The Beat of a Black Heart
IC date: Winter 2, 1007
OOC date: December 21, 2012
PCs: Muzaji, Nocturne, Queen-Pegasus, Quintessent-Rune, Rising-Chaos, Rumble-Riot, Skyflower, Snowfield, Spindrift, Stormdancer, Typhoon-Wave
GM: Diamond-Dog


A fire has broken out at the port, and the alarm is spreading through the town! Sailors and workers and civilians run through the streets, calling for able bodies to help! Eager storm elementals race along with them, excited at all the commotion, which is fun! It's the first day after the winter solstice, and the days are still short. An early evening encroaches, and a hazy, golden glow begins to fill the air of the docks as the blaze grows. The target? The Lusty Seapony- a smaller tavern on the southern side of the docks. Thankfully, nobody seems to be inside- the bar wasn't set to open for a while, yet, after last night's Winter Moon celebrations went on well into the night and left the clientelle, and staff, and visitors all feeling like something low tide brought in. But in their absence, fire has broken out!

Owners of nearby businesses rush to protect their buildings, daring to gather junk out of the alleyways lest it prove the bridge along which the blaze travels. Others start trying to put together a bucket brigade, though there is disagreement of whether it should lead to a well or the ocean, and if the latter, to the north or the south, and also, doesn't salt burn? Isn't that why Salty was so bad for property values when she took charge? Someone else complains they don't serve margaritas in the Lusty Seapony, they serve RUM and fruity things in coconuts, and so salt is ENTIRELY too inappropriate. Someone ELSE insists SHUT UP and GRAB A BUCKET.

Storm Elementals frolic in the madness. A few look ready to join the bucket line themselves but then carry off the buckets with a gleeful bounce. A few more get a bit too close to the fire and seem to catch it- turning into little whirling vortexes of self-contained flame for a few moments before tumbling away, full of smoke.

Skyflower knows how dangerous fire can be: it's very much a part of her job. And so she's quick to join the bucket brigade, passing buckets back and forth with her horn. "That's it, everypony! No need to panic, just step lively and keep them moving!"

Dashing out of his house at the sound of the commotion, Nocturne quickly comes across a helpful civilian, who gets him into the bucket brigade. He was gravely concerned with the situation at hoof, but tried his best to stay focused on passing buckets. Overall, he was entirely clueless and unprepared, but did his best to keep the brigade going.

Typhoon-Wave is already flittering back and forth in something of a panic, frantically trying to gather together clouds in the area. Of course, it /is/ winter now! So the clouds are heavy! With /snow/. Does snow help fires? Maybe? She hopes so! Because snow's what they've got! It's water, right? Come on, clouds, gather already!

Rising-Chaos moves down the street with a determined, forced pace. "Come on, miss Rune." She passes by arguing ponies and elementals alike. The first few of the latter make her scowl. Great, she knows what this means. Chaos doesn't look back or wait for the pony she's dragged from the house, now is the time for action. She's searching for the source of the flames, ignoring the sire itself. "You wnat to help? Now's the time," she yells.

"This is such a spectacular waste of snow," Snowfield complains. Somepony successfully drafted her into fighting the fire this evening and she has responded by walking up and down the street in front of the Lusty Seapony like a makeshift snowblower. Her magic picks up the snow from the street and sprays it flamewards, the intense heat melting it in midair and turning it into a shower of rain upon the blaze. "I'm gonna have to grab another drift's worth from the forest," she continues grumbling as she reaches the end of the block and turns around for another pass.

Aboard one of the harbor's large ships -The Vanity- Queen peagsus watches the panic onshore with a curious gaze - lone blue eye roaming along the shoreline while she occasionally peeks through a telescope; one might assume she was looking for something…were anypony to ask. She glances over her shoulder to address her crew "You three - go see what you can do to help. I'm sure Rising will need some shie…help." waving to the trio of rather goofish pirates - one with a rather impressive mustahce. With a salute the trio are off the gangplank to join into the frey.

Some ponies aren't part of the Bucket Brigade. Because some ponies are built for blastin' more than carrying buckets! Namely one Rumble Riot is happily part of the chaos, making a repeat performance of something he did maybe last week. Elemental-stomping! Especially the ones that are (briefly) catching fire.

"Yeah that's right, you little smoke bombs! Let's see you try and start more fires after I've kicked your gassy faces in!" Rumble taunts. At least he's convinced they're the cause of Every Problem, Ever.

Was it arson? Sabotage from one of the other bars in town? Or just a wayward fire elemental thanks to -a certain seapony's- insanity?

Really now wasn't the time to wonder what had caused it, just to do something about it. Someone in charge can investigate the instigation of the ignition afterwards.

Not that Muzaji is in the brigade. Why should she stoop to physical labor when there's so many eager, able and semi-paniced citizens to do so? She did, however, provide a bunch of extra buckets she had lying around for the effort. And if one bothered to look closely had her pockets stuffed with salves and oinments for treating burns or smoke inhalation should they be needed.

The seapony in disguise seems to be somewhat distracted form helping it would seem, her attention turned to the elemntals as they gallops past them. That was new, she's not seen anything like those before. Of course, that was kinda common when she actualy got out and about. Kinda like the huge inferno - that wasn't something she was used to. "Miss Chaos, I do belive that… is quite the inferno, if I got the terminology right." The midnight blue mare reached for her scarf before catching herself, shooting Chaos a glance.

"Though I am not certain how to help, I could always pull my contribution out… but," Rune said, letting the sentance hang in the air.

Well the efforts are valiant but this is quite a fire! Alcohol seems to be quite flammable. It hasn't spread /yet/, but it's sure threatening too, flickering at any flammable thing that happens to be nearby! Especially those elementals. They flare up quite well! At least for a moment, but a moment might be all they need to spread. The snow at least seems to do /some/ good, but for every area of flames it shrinks down, more are ready to sprout back up! It's a stubborn fire, it is.

Even without the fire, conditions at the docks are not the most pleasant. The sky is heavy, oppressive, overcast, the day's partly cloudy conditions having darkened steadily over the past few hours. A stubborn wind blows in from the ocean, though it seems to do little to aid the firefighters other than chill their bones and fan the flames; storm elementals cavort and caper in the breeze, catching it and drifting off with gleeful flashes of their little starlight eyes. The ocean churns and tosses in the surf, whitecaps creeping in to crash against the pilings of the boardwalk and the sand down below. If not for an unseasonable warmth in the air, one might suspect a harsh winter storm of blowing in, but the clouds hold their own. Except, of course, when weatherponies go kickin' them around!

Rising-Chaos keeps going, heading for the docks. "I noticed the fire Rune, yes. thank you." She pushes through the crowds, snarling. Foolidh ponies, getting in /her/ way. "Ignore the elementals, if you wnat to help stop the fire, come with me." She doesn't care, but the docks seem as good a place to be as any.

"'ey, quiddit!" Up above, Stormdancer's helping with the air support, dragging clouds away from their oh-so-carefully planned positions- And being hemmed in by a trio of curious elementals that occasionally steal and/or snack on her contributions to the fire effort. Finally, having had enough, she pounds one of the clouds into a rough ball shape and gives it a kick across the sky. "Go fetch, critters! Go fer th' distraction an' lemme work!"

Nocturne looks ahead, passing the buckets around by muscle (magic?) memory, seeing a familiar purple unicorn. "Great, /just/ who we need right now." A younger stallion next to him gives him an odd look, and as Nocturne notices, he shrugs it off and continues keeping his eyes on the buckets. There's no longer a doubt in his mind that this will only get worse.

Skyflower bites her lip. "Oh dear, I do believe this is gettng out of hoof." She hands her bucket off to the next pony and then gets out of the line. "That's the spirit, keep it moving, I'm going back to the shop for something for just such an emergency. Won't be a moment!" With that she gallops off towards Ginger and Saltpeter.

Mumble grumble this town made of tinder something something Salty's fault. Snowfield makes another pass of the bar, ignoring the storm brewing over the ocean. She tromps carelessly over a couple of small elementals, picking them up in her snowblower spell and sending them rocketing directly into the heart of the fire along with the white powder taken from the ground.

Move, cloud! Typhoon gives her cloud a good kick, which results in quite the outpouring of snow onto the blaze. Mini-blizzard gooooo! Unfortunately, the cloud only has so much to give, and it isn't long before she's trying to gather another one.

It would seem Nocturne isn't the only one to reconize a couple of familiar faces working through the crowds. Muzaji hands off her anti-burn supplies to one of the nurses from the hospital standing by, and disappears into crowds herself. It's a pretty big crowd when a zebra can disappear in it. Or maybe she just has some way to move through it quickly with unusual zebra methods. Because it doesn't take too long for her to come up next to Rising and Rune. "You do realize the fire is the other way right? Or prehaps there is some other interest for tonight."

Rising-Chaos starts to leave the worst of the blaze behind. She glares at any pony to get in her way. "I suggest you get used to it fast miss Rune. The elementals are going to make sure this isn't going anywhere." Muzaji's appearance isn't unexpected. "Oh, hello Muzaji. I know where I'm going, I have a plan. Would you like to join me? I could use a zebra of your… Talents."

This is starting to look all too familiar to Nocturne. It didn't take long for him to spot Muzaji conversing with the two mares, even at such a distance. This only compelled him to want to join them, but a discouraging voice in his head nagged at him. /You'll only get in the way./ He sighed and went back to his work again. /What were you even thinking last time?/Stormdancer swoops over towards Typhoon, hoof-delivering a cloud to the other weatherpony. "These ain't makin' much've a dent! Boss Jelly tell ya where 'e was keepin' th' extra frost dust?" The team rookie waggles her wings, trying to discourage any little storms from investigating her feathers a bit too closely.

Quintessent-Rune shrugged slightly, though gave Muzaji a nod. "Good day Miss Muzaji. It's unfortunate we can't meet at better circumstances… Now pray tell, Miss Chaos… What are we doing, exactly?"

The blizzard helps, for a minute! The sudden rocketing of elementals straight into the heart of the blaze… well. They flare up! And start grabbing stuff! Stuff that is on fire. There's plenty of that in here! And then they scatter with it. Some deeper into the flames… some out into the not-flames. With their flaming debris in hand. The problem this presents becomes obvious quickly as one dives for a pile of driftwood, which flares alight quickly. Another dashes for a trash pile, to similar if slower effect! Some others are heading for nearby buildings. Uh-oh.

The storm continues to worsen. Astute weatherponies, if they are not otherwise distracted, may notice this is not natural. This is too fast, too sudden. There is a tang of electricity in the air, the pressure of a waiting thunderstorm, but though the wind churns, though the clouds thicken and the seas roil against the docks, nothing is yet released, as though a gradual breath is being drawn inward.

Night creeps closer. On this, the shortest day of the year, the sun seems in a hurry to retreat. It's already lost beyond a bank of thick clouds on the horizon, and as it goes, the darkness of the street- all the deeper but for the blazing fire down by the docks- seeps outward, spills along the pavement, bubbles up from the alleyways.

Muzaji falls intro stride without a problem with the other two, returning Rune's nod with her usual casual yet mischevious demeanor. "A plan you say? Then lead the way." She glances over her shoulder for a moment. "The efforts may hold at bay, but they alone won't save the day."

Skyflower comes running back wearing her saddlebags, which appear to be bulging. When she's closer to the fire she opens them with her horn: they're both stuffed with paper satchets. "Flame retardant powder. Should help deal with… the…" she stops, watching the elementals. "Oh dear. Does anypony know what we should do about these? Hardly my area of expertise." She asks a likely-looking unicorn at random, who happens to be Snowfield. "You? Thoughts?"

Typhoon-Wave turns to answer Stormdancer, but pauses, ears pricking. She looks around, ears flattening against her head as she sniffs the air, shifts uncomfortably, flutters her wings a bit, checks the wind. "…This isn't right. This… this really isn't right. Did anypony order a storm tonight? Nopony told me about a storm. I wouldn't be out here if there was gonna be a storm!" She whirls on Stormdancer, looking increasingly alarmed. One would think she'd forgotten about the fire for the moment.

Rising-Chaos gets to the dock at last. A grim smile growing on her lips. "Listen, this is out of control. Can't you feel it?" Her horn sparks, casting a brief globe of light in the air. "this place is saturated in magic. Now think, who do we know that would do this, and uses magic? Think about it." Chaos turns to the ocean. "Miss Rune, how familiar with water magic are you? I think if we're going to make a difference, we should make a splash."

Ka-pow! Ka-zap! Ka-noise! Rumble is doing his best to make a total nuisance of himself in regards to the elementals. But there's just so darn man of them! And then they start throwing other flaming things around, and setting more fires, and…

"Grah! No! Bad wind-thing! Get away from that house!" he growls, chasing one of the elementals off into a nearby building. One bright flash of a blast later, and he runs out with a panic'd look. "Ahhhhh! It exploded and set the quilts on fire! QUILTS ON FIRE!"

"Three guesses and the first two don't count?" Muzaji replies in mock jest. "A unicorn one need not be, just know the right place to see." .. And then raises a brow. Did Chaos just make a joke? If she intends to do what the zebra is starting to think she intends to….

Snowfield glowers at Skyflower when the other unicorn makes the mistake of approaching her. Not that Skyflower has done anything wrong, of course, Snowfield is just in one of those moods tonight. "How should I know? I'm a forest witch, not a sky witch. Go ask what's-her-face the purple pegasus who handles Final Rain." With a 'harumph she turns around for a third pass in front of the building and accidentally catches another elemental in her spell, sending it Celestia only knows where. "Troublesome little… ergh."

Quintessent-Rune blinks and points a hoof at herself. Then glances at Muzaji. Mind, she was a zebra but still.. And well, the cat was more or less out of the bag - not that Rune know why there would be a cat in a bag, most likely some barbaric land-pony custom. "Speak of this to nopony, please, Miss Muzaji. As for your question, Miss Chaos, I… know most of the principles but I am not very accomplished in it. My focus have always been on my own craft. However, if you wish me to try, I will oblige you. I might need some assistance though…"

Stormdancer likewise has her attention riveted by the big blow that's moving in all of a sudden. She squirms her shoulders in the air uncomfortably. "It don't -feel- right," the blue mare agrees, squinting at the clouds. "But we kin use 'em, c'mon!" The rookie waves a hoof towards the oncoming thunderclouds before flying straight at them. "Git all th' zap out, an' make 'em burst early!" Never mind this involves being inside the teeth of an -extremely- unnatural weather display. Even for ponies.

Skyflower gets the brush off from a certain surly sorceress. "Well, I never. Although… ah-ha! Pure genius!" The elementals seem to be catching things and distributing them everywhere: so? She picks up a few satchets of the flame-extinguishing powder she brought with her and starts tossing them at elementals. The packets are flimsy and so should tear open readily, spraying their contents in the vicinity of the elementals.

The monotony of the task at hoof combined with the anxiety and confusion are driving Nocturne somewhat mad. Spotting a nearby elemental, he rushes out of his spot in the bucket brigade, and bats at it with small magical gusts towards the ocean. While a way to defeat these creatures is unknown to him, he at least thinks a diversion of one should help.

Typhoon-Wave gives a startled little squeak. "What? N-no! No, I… I can't… if I touch them… th-they're already gonna s-storm, I…" She flutters in a nervous circle. Can't make it worse, can't make it worse, can't make it worse! Aaaaaaah! She gulps, hesitating a long moment before dashing off after Stormdancer.

Muzaji puts her foreleg over Rune's shoulders briefly and leans closer to her. "If its any consolation dear, I had already had my suspicions. Just because of my familiarity with… the sorts of pony." Pats the other hoof to her chest. "Yet not said a thing have I dear, so you have nothing to fear." Maybe this is why seaponies get along with zebras better than they do other land dwellers? With a reassuring grin Muzaji lowers her leg and moves back out of the way.

there's a spark in Chaos' eye. this is exactly what she's made for. Rising chaos starts chuckling to herself. "I need somepony, to go get a few pegasi. Muzaji, will you oblige me?" She turns to look at Rune, a mad glint in her eye. "Start the spell." She looks back to the open ocean, heedless of the ships moored in the bay. "I always wanted to make waves in this town."

The fire is being firey! And now it's spreading! It doesn't seem to notice the growing storm, as fires aren't wont to notice things. Or maybe it does; it sure seems to be trying to get as big as possible to combat any sudden downpour that might be on its way.

… Why yes, yes she -is- making jokes. Puns even. Either the girl is finally lightening up again… or she's gone completely mad. Either way. Bangles jingle together as Muzaji nods to Rising, then turns and gallops back closer to where the fires are brewing. She reachs into her cloak and pulls out a large megaphone. That cloak has got to be enchanted as some sort of holding space. Or some other sort of zebra trickery.

Doesn't matter right now. Muzaji holds up the megaphone to her mouth, and bellows loudly throught it "THE BUCKETS HOLD IT BACK, BUT IF YOU WANT TO SAVE THE DAY, WE NEED SOME ABLE PEGASI, DOWN BY THE BAY!"

Quintessent-Rune sighed for herself and rolled her eye. "I am lucky I packed out my scarf, I belive…" Reaching into it she pulled the two golem orbs, hoofing them over to Chaos with a bery brief, "Holde these, please." A moment later she fished out Servant, putting the fish plushy by her feet and giving it a small smile. "Sorry, Servant. I will be needing plenty of energy an-… Yes, I will revive you… No, I don't intend to turn you off permanently - the very notion is extremely silly. You're a silly golem for thinking so… What would I do without you, after all? Now… On to the magic."

The problem with seapony magic, as far as Rune was concerned, was that it was sloppy and wasteful. Then again, so was most magic realy. Binding all that energy into objects made the usage of it so much more precise. Sighing for herself the seapony leaned over the edge of the dock and stuck a hoof in the water closing her eyes. And called on the magic, her coat and mane seeming to ripple as if caught by the tide - a slick watery sheen expanding across it.

Stormdancer isn't generally the sort to hesitate, once she's got An Idea. Which, true, has been much to her detriment in the past, and likely will be again in the future. So, on to the first step of her plan! Which involves practically tackling the leading edge of the stormfront, trying to kick the lightning out sideways- Into the other clouds, rather than letting it just burst where it wills. With any luck, she'll get a chain reaction that could drain much of the charge! … Or so she thinks might happen.

Thunder rolls through the clouds, and a brief, electric flash plays through them. It's short and muffled, as though something was holding the lightning back, suppressing it. More clouds blow in from the ocean. Reflecting the gloom of the thunderheads above, even the waves are looking murky and dark, laced with frothy waves that dash themselves against the pilings. Ships toss and clatter against their moorings; thick smoke rolls up from the spreading blaze of the doomed bar and floats over the town, choking the air.

Waves begin to wash up against the boardwalk, dousing the wood, streaking across the street. Gathered snow- that which isn't already trampled- is washed out, becoming soggy, slushy.

And the elementals? They love having stuff thrown to them. They hop up, catching the powder, incorporating it into their own swirling mass, and then frolic about, throwing the powder this way and that! Whee! Confetti! Some of them even manage to spread it over the fire! A few others run down away from the fire, scattering the flame retardant powder in a completely useless fashion, before a passing wave sweeps up and douses them utterly!

Ah-ha! Something else to do! That doesn't have to do with touching those stormclouds. Typhoon changes course quickly, all but diving down to the bayside and what was going on down there. "Wh-what do you need? What should I do?"

Rising-Chaos is almost cackling now, the plan is coming together. She pours some magic into Rune's spell, but not enough to drain her. Typhoon Wave's appearance is a bonus, despite ebing a total stranger. "You, in the bay, I want you to fan the waves. We're cleaning up the harbour." Another chuckle. She turns back towards the crowd. "Any unicorns not presently occupied, I need your assistance actually saving this wretched place. thank you for your time."

Skyflower stamps once in an authoritative fashion. "All right everypony: if you're not on bucket duty, step up, take some satchets and start throwing them!" She's holding out about two dozen packets of the stuff with her horn: not good with heavy weights, Skyflower is instead quite talented with carrying many things at once,

Nocturne continues his futile combat with one of the elementals, and overhears Muzaji's shouts in the process. Not that it matters, him being a unicorn and all. Eventually he loses sight of the elemental, but is quickly made aware of its presence with a powerful tackle, sending him a lengthy ways across the portside. Gathering his senses, he finds himself not too far from Rising's group, and just in time to hear her call for help. Shaking his head, he approaches her, as now is not the time to hold a grudge. "What do you need?" He asks, now a much shorter distance from her.

From elemental-buster to streaking through the Bucket Brigade, random elementals, fire-retardant powder, snow, burning buildings, and pretty much anything else, Rumble Riot screeches to a halt pretty much directly in front of the only pony he has had any prior 'quest experience' with. Snowfield!

He's hopping up and down too. "HEY HEY! More buildings are catching fire, and I can't blast it to death! What do I do!?" He pauses his bouncing, ears perked, when someone calls out for unicorns. And someone else with powder packs! "Huh? OH! Throw one this way!"

Now she wants unicorns too? Why didn't she say so the first time? Oh well, Muzaji isn't about to argue with the matter. Ponies are already responding to the calls for helps, so she quickly canters back to the growing gathering. "Wretched as it may be, home is still home to many."

Still lying with a hoof dipped in the proverbial drink Quintessent-Rune's face scrunched up. A moment later her scarf sputtered and puffed - the luster seeming to go out of the golden threads around it's borders. It's only a scarf now, till it's been recharged with magic. Plenty of magic. And all the energy it was holding Rune grasped, pushing beneath the wave for her spell, a silvery mist flowing down her arm.

With a groan the seapony pushed herself up on her hooves once more - this time sending Servant sputtering and dying, the arcane energies animating him dispersing like a cloud of mist only to be soaked into the sea as well - and the on to her hind legs, sweat dripping down her muzzle. The waters of the harbour seemed almost to bulge as she pulled it, the waves were comming in - waves quite unlike those the harbour had seen ever before.

"Hey!" Snowfield pauses in her half-flanked firefighting when she catches sight of waves rolling in and stealing away the snow. "Darn it, I wait all year for everything to get iced over… here, hold this for me." She pushes a great big snow drift directly into the nearest pony Rumble-Riot it turns out and declares, "I need to go fight the ocean." With great purpose in her stride the little unicorn marches down the beach.

Typhoon-Wave blinks, hesitating a moment before nodding and leaping back into the air. Waves aren't… storms, right? And they're already kind of big. Surely sending a pony named Typhoon Wave out to make waves /can't go wrong in any way possible/. Nope.

Rising-Chaos snarls, not enough ponies. She'll have to make do. "Nocturne, I want to to give miss Rune here all of your power, now!" she barks. "We are keeping her stocked with energy." She turns back to Ruen as the spell starts. "Perfect, keep going!" She watches Typhoon wave go, and starts to lend more of herself to the effort. Still, she conserves some energy, this seems supicious.

As Stormdancer strikes the advancing cloud front, she gets a bit of a reaction- indeed, her plan might have worked rather well, and the expanding lattice of thunderstrikes spreading outward looks impressive for a few moments… but something stops it. The crackling and bursting slows, fades, sputters out entirely with a little pop. A few clouds are disarmed, but others remain, heavy with gathered rain, with held electricity, looming dark and impassive as they drag inward across a low sky..

"What? WHOA!" *FWOOMPH* Rumble Riot is promptly buried under a snowdrift. There's some kind of muffled protest, but for all intents and purposes he's pretty much a snowpony.

Just because Nocturne doesn't get along with the mare giving him orders doesn't mean he doesn't trust her judgement. He gives her a brief cross-eyed stare, then approaches the blue and black mare. "Chaos told me you'd need some help," he says meekly. With that, he focuses his magic energy into his horn, and tries to project it to Rune. While he's not used to channeling energy, it wasn't unheard of to him. He never imagined that he had much magical energy reserved, but he figures that he will soon find out.

Somewhere in the minutes between Chaos instructing unicorns to start feeding power into whatever she was having wipped up and now Muzaji had run back up to her shop-cart. She came back with a peculiar load, quickly setting down a few insense burners and lighting them. A whispy, misty smoke starts to swirl up from them, sharp and sweet to the senses. Especially to the unicorns or other magically inclined sorts present. It was invigorating almost, as if the aromic fumes were helping to ease and guide the flow of magic through them.

"Aromatic Aether," the zebra turned to explain to Chaos. "Herbal blend that helps to clear and focus the magic senses. Hopefully it will make the energy transfusions more effective."

Quintessent-Rune found herself woundering, for a moment, where she'd tucked her phylactery. It would be in her scarf, in one of the small inner pockets. Hopefuly small enough that it would not burst. Throwing a glance out at sea she really hoped she wouldn't need it. Still, the amount of power she's been downright throwing into the waters might make it bad. She rather hoped her presumed lack of control over said energies would make it a lot milder than it would for any practiced seapony. Still…

Swaying slightly on the spot she turned, hooves swinging in the direction of the burning tavern - a mass of water surging along behind it causing the crest of the wave to start forming out in the bay as the water was forced up and out by the constrictions of the shore and seabed as it came rushing in.

Fluttering back to keep pace with the clouds, Stormdancer scowls. "Oh no ya ain't." Intent on stealing -somepony's- thunder, she starts climbing. A look around- Oh, there's her backup, down below. Just as well- No sane pegasus (relatively speaking) would want to follow the flight path -she's- planning. Flexing her legs, she takes a deep breath… And dives for the storm. One kick doesn't take the teeth out of it? Time to find out how well it can hold up to her pinballing between the clouds, then!

Typhoon-Wave dashes up to the wave, flapping at it as fast as she can, trying to add power to it as much as possible. Oh man this better work. She casts a glance up at the brewing storm, gulping nervously. There's /other/ things to deal with after this is done.

Somewhere along the way, Nocturne can feel that the Earth Pony is receiving his energy. It doesn't make much sense to him at the time, but he figures that the mare is being a vessel of something magical. After all, she has done some strange things in the few times that he's seen her.

After a while, a pleasant aroma becomes apparent, and taking a deep breath through his nostrils, his focus becomes clearer. His mind relaxes greatly, and the act of channeling energy just seems downright natural. His perception of everything else going on, on the other hoof, is not quite as clear. Right now, his only thoughts are on his magic.

Rising-Chaos watches the plan coming together well enough. The wave is not as impressive as she wants, but it will do. "Perfect Muzaji, this will help." She feels invigorated by the scent, but stops contributing herself. Nocturne is ignored so long as he does his job. "Oh Horseshoe Harbour, incoming." She laughs, perfect, this is perfect. She spots Snowfield storming over and rolls her eyes. Moving to meet her. "Yes, hello there, what do you want?"

As Chaos turns her back the wave hits the shallows, rising… considerably. The sudden rise even makes Quintessent-Rune blink in shock - not memorizing the seafloor around here might have been something of a tactical oversight.

Storm Elementals begin to gather about the growing surge of unnaturally drawn water- swirling around it, diving inside, gathering up foam and froth and flecks of water and dashing about, delighted at what they see as a kindred spirit in gleeeful destruction. They don't interefere, really- any water they take carried along as they following the floating, self-contained wave- and in fact, they even help a tiny bit, as others swoop down to gather up water and join in, not wanting to be left out of the fun.

Their gleaming starlight eyes give the glowing sphere a faint, ghostly glow, visible when the mysterious beings dash into the water and surge about inside.

"I'm here to freeze everything," Snowfield declares, voice lilting creepily as she speaks in the same melody that she hums when casting powerful magic. "I am sick to death of this town catching fire every other week and intend to do something about it. Pardon me." Horn aglow, she attempts to walk past Rising-Chaos and down to the sealine, which pulls back predictably when the great wave hits the shallows and begins to break.

Rising-Chaos steps in her way. "No, you aren't." She smiles. "I am here to stop the fire, if you have something to say about it. you can do your work after I win." She flicks her tail and turns away. "I appreciate the thought, but right now, ice is about as helpful as a chocolate kettle. If you want to help though, help me." She turns her head and glares at Snowfield. "Of course, you could always try, and then I would have to stop you." Ponies who know her well may be wondering what's got her so riled up tonight.

The wave well under way Quintessent-Rune let her spell slip, slumping to the deck of the pier with a loud thud and the wheezing escape of breath. She'd done her part in whatever Rising-Chaos had cooked up, and if the crazy mare wanted to change her opinion it was to late now. That wave would make everypony's hooves wet at the least.

"I'd like to see you try," Snowfield says to the other unicorn. "Your priorities are all mixed up if you think destroying the town with a tsunami is a good idea. Now if you don't mind…" The wet sand underhoof glows and shifts as Snowfield pulls the water up and freezes it, trying to make a small ramp that will make Chaos slide to the left and out of the way.

Nocturne overhears the conversation behind him. Not all too well, but enough to know that this somehow just won't end well. Suddenly, he feels the energy flow stop, and he is cut off from him channeling. Met with a sudden headache, he turns back in hopes of dealing with the argument. Grunting at first from the headache of turning around so quickly, he gives a strained shout in Snowfield's direction. "Just… let her finish." He clenches his teeth with his head facing the ground until the headache eventually subsides. It's apparent that he has little magic energy left, which is unfortunate, as Snowfield has ignored his and Rising's warning. "This can only get worse," he mutters under his breath.

The clouds rumble with Stormdancer's stubborn bouncing between them. More lightning fans outward from each strike- coming perilously close from striking the angered pegasus on more than one occasion. Still, if she means to live up to her name, now's the chance to do so, as the clouds surge in, the building electricity rebounds, as the stubborn will of the unnatural storm fights back against her efforts. It seems to be a losing battle, though, and the dark thunderhead is gradually lightening, losing its pent-up energy flash by flash, rumble by rumble. More brews on the horizon, but above the town the force is being stemmed… for now.

Down below, the ocean churns and chops. It roils against itself as it rushes in to fill what was taken by the growing spell up above, thick sprays of foam cast skyward with the inward rush of water until little indication remains that one mere drop- a big drop, admittedly- was taken.

Again, again it washes against the docks, higher, higher! Water splashes across those standing near the boardwalk, more washes up onto the street.

And then, after a thick spray, a dark shape vaults itself up onto the dockside, a spindly pony cloaked in a ragged, wet stretch of black fabric. She cuts a dark silhouette against the waters behind her, profile reduced to angles and arcs. Something long is strapped to her back; her long mane tosses about in the wind. Sea green eyes turn up the street, towards the blaze, towards those who fight it- and fight amongst eachother- before looking back to the street before her. Turning her back to the crowd, the dark pony reaches up to a bundle that hangs around her neck and begins to toy with it.

Muzaji looks up from tending to the therapudic mists as something, or more aptly, somepony, comes crashing out of the waters. This may of gotten a lot more troublesome than before…. The zebra, wisely, makes sure she's not near the center of where all the attention is certainly to fall should this turn much worse than it already is.

Rising-Chaos never has the best footing anyway, and slides to the left. Still, the wave is started, and on it's way. "Too late to stop it now fool, the fire's over. the town will rebuild." She struggle back to her feet, laughing. She moves back towards Rune and the others, ignoring Snowfield. A dark shape further along makes her grin turn even more manic, and she picks up the pace. She passes right by the others. "Oh this just keeps getting better!"

Even without much of a clue, Nocturne knew this would be the next step. He dreaded the dark figure's presence, as he already had a good guess at its identity. What killed him the most was how unprepared he was. He didn't bother to learn a thing from Rising or her mysterious comrade, and he sure as hay didn't rehearse an sort of combat, considering he felt like a fool for his actions in the last encounter. Still, he had a burning desire to see this to the end, and he slowly trotted in the shape's direction.

Meanwhile, near all the burning, a snowdrift wiggles. Shakes! And explodes into a flurry of snow, Rumble finally blasting his way out from beneath the pile. "HAH! Take that, snow!" He prances in place, turning about, stopping immediately when he spies the fires. "…Oh. Right. Uh." He looks around, but now there's ponies walking away, or doing magical things, and there's a big wave coming!

"Huh. Okay, that works! Forget the buckets, just bring the water!"

Quintessent-Rune gasped loudly from her place on the deck. Right, this was going to get very wet. Throwing her gaze around she picked out the now inanimate Servant and clutched on to him. "Hold on to your fins, Servant, this will be rough!"

"Welcome to Horseshoe Harbor," Snowfield says in a perfectly neutral tone to Nocturne. "Where there's no such thing as 'too much of a bad thing'." She scowls at Rising-Chaos as the other unicorn scoots another few inches down the slippery slope of sanity. "When I'm done with this, you're next," she says sharply before turning her attention back to the incoming tsunami. She begins humming and weaving her magic, not relying on the pent up energy in the air around her because that's not /her/ magic. No, this shall be a solo effort.

The humming gives way to quiet singing and in turn to yelling in tongues. The wordless melody is off-key and unsettling but is apparently having some manner of effect for the glow of Snowfield's horn brights with every swell of the tune. She tries to put up a wall of cold in front of her and as far down the length of the beach as she can, focusing all of her strength into stopping the wave in its tracks.

Amid flashes of light and shocks of sound, Stormdancer is laughing. Sure, she's fighting a magically brewed thunderstorm sent against the town with (probably) malicious intent, she's soaked and chilled to the bone, and her coat's starting to resemble a leopard's from the more minor discharges she couldn't help but be caught in- But combining her favorite flight trick with her talent like this? Pure, adrenaline-filled bliss. Especially since she's -winning-.

Popping out above the clouds, she takes a moment to catch her breath and steady herself- Fun though that trick is, overdoing it? Sure way to get dizzy. So her attention is briefly free to wander, and to -stare- at Rising's work. Plopping her flank onto a recently discharged cloud, she can't help but just watch the next few moments.

Muzaji is… unsurprised to see Chaos run off at the appearance of the Wanderer (who else could it be?). And now the snow pony is going to try and freeze the wave? Someone doesn't seem to understand momentum, does she. Freezing a wave like that, if she even succeeds, is just going to make it into an iceberg, not necessarily -stop- its movement coming in. "I fear I must discourse, this has gone from bad to worse." And the zebra promptly RUNS for cover.

Further up the docks, the dark pony glances up, over her shoulder, towards the fire and the impending crash of the unnatural wave. She quickly spots ponies headed in her direction- no matter. She turns back to her work, untying the satchel from around her neck, as the wind pulls and whips at her long mane and ragged cloak.

And with the wind, comes an elemental- larger, meaner, sharper, its eyes inky pools of black instead of bright white. It's familiar to Rising, Muzaji and Nocturne, less so to the others. Not so familiar is its size… now, the creature "stands" a full head taller than even a tall pony like Spindrift, and lumbering on powerful limbs tipped with claws formed of chunks of ice, it moves to interpose itself between the dark figure and the incoming ponies. Its eyes are wide and staring, though look a bit anxious as well, as it watches the scene and protects its companion.

Rising-Chaos stops for a moment. She gets a pang of conscience. She back tracks, all the way back to Rune. She grabs the mare and hauls her upright, grabbing servant with her magic. "Up we get miss." She drags the seapony further down the beach, behind soem shelter. "Have fun! I'm going to!" A maniacal laugh and she's gone. As she passes the group she spot Snowfield's work and snarls. "Idiot! I'm trying to save the harbour!"

Before she can continue, the wave hits the docks. Snowfield's magic wall stops it for a moment, freezing the first impact. The wall holds firm, protecting the boardwalk from the worst of the wall of water, but doesn't stop it. It sweeps into town, dousing flames and sweeping away any pony unwise enough to get into it's path.

Rising Chaos watches the water soar above her head, laughing like mad. "Perfect, it worked perfectly!" she turns back to her target and surges forward. What does she care if there's an elemental, this is almost fun now!

And there goes the majority of the fire! And a lot of the burned parts of the tavern are swept off with it. And there's a startled yelp from inside! A cloaked figure stands dripping in the smoking remains, stock-still for a moment. What just happened?! And then it whirls on its hooves and dashes off in a flash of red, leaping clear of the debris, surprisingly fast as it flees before something /else/ gives it a soaking, using the rising smoke for cover.

Snowfield grimaces as the wave hits her shield, stopping the first several feet of it in its tracks… it's a shame that waves of this magnitude don't simply stop at 'several feet', or that inertia is such a cruel mistress. The huge weight of water bearing down is simply too much for the little unicorn to stop on her lonesome, certainly not when Rising and Rune had half a dozen ponies assisting them with their own magics. There's a flash of light as her spell overloads and the magic fizzles out, allowing the wave to soar overhead and crash directly into the town while sparing the beach.

"…eh, I've done worse," she eventually decides while cautiously touching her horn and wincing.

What would you know! Quintessent-Rune blinked in suprise as Chaos' face appeared above her and pulled her into cover. After the wave passed she was decidedly WET but at least she hadn't been washed out into the sea and had to find her phylactery. Her head cranes around in the direction of the dock, scanning over the ponies still standing.

As the waters finally slosh and swirl down after the end of the wave Muzaji pokes her head out of the crevace she'd found to duck into. Not entirely dry, but at least she was able to keep herself where she was and only slightly drenched. Looks like it put out most of the fire, at least. "… Well, that could of gone w—" And slaps a hoof over her mouth as she realizes what she's going to say. Nope, not going to make that mistake.

Nocturne remains obvlivious to the activity in the soaking remains. His focus is fixed entirely on the elemental, and the dark pony it guards. He stops for a moment and merely inspects the elemental, awaiting more to catch up with him. Something like this cannot be handled by his lonesome.

Rising-Chaos gallops past the still Nocturne, moving with speed. She bounces up to Spindrift and skids to a stop. "Hello again Spindrift! How are you?" She starts laughing again. She doesn't look scared at all, what is she playing at. She also completely ignored the elemental, remembering what happened last time they met. "Come to town for a bit of a stroll?"

Splash! Wah! Rumble Riot gets just as soaked as everything else, holding on by virtue of pure stubbornness to avoid being swept away with all the other debris, flaming and otherwise! …Okay, so he was holding onto part of the building that had been on fire. That's stubborn, right?

It means he's there when the other pony that happened to be inside the flaming wreck of a building got soaked and dashed off! Dripping, wiping water from his eyes, Rumble squints at the fleeing form. "H..hey! Stop! You!" …He promptly goes bounding off after the shape! Two steps later, he falls flat on his face, stumbles through the burnt-out shell of a bar, ruins several bottles of booze that happened to survive the flames, and flops onto his back in a puddle of ice-cold water. Flumph!

The big elemental lifts an arm whose swirling profile implies great muscle and peers beneath it, at Rising. It was not expecting to be sidestepped so readily. Black eyes working into an expression of confusion, it glances about, clueless as to what to do now that the plan has failed it. Does it fight the unicorn now, or…?

Spindrift is giving it no instructions. She pauses in the midst of her work, turning to look towards Rising, expression flat. That exhaustion that was present on her face a week ago is amplified further; her cheeks are hollow, complexion ashen. "Rising Chaos," she says, before glancing past her, towards the lingering remnants of the blaze. "You plan to save the town still. Save your effort."

The seapony grasps an object in that satchel that hung about her neck and lifts it upward, then lets the wind carry the bag away. Revealed is a jewel- of sorts. A heavy, sharp-edged heart, crafted of a black crystal whose darkness drowns out even the stormy night that gathers in around the town. A darkness so deep, hope itself is dragged inside and snuffed out.

"You've already lost."

The horizon blazes with light.

Columns of gleaming, rainbow light burst from the ground, miles away from the town.
To the north, in the Wintersong Forest, a radiant red lights the sky as it spills upward.
Far to the south, along the coast line, a beam of yellow erupts from below and pierces the clouds above.
To the east, from amidst the mountain passes, bright blue shines like a beacon.
To the southeast, amidst the farmlands, a bright green beam cuts into the evening.
And to the northeast, a sputtering lavender glow- made faulty by the interference of meddlesome ponies a week earlier- flickers to life, fades, then struggles to maintain the rainbow blaze the other fonts of magical energy produce.

The ground rumbles as unseen channels of ley energies thrum with the magic drawn from them. It courses inward, from the five compass points, racing through the earth, under hills and houses and stone and dirt, a simmering glow seeping up through the ground as it passes. All of it courses inward, towards the town, through its heart to converge at the port… under the very spot Spindrift holds the Black Heart aloft. A white glow spills from beneath the pony, briefly illuminating the seapony, before the earth begins to tremble, and that white glow gradually darkens to an unwholesome black. Spindrift gasps, dropping to her knees, only barely managing to keep the Black Heart held aloft as the energy is channeled into the mysterious stone, but though it takes great effort, though it obviously pains her to do so, she still manages to find the voice to call out over the rising howl of the storm's winds. "You lost long ago… when this wretched altar to grief you call a town… was cast upon the shore!"

"And that's my hint to remain in this stint." Muzaji…. promptly retreats back into the hidey hole she had before. Nope. Not getting messed up in the middle of -that-, psychotic seaponies or otherwise.

Nocturne began a steady canter towards Rising, but stopped as the gem was revealed. Glancing about the prsismatic colums in awe, he feels an overwhelming fear take hold of him. As it finally subsides, he begins a quick gallup near Rising. This started as a matter of pride to him, to feel useful in some way to this town, and now he knows that he can't let himself do nothing about it.

Now standing near the unicorn, he remains silent. There was no use communicating anything at this point. There was only to await the next action of one of them.

After taking a few breaths to steady herself Snowfield begins to look around for Rising Chaos, who has wandered off in the excitement. "At least the town's life cycle is maintained, I guess," she mumbles as she trots towards the boardwalk for better footing… only for the ground beneath her to buck wildly with the flow of subterranean energy and for the night sky to be lit by inexplicable columns of rainbow light. Their point of convergence is so blindingly bright as to force the little unicorn to shield her eyes. "…right, the bad idea unicorn is going to have to wait," she grumbles before squinting her eyes and breaking into a gallop towards the nexus. "Watcher!" she calls to the sky. "I expect a full explanation when this is over!"

Stormdancer is startled clear off her cloud as the sky erupts with color, wings flapping to stay airborne in the suddenly -very- turbulent winds. Luckily, for her, there's a beacon down below! And a giant elemental, and ponies, and Rising, and… well, an opportunity.

Tilting down, the pegasus starts a spiraling dive towards Spindrift, flowing with the winds where she can, slipping between them where she can't- and picking up speed. Hooves outstretched, she tries to time her descent to come from behind the mad magi and her elemental bodyguard. Her target? Well, that big, glowy rock looks important- Be a shame if something were to happen to it!

Rising-Chaos chuckles, the madness seeming to die down. She bonces the last few paces to Spindrift. "Oh I don't think so Spindrift. It's not that simple, you see." She glares right into the mare's eyes, her own expression sompletely mad. "You see, in some ways, you and I are quite similair, neither of us like to lose." She backs away a couple steps. "But tonight, I guess one of us learns." She starts cackling again.

From her saddlebags floats six, pointed sticks. She looks at Nocturne. "You said you wanted to be helpful, yeah? Anypony touches these, stop them." She slams one into the planks in front of her, and starts to move around the recumbent Spindrift, slamming more into the boardwalk. The sticks form a hexagon with her rival in the middle. She casts a spell, which will hopefully keep as much magic as possible /inside/ the barrier.

Chaos moves back and glares at Spindrift, looking on in contempt at the pony on her knees. Chaos touches her horn to spin's forehead, time to mess things up, again. In moments she's in the spell, manipulating it. Her power is nothing compared to what's happening, but even the smallest of chnages could do something. Through it all she somehow keeps the presence of mind to knock the heart from Spindrift's grasp and up into the air. "YOU, LOSE!"

A bold claim, as Chaos is already almost unconscious from the effort, how does her rival do it? she falls back, still in the hexagon, unable to keep it up. She just hopes it was enough.

(OOC) Spindrift: Stormdancer, Rising, roll 1d20, Saving Throw vs. ???.

Stormdancer rolls 1d20 (Bad Idea Pegasus, Reporting!) — Result: 1 | Sum: 1
Rising-Chaos rolls 1d20 (funz!) — Result: 13 | Sum: 13

Nocturne nods at Rising, finally given some orders. He stands in front of the hexagon, looking back for any incoming ponies. That is, until he picks up some sort of phenomenon from behind him. His magical perception is non-existent, but he manages to notice that something about the vibrations here is off. Finally looking back into the hexagon, he sees Rising collapse, and quickly gallops to her side, giving a quick once-over to looks for any wounds. With that, he merely glares at Spindrift with a scowl, still remaining silent.

Spindrift struggles to maintain her footing, and it's all she can do to do so. She can't do anything to stop Rising from placing those curious stakes- she can't even stop the unicorn from leaning in to touch her with her horn. Cooties, eugh! She can naught but grit her teeth, clench her eyes shut, and struggle to maintain control. So… much… power! It's more rainbowy than she ever anticipated! It sears her to the core, for while she may dabble in the very magical blood of Equestria, she does so foolishly and beyond the scope of her skills. Fibers are blown black and off her cloak; her main pulls back, as torn about by the black energies surging up from below as by the howling storm winds. Penned in by the containment field, she starts to suspect she has erred grievously- that Rising may be right. That such a precarious operation might have been undone. That she might-

Suddenly, Stormdancer! The pegasus crashes into Spindrift, sending her tumbling forward, onto her shoulder, gasping with the impact. Only mortal. Skinny and frail, weakened by exhaustion. She rolls over with a groan, reaching up to clutch that spear-like object strapped to her back, and hold it close.

The Black Heart, though, remains. It hovers in place where Spindrift held it before. It is a stone that drinks in light, drinks in vitality, drinks in hope. Rising and Stormdancer both try to knock it free and find it as resolutely anchored as the heart of a mountain. What's more, to touch it chills the body… and chills the soul. Despair, intense, overpowering, threatens to overtake both ponies.

The distant columns of rainbow light sputter and fade, as the last of the power drawn from the earth is channeled inward, into the waiting battery of that depthless void of a Heart. It pulses in the air, waiting. Spindrift lifts her head and looks to it, gritting her teeth, then struggles to pull herself upright.

Muzaji does finally move from her hiding spot… but only to duck down where Rising stashed Rune and make sure she's okay. Though it does also give her a better vantage point to watch just what's going on farther up as the ponies… try to pen Spindrift in. Which seems to work, but that ominous relic isn't going anywhere despite the seapony being down. A shiver runs down her striped spine as she watchs.

"~Rainbows surge through the land.
A reckoning hour at demand.
A Heart as dark as the Wanderer's own.
Absorbed the light, allowed none shone."

And DIVE! Where exactly Typhoon came from is anypony's guess. She'd vanished to cower somewhere after the wave fiasco! But this is Trouble. With a capital T, even, look, it's right there. And it's pretty obvious - well, she thinks it is, at least - that that anti-glowy black… rock?… is the center of it. Stormdancer tried, but didn't seem to succeed, but Celestia knows she's got no better plan! So she dives for the stone, trying to grab ahold of it and pull it away from all the other magical lighty /things/, in the hopes that that might somehow stop whatever the hay this is.

Meeting an immovable object in midair? Not a fun experience for a pegasus in mid-stoop. Especially one that's already in the middle of trying to recover from a more elastic collision just moments before. Stormdancer tumbles and bounces across the ground, crashing right into… one of the physical components of Rising's barrier. Hope that wasn't still important! She raises her head briefly- anypony nearby might catch a glimpse of a dark cloud filling her eyes, before she simply… slumps. Like a marionette with the strings cut.

The littlest unicorn can see much better now that the magical rainbow light is sputtering out. Snowfield opens her eyes fully and takes in the scenery as she approaches. The pony on the ground is unfamiliar to the forest witch. Perhaps she's seen her in passing once or twice in town but she cannot recall a time they have spoken.

Rising and the others who attempt to mess around with the strange lightless artifact in the center of the makeshift magic circle on the ground are carefully considered as she begins to pace around the edge. Such strange effects from touching the heart-shaped stone. Such foul magics plaguing the Harbor can only be the product of one thing… "Yes, of course," Snowfield says darkly. "The moment Salty gets her life back it's back to business as usual."

Rising-Chaos gets to her hooves shakily, brushing Nocturne away. "did I win?" she growls, seeing Spindrift sprawled on the ground, she starts laughing wit joy. She won! A surge of energy brings her to her hooves "I wo-" She falls silent, turning pale. Just as fast as she got up, she sits back down, shivering. Her mouht opens and closes as she just stares at the ground. The shivering gets worse and worse, and tears well up in her eyes. In her head, all she can see is every single thing she'd failed, every disappointment. All the jubulation, excitement, happiness she had ever felt, seems meaningless, stupid.

For a few moments, Rising Chaos sits there, sobbing. But soon, her demeanour changes. Sobs turn to laughter, despair to energy. Something very important just broke. The sobs turn to cackles, and a new kind of fire springs to life in her eyes. When Rising Chaos loses hope, when she's afraid of something, she doesn't get sad. She gets angry.

She stalks up to the recumbent Spindrift, pulling out her sword. She places the fine blade at the mare's throat. "Tell me how to stop it," she demands, her voice ice cold between fits of laughter. "Now." she whirls back to all the ponies present. "Anypony, tell me how to stop it, NOW!" Her eyes show no sanity there, she's gone.

(OOC) Spindrift: Typhoon. 1d20 Saving Throw vs. Despair~

Typhoon-Wave rolls 1d20 (Don't screw it up, Typhoon. :|) — Result: 20 | Sum: 20

".. Great, now they're BOTH insane." Muzaji is -so- glad she didn't get up there in the middle of things this time around. Curiousity aside, she's decided she really doesn't like poking around in seapony magic. Or whatever the hay Spindrift has been doing. So she's going to just stick to watching from the hiding spot and making sure Rune comes out of her expendature okay in the end.

The big elemental, the one with the dark black eyes, turns to blink at Stormdancer, bewildered. It then turns to glance at the Black Heart, then back away worriedly. It has no idea what's going on. Balling its ice-taloned fists, it pounds their knuckles against the ground anxiously, and looks to the fallen Spindrift for direction, which she is not in a position to provide. Being a minion is hard, you guys. Nobody ever taught it how to do this! All it wants to do is cavort and disassemble things! Why does ALL of this have to be so DIFFICULT?

Spindrift hauls herself upright and begins to trudge back towards the Heart, but is arrested by the blade at her throat. The seapony glances up, eyes flashing as she looks to Rising. "You don't," she hisses. "It grabs you and sucks you down and it never lets you go." Maybe Spindrift isn't talking about the same thing Rising is. Her stricken expression, not unlike Stormdancer's own, may be an indication of this. "And eventually, you give in, and let go, and let it take you. Unless…"

The seapony quickly reaches up, bracing a hoof against the blade, and pushes it aside in a swift motion- no doubt cutting herself on it in the process. The fine-honed edge scrapes easily along Spindrift's foreleg, drawing a wince and a gasp of pain. A mark is drawn across the side of her neck. Turning her shoulder against any further blows, she pushes into a canter, past Rising and towards the floating Heart.

Before she can get there, Typhoon Wave throws herself against it. Again, the stone remains fixed in space; it does not turn, it does not budge. The advancing seapony casts an anxious glance towards Typhoon, then to the side, to Snowfield nearby. She clatters through the containment field, stumbling with exhaustion, with the stinging pain in her foreleg, and with a ragged growl, reaches up to seize the stone and lean against it, and only then does it begin to move. She swings a hoof outward as she does, trying to push Typhoon back, out of the way.

Nocturne only hangs his head as Chaos cries. He feels certain that if this is what it has come to, there is no hope left. And just this despair hits him, he sees the fire in the unicorn's eyes as she stands. A similar response enters his psyche. "There's nothing left of this," he says with some unfitting cheer and laugther. "This is it!" He cackles some more, even louder. "Oh, and I'm not even armed~" At this point, he sings those words. Once again, he is overwhelmed with the inevitability of a dire end to this - only this time, he's certain of it.

And oh, how Spindrift's audacious defense astounds him. Still, she's weaker now. No longer bound by rational thought, he charges at Spindrift with all his might, hoping to at least bring a temporary stop to her actions.

Grab! And freeze. The violet pegasus very nearly tumbles out of the air as her hooves touch the stone. Typhoon's eyes widen, and very quickly get teary. Oh, no. Nonono not again. No, she's messed it up again. And everypony's going to hate her. And she's gonna get kicked out of town, and she's gonna be all alone, and everything's all messed up and it's all her fault and… blink. She shakes her head. Hard. Jellybean.

She blinks away the tears, practically growling as she flaps her wings hard, trying to budge the thing, repeating 'Jellybean' over and over and over again, hardly aware she'd started saying it out loud. But it just /won't move/! And now she's being pushed, and it's kind of an awkward item, hard to keep a grip on in the midst of this all. She manages one last tug before toppling head over hoof away, flapping frantically to try and right herself and failing, landing on her back with a winded grunt.

Snowfield's expression goes from wary curiousity straight through concern and all the way to determination at Spindrift's words. "Hah hah," she says flatly. "That doesn't sound very impressive." And yet she continues to stay a safe distance away from the stone, watching the seapony push the stone and Typhoon fail to wrestle for control over it. "You realize, of course, that you're not going to be able to leave town with that in tow."

Whatever crazy spiral Rising Chaos is in, she seems to have come out to the happy part. "Oh, is that all?" She gladly lets Spindrift run off. Of far more concern are a pair of being who have thus far been ignored. She turns to the leemntal and stalks towards it. She moves like a predator, ready to pounce. She slides up beside it and hisses. "Remember me, little thing?" She grabs it as best she can and starts to mess with it's magic, trying to make it hers. "Come with aunt Chaos, she will protect you." does she have a plan? Probably.

The big elemental whirls about and peers down at Rising, eyes widening. It's HER. The one that reached inside its arcane guts and hurt! She's no fun! She's no fun at all! The big beast lumbers away, and gets a short distance before Rising starts toying with it. As before, when she tried this trick a week ago, the creature's form warps and bubbles, losing distinction, if not mass. Mass is actually gained. Even as the creature's black eyes widen, it feeds on the chaotic energies, its own nature as a creature of entropy and destruction feeding on powers meant to do just that. It is not a pleasant experience, though, and the brute tries to hide from Rising on the other side of the Heart and the ponies gathered around it.

Or rather, the pony. Singular. With Typhoon out of the way, Spindrift can once more lay sole claim to the Heart. She clutches it with both forelegs, wincing against the pain, and drags it downward; it slides slowly, as if gradually unsticking, before dropping abruptly, bringing the seapony along with it. She grunts as she tumbles downward, clutching the Heart to her chest, just in time to be nearly bowled over by Nocturne, who crashes into her. She gasps, but holds on tight, such that the stone moves with her where it might remain resolute and fixed to Nocturne's efforts. With one leg wrapped around the stone, she reaches back with the other, drawing forth the spear on her back.

As it is revealed, pulled free of the ratty burlap cloth that covers it, the weapon is revealed to be painful on the eyes. It's familiar to a few of the ponies, but to others, it's a new horror on top of all of the others. The lengthy spear- a polished silver color, mixed with streaks of a black metal- is grooved as though it were melted and twisted into a screw-like shape, warped and flowing from tip to tip. It's an unnatural-looking thing, hostile to everything around it, and even Spindrift winces as she touches it.

For a brief moment, the spear and the heart throb. Gathered power is transferred. The seapony bites her tongue and spasms in place, helpless beneath Nocturne and against the ground.

And then she relaxes, gasping, holding the spear out towards the Elemental, which writhes and cowers nearby. An unspoken command is given, and the beast seizes the spear, drawing it up into its whirling, cloudy bulk; it then whirls towards the dock and tumbles over the edge, out of sight, bringing the weapon with it.

Spindrift watches, then turns to glance up at Snowfield. "You… you assume I ever… intended to leave in the first place…"

Nocturne's charge sends him straight into Spindrift, knocking her to the ground. He holds her down, his front hooves near her shoulders and neck, and rear hooves to the side. As soon as she reaches for her spear, another wave of fear overcomes him. He stares in horror at the mysterious object, overwhelmed by a mysterious anxiety. By the time it's handed to the elemental, though, he keeps his eyes on her. If Spindrift is going to want him off, that elemental will be her only means, he hopes.

Snowfield grimaces at the sight of the fel weapon. It's painful to even look at the thing. The stunt with the elemental draws her gaze away momentarily to watch it dive into the ocean. There's no way she can follow it down there. "…you play a dangerous game," she says slowly as her eyes return to the pinned seapony. A step is taken cautiously, then another more firmly. For all that she's earned the title of 'witch' to the townsponies she's not actually well versed in any magical arts outside of her own specialty. She didn't notice the transfer of power, merely that the two items seemed to pulse when brought into contact. "It would be nice to know the rules."

Rising-Chaos huffs as the elementals runs off. "But I wasn't trying to hurt you." She growls and moves around to Stormdancer, kicking her. "Hey, you get up." She watches the exchange and starts chuckling again. "Oh good, Spindrift is staying. who's having her over?" she turns back to Stormdancer and kneels down. "You foal, get up. You have messed with far too much to let me down now." Plan B, activate. Stormdancer is the ultimate alternate option.

Spindrift twists her head about and glares at Nocturne, but doesn't try ands pry him off yet. She is cold and wet to the touch and smells like salt water. She is not hard to pin down since she feels like she weighs as much as a pony half her weight. Her head lolls back, looking to the tossing ocean, then rolls around to look at Snowfield, as her free foreleg clutches the Black Heart to her breast. "The rules… give me a moment. I'll tell you all what the rules are."

Off in the distance, there's a flicker of light over the water. Out in the center of the harbor, an ice-laden wind fights against the storm that surges around it; caught in its midst, a sliver of metal gleams. The black-eyed elemental, aloft on a storm so like itself, positions itself in a pre-arranged location and hefts the charged spear high. It then drives its claws downward, and with a gust of wind, casts the spear into the heart of the harbor.

For a moment, nothing happens.

Then, the storm halts. The howling wind pauses, the clouds wait. A sudden and inexplicable stillness overtakes the town. Then… everything begins to spin. Starting from a point above the center of the harbor, the clouds begin to whirl, slowly. The water around that point begins to swirl, gradually, then faster and faster. A yawning pool forms in the growing, turning current, and from its midst a needle of fel silver arches upward. It resembles the spear carried out to sea, but there's mroe to it. Sand creeps up the side; bits of kelp and barnacles and old shells cling to it. The hunk of sunken dinghy lays pierced to the top. Slowly, the Spire of dredged-up undersea detritus stabs upward, above water that churns around it in an increasingly furious whirlpool. The motion is matched by the clouds above, and all around them, wind that blows in a widdershins fashion, whipping laterally across the harbor in a stark contrast with its earlier pattern.

Spindrift rests her head back against the pavement, eyes closed, and grits her teeth. "Let go," she tells Nocturne, voice tired. "It will make it easier for me to tell you all what you are going to do, now."

"… sozhaleyu…" The pegasus gets shoved a bit from Rising's kick, but she's got no motion of her own. Stormdancer just sort of… stares, teary eyes unfocused on anything. All she's doing? Is whispering. Barely audible over the wind and the rain and the ponies and the -noise-, all there is to the mare- is herself. Herself and her failures, her mistakes, the ponies she's hurt, that she's let down. She can see it all so clearly, now- and all she can do? Is try, futilely, to apologize in the language of her youth. "Sozhaleyu…"

Upon being ordered, Nocturne gives Spindrift a menacing glare, as an angry breathe seethes from his nostrils. After a moment, he quickly hops off, stamping a hoof into the ground before turning around. Finally having vented off most of his anger, his demeanor becomes more calm, but still rather furious. He still remains close to her, but only stares in anticipation of some instruction.

Snowfield glances over her shoulder at the suddenly swirl of… of /harbor/ in the middle of the harbor. "I'd prefer to choose my own actions," she says without looking back at the seapony on the ground. "Simply saying what that is will be more than enough. If you want to guess how we'll react, keep it to yourself." Her horn begins to glow warily— best to be prepared in the event that the magics creating that monstrous tower reach into the town.

Rising-Chaos rolls her eyes. "Come on Stormdancer. This si rising Chaos talking." She pauses, she just experienced the same thing as her. To bad she's not feeling empathetic right now. "Listen, you can sit here being 'sorry', or you cna get up. I'll be the first pony who'll admit you suck, but that's not important." With her little speech done, she whirls around. Angry part of the spiral again. She watches the spiral form, snarling. She stomps up to Spindrift. "What have you done?"

Typhoon-Wave rolls to her hooves slowly, shaking her head. Ow. Nngh. That didn't work as well as she might have liked. She blinks - out at the harbor, back at Spindrift, around at the other ponies. She recognizes at least one of them, though, and that's the one she edges towards, ears back. "Stormdancer? Are… a-are you okay? C'mon, g-get up. S-something… something's going on. We might n-need to get out of here, and I dunno if I c-can carry you, and…" she gulps, looking back out at the growing… /thing/, out in the Harbor. "…I m-might need some help here."

Nocturne stares at the oncoming force in the water. Once again, he felt helpless. Clearly there is no stopping whatever this is, and following Spindrift's 'rules' may be his only hope. "Just tell us what we need to do, Spindrift." He makes sure to accentuate her name with a tone of disgust.

Spindrift moves quickly, once unpinned, to roll upright, moving in such a fashion as to keep that accursed stone clutched to her breast. How is it she can bear its touch when it had such an effect on the others? Her exhausted appearance- the circles under her eyes, the ragged mane that hangs in her face as often as out of its way, the gaunt quality to a figure that was already slender before any of this happened, back during the relatively halcyon days of the Winter Nightmare- suggest that maybe, perhaps, she can't bear it all that well. She looks out over the harbor once more and staggers towards the edge of the water.

And then she speaks, glancing at Rising, eyes briefly narrowed. "This town draws in misery and suffering like a whirlpool, and drags its citizens with it," she says. The wind catches her voice, such that it's faint at first, and then louder, and louder still: echoes of her words, playing across the boardwalk and down the streets, carrying further with each word. This is something for everyone to hear. "Not just its citizens- those who live nearby. Those who pass through. Those who come here for profit, or whimsy, or because they had nowhere else to moor their sinking vessel. All of them, dragged in! Time and again your own careless and greedy natures threaten the well-being of all!"

She whirls to face the gathered ponies, as she backs towards the railing. "Time and again, Horseshoe Harbor burns! Time and again, it nearly destroys itself! How many lives have been lost to your own carelessnes? How many livelihoods ruined through the petty greed of pirates-" The seapony catches herself, stammering, then shakes her head with a grit of her teeth. "But enough. None of you will break this ugly cycle of your own accord, so I will do it for you. You witness the seeds of a storm that cannot be stopped- a storm that will consume this town. The earth will be dragged out from below; the buildings will swept into the surf. Nothing will remain but untarnished sand and bad memories. No harborage for pirates and thieves will be allowed to persist. Only when you return to your forests, and your mountains, and your clouds, will you be safe from the blight of this town. Only then will -my- people be safe from you as well."

Reaching inside her cloak, she wraps her hoof around something tucked in a small pouch against her side. Blue light peels off of it, but it's a weak and suffering light. "And none of you need be hurt. I -beg- you all. Heed this warning and leave. Take your families and your possessions, forget about the sea, and go where you belong. I don't- I don't want any of this to continue. I don't want anybody -else- to have to suffer. But if that's what it takes to bring this all to an end…!"

Rising-Chaos seems to be getting herself under control now. Or at least isn't so outwardly crazy. The fire in her eyes is gone and she just looks tired. She trots over to Spindrift and stares her in the eyes, no threat in her gaze. "No Spindrift. you're wrong," she replies, her voice almost sad. "You have no right to judge these matters. The only wrongdoing here is on your part." She shakes her head, and starts walking away. After a couple steps, she stops, sighing. "I told you once Spindrift. I'm going to stop you. Everything has a weakness, nothing is infallible. So you leave, run, never come back. Because I won't rest until you are defeated. Or until I can no longer continue to try." She leaves, grabbing Rune on the way. Chaos goes home, but something about her is changed, she looks…. Wrong?

Stormdancer's eyes shift to follow Rising as she leaves, a nasty, hateful voice speaking up in the back of her mind. The same one she had, up until just recently, been able to force herself to ignore. And then, to Typhoon- approaching, worried, asking for help. And then Spindrift's speech. Oh, the town's going to be erased? Everypony that doesn't leave is going to die? How convienent! "'s fine…" she whispers to the other weatherpony, closing her eyes. "… ya leave…"

Ice blue eyes narrow. "Who do you think you are, to talk to me of belonging? Do you think yourself some sort of god to make decisions about where people do or don't belong?" Snowfield trots after Spindrift as the pony moves towards the railing— the little unicorn has read more than enough stories to know what will inevitably happen next and like heck is she going to let the seapony get away with it. "Send me back to where I belong then, god, if this shanty town of misfits isn't up to your standards. Surely a bit of time travel should be no problem to someone with the power to wipe towns off the map so casually."

Typhoon-Wave freezes, peering out at the harbor. "A… a s-storm?" she repeats faintly, ears flattening. One can only guess why that came as a surprise. It sure looks pretty obvious from here. "But… but I d-don't have anywhere else to /go/!" she protests, looking over to Spindrift. "My cloud /is/ here!" Okay so it's not /her/ cloud. But she lives there. It counts. "This is… th-this is home!" She gulps thickly, looking back down to Stormdancer. "What? N-no! I'm not just… l-leaving you here!" She stamps a hoof for emphasis. Which would be more effective on something that wasn't sand. Fumph. "Th-this isn't right! It's that… that /thing/ sh-she's got! It… it d-does something. This isn't you! C'mon, get up. Sh-shake it off. We've g-gotta do something…" she looks back out towards the growing storm. She has /no/ idea what that 'something' is right now.

Rumble-Riot, through all this and more, is still snorbling in a puddle somewhere next to the burned out remains of a tavern. Probably dreaming of kicking snowponies.

Spindrift's words struck Nocturne more harshly than anything, even physical, that he's felt during these events. "The whole town…" he mutters, looking back at the ocean. As Rising begins her departure, he follows, leaving Spindrift behind without so much as a word. "Rising Chaos…" He shakes his head before continuing. "I know just as well as you do that she's wrong. I'm not letting this go." As they get closer to town, he makes a quick gallop to stop her in her path. "I don't care what reasons you have for fighting her, but we all have to stick together for this. We'll have to talk about this some time." With that, what's left of Nocturne's confidence subsides, and his path breaks off to that of his own home, looking disheveled and confused.

Rising-Chaos brushes past Nocturne. She doesn't have time for him. He has nothing to say, She's off for home, and hasn't got time for foolish young stallions.

Stormdancer offers no Brilliant Plans That Cannot Fail. Or words of encouragement, or even just a recommendation to run away. She's turned back within herself, curling up, and listening to that little voice nopony should pay too close of attention to. She is a rather useless lump of misery right now, after all.

"Mouthy and defiant, as expected," growls Spindrift, glancing from Rising to Snowfield, as she backs up further, shuffling precariously as she cradles the Heart in one foreleg and repeatedly reaches up with the other towards that pouch under her cloak. "Even when faced with the consequences of your negligence you play ignorant. What would you have me do, unicorn? Plead that you enforce your own? That you hold the pirates and murderers amongst you accountable? You know as well as I it would never happen. See the fires set by another sad remnant of this town's legacy- how even your own citizens lash out in rage. See now the Vanity in its dock, all but openly welcomed, even as its crew plots your downfall." She stares at Rising for one moment, then looks away.

The hoof in her cloak withdraws, bringing forth her phylactery, a set of heavy silver plates, inlaid with jewels and designs. The seapony dons it in a smooth, practiced motion, then reaches back with her free hoof to brace herself against the railing overlooking the water. The seapony's body is briefly limned in a glow of dull blue, all but overshadowed by the storm-heavy air, the gloom of an early evening. Her profile shudders, then sags backward against the railing, legs giving way to the sinuous piscine tail of a seapony- revealed in full as the light fades. Her coat gleams with an iridescent quality typically supressed; the membranes of spined dorsal fins push up against a cloak she hurriedly tears away and tosses aside. Revealed to all, she does not revel in the moment, but casts a baleful glance up at the encroaching ponies. "But I never expected to convince you. This is why the matter had to be forced. Someday you may realize that as you live a happy life away from this sinkhole." She sags downward, and looks, for a moment, very much like a fish out of water.

But a fish soon aloft as ice claws reach down to grasp her and the black-eyed elemental, emerging from the storm behind her, sweeps in to bear its master away. It's not very good at daring rescues, though, and drops her before she gets very far. With a gasp, Spindrift tumbles end over end to gracelessly flop in the churning waves below. As far as dramatic exits go, one could do better. The black-eyed elemental visibly frets before it darts down into the water and it, too, is gone.

And all around the town, silver light fills the sky. The storm elementals ascend- called to by the growing maelstrom, a storm of which they were mere splinters, they abandon their toys, their destruction, their undone screws and collapsed street benches, as they join the swirling clouds above. The town is spared from their further annoyance- but in exchange for a more dire threat.

Across Horseshoe Harbor, a young lover of books looks fearfully out of her bedroom window, peeking between the curtains to gaze at the distant Spire. After a moment, she draws the curtains shut and throws herself under the covers, terrified, as she does every time something like this happens. As she has ever since that one night, years ago…

Fathoms away, deep below the ocean, a young scholar gazes out from library windows. The ocean is moaning, distraught with the return of a long-forgotten darkness; the young scholar can hear it, and only now does he understand what happened nearly one month ago…

And beyond the harbor, beyond the sea and the horizon, amidst the eternal embrace of the stars, a pony long since lost to world looks down upon what has befallen a town she grew to love, what has been wrought at the hands of someone she once knew, and would weep if she were still alive to do so.