Salt In The Wound
IC date: DATE
OOC date: July 31
PCs: Mad-Mare Ghost-Salty
NPCs: None
GM: None

Late night, next to a lonely lake maybe a mere mile from the shoreline, the Mad Mare of the Syndicolt has collapsed on the sandy shore. Covered in sweat, sand, and many cuts and scrapes, bruises even, from a mad dash through the nearby forest (the non-lethal side of it anyway), having suffered a very…grotesque invasion of her emotional state.

She had freaked out and ran. Ran out of her ship. Ran out of her camp. Through the woods, perhaps even through a few trees. She ran until her legs gave out, flesh and metal alike, the latter having buckled under the strain of a straight hour or more of quick and intense movement. Now she could hardly move at all, so she dragged herself to this lakeshore where she rests now.

Curled into a pitiful pony ball. Trying to make sense of everything.

"That looks painful." Salty's specter is suddenly sitting beside her, staring out at the lake, before looking down at the pitiful captain. "Things not going your way? Color me surprised. What's up, buttercup?"

That very voice brings a wince to the curled-up pony. Of all the times for a haunting… Maddie doesn't even bother to look up, sniffling her pitiful sniffles, lashing a single hoof out half-heartedly in the direction of the voice. "G..go away…" she mutters weakly, without nearly the screaming, ranting emphasis she's put on those words before.

"Wait, are those tears? Man, something really screwed with you this time. Someone die?" Salty looks down at Mad with a frankly confounded face. Like, nah, couldn't be! Really?

"What would you care if they were?" comes the sniffled retort, the ponyball trying to curl tighter in upon herself. One can't completely hide anything from an etherial being though, when they can do silly things like pass through you and such.

"You owe me no sympathies. You're dead." she continues, her tone on the last two words dull and flat.

Salty clucks her tongue. "I owe no one anything even when I'm alive. I do whatever the buck I want. And right now, I'm /terribly/ curious as to what's got your proverbial goat. Seriously, what happened?" She folds her arms, head tilted curiously.

The Mad Mad Mare hesitates. What /was/ this feeling? So strong… So much has been different ever since that fateful gypsy visit, and she's had the worst time making heads or tails out of it! Even now, she's compelled to actually /talk/. As though a part of her craves some sort of comfort from actual pony interaction of a non-violent nature.

Another moment passes, the Mare hauling herself mostly upright, managing to twist the broken metal of her busted hind leg into an almost comfortable position. She sure has been crying, sand coating trails down her face, her eyes red and puffy. She gives another sniffle, wiping her nose with one off-white arm. She stares at the ghost of her self-proclaimed rival, her eyebrows knitting. But instead of talk, her eyes just start to tear right back up again, lip trembling, a sad whimper welling up.

"I'm sorryyyyy!" she wails in a tearful outburst, flinging both arms out as though to hug the ghost! Of course she passes right through, planting face-first right back into the sand again, pounding on the sandy bank with her real hooves. "I'm sorry I killed you! I'm sorry I wished you dead! I'm so-o-o-rhyhyhyyy!"

Now that surprises Salty. The mayor leaps into the air and blinks, looking down at her wailing nemesis. "…You're what now?" She blinks again, and sits beside Mad, staring in bafflement at her pain. "…Well it's no big deal," she says awkwardly, not exactly sure how to reply to this. 'You better be' just doesn't seem to have the right flair for the moment.

It goes on like this, what with Maddie just bawling into the sand, for a good few minutes before she can regain some kind of composure. The waterworks dwindle down, and she rolls onto her back, unable to find the strength to wrestle with her broken legs again. Even then the trickle of tears don't ever quite stop, leaving so many muddy trails on her pelt. She can't even bring herself to look at the specter, favoring the starry sky instead.

"It's a huge deal…" she says when she has enough control to talk again. "I don't know..what I was thinking. Why I was thinking it would be a good idea. I could have found other ways… I couldn't just..not try /some/thing, but it didn't need to involve killing you! I didn't even believe it would actually work!"

Salty scratches her head thoughtfully. "Uh. Well… okay, let's be fair, I'd prefer to be alive again and all. And I'm still a little cheesed that you offed me like yesterday's bad dinner. But hey, whatever. What's done is done." She pauses. "But just…don't kill some other hapless pony, huh? At least I deserved it."

Maddie grimaces, the very thought of anypony /else/ dying because of her, at this moment, enough to bring the tears back. "Ngh no… If I can help it I'm done with the..killing. I can't stomach the thought anymore." She breathes out a slow, long breath, bringing her hooves up to her face. "Why does it hurt like this? Why now? It never bothered me before! Why were you so bloody special?"

Finally she turns her head to regard the spook, bleary eyes and everything. "We had…so many taunts left to throw at each other. Now all you can do is haunt me." A moment later, and the Mad one lets a sort of humorless smirk grace her features. "…I guess that doesn't actually stop the taunting does it. You'll mock me the entire time I'm messing with your town, no doubt."

Salty snorts. "Because I'm awesome. Why else?" She flops down next to Mad to look up at the stars too, forelegs folded. "Oh, certainly. Taunting is my natural form of communication. After slurring. Slurring is pretty good too."

"It's only fair…" Maddie murmurs, all cried out now. Probably nothing left to cry with! "…I have to admit though, as bad turns go, this one isn't the worst. I mean, everything else is still going as planned. Just… My original plan? It involved putting you in jail. So I could, y'know, gloat about it. About how bloody smart I was, fooling you with all those darned communications and everything. Doesn't seem to mean as much now."

"Oh, those were fake? Well clop me sideways. You got me good." Salty blinks and rubs her chin thoughtfully. "Admittedly I would have preferred the gloating. But hey, you win some, you lose some. If it'd make you feel better, you can gloat now."

Maddie waves the offer off with a hoof, heaving a deep sigh. "You probably would've just laughed it off anyway! And that would've ticked me off. Maybe it's better this way." With some struggling, she starts to scoot herself towards a nearby tree, propping herself up on her back. "Isn't that right? You just..don't seem like the type to let a little gloating bother you. There'd be no…facial expression. Just a big grin, like you've already got the next six steps planned out how you'd get me back or something." Her lips form a sort of pout. "I'm envious of that attitude… To just..shrug it all off…"

Salty snorts. "Oh, y'know how you do that? This. This right here. You get to the rock bottom, right, and then you drink your way back to the top. That's how you let it all roll off you." She turns to stare off at the lake for a long moment. "What I'm best at — my so-called special talent — it's a curse. Every time I try to help somepony, it ends in someone's death. I killed my parents. I killed my hometown. I killed every pony I came across, for a long time. I killed my crew, too. All with the best intentions. It's one thing to kill somepony if you mean to. It's quite enother if you're trying to hand them a boon. Yeah?"

"Is that how you became a 'Dread Pirate' then?" the Mare wonders, as comfortable as she can manage. Her gaze drifts to the ghost pony's flank. "…Is your special talent death? Or does it just follow you?"

Without waiting for much of an answer, she gains her own far-off gaze. "Yeah, there's a difference… I meant to kill my parents. I meant to destroy every pony who got in my way. I even meant to drown my crew…" The mists return to her eyes, "…I even meant to kill that little girl's parents in front of her." Something about it troubles her though. Maybe the emotions continuously welling up in her, causing her to add with a tilt of her head and an afterthought, "…Didn't I?"

"Chaos. My special talent is chaos. But it might as well be death. You can see the universe has certainly pegged it that way." Salty looks down at her flank when Mad does, then looks away again as Mad speaks. The ex-pirate ponders, and shrugs. "Probably. But times change. Ponies change. So…I don't know. Maybe you've got a little nugget of remorse in your little black heart. Maybe it's time to consider changing trajectories. That's about the time I decided to become a mayor."

The ghost pauses…frowns… and then amends, "Well, actually it was when I accidentally murdered the old mayor and then got really drunk, but new beginnings come in all forms, hey?" She siiiide-eyes. Ahem.

Maddie's gaze snaps back to the ghost when she mentions that last bit. "…Sweet Luna, it's like a sadistic circle of life. Are you sure it isn't this town that's the cursed thing?" She frowns. "It's uncanny…"

A moment later she's rubbing her hooves on her face. "What. Am. I. Saying!? I already know what's going to happen!" She throws her hooves into the air, "The new mayor will eventually turn on me, I'll have to…" She pauses, looking a little green around the gills. "…kill…her (maybe), and then it'll be a matter of time before the whole bleedin' town gangs up on me to take revenge. Or someone'll find out it was /my/ fault you got killed and come after me sooner."

Ashen, Maddie hangs her head, staring at the twisted metal things she calls 'legs'. "If I'm lucky I'll only end up with a couple more of these. If not, then I guess I'll meet the Bone Mistress on schedule after all."

Salty ponders a moment. "Well, I was cursed long before I came to the Harbor, but this place sure has its problems. But then again, maybe its problems are really just me. Probably a good thing I'm dead." As for Maddie's plan, she chuckles. "I wouldn't be too worried about people mad that you killed me. I'm not exactly loved around here. The rest? Yeah, may be time to put some safeguards in place. At least the Bone Mistress is nice. If incompetent." Snort.

"Incompetent indeed…" Maddie mutters, hooves in her lap. She seems to be feeling a little better at least. The endless despair and sorrow has shifted into a more morose depression. That's better, isn't it? Maybe by the time she gets back to her ship, she'll be feeling like her old self again.

If she can get there.

"You were adored enough." the Mad Mare notes then, deciding it better to consider just…sleeping it off. Right here. Under a tree. And if she gets eaten? So be it. She stares at the transparent specter of a former mayor. "I really /am/ sorry." she says with more clarity than the sobbing mess she was earlier. "Double-sorry that you had to end up like..this.." she states, waving a hoof at the ghostly body. "Instead of up there where you'd belong. Being dead and all."

Salty reaches over and pats Mad companionably — though it's really not much of a pat since it goes through her. But she tries. Celestia help her, she tries. "Well…thanks. I appreciate the apology. But it's probably more fun down here driving you crazy than up there being boring and twinkly." She grins, and winks. "Plus I never did do anything right."

Maddie can't help but grin despite herself. "Probably." she agrees. "If I were in your horseshoes, I'd take every chance I got to bug the only pony able to see me." She tips her head back, eyes closing. So tired, all of the sudden. Weary. "…If you don't mind, I'm going to take a nap now. Apologizing took a lot out of me. It's..new. I hope I don't have to do it often."

"The world is heavy when you swim through to the other side," Salty replies sympathetically. The ghost gets up to her hooves, and in answer to her request, she turns to leave, vanishing completely after her parting words:

"I suggest you take up drinking."