The Queen's Gambit, Part 1
IC date: Autumn 45, 1007 AC
OOC date: November 3, 2012
PCs: Brume, Muzaji, Queen-Pegasus, Rising-Chaos, Spindrift, Thunnini
NPCs: Maelstrom
GM: Trixie

It was bound to happen. Rising-Chaos couldn't avoid Queen forever - this begs the question: Would Queen Pegasus be more angry with time, or would it provide time for Queen to cool off? Certainly these are some of the thoughts and questions running through the smaller mare's mind as the tall, imposing Queen-Pegasus slowly paces back and fourth on the deck of her ship; her single sky-blue eye intently trained on Rising-Chaos.

"I expected you'd be back." stopping mid-pace to stare down her nose at smaller mare. "Angry. Disappointed. Betrayed. Plenty of words to express what I'm feeling at this moment." a subtle hiss underlying every word. "I know you're not stupid enough to think you'd go unpunished; despite being stupid enough to run away." Face suddenly all-up in Rising's business. "I've made it clear that I like you, and had no intention of harming you." minty fresh breath washing over Rising's face. "But I can't let this go unpunished."

Rising-Chaos is certainly thinking about her choice in coming here. She'd arrived in the hope of catching Queenie in a good mood after the whole Salty affair. These hopes don't seem to have translated into reality, Chaos muses, while bowing on the Queen's ship. Good mood doesn't seem to describe the mare at all. She flinches at the Queen's tone, genuinely afraid. When Queen gets very close, she looks her in the eye. "Of course not, my Queen," she says, thoroughly intimidated. She makes a note of Queenie saying she liked her, it almost sounded sincere.

Queen-Pegasus is actually a very honest pony - something that may go missed due to all manner of dastardly deeds; she's not the type of pony to back-stab she prefers to go for the eyes. The mare jerking upwards sharply and waving a hoof. Cloak off, all your stuff on deck now. a sideways glance at one her unicorn males we'll call him Point-Dexter for the sake of argument on account of his rather pointy horn. He'll tell me if you're hiding anything with magic. So I recommend just putting all your goodies down so we can get this behind us. she trots in a small half-circle around Rising-Chaos. An earth-pony stallion trots over and sets a lidded bucket a few feet in front of Rising.

Just beneath the surface of the water, Thunnini quietly floats. She's still feeling sad about the loss of Faulty Salty, but she figures she'd better resume listening to things abovewater. Thus, she's floating with just her ears above the water.

Rising-Chaos doesn't hesitate to obey, dropping her saddlebags, jewelry, everything. She gets to only having her cloak and suddenly stops, not willing to give up her most precious object. The cloak drops to the deck of the ship along with all of her other posessions, revealing her bandaged flank and back legs as well as bruises running up her left side. She drops back into a bow, shivering a little, because of the cold, yeah, the cold.

Queen-Pegasus claps her fore-hooves together as she proclaims "Excellent!" That earth-pony stallion - we'll call him Rocky-Road - carries the bucket over to Rising and sets it down. "Be a dear a hold onto that. Nice and tight. We're going to take a little trip; I've no intent on having you lose any face in front of my men. I'll ensure Tough-Love tends to your possesions until we return." The ruggedly handsome stallion giving a small nod - he probably looks like the most trust-wrothy of the bunch.

Queeni firmly grasps the smaller mare by the waist, the moment Rising-Chaos has a good grip on that bucket; powerful wings launching both mares into the air. Queen certainly has a pair of wings on her, and those very wings are carrying the pair over the town and towards the forest - it's hard to miss the pink pegasi and 'naked' Rising gliding through the air. The bucket in Rising's grasp has some weight to it - telling her it's full…of something.

As the two rise into the air, they can plainly see a pair of Mysterious Wanderers standing on the boardwalk. Brume has his instrument wrapped up at his side; Spindrift is wearing her dull grey cloak once more, and it whips about her slender frame in the cool autumn breeze. They both look considerably better than they did last night, minus all the scabs and a few bandages here and there.

"Queen Pegasus," calls Spindrift, up at the ascending figure of the pirate queen. "We are here for the necklace and I don't have time for any nonsense. Bring it to us now."

Brume smiles a cringey sort of smile beside her. "Remind me why I let you do the talking?" he asides to her.

Queen-Pegasus cheerfully replies. "You'll need to schedule an appointment. Tad busy at the moment." The smaller mare held akwardly under the pegasi who's clearly heading away from her ship; which 'only' leaves a couple dozen pirates to deal with were somepony planning to attempt to take the ship. Of course - what kind of would-be heroes could ignore the 'naked' and akwardly held Rising grasped by the flying Queenie who's heading /straight/ for the Wintersong Forest? Possibly these would-be heroes.

Thunnini had stuck her head out of the water in time to watch Queenie take off with Chaos, and the seafilly had planned on going back to her hidey-hole for a nap, but the sound of Spindrift's voice catches her attention. Interesting things seem to happen around the mysterious wanderers, and it might be good to pay attention to whatever might be going on.

The Mysterious Wanderers are not the only ones that had spotted the passing pegasus. Muzaji had just been milling about the boardwalk, having had rather successful business in the light of the 'zombie apocaclypse' selling off trinkets and wards that may or may not have actually been effective at repelling zombies. A few moments later she's produced a spyglass and using it to get a better look at the retreating pair.

A pegasus, carrying a unicorn, carrying a bucket? Interesting. Very interesting.

The zebra tucks the spyglass away again, grabs her own cloak, and hurries off to 'investigate'. As in there could be potential pirate plunder in that bucket to… aquire.

Maelstrom is also on the boardwalk, although not standing near Spindrift and Brume. No, the unicorn got distracted by a nearby candy shop and is walking out of it with his mouth glued shut by taffy. "Waish," he says as he hears Mysterious Stranger #1 calling up to Queen Pegasus. "She'sh reaving her shirp? Doesh she harve zhe necklarsh wish her?" Om nom nom lipsmack. The blue stallion scans the sky to spot the pegasi and her unwilling passenger.

Rising-Chaos is shocked when she is picked up by Queen Pegasus. She keeps a firm hold on the bucket, it being her one task which she is desperate not to fail. She catches sight of Brume and Spindrift below, and hears Spindrift shouts. Chaos glares at Spindrift, the mare watching this happen, and being concerned over getting an amulet back. Especially after Chaos told her she was going to make sure it was used for the greater good. At least Brume is a nicer sight, Brume is cool, maybe he'll intervene. Oh, dear, maybe he'll intervene, and get hurt, or worse, get Chaos hurt. She starts shaking her head, no, don't follow, of course, that message doesn't translate well through distance and bucket.

The two Mysterious Wanderers both watch Queen sail by. Spindrift's stoic expression falls a bit, and she and Brume exchange a glance. "I figured she'd already be shooting you," he suggests with a shrug. Spindrift sighs, then adds, a moment later, "Me, too."

As Maelstrom approaches, the two glance back at him, and Brume scratches his chin thoughtfully as he considers the question. "I'm not sure, and I doubt we'll find out without asking. Shall we?" he asks, glancing across to Spindrift. She rolls her eyes and nods, then turns towards the retreating pegasus and her cowering passenger. "Maelstrom, keep an eye on the ship," she says, because she forgot to say 'please' sometime in the recent past. "If any of her goons look like they're coming our way, put them out for a swim."

Brume closes his eyes and starts whistling a short tune, music to summon a well of power. It is, perhaps, a familiar process by now, although nobody has stopped to ask why exactly these two lanky earth ponies can do such fabulous tricks yet, so perhaps nobody has really been paying attention. Regardless, after several moments, Spindrift gestures towards Queen Pegasus, and a powerful force attempts to seize her by the tail and anchor her in mid-air.

They remain utterly oblivious to Rising Chaos' signals because Spindrift is stubborn and Brume is thinking about pretty ladies and warm beaches most of the time. Incidentally, the song he is whistling is the refrain of a tune about beaches and pretty ladies and the various things you can do with them on a beach.

Brume rolls 1d20 (Anchors Aweigh) — Result: 1 | Sum: 1

(OOC) Brume flexxxxxx
(OOC) Rising-Chaos: hahahahaha
(OOC) Rising-Chaos: so does Queenie speed up? :P

"Hey, you don't get to tell me what to do," Maelstrom says sharply. "How about YOU guys go grab Queenie up there, and I'm going to make sure the ponies on the ship don't try anything funny." His horn glows for a few seconds, as do several portions of the gangplank of the ship and dock. Nothing magical has apparently happened, however.

(OOC) Muzaji: Hah, what logic
(OOC) Maelstrom: I always have the best strategies.

The flight path of the pair lead them right over town, over the school house, and finally over the forest. The pair growing smaller and smaller still easily seen by a keen pair of eyes; admittedly a very short flight before the pair disappear among the canopy of the forest - this area of the forest could easily be reached in less than 10 minutes by hoof.

What transpires among the heavy woods can't be seen by the earth ponies that watched Queen flutter off with Rising. In the depth of the forest Queen releases Chaos a mere inch or two above the ground - clearly has no intent to harm her little lackey; she does however take the bucket and flutter back into the air. "Your punishment is to walk back to the ship." the mare flutters a little higher. "Oh, before I forget." She turns the bucket over. The content of the buckets spill fourth " bright red liquid splashing down atop of Rising." thick and cold…blood. "I suggest you hurry." A moment later any pony who may have been curious to Queen and Chaos' whereabouts are rewarded - with the whereabouts of Queen; Rising /clearly/ not in tow.

Spindrift eases back a bit, watching as Queenie sails along as if nothing happened. She looks down at her hoof, then over at Brume, who has ceased whistling to stare at Queenie's departing silhouette with an upraised eyebrow. He returns her look, and shrugs. Spindrift scowls and puts her hoof back down, looking back at the ship.

"Now what?" asks Brume, looking between Spindrift and Maelstrom.

Spindrift shakes her head. "Maelstrom…" she says, observing the spells he casts, the traps presumably set. "… you clearly know what you're doing. If you get bored, punch a hole in the ship and sink it. We can always go search the wreck later. Brume, come on." She whirls to the north and takes off, intent to pursue Queenie; Brume bustles along close behind, with a little whistled fanfare.

"'course I do," Mael says proudly. "You don't grow up in a sun-forsaken wasteland without learning a thing or two about guard duty!" He puts another piece of taffy in his mouth (where was he keeping it in the first place?) and sits down to watch the /heck/ out of that boat.

Where town has been relatively zombie-free since the defeat of the Dread Ghost Salty, Wintersong Forest is quite another story. Rising and Queen would be able to hear the groans echoing from the trees even before the stunt with the bucket of blood.

While it was not intentional to do so, it would seem that Muzaji's following of the fleet flying figures also brings her across the path of the Wanderers also in pursuit. Frankly, the zebra is relieved to see a couple of familiar faces. Or distractions. It's hard to tell with her at times, especially when she keeps it under that chrismatic exterior. "Well now, fancy meeting you. In pursuit of the fleeting pair too?"

Rising-Chaos land on her hooves, wincing as her wouned back legs hit the ground. She is immediately suspicious of the seemingly easy punihsment, avoiding zombies as is shouldn't be too difficult. those thoguht are dashed when the literal busket of blood (where did she GET this?) is poured on her. Before she can even wipe the blood from her eyes, the Queen is gone. Chaos stands in shock for a few moments, the enormity of the situation falling on her shoulders. She takes a minute to observe her surroundings and to remember which way leads to town, then darts off into the trees.

In minutes she's out of breath, dashing through the trees as fast as she can run. Groans and wails of zombies are on all sides, getting closer by the second. Tears run down her cheeks, oh she is sooooo sorry.

Those beyond the edge of the forest can see Queen hovering above the trees as she seems to intently watch whatever is going on. The pink mare is very, very amused - not that any pony can see the wicked grin upon her face from this distance. A single fore-hoof moving about in a slow series of 'points' as if she were counting /something; she can't really see through the thick of the canopy now can she? "Oh my, 13. That's a very unlucky number." grin turning into a small frown. "Let us hope she's what it takes to endure this punishment, yes?" Speaking to no pony in particular because she's you know, all alone; and likely a tad insane - after all who has a bucket of fresh blood sitting around?

Spindrift glances at Muzaji for a moment, but doesn't stop to chat. She's too busy trying to figure out if she's running to stop Queenie or running to save Rising, since both of them are likely to know where the Element can be found.

Brume blinks at the zebra, however, and flashes her a smile. "Joining us for a little stroll?" he asks. "Can't say I pictured you for the type to go rescuing damsels in distress-"

Spindrift speaks up, calling back over her shoulder. "She's not a damsel, and if she's in distress it's because of her own bad decisions."

Brume clears his throat and resumes talking to Muzaji. "… BUT your assistance is no doubt appreciated, if you're making it available." The pair wind through a few twisting streets and start filtering through the outskirts of town. They may sprint past a terribly lost-looking zombie in the process; it turns and groans after them but can't really be assed with following.

A zebra, not entirely an unusual occurance around the Harbor to see. She has the typical grey-white color with a scattering of black stripes across her body, and the mohawk-like mane of alternating black and white. She has a few gold bracelets around one foreleg, and a few of the matching neck collars common for her kind to match — though a couple of them appear to have small gemstones inset to them as well, which isn't quite as typical. It's contrasted by the leather vest she wears that's more akin to a traveller or trader, though even it has fancy trim and designs stitched into it, and shiny stones made into the buttons and clasps. Her eyes are a deep, mischevious looking violet. A set of black stripes on her flanks make an abstract image of a cargo crate for her cutie marks.

(OOC) Spindrift: 'hey Maelstrom come help us get the element' 'okay' 'hey maelstrom, bye, the adventure is on the other side of town. stay here please' 'okay'
(OOC) Rising-Chaos: psychonauts flashback
(OOC) Maelstrom '-'
(OOC) Spindrift: I'd like you to meet Mr. Pokeylope.
(OOC) Maelstrom: And then everypony comes back to the ship at the end and Maelstrom has somehow gotten everyone completely plastered and singing raunchy shanties.
(OOC) Spindrift: do it
(OOC) Spindrift: i was expecting this to be a huge ugly brawl. if it turns out to be a song and dance number and a damsel rescuing scene it will be the best reversal

"Let's just say I'm too curious for my own good, and this town has a reputation for being a trouble magnet that I'm rather interested in… investigating farther, as it where," is Muzaji's reply to Brume, not the least bit phased that Spindrift doesn't really pay her much mind at the moment. At least she can run and talk at the same time.

The problem with zombies in forests is that they're not exactly the most agile of creatures. Even the fast ones are still limited by their inability to make snap decisions. Rising's mad dash through the trees seems to be relatively successful in helping her outpace the undead horde!

And then a tree root lifts a few inches out of the ground of its own volition to trip the poor mare. Whoops!

Rising-Chaos rolls 1d20 (dad, am I magic?) — Result: 5 | Sum: 5

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: oh Q_Q
(OOC) Queen-Pegasus: Dad "No, you're adopted."

Aboard The Vanity: Pirates a plenty are taking a rare oppurtunity to slack-off; a rare treat indeed to have the pampered pony off-ship. "You believe that?" "Of course I do, haha. Little welp had it coming - angering Cap'n." "If anything she got off easy. Remember what she did to Bob?" the three pirates crossing their reg legs in unison. "I don't even want to think about /that/."

Spindrift glances back over her shoulder once more, eyeing Muzaji. She knows a little bit about mysterious investigations, so of course she takes notice when someone else professes to be up to one. Not that anybody knows that's what she's been doing, she is just a normal Mysterious Wanderer, pay her no heed!

Brume chats amiably as he gallops along. "Really now? Trouble is certainly in ready supply around here. Any particular variety you care for?" He trails off as he squints up and at the looming silhouette of Queenie, visible there above the treeline. He even points for one hobbling three-legged moment. "Look!" he says. "We must be going in the right place. I don't see any entrails trailing from her mouth- is that a good sign?"

Maelstrom continues to mercilessly masticate his taffy, ears perking as he hears the ponies on the ship start talking amongst themselves. "Hey!" the stallion on the docks calls out after swallowing his delicious candy. "What'd she do to Bob?"

Rising-Chaos tumbles head over hooves as the tree trips her. "No fair!" she protests, wincing in pain. She gets to her hooves unsteadily, and looks around herself. She's in a small clearing, surrounded by the darkness of the forest. Even as she watches, zombies appear at the edge of the clearing, seemingly on all sides, trapping her although it is in reality only a couple of the beasts, her fear mulitplies the danger. Chaos casts a glance skyward, spotting Queen Pegasus.

Her fear leaves her, to be replaced by a flush of anger. Chaos feels the rage with every fiber of her being, and accepts it. She screams her anger at the uncaring zombies, charging the one blocking her way back to town. She tries to summon a fireball mid charge. She tries her best to conjure the forces necessary, but it is not meant to be. Her spell fizzles out and dies, leaving her charging the cordon of zombies with nothing but her hooves. She dodges around a zombie and slips by, earning herself a nasty scratch by passing so close to a monster. Soon she is galloping once more through the trees.

Rising does a spectacular job of avoiding her zombie pursuers! But once again the forest itself seems to have other plans. A low tree limb, bent to the breaking point for some inexplicable reason, finds all of its tension released and swings back into its standard position! Said position is right where Rising's chest would be should she continue galloping without regard for her surroundings.

The leaves rustle as if laughing.

One head pokes over the railing, then another, and third! We'll call these three Larry, Curly, and Moe - on the basis that one has beautiful curly locks of gold, another an awesome stash, and the third well he just looks like a Larry now doesn't he? "What'd she do to Bob?" "Why she…" Curly chimes in "She…" finally Mo "She kicked him so hard in the jimmies that Bob became Barb." "Horrible looking mess of a woman too." "Poor chap was the only fellow that could rival Moe's awesome stash." Moe chimes in "Sad thing is she still can."

Maelstrom winces with sympathy pains. "Nopony deserves that!" he calls up to the heads peeking over the railing. "I don't care if he doused her in blood and threw her into the wilds, there's just some things you don't do to a stallion!" He peers at Moe and Moe's moustache when the topic comes up. "I don't know, it doesn't look /that/ great."

Queen-Pegasus doe a barrell roll - with grace and style; all the while intently watching Rising, one might call her 'the eye in the sky' at the moment. Queen watching could either mean A) She's wants to see Rising ripped apart. or B) She's watching /over/ the other mare. "Oh dear." she chuckles while fluttering about upside - like a foal enjoying a good show. "Tsk tsk This little forest seems to have a mind of it's own."

'Whatever I can make profit from' is the first thought that comes to Muzaji's mind. But the zebra knows better than to voice such opinions out loud. "One can't be picky if they want the full breath of experiences," is a much more sociable reply to give, yes. Her ears flare up at the sound of shouting in the distance. "Not sure if that was an attack, but it sounds as if we are one the right track."

Moe gives a stachey-pout. "I'm growing it out this month." he protests. "On account of you know, Mo's for Bros. Statche awareness, and all that jazz." bringing both hooves up to stroke his statche before flipping up the collar of his frilly shirt. Larry smirks. "Barb's /is/ better. Kinda hot actually." Curly and Moe glance sideways at Larry before taking a small step sideways and away. "That's just weird man."

"Stache awareness?" Maelstrom quirks an eyebrow. "Why do you need to make ponies aware of moustaches? They're kind of hard to miss. Especially ones as, uh, 'nice' as yours?" Yeah. Nice. That's a neutral word. Larry's ourburst about Barb's facial earns a strange look from the unicorn as well. "You've got issues, you know?"

Curly glances down "Oi! Seapony!" waiting for Thunnini to look up at him before flicking his curly mane back over his shoulder with one hoof. "Come party with us!" Suddenly tackled to the ground by Larry and Moe "No! Queen will Bob you!"

The Mysterious Wanderers- is it really wandering if they have a very clear direction?- both catch Rising's roar of rage, ears perked and attention focused on the forest. "-Definitely- going in the right place now," says Brume.

"Direction," says Spindrift, back over her shoulder. "The phrase is, 'going in the right direction.'"

Brume frowns a bit. "I suppose it is, at that. What a curious turn of phrase these land-dwell…" He trails off and glances across to Muzaji, then snaps his attention back forward. "…land-dwellers have, as opposed to us seafaring sailor types. I do miss sailing! Don't you, Spindrift?"

She would facehoof if she wasn't busy charging along the road. By now it's less of a road and more of a path- not many ponies make their way to the woods. Fields dulled by autumn spread out to either side, and the dark spread of the treeline looms closer. Soon farmland is giving way to brush, the outermost parts of the forest where the shadows are small and not so cold.

"Anyway," says Brume, to Muzaji. "Good on you for maintaining an exploratory spirit. What was your name again…? I fear I didn't have time to catch it the other night before, well…"

(OOC) Muzaji: Bob You is now officially the term for that action

Thunnini *looks* up at the three sailors. "Why should I party with you?" she asks with a slightly bored look. She doesn't trust Queenie's crew - although she does distrust them less while Queenie's not around.

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: if Chaos has been running for say, 5 minutes, how clsoe to being out woudl she be?
(OOC) Queen-Pegasus: Over half-way. I'd reckon she'll meet with the incoming group at any moment - conviently leading a small horde with her =3

"Don't do anything creepy!" Maelstrom yells up at the stallions who have dived back under the railing and out of his view. "If you do anything creepy I have the authority to blast a giant hole in the side of your boat! And if Queenie comes back and sees that, you're ALL getting Bobbed!"

Climbing to his hooves once again Curly looks over the railing of the ship then glances sideways at Larry who just shrugs then at Moe who shrugs too, and finally Curly shrugs. "Cause we got booze, and handsome stallions?" Undoubtedly the crew /is/ handsome if not a tad strange.

(OOC) Queen-Pegasus applies hoof to forhead "Bobbing for Apples takes on a new meaning.

Anger, fear, these emotions don't tend to make you focus on where you're going. Rising Chaos is caught full in the chest by the branch, sending her, once again, head over hooves tumbling backwards through the trees. She gets back to her hooves slowly, panting deeply. The groans of zombies ring clear through the forest, drawing ever closer. What can she do? Illusions are useless, as the zombies can smell the blood. Chaos starts to panic, and breaks into a quick jog, watching her every step. After a few more minutes of constant movement, Chaos notices the foliage thinning, she's nearing the edge of the forest! She takes a moment to dance in place, relief washing through her.

That small moment of elation means she misses any zombie in front of her though, just for now.

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: oh, oh my… D:
(OOC) Thunnini is giggling even harder~

Violet eyes squint just slightly at Brume's brief vocal misstep there. You don't survive in the business she's in (either of them) without being attentive to what ponies say. However now is not the time to make something of the matter, so when he covers it up with a sensible continuation she just files it away for the time being and answers the more immeadiately important question as they continue their rapid decent into the woods that most ponies fear to trot. "Muzaji is my name; trading is my game."

She pauses to give a shifty-eyed glance, then leans a bit closer to Brume. "But to I confide, I have other… business on the side."

Oooooh no no no, that won't do at /all/. Whatever ethereal force has been stalking Rising through the forest hasn't had its fill of fun yet! With the trees thinning and its victim watching her step more carefully it must rely on more direct means of interfering with her progress.

Emphasis on 'mean'. Several small rocks begin to float nearby before hucking themselves at Rising. Then a big rock follows suite.

(OOC) Rising-Chaos: sticks and stone will br- oh

Maelstrom stamps a hoof. "I can hear you being creepy to that weirdo legless foal! If you don't stop trying to liquor her up right now, moon above, I'm going to blow something up!"

Peek, peek, peek - the three pirates peek over the railing at Maelstrom again. "Chill man." "Didn't know you were a fin-chaser." "All yours, just watch out for the bait and switch." this earns Moe a couple noggin slaps.

Queen couldn't be more curious about the strange happenings; details are sparse but clearly something /other/ than zombies are impeding Chaos' progress. "What do you make that of that?" Fluttering a little lower - but well out of the reach of the tree tops. "Very, very intresting." certainly this changes plans that involve a foray into the forest.

Brume perks an ear towards Muzaji and leans in for a more conspiratory conversation one would suspect a high-speed flight along a treacherous trail into a dark and evil forest would allow. "Is that a fact, my stripey friend? You don't happen to have any slickwick available, do you?" He squints a bit. "Or are we talking, say, pony trafficking here?"

The sound of groaning zoombies soon surrounds them… as do trees, and the unwelcoming chill of the unnaturally cold forest. Spindrift tucks her head lower and hastens her approach. "Up ahead- the sounds of a battle. Hurry!" she stesses.

Thunnini makes a face at Moe for his comment. "I don't like him. He's a meanie," she pouts, glaring at Maelstrom.

"What does that even mean? That's not a real thing!" Maelstrom frowns the biggest of frowns at the three stooges on the ship. "Whatever! At least I'm not some creepy foal-fiddler like you guys are!"

Muzaji leans away from Brume slightly, though it could possible be an act. "Please. I may be many unscrupilous things if the job calls for it, but I do have -some- morales. That's just terrible." But slides back into the casual conversation easy enough. "If I don't, I know means of aquiring some."

But Spindrift's stern remark interrupts with scencere urgency, and the zebra picks up her pace to keep up. "We must make haste if a life is not to go to waste."

The three look at one another, then at one another in a different manner before peering real hard into the water. "Well stick a fork in me and call me Bob! That be a foal!" the three gasp in unison - clearly being immersed in dark ocean waters can make it difficult to discern details, very important details. Suddenly Curly is thrown over-board by his companions. "Weirdo!" they shout in unison. Then poor Larry gets thrown overboard as well "You're a weirdo too!" Moe calls triumphantly while leaning over the edge of the railing. A seagull happens by - and with the assistance of a convienent little 'plop' Moe loses his balance and the trio are now truely sea-worthy.

Rising-Chaos rolls 1d20 (but dad, am I then spell?) — Result: 14 | Sum: 14

Thunnini giggles at the floating pirates. "You three are silly," she grins, splashing the three with a small jet of water.

Rising-Chaos looks up from her jubulation, to see half a dozen zombies in front of her. "Oh," she says, softly. She looks around, seeing zombies on all sides, blocking actually all escape routes. She moves clsoer to the center of the closing ring of ombies, shivering with a feeling of dread. A small pelt of rocks alerts her to more trickery, and she turns in time to catch the larger rock wiht her magic. Suddenly armed with a weapon, a hint of confidence enter Chaos' pose. While this rock is no machete, it will have to do.

The ring around Chaos closes in, and like any cornered, firghtened animal, Chaos fights back. Another scream bred of pure desperation anounces her charge. She tries for another fireball, and this time succeeds! She tosses the fireball behind her to slow down pursuers and crashes headlong into the things in front of her. One zombie gets it's head hit, hard, by a big rock, and Chaos is through. She turn around, no more running, it's time to finish this. Not to mention the fact that the zombies are now between her and town. She pants heavily, tired from her run and worn out by the multiple cuts and bites she received from her charge, but she isn't done yet. She sees three zombies were dispatched by her spell, but she's not sure if the bashed one will be getting back up.

A lone Zombie suddenly latches onto Rising's leg and chomps down with all its might! Surely this is the end of the mischevious mare. Fortunately for Rising's sake this zombie has the friendly nickname of 'gummy', and all it can really do is 'drool' on Rising's back leg and hold on - gumming away with tenacity!

Zombies? In between Chaos and the town? How many are there? You can subtract one as it its blasted apart from behind, dessicated limbs and brittle bones scattering into the bushes. A moment later and another one beside it topples over- it's not as fragile as its fellow, and so when a blast of force cuts through its spine, the thing merely collapses into a heap rather than blowing up all over the place.

Spindrift is soon revealed in the trees behind the zombies, firing away. Further behind him is the angular profile of Brume, a hoof touched to his chest and his voice raised in song!

Spindrift glances through the crowd of zombies, at Rising. Her flat expression reveals nothing more than that she now knows she's in the right place and fighting the right bunch. Brume, behind her, needs time to build up another charge, and so for lack of anything else to throw, Spindrift hefts a pinecone and bounces it off a ghoul's skull. It turns around to leer at her and gets another pinecone in the eye for the trouble.

More ponies? MORE ROCKS! The newcomers into the forest find bits of stone and twigs being kicked up at them from the ground as well. The malevolent forest spirit is an equal opportunity abuser!

Equal opportunity abuse? Certainly a shared intrest of the unknown forest spirit and Queen. Fluttering about in slow cirlces as she continues to watch the 'drama'. "Come now, Rising! I haven't all afternoon, and we both know this is only going to end one of two ways. Personally, I am hoping for the option with less dead minion - please don't dissapointment me again." Did Queen just state she /wants/ Rising to survive after throwing her into the very-life threatening situation she's in?

Oh wonderful, zombies again. And now forest debris as well? Egads!

Fortunately, this time Muzaji is more aptly prepared for such a thing, instead of having to improvise on the spot.

She may not be the alchemist some zebras are, but she still knows her way around a kettle and flask. Having the connections to get a decent recipe book or two and materials helps. Enough that the vial she pulls out of her cloak and flings at the nearest zombie is full of some sort of foul smelling, filth melting acid.

Unfortunately, the getting random rocks and twigs flung at you in the meanwhile isn't very useful. "This is not the sort of getting stoned I prefer!"

Rising-Chaos sees Spin enter the fray and starts to laugh. It's insane laughter, after what she's been through seeing a pony she hates rescue her is a bit much. She smashes Gummy's head open with her rock and makes a break for it, skirting the group of zombies and hurtling past Spindrift with all the speed she can muster. "Sorry, would help, but I'm almost dead, good luck!"

Spindrift glances at Rising but doesn't say anything. It is, she readily realizes, a perfectly logical decision on Rising's part, and Spindrift is not about to fault anybody else a coldly pragmatic decision. She instead worries about the zombies that are closest. By now, Brume- who waves a hoof to Rising amicably as she breezes past, not interrupting his singing- has built up enough of a charge that Spindrift can channel the energy into lifting one of the zombies and smashing another with it- taking them both out with one spell. That's good math is what that is.

But she doesn't stick around to try and take care of them all, instead backing up, then turning to follow Rising. Brume clears his throat as he drops out of singing mode and reaches over with a spindly leg to try and turn Muzaji about and back the way they came. "Nice toss! Let's head back to town and regale eachother with tales of our own heroics over something alcoholic, hmmm?"

It's not holy water, but acid seems to do the trick just as well. Muzaji is pondering getting out some matchs and trying to set it on fire as well, but before she can express any pyromanic thoughts Brume drags her back to the more important reality. "I believe my friend, you may be right. More answers in following her than hanging tight."

Clearly the forest rewards Rising with a series of small, short claps. "Splendid, splendid. Just head back to the ship now." the mare soaring off ahead - leaving the exhausted Chaos to make her way back to the Portside; after all she'll still need to reclaim her possesions. Hopefully for Rising Chaos' sake - this /all/ it takes for forgiveness.

The Mysterious Wanderers- or, at least, for the time being, Mysterious Followers- pursue Rising out of the forest and back into town. Maybe even to the docks. Maybe then they can start sinking ships. They stop to put bandaids on along the way, though, what with all the ugly welts those rocks have raised on the delicate fae figures their unique heritage as, uh, sailors, have given them.

Several rocks are still floating in the air, poised to strike! But then Rising finally manages to escape the forest's terrible grasp. The rocks change formation into a large :( in midair.

Rising-Chaos returns to the Vanity, with Muzaji and the Mysterious Wanderers in pursuit.