guys come to our world you can go there sometime if you think it's like way too bright and way too hot all the time in Horseshoe Harbor for you."

Magpie makes the dash from one tent to the next and sighs. She smiles a little at Winny and Fizzy and trots over to lean on the bigger mare. "I miss the base," she says with a sigh. "We're going home soon, right?"

Heartsong perks an ear a bit. "…There are places in your world that are like here? Kind of?" She blushes. "I mean… sometimes it's not really all that bad. Once when I was little… Pinkie was trying to help teach me and Opalwing how to fly, we were the only Pegasi big enough, and we found this big clearing to practice in, and… and the moon was full, and it was snowing, and there were only a few clouds… everything was bright, and the snow made it all look so clean and pure and pretty…" she trails off, flushing crimson and kicking a hoof sheepishly at the ground. "…Sometimes it's not really all that bad," she repeats softly. She glances down at the newly arrived filly, nodding. "…Yeah. We're going back to your home soon, they say."

Magpie blinks. "You're coming with us?" she asks, looking at Heartsong, then over at the adults.

Sodium-Fizz smiled and nodded, "Yeah… For all the warmth of the sun… Winter nights like that, they're special. The night where we come from… they're different than from here… They're like that, they're mysterious and beautiful. Nothing quite like it. There is, thankfuly, very few places that holds dangers like here… Some, true, of various forms," Soda sighed, rubbing a foreleg, "but overall, it's beautiful, the nights. The Winter nights, especialy."

The grey mare turned, smiling at Magpie before reaching out and mussing up her mane. "Hey there Maggie… And yeah, they are… For now… For forever. Who knows? But right now, yeah… Every friend we've made's comming with us, it seems."

Magpie smiles. "Oh… good! I think you'll like it, really!"

Winter-Solstice's eyes light up at Heartsong's description, and the big mare nods briskly before the smaller pegasus gets through it all. "Yeah! Yeah! I love that! See, we still have that! It'll be great! You'll love it." She drops back and taps a hoof against her chest. "See, I don't think you guys have solstices here, 'cause that's all about day and night cycles, but they named me after the winter solstice, which is the longest night of the year. If it was always a bad thing, they wouldn't go naming people after it, would they?!" She quiets for a bit. "Unless it IS terrible and they just didn't like me." She stares towards the tent door, then brightens up. "Ha ha ha! I know that's not what happened because I love my parents and they love me and we had a great relationship and they didn't get tragically slain by villains or anything." Winter then reaches down to hook a leg around Magpie and at least try to give her a snug. "Heya, short stack! How are you holding up?" She looks over to Heartsong again. "Hey, Heartsong! THere's something I was wondering about."

Magpie winces at Winny's comment about tragically slain parents. She essays a smile, though. "I'm okay. I've been cold before." Not /this/ cold, granted, but still. "The kids are bored and scared and cold and nervous and grumpy and hungry. I think some of them are about to explode."

Winter-Solstice perks up. "Really? That's horrible! Tell me which ones so I can go watch, though."

Magpie giggles. "I'll try to let you know."

Heartsong blushes faintly. "…Yeah, I guess we're coming." She looks over at Winter, ears drooping a bit. Yeah, that's something of a familiar-sounding story to her, too. "Never really knew my parents. …I'm glad there's still nights there. I'd… I'd like to see the sun. But I… I think I really would miss the moon." She tilts her head. "What did you want to ask me?"

Winter-Solstice is thinking about explosions, and that's REALLY DISTRACTING, since explosions are baaaasically the best ever, but a few moments after Heartsong addresses her, Winter perks up and looks back to the barely-adolescent pegasus. "Oh! You can sing pretty well. Where'd you learn to do that, huh?"

Sodium-Fizz scowled at Winter before bopping her in the side, "Don't joke about that… This kind of exploding… it's not pretty, it's not fun. Trust me… The last thing these foals needs is that!"

Solar-Wind blinks awake again and grumbles a little under his breath something about waffles or somesort of nonsense, He stands and shakes off a little bit, pulls his wings back a little to streach, well not fully, since the tent is kinda low, but enough. He just sighs, "Well ladies and gentle foals, I'm going to check in with Twist, and resume my Guard Duty" he intones as he grabs another 'blue-leave' packet and scarfs it down. He smiles all around, "Heartsong, if you could please sing something calming, I'm sure the entire camp would be better for it" he asks softly as he starts for the door flap.

Winter-Solstice tanks the bop, but is wounded in spirit, if not in body. "Ow!" she says, and frowns at Soda. "M'sorry. … wait, you say this like you know what it's like! You're pretty not exploded for someone who has exploded. Or did you… can you explode? And then explode again!?" Agog at the concept, she turns and waves distractedly at Solar. "Don't… don't explode, Solar!"

Heartsong blinks. "How to sing? Well, uh… I don't know." She shrugs. "I just… well…" She tilts an ear, looking down. "…Mom used to sing a lullaby, when I was little, when I'd get scared. And it always made me feel better. And sometimes when we were feeling down, Pinkie Pie would sing, and it'd cheer us up. So… so once when… when it was really dark, and getting near Nightmare Night, and everypony was feeling jumpy and scared, and we were all just holed up together in the Hive, I… I just thought, you know, maybe… maybe a song would help. …So I sang."

She blinks and nods over at Solar, smiling faintly. "I guess sometimes everypony just needs something to… remind them it's not so bad. Get the spirits up, and… and make everyone come together. Remind us we're on the same side. It's hard to sing the same song together and… and not feel like you've got each other."

"You have a point… I guess. Makes me wish I'd meet you a long, long time ago if it truly works… Maybe things would have been different… Maybe we should see about having a sing-along sometime soon, to get everypony to calm down, I'd don't think I'd want anypony to suffer from stress or panic attacks right now. They're just… bad." She huffed. "I mean, just look at me. I'm a mess."

Running a hoof through her mane she turned, giving Winny an appologetic smile. "And… it depends on how you apply the word I guess? Me, I explode emotionaly… often."

Winter-Solstice calms down from her explosion high readily enough, listening to Heartsong's story with perked ears. As it plays out a big goofy smile croses her face, sinec Winter is a sucker for heartwarming tales of LOVE and FRIENDSHIP. "Awwww," she says, afterwards. "That's really sweet! ANd that's probably better than what I was thinking, which is, like, 'Oh, I practiced in the shower every day until I was good.'" She then turns to give Soda a look that is equal parts resignation, regret, and affection, and reaches out to hook a foreleg around the pegasus's withers once more and pull her in for a hug against her side. Opposite the side Magpie is against, of course.

Magpie squishes up against Winny. "Singing is good. I like songs."

The big pegasus parts the door-flap to the tent and smiles to everyone, "Well everypony, where we're going, a song is always welcome, good friends abound, and teamwork is key to about any puzzle" he states, "not to mention its alot warmer there too" he laughs and smiles, "Fizz, I got a little project for ya though we need something for our friends here, as that sun is gonna be a doozy on their eyes, I managed to get ahold of some welding goggles and knocked a set of lenses out of em so they're not completely black, but it will help" he points his nose toward some point by the guard snow-mound, "otherwize everyone's gonna have trouble in the daylight" he notes, "So when we do get back, you both gotta help find these base-ponies some shades" he asks that of Sodium-Fizz and Winter-Solstice both. "For now I'm gonna take up guard duty for now, and, rotate off with anypony who's next up, catch up with me in a few hours or so" he asks softly then gives a little bow, and steps outside letting the flap close behind him.

Heartsong blushes and smiles sheepishly over at Sodium. "Maybe we can." She fidgets shyly. "I know what it's like to… get all worked up. I mean…" she gives a faint chuckle. "…Let's be honest. I'm a coward. I never could… do what you ponies do. Go out and… and stand up to them like that." She looks down, ears flattening. "…But sometimes when I sing I can… feel like I'm brave, for a minute. Like… like I'm somepony to be proud of." She shakes her head slightly. "…Sorry. I'm rambling. …I'm glad it's… nice where you're from. And I'm glad we found a way to get you home." She sits up a bit straighter. "…We'll get you through that portal. The z-zombies aren't g-gonna stop us."

Magpie says "It's not really bravery…. I mean, it's just … what you have to do, y'know? I don't walk around hitting Nightmare Moon with snowballs for funsies…."

Sodium-Fizz flinched at Heartsong's words, something seeming to hit suprisingly close to home and sending the grey mare glancing up at Winter-Solstice almost guiltily before turning her gaze back. "I… think that from one point of view, you're a lot braver than me… A lot better. You should be proud of yourself, no matter what, because you're a lot better than you think yourself to be," she frowned for a moment at the irony.

"As for the zombies… they can't be that big a problem, they're just zombies," a smile spread across her muzzle as she pointed across Winter at the foal, "and we have Magpie. Who totaly throws snowballs at Nightmare Moon for fun."

Magpie blushes and grumbles, "Only on special occasions and alternate tuesdays."

Winter-Solstice keeps Soda held close for now. Evidently this is the best way to keep her sitting still, since she isn't squirming or anything. "As far as I'm concerned, everybody living in this world is pretty brave," she says, with a nonchalant shrug. "You sorta HAVE to be, you know."

The young Pegasus shrugs a bit, giggling slightly at Magpie's words. "…I still can't believe you did that." And lived. But she wisely keeps that part to herself. "I think all of you have been very brave. I mean… th-this isn't your home. But you helped us like… like it was. You could've just… not bothered. And now you're helping us again, when you could just… hurry off home yourselves. So… thank you."

Magpie is kinda startled she's still breathing, too, actually. She hasn't forgotten the sight of an ice-ball the size of a locomotive coming at her. "Awww. We couldn't just leave you here. It'd be too sad…"

"It's… what anypony would do, or what anypony should do anyway… from the place we come from. At least, that's the ideal I've always tried to live up to that… not that I've managed that particularly well," said Soda with a sigh, leaning a bit closer to Winter and, after a moment of thought, giving her a gentle nuzzle as well.

Winter-Solstice nods, her head rattling. "I know! And you guys took US in and made us as much a part of your band as anybody else." Her nose scrunches up; she looks confused. "Why anybody wouldn't want to help you guys, I can't imagine. It'd be…" She boggles for a moment, and gets nuzzled, which wakes her up from her bogglin'. "That'd just be rude!"

Heartsong chuckles faintly. "Well, still. Thanks. I know we're all seeming kind of down right now, but… it's not that we don't appreciate the help. It's just… you know. Complicated?"

Magpie trots over and gives Heartsong a nuzzle. They're basically the same age. "I know, it's okay. Don't worry, we got lots of smart ponies to help get it uncomplicated."

Winter-Solstice reaches up to rub her eyes. "It's exhausting and it's only gonna get a lot tougher before it gets any easier," she says. "So I understand. It's trying for everyone no matter what world you're from. I bet even the shadowbolts out there are sort of tired of all of this. I bet even the zombies are tired of this, too."

Sodium-Fizz nods for a moment, "I think I can take a guess at it… but…" Her brows knits as she thinks for a moment before shooting Magpie a curious stare. "Who? Redmane and Glimmer? Those are the only smart ponies I can really think of straight on the top of my head… Kludge and Blackbird, too, maybe…"

Magpie says "What? You and Redmane and Glimmer and Ruby and Kludge and Blackbird and the traitor mare and, uh… well… Everypony!"

Winter-Solstice either doesn't notice she is being routinely passed over for Smart Pony nominations or isn't concerned, instead stifling a yawn with the back of a hoof.

"With the exeption of Redmane, Glimmer, Kludge and Blackbird… I'm not sure any of us is that clever. I know my potions and herbs, I can be utterly -brilliant- when it comes to alchemy…" Soda sighed. "I act like a complete idiot most of the time becaus of all… all this!" She motioned at herself. "Most of us kinda have more than a few bit blunders that would make me hesitant to say -smart- rather than very skilled."

Heartsong nods and sighs. "Yeah… yeah, it'll all work out." She looks over at Winter. "Hey… you look tired. Maybe you should rest some." She casts a glance at Sodium, smiling. "Hey, from what I've heard, you've done some real neat stuff with potions… stuff I didn't even know was /possible/. You gotta be pretty smart."

Magpie giggles. "Smart ponies can do silly things. It happens." She climbs over Winny's back to nuzzle at Fizzy's cheek.

"Ask my psychiatrists, the lot of them, and you'd most likely get 'deranged'… or at best 'unhinged'." Soda rolled her eyes before recoiling slightly at the suprise nuzzle. A moment later she's wrapped her forehooves around Magpie, giving her a comforting hug. Though it's a bit unclear who's suposed to get the comfort…

Magpie awwws and leans in against Fizzy.

Somewhere in the distance, Ruby gets grumpy for no apparent reason.

Winter-Solstice furrows her brow as she feels herself being climbed up upon. "Maggie, if you keep on crawling up there Kludge is gonna build you a house there instead of… instead of wherever else he was gonna do it! Don't give him any ideas." She settles down in a lying position, probably bringing Magpie to amore accessibile elevation relative to Fizzy. "And I'll sleep later. I can last pretty long. And I don't mean that in a oh-man-I'm-fine-and-then-I-fall-asleep-mid-sentence way. It's true. i can totally stay up! Totally."

Sodium-Fizz smiled softly and leaned down, placeing a soft kiss on Magepie's forehead before letting her go and leaning over Winter, giving her another nuzzle. "YOu might be able to stay awake… I… I think I'm going to go and sleep, try to recover a bit… I'm going to need it for when we reach the Hive…" Her head rose as she looked around the tent, the bedding places reserved for the sick and wounded and… Soda shook her head, pulling herself onto her unsteady hooves before turning towards the tentflap.

"Good night Magpie, Heartsong…" She trailed of, mouth half open, brow furrowed in thought… then a small affectionate smile spread across her muzzle, "and my Winter-Solstice."

She afforded herself a smile as she walked off to find a place to sleep. It might not have been what she wanted to say, she wasn't quite sure exactly what that would be just yet. But still.

Magpie giggles and tucks her hooves under her chin. "Awwww.. it's so cute…" She leans on Winny. "You have to promise to be totally romantic for Fizzy," she tells the big mare.

Winter-Solstice seems a bit confused about all that, watching Sodium go with a bit of concern even as she smiles and waves to the pegasus with a hoof. "Sleep well, Soda! No curling up in a snowbank, though, that's how they Get You! Shucks, if all the spots are taken come back and you can snooze on my back. I'll evict Magpie." She watches the tent flap shut, then turns to blink up at Magpie. "What? How? I'm not already?"

Magpie says "When you get back, I mean. Giving her flowers and having candlelit dinners and rose petals in the bathtub and all that stuff."

Heartsong blushes a bit at the romance talk, chuckling faintly. "Is that what you're supposed to do? …What's rose petals?"

Winter-Solstice stares at Magpie for a bit. "Candlelit dinners? I can't cook. Last time I tried to give flowers to someone I ate them… ohhh… ohh, no, this is gonna be hard!" She looks to Heartsong with a bewildered sort of expression, then blinks. "Roses? They're flowers. Real pretty flowers."

Magpie bops Winny on the nose. "It is NOT hard! You don't have to cook, just have candles and … food and … stuff." Okay, the near-filly isn't real clear on all that. She rallies. "And if you really love her, giving her a gift will be more important than eating it yourself! Right!"

Magpie bops Winny on the nose. "It is NOT hard! You don't have to cook, just have candles and … food and … stuff." Okay, the near-filly isn't real clear on all that. She rallies. "And if you really love her, giving her a gift will be more important than eating it yourself! Right!"

Winter-Solstice takes the bop without apparently noticing, though a few moments later sh e flinches and flicks her ears on the realization that she just got bopped. "Oof! Who made you an expert on these things, huh? Soda probably likes other stuff, like a skull throne and flasks with hearts drawn on them or… or I don't know. A nice labcoat."

Heartsong blinks. "…Oh. Like Moonblossoms?" Those were the prettiest flowers /she/ knew about! Romance, not really her forte. "But… gifts are nice. Everypony likes gifts, right?"

Winter-Solstice quiets a bit, then looks at Heartblossom, obviously quite excited. "Moonblossoms! I don't know what those are but I bet they're fabulous. Where do they grow?"

Magpie blinks. "I uh well, I mean, y'know, a mare hears stuff… and … stuff…" She shifts on her hooves. What, it's not like she's got any direct experience…

"Up in the mountains, and sometimes in clear areas in the forest, where plenty of moonlight gets through," Heartsong answers cheerily. "They're really pretty, all pale and shimmery. They don't really have a taste, but they /look/ really nice."

Winter-Solstice purses her lips. "Ooooohhhh," she says. Her short-cropped tail switches back and forth behind her. "They sound nice. I kinda want to get some, but… but it's sort of… this is kind of the wrong time. Maybe if I see some on the way out of the forest when we're passing through…" She drifts off, thinking, then shrugs, smiles, and turns to squint suspiciously at Magpie. While still smiling. "I bet you just learned it all from silly romance novels," she says. "Since that's where I'm used to reading that kind of stuff when I read it!"

"Nooooo!" Magpie protests. "I've never — read a novel."

Winter-Solstice ohhhs. "No? When we get back, I bet I have one you'd like! You can have it. It's about a scrappy street kid from Manehattan who… who…" Winter quiets. "Actually I can't remember what happened but in the end he's sailing around the world in an airship so it must have been pretty exciting. I might have to re-read that one before you can have but I promise you can afterwards."

Heartsong smiles faintly. "We had a few old books around the Base… I didn't read them much, but…"

Winter-Solstice looks back to Heartsong with a grin. "I saw them! I think I read most of them. Some of them twice. Some were kinda fun. You guys have some crazy ideas of what a world with sunlight is like. I think this one book was about a world where there were two suns, and it was describing the sand as melting in all the heat? And getting mixed in with the oceans. Which doesn't happen by the way. I bet it's gonna blow your mind."

Magpie shifts on her hooves. "Um. I, uh… don't really read. Much."

Heartsong grins faintly. "…It probably will. None of us really know what to expect. I'll bet it's gonna be… really warm."

Winter-Solstice nodnods rapidly. "It will be! Just remember it won't be warm enough to hurt. If you think you're gonna catch on fire, don't worry. You probably aren't! In fact it's probably gonna be kinda cool when we get there, since it will be fall or something." She then turns to smile at Magpie. "No? Oh, well. It's not for everyone. I guess I just read a lot since we were indoors a lot of the time back in my hometown. 'Cause it was cold."

"Are we talking about home?" The eager piping voice of a foal interjects itself into the discussion: Jellybean joins the little group. "I can't wait to be home again. It'll be nice to be able to do something about the weather." To Heartsong he spreads his wings a little: "That's what I do: I'm a weatherpony. A lot of Pegasi are."

Magpie gives a little shrug to Winny, looking down.

Heartsong tilts her head. "Yeah? My… my dad did that, sorta. …I mean, there's not much weather here to control, but… he could do stuff with clouds, and he could make it snow…"

Winter-Solstice nodnodnods at Jellybean, such that her head is almost rattling. "Yeah! We were telling Heartsong about what to expect and not to expect." She then smiles cheerfully at Magpie. "Well, maybe that book doesn't sound like much fun? I can think of something else you might like. It's about a ragtag band of individuals who are sent to ANOTHER WORLD and have to save it from a giant puddle of smooze. It's sort of like our situation here, sort of, except, uh, for the smooze."

Magpie gives Winter a confused look. "Um… that's okay. Thanks."

Jellybean takes a seat, leaning up against Winter Solstice mostly because she's big and warm. "And it'll be fall, and fall means harvest time." He licks his lips. "Apples and corn and potatoes and plums and all other kinds of delicious things."

Winter-Solstice accommodates Jellybean with a leg hooked around his much smaller self. She's lying on the floor, and rather accessible to wee ponies. "Mmmmmm, potatoes," she muses. She then gives Magpie a shrug and a smile. "Okay! Just thought I'd offer."

Jellybean smiles to Magpie. "And you'll finally have a home, right Magpie? Won't that be nice, too? I'd have offered to let you stay at mine but mine's a cloud so that wouldn't work."

Magpie giggles a bit. "Yeah, I know… I'm… really happy." She looks more kind of uncomfortable, considering the prospect with some trepidation. "Living in Kludge's attic, yeah…"

Winter-Solstice folds her forelegs before her and rests her head atop them, staring sort of absently towards the tent flap.

Jellybean tilts his head a little. "Is something wrong?" he asks, as little bells go off in the tiny but adorably empty cavity known as his skull.

Winter-Solstice swivels an ear towards the conversation.

Magpie gives Winny a look. "Wha'cha thinkin'?" she asks. She wasn't actually worried until Jelly said something. Now Winter's uncharacteristic silence seems menacing…

Winter-Solstice lifts her head to blink at Magpie. "Nothing? I think I'm just sort of tired?" She tilts her head downard a bit to peer all the more intently at the just-kinda-adolescent. "Jellybean's right, though, is something wrong?"

Jellybean says "If you aren't comfortable you don't have to say anything, but we're all friends here."

Magpie says "…wait, me? You're asking ME that?"

Magpie says "It's not that I don't WANT to move in with Kludge or something, it's just… kind of hard for me is all. I'm not good at having a family or something."

Winter-Solstice taps her chin. "I think that makes him your housemate, not family. I dunno. There might be other rules going on that I'm not aware of."

Jellybean frowns a little, then rolls over closer to Magpie so he can give her a little nuzzle. "Well, I guess that'd be hard but just remember we're all here for you. I don't know about family but I definitely think of you as a friend."

Ruby-Blossom rolls 1d10 (Stealth?) — Result: 4 | Sum: 4

Magpie awwwws and leans over to nudge Jelly. "Thanks. I'm trying. It's just me worrying…" She sighs.

Ruby-Blossom stiffles a small yawn as she trots out of a random tent - awfully close to where the conversation is being hand. She plants her flank before glancing a brief, curious look Magpie's way - clearly she heard, and can't deny she's curious; but things are hectic enough without Ruby doing something weird.

Heartsong tilts an ear thoughtfully, rubbing the back of her head. Talk about places to live and ponies to live with… "…How big is your town?" she asks, then blushes. "…Oh, s-sorry, I don't mean to interrupt. She tilts her head, looking down at Magpie. "Why're you worried? I mean… Kludge is the pony that built the sleds, right? He seemed nice."

Jellybean smiles at the nudge and rolls back over to Winter, patting the open spot next to him. To Heartsong: "It's not really that big. We're a pretty small town compared to Cloudsdale or Canterlot: those are the really big towns."

Winter-Solstice smiles at Magpie, then bobs her head at Heartsong. "It's fairly decently sized. If you're worried about space, I'm sure you guys will be fine. And we'll be able to work out some kinda temporary shelter in the meantime so everybody has a roof over their heads, I'm sure!" She claps her front hooves together, clop clop clop. "Ooh! Maybe we can use boats for dorms when they're in harbor for the winter. Oh, man! You guys are gonna get a kick out of boats!"

Magpie says "'sokay. Horseshoe harbor is… like… HUGE. Like this ice sheet we're on? It's everything around the edge of that." She sighs and rolls her shoulders. "He IS nice! I- I mean I think he is. I don't— My parents are… gone, and the ponies I was staying with after that —" she won't call them family, no matter WHAT! "That was just not a good place, and… I think I can try again. Maybe. I hope. Maybe.""

Ruby-Blossom totally makes the face Applejack makes when under Chaos' influence - all she can do to resist speaking.

Heartsong nods shyly. "I didn't mean… well… uh…" okay, maybe she did. "I just, you know… a place to stay is… nice to have." Granted, she's used to a place where not having a roof over your head means you might well not survive the night. "What's a boat?"

Ruby-Blossom really, really can't resist herself "Maggie? What's all this talk about Kludge?" One hoof softly digging at the snow in front her. "I mean, moving in with Kludge? What's this all about?"

Jellybean says "It's like a cart, but for water. You can put things in it and get in it and go wherever the water can go. There's lots of places far-off with other kinds of folks in them, like zebras and griffons, and they're across the sea from us."

Magpie meeps. She looks up at Ruby. "Ummm. Hi. Um. He offered to make his attic up for me." She lays her ears back and says quickly, "But it's in his apartment so nopony can say he can't do whatever he wants to with it!"

Winter-Solstice bites her lower lip and all but squeals with delight at Heartsong. "Oooh! You're gonna love it. It's gonna blow your mind. I won't spoil the surprise!" Her hooves tap on the floor in front of her, and she holds her breath, and she griiiiiins. Her grin then deflates. "Awww, Jellybean spoiled it anyway. Oh, well, I think I was gonna do that anyway in like ten seconds." She quiets as Ruby enters, and apparently there's some kind of confrontation between her and Magpie? Winter's face screws up into a look of extreme confusion.

Ruby-Blossom rubs her cheek with one hoof. "My offer still stands, ya know." she puffs her cheeks slightly before glancing towards Winny before offering a small smile to the whole group. "I'm sorry - I shouldn't have just barged in like that."

Winter-Solstice shrugs. "It's fine! Honestly I was here first and then Soda and Solar and Heartsong and Jelly and Magpie all barged in on their own. And like ten other people along the way. It's sort of designed to be barge-in-able." She gestures back, indicating the relatively crowded space, with a lot of assorted base ponies gathered in, there in the background, being cold and tired and unhappy.

Heartsong lays her ears back shyly. "Oh… I didn't mean to… barge. I just thought… I mean… sorry." She cleared her throat, fidgetting. "…Zebra… that's… that striped foal with you all? …What's the tall thing? The… she's not a unicorn, but… the magic thing." She blushed. "I've /heard/ of griffons, but…"

Jellybean tilts his head, then undestanding goes 'ding.' "Oh, Manyara? I've never seen anypony else like her before. She says she's an Abada: I think she comes from the same place zebras come from, but I may be wrong."

Magpie gives Ruby a long look and shifts uncomfortably. "Kludge is… gonna make it all mine. With a…. door to outside and everything."

Winter-Solstice shrugs at Heartsong. "Eh, I barged in before anybody else. You can't really NOT barge in in a tent, you know? You can't, like, knock on the door or anything." She falls quiet, studying Magpie, then turns to eyeball Ruby. "Ruby, you're not mad at Maggie, are you?"

Ruby-Blossom gives a small nod to Maggie then blinks at Winny. "Mad at Maggie? Absolutely not, I just " she catches herself and laughs softly, dismissively. "I'm happy as long as she's safe and warm, honest." both fore-hooves lifted in front of her. "That's all that matters, safe, warm, content as she can be. All that." a stupid grin ensues.

Winter-Solstice eyeballs Ruby for a moment longer before her eyeballin' gives way to a big ol' grin. "Good!" She settles back. She's lying on the floor, currently, legs folded beneath her. Magpie or Jelly may or may not be leaning up against her at any given moment. She reaches over and pats the spot nearby. "Wanna chill for a bit, Ruby? Or, uh. Not chill? Unchill. Warm up, I guess you could say." She considers. "If you go outside, do you warm down?"

Magpie scuffs a hoof. "I'm sorry, Ruby. I was… saying before, I'm bad at families."

Ruby-Blossom hesitates before trotting over to plop down against Winny and next to Maggie. "I know, Maggie. I really do understand where you are coming from even if I don't act like it sometimes. I know I weird you out sometimes - I just.." she huffs adorably before flopping back against Winny. "Sorry if it seemed like I wasn't about last night, but I was. Really!" clearly trying to change the subject

Winter-Solstice smiles cheerfully. "It's okay, Ruby! Probably just as well. Things got pretty wacky. Though I guess if you were there you'd know. I figured you were wearing your snowpony-in-a-blizzard outfit and being invisisneaky."

Magpie shifts a little away from Ruby and tugs the hood of her coat up a little higher. She can see a sparkle of gold in the filly's bangs, though.

Ruby-Blossom gently pats Maggie atop of the head and offers a smile to no pony in particular. "I was mingling among those Shadowbolts - in case things went really sideways." she glances down at Maggie offering her a small smile - for no reason in particular. "I wanted to make sure everypony got away safely…that was interesting."

Winter-Solstice squints. "I thought one of the shadowbolts sort of looked like you. I was thinking, hey, she could probably be Ruby's nightmare world evil duplicate. If she were a bit shorter. And didn't have those wings. And, uh… wasn't male…" Her voice trails off. "Wait, how did you do the wings? I think I had the wrong one but if you were in there and you had to put on fake wings, then…?"

Ruby-Blossom chimes. "It wouldn't be the first time I used prosthetic wings. It's easy enough when there are enough pegasi around." Somewhat admitting she plucked wings from sleeping pegasi at base; without coming right out to say it. "I tend to dress up you know.

Winter-Solstice quiets, considering this answer. She furrows her brow a bit and draws little circles on the canvas floor of the tent with the tips of her hooves. "Wow, that's kinda dark! This world is mean."

Jellybean meeps, closing his wings tight against his body. "Plucking hurts, you know."

Magpie says "Wait, did you say male?"

Ruby-Blossom gasps adorably "I'd never pluck your wings Jelly! I never said I plucked anyponies wings either." Clearly Jelly caught on to what she implied. "Currently yours are too tiny anyways.

Winter-Solstice nods at Magpie. "Sure! Well, except now that I think about it I'm sure I was looking at the wrong one. Come to think of it he could have been YOUR double, Magpie! If you were much larger. And a pegasus. And male. And colored completely differently. And…" She squints her eyes and considers. "And a bit more evil, yeah."

Heartsong blinks and tucks her wings a bit closer as well. Even casts a shy glance back at them to make sure she wasn't missing any feather patches. /That/ would be a convenient excuse for why she'd managed to mis-bank and sprain one, though! …Not… that she'd done that. Totally.

Magpie says "Only a bit?!"

Jellybean whimpers. "Even if I were bigger it'd still hurt. If you're going to collect feathers you should ask. And cast-offs aren't very good either, because usually they're worn out and you'd have to try to get all the right kind of feathers." He may not be the brightest little colt around but as a Pegasus he knows all about proper wing-care.

Ruby-Blossom snickers softly at the entire exchange then offers Heartsong a warm, friendly smile - cause she totally didn't pluck feathers from mare or any other pony at base - nope!

Winter-Solstice blinks at Magpie, a little surprised. "Only a tiny amount, then?"

Magpie whines to Ruby, "Winny thinks I'm EVIL!"

Ruby-Blossom pats Magpie gently on the head. "She doesn't think you're evil, Maggie. She just says things, non-sensical things; it's part of her charm. She's fluffy and soft like a cloud."

Kludge wanders in, munching on a few of the blue leaves. He had just finished checking the sled-wagons, making sure they were all in excellent condition. "Hey," he waves, trotting over to sit near Ruby and Maggie.

Magpie waves to Kludge. She's trying to hide it but there's a gold flower hairpin in her mane.

Winter-Solstice peers down at herself, confused. "I am? I thought I was tough and strong, like a…" She quiets. "like a…" Eventually she settles into staring across the tent, so absorbed she doesn't even say hi to Kludge.

Magpie says "Like a tortoise?"

Winter-Solstice's lips draw and she shakes her head. "No, no… they're too slow."

Ruby-Blossom blinks and offers KLudge a small wave. "Hey you." she glances to Magpie. "More like an assault tortoise."

Magpie says "Tortoises are known for their tenacity."

Heartsong looks over at the new pony, nodding in greeting and scooting over to make room with the group.

Winter-Solstice props herself up on her elbows to lift her forehooves and waggle them around before her. "… like a…" she's quiet, as though only voicing her thoughts rather than carrying on a conversation. That she is still staring into the dark corners of th e crowded tent seems to support this theory. "… something… willowy and supple but strong. Like a willow sapling. But bigger.. and made of metal. Or wood. Like a…"

Magpie says "….a fishing pole?"

Jellybean joins Winter in thinking. "Like a pinecone?"

Ruby-Blossom says "Sugarcane cause you're so sweet?"

Heartsong blinks. "What's a pinecone? …Or a sugarcane?"

Winter-Solstice groans and lowers her head to the floor, and folds her forelegs up over them. "This is hard. I don't know. Maybe I am just a cloud." She says 'cloud' like it's a curse.

Winter-Solstice pops up and reaches over to seize Jellybean by the collar, even though he doesn't have one. "Jelly! Push me around."

"A pinecone is…" Kludge starts to explain, then realizes the complication of trying to describe it given the local references. "It's brown, spiny, shaped somewhat like a teardrop, and it contains seeds that grow into pine trees… which we'll explain later."

Ruby-Blossom turns to throw her hoofs over Winter for a big hug - still half-leaning against the big mare. "You're more like cotton candy, actually - and not cause everypony wants a nibble."

Jellybean is hoisted off his hooves, flailing gently in midair. "I don't think I can. I'm pretty sure you're not a cloud. Clouds don't have bones or teeth."

Winter-Solstice stares at Jellybean, then slowly lowers him to the floor and puts him back in roughly the same place. She herself settles back down. "Yeah… yeah." She then blinks at Ruby. "No, YOU'RE cotton candy."

Magpie looks at Ruby. "…she's right, you are."

Kludge leans over and nuzzles Ruby. "I certainly think you're sweet," he murmurs with a smile.

Winter-Solstice griiiiiins like a doofus.

Jellybean giggles and rests his head against Winter's side again. "I think you're really nice, and brave. And silly."

Ruby-Blossom huffs adorably. "Why do you think I'm like cotton candy?" suddenly pulling Maggie right up against her. "Cause I stick to you? Is that it, huh?"

Magpie aughs and flails. Then relaxes. slump.

Winter-Solstice smiles down at Jellybean and leans down to bump him between the ears with her broad nose. "Thanks, 'Bean. I think. 'Silly' could go any number of ways."

Kludge chuckles and hugs Ruby - and, by extension, Maggie. "Perhaps it's because you can make ponies feel better," Kludge suggests to Ruby.

Ruby-Blossom giggles nd gives Maggies a soft squeeze - before relaxing to a very loose hug; the kind that says 'you can get away, but I prefer you wouldn't <3'. "You're Heartsong right?" she actually knows the other mare's name but they've never been properly introduced. Winny's reasoning makes her flush adorably. "S..shush you!" She's never been one for praise - even if she likes it.s

Magpie sighs and squirms, but lets Ruby have the hug. Grump.

Jellybean says "I like silly. I'm pretty sure other ponies think I'm silly a lot of the time too."

Ruby-Blossom resists all urges to snuggle Maggie and just half-hugs her while chatting it up. "You're wonderful Jelly. I'm sure the little girlfriend you mentioned is very lucky.

Jellybean meeps, blushes, tries to hide his face.

"How is that letter going, anyway? Got it ready to give to her one we get back to the Harbor?" inquires Kludge.

Winter-Solstice grins brightly at Ruby. "I met her! She's real sweet. I think she's a good match for Jelly." Winter shuffles about for a moment, then sighs and pushes herself upright. "Okay. I guess I'd better go relieve someone on watch right now. My shift's in ten minutes and Solar would probably try and nag me about something if I was late 'cause he thinks he's the boss of me or something."

Ruby-Blossom sorta falls back and takes Maggie with her when Winter gets to her hooves suddenly. "oof." stealing one's resting spot is a cruel thing to do!

Jellybean falls over on his side when Winter gets up, little legs flailing in a tired fashion. "Take care Winter," he mumbles, eyelids drooping.

Winter-Solstice peers down at Ruby, then Jellybean. "Oops." She reaches down to pat Jellybean on the head, then over to do the same for Ruby. Pat pat pat. She pauses, then looks around. Then makes her way over to pat Magpie on the head. Pat pat pat. The braided copper bracelet around her hoof bounces around. She then pats Kludge on the head. Pat pat pat. She then pats Heartsong on the head. Pat pat pat. Winter-Solstice then turns and shuffles out.

Magpie sighs. She looks up at Ruby, squirming around to get out of her grasp.

Ruby-Blossom lets go of Maggie and then rolls to her hoofs. "I think I'm going to hit the hay." She waves a hoof.

"Good night, Ruby," Kludge says, giving Ruby one more nuzzle.

Ruby-Blossom nudges Kludge briefly. "Night, Kludge." she glances over her shoulder. "Good night, Maggie. Jelly. Heartsong.

Jellybean's eyes finally close and in short order there's a gently snoring pegasus lying on his side, legs occasionally doing little bicycle motions.

Magpie sighs and wanders over to flop next to Jelly, making sure the tiny pegasus stays warm.

Kludge rummages around for a bit, then trots over with something at least resembling a blanket, draping it over Maggie and Jelly.

Magpie gives Kludge a little thankful smile and snuggles in against Jelly, pulling the blanket tight.

"Sweet dreams and good night," Kludge whispers with a smile before heading out of the tent.