The Queen's Gambit, Part 2
IC date: Autumn 45, 1007
OOC date: November 4, 2012
PCs: Brume, Muzaji, Queen-Pegasus, Rising-Chaos, Spindrift, Thunnini
GM: None


Rising-Chaos isn't out of the woods yet. Or, well, she is in the physical sense. She's made quite the spectacle of herself, shambling through town covered in blood, some of it her own, a bloody rock in her telekinetic grasp. She makes an imposing figure. Eventually, she arrives at Queenie's ship, on the edge of consciousness.

The sun is setting by the time she makes it back to Queen Pegasus' ship. Strom has wandered off, leaving her with no opposition on the way to the ship. With unsteady hooves she climbs the gangplank, and falls on the deck of the ship. "I require medical attention. she mumbles. "But if any of you pirates touch my flank I will end you."

Queen-Pegasus hmms adorably as she stands over Rising curiously "So I can't touch what's mine?" she asks the mare with a quizical look upon her face as she trots closer to the mare. "Regardless." hefting her up by the scruff of the neck to carry the smaller mare to a large washing bucket where she deposits Rising. The water is warm and clensing, helping to wash away the blood - but likely stinging the open wounds. "Wash the blood off first, then a proper bath." motioning to another washing bucket behind her. "A nice relaxing bath, yes?

Spindrift and Brume round a corner down the street a short while later and approach. No drama, no real fanfare. They were here before, and now they are back. Spindrift glances about, looking for Maelstrom… and furrows her brow to see him missing. Brume catches on quickly enough, though he doesn't show any outward signs of distress beyond a very slight frown.

The two are soon near the dock at which the Vanity has been moored since forever, and exchange a glance before looking up at it. This is going to get complicated.

Muzaji is still here too! And while she's tried not to get too.. attached to people, she's taken a fondness to these two strangers of sorts. That, or she's still looking to get her hooves on whatever treasure Queenie might have! Prehaps a bit of both. As is the zebra is a bit behind them, but she's also the one with the spyglass, holding it to her eye with one hoof to try and see what's going on aboard the ship. Shame this thing doesn't have audio! But that would just be silly.

Thunnini has resumed lurking, as the three silly pirates had clambered back onto the ship before Queenie's return. Here under the docks is a nice place to listen from; too bad it doesn't have good visual.

"Meant your crew," Rising Chaos protests, not quite realizing what she's implying. She wiggles a bit at being picked up, but all is forgiven once she's dropped into the water. the nice, soothing, cleaning, wonderful water. It wakes her up a bit, enough to splash about to try and get all the water off of her body. Once she's done the best she can, she clambers out of the bucket. "A real bath sounds wonderful, my Queen," Chaos says, bowing deeply. She decides it's for the best not to mention all the cuts and bandages is desperate need of attention, they can wait compared to the Queen.

Queen-Pegasus hefts Rising up as if she were some foal and deposits her into the second tub moments after a couple of unicorns heat it with magic - the water is warm and soothing, strangely soothing - likely full of some form of healing potions. The taller mare planting her flank beside the tub. "Now. I certainly hope you'll behave yourself in the future; I'd hate to see any harm come to you afterall." Despite being the very pony that deposited Rising into way of that very harm.

Numerous pirates mull about on the docks, all congregated around the gangplank. Pretty looking lot, but rather tough looking to boot.

Muzaji snorts as she lowers the spyglass, collapses it, and tucks it away in her cloak. The thing probably has all sorts of pockets hidden in it. "Pfff," she whispers to the other two, "All she's doing is giving her a bath. If the circumstances just escaped were not so dire I would laugh."

Spindrift and Brume both look to Muzaji; Brume chuckles to himself and looks back up at the ship, but Spindrift fumes, scowling down at the ship itself. She studies it carefully, looking for any signs of weakness, any key points where a big of focused damage could go a long way. She shakes her head slowly and looks back up, back to Brume. "Ready a song," she says. 'Hopefully we won't have to use it, but we need to have it ready just in case."

Brume nods, flashing Muzaji a smile before unbundling his instrument and deploying it, the stand underneath unfolding so he can reach up and work the strings. It's quiet at first, but gradually, the volume rises, as the music is carried by the wind up to the deck.

Rising might very well recognize the ringing notes of Brume's hammered dulcimer by now, and should be able to remember what happened last time he was playing this thing. Sure enough, Spindrift's voice rises to join it a moment later.

"Queen Pegasus. I assume we are all settled, so now is the time to talk."

Thunnini's ears perk up as she hears the sound of the hammered dulcimer float on the air. She ducks behind a piling, giving her a bit of cover from Queenie's ship. While the seafilly might not know what's going to go down, she is aware that something is going to happen, and being out of the way is a good thing.

Rising-Chaos relaxes into the luxuriant bath, all her problems fading away. It's easy to forgive Queenie right now, for doing this, especially when one considers what will happen if Chaos DOESN'T forgive her. "Of course my Queen, I will be on ym best behaviour. I am yours to command," she concedes, not having many options. She does indeed recognize Brume's instrument, and Spin's voice. She growls at the words, now is not, in fact, the time to talk in Chaos' opinion.

"I see she prefers the direct approach," Muzaji murmurs as Spindrift more or less just calls the Queen out.

"It is the third time she's done it, actually," comments Brume to Muzaji, in an offhand fashion. "Truth be told this is her most gentle challenge yet."

He tactfully does not notice as Spindrift turns to shoot him a glower over her shoulder.

Queen-Pegasus quietly pats Rising atop of the head as she soaks in the hot, wound healing bath - herbal scents hanging heavy in the air from potions. A unicorn gives the water a little zap to keep it hot then retreats - facing away from Queen and rising and sitting far enough away to be out of mind. "I'm honestly glad to hear that, dear. I do so enjoy your companionship." Yet she threw rising to the Zombies!? The tall pegasi sighs and trots over to the railing of the deck - peering down at the trio of would-be heroes. "You'll need to make an appointment - I'm tending to the wounded at the moment. I fear a thick-headed brute such as yourself doesn't care about those in need, yes?" the mare cocks her head to one side (entirely possible she /is/ insane). "I know you want the Element, and I also know what such a thing is worth. Really you must consider the situation. You attack me - I destory it; it's that simple." No doubt she's selfish enough to do exactly that. The mare props one elbow on the railing - looking down her nose at the other ponies. "I'm not entirely unreasonable…"

Spindrift's sea-green eyes flare as Queen makes herself visible, but she otherwise maintains a cool demeanor, listening. Behind her, Brume plays- the air around him is wavering, soon enough. Light filtering in from the town behind them, cast by streetlamps or windows, refracts oddly off the bubble of magical energy gathering there, scattering into iridescent rainbows that play over the boardwalk. At the mention of destroying the Element, Spindrift can't contain a slight twitch. A conversation with Maelstrom several weeks ago comes to mind… a conversation about what happened the last time someone attempted to disassemble an element.

"I am not unwilling to fight you for it," says Spindrift, "But it would serve neither of our purposes as well as a peaceful resolution. You know you cannot escape such a battle unscathed; we know your crew is formidable." She lifts her chin. "If you are, in fact, reasonable, then tell us what you want in exchange for the Element."

Brume, playing along, smiles slightly as he watches his hooves tap against the strings arrayed before him. "See? You're learning," he says, quietly, to spindrift's back.

Her tail flicks.

"Not to mention it's three of us against a whole crew. Rather depressing odds," Muzaji murmurs under her breath. More the moment she's mostly an idle bystander… though her ears do perk up a bit when the discussion goes towards making deals with the Element instead of fighting for it.

Rising-Chaos watches Queenie move to talk to Spindrift. She's feeling much, much better, though not well enough to leave the tub just yet. The conversation, however, is very interesing. Queen is willing to give up the element? What does this do to Chaos' chances of studying one? Chaos keeps quiet though, speaking her mind and protesting against Queenie is not something that she needs right now. She can always see about studying an element another time. She isn't even sore about bargaining with Spindrift, she did just save her, Chaos owes her one time with no confrontation.

Queen-Pegasus chuckles heartily while examining her hoof. "As reasonable as what serves me." single blue eyes looking down the side of the ship at the small group of ponies. "There's something in the forest, something I want. Rising was kind enough to research the subject for me. Simply put - a small lock box deep in the forest near a fountain. I want the box, and it's contents in exchange for the element. Naturally this would have been easier three days ago - but timing is everything, isn't it?" a rather mischevious grin crosses her face. "Of course, this offer has a time limit; 24 hours - perhaps a tad longer if I'm generous. After all I won't live forever. I'll allow…"

Queen points at the Zebra "…you aboard to obtain the map; after you agree of course." A glance over her shoulder "24 hours should be plenty of time for you, yes?" She asks the soaking mare as the water gets a quick heating from it's tending unicorn.

Brume's music slows to just a light background noodling… enough to sustain the musical charge he has built. This helps free up his attention to turn towards Spindrift and Muzaji, opening his mouth in anticipation of a discussion of the matter.

"Agreed," says Spindrift, staring directly at Queenie, not even bothering to consult with the others. Brume closes his mouth and draws up a bit, looking a bit ruffled. He glances over to Muzaji, then. "Don't sign our stripey friend here up for anything, Spindrift," he chides.

Spindrift glances back at Muzaji, watching her for a moment. "The Zebra wants something out of this," she says to Brume. "Her assistance is welcome, as always, but her investment so far is not going to pay off if she doesn't come with now." She looks back up to the ship, and to Queen Pegasus looming above.

Muzaji gets singled out, oh bucking he — oh it's just the one to do the go-foring. Whew. Well, sort of, considering where it's implied where they're going to have to go -again-. Ugh. Just can't get -away- from zombies these days. She's only guilty by association here!.. wait, guilty isn't the right word, but it is a force of habit to come to mind.

She's about to ask practically the same thing, but then Spindrift beats her to the punch. Okay, this girl is good.

Queen-Pegasus waves a hoof dismissively in the air "Details of your little group aren't my concern. I just want my little trinket before sundown tomorrow - I'm sure you lot can handle it - or get the assistance of whomever you need to get this done. Oh, and try not to die before you bring it back; I'd hate to have that on my conscious." Amazing, she managed to say that with a straight face.

Spindrift and Brume both turn to watch Muzaji, then. Spindrift's expression is neutral. Brume is smiling slightly. He's the one to break the silence. "What do you say, miss Muzaji? Go and retrieve the map for us?"

Spindrift looks away and up at Queenie. "You'll let her retrieve the map without interference?" Her eyes narrow slightly. "And your crew will, as well?"

Queen-Pegasus rolls her eye - with a single eye exposed the whole expression looks daft. "I don't see any reason to interfere with something /I/ want." her gaze falls to Brume. "I fear for you if she's the brains of your little operation. Sometimes things are as black and white as they seem. Speaking of which." she motions to the Zebra with one hoof. "Don't keep me waiting, Night will be upon us soon, and my little pet needs bed rest."

While Muzaji is not all that fond of the idea going back into that forest while it's infested with zombies, the potential to make good graces with the others present does have an allure as well. A good businessmare needs contacts of all sorts, after all. "I suppose I've dipped my hooves too far into this pot already to just back out and wash them of the matter, haven't I?", she replies to Brume with a good-natured grin of her own. Then turns and trots for the ship.

Rising-Chaos is feeling almost better now, certainly as good as the bath will get her. She climbs out, shivering in the cold hair on her wet coat. She looks up at Queenie, and nods. "24 hours should be plenty of time my Queen, thank you," she replies demurely. She sits down, still not very steady on her hooves.

Spindrift and Brume wait. Brume is still maintaining the charged sphere of energy; as the evening deepens, the curious ways that light plays through it are more noticable, such that soon it appears taht he is surrounded by an iridescent soap bubble, or maybe the ghost of the world's biggest pearl. Spindrift watches Muzaji go, quiet and ignoring Queenie's taunting.

Queen-Pegasus waves a hoof dismissively at Brume and Spindrift before trotting over to Rising and planting herself beside the smaller mare. The events that follow are liable to send Rising into cardiac arrest! The taller pegasi mare gently drapes a single wing around the shivering mare! She motions to one of her goons who trots off - returning moments later with a small scroll which he hands to the Captain before retreating. Queen watches intently as the Zebra boards her ship. "Do be aware, stripes. Funny business will be met with a punishment far more severe than Rising's." Surely food for thought - Queen is holding Rising quite affectionately less than an hour after throwing her to the zombies; dealing with a such a mad-pony is insane enough - but angering her? Clearly a horrible idea.

Despite the ominous, not really veiled at all threat Muzaji maintains her charming grin as she trots aboard. "Aw, Captain, need to be so grave; that would be no way for a guest to behave." Considering how she's seen this mare treat her supposed -friends-, she really does not want to make an -enemy- of her at the moment. Even if she really has no idea what it is the Wanderers are trying to get from her. The lengths they are going through is enough indiciation it is -valuable- in some sort. "Just give me the map and you can rest, while we trudge out way through that forest."

She is getting a little annoyed that no pony seems to call her by her actual name, but that's not an important point right now.

Queen-Pegasus chuckles warmly at Muzaji and extends the roll of parchment to the zebra whom she's no name to use. "Wonderful. Manners will get you far with me. Of course, manners do include introducing one's self, no?" Seemingly friendly enough when approached in a polite, submissive manner! The wing around Rising gives a little futter then tightens as the smaller mare shivers a little more - poor Rising must be utterly confused does Queen actually like her!?

Rising-Chaos stiffens as Queen Pegasus drapes her wing around her. Eventually she relaxes a bit, even leans her head against Queen's body, so tired. She gives a small wave to the zebra as she boards the ship. Queenie tightens her grip, and indeed Chaos is confused. Still, she figures she'll enjoy it while it lasts. She stays quiet though, knowing exactly how volatile the imposing pegasus' moods can be.

Spindrift and Brume wait. Holding pattern. Brume's song shifts into a ringing string version of 'The Filly from Ipanema.'

Sometimes doing business involves being nice to somepony no matter how hard you might want to kick them. This is not quite so drastric, but the same general concept applies to keeping one's manners. She takes the scroll in one hoof, holding it as she then crosses that foreleg in front of her in an approximation of a bow. "My name is Muzaji, a mere trader I be."

There's a pause as she does the aside eyedart thing, then leans closer as she lowers her voice to the point only Queen, and Chaos due to proximity, would here it. "That includes the trading of sorts not meant for the public's knoweldge, if you get my drift, Captain." Followed by a wink as she tucks the scroll under her cloak and turns to depart again.

Brume and Spindrift are graced with the sound of a very amused laugh from the Captain of the Vanity. "Muzaji is it? Very well." She'll remember it - when it serves her. "I'm happy to hear that. Be a dear, and don't die; then we can discuss some potential opportunities. I'm all about opportunity - I'm sure Rising can attest to that." Indeed how many other ponies will give you the opportunity to fight for your life from a hoarde of the trotting done? "Now off with you." a shooing moation with her free wing. "I've no intent of harming you, but it doesn't mean I want to stare."

-Now- Muzaji has a bit more interest to be involved, between helping the Wandering Strangers and potential future business with a so-called pirate queen. Networking and all that. In the traditional sense, that is. Still.. not even the zombies, as so much as the -forest- was seemingly malicious as well. But such potential afterwards. If this works out.

The zebra trots down the boarding ramp and back to the two waiting ponies. "Well, it seems we have our work cut out for us. Prehaps a stop by my shop-to-be to properly gear for an expedition is in order."

Spindrift turns to watch Muzaji, and though her expression remains typically guarded, it is clear from her tense body posture she was waiting rather anxiously to see whether Muzaji came back in one piece or got ejected over the railing in several. Maybe she's relieved, as she glances from the zebra down to what she carries, then back up. "You have something you think will help?"

Brume watches, and offers Muzaji a brighter smile than his companion could ever muster. "That seemed to go well." He at last leaves his strings, drawing them back, and in a few moments, the bubble of gathered energy begins to fade, gradually dissipating. As it seeps back into the surroundings, the music-generated magic whistles like a tuneless song, faint and barely at the edge of one's hearing, humming and ringing and eventually fading out. He then sets about packing up the instrument.

With the music dispersed and the meeting of the strong personalities completed, Thunnini idly floats around under the dock. Things are certainly becoming interesting around here! She partially wishes she could help the landponies with their search, but she figures that any listening she does here could turn up useful information.

Muzaji grins at Brume first. "You just have to know how to deal with that sort of pony." Then turns back to Spindrift. "Not for zomponies per say, but if we're going to make a trek through the forest in a timely manner within the limit given, we best be pepared for the traveling part at least, no? A little forthought now to prevent a lot of trouble later." Cants her head thoughtfully. "… Though I may have some bottles of alchemical fire stashed away somewhere. Somepony mentioned fire and zombies not getting along very well."

Spindrift nods once, then. "An excellent approach." She watches Muzaji for a few moments, expression inscrutable, though it's not hard to guess what Spindrift is thinking about: the Zebra herself. At length Spindrift turns away. "We'll pay you for any supplies needed along the way, of course. We have some preparations of our own to make, and I don't like the idea of traipsing through the woods in the dark. Shall we reconvene at dawn?"

Brume finishes bundlig his instrument, tugging the strap that keeps the bundle affixed to his side snug, then turns to smile to Muzaji.

Rising-Chaos watches the zebra, Muzaji, go. She wishes the party well on their quest, it won't be easy. Meanwhile, Chaos has her own jobs to do. Queenie still seems to be holding her close, for whatever reason though, and that means she'll be alright for now. Actually, one thought does occur. Where's her cape, is it safe? She'll need her books and cape if she is to do her job. "My Queen, may I have my things returned to me?" she asks, submissively.

Queen-Pegasus hmms softly "Of course you may. I've put them in cabin for safe-keeping." she motions to the door with the big heart on it and cursive scripting reading 'Captain's Quarters <3' "Let us retrieve your things, and retire for the evening. You an dig into that pretty little thing you've been /dying/ to research, in the morning."

Muzaji nods her head. "Dawn then. Best to approach these things rested and prepared. Until then, my friends." The zebra turns and trots off towards her corner of the market to collect a few things and then get some rest.

Brume waves a hoof in a grandiose fashion. "Goodnight, miss Muzaji! Goodnight! Rest well! A good sleep means crisp stripes and tight rhymes." He then turns and grins to Spindrifit. "How remarkable! No violence at all! My how the tides have shifted, Spin, I wouldn't have thought it possible from you."

Spindrift just gives him a look as the two begin to filter back into the town "Give Maelstrom the credit, on account of his being absent. We don't have much of a choice." She scowls. "You know pirates. If this goes as smoothly as she says it will, I'll be surprised." Her voice drops a bit. "And keep an eye on that zebra, too. She's an opportunist."

Brume sighs, and reaches over to chuck Spin on the shoulder. But, he has spindly stringbean legs and a physique devoted to the arts so she hardly seems affected. "Ohh, you. Tides may shift, but they always roll back in."

The trio reconvene in the morning with adventure on the mind...