The Mysterious Missive
IC date: Winter 11, 1007
OOC date: December 30, 2012
PCs: Dream-Daze, Kludge, Lavender, Lorelei, Magpie, Riptide, Salty, Skyflower, Stormsailor
NPCs: Rock 'Em & Sock 'Em, A Skittish Courier
GM: Diamond-Dog

It has been a little over a week since the formation of the Spire, and since then the tower has steadily grown alongside the storm focused around it. It stretches up a half dozen stories from the middle of the harbor, slender and hostile, wound from root to tip with spiral ridges, giving it a screw-like shape much like the mysterious spear that was its seed. It continues to grow with material dredged up from the bottom of the harbor; sand and rocks, shells and seaweed, but soon enough, bits and pieces of pony-made materials. Here and there is a heavy, rusted chain or an old forgotten anchor, and, most significantly, the pieces of broken ships slowly creep their way up the sides of the towering structure. Longtime residents might recognizes them as the remnants of old Syndicolt ships- leftovers from a long-broken blockade called to war once more. Steadily, the Spire is beginning to resemble an actual, inhabitable structure instead of just a horrid work of art.

The storm is steady and growing as well. The whirlpool that spins at the base of the Spire swells larger each day, its diameter now half that of the Harbor itself, dominating the middle of it. Above it, omnipresent dark clouds swirl, glowing with the occasional ripple of suppressed lightning or the faint gleam caused by thousands of Storm Elementals frolicking amidst the turbulence. The wind moans steadily as it whips counter-clockwise across the port.

Bulwarks of ice have been construcuted along the beaches and docks, created by Snowfield to help defend the town. They are constantly tested, however, as wind-tossed waves of salt water lap against them and warm hurricane rains drizzle from above. Still, for the time, they stop the worst of the water from washing up and onto the docks.

Along thes boardwalk walks an Unfamiliar Pony. He's of average height, skinny, with delicate, even elongated features. He's clearly not from around here, spending just as much time looking up at the looming Spire with wide and frightened eyes as he is looking at the rain-lashed buildings that surround him with a similar expression. The blue-coated, grey-maned stallion wears a shawl of sorts constructed of a loose, net-like material, draped about his shoulders and forelegs, and at his side is a saddlebag built of a large clam shell folded over a bag of a leathery material that wicks moisture away utterly.

He is quite clearly out of his element.

Skyflower is here and honestly wondering why. It's not that this isn't a potentially town-threatening disaster but rather that it's a town-threatening disaster that no amount of gunpowder can solve. But as her father always said, it's better to light a Roman Candle than curse the darkness. She does, however, notice the new pony. "Hello there. You chose an interesting time to come visit our little town."

And standing just off the docks is a face who hasn't been seen in a while. A sea-green unicorn with dark blue hair plastered down with rain stares at the maelstrom with her jaw dropped. This wasn't here when she was around last. This wasn't here at /all/. Salty rubs one of the silvery, thin scars that wrap around her limbs, as she looks over at Skyflower. "The hay happened?" she blurts.

Lavender has been watching the spire for a while now, being occasionally helpful and occasionally in the way (filly), but genuinely trying. Right now, though, she's just crouched and staring at the bits and bobs and scraps of boats, finding ones they recognize, but clearly looking for something in the wreckage. Once again, no sign of it.

Dream Daze is sitting there with Lav. Watching the storm for entirely different reasons. Dressed up in a little raincoat, hat over her horn, and with a saddlebag. She flicks her ears. The weather's almost too bad for kids to be near the harbor again. Such a pity… …She never did get around to renting a ship for the adventure she'd planned with the other foals.

The little unicorn offers her bigger filly friend a vision, of cartoonishly drawn ponies sailing towards that big spire and kicking it over. With /hearts/. Behold the power of love, evil weather spire of DOOM!

Magpie walks soberly over to stand beside Lavender and Dreamy. "This is so completely not fair," she opines. "I just got a house and now it's gonna get blown away or somethin'." She thumps her rump down with a disconsolate scowl.

Another shape is moving close to the icy barricades. Pacing. The tall, delicate pony is staring out over the familiar harbor, frowning. 'Familiar', but it was never like /this/. She doesn't like it. No, she doesn't like it one bit. Lorelei watches the weatherponies circling as close to the maelstrom as they dared get, trying to keep the rainclouds in check. Surely there must be something /else/ they can do. Something else /she/ can do. Anything else. She peers out at the ocean as if debating taking a running leap smack into it, as though that might help in some weird way. Peeeeeer. And then goes back to pacing, looking quite disgruntled.

"I'm pretty sure the salon would be one of the last buildings to fall," points out Kludge, walking over to where Maggie and the others are standing. "I just hope we solve this before then. I /really/ don't want to have to rebuild it again," he sighs.

The slender blue strager of a stallion yelps and turns about to face Skyflower as she addresses him, looking about ready to turn and bolt before he catches himself. "Y-yes! Interesting! It is very interesting here! So…" His eyes dart about the harbor once more, haunted. "So very interesting! I, ah- can you-" He reaches back with a hoof and adjusts his clamshell saddlebag. "I'm looking for- for- for the m-mayor's… the mayor. Can you tell me where to find him, ah? Or, uh, her?" He stares for a moment, then blurts, "Please."

Skyflower blinks for a moment, seeming a trifle confused by the pony's behavior, then nods. "The mayor? Why of course! Only too happy to help. Her office is right o-oh and would you look at that?" She points towards Lorelei, "There she is, right there!"

Naturally Rock'em and Sock'em are standing there, flanking Lorelei, sharing of the same grim look out at that weather beacon. …Well, Rock'em is looking grim. He's always been the more mature of the pair. Sock'em's looking off elsewhere. Like, at the odd pony that's showed up with a weird outfit. "…Hey Boss?" Sock'em pipes up. "I think yer about to get some company."

Salty points helpfully at Lorelei too, trotting toward her as well. "Yep, Boss," she adds, the word a little weird in her mouth. "Got a… a… clam pony or something."

With a bit of a giggle, Lavender leans against Dreamy. "Well we could /try/, but somehow I don't think it's a very good idea, or likely to work. Good thinking though, I know we'll come up with something. I didn't think I'd really miss cannonballs, but it's a little too big for those now too."

Magpie blinks a bit at Lavender. "Cannonballs?" she mouths. Then blinks, peeking over at the stranger. "Huh. That guy's wearin' half a clam." She watches for a bit, then asks, "Figure he's a sea pony like Thunnini?"

Dreamy beams, making a good little leaning post. She pats Magpie consolingly, and offers a second little vision. Of a whole cloud of pegasus! Like, enough of them to make those Jumbo Tornados. And aiming /that/ at the spire to blow away all the awful magic!

The image fades as talk of cannonballs and seaponies comes up though, the little mute unicorn peeking up to see who they're talking about, a hazy question mark appearing over her head.

The strange pony stares at Skyflower for a moment, then leans to the side, looking past her, towards Lorelei and her retinue at a distance. "H-her? Really?" He looks star-struck, staring open-mouthed for a few moments. It closes, then, and he gulps, gaze darting between Rock 'Em and Sock 'Em. And, heck, Salty's kind of scary, too. Everybody is scary. Everybody is leggy and scary. Thankfully, he's not close enough to hear what the foals are talking about, which would probably make things even scarier. The skinny blue stallion nods to Skyflower, then, with resigned sort of expression. "Okay… okay. Thanks." He slips past the unicorn and begins approaching Lorelei, though as he does, Skyflower can hear him mumbling under his breath. "stay cool stay cool stay cool stay cool stay cool"

A stallion who might be a familiar sight to anyone who has spent some time in the bars recently is down by the water's edge as well. He's hanging off the barricade and staring out at the whirlpool forlornly. "I wish I had a boat," Stormsailor mumbles. "That looks like a great ride." He sighs and puts his head down… then bolts upright again almost instantly because putting your cheek on an ice wall is a terrible idea.

Lavender just grins and nods excitedly at Magpie, then peeks back over to the stranger Magpie's spotted. She listens, gives a funny look to the others who are also watching, shrugs.

Skyflower follows after the pony, looking at him quizzically. "I say, is everything all right? You seem a tad nervous. Is there anything I might help with, perhaps? Skyflower, assistant pharmacist at your service."

Lorelei blinks and glances up. "A… clam pony?" She turns away from the barricade to look over the indicated pony curiously. Her ears prick a bit as she spots the netting, the shell pouch - she even casts a glance down to the pouch at her side, which upon examination would look rather similar, not damp in the rain at all, merely lacking a shell of its own. Well this is an interesting and unexpected occurrance, visitors, now. She draws herself up as he approaches, and even forces a - somewhat shaky - smile and nod in greeting.

Dreamy shrugs too. She's gotten into the habit of mimicing older, bigger ponies lately… The new odd pony is very new, and very odd, and everybody is so nervous and… She scrunches up her nose, shooting the other two bigger fillies an image of that lanky skinny 'new' stallion in a mailpony's outfit. With a shiny emphasis on his pouch! Is he a messanger?

"Yeah, clam pony, you look nervous? Sky…thingie here can help. Or the Mayor." Salty nods firmly, and slings an all-too-familiar arm around Lorelei. Poor poor Lorelei.

"Squelphb," squeaks the strange stallion, so focused on staying cool he forgets to stay cool entirely when Skyflower pursues him and startles him. He takes a moment to resettle that fishnet shawl he's wearing and adjust the straps of his saddlebag and glance between her and Lorelei. "Just, just, just fine! I'm fine. Everything is fine." Everything is terrifying! He smiles at Skyflower for a moment before turning to face Lorelei once more. "M-Miss Mayor? I, uh. Delivery. For you, that is. I have a delivery for you. A mmm.. message, actually." He reaches for his clamshell bag and starts to open it, then hesitates. She didn't say he could, yet! He should let her respond. He plants all four hooves back down and squirms in place for a moment, gaze darting about the various leggy landponies. "And, and for, for everybody else, too, but mostly the one in… the one in charge."

For a few moments, he stares at her, then blurts, "You're a lot younger than I thought the mayor was going to be and also a lot prettier." He then realizes he just said this and his face turns purple as he blushes under his blue coat and for a brief moment he looks about ready to faint away right there. "oh, barnacles."

Lavender looks at the prescient Dreamy, then back at the messenger-pony. What a wonderous look! How strange for them to come to the town! "Maybe it's help from Canterlot? Not that they usually care about us or anything," she comments to the other youngn's.

Magpie grins and gives Dreamy a poke with a hooftip. "Good one." THen to Lav she shakes her head. "Naw. If it was a royal thingummy they woulda sent one of those royal guards with the gold helmets and the big wings." She falls silent for a few seconds. "I saw one once, y'know. Few years ago. Handsome. But scary."

Skyflower looks at the mayor, then at the obviously-not-a-seapony. "Madame mayor, do you know this gentleman? Is he quite all right? Not that we don't already have enough troubles, I know."

Rock'em dips his head ever so slightly, eyeing Salty being so…so friendly with the mayor! Sock'em's just staring on. Squinting even. "Hey. Rockie. You think this guy comes from the same place the Mayor does?" Rock'em blinks out of his reverie, turns to squint at Sock'em, and gives him a hard nudge in the gut. "Hush and let the big ponies talk."

Stormsailor glances over his shoulder at the commotion down below. The concept of Horseshoe Harbor having someone 'in charge' is kind of funny, but… well, the mermare has certainly been more in charge than anyone else has been as far as he can remember. He lets go of the barricade and slides back to ground level to hear what's going on from the mysteeeerious visitor. "Nah, definitely not from Canterlot," he says to the filly he recognizes from his jailbreak adventures. "They're a bit high above sea level, I think." He gives the messanger a knowing smirk.

Dreamy's ears twitch. She looks up at Maggie's description of a royal guard, and floats up an image of that new skinny stallion. With a scribbled gold helmet and wings. …Then the helmet and wings get scribbled out, and replaced with a cowboy hat. And an Evil Moustache. If he's not a Royal Messenger, maybe he's a Bad Messenger…and he should be investigated!

Lorelei casts a sideways glance to Salty, clearing her throat a bit. She's going to have to get used to this. "Yes. Well." Ahem. She blinks over at the pony, nodding a bit. "A message?" This seems to make her slightly nervous herself. "Yes, of course… let's have a look then." And then she's being complimented! She blinks. And blushes. And smiles! Stands a bit straighter, in fact. She /is/ pretty, if she does say so herself. She gives a faint giggle at his sheepishness "Why, thank you. How very flattering." A moment of preening! And then back to the matter at hoof. "Ah, yes, but… the message?"

Lavender goes a bit wide-eyed at Magpie and nods. "I hope we don't ever really have them visit here, that would be scary…" She looks to Dreamy like she's strange…then actually gives a little nod. "Well, even if he's not out to get us, maybe it's bad news that we'd better know about, you know, in case they need us to fix it and don't know it and won't tell us. C'mon." She leaps over some of the ice she was half-hiding behind, and trots over closer…closer, first into eavesdropping distance, then into downright looking-over-shoulder distance. While quiet, she's also a little hard to miss.

Dreamy, the little instigator that she is, happily follows along, creeping as stealthily as a kid can creep. Even if she ends up more or less perched on Lavender's back for looking over shoulders and other such purposes.

The messenger watches Lorelei, blood eventually circulating in a proper enough pattern through his body that he stops turning interesting colors and looking so unsteady. He glances away from her, to Stormsailor, considering his veiled allusions, then completely missing their point as he loses himself in his work instead. "Uh, ah." The clamshell bag is opened, and out is drawn a slender case of carved ivory, its lid sealed with a ring of silver-colored wax. He's about ready to break this when he stops… and hears… breathing.

Then he turns around. There's Dream Daze, perched on Lavender's back.

The skinny fellow topples like a precarious arrangement of sticks, soon out cold on the wet cobbles. The scroll case rolls away from his hoof and stops a few feet away.

Magpie rolls her eyes and follows the other two with stealthy grace. Sneakin', she's good at.

"Jumpy," Salty observes, watching him fall over with a blink. Blue energy encompasses the scroll case for a moment, before she thinks better of it and clears her throat. "Uh. Someone should get that."

Kludge picks up the scroll and gives it to Lorelei.

Magpie gasps — silently — when that scroll case comes out. When Dreamy causes an accident she seizes her chance!

Magpie rolls 1d10 (Stealing time!) — Result: 6 | Sum: 6

"Whoops," Stormsailor says, taking a step to the side so that the messanger can fall cleanly on the ground instead of getting caught by the tall pony. "Girls, you're far too young to be making stallions pass out," he says with faux sternness to Lavender and Dream Daze. "You cut that out."

Skyflower ahems. "I suppose that's all I'm needed for th- oh my!" She trots up to the fainted stallion and examines him closely, looking for signs of any cause for his behavior other than an acute case of 'being a bit of a wet hen.'

The unconscious messenger, aside from being unconscious, does not have any visible signs of injury or illness. He groans a bit as Skyflower draws near, eyelids fluttering.

The scroll case's wax seal is broken easily enough. It appears to be made of a carved bone, smooth and polished and unadorned. The cap that Magpie stole could be used as a little shot glass or something, or maybe a tiny hat.

Inside the rest of the scroll case is… a scroll! A tightly-wound bit of parchment left bare as the cap is absconded with by a nimble-hoofed filly.

Lavender sticks her tongue out at Stormsailor. "Hey, I've knocked out plenty of guys before. By hitting them with things. I'm totally fine." Her eyes flick to Magpie hopefully and…pouts, but at least they got something!

Magpie 's horn goes dark as she conceals the stolen scrollcap inside her jacket. She looks innocent. <halo>

Lorelei takes the scroll case, which has been so conveniently pre-opened for her! Such accomodating, helpful citizenry. She starts to take the scroll out, then pauses, glancing upwards. "Perhaps somewhere a bit more dry?" she suggests, "Rock'em, Sock'em, be dears and… assist our visitor please?" The pouches may stay dry, but the parchment might not! It'd be a shame to ruin the message before it gets read.

"Knocking out and passing out are two very different things," Stormsailor says with a chuckle before his attention is turned back to the scroll. "If you're looking for somewhere dry, your Guberness, most of the taverns here by the port have been keeping their doors open since it's so hard for the ships to get in and out."

Magpie gives the other fillies a little wave. "I'll see you later~," she chirps, prancing a bit as she turns to head up into town. Not a good idea to stick around /too/ long after a heist.

"I'll stay with the messenger, if that's all right. I'm not a doctor but I /do/ know enough medicine to see to it that he's all right, the poor dear." Skyflower seems adamant about this much.

Kludge trots along after Maggie. Everything here seems to be well in hoof.

"Yes boss." Rock'em and Sock'em chime in unison, heading to the passed-out pony to see about helping Skyflower get him upright again. Or at the very least propped up onto Rock'em's back for transport elsewhere. "Let's get you out of the weather." Rock'em grunts.

Dream Daze hops off Lavender's back, blushing bashfully at Stormsailor's admonishing. She totally didn't mean to scare the poor pony! She was just curious! Now it looks like they're just going to have to follow the crowd to somewhere dry to find out what's going on. She waves at Magpie, but with another of her hazy question marks. Aww.

Lavender gives a grin after Magpie's departure. "We'll fill her in later," she asides to Dreamy, then takes a couple steps up and follows closely after the messenger transport brigade.

With another groan, the messenger awakens without much provocation. He's loopy on his hooves, but manages to walk on them and stay on them with only the occasional nudge to keep him wobbling in the right direction.

It is, as Stormsailor suggested, easy to find an accommodating tavern, and the prestige of this party- Salty! Lorelei! That one guy, and whats-her-face that everybody sees all the time!- encourages a bit more room for everybody than they might have otherwise had. The messenger topples gratefully into a seat, apparently having reached some kind of terror event horizon and just staring about himself in a state of wide-eyed astonishment. Soon enough he looks to Lorelei, though. "You, uh- should- should I read it? They, er. I was paid to, to do the reading, too, if you'd like. M-miss."

Lorelei blinks and nods, settling into her seat and moving to pass the scroll over. She didn't seem to mind coming in damp at all! If she even noticed. "Yes, of course, be my guest. Once everypony settles." He /had/ said it was for the town as a whole, hadn't he? Just… /mainly/ her. She's good with that.

Skyflower continues to examine the messenger. "Have you been getting enough iron? Spinach, seaweed, that sort of thing? A lack of iron can cause anemia, you know."

Salty flops into a nearby chair, leaning on a front hoof. For once, she doesn't order a drink. She just watches the messenger expectantly, as well as his nurse at present, Skyflower. "I oughta start eating more nails then," she comments. Apparently truthfully.

Rock'em settles himself next to Lorelei's chair, all bodyguard-y, while Sock'em keeps the Stranger propped up, helpfully doing things like lifting the newcomer's arms or whatnot for whatever Skyflower needs to examine. So helpful he is.

Stormsailor drapes himself lazily over the back of a nearby chair to listen in on the conversation. It's not like there's anything better to do in town right now.

The messenger shakes his head, then nods it, then shakes it again at Skyflower's line of questioning. "Y-yes? No. I mean, I'm not ann… anemic or.. or anything, b-but thank you, I'm fine! I'm fine." He then reaches out to accept the scroll back from Lorelei, and seems grateful to have it. Here's a little bit of security in a world of clouds and endless skies and so… so many legs. With a wan smile he draws the rolled-up paper from its case and unfurls it, and his eyes promptly widen. "Ohh… oh, it's… it's wordy…" he mumbles, scanning the text. It takes him several moments before his eyes dart up to the top and he spreads the paper out on a table. With something to focus on, he manages to maintain a bit more presence of mind than he previously did, voice gradually growing steady and, after a few lines, his delivery becoming fluid and natural. One can almost start to believe this is something he is actually professionally paid to do.

"To the Mayor and Citizens of Horseshoe Harbor," begins the letter.

"My name is Sinking Stone, uh…" The messenger pauses, glancing up. "That's… that's what the letter says. Not me. I'm not Sinking Stone myself but-" He freezes, then looks back down and resumes reading. "and I am Professor of Archaeological Studies and Curator of the the Silver Archives at Silver Shallows Academy. I pray this missive finds you in good health, and does not reach your town overly late through some conspiracy of inclement conditions and the inefficiency of the courier charged with its delivery.

"For centuries a great divide has been fostered between ponies of the sea, and those of the land and air. In this gulf of mistrust and untruths have been planted seeds of prejudice; these seeds have at last born a most bitter and terrible fruit. We see now the opening moves of a war between our peoples, a conflict abhorred by all but a handful of extremists.

"The seapony you know as Spindrift, the architect of your predicament, is my former pupil. For reasons previously unknown to myself and her former colleagues, Spindrift has availed herself of dark implements that had been placed within the care of the Archives. While myself and my staff were not privy to her intent when she retrieved these tools, the formation of the storm off the coast of your town has made them clear enough: the eradication of life above the ocean's surface. Always has she proved as cruel and callous as she has been ambitious, and any justifications she has provided short of the outright genocidal should be summarily disregarded."

He pauses for breath, glancing up at the various drinks arranged here and there in the tavern. "I, uh. There's more still, hold on."

Skyflower gasps. "Oh dear, how positively dreadful."

Salty blinks a little bit, as she listens. "…Ponies of the sea?" she blurts.

Lorlei listens to the message with growing intrest, ears pricking at the names and locations mentioned. She blushes faintly at the mention of 'ponies of the sea' and all this talk of mistrust and prejudice, but she's nodding agreeably in all the right spots.

Stormsailor rolls his eyes at the mention of Silver Shallows. "Not those eggheads," he mumbles. "They're always trying to stick their noses into everypony's business in the name of 'higher learning'." As he listens to the rest of the missive his smirk is slowly but surely tugged down. "Aaaaand it figures. One of theirs just HAD to stick her nose into everypony's business."

"So he /did/ come fro-OW!" Sock'em helps and tumbles back! The cause of this being apparently something to do with Rock'em having slid over and kicked him. "Why don't you go get another round of drinks or something?" Rock suggests to his cohort. Whom whimpers and shuffles off towards the bar, limping.

The messenger licks his lips and continues.

"While Spindrift's methods may be intimidating, I believe they are not without their flaws. The tools at her disposal- the Spire of Storms and the Black Heart- are products of a dark legacy that my people may not be proud of, but nevertheless strive to understand. It is in the study of these relics that we hope to find a means by which they may be undone. Still, the work is ongoing, and consultation with those who face the most immediate threat from the effects of the Spire of Storms will be necessary if a swift solution is to be discovered.

"I bid you gather heroes from amongst your population and join me at the Archives, so that together we may formulate a stategy to see the Spire of Storms undone. Let a cooperative effort be the means by which the gap between our nations be bridged, lest it be otherwise filled with an unstoppable tide of sorrow and mistrust in which another thousand years' of prejudice may form.

"Our city of Silver Shallows is located a day's sailing from your town, far beneath the ocean's surface. The zebras amongst your people may know the way, for only they have visited so far. Join me as soon as you are able, for the longer you tarry, the more difficult it may prove to undo the mounting threat.

"You will, of course, require a ship. All other accommodations shall be made upon your arrival.

"Sincerely, Sinking Stone, Professor of Archaeological Studies, Silver Shadows Academy of Artifice the Historical Sciences, Curator of the Silver Archives, Silver Shadows Academy of Artifice and Historical Sciences," The messenger is increasingly distracted, voice faltering. "Senior Member of the Silver Shallows Council of Civic Development, Advisor to the Starlight Directorate of Archaeological Excavation, Professor Emeritus of Historical Studies, Professor Emeritus of Advanced Kelp Artifice…" He stops altogether. "The rest is just… about a dozen more titles."

He lifts his head and glances about, pondering a letter he himself only heard the contents of just now. Suddenly his eyes widen as he realizes its implications.

Stormsailor opts to remain silent as the message ends. He looks at the mayor and raises an eyebrow inquisitively.

A tiny set of ears and a small filly nose struggles to lift juuuust above the edge of the table, one hoof helping to steady herself. Dreamy doesn't quite get the whole dire implications of everything, but she really wanted to share the 'concerned looks' with the older ponies. Obviously something Big is happening.

Lavender's eyes similarly widen, from a couple salient points in there (she didn't catch all of it, but most, yes). She pokes Dream Daze a couple times with a hoof and rears up excitedly. "Did you hear that, they want /heroes/, and…uh, sailors? I'm totally going to sign up for that! C'mon, don't get so down, this is a chance for an adventure!"

Salty blinks again. "I'm sorry, under the sea? Are we really entertaining the idea that there's freakin' seaponies out there?" PLEASE. It's preposterous.

"Surely you've heard legends of stallions spotting mermares in the water while out at sea," Stormsailor says to Salty as he leans back and rests against the table behind him. "There've been plenty of sightings."

Salty says "Legends, sure. Actually mer-anything, on the other hand…"

Dreamy wobbles when poked! She promptly disappears from the table's side, toppling over, reappearing moments later after a small commotion, looking a touch disheveled. She sticks her tongue out at Lavender. Then latches onto her back and gives her an image of the foal brigade, walking underwater, with bubbles around their heads! Undersea adventure!

…And when talk goes to things like doubting the existance of seaponies, the little mute unicorn blinks. She tilts her head at Lav again, floating a wider-range broadcast of Thunnini. Y'know. The resident active little seapony foal? Surely she's been sighted enough to say they're real! …Or she's a mass foal-induced hallucination. Now wouldn't that be something?

Lorelei went still at some point during that last half, and perhaps a little bit pale. It takes her a moment to snap out of it. She gives herself a slight shake and clears her throat. Twice. Ahem. "W-well," she finally manages. "This… certainly sheds some light on things." She nods slightly, more to herself than anything. It does indeed, but she's not entirely sure that's a good thing. "A voyage to the Archives…" she blinks and looks over at Salty. "Under the sea. Of course… yes, that's… that's quite a venture." Ahem again. "Well you never know. It could be true. Legend and all… it's not as though any of you have ever /been/ under the sea." Sniff. "How should you know what may or may not possibly be there? Why, I've seen a little seafilly right around town a time or two!"

The messenger sits there, eyes still wide, as he listens to everybody banter talk of the veracity of the existence of seaponies about his head. Other ponies in the background, who overheard this, are likewise talking amongst themselves. Everybody's talking about seaponies in short order. Everybody is doubtful. The messenger peers down at himself before much longer, and reaches up with a hoof to poke himself in the chest, experimentally, as if half-expecting something not to be there when he tries.

"I dunno, Salty seems like the sort to have wrecked a ship or three in her time, I bet she's seen the underside of the waves more than her fair share of times," Stormsailor says, the smile sneaking back onto his face.

Salty points at Stormsailor. "Yes precisely! I've been— … hey wait a sec." Squint.

Stormsailor's face breaks into a big ol' grin at the former mayor.

Lavender nods a couple times at Dreamy, then giggles at Salty. "Always comes back in one piece, though!"

Salty says "I'll have you know that I…" she pauses. "…That I… Oh haystacks. I got nothing. If there are seaponies, then apparently we're in a big ol' war with them, and that's probably gotta change."

Skyflower says "Well, /I/ for one certainly don't want to be at war with them. We simply MUST clear this up at once, and if nopony else is going to talk some sense into Spindrift, then I certainly shall. It's such a shame: I met her here, actually, months ago. She seemed quite charming, if distant. Her friend was much more gregarious."

The messenger listens for a bit longer, glancing from one pony to the next, his expression of shock relaxing. Then renewing! "Wait, war? There's a war?" He hurries to his feet, glancing about in a clear panic. "I didn't sign up for a war!! Nobody told me this was a war!!"

And he doesn't hurry to his feet, he hurries to his hooves.

Lorelei nods slightly, looking satisfied with Salty's concession even if she is not the cause of it. "Well. I'd say so it has to change. We'll need to accept this request, then… send some townsponies to meet them, and see what can be done." She nods decisively, and then again towards Skyflower. "That's a path worth considering as well. If we can contact the one in control of the entire proceedings… but if the letter is to believed…" She lets out a breath. "It might not be something to rely on. Talking some sense into her." She looks to Salty next, and then Rock'em. "We'll need to start getting a party together, right away. Able ponies, willing to make the trip… without prejudice that might cause more problems."

She blinks then and turns to the messenger, waving a hoof. "Calm yourself. We'll see this fixed. It's not a war. There… there won't be a war." Not if she has any say in it. Hmph.

"Calm down," Stormsailor says. He reaches forward and puts a hoof on the messanger's shoulder, forcing him back down into his chair. "There's no war going on, it's just a bunch of superstitions and rumors building up." He looks over towards the bar. "Hey! Barkeep! Get our friend here a shot of something to calm his nerves."

The blue stallion nods at Lorelei when she begins coming up with a game plan. "Do you have anypony in mind to guide the way? It's only a day's journey but with the storm blocking the harbor you'll have a hard time finding any ferries going in and out."

The messenger looks about ready to break into tears as Lorelei addresses him, but swallows them and frowns the frown of the determined. "Yes ma'am, if you say so." Look, someone respects the mayor! He retrieves the scroll case and starts looking about for the lid, checking the table, checking his bag. Lid, lid.

And then he's pushed down into his seat, squeaking as he does. After that he sits very still. Eventually a shot of something appears in front of him and he all but inhales it without asking questions yes booze please.

This seems like a convenient time for Sock'em to come back with drinks! Drinks all around! After which he settles down next to Rock'em, who slid back next to the mayor. "So we're all going under the sea, are we?"

Skyflower nods. "I shall certainly come along. This calls for a pony of tact and poise. I'll simply need to inform my uncle and Wh-" she pauses blushing, "-ill make sure that he knows I won't be here to help him with the store for the time being."

Dreamy hops, caught up in all the sudden excitement. War doesn't sound good. But it does sound like there's a plan for things. She gives Lav a nudge, and flashes her an image of the two of them stowing away on a boat leading to some island where seaponies are dancing. Dancing!

"Ehhhh…" Salty pauses. "I think I'd prefer to keep my hooves on shore."

"Um…" However, at that moment! A rather rotund little colt peeks in from the tavern entrance. "I w…wanna go," Riptide stammers. "I don't w-wanna war!"

Lavender gives a big grin to Dreamy. "I don't think it quiiite works like that, but why not! I mean we have to get there to have the adventure in the first place. Totally a good idea, better than sticking around here! Hey barkeep," she raises her voice, "A couple ciders for a couple fillies!"

"You're… you're all… you actually want to go?" asks the messenger, glancing around from pony to pony, expression a mix of astonishment and worry.

Lorelei nods. "Of course we do." She looks to Stormsailor. "To lead… hm. Well… perhaps I might. I did some… ocean travelling, before I came to town." She ponders this for a moment thoughtfully. "I might be able to, but where we'd get a ship…"

"Woah, woah, I didn't say that," Stormsailor holds up one of his feet. "Do these look like swimming hooves to you? I wouldn't know what to do with myself underwater." To Lorelei the freighter captain gives an odd look. "Ocean travel isn't the same as navigation, with all due respect. There's a lot more to charting a course than knowing where point A and point B are— do you even know where point B is?"

"Ye-" begins the Messenger, who falls silent a moment later when he realizes he is not the one being asked.

Riptide peeks up next to Dream-Daze and Lavender, too short and chubby to actually reach the top of the table. "Can I come?" he whispers to them.

"Yes, of course I know the way," Lorelei retorts a bit hautily, then catches herself a second late. "I mean, he said where," she ammended, pointing to the messenger. "Or at least it said who to ask. There are zebras about. To ask." She blinks and looks down at Riptide, smiling faintly. "Well, hello, little one… You'd like to come along?"

Dreamy hops off Lav's back and pats Riptide. All smiles and bounce and yay. Of /course/ he can come. At this rate, the whole Harbor might be going.

Lavender hops over somewhere and pushes a box over to Riptide to stand on. "Well, are you good at adventuring?" Surely, by asking this, she's being responsible.

Stormsailor shakes his head. "Your fins are showing, mermare," he mumbles before looking at Riptide. "…sure, why not? That's the Harbor's MO, isn't it? 'sides, you look like you'd be right at home under the sea."

"I…" Riptide pauses and looks at the box, before climbing onto it with a little grunt of exertion. "Um…no… but I…I can do other stuff that is important?" He practically leaps, however, when Stormsailor says that, and his forehooves land on his own rump, trying to hide the fins that are not at all showing. "Y-Y-Yes please!" he stammers at Lorelei.

Skyflower looks thoughtful. "I believe that I have some planning to do if I'm to participate in this venture. If anypony needs me, I'm to be found at Ginger and Saltpeter. I'm going to be backing." With that she makes her way for the door.

The messenger watches the back-and-forth for a bit, then blinks his eyes rapidly, shaking his head. He looks to Lorelei, then. "Ahh, miss Mayor, if, if I may have a moment?"

Lorelei looks about to retort to Stormsailor - she's sure blushing now! - but she's interrupted by the messenger before she can. It's probably for the best! "Oh… hm? Yes? Er, go ahead."

The slender blue stallion glances up at Stormsailor, then back to the mayor. "I will, er, be returning to Silver Shallows in… in the morning." The dude seems a little more calm. Looks like that shot worked. "He did not explicitly invite it, but, ahh, would you like to send a reply to the Curator? I'm headed in that… that direction already, so if there's anything…"

Lavender pipes up, with a bit of misplaced sneakiness, "Wheeere's your ship? Just, you know, curious."

Dream-Daze quirks her ears, peeking just over Lav's shoulder. Awful curious, herself.

And Riptide, he just sinks lower. Oh, dear.

Lorelei blinks and nods. "Oh! Oh, yes. Yes, that's a good idea. Yes. We'll respond. Of course. Er…"

The messenger smiles at the Mayor, nodding. "Of course. I can- retrieve it on my way out tomorrow if you would like time to compose it." He then glances from the mayor to Lavender and Dream Daze. "Me? M-my ship?" he asks, surprised. "I don't have a ship?"

Lavender seems a little surprised, then frowns and puts on a sulk-face. "Stupid seaponies and their not being able to smuggle onboard."

Dream-Daze mirroRs the sulk-face. Awww.

And Riptide is relieved.

Lorelei nods. "That sounds good. Yes. I'll have something prepared by then." So much to do! Think of an official-sounding response, find a ship, put together a team to go… Possibly consider more direct means of approaching the current problem. She frowns thoughtfully, staring down at the table for a moment. "Yes, that seems the thing to do. Send a response. And then a team."

The messenger nods once more and pushes himself up from his seat, glancing between Lavender and Dream Daze again. Increasingly they seem less spooky and more… weird. This whole place is weird. "Very well. I'll, uh, I'll stop by your office in the… the morning. If I can… find it." He looks about the group once more, bows awkwardly, and then makes his way for the door.