The Queen's Gambit, Part 4
IC date: Autumn 46, 1007 AC
OOC date: November 7, 2012
PCs: Brume, Muzaji, Spindrift
NPCs: None
GM: Queen-Pegasus

Spindrift, Brume and Muzaji search an ancient cistern for a mysterious treasure...

Angry giant spider is all like 'hey remember me?', glaring with it's like hundred eyes at Spindrift who moments ago flicked the tiny thing into the pool; must be one refreshing drink! Spidery sounds ensue as the giant arachnid raises it's abdomen in a clearly hostile stance - fixated on the yummy pony that ticked it off.

One has to ponder just how getting splashed in water giant sized a spider. Though maybe later. Right now, more worried about it deciding to snack on them. As she steps back Muzaji reachs under her cloak, but instead of her sword pulls out a flask of… mud? Imported facial rub 'fancy forgien mud', to be precise. Maybe she was being prepared to have to bribe the prissy pirate queen later? Whatever the reason she has it is unimportant right now, as she flings the bottle of mud at the spider's head in an attempt to blind those dozens or so of eyes before it snatchs Spindrift up!

Muzaji rolls 1d20 (Here's mud in your eyes!) — Result: 7 | Sum: 7

If Brume shrieked with fright at one little spider, one can imagine his soul-crushing terror at what is probably like a thousand spiders' worth of spider. Indeed, his eyes roll up into his head and he staggers about, very nearly toppling off the narrow ledge leading down into the cavern before slumping up against the wall in a woozy state somewhere between conscious and un.

Spindrift is not so weak-kneed! She is surprised, of course, snapping her head back from the waterfall to look to the ginormous spider with a look of irritable alarm. For a moment she's caught flat-footed, before scooting back, putting as much space between herself and the spider as she can as she prances on nimble hooves back to the base of the upward spiral slope. That's about where Brume is swooning about, so she glances to him and slaps him back to consciousness. "Uh…? Sp- sp-" he stammers.

Spindrift shoves him in the chest. "Focus," she says, staring directly at him. "Music. Now."

Brume glances between Spindrift and the Spider, lips flapping, then zips them up, nods briskly, and with a bit of effort- and several off keys- starts to whistle a jaunty battle tune.

The not-so-itsy-bit spider is plenty big, and backing up just doesn't seem to much good. The behemoth of an arachnid towering over the would-be adventuers in a mere two steps; one fore-leg raised as the spider leans against the cavern wall int preparation for it's meal. A vial of mud hurls over-head - prompting a quizical look at the stripped mare before the spider suddenly loses balance as one of it's legs begins to rapidly decay - the stench of death whipping around Brume and Spindrift. A shrill cry fills the cavern as the enlarged spider rapidly decays where it towers above Brume and Spindrift - spidery bits threatening to fall atop of the pair before the giant thing falls backwards with it's legs curling inwards - the stentch of rot giving way as carcass is rapidly reduced to a hollow shell! No battle for you suckers.

"What the…" Violet eyes widen a bit in surprise as the spider abrutly starts to rot away. Followed by a hoof over her snout. "Ugh, to go what a way, with the stench of rot and decay." Somehow NOT having to fight the thing is less assuring to Muzaji

Spindrift and Brume both stare at the rotten spider with open mouths and wide eyes. It is the most expressive Spindrift has probably been about anything in any Harborite's memory.

Brume then quite suddenly erupts into musical laughter. "Ho ho! Not so tough now, are you?!" He then realizes this is really kind of disgusting and looks away. Oh, don't let it rot on him!

Spindrift composes herself in short order, watching the dead spider for a moment more, then hurries back against the wall. "You're right," she says, to Muzaji. "Something killed it, and if it can kill that, it can kill us. Don't go near it. Don't touch the water." She closes her eyes, then, and focuses, feeling about for magical presences. As a magic-user whose skills lie in channeling existing energies rather than creating her own, she has some skill in feeling out nearby sources, and tries to 'smell' some sort of enchanted presence- something that, for example, might have killed a spider and is now about to kill ponies.

"Magics of life and death," Muzaji muses, mostly to herself. Then turns a concerned glance to Brume. "Are you going to be okay my friend?"

Brume, leaning up against the wall, waves a forehoof to Muzaji as he grins behind the folds of his cloak that he holds up against his nose. "Never been better!" He then turns away so she can't see him make a face. Oh, so disgusting.

(OOC) Queen-Pegasus: Roll!

Spindrift rolls 1d20 (I cast magic missile into the darkness) — Result: 12 | Sum: 12

Spin senses a strong magical force - rather it's /hard/ to miss, and a tad unsettling..or that just might be the spider stank.

Spindrift opens her eyes and frowns. "Hold on," she says, hauling up the ramp and back towards the exit.

"What? Where are you going?" asks Brume, looking up at her from where he's still leaning against the wall.

"I said hold on. Stay here," is Spin's answer, and then she disappears outside. She also had the light, so she may have left her friends in the dark.

(OOC) Queen-Pegasus: Muzaji - if you feel something rubbing against your leg…it's just Brume.
(OOC) Brume: you WOUND me with your implications, madam
(OOC) Queen-Pegasus: Naw, you're just sore I exposed your plans =3

Darkness, damp darkness. The sound of the waterfall drowning out lesser noises - making it for a far from safe-feeling enviornment.

That's okay, a moments pass and then a small light flares up, courtesy of Muzaji lighting the candle inside of a lantern and setting it on the rocky ground. "Told you it was best to prepare for such a journey beforehoof." Then glances back up towards the exit. "But I wonder why she left in such a huff."

A minute or two after she left, the glimmer of light from Spindrift's pearl reading pendant can be seen reflecting off the water and moist stones, as she makes her way back down the spiral. Soon her light joins with that of Muzaji's candle, and the need for her little expedition is revealed. She is holding in her mouth the ends of two willowy pine saplings, cut off near the bases, their lives abruptly ended in the name of exploration.

Brume gives her a questioning look as she slips past and drops one of the saplings on the floor at the base of the ramp. Holding the other, she shifts her grip, supports the middle of the sapling, and creeps towards the dead spider…. and then pokes whatever is left of it with the stick. She then drops the stick and scoots back to stare at it.

The not-so-itsy-bitsy spider is poked with a stick and in a fit of rage it lies there, still dead and stinky; not all that intresting unless you enjoy admiring the husk of giant, dead archanids.

Spindrift turns and kicks the sapling into the waterfall, and continues to watch it.

Muzaji likewise is watching, curious as to what Spindrift is trying to conjecture here

A resounding *WHOOSH* permiates as a rapidly growing tree trunk errupts from the pool of water where Spindrift kicked the sapling; the growth so explosive it almost takes Spidrift's head with it! The Pine rocketing outwards, and upwards at an odd angle which results it the bushy pine becoming stuck in the tunnel that lead the group down to the cavern in the first place.

Muzaji yelps and hops back a few steps in surprise as a tree comes erupting out of the waters…. but wait, the spider also did that, and then… the zebra squints a bit, trying to put two and two together. "It accelerates growth, lifetime in a day… but then to the point it becomes death and decay?"

Brume winces, shrinking back from the sudden growth of the tree. Spindrift skitters back as well, perhaps more surprised than she was by the spider, and gives the tree a look both irritated and fascinated. "Exactly," she says, in response to Muzaji, as she looks up towards the cavern entrance far above. "Trees don't decay as rapidly as animals, though. Hopefully this won't be an issue." She looks back down and frowns. "Maybe this is what the pirate was after… some sort of fountain of youth." Turning her head, she regards Brume for a moment; he perks up a bit in anticipation of some sort of instructions.

"I'll try to create a forcefield that can shunt the water off to the side, but it will occupy the attention of both Brume and myself. Muzaji, it will be up to you to investigate behind the waterfall and see if you can retrieve what's back there. Unless you have another idea?"

The massive tree certainly seems to be lasting alot longer than the spider! But even the tree begins to wilt and slowly die as time passes. Inspecting the waterfall would reveal a narrow ledge leading behind the falls - risky considering the nature of the flowing water.

Muzaji nods and picks up her candle-lantern. "That would be the best way to proceed. I don't think a bumbershoot would really help in this case, so I'm out of options of my own."

Spindrift nods, then looks to Brume.

Brume smiles and closes his eyes. Music is much easier when there isn't a giant spider threatening to be all disgusting and leggy around you, so the little dity he soon launches into comes a bit more naturally. His lovely tenor voice fills the cavern, rising above the waterfall's roar because he knows how to ~project.~

Spindrift waits a bit, letting him channel a good well of energy, before she eyes the waterfall and begins to focus, squinting, jaw clenching. It takes considerable concentration and a hoof upraised towards the water, but eventually- assuming there is nothing to somehow interrupt the spell- the waterfall begins to splash off of something unseen. As though a pane of glass were materializing before it, the water hits an invisible surface and slides down, forming the shape of a chute before splashing back into the pool a good several feet away from the ledge behind it. It makes investigating behind the waterfall MUCH less dangerous… again, assuming nothing interrupts the spell, or something else shows up to make everything all *monstrous* all of a sudden.

Still no idea how a couple of seemingly earth ponies can weave such magic, but at this point she's hardly going to question it keeping her from getting old before her time. Muzaji makes haste once the coast is clear, though not without a wariness to avoid any sudden mishaps should something else decide to get in the way of things as well.

The waterfall conceals an eroded flight of stairs leading up to a small chamber. The stone chamber houses a single stone pedestool, and solitary box. Water trickles down from the decaying ceiling and onto the box before spilling downwards to roll off the ledge and join the waterfall. The box itself is a strange mesh of golds and silvers with no discernable latch or mechanism for opening - but clearly a box! Several large stone columns lay collapassed around the room - clearly this place was much larger at point.

Squinting an eye up the revealed passage, Spindrift takes a note of what she sees there, and then hisses between clenched teeth. "Take the other sappling and try and push it out of the drizzle of water," she suggests to Muzaji.

Brume, standing off to the side where he cannot see up the tunnel, alters the lyrics of his song. "Tell me, maidens fair o/‘ What is it you behold o/` Behind the waterfall there o/` within the secrets’ fold? o/`"

Spindrift glances towards him and hisses out. "A treasure on a pedestal. Looks like some sort of altar."

Brume arches his eyebrows and settles back into the real lyrics. He really does have a lovely singing voice.

A box, just like Queenie said. And an elaborate one at that, all those golds and silvers making Muzaji's eyes sparkle — until she remembers the ominous warnings to not try and mess with it herself. Treasure's no good if you're not alive to enjoy it. Ahem. Right then. She sets down her lantern so she can do as suggested, and use the other discarded branch to do just that, try and push the treasure box away from the water dripping on it.

Muzaji rolls 1d20 (poke poke nudge nudge) — Result: 20 | Sum: 20

(OOC) Muzaji: .. good time for that natural 20 <.<
(OOC) Brume: CRITICAL POKE

The branch in Muzaji's hoof bristles and swells as it touches the box which is gingerly nudged off the pedestool and lands with an unimpressive little *plop*. The whole thing is really quite uneventful - as if things simply couldn't have gone better. If only somepony was around to see that! So now there is the box, on the ground and an empty pedestool. Not exciting at all.

Spindrift and Brume maintain their little duet of conjuring and channeling. Is this your card? No? Hmm. Maybe they need to work on that. In the meantime, Brume is still singing, and Spindrift keeps her eyes shut as she concentrates on maintaining the chute-like forcefield. Forcefields are hard; shaped fields harder. Beads of moisture are rolling down her temples, and though she isn't one for great displays of ostentatious effort, she is really quite tucked into her work.

Muzaji discards the bulging branch once the box is off the stand and before she gets a mouthful of splinters… or rotted bark. Then just to be safe tugs a rag out of a pocket of her cloak and quickly wraps it around the box. Hmm. You'd almost think she's done this sort of thing before with how prompt she is about it. Musn't keep the poor straining ponies waiting, after all.

… Though that doesn't keep the zebra from taking a look around the chamber as she's packing up to go. Would be a shame to leave anything else of potential interest behind after all that effort, after all…

Muzaji rolls 1d20 (Bet I can't roll that good a second time) — Result: 17 | Sum: 17

Muzaji's brief survey reveals a chest almost entirely concealed by a fallen pillar! A lone treasure chest tucked away behind a fallen pillar - it's lock long since given way to decay; primed for taking and no pony else can see from this angle - what goodies will she find?

From back down the stairs and in the waterfall chamber, Spindrift's voice, thin and strained with effort, joins the ringing notes of Brume's ongoing serenade. "Muzaji? Is everything okay up there?"

… And taking that extra moment pays off, somepony might of missed that in their haste. "Just fine! Was just making sure the box didn't contaminate with any of the water dripping on it!" Though at the same time as she's talking she turns, and gives the worn chest a good kick with her back hoof to break the decayed lock, and quickly stuffs as much of the contents into the hidden pockets of her cloak and bags as possible. There will be time to count and sort through it later! Then scoops up the treasure box they came for in its bundle and hurries back out.

The party should be thankful that the once proud pine is now a fine pile of dust leading from the water up to the stairs; bushy branches no longer obstructing the only means back to the surface. Heck, they even got the box to boot!

Once Muzaji is free, and a short ways away, Spindrift lets the field dissipate. The waterfall once more cascades into the flow without a hitch. Brume soon drops his song mid-sentence and coughs, then clears his throat, then grins. "I'm feeling a little hoarse after all of that! Maybe I'll just have a drink before we go."

Spindrift ignores him, looking instead to the zebra. "You have the treasure?" she asks. She suspects there is something else going on, but as long as they have what looks like was the goal of Queenie's little errand, she is not especially worried.

Muzaji slows once she's clear of possibly getting splashed, trotting back to the otehrs with the bundled treasure box. "Why yes, yes I do." Then glances side-long at Brume. "I'd suggest waiting 'til we depart, that water is not for the faint of heart," Muzaji replies with a hint of amusement.

Brume grins back at Muzaji, delighted she's willing to play along. "No? I always thought I could stand to put on a few pounds. Besides, once I'm a twenty-foot-tall brute I won't need Spindrift around to do the zombie-killing." He clucks his tongue. "But then, none of my clothes would fit, and I'd never be able to work the strings. O, my talents! I am bound even as I am liberated!" With a showy sigh he turns towards the ramp and begins picking his way up.

Spindrift watches Muzaji for a moment longer, then nods. "Let us hasten back to the port, then, and hope this is what she seeks. We won't have time for a second expedition." She then turns to follow Brume, hurrying a bit so the fool doesn't stumble around in the dark and fall off the edge.

"Sometimes I wonder how this mare puts up with you," Muzaji giggles as they depart. "Yes yes, let us make haste, there is no more time to waste."

The trio hasten back to Horseshoe Harbor, for a deadline looms...