Sea Wolves and Silver Soldiers
IC date: Winter 24, 1007
OOC date: January 12, 2013
PCs: Goody Horseshoes, Magpie, Moonshine, Muzaji, Ruby Blossom, Skyflower, Thunnini, Zypher
NPCs: The Crew of the Maid Mareian, Captain Rill
GM: Diamond Dog

The journey continues.

Goody Horseshoe's crew is a capable bunch, skilled and well-disciplined, and took readily to managing the Rusty Bucket. Of course, the old ship hasn't neglected the opportunity to make it difficult… or at least interesting. It seems to alternate between smooth and effortless function and nigh-uncontrollable spinning about, much forward momentum lost as the ship meander this way and that. It's making navigation a chore. What's more, it really could use some more repairs than it was able to get in the past week, and there's a minor leak down below that makes the lowermost deck an unpleasntly soggy place to be. The patchwork sails are baggy and poorly sized and lead to inconsistent speed and a tendency to flap loudly in anything less than a strong, direct wind.

But hey, at least there's a bar down below.

Unless you are really excited by sailing it might actually be sort of boring. Eventually all the land is out of sight and all there is is water in all directions. Sometimes there are clouds. Without a point of reference it's sort of tricky to tell where you're going, unless you're experienced with navigation. Still, word is progress is swift, even if the directions to Silver Shallows, offered by the courier who arrived with Curator Sinking Stone's invitation nearly two weeks ago, are vague at best and nobody yet really knows what they are looking for. Theoretically this is a city on the bottom of the ocean… how is a ship on the surface going to get there?

Thunnini is up on deck, watching the ocean from the railing. She's still looking forward to showing her friends around town, but she's not sure what methods could be used so that her landpony friends can still breathe underwater. As for the ship… um, carefully lower the anchor, park the ship, and come back to it later?

Moonshine has been having long chats with the deck rail, and has been looking kinda 'green' lately. Her usual drunken state replaced by (woah turn around don't look at me right now) another discussion with the rail, and a grumble of "why did I think this was a good idea" she mumbles On a good note for Moonshine, she was able to refill her moonshine jug, its not /her/ breed of moonshine, but its flamable enough for her often unique needs.

Skyflower, for her part, had been watching the waves ever since they got out to sea until about three hours ago when she suddenly declared that she had a headache and is now lying down on a hammock set up on the deck looking a tiny bit miserable.

Muzaji .. has had no qualms about enjoying some of the remains of the Rusty Bucket's previous establishment. Between what they went through with the Mareian and the pip of fits this ship kept having in wanting to cooperate or not, she was convince the only way to deal with it was to be just enough buzzed to not care. This was why pirates enjoyed rum so much, wasn't it? Who noticed the deck swaying and the waves sloshing when you couldn't trot straight anyways.

She'd also found some old charts and a book of sea legends in her stockpile before loading up before, and brought them along just in case. Nothing hard and fast as far as directions go, but even the most embelished of sea shanties had some truth buried in them. Sometimes. Or just drunk rambling, it was hard to seperate the two at times.

On the other hand, Zypher has been at the prow of the ship, occasionally, spreading his wings and reaching out looking completely moronic in doing so. "Look at me I'f Freeeee as a bird!" (yes its that dang Titanic pose leaning over the guardrail at the bow of the ship arms/wings spread into) He's either right here at the bow, or up in one of the Crow's nests where he's staked his claim of 'home' on the seas!

Goody-Horseshoes is still a bit disappointed at the damage done to his own ship, but with the Rusty Bucket under his hooves, he's still at home sailing the seas. He stands on the front deck, staring out into the blue with a little bit of a twinkle in his un-covered eye and a small smirk across his face. In the meantime his first mate is at the bridge helping watch the helm.

Hours can be whittled away like this. In fact, they have! Yes sir. Water, water everywhere.

A couple of crew members are poring over navigation charts up at a table near the forecastle. It used to be a card table, then it was a drinking table, now it's where a few charts are laid out, anchored in place with bottles of liquor on their corners. One mare is leaning down to peer at the chart, while a pegasus stallion watches over her shoulder.

"Sir," says the mare, looking up after a moment and towards Goody. "If our directions were accurate, we should be arriving at the city in a matter of hours." She glances up to the pegasus standing nearby. "No sign yet of anything on the horizon, though." The pegasus shakes his head in agreement. The nice thing about having wings is you can totally fly off and take a look around from high up! "We've seen some specks to the southwest. It might be some more ships, but it's hard to say from this distance."
Magpie seems to be annoying immune to sea sickness. She is not, however, immune to boredom. Anypony who might notice will probably be aware that she's been spending a lot of time clinging to the rigging (though not high enough to be in danger if she slips). It's not exactly stimulating, but watching the sea while clinging to a dangling, swinging line is at least more interesting than watching the sea while standing on deck.
Magpie is currently upside down, with her feet looped through a cargo net.
Skyflower looks up, seeing Magpie from her current vantage point on the hammock. "Now darling," she calls out, "do please be careful. We wouldn't want you to get hurt, would we?"
Moonshine has managed to eat crackers, or at least tries to eat /something/ and drink something other than her usual booze, she's got that at her side in her trusty moonshine bottle, but, beyond that, its her and the rail and my what a shade of green that is on a usually so grape colored mare, the colors really do clash!
"If we're lucky, they'll find us before we find them and save us the trouble," Muzaji murmured mostly to herself. Held the bottle she had been nursing over the last few hours up to squint down the neck, but it was dangerously close to empty. Not that the zebra was drunk, she had a hardier stomach than that, but this venture had already been trying on the nerves. Curse her objective curiosity, getting her into endeavours she could do without. She turned to peer over a railing. "Hopefully there's some treasure to make this worth while…"

Turns back to the navigation table. "I've still got that old book if ya wanna look at it, too."

Thunnini tries manipulating small currents of water, but all she's really getting is either a small little jet of water which is barely breaking the surface of the ocean, or a small eddy that stays near the ship like a pilot fish. The seafilly sighs - looks like it takes a certain amount of speed (especially rotational) to get a strong enough current to do fun things with.

Magpie rolls her eyes. "I'm /not/ gonna get hurt," she groans. "You an' Ruby both, yeeesh." She swings back and forth a bit and with a 'hup!' she flips upright. She peers out at the horizon and suddenly shouts, "HEY! SEA PONIES! C'MERE ALREADY!"
Goody-Horseshoes turns to the ponies at the table working on the charts, giving a stern nod, "Let us hope then that our navigators are right. I would not say that I do not trust this ship, but anypony can see that it is has seen better days. Still, I am grateful to be onboard." He looks back out to the ocean, "Keep true to the coarse. Crow's Nest and Fullsail will keep an eye on the seas at all times. He is referring to the two pegasi from his crew occasionally circling around the ship.
Speaking of which, Crow's Nest actually calls down from the crow's nest… which can actually be used when someone shoos Zypher out of the way. "Ho!" he shouts. "Stormfront rolling in from the northeast!"

The Northeast? That's the direction back towards the harbor… the direction the ship is sailing away from. And sure enough, anybody with a spyglass or keen enough vision can see a smudge of dark grey back in that direction. In a matter of minutes, it's dark enough that it can be picked out without much in the way of aid… growing larger. Either that, or approaching the ship.

But if it's approaching the ship… that must mean it's approaching very, very quickly.

Skyflower shades herself with the book she brought with her. "Honestly, Magpie, I just want to make sure you're okay. But," she adds, "you do seem to be all right." She rolls over on the hammock. "I just hope that this ship will stop… swaying so much."

Magpie grumps, "The swaying is the only thing that's INTERESTING about it!"

Moonshine practically moans, "Storm means waves, waves mean" mare meets the rail once again and looks up to the rest of the crew, "Waves mean more of that" she whimpers, and takes her trusty bucket and heads below deck to try and sleep through the storm. Overall the unicorn looks pretty darn miserable. Maybe she'll be of some help later, just not right now, right now she's just horrible and really shouldn't look that green, it looks bad on her.

Goody-Horseshoes walks to the bridge, peering behind the ship where the black mass seems to be forming and growing closer. His brow narrows as he thinks about what it could be. Saying the storm has a mind of it's own would be quite an understatement at this point. He looks to First mate, his first mate. "Odd, if I do say so myself. It seems…the storm is following us…but I could just be getting old." First mate turns to look behind, "I don't think it's you, Captain. Let's hope we don't have another disaster like with your Mareian."

Muzaji assumes her 'great now what' expression as she tosses her empty bottle and pulls a collapsable spyglass out of her vest and turns it towards the indicated direction. Lets out an exasperated sigh afterwards. So much for getting farther out to sea before their diligent adversary decided to try and mess with them yet again and scupper this mission again. "Hope I loaded my gun, I know I'm loaded with rum. Fear is low and we ought to know the world is full of scum."

Magpie huhs. She starts to become aware of the thing coming from behind (largely because of the increasing number of ponies looking and pointing). "Uh… that's not normal, right..?"

Thunnini looks over at the approaching storm and blinks. "Um… somehow, I doubt it?" she admits, idly wondering how to protect her landpony friends if things go horribly wrong.

Out on the open ocean like this, one can see for miles and miles… which means there's still miles to go for that stormy presence brewing on the northeastern horizon. Miles for those ponies on the ship to just watch, and wait. Maybe it's nothing!

Or maybe it definitely is a dark cloud and maybe it definitely is heading for the ship. Given conditions back in the Harbor- and given the circumstances of last night's departure- it isn't unreasonable to assume there's something more than mere weather behind this brewing anomaly. The dark smudge shows clearly against the late afternoon sky, boiling above the sea, and coming in at far too shallow an angle for any mere common weather pattern. Crow's Nest and Fullsail report regularly as they flap about and observe from a higher vantage point.

"It's just a cloud!" they say at first.

"There's something in it!" comes the next report, a few moments later.

"It looks like… it's the Timber Wolf! It's back! Ready below, Timber Wolf inbound!"

Indeed, soon enough hints of jagged wood can be seen within the boiling bolt of stormcloud, churning about, rattling against eachother. It's remarkably similar to how the beasts that assaulted the Made Mareian last night looked after they were dispatched from the tower. Could it be that one of them survived? Was another sent after the fleeing ship? Crew members start rushing to action, arming themselves with whatever passes for weaponry. Someone starts hauling up a crate of tar sealant from below- it worked well against the driftwood griffon, and there was already plenty on board for the sake of the hodgepodge Rusty Bucket, so it presents itself immediately as a defense.

Skyflower turns around and looks up. "Oh dear. That doesn't look good. Magpie, darling? I think it'd be a good idea if we were to head down underdeck and let the sailors do their work without us in the way?" She wriggles out of the hammock and beckons downstairs.

Magpie gives the incoming thingy a concerned look. "Um… y-yeah… I guess." She slides down to the deck and slowly makes her way towards Skyflower. "Hey, um… don't let it knock over the mast this time!"

Goody-Horseshoes turns to First Mate with a slight look of worry in his eyes, "Oh dear. If our own ship was taken down by a few of these creatures, I don't want to think what might happen here." He stands up tall, proud, and ready to fight, "So be it. First Mate, keep her steady as she can be. If this is our last journey, it has been an honor serving as your captain." His horn glows from under his hat as his rapier produces itself before him.

Thunnini looks at the shape in cloud, then looks down at the water, then back at the shape in the cloud, then over at the ponies getting the sealant ready, then down at the water again. She sighs and starts clambering towards belowdecks in a peculiar half-crawl, half-inchworming gait.

… Or it's that third 'missing' one, Muzaji considers to herself. The one that seemed to be blown up, but prehaps no, it was dispatched differently should the first two fail in their task. Or as was the case, the ponies had a backup plan. But this was it. If they lost this ship out here, all was for naught. And that couldn't really be allowed to happen. But how do you get a ragtag band of ponies to rally together against a seemingly unfair odds upon the high seas? Remind them what we've gone through and need to keep going…

Then she slaps a hoof to her forehead. Oh, of course. How -else-, other than rum and wenchs, do you motivate a band of surly sailors.

The zebra rummages in her cloak for a moment, and pulls out a pan flute with a few feathers and tribal looking charms afixed to the straps binding it. She holds it to her lips and plays a few simple yet haunting notes to set the tone, letting her knack for rhymes and witisms improvise. It sounds like she's… trying to start a shanty up for inspiration?

The clattering cloud of driftwood and debris swoops nearer to the ship, close enough now that its constituent chunks can be heard clunking against eachother, thumping in a low and dull fashion. Thick grey clouds roll between the pieces and streak out behind it in the fashion of a smokey contrail, leaving a murky swath through the air that draws a line towards the horizon. And something… else seems to be accompanying the creature. It's further back, down along the water- a dark shape skidding along, moving at a brisk enough speed that it sends up a thick plume of water that helps obscure its shape. It moves as a shark might, pursuing the driftwood creature as it pursues the ship. "Something else, too!" calls out Fullsail, swooping back towards the ship in preparation of an imminent landing. "Get ready for multiple attackers! I hope we've got enough of that tar goo ready!"

But the Timber Wolf gets here first. Or IS it a timber wolf? The thing shoots towards the ship and hits the deck with too much momentum to be readily stopped. Bits of wood burst across the deck as they did last night, skidding wildly out of control in all directions- several smaller pieces tumbling over the edge, while larger logs thump up against the masts and materials piled on deck. They pivot and angle towards eachother in short order, though, spinning like compass needles until they are all directed towards the point of impact, then slide towards it, gathering together. As before, features begin to resolve themselves as the driftwood coalesces. But this creature… is not wholly a wolf. One leg ends in the talons of a griffon, while another looks more lupine. The twisted wood sculpture face that forms is as much a fanged muzzle as it is a curved beak. If anything, the creature looks like a hodgepodge combination of the two from last night.

Not only that, but several of its component pieces are stained by tar, or scored by a recent fire. This isn't just another monster- it's the leftovers of the two from last night, returned, and now combined! Still collecting itself, the hybrid driftwood monstrosity bellows a wooden challenge, white glowing eyes immediately locking onto Goody Horseshoes, the one it remembers hurting it the most in last night's duel.

Goody-Horseshoes swallows any doubts that this voyage is anywhere close to over. There's fire in his eyes as the wooden catastrophe crashes onto the deck before reforming and heading right at him. His rapier plants in front of him as he centers himself on the deck, "You couldn't get enough of me last time, so you've come back for revenge, is it?" He shouts at the creature, "Defeat is the only thing you'll earn today, you beast!"

Skyflower sees the creature and scowls. "I'll need somepony's help," she says, "but I have some things below deck that will be of assistance." With that, she heads belowdecks.

Ruby's about - she's always about even when she isn't; that's the great thing about sneaking! After ensuring the foals are safe and secure Ruby begins to climb back up deck - stopping as she see's Skyflower rushing down "Need help or should I head up?" she asks hastily - she's certainly intent on doing what she can to help.

Muzaji scrambled backwards as the thing comes crashing onto the deck, revealing itself to be a algamation of the previous two in some sort of flotsum and jetsum chimera of beasts. Despite her moving clear the impact and brief scattering of debris knocks her over, losing her instrument skidding across the deck. So much for a shanty, or at least one with music. With a grunt she pushed herself to her hooves, eyes setting in grim acceptance of the turn of events. No, she's sailed too many times and poked her nose in too many other curiosities to be unsettled by this. Time to do what she does best — improvise. With a deep breath she collects herself, then raises her voice to be heard over the ruckus being made, her attempt at a spirit lifting shanty now rather off tune without actual music to set to.

"We've come too far to turn back; It's way too dark to unpack
Won't stop right here if we're slippin'; This sea rolls loose but we're grippin'

We're way in over our heads it seems; and this beast is coming apart at the seams
We can't stop or change our direction; the further we go, the Harbor's protection.

Suddenly the beast takes notice, unexpectedly we've earned his focus.
We got here by drunk adaptation; our confidence was a pure determination."

Skyflower nods to Ruby. "Follow me. I've some things but I'll need help getting them above decks."

Ruby-rooter to the rescue! She hastily trots after Skyflower.

Magpie follows after Ruby and Skyflower. Wait, what's going on?

The driftwood chimera moves in a fashion as ungainly as its appearance, lolling to one side, then the other. Its body is taking shape slowly, pieces spinning about, struggling to find a proper alignment with eachother. Timber wolves- and, as it would seem, timber griffons- already had a shade of the unnatural about them, but the shakey, shuddering accumulation of this beast suggests even more beyond that. Who conjured this defeated monstrosity back from its watery grave and dispatched it once more? It snaps its toothed beak of amaw at Goody Horseshoes in response to his challenge, and begins to lope after him, hopping along on three and a half legs until the fourth fully collects. It looks about ready to launch into a tackle, but shies at the last moment, gaze darting to the unicorn's sword. Pointy thing… scary!

Up above, Fulsail, watching from the Crow's Nest, calls out again! "Second attacker, inbound! Ready on the deck!"

Moments later, there's a thick splash of water as that pursuing presence that followed the timber chimera vaults upward from the surf. Though the wind whistles with its passage, there's no stormclouds, no clatter of driftwood- just a sharp, dark shape, arcing upward, then dropping down towards the deck of the ship. It hits with the graceful splat of a wet fish and struggles to regain its balance, a slate blue hoof extending from the tatters of a thin black cloak, then pushes itself upright as two hooves and a fish-like tai will allow.

Even before she pulls the hood back to reveal herself, the figure is readily identifiable as Spindrift- at least to those that recognize her. The seapony glances about the commotion on the deck, taking quick stock of those she sees, before extending a hoof outward and shouting a command.

From amidst the water splashed about her point of landing, a billowing cloud surges upward, taking the hulking shape of a massive Storm Elemental with deep, black eyes. The elemental charges across the deck, knuckling on heavy limbs in the manner of a gorilla's lope, to take up a position behind the chimera and reach out, seizing the hybrid monstrosity around the back legs. The chimera shrieks with surprise, turning to snap back at the stormcloud creature that pins it, before turning its head to snarl back at Goody Horseshoes with a slavering fury!

Skyflower heads down to the cargo, looking around in a hurry. "Where did I put it? Oh, drat, somepony must have moved it. Ah-ha! Ruby, dear, help me with this." It's the small cart she brought onboard: "It's light enough for me to pull but I shall be needing assistance with the stairs, you know." She hitches herself to it and heads out of the bay.

Ruby manages to maintain a smile despite the prospect of manual labor. "Sure thing, Skyflower." she chimes - sticking close to the other pony to offer her assistance. She glances to Maggie "I'm just helping Skyflower out with her cart. You sure you don't want to proect the other foals for me?

Goody-Horseshoes takes a step back, a little confused. It seemed at first that this manifestation was going to be fighting along side the wood creature, but rather…attacks it?! Goody is often not distracted, but after the happenings with his ship he finds it easier. He falls back as the timber beast snarls at him, though his concentration is still sharp enough to keep the sword between him and it.

Magpie 's trailing behind Skyflower and Ruby. "What's in the cart?! Hey, wait, I wanna see-!"

Muzaji stops just as there's a shout of a second inbound. Okay, so much for musical accompaniment, this is getting to be hectic. She reachs for the hidden pockets of her cloak… but stops as the additional form actually lands on the deck. She doesn't need to see the cloak come off to know whom it is, she was one of the few to actually see Spindrift take her aquatic form. And she brought one of those storm elementals with her? This is it. This was going to be the first and last voyage of the reborn Rusty Bucket and…

… Wait, did it just attack the chimera instead?

Unusually calm considering the chaos erupting on the deck between the two monsters, Muzaji was prehaps the only one to dare to move closer towards the seapony without it being in intent to attack. Because… well, despite the crazy flank things she's been doing she still thought of the seapony as an interest. Though there was no hiding as much of the concern in her voice when she spoke as there was curiousity. "Can't say I expected you make an appearance in the flesh and fin, Mysterious Wanderer."

"Muzaji," offers Spindrift in a curt, distracted greeting. That seems to be about it. She certainly looks worse for wear since the last time the zebra saw her up close, and even then she wasn't looking all that good. The seapony is thin and malnourished, slate blue coat bare in a few places, and her eyes have what may best be described as an shadowy murk in them- a wet black presence marring their sclera as spilled oil might cloud a lake. Thankfully, she doesn't seem to be in a hurry to hold anybody's gaze and make them eyeball her directly.

The Black Heart swings from a chain around her neck. True to its name, it's a heart-shaped crystal of impenetrable darkness, menacing to the eyes. But for now, it's just hanging there, a big, dark puncuation mark at the edge of the vision of any ponies up on deck that does not overtly interfere.

"Try to sever the limbs!" shouts Spindrift, across the deck to Goody Horseshoes, voice ragged as she lifts it in a call.

The black-eyed elemental struggles with the driftwood chimera. Though it's larger, it's having a tough time keeping a grip on the creature. That the storm elemental's body is merely suggested by swirling clouds might have something to do with it- the wood composition of the timber chimera lets it punch into its cloudy assailaint with swift kicks of its mismatched back legs. It has one quasi-feathery wing to bear, and flaps it like a bludgeon, trying to swat away one thick, cloudy forelimb that encircles its middle. The creature alternates between snapping at the elemental and snarling at Goody, unable to deal any lasting damage to the former and held too securely to do anyhting to the latter.

The Elemental looks… unhappy. Its black eyes are wide with fright. It doesn't seem to want to be here at all, lifting a hand whose claws are tipped with chunks of ice often to shield its eyes from a slashing claw or a gnashing beak.

Oh, and because things weren't already exciting enough, Fullsail's voice rings out from the crow's nest.

"Something's circling the ship. Can't see what- it looks like… like sharks?"

Skyflower reaches the top of the stairs. "Spindrift!" She doesn't ask any questions, though, because it's clear that she knows what she's talking about. Muscling the cart up onto the deck she pulls off the tarp, revealing a stockpile of her delightfully artistic explosive creations. "I thought that perhaps we might need something like this. Dreadfully, I was right." She picks up a few smaller pieces with her horn and lights the fuses. "On your left, everpony!" With a FWOOSH the rockets go flying, aiming for the creature's right arm.

That's okay, Muzaji promptly raises her voice to make up for Spindrift's lack of volume. "You heard her Captain, keelhaul that shlup;Take out its limbs, don't give it a leg up!"

Though at the shout of possibly -more- trouble, she just sighs and buries a face in a hoof. "It's like some higher presence is trying to make this harder than possible."

Goody-Horseshoes gives a swift nod to the mysterious stranger, though his eye contact doesn't break from the wood monster. He stares down the creature, timing it's snaps and studying it while it's held back. As it opens it's mouth, he sends his rapier flying right toward the back of it's throat. Physics take over it's flight, and he uses his unicorn magic to fling a heavy pulley block from on deck right at the beast's side. He dives out of the way as the explosives fly at the same target.

Belowdecks, Thunnini's ears perk up. She notices Spindrift's voice and the elder seapony's name being called. The seafilly is tempted to go up on deck to talk to Spindrift… but she's not sure how much help she'd be in the fight, and there's the minor detail of the stairs, and how going down them is much easier than climbing up them when you're a seapony.

Ruby certainly helps with pushing the cart up the steps then glances about to take better gauge of the situation. "Always with the big, scary monsters." she complains - mostly because she's just a silly little earthpony. She glances about quickly to find a way to be of use; after a few moments she decides to duck back downstairs and check on the foals - cause that's about her speed!

First Mate locks the helm and looks over the side of the ship into the water, where something or somethings are encircling, "Fullsail! See if you can get closer! We need to know what we're up against!" The pegasi flys to the surface, hovering in circles around the ship just a few feet above the surface of the ocean.

Magpie gasps. "YOU!" she yelps when she sees the evil (?) sorcerer. She hesitates, then darts out on deck. "Why are you helping us?!" she demands.

"A very good question," Muzaji echos Magpie's sentiment, "But one that must wait. When the danger is gone, then concerns we can sate." She thinks for a long moment, then leans closer to Spindrift. "Your friend there has claws of cold, cannot he use them the beast to hold? While our bones a chill will just chatter; to a beast of wet wood? Frozen and shatter."

The captain's flung blade careens towards the chimera as its head is turned to snap back at the cowering elemental, and looks about ready to hit is mark- until the creature turns its head back towards the captain, just in time to deflect the incoming blade wihh its driftwood beak! It honks with surprise at the impact, eyes widening, as the sword skitters to the deck. A moment later it howls as the flung pully crashes through its wooden flank with the sound of a bowling ball knocking a spread of pins flat. Bits of dislodged driftwood scatter into the air, several smaller pieces spinning over the railing of the ship to land in the water.

A moment later- boom! Fireworks erupt around, and against, the chimera. Several shots miss, sailing instead off into the sky, but a few hit their mark. More small bits of driftwood are blasted off, and the creature sags to the side, its right front limb suddenly flopping uselessly. The chimera has been crippled by the blow!

… but it's also been released. It seems the storm elemental has failed its morale check, and is loping its way across the deck and up onto the forecastle, black eyes widen and frightened. Claws? Teethy beaks? Explosions, smashing! The poor brute throws itself behind a barrel f booze- because there are barrels of booze everywhere- and huddles in such a fashion that its head is covered, but its big back end sticks out in the open.

Spindrift curses at seeing her minion flee. "No! Get back here! Get- nnnngggh!" With a growl of frustration, she turns back towards the chimera, and pushes herself upright. Her oil-stained gaze flicks towards Magpie, but she doesn't respond to the filly just yet. "Break it into pieces! Its aura can be dispelled if it can be split up between enough fragments!" she calls out, to the other ponies on deck.

Fullsail calls back from below the edge of the railing. "They're retreating! I can't see what they are!" He flies back up into view, then, circling the ship. "They swam back down below. I can't tell what they are! Dolphins, maybe?"

Skyflower tilts her head. "Pieces? I /think/ I could do that. I'd just need to get it wedged… in…" She hmms. She strains to pick up one of the larger ones. "Stay away from the mouth!" Good advice in general, really.

Goody-Horseshoes gathers himself back up from the deck after the fireworks go off. His hat's gone flying somewhere, but that seems to be the least of his worries. Horn aglo once more, his rapier flys back over in front of him. "Anchor! On deck!" he calls out, though it seems he's not intending to stop the ship. CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP CLOP! A large brutish looking pony who looks like he might give Whistlestop a run for his money stomps on deck from the belly of the ship. "Yes, Captain?" he asks in a low droning voice. "Attack…"

First Mate once again resumes the helm to keep the ship on course. Anchor lowers his head and hoofs at the deck a few times before rearing and making a sturdy charge towards the partially incapacitated beast.

Magpie fumbles with a lantern and one of Skyflower's rockets, her magical grip slipping and sliding as she tries to hold two fairly heavy things stable against the rocking ship and all. Finally she manages to get fuse and flame together, and in the fizzle-sparking second afterward, gives the firework her best heave towards the monstrous conglomeration on deck!

Skyflower, having gotten her own steady, launches it towards the beast's mouth. "I do so hope it chokes on that."

"Nevermind, I see why," Muzaji drawls a moment later when the elemental promptly flees. Those things just really are not as terrible as they've been made out to be, are they? Sure, cause a bit of collateral damage here and there, but don't seem particularly fearsome. Really, she should of known better. That would of been too easy. "I guess it's time for desperate measures to be brought to bear, if we are to survive this fiasco with intact derriaire."

Oh hey, there's the pan flute she was playing earlier. Sitting on her haunchs she picks it up, then pulls some darts from her vest, stuffs them in, and holds the pipe up. "A victory tune, its structure to unbind; allow me to play a song of my kind." Then lifts the pipe to her mouth and blows. The pipe plays a jilted chord as it propels the darts towards the algamation. But what is that going to do?

But you see, the metal dart is tainted with a old zebra trick for disposing of tribal shields and totems you see, a herbal concoction that will start eating away at wood like acid and making it brittle. After the last attack it looks like she did a bit of scrounging to be more prepared for wooden monstrousities. Won't do much on its own to a thing that big, but with all the force that's likely to be applied to it shortly, it may help with the smashing.

After a few minutes Ruby pops back on deck and rejoins the fight - not that she has much fighting to do considering her power set - so she settles for holding the latern for Maggie so the foal can focus on firing off rockets.

Crash! Anchor smashes his way through the staggered monster. Not much is knocked loose, but the chimera is spun about to crash against the deck, a few more pieces broken free of its limbs and shoulders. What doesn't scatter over the side of the ship falls at a distance and quivers against the deck, still animate but not yet rejoining the made body of the hodgepodge monster. It rolls about and kicks with its hind legs, trying to turn itself back around, but with both forelimbs hobbled and only one wing and probably a confused idea on how it should be operating, the monster isn't having much luck yet.

Then, silver darts shot from Muzaji's flute-turned-blowgun pepper its middle. At first there's no visible damage, or even a reaction, and then a shriek of alarm and rage from the monster as several of the larger wood pieces begin to crumble and break apart. Of course, the thing is already made of floating chunks of wood pieced together- so it doesn't lead to a complete dissolution. Rather, it continually adjusts, shorting its torso a bit, shoring up a hole here with a floating piece of driftwood taken from there. And, as it does, turns a baleful glare towards the remaining ponies. Its wild white eyes look mad with anger; one gets the idea it's not defeated- only ANGRY.

And, with nefarious intent, the creature reaches down with a shuddering forelimb, retrieving a bit of fallen driftwood. It shoves the chunk back into its body without pulling its gaze away from Goody. Again it reaches out, nabbing another dislodged chunk and assimilating it back into itself. Its left forelimb is looking whole and intact now, a few sharp bits of wood migrating to the tips of its talons to properly outfit them for proper pony-poking. And then the monster reaches down for one more piece, stuffs it into the rotting hole in its trunk, and is complete once more… or… or is it? The creature looks ready to go back on the attack, then hesitates, rears up, and turns its beaky head down to inspect that third chunk it just affixed to its body. Wait, that's not driftwood… that's a lit explosive! The Chimera looks up with a surprised blink, little twiggy eyebrows raised.

Then it explodes.

It's breaking, it's smashing, it's being busted… and then it starts grabbing bits and pieces and shoving them haphazardly back into itself. But then it grabs one of the explosives instead and shoves that into the hole her wood-poison darts had made in its torso, which causes Muzaji to narrow her eyes a bit and smirk. "Your mend?"

The zebra turns from the monstrousity just as it seems to realize what it did. "Your end."

Cue the kaboom.

Magpie bursts into cheering! "Take that yez — " and then a few phrases she must've learned at the docks. During a barfight. Between sailors and soliders. Who had poor upbringing.

Goody-Horseshoes wasn't as fortunate this time to get out of the way of the debris. Some of the shrapnel catches him in the side and he lets out a painful whinney. It doesn't seem too bad, though there's certainly a few splinters lodged in him now. He winces as he walks over to his hat after spotting it. It lifts up with a glow onto his head and settles itself back on it's perch. "Is everypony alright? Was anypony injured?" he calls out, making an assesment of the situation.

Skyflower clips Magpie around the ear. "Language! Honestly!"

Ruby ponders Maggie's langauge then simply tells her "No." shaking a hoof. "Too cute for that kind of langauge."then hugs the foal and near bites Skyflower's hoof off when she 'clips' Maggie - angry, angry protective glare.

Magpie ow!

Magpie protests, "Well, he IS one!"

Skyflower blushes, holding her hoof back. "Terribly sorry, Ruby, not my place."

Ruby-Blossom says "That doesn't mean /you/ have to say it." Ruby informs Maggie while hugging her - now protectively! "Say something adorable like huffle-wuffle-puffle or something. I don't know.""

Magpie just mouths 'huffle-wuffle-puffle' with a look of disbelieving horror.

"Mostly shaken, Captain, other than you." Muzaji pauses in her reply to tuck the pan flute away, then turns her gaze back to Spindrift. "Though I do believe somepony has explaining to do. You are the cause of much of the fuss, why are you here, if not to stop us?"

Thunnini clambers her way back onto the deck. "Should've brought my poling staff," she grumbles as she makes her slow way up the steps.

Magpie comes trotting over towards the sorcerous seapony. "You saved us back at the harbor, too. That black light was you, right?"

Skyflower joins the rest of the ponies. She's looking at Spindrift but not saying anything yet. What is there to say? Something, she knows that.

Ruby reluctently lets go of Maggie then follows her towards the seapony. "Hey. It's you." Honestly quite oblivious to the whole 'this seapony is bad thing'. "You okay? I mean…after that night, your friend. Wait you're a seapony too?" the mare curiously takes in the whole situation all the while trying to console the mostly stranger about her loss - somepony is really out of the loop here.

Driftwood is blasted across the deck of the ship following the explosion. The magical structure that holds it all together into a monstrous form is disrupted utterly; all that is left are fragments, shards and splinters, and a few wisps of stormcloud that struggle to hold themselves together before the wind carries them away. But it's not over… not yet. Not when several shards of leftover chimera start to quiver and turn about, animated by some unseen force. The creature is down, but not defeated. One might wonder- just what does it take to kill this thing, anyway?

The storm elemental is peeking out from behind its hiding place, then slowly sitting up, looking about the deck with wide black eyes and a palpable sense of relief.

Spindrift is coughing wetly on the deck, curled and propped up by a single leg, the other hoof covering her mouth as she hacks away. Soon she recovers her breath, looking up at Muzaji, then Magpie. "Does it make a difference, land-dwellers? Your journey may continue unmolested. Do you really need to know wh… aahh!!!"

She falls silent, interrupted, as the water erupts on all sides of the ship, thick columnar spray shooting upwards. Silvery shapes burst from the water- a dozen, six to a side, vaulting from the sea. Their arrival is much like Spindrift's, but as these ponies land on deck, it's not with a sickly wet flop but a coordinated stomp of steady hooves.

Seaponies. A lot of them, and every one dressed in a silver helmet bearing a long, metallic horn not unlike a unicorn's, and thick plated armor around their hooves. With swift and professional gestures, they reach up and remove pendants, necklaces, broaches and torcs of various types, and as they do, their figures are obscured in bright white light, profiles shifting, until their fishlike tails are replaced with strong back legs.

The cadre of militant seaponies fans out across the deck of the ship, seeking out the remaining chimera fragments, pulverizing them beneath armored hooves, or dipping their heads to touch them with the tips of their helmets' horns- causing the minute bits of wood to quiver and burst into a fine dust. Several others move to swiftly take the forecastle of the ship- shoving aside First Mate, pinning him to the railing, then taking up position to block access to the upper deck.

One of them- a tall, broad-shouldered mare, clearly the one in charge, looks dismissively from land-dweller to land-dwller before her eyes lock on Spindrift. "It's her!" she shouts. "The sea witch! Apprehend her!!" Several of her troops abandon their fragment-hunting to pursue Spindrift, who desperately claws her way towards the edge of the ship, slipping clumsily over the wood.

Magpie shouts instantly, "She's not with us!"

Skyflower throws off her surprise in time to interpose herself between the new arrivals and Spindrift. "I DO beg your pardon, but this mare just saved the lives of everypony aboard this ship and it would be remiss of me to allow you to detain her until we understand what's going on." She stomps her front left hoof. "I'm terribly sorry but I simply shan't let you by."

Ruby manages to look adorably lost as things just continue to get out of control - she applies a hoof to her forhead. "This is why I kept saying I wouldn't get involveds this time. I've got foals to tend to…" which is exactly why she's here - Kludge is the homebody stuck with a foal that is most likely gnawing on his head this very moment..or Windrose' wing.

Goody-Horseshoes narrows his brow, stomping a hoof on the deck. He walks towards the central deck, a light limp on one side, "Now…hold on just one moment! As acting commander of this ship, you are to follow by the rules of this ship. Nopony is to be taken prisoner without going through me first. Now, I ask, WHAT is this all about?" He is, of course, referring to both Spindrift's appearance out of nowhere and to the seaponies that have boarded the Rusty Bucket.

Magpie sidles over to one of the guards, and asks, "Hey, can you teach me that poof-dust spell thing?"

Muzaji is absolutely unsurprised as more seaponies land upon the deck, she suspected as much from the reports of the 'indescriable dolphins' swimming about. After everything else, it only made sense. Well as much sense as things make around here. The zebra sighs slightly though, "A chance for exposition lost. Let us hope later it does not cost."

As the Captain comes to take command of the situation on his ship proper she just nudges herself back out of the way, having the distinct feeling already these seaponies are not going to be particularly favorable towards her just for being a zebra. They seem too… professionally. "Now now, on all sides there is no need to shout. Let's take a moment and talk this one out."

She glances partially over a shoulder at the stomping and wood disposal going on. "After this and last night, we don't need more of a fight."

Two of the armored seaponies are trying to poke and prod the black-eyed storm elemental, which is cowering up against the rearmost railing of the ship, obviously terrified. It looks up, then, across the ship, over everybody's heads, towards Spindrift, then turns to vault over the edge, disappearing without anything more than a brief whistle of wind.

Spindrift herself doesn't stick around to offer explanations or alibis, still struggling for the railing. Hobbled as she is by a finned tail, though, she can't outpace the long-legged soldiers… at least, until Skyflower intercepts them. They look at Skyflower with wide eyes- she's so well-spoken, yet so insistent!- before glowering and swarming around her.

Still, it provides a few moments for Spindrift to get herself over the railing, splashing into the water a few moments later. Not long after that, a thick rooster tail of sea spray can be seen, jetting off towards the northeast- Spindrift's dark cloak fluttering behind her as she is caught up in an animate tornado that carries her over the surf and back towards the harbor.

The soldiers shout and rattle across the deck of the ship. "You, you, and you- after her!" calls the leader, pointedly ignoring the land-dwellers for now. The indicated soldiers pile over the edge, swiftly donning their phylacteries mid-air, and are soon swimming off in pursuit of the so-called "sea-witch."

The leader stares after them a moment, before turning to fix Goody Horseshoes with a stoic glower. She's tall and muscular, her coat a lavender color, with a short-cropped mane of silver hair mostly suffed underneath her silvery helmet. Her cutie mark depicts a hoof stomping against an implied surface, a burst of white force radiating away from it. "Stand down," she calls out to her remaining troops, not looking away from the Captain. "But keep an eye on all of them."

She then narrows her eyes slightly. "Your ship treads in sovereign waters, Captain," she states in a steely tone. "We follow only what chain of command we choose to."

One of the troops, who has been inspecting the ship, turns to call out to the leader. "Ma'am, it's the Rusty Bucket. From Horseshoe Harbor."

The Leader's lips curl into a frown. "Harborites. You're the ones we've been expecting, then." She lifts her head to look across to Muzaji. "State your destination, zebra."

The soldier Magpie asks about the spell blinks and peers down at the near-filly. At first she seems hesitant, and a little wary, glancing up at her captain across the docks, before shrugging and smiling down at Magpie. "You, uh, you just think of explosions, and- piff!"

Magpie blinks. "Just… think?" She looks confused. That isn't how magic works! …is it? Is that what she's doing wrong?!

Skyflower rolls her eyes when Spindrift throws herself overboard. She shouts over the railing: "A thank-you would be nice, but an explanation would be better!" She blows a stray lock of her mane out of her eyes. "Honestly, some ponies."

Goody-Horseshoes seems unfazed by the gaze or tone of the mare-in-charge. He stands straight as he approaches her, though he makes it clear that he does not intend to pose a threat, "Yes. We are here on business. We will not harm you unless you or your soldiers harm us first. "

"Yeah!" says the chatty soldier with Magpie. "You just- why, does it work differently for you?" She widens her eyes a bit. "I heard unicorns can only cast magic spells if they eat an adorable baby bunny, first! Or at least drink some bunny blood!" She shies away a bit, which, considering she's twice as tall as Magpie and definitely more armored, is a little ridiculous.

Muzaji flicks an ear up at that reply. Sovereign waters…. so they were on the right path all along. That is certainly a relief. Well, a path somewhere seapony related, that's all that really matters. As they… were expecting them? Now how would they know they were coming to be expecting them?

So many questions gnawing at her curiosity, but Muzaji manages to shove them aside for the moment as she slips back into her usual demeanor… though lays off the excess charm. That never seems to work well with seaponies in the first place. Instead she steps up and folds a foreleg in front of herself to bow briefly. "Muzaji, ma'am. Traveller, Trader and collector of curiosities."

Magpie says "What?! No! Augh! I don't eat bunnies!" She pauses, then grins at the soldier. "Otters are tastier."

Thunnini wanders forward. "Thunnini, friend of the Harborites, especially several of the foals," she remarks as an introduction to the soldiers.

A frightened wail rolls through the soldiers. "Otters!" "They eat otters!" "The poor otters! They're so adorable, the way the float on their little backs!" "I saw an otter the other day. It had a rock!" "My cousin has an otter-"

"AHEM!" Their leader clears her throat in a directed fashion, casting a glower across the gathered soldiers, who shush up and stand at attention. She then scowls back at Muzaji, watching her. There's an obvious moment of calculation before she lifts her chin slightly. "I am Captain Rill, of the Starlight Harbor Overwatch Outriders, B Division." She looks from the zebra to Captain Goody. "Yesterday we were alerted that land-dwellers had been invited to our kingdom by a prominent government official in the city of Silver Shallows. Not long after we were made aware of your ship heading towards the city. I will assume -you- are the ones the invitation was extended to, although…"

She glances about the ship, noting the quiltwork sails, the mix of old and new wooden construction, the omnipresent barrels and bottles of booze. There's even bottles of beer lined up on a railing. How did those get there? Who put that there? This ship tends to just manifest alcohol when nobody's looking.

"… I am as of yet unsure why," concludes Captain Rill. "I…"

Suddenly, Thunnini. Nine armored heads turn to stare at the seafilly. Captain Rill raises an eyebrow, then looks up to Goody Horseshoes and Muzaji with a frown. "I pray this is not a case of abduction of one of our own."

Magpie 's little voice protests, "That was a joke! We don't eat ANYTHING!"

The soldier near Magpie gasps, looking away from Thunnini and back to the unicorn. "Nothing?! You survive on air?! I knew it was weird up here, but- wow! That is powerful magic!"

Several other soldiers start trying to take bites of the air, then look confused. "It's not working," says one.

Magpie says "….augh"

Magpie says "We eat plants. PLANTS. Like oats and apples and peas and carrots. Only not all together at the same time because that would taste really weird."

Thunnini shakes her head. "Nah, I've been visiting the Harbor for a while now, and I tagged along on this adventure to help out my friends," she explains. "I have a nice place to stay among the docks and a go-kart so I can hang out with my friends, only I can't stay in my usual hideout because of the Maelstrom."

Goody-Horseshoes looks around the ship. Any captain would likely be embarassed of such a jalopy of a vessel, but he seems proud of it either way, "Forgive us for the appearance of the ship. Our original vessel was attacked as we first set sail, and was damaged greatly. He gives a light courteous bow to Captail Rill and tips his captain's hat, "Of course, you must forgive me for my manners first. My name is Captain Goody Horseshoes."

Skyflower sighs and steps forward again. "I do believe we've all gotten off on the wrong hoof. I am Skyflower and we are here to find a way to save our beloved town from the threat of utter annihilation by the maelstrom. But now I'm wondering what's going on, as Spindrift is supposedly the one who started it and yet she just tried to save us."

Ruby-Blossom listens to Maggie while watching the filly yak it up - she'll make sure to tell Kludge not to whip out his Pea, carrot, and apple casarole anytime soon.

Muzaji can't help but smirk a bit at the bewilderment at the state of their ship, and the soldiers being befuddled by Magpie, even as she rolls her eyes aside and gives a hapless shrug. "What can you say? The Rusted Bucket lives up to her name. Too old, surly and drunk to just roll over and die, like any good sailor. But yes, as the good captain has said, a bit of a… difficulty getting the journey going." She coughs into a forehoof, sliding aside that matter like others for the moment. "So you were expecting us. Do you know -why- you were expecting us?"

Magpie suggests, "Hey, maybe the witch saved us 'cause we're leaving? I mean she never wanted to really hurt anypony, did she? She just wants us all to leave the city."

"A… go-kart," says Rill, expression wooden. She stares at Thunnini a moment longer before looking back to Goody. At the mention of his name, she quirks a brow and glances briefly at his front feet. Hm. No shoes there. A soldier in the back snickers, but silences when Rill's tail twitches in an irritable fashion.

Rill flicks an ear as Skyflower speaks up, and half-turns her head towards the mare, but doesn't look at her directly, gazing instead at the sea with a look of perpetual irritation. At the mention of Spindrift, that irritation turns to obvious disgust. "I am not familiar with the sea witch and cannot speak for her twisted motivations. She is merely a fugitive who we have been ordered to apprehend and return to the Starlight Kingdom."

Rill lifts her head, looking to Muzaji, then around at the rest of the gathered land-dwellers. "As I mentioned, we were told yesterday that land-dwellers had been invited to our kingdom. Since then our division was dispatched to head to Horseshoe Harbor. We are aware of the storm there, but now that your problems are bringing outsiders into our lands, it becomes our problem as well." She turns to face towards the northeast. In the distance, a slight dark speck on the water signifies SPindrift's fleeing form. "There we are to assist with the containment of the Maelstrom, the eradication of the Spire, and the apprehension of the sea witch."

And there's a small bit of detail in that exposition that Muzaji can grab onto. "Outsiders into your lands as well? You mean the elementals? Or," she nods her head towards where the chimeratic beast was, "those abominations."

Skyflower hmms. "We're happy for any help you can give us, but I for one want to understand more of what's going on before any 'apprehension' takes place."

Magpie says "Yeah! Take us to your leaders!"

"No, Muzaji," says Rill, back to her standard-issue ire and brusque, no-nonsense tone. "-You- are the outsiders." She casts a glance about the ship as she says this, indicating every land-dweller with a sweeping and dismissive gaze.

She then turns to gesture to her regiment. "All of you, resume pursuit. Sea Cinder, Swordfish, remain here." As directed, the soldiers start to neatly bail ship, making their way to the railing and vaulting over the sides, save for two, who draw near. "You two are to accompany the Rusty Bucket to port. See that she and her passengers make it there safely, then join us in Horseshoe Harbor."

Captain Rill then turns to regard Skyflower, disregards her protests utterly, and looks next to Goody Horseshoes. "We are under orders to help ensure your safe arrival in Silver Shallows, and my lieutenants will do that. I must rejoin my troops and ensure the chase is resumed." With that, she turns away from the gathered land-dwellers and makes her way toward sthe edge, preparing to depart. Sea Cinder and Swordfish remain, watching her go, then turn to look at Captain Goody, eyebrows upraised. "Where is your navigator?" asks one. "We'll help you chart a course to the dock."

Magpie assures Swordfish, "We really don't eat otters."

Goody-Horseshoes points up to the crows nest, where Fullsail and Crow's Nest are both perched, "Fullsail! Come down! You've got some chart work to take care of!" The pegasus floats down to the deck, "Yes, Captain?" Goody nods towards the soldiers staying behind, "They'll help you plot our destination. I'll be in my quarters if you need me." He's had a long past few days and needs to take care of the splintering still lodged in his side.

Muzaji scuffs a hoof on the deck briefly. Darn misleading terms between cultures, through she was onto something there. In hindsight, prehaps a bit too hopeful they wouldn't be considered a hazard as well. She's still curious about just whom would of told the seafolk they were coming, but that would just be delaying the soldiers and wouldn't look good at all for their arrival.

Instead the zebra stands at the railing, watching the soldiers bail over and return to their chase, then lifted her gaze to stare out in the horizon that Spindrift disappeared past, back towards the Spire and it's storm off in the distance. However she can draw a few lines here and there. Apparently whatever power Spindrift has harnessed, the Dark Heart or otherwise, has ostrisized her from her own people as well. But that doesn't answer why she came to save them from the driftwood chimera.

"Answers have been found, but more questions yet abound.
The source of this blight also a savior in plight.
What ill deeds has the Sorrowed Tide grown
That the Stranger is hunted even by her own…."

Rill is soon joining the seaponies heading off to the northeast, and though aided by magic much like Thunnini's to help speed them along, they aren't a match for the speed Spindrift, borne on the winds of an elemental, managed in her flight. Still, they have the advantage of knowing right where they need to look.

Their captain might have been a grouch, but Sea Cinder and Swordfish prove a bit easier to get along with, albeit perpetually wary of the land-dwellers on ship. An exact course is nailed down- leading, curiously enough, to a spot out in the middle of the ocean. Of course, that's where everybody was already headed, so it's not that surprising.

Another six hours of sailing ensues. As midnight approaches, a call rings down from the crow's nest. "Land ho!" shouts Fullsail. "At least… at least I think it's land?"

Off in the distance, a slender needle of silver protrudes from the ocean's surface. Around it are a variety of docks, at which a number of sleek zebra vessels are moored. There's even a single, tiny griffon ship… but nothing that looks like the Rusty Bucket. Nothing that hails from Equestria.

It's another clear night, and the stars have come out to play. The ocean is calm enough that their light is reflected in the waters below. But as a sudden wind blows through, churning the ocean into a sudden chop, it's clear the starlight isn't reflected from the sky- it's shining up from below. Looking over the edge of the ship and into the water reveals a thousand distant, dim lights- the lights of a city. The lights of a civilization thriving below the waves.