Stalwart Rune
IC date: Winter 17, 1008
OOC date: January 5, 2014
Location: Portside
PCs: Quintessent-Rune Tale-Chaser Rising-Chaos Magpie Tick-Tock Page Muzaji Jigsaw-Blade
NPCs: Stalwart Rune and the Jazz-Hooves Brigade
GM: Diamond-Dog

Though winter has come in full, today has been an atypically spring-like day, with clear skies and welcome sunshine that has given the town an afternoon of warmth following the murk and snow of the onset of the season. The comfortable weather has given business along the waterfront a shot in the leg, and even as evening sets in ponies are bustling about and busy. The cold season might mean fewer travelers and more infrequent cargo shipments coming and going, but there's still things to do.

Like sight-seeing expeditions! It's the best time of the year to observe the majestic Ice Blocktopus. Supposedly. They come down from the north as the weather turns. They really sort of look just like big chunks of ice when they're floating around on the surface of the water, sunning themselves. Some tour boats gather in Horseshoe Harbor to go out and observe these rare and magical creatures, or just stare at icebergs and argue whether or not they're looking at the right thing. A gaggle of ponies to one end of the port is doing that right now!

Further down the line, another pony is making good on the opportunity to sell to tourists. He's got a cart out with a variety of pirate-themed knicknacks: fake swords, foam pirate hats, eyepatches on cheap elastic strings. Further down the line is a cart selling fried veggies on a stick.

In other words, it's Horseshoe Harbor, doing its normal thing. Aside from seasonal variations including artfully arranged icicles on the eaves, snow on the rooftops and lights in the windows, everything seems to be normal.

Tale-Chaser is making his way up from the beach, dripping a little. He has the damp look of somepony who has been out for a swim, at least underneath an otherwise dry scarf. This earns him a few strange looks from passerby, because honestly, who would be out swimming at a time like this? He checks and re-checks the seals on his watertight bookbags, before making his way over to a bench situated along the boardwalk to sit down and take stock of his situation post-mysterious-adventures-under-the-water.

Thunnini poles around in her bucket-kart, browsing the various vendor's carts. While the weather might be warmer than normal for the season, it's still cold. Thus, she's tucked into her cloak, with just her face and hooves showing.

Sitting with binoculars, viewing the iceblocktopus/iceberg while sitting on an upturned hat is Tick-Tock, wondering if it's just an iceberg or not and staying away from weak parts of the dock with fear of falling through the floor… again.

You don't have to be on a tourboat to experience the sights of the mystical Ice Blocktopus, despite whe the fare salesponies tell you! Of course, it's not much of a sight really as Quintessent Rune concluded leaning against the railing, peering out into the water and doing her best not to shift uneasily from hoof too hoof at the tingling urge to take a few hours too submerge herself into the chill waters. "I am suprised they can charge for such a trip," she muttered for herself. "Suprised, offended and envious of the numbers of customers."

Muzaji laughs a little as she leans on the railing next to Rune. "Trust me, never understimate the determined's capacity to find something innate to convince others they need." She pauses as one of the hawkers goes by, and adds under her breath, "Thank the sisters *I* don't have to resort to that anymore."

Jigsaw-Blade gives a cheerful wave to today's patron, and trots out onto the boardwalk, for once moneybags as loaded as her toolkit. Winter's presence has pointed out more than a few fireplaces needing repairs, radiators leaking, windows broken and roofs sagging, in addition to the occasional pony running through a support beam or wall. As a result, business is doing fairly well. At least for now. Any day now, perhaps even tomorrow, the town will actually be properly winterized, and jobs will slow to a trickle. It is with this unhappy thought that Jigsaw takes to the air, looking for someplace to grab a snack before her last job of the day.

Magpie purses her lips in disapproval and comes trotting over to Tale Chaser. She pulls the towel off her back and unfolds it with a snap, and starts rubbing down the seapony colt. "So?" she asks, with a note of mild annoyance. "Did you find something strange and mysterious?"

Absolutely normal, which suits Rising Chaos just fine. For all that she gripes, the mare would much rather the Harbour be quiet than it be, well, loud. It wasn't too long ago that she was on the docks to follow up on paper work for town hall, and the habit has stuck, so sometimes she can be found there on one of her breaks.She's just been sitting off to one side, avoiding the tourists (who probably don't want to go near that scowl anyway) and thinking. when she spots Rune, and as an extra bonus, Muzaji, the unicorn gets up and starts walking over.

Tale-Chaser jumps as Magpie draws close- he has a hunted demeanor, and it doesn't lighten up even as he starts getting toweled off. He does sit up to make it a bit easier, though, wrinkling up his nose a little while his mane gets mussed. "U-um-" he says. "Well, er- I did find the seaweed that Contessa von Pincholi" (His latest name for the crawdad he's keeping for Magpie because she doesn't like Cricket or Cricket's ideas of a gift) "likes to eat, and, er…" His gaze sinks to the boards underfoot. "… er…."

After concluding that he's definitely looking at a glorified lump of ice, Tick-Tock lowers his binoculars and spots a familiar mare though he's not sure why. He puts his hat back on and walks up to Jigsaw Blade, a puzzled look on his face as he asks "Excuse me, Madam, have we met before? You seem familiar."

The sun is setting, and as it does, it paints the bay and the encircling arms of land that define it in brilliant gold and bright orange and deep purple shadows; the lighthouse, on the far side of the bay, flares to life as it prepares to do its thing. Which is be lit up at night, natch.

In the middle of the bay, the chunk of ice that people are watching and/or arguing about continues to simply bob in the surf. It stands out clearly in the bright light, especially as one of the few bits of ice- or is it?!- in the water. It will be a few more weeks until ice starts gathering in earnest, though, so for now, it gets to be a cool trendsetter. Unless it's an octopus. In which case that's also cool, but in a different way.

Jigsaw-Blade tilts her head to the side at Tick-Tock's question. Something at the edge of consciousness tugs at her. Music. Hangover. Something about some roadie? "I… do admit I have a strange sense of deja vu, but I can't quite place it." With a wingflap, she ends her slight hover above the street. "So why's everypony staring out there? Some ancient ghost pirate zombie dragon ship comin' in today or somethin?"

Quintessent-Rune turned her head, giving Muzaji a slight nod. "I supose so, though at times I do wounder if perhaps we were to do a brisker trade in our more mundane enchanted goods if we had salesponies within the town propper and on the streets."

Magpie arches an eyebrow. "Er?" she prompts. As a side note, it's not true that she doesn't like Cricket. But it IS the case that Cricket's ideas of a gift are horrifying.

Muzaji holds up a hoof, "Ah, but that would still be peddling an item of quality and use! Not this…" Waves hoof in the general direction of the souvenoir hackers on the beach. "… well, this." Then she pauses, grinning a little as she waggles her striped brows at Rune. "Or was that a thinly veiled offer?"

Tale Chaser avoids Magpie's gaze, instead looking towards one of his saddlebags. "Erm," he answers. He waits a moment, hoping that Magpie will suddenly decide she doesn't care. In the meantime, let me point out that Cricket's idea of a gift is adorable and has cute little black eyes and little antennae that go wiggle-wiggle and teeny claws and she's precious. Eventually the colt reaches back and opens up the flap of one of his bags; inside is some water, some fronds of seaweed, and after he reaches in and draws it out…

… a spiral shell! "I found him when I was weed-hunting," he says, holding it up. "I thought the Contessa could use a friend."

"Yes, all I can associate you with is apples and headaches," Tick-Tock says to Jigsaw before replying to her question while carefully walking down the dock. "No, I don't think so at least. It's nowhere near that cool. Well, that depends on the cool because they're staring at icebergs…"

Rising-Chaos arrives beside Muzaji exactly as the zebra finishes her sentence. "The remote location certainly does Spellbound by the Bay no favours, I will admit. We also suffer from not being experienced saleponies. I do agree, however, that we would not want to be assosiated with that foolishness." Rising Chaos offers a thin smile at the two. "Hello Muzaji, and hello to you miss Rune, what brings you to the docks today?" The question is directed only at Rune, Chaos knows perfectly well what Muzaji is doing here.

Quintessent-Rune glanced towards Muzaji. "Miss Muzaji, I do respect your bussines acumen it must be said… though I must admit that I would not truly wish too place my bussines in your hooves, you are a merchant - though I mean no offense by it of course. It is merely… that artifice is so much more than items too trade, at least to myself…"

Quinty stood silent for a moment, seeming too think before her ears perked up at the sound of Rising and she turned towards her, giving a polite nod. "Merely taking a moment to get some fresh air and laungish by the ocean, Miss Chaos."
Magpie tilts her head and peers at the shell. "…What, a shell? I mean it's a nice shell," she says quickly. "Uh… do crawfish like shells, then?"

The harbor is mostly clear. A ship left port about half an hour ago, but by now it's long gone, having rounded the cape headed south and disappeared from sight. Aside from the ice blocktopus- or is it?!- there's not much to see out there.

Which makes it a little odd when the water in the center of the bay starts to churn without evident cause. It's slow at first, the ripples indistinguishable from those the wind causes… but soon the rippes become waves, radiating outward, coupled with the white froth caused by bubbles and splashes as… something… appears to be rising from the depths. It even makes suitably splashy noises: splorsha splorsha glug sploosha splorsh. Various dockworkers, tourists, and vendors look up and out towards the water, shielding their eyes against the glare of the sunset as they observe the phenomenon with increasing worry. Given what rose out of the center of the bay LAST winter, this isn't an especially encouraging sign…

Jigsaw-Blade 's eyes go scrunchy for a moment. "Apples?" she wonders aloud, before turning to walk alongside. "Why would they stare at icebergs? They're just… big 'ol ice cubes," she complains. "They are just big ol' ice cubes here, right?"

Muzaji tosses her head back with a light laugh, bangles jingling. And probably a good reminder of what Rune is hinting at when the fading light glints off the gemstone studded ring around her neck. "Well you passed that part of operating a business then…. Besides, I still have the benefit of being one of your supplies."

Then turns her head the other way when the unicorn joins them. "Hello to you too, Rising. Old habits die hard, hmmm?"

Thunnini watches the emerging… /thing/… with attentive curiosity. *That* certainly isn't something you see every season!

Tale Chaser looks to Magpie, then at the spiral shell perched on his hoof. "Oh, um." He reaches up and tap taps on it.

The shell lifts up on a set of little red pointy crablegs, before a pair of black eyes on stalks peer out at Magpie. They stare at her for a moment before the little hermit crab ducks back underneath, snapping its legs and eyes back into the shell so fast that it overs in the air for a moment before clattering back down to Tale Chaser's hoof.

The colt smiles some. "He, er. Well, I think it's a he. He's pretty cute, yeah?"

Magpie jumps back when the shell suddenly becomes a monstrosity from the deep. "Gah! Uh— y-yeah, cute." She glances sideways at TC. "Is… is THAT why you're actin' like you took a cookie from the cookie jar?"

Quintessent-Rune nods, her smile getting a bit warmer. "Indeed, so you are. Though I wish NiceCo had not purchased every ounce of Orichalium from here too the gryphon kingdoms, Orichalium now stuck in that forest…" She frowned. She's been working with all kinds of… of… lesser… materials recently. It's a dissapointment more than anything - and most likely for Muzaji too, she pays top money for that Orichalium and now there's… Um, that looks weird?

Quinty squinted as she leaned against the railing, a hoof comming to shadow her eyes. "That's peculiar…" she murmured for herself, brows knitting together slightly.

"Yes but some ponies think they're some sort of octopus," Tick-Tock replies to Jigsaw before spotting Rune and quickening his pace and changing his trajectory to find his destination by Miss Chaos' side.
Jellybean has arrived.

Jigsaw-Blade shakes her head as she keeps up. "That's silly. That out there is clearly some sort of…" She gives a glance. "Well, it's not an octopus at any rate!"

Rising-Chaos has moved her gaze to watch the bay while the chatting happens. "A worthy reason to come out, I was doing the same. I find myself enjoying being on the docks, so I suppose so, Muzaji." Her eyebrow raises very slightly as the things start happening out in the water. "I think you'll find Rune is a bit harder to fool than that. Besides, I think our arrangements work quite well as it is, for both parties." Not going to comment on the thing, Chaos? Alright, that's cool.

Tale Chaser looks down guiltily. "I don't know. I thought you might think that it's, um. That it's silly for me to take." He peers at the little spiral shell, then reaches to drop it back into his waterlogged saddlebag with a sploosh. "Seeing as you're not as enthusiastic about crabs n'stuff as I am…" He trails off to look back over his shoulder at the bay, frowning at the noise and fuss in the center. "Er…?"

Magpie kicks a hoof. "I don't care if you like ugly little sea monsters," she says with a huff. "I just was kinda thinking it'd be… y'know… nice if I'd gone with you or somethin'. I can … od that now, y'know."

"Indeed," Tick-Tock states, simply before turning to Miss Rune and Miss Chaos to greet them. "Hello, Miss Rune, hello Miss Chaos, would you mind sharing what you're lo- Oh, that's not normal… Is it?"

Muzaji just sighs slightly at the mention of the orichalium in the forest. Ah well. "Yes, arrangements are just fine as they are.. hmm?" As Rune takes note of something out in the water, the zebra reachs into her stash and pulls out her collapsable scope, expanding it and holding it up to one eye.

Page trots in from elsewhere, saddlebags customarily overfilled. She's seen the water and is definitely curious, and then she sees her friends and goes to join them. She looks back and forth at Magpie and Tale Chaser. "I don't suppose we know what's causing this? I seem to remember reading something in one of Tinfoil Hat's books about 'True Moonstone' and its effects on the tides, but I don't smell any cheese so I doubt that's it."

Magpie blinks up at Page. "…what's causing what?" she asks in confusion. Does true moonstone cause hermit crabs?

Tale Chaser looks to Magpie with a little wince. "S-sorry. I, er. I kinda forget you can! Just, y'know. It's not- it's not that exciting. Pickin' weeds underwater and stuff…" He's distracted a bit by the commotion in the harbor. "I hope this isn't something that's gonna destroy the town," he says. "That'd be real bad."

Jigsaw-Blade feels her ears splay at the sight of Rune. She still hasn't figured out what to do about the winebottle, after all. Feeling her wings start to twitch, she flaps up into a hover, which conveniently also gives her a better view of the whatever-the-heck-that-is out there. "That's kinda freaky, really…" she says, trailing off.

The surface of the churning water is suddenly broken by a glistening black… fin? Yes, a fin, like that of a shark… or some form of fish. A BIG fish… whose head soon clears the water with a roaring splash. The light of the setting sun reflects off its head and scales, drawing attention to a glossy finish over shades of deep blue and obsidian. As the beast comes more into view, it reveals highlights of bright gold and silver along the edges of its fins and scales, two massive, staring, dome-like eyes of glassy blue, and a pair of cheek-like balloons on either side of its head, inflating further with a loud, sputtering roar. It weaves a slow, stiff pattern of movement, gliding along the surface of the water towards the port; as it does, a second pair of bladders inflate along its sides more towards the back, providing a bit of balance to the front, keeping the creature on the surface of the water. The closer it draws, the better the noise it makes can be heard- a rattling and clunking, mechanical to accompany the rather automatic nature of its movements… perhaps this is not, in fact, a fish at all- but a ship-sized simulacra of one! Do giant robot fish eat ponies?!

Magpie lets out a 'WAUGH!' of surprise. She points at the THING in the bay. "AUGH! Monster fish! Tale Chaser, go kill it!"

Muzaji lowers her scope. "… Now -that- is something you don't see every day, even here…" Though almost immeadiately her attention turns to Rune. Mostly because, well, it's a robotic fish. There's only one place she's seen that sort of artifice before, and its certainly not around 'normal' ponies.

Tale-Chaser's eyes widen behind his plate-glass spectacles as the fish-boat surfaces. He's stunned for a moment- stunned, yet fascinated, you can tell because he reaches up to adjust his glasses- then is stirred to action by Magpie behind him. "Uh?!" He looks back out to the bay with an anxious skitter of his hooves! "What if it's friendly?! Page, how do we tell if it's friendly?!"

Page's eyes widen. "What? I don't know! I'm only up to chapter three in Tinker Toy's Codex of Confusing Clockworks!"

Since is going to be quiet with the odd stuff happening, Rising Chaos sin't going to add much either. The mare quitecalmly watches the bubbling in the water, and then the giant fish come out of the water. "Not normal, no. I would suggest we get away from the dockside, for our own safetty." Because she's not certain if that thing plans on stopping, Rising follows her own advice, turning around and walking away from the water to put some obstacles in between her and the scary monster.

Jigsaw-Blade glances Rising's way. "That… is the best advice I've heard all day," she says, flapping for a bit of altitude and instinctive backwards flying. A minor brush against a lightpole causes her to turn around and look where she's going.

Tick-Tock frowns at the fish. "Judging by the reactions it's not normal. It looks slightly like the brainchild of Miss Rune and I," he says slightly worried at such a thing as both of them have the ability to make armageddon devices, the difference being that Tick's would have a big red button.

Quintessent-Rune stands stock still, her yaw droping slightly as a shudder runs through it. "Where did they get a… a submersible…?" she asks faintly, her head whipping around to glance out the way she -thinks- Spindrift lives. There's only a few places… "Miss Chaos, is… Spindrift somewhere safe? I only know a few places a submersible can come from… A ARMED submersible I might add," she added as she glanced back at the thing, then over towards Rising. Blinking.

"Ohh…" said Quintessent after a moment. Us… With a brisk nod the seapony-in-disguise stepped backwards from the railing, her stride tensely controled to hide the nervousness.

Thunnini just stares at the mechanical "fish". "That's… big," she says in a whisper to nobody in particular.

"Precisely what I was thinking," Muzaji replies both to Rune's assessment being the same as her own, and to Rising's suggestion to step back from the docks. The zebra swiftly follows them.

Once distance has been established, Rising Chaos smartly turns around to keep watching it. "Spindrift is at the shop, I can run to check up on her at a moment's notice. I would know if something was amiss." Rune's not the only one who can guess where this danger could have come from. "What do you think they're planning?" Her expression has gradually shifted in to an icy cold unamused look.

Tale-Chaser calms immediately, turning to look to Page. "Oh! You are? How is that? I never made it past chapter two after it referenced The Standard Index of Every Kind of Gear Anypony has Ever Made, an' I started reading THAT, an' then THAT referenced Clang Bang's Modern Manual of Metallurgy, which- oh! It had the most interesting history of Zebrican cold bronze forging. I took some notes I think you might be interested in, and, er-" He pauses, then looks back to the water. "Wait! There's no time for that!"

Jigsaw-Blade stares at Rising. "'Who or what are they' isn't the first question?" she wonders. She gives a glance skyward. "I was just kidding about the zombie dragons, you know that right?"

The fish… the ship… the fish-ship, rumbling and clattering, continues to make its way towards the docks, showing no sign of slowing down, no sign of stopping! Though it isn't moving especially fast- no faster than a sailboat would. And, a couple hundred yards out, its noise abruptly ceases, along with the paddling movement- leaving it to drift forward under its own momentum, gliding easily, buoyed by the foursome of air-filled bladders. Water runs in rivulets down its glossy, dark surface; more of its details can be seen as it draws closer, and further out of the glare of the sunrise. The bulk of it appears to be a deep blue colored, with large plates of black, and ornamental bands of silver and gold… most noteworthy, however, is an emblem on the side of it: A golden trident, superimposed over a vortex-like spiral of black.

The ship- for that must surely be what it is- glides up alongside an empty pier before coming to a stop. There's a hiss of air, like the pressure of a steam valve being released, and a gust of salty mist jetting into the air above the thing from some hidden vent. A fin on the side of the ship nearest to the dock shifts outward with a clunk, then pivots upward, folding open, revealing a dark entrance and an interior that rustles and clinks with the presence of as-of-yet unrevealed occupants.

Tick-Tock hears Tale Chaser's mangling of clockwork language and turns to him. "I think what you just said made me die a bit on the inside. And there is always time for clockwork," he says, good humoredly.

Quintessent-Rune shot Jigsaw Blade a glance as she passed. "Please, Miss Blade, this is much worse than zombie dragon ships," she said. "As for who and what - I do know what they are; an armed seapony excursion too the surface, one with a rather suprising financial backing for them to bring an armed submersible at that. Only a few have them. As for who… I do not know. It will be the deciding factor over who needs to panic."

"My, what would seaponies ever be doing here," Muzaji remarks in a completely sarcastic deadpan.

Page says "I could never get through Clang Bang, but I'd love to see the notes!" She nods, though, when he says this isn't the time for this, and looks to Thunnini. "Do you need help pushing your cart?"

Magpie growls, "I *knew* something like this would happen! Come on!" She drags Page and TC into a nearby alley regardless of their nerdy conversation. "No time for that! Come here!"

Tale-Chaser is staring at the ship with wide, fascinated eyes, which leaves him susceptible to sudden dragging by
Magpie. His gaze darts back to her, then to Page, then up to Tick Tock, then back to Magpie. "Wh-what would happen? Wait, Maggie! Wait- what's- what's so bad about my rudimentary knowledge of clockwork mechanics? I-I'm learnin' still!" His hooves clatter over the stones as he hastens to keep up with his motivated marefriend.

Magpie throws her saddlebags to the ground. A dark cloak whirls out of it and around Tale Chaser's neck. A red cloak for herself, followed by a wide-brimmed red hat. "Sorry TC, I didn't have room for your hat too." She affixes a little domino mask to her own nose, then to TC's. Then with a flicker of rose magic, she pulls out a third domino mask, and a third cloak — this one bright yellowy-green. She offers them to Page. "The Crimson Crusader could use some help from the Chartreuse Charger today," she says very seriously.

"If we have to run away in a hurry, then yes," admits Thunnini to Page. "It's hard to reach high speed on level ground by myself."

Jigsaw-Blade gives a conflused glance. She's met only two seaponies, neither of whom seemed particularly the type to want a fight. Certainly not Spirit Sway. And that Thunnini seemed more cute than fightery. Even if her cousin refused to admit seaponies exist even after attending a party with one.. not important right now! She rummages through her saddlebag for her toolkit, and withdraws… a mouth-gripped saw. "I really need to get my new wingblades made," she mutters around the makeshift weapon-tool before spitting it out. "That's not going to work very well."

Page ends up pushing Thunnini's cart into the nearby alley, then stares at the cloak. "We'll talk about colors later." But she takes it anyway, dons it and the domino mask, and then immediately looks puzzled. "…why are we doing this?"
Quintessent-Rune threw a glance across her shoulder, coming to halt with a vissible shudder. "And… that does answer the question as too who," she mutterd for herself, a hoof comming up to touch her scarf - and the gold trident on inky whrilpool emblem. Turning she glanced at Jigsaw. "I would suggest AGAINST trying to engage these in any form of combat, Miss Blade… They do not particularly hold surface ponies in high regard and are potentialy going to be VERY heavily armed."

Quinty glanced over her shoulder again as the fin raised, then started forward - a lot quicker than before. "Now if you excuse me, I need too leave - quickly." A few steps away the young mare breaks into a galop.

"Why didn't I bring project Omega?" Tick-Tock asks, kicking himself. That would have sorted this problem instantly, however he didn't, probably because of the theft of those power crystals. "I really need to plan for this and bring my weaponry."

Rising-Chaos shakes her head slightly. "I don't especially care who they are, or what they are, but if they are planning trouble that is important." She takes in the trident, which is a fascinating symbol that just bodes all kinds of bad things. Spindrift REALLY better be safe. As the vessel docks, safely, Rising chaos smiles and and trots forward, pausing when weapons start appearing. "Put that away, please, there's no need to provoke a reaction we don't want. Muzaji, coudl you see to Rune, please? If things get out of hoof I really would prefer to know she's safe."

So, quite happily ignoring her own advice, Rising walks right up to the opening and looks in. "Welcome to Horsehsoe Harbour. State your business and explain why you come armed in to port." It wasn't a question, it was a demand.

Tick-Tock rummages in his hat for something useful. His hooves find just what he's looking for, his crossbow. It doesn't have any bolts though so he thrusts toward Jigsaw before retrieving a small blade. It's rather pitiful compared to the trident but it's something.

By the time Rising has finished asking Muzaji has already turned to follow after Rune.

Jigsaw-Blade stuffs the saw back in her toolkit, not at all unhappy. A saw is a pretty lousy weapon, really. Not very intimidating either. A crossbow isn't too useful without bolts either. "About all I can do then is aerial recon," she says, glancing upwards to the almost cloudless sky. "Stupid pretty day, I could have tried to make it rain at least."
Thunnini carefully peeks around the corner of the alley, ready to use her poling staff to either bop intruders or level it like a lance.

Magpie buckles on her utility belt (it's red too! Isn't it cute?!) and stomps her hoof. "Because I knew something awful was gonna happen this winter! And we're gonna stop it! Come on!"

Tick-Tock facehoofs as he remembers the most important part! He grabs two more things from his hat. A black Zorro mask and a fake mustache. Then he sees the amazing Crimson Crusader's suit and feels bad. Chronos' suit sucks.

Tale-Chaser nearly topples over as Magpie starts dispensing superhero equipment. "Do you just- carry that around with you?!" says the seapony with a bag of water and a hermit crab sloshing around at his side. He hastily dons his mask and his black cape. "I don't have my superhero name picked out yet!" he says. "What's another word for black?!"

Magpie blinks at Tale Chaser. "What's another word for black?" she asks Page. "Augh! Anyway! Giant mecha-fish attack!" she runs out of the alley, cape snapping in the wind. She didn't take off her coat first, so she's a rather rolly-polly

Jigsaw-Blade gives a vague wave Tale's way. "Obsidian?" she suggests, as she stretches her wings. "If things get really bad, consider the sewers. Last place any army ever checks," she suggests, before taking off for some aerial recon.

There's no answer to Rising's demand of a greeting from inside the ship at first. Then the fin door closes with a snap. Then there's some hurried rattling and clunking inside as the last minute of preparations is hurried through.

Then the door snaps back open, and out tromps a column of what can only be described of as soldiers. They're ponies, clad in armor- fine armor of layered metallic plates, their dark colors matching that of the ship they emerge from, articulated to move as smoothly as a set of scales, and encasing the body wholly… except for the otherwise bare back legs and tail. Their colors tend towards blues and greens and pastel shades; their cutie marks feature shells, and fish, and other nautical themes. The faces of the ponies inside are obscured, eyes hidden within the shadows cast by dark visors. Golden harpoons, lances, and other pole-arms are strapped to their sides, though angled up so they don't go poking anything unintended.

A dozen soldiers romp out in formation, saying nothing, then pivot to face Rising Chaos in two evenly-spaced ranks crossing the breadth of the dock. The front rank pushes forward a step, the back rank draws back, making space between the two- space into which a thirteenth figure enters as they step out of the ship. The six soldiers in front then part like a curtain, employing short, disciplined movements to draw to the sides and reveal the thirteenth pony in full.

Like the others, he's clad in armor, but not wearing a helmet, more of his identity can be seen. He's a good lookin' stallion, though a rather young one- though perhaps in his late teens he already has strong, chiseled features and a firm jaw that offset his generally lithe build. His coat is dark blue, and his mane, short and ruffled back along his head, is dark black. The gaze he casts over Rising Chaos, the dock behind her, and the squat buildings of the Horseshoe Harbor waterfront is imperious and calculating. Eventually it settles back on Rising Chaos, and lifts a booted hoof- all of his hooves are covered in rather tall boots, it seems- to gesture outward.

"GREE-TINGS, LAND PONY," he says, in very clear enunciation. "WE DO NOT WISH TO HURT YOU. PLEASE TELL US WHO IS IN CHARGE OF YOUR MUD-DY LIT-TLE HAM-LET."

Page thinks as she trots after Magpie. "Ebony? You could be the Black Bibliophile: I'm willing to concede the title to you," she says, graciously.

Chronos puts on his cape and utility belt before counting his time bombs. They literally stop time in a small area for ten seconds, good for a quick get away. He sneaks up behind the smaller group of heros and suggests "Colly?"

Magpie skids to a halt in front of the soldiers. "Uh. Halt, evildoers!" she rasps, although she's not entirely sure they're doing any evil. It's a good bet anypony what shows up in a giant mecha-fish is an evildoer. "What's your business in my city?"

Tale-Chaser wraps his scarf up over his mouth, and then around once more over his hood. In the absence of a superheroic hat he shall instead adopt a heroic headscarf. He smiles to Page in the meantime. "Ooh, that's a good suggest! I bet Maggie will… will disagree, though…" He watches the fily charging out across the street. "We'd better keep up with- AAAHHHH" The colt promptly starts tripping over himself in his rush to escape Tick Tock.

The Crimson Crusader skids to a halt in front of the soldiers. "Uh. Halt, evildoers!" she rasps, although she's not entirely sure they're doing any evil. It's a good bet anypony what shows up in a giant mecha-fish is an evildoer. "What's your business in my city?"

The Pony Who Is Probably Not The Chartreuse Charger sidemouths to the Crimson Crusader. "Since when is this your city?"
All of the smart manouvers and heavy armour are watched by Rising Chaos who is sporting a very unimpressed look. As the stallion looks forwards, the unicorn skewers him with a glare. If anything, his yelling and condescending attitude only makes her look less happy. "I am sorry to disappoint you, but that's not how it works. State your name and business, and then I will direct you to wherever you need to go. Those are the rules here in Horseshoe Harbour." Extra emphasis is put on the name, because this town has a name. She doesn't even look around as Mag- The Crimson Crusader joins in. Maybe it will help.

Chronos shrugs and simply takes a position just behind Rising incase his getaway gadget is needed. He also grabs his blade, just incase. "There's a docking fee, by the way," he adds, that rule shouldn't be forgotten, after all.
From high above, Jigsaw observes, counting the soldiers and observing their armament. That's a lotta weapons, although at least for now it's only a dozen or so soldiers, give or take the baker. She starts a slow orbit, to see if she can spot anything else that might help.

Magpie looks sideways at Page. Or the Chartreuse Charger. Come on, that's a good name. "Well, I'm protectin' it, so it's my city. Y'know."

Quintessent-Rune peers back towards the docks from where she stands. At the end of the street she bolted down, just around the corner. She's using a spyglass monentarily borrowed from a somewhat offended looking salespony standing there. She curses for herself, though it's to soft to pick up. "Oh dear… it's him," she muttered for herself - and most likely Muzaji as well.

… She could of just used Muzaji's. But then again, the zebra wouldn't be able to use it as well. "Friends of yours then?", the zebra whispers back. Then lowers her own spyglass to look to Rune. "And I use the term losely."

The armmored noblepony looks down at the Crimson Crusader with a bemused expression, rows of armored faces following his gaze. He isn't impressed… until she speaks. And so does Rising. The noblepony's eyes widen and he draws back a step, before promptly pitching to the side, nearly losing his footing entirely until he catches himself at the last moment and stands up straight. "Ah!" He whirls to face his comrades; they huddle in around them and much armored murmuring ensues.

"They speak perfectly good Seapony!" "How did they learn? Clearly she taught them!" "Do you think she would have had time to teach them before they ate her?" "Fool! They didn't eat her. They must have imprisoned her, and made her talk, and teach them her secrets! Including the secrets of language!" "They learn exceptionally quickly, then…!"

The huddle breaks, the troops fall back into line, and the young noblepony frowns at Rising Chaos. … and continues to speak in that patronizingly enunciated fashion. "PRE-SU-MA-BLY YOU SPEAK ON BE-HALF OF THE TI-NY AND SHRILL PO-NY IN THE HAT." He turns towards Magp… the Crimson Crusader. "TELL ME, IF THIS IS YOUR CI-TY, YOU ARE FA-MIL-I-AR WITH ITS RES-I-DENTS, Y- ack! What?!" He turns to scowl over his shoulder as a soldier bumps him for attention and starts handing him some items wrapped in blue cloth. The noblepony scowls as he accepts the bundle, before his expression brightens. "Ahh! The bribes. Here." He sits down, rustles around in the cloth, and pulls out… a shiny rock. This is held aloft where Magpie and Rising can see it. "WE BRING GREAT TREA-SURE FOR THOSE WHO WILL HELP US. YOU LIKE SHI-NY? MUCH SHI-NY FOR MUD PO-NY WHO HELPS."

Page coughs politely and gives a bright little smile. "We'd probably be more willing to help with your inquiries if you didn't call us 'mudponies.' It's terribly rude, you know."

Tale-Chaser would be hiding behind Magpie, but she's, like, right up there. WIth the mean looking soldiers and their noisy leader. So he just sort of skitters back and forth up at the base of the dock, hooves tapping out a frenetic rhythm over the wood of the boardwalk.

Quintessent-Rune's ears folded back as her face fell. She could hear him from even over here. "Somepony I know? It's worse, it's somepony I am related too."

Thunnini rolls her eyes at the speech of the noblepony. "Except for the fact that they could probably outswim me, I'm tempted to go splash those guys," the seafilly mutters.

Muzaji raises a striped brow at Rune. She's trying not to snicker at the stallion's loud over-enunciation. "Must be from the shallow end of the gene pool."

Magpie eyes the seapony noble. Then eyes the rock. Because, y'know. Free rock. "Eh. I've seen better," she decides.

Jigsaw-Blade cannot hear the action, but the glint of… something… in the leader's hooves catches her eyes. Just her luck, to be away when the bribes are offered. Glancing down, she notices the distinctive stripe pattern of a zebra directly below, and what appears to be Rune next to her. This is enough to cause her to come in for a landing for now. "Twelve of em plus an officer," she says, "and… you already knew that because you both have spyglasses," she concludes lamely.

Tick-To… Chronos nods at Page. "Yes, how would you like it if we called you… Umm… Water ponies? Okay so I need to work on that but still, it's not very nice. And unless those are power crystals I'm not interested. And if they are I'll take you to court for theft," he says, quite disgruntled. "Because, you seem to have the predicament of running into four heros and, even worse, an angry Miss Chaos. I would advise you not to anger her of all ponies." As he says this he quickly draws out one time bomb. "Now, I suggest you leave unless.you want to be frozen in time."
Oh this is just getting insulting. But, if chaos remembers thigns right about what she's heard about seaponies…

Rising Chaos takes a step forward, closer to the leader. Her magic lifts the rock up, and throws it off the dock. "No bribes. Now, I am getting tired of asking you to state your name and business, are you going to comply this time?" She reaaally doesn't want this to get serious.

The young noblepony frowns as Magpie rejects his offer of a SHINY ROCK- and Rising sends it towards Rouncey Jones' Locker. One of the soldiers gasps and looks about ready to dive in right after it until his comrade grabs him and stops him and reminds him that it was in fact just a rock. Then they all gather for another huddle. "no really they do speak quite well" "That one objected to the term 'mud ponies!' But it's true! Look at all the mud that they have!" "wearing a mask" "holding a bomb" "angry" "scary cape" "etc"

Eventually they break and looks back towards Rising, several of the soldiers rattling uncomfortably in their attire as they shift their weight or restling kneading at the boards underhoof. The young noblepony approaches Rising with a speculative narrowing of his eyes, before smiling and reaching out with a booted hoof. "WELL THEN IF YOU IN-" Somepony clears his throat pointedly behind him. The noblepony pauses, waits, then continues in a more conversational tone. "Well, if you insist on knowing my name, I shall introduce myself!"

He whirls to the side and strikes a pose, hoof on his chest, head and shoulders held high! "I am Lord Stalwart Rune, Second Heir to the House of Rune, Earl of Sandfall, Second Junior Duke of the Soggy Gambol, Lord High Malleter of the Blackfathom Cricket League, and Grand Overseer of the Ceremony of the Polished Trident." Several of the soldiers take up positions flanking Stalwart Rune and reach up, waggling their hooves in a jazzy fashion to highlight his magnificence.

"I have come from lands far away and deep blow," continues Stalwart Rune, "In search of my long-lost, dear sister, lady Quintessent Rune! We believe she has come to your muddy little hammmmmmm….. hhhhaaarbor and wish to return her to her home, and to a family that desperately longs to hear of her safety!"

Page's eyes widen behind the domino mask and she looks to Magpie and Tale Chaser. "Wait, Miss Rune? I didn't know she was royalty." She pauses. "Or a seapony, come to that, but I guess I'm not really that surprised at this point."
You paged Tale-Chaser with '…he could not possibly have those titles.'.

Magpie glances sideways at Shadowdark Blackgloom (that is, Tale Chaser) and whispers, "Is all that good?"
"Actually I hadn't bothered to count," Muzaji replies to the pegasus as she lands next to them. "Somehow I'm not surprised your family, and past, are catching up to you. It's kind of a thing that happens around here." She raises her spyglass once more. "… That string of titles was so long I heard it way over here."

Thunnini goes slightly crosseyed at the list of titles. "That's… a mouthful," she blinks.

Rising-Chaos looks at the hoof, then up at the seapony's face, then at the guards who look a lot less intimidating now, but they are still, y'know, a threat. Eventually, her glare eases back to be less angry, and she takes the hoof. "Rising Chaos, matron of the Horseshoe Harbour Orphanage. The pony in charge of this town would be mayor Lorelei, I can show to you Town Hall if you wish to meet with her while conducting your search for Quintessent Rune." Then Page goes and spills the beans that Rune really does live here and, thinking fast, Rising pushes something loud over with her magic to try and make sure Stalwart hears /nothing/. Some explanations may be in order.

Tale-Chaser, who has crept up to the group, listens to Stalwart Rune's introduction with a slightly slack jaw, but he doesn't look downright surprised until Page goes and spills the beans regarding Quintessent Rune. He tries not to look TOO alarmed, looking hurriedly down at his hooves while rapidly making lore and history checks. After a few successes he kind of shrugs at Magpie. "M-minor royalty from one of the… one of the fringe provinces…" he says. "But it all sounds quite real… er…?" Looking up, the colt reaches over and gives the frozen Tick Tock a curious poke.
Quintessent-Rune frowns for herself, her ears still folded back. "Indeed… I bet Father sent him once he figured I were not sequestered away somewhere within the Kingdom itself."

Magpie 's lip wibbles. "You're looking for your long lost sister?"

Jigsaw-Blade nods. "Ah. Well… twelve," she repeats. The realization that Quintessent Rune was both seapony and royalty did not escape her. But it could wait. "Crazy family then. They're the worst. I don't suppose you've considered the benefits of vacationing this time of year," she suggests casually.

By the time Tick-Tock is poked the effect of the bomb had worn off but he still just stood there in silence. "That's impossible… She wouldn't have been misleading to me," he stops there as all of the evidence he 's found in the time he's know

Muzaji snorts softly. "It looks more like they're preparing to invade a small army than have a family reunion."

By the time Tick-Tock is poked the effect of the bomb had worn off but he still just stood there in silence. "That's impossible… She wouldn't have been misleading to me," he stops there as all of the evidence he's found in the time he's know her knits together and a tear runs down his cheek. He quickly rubs it away when his emotion is rubbed off and he focuses. Miss Chaos obviously doesn't trust him so he won't tell about Rune.

Out in the bay, the iceberg- which is not an ice blocktopus at all- bobs in the water.

Meanwhile, in a secondary story wholly irrelevant to the thrilling saga of the floating chunk of ice that might in fact be an octopus, Stalwart Rune looks down as his hoof as Rising takes it, apparently expecting something further that does not come. How… how quaint, these land ponies are! They don't even kiss the hooves of nobility when they are offered. He looks back to his comrades, and they all experimentally shake hooves with eachother, fascinated with what is already proving to be a fruitful cultural exchange.

But careless words catch Stalwart's attention- even if they are INCONVENIENTLY DROWNED OUT by a SUDDENLY CONVENIENTLY PLACED crate of pots and pans being lifted and overturned by INCONVENIENTLY SUDDEN MAGIC. Several guards take a look around, checking to make sure all their armor is still in place- normally a racket like that means somepony forgot to strap themselves in properly. Stalwart Rune pauses before he can speak, mouth open, eyes narrowed as he waits for the racket to end, then squints back and forth from Rising, to Page, then to Magpie. "Mayor Lorelei, you say…?" he wonders. "At your town hall? Perhaps a visit is in order!" The armored noblepony looks to Magpie's seemingly sympathetic expression, and his own youthful features soften into a smile. "Indeed, my little masked friend! My older sister, as dear to me as kin can be. It's been over a year since last we've seen her, and lo! Her father longs to see her so. Now, you're sure none of you know the name…? Quintessent Rune? She looks very much like myself." He strikes a little pose. One of the soldiers makes to start jazz-hoofing again until a comrade reaches up and draws his hoofs down.
Quintessent-Rune frowned. "Of course… I did rather run away from home as it happens and I do belive Father is rather desperate too get me back… A vacation does sound rather nice though, yes."

Page winces at the loud noise, then glances over at the Crimson Crusader with a little concern. She clears her throat. "Well. That is certainly a valid reason to come here. Why are you looking for her, though? I mean, I'm guessing that this isn't about a missed birthday or something."

Tick-Tock, seemingly happy with the lack of conflict now and the nicer attitude toward everypony says "So why now? Why not yesterday or tomorrow? Why now of all times?" he asks, interrigationally.

Oh man, those inconvient crates inconveniently falling over, what are you going to do? It certainly wasn't because of anypony here, no sirree. "Indeed, I hope your visit is informative, at least." Rising Chaos steps aside and motions for Stalwart to actually get in to town and not just stand around on the dock like a dork. "Leave your weapons here, and I will take you to come see Mayor Lorelei. I am sure you've had a tiring journey." Her turning is also a pretty clear message to anypony watching that the group may be moving soon, so watch out for that.

Tale-Chaser draws back a step, remaining quiet for now. Tick Tock's troubled rection troubles him, but then again, so does basically everything else about how this day is shaping up.

Tick-Tock goes and hides behind a crate, he needs some time to think. He sits half inside his hat, thinking about what the right thing to do is. He's been faced with this issue before and doesn't want to make the wrong decision this time. Rune doesn't want to go but her family wants her back. Turning Rune over makes her family happy but Rune sad but helping her hide does the opposite.

Jigsaw-Blade gives a casual shrug. "Just sayin, hard to find somepony who ain't there."

Stalwart Rune smiles, evidently pleased at Rising's cordial reception. Only slightly veiled hostility and suspicion- good! These are waters the young noblepony is well-accustomed to navigating. But no weapons? There's a moment of open calculation in his gaze before he turns to consult with a few of the soldiers nearby, speaking in hushed tones. Rising is clearly not the voice of the town- she isn't even wearing all that much jewelry and she's TOTALLY lacking a crown- but…

… it seems they relent. Stalwart breaks from the huddle and gestures to his companions. "Right. Weapons off, men! And women. Salt Drip, gather them up and see that they're secured on board." The soldiers go about unstrapping their polearms, as one pony ferries them into the ship several at a time. Eventually they're all divested of their arms. Two of the guards remain by the docked craft as the others move to follow Stalwart; he clomp-clomps his way down the dock, maintaining a regal bearing, his head held high, black tail giving a toss behind himself. His cutie mark depicts a silver rune atop a black star. "To answer your question, other… small masked pony," he says, to Page, "Her presence is required to authoritatively see to a matter of succession she has so carelessly opened by her unexplained absence. It is a complicared affair involving the social artistry of nobility that I doubt sailors and scofflaws such as you'll find in tiny border towns like this can relate to, but I assure you, it's of critical importance."
"Adult ponies being boring," translates Thunnini in a mutter.

Quintessent-Rune noded for herself at Jigsaw's comment, though there's clear conflict on her face. "Yes, it would be best to leave town I belive… though… I'd rather… kinda not." She looked back towards the dock through her spyglass. "They're moving…"

With a brisk turn and a toss - returning the spyglass to a rather dissatisfied salespon ('wait, so you don't want to buy it?') - she sets off walking once more.

Page considers this for a moment. Then: "Oh, succession laws? What form of succession do you observe? Obviously it's not fully agnatic or else her presence or absence would be a nonissue, but is it gavelkind? Primogeniture? Perhaps an elective monarchy of some sort? And is it a matter regarding one title or several? Is land changing hooves? Wealth? Responsibilities, perhaps? I haven't read anything on the customs surrounding Seapony nobility and I'd love to hear about the matter from an expert."

Tick-Tock gets out of his hat upon hearing the what he finds a bit of an insult regarding nobility. "Speaking of nobility, I've met a good few nobles in my time but you are by far the right royal pain of the lot. Do yourself a favor and look up the culture of a place before going there," a now fully dressed Tick-Tock says, bow tie and all.

Rising-Chaos nods encouragingly as the weapons are put down. It's her turn to be a little mean, so she's dealing with Stalwart the same way she would deal with a foal she doesn't particularly like. "I will arrange for a couple workers to see to your ship and keep an eye on it as well, as a mere courtesy that befits a pony of your.." She makes sure there's a pause, it hurts more when there's a pause. "Stature." It will also let Rising keep an eye on what this fool is doing. "I wouldn't mind hearing about your laws of succession either. I spent many years at the univeristy in Canterlot, but my knowledge of seapony politics is rather lacking." She was far, far too busy learning important things. Rising keeps pace right next to Stalwart, and is going to be walking with him all the way to town Hall, where she will go and discuss matters with Lorelei before letting him in.

Muzaji makes up for it by tossing the salepony a few bits. "Rental fee," she remarks curtly, then follows quickly after Rune. "I don't know. If they've come this far, what's to say they're going to stop looking for you if they don't find you here." The zebra glances over her shoulder. "On the other hoof, I wouldn't want to confront them right now with that many soldiers around as well."

Magpie opens her mouth, and just stares at Page. Finally she reaches over and holds Page's head, peering into her ear. "How in the heck do you get all those brains in there without 'em spurtin' out the sides?"

Tale-Chaser, following the others as they follow Stalwart down towards the head of the dock, blinks at Magpie's reaction to Page's rattlin' off of vernacular, before frowning jealously at the backs of the two fillies ahead of him.

Jigsaw-Blade follows behind, occasionally flapping her wings out. Anypony her size who hasn't learned to use her body to screen out other ponies lines of sight… probably didn't spend much time around unethical and dubious ponies, come to think of it. Still, at least until they're well out of sight of the soldiers, it's the best she can do. "Equestria's a big country. For that matter, it's a really big world," she offers in counterpoint. "Really it comes down to three choices. Run, Fight, or surrender. Fight doesn't look real plausible right now."

Quintessent-Rune glanced at Jigsaw, eyebrow raised slightly. "And neither running of surrendering is something I would be inclined too do… I do hope nopony picks a fight though, I am pretty certain I remember their particular weaponry - they're ment to crack open the shells of such things as Torterror-shells and town walls."

Stalwart Rune maintains his regal demeanor even as Page's Freaky Knowledge of Nobility comes to bear. Even before she has stopped speaking, he's pulled a little book out of a pocket strapped to his armor and has stopped to leaf through it hurriedly, brow furrowed, eyes squinting. Careful observers might note the cover reads something like CROWN GOES POINTY END UP: THE POCKET GUIDE TO NOBILITY. After a few moments, though, he shakes his head and irritably stuffs the little book back in its pocket, pushes into his full height, and gives his head a toss as he looks to Page. "She's the primary heir of the family, and tradition demands she be present to see to the transfer of power upon the-" Stalwart pauses, and for a brief moment all his bluster is lost in a suddenly distant gaze that roves up from Page and to the water somewhere behind her, back towards the dock. Stalwart closes his mouth and sighs before continuing. "… expected… depature of our father." He shakes his head and looks ahead, then stops to regard Tick Tock. Who is being rude. Stalwart does what decorum suggests he do in the presence of rude things and pretends it is not there, turning instead to face Rising Chaos. "I suppose a meeting at Town Hall is the next step, then. Every lead we've uncovered in our search for her has led to this town- that she would arrive without alerting anypony, that nopony present would know of her or where to find her… it's most unusual. And distressing! Woe be to our journey if she simply passed through on way to other parts inland." Several of the soldiers nod their agreement or murmur little "woe"s of their own.

Magpie 's eyes have been getting wider and wider and she sniffles. "Your papa is gonna die and you have to find your sister before he does?" Wibble wibble. She lunges and hugs Prince Whatever around the front leg. "I'll help you find her! I promise!"

Tick-Tock facehoofs and hopes he can find Rune soon. He'd never give her in because that's what friends (even heart breakingly betrayed ones) do.

Jigsaw-Blade gives a shrug. "Well, if you won't run, won't fight, and won't surrender, that leaves stupifyin' em." She gives a rub of her forehooves. "And them boys, they're half stupified already, way I figure."

Rising-Chaos remains diplomatically quiet as they walk, if she speaks too much she might get herself and Rune in trouble. So she'll just steer Stalwart along, hopefully in the wrong direction.

Page just nods a little. She seems a little concerned about Magpie, but just nods a little.

Tale-Chaser tags along like the others do, wracking his brain for everything he knows about the succession practices of the noble houses. Which is a lot. He probably knows more about the Rune family history than the Runes themselves do, at least if you go back a few hundred years. And then he starts wracking his brain trying to think of applicable uses for all this knowledge! And coming up with very little. But at least he knows it. That's good.

Muzaji says "Though I think for now staying out of sight WOULD be a good idea. Until you can get your relative or whatever alone. Less soldiers involved. -Then- worry about 'family matters'."

Quintessent-Rune noded for herself as she walked with Jigsaw and Muzaji. "Indeed, I supose I shall have to endevour too do so. I'll make sure too let ponies know we would be needing… too talk some. Later, once we're out of public eye and harms way."

Tick-Tock decides to take a different route from Miss Chaos in favour of actively looking for Lady(?) Rune. He walks through the different streets and alleyways to find her.

Stalwart Rune seems to be caught off-guard by the sudden hug, bristling, looking ready to panic! Several of the guards nearby reach for weapons they no longer have, hooves swatting uslessly through the air at their sides before they relent and put them down, unsure how to proceed! But they all relax as Stalwart reaches up and waves them off. "Stand down! Stand down. I think it means to be friendly." He reaches out with one of his Large Boots, and moves to pat Magpie gingerly on the back, then brace his hoof on her shoulder and attempt to pry himself free of her grasp. "Th-thank you, small masked pony! Your assistance will be greatly appreciated." He briefly considers another offer of SHINY ROCKS, then reconsiders. "Anything you hear- anything at all- regarding her whereabouts will be greatly helpful. And not unrewarded, I might add!" He looks up and to the other ponies nearby. "That goes for the rest of you, of course! The House of Rune will pay handsomely those who choose to assist." He pauses. "In actual money." He pauses again. "That ponies can -spend.-" The noblepony lets the prospect of cash payments hang in the air for a moment, before nodding to Rising. "Well, then! Lead on, o caped escort pony. We are very eager to meet this may-yor you speak of."

Magpie grins. "Right! Follow meeeee!" She romps off towards the middle of town. 'cause that's the best place to start!