The Set-Up
IC date: Summer 77, 1007
OOC date: September 5, 2012
PCs: Mad-Mare, Stormsailor
NPCs: Canopy-Seeds, Gates
GM: None

This is far more trouble than it really has any right to be. Having marched out of town in a huff, proverbially speaking, Stormsailor had to take one of the Pride's life boats and sail back to shore a few miles outside of the Harbor. "Getting the goods out to the ship is gonna be a pain like this," he mumbles as he trots through the port wearing a cloak with the hood up. "Guess I'll start with Canopy Seeds, she's usually good for the light stuff… when she's not eaten her own supply, anyway."

The port is, of course, just bustling with activity, and various harbor ponies, and construction ponies. Practically everything but Watch ponies. Which may be a stroke of pure luck! Or a sign of something ominous. Either way that's the facts. It's practically a clear road through town.

Maybe there's a massive Harbor Watch meeting or something. Yeah… And they're all probably watching a movie to boot. A movie, about being more compassionate to your fellow pony. That's it…

Stormsailor assumes that there are no Watch ponies because that would involve them actually working, which is more than can be expected from Mad Mare or her ilk. He glances around conspiratorially and trots down an alley. "Eighth building down, ten paces… should be here." The stallion knocks on the blank brickwork. "Hey, Gates, open up," he says to the wall— or rather, to the unicorn behind the wall who can magic the brickwork open for him. "I've got some business with our pegasus friend."

A voice, muffled but somehow audible through the brickwork, comes through with a question.

"What's the password?"

"Salty swigs shoddy stout by the seashore," Stormsailor says carefully, trying not to trip over the tongue twister.

A couple seconds of silence pass, then the telltale sound of magic being fired up. The blank brick wall shimmers faintly, then begins to rearrange itself, bricks turning and shifting in on one another, to form a neat archway into the building itself. Typical warehouse fare, though none of the tables scattered about have anything other than a few tarps on them. And the stacks of boxes are definitely inconspicuous, yes.

Gates snorts once the 'door' is opened. "Get in already…" He never was the friendliest pony.

"Good to see you, too," Stormsailor says as he moves into the warehouse. "Celestia above, I don't know what's gotten into the ponies of this town. It's like that hagfish of a pirate's got the whole place hypnotized, I can't believe no one is up in arms over her extorting the traders." He shakes his head. "Ah well, at least you can count on Canopy to only answer to herself… well, and whatever plant she's stuck in her pipe last. Where is my favorite featherhead, anyway?"

"Over here~" chimes the soft, sweet, and likely stoned voice of one Canopy Seeds, flitting down from somewhere higher up in the warehouse. Likely a perfect place to stash a real stash of things best kept out of Watch pony hooves.

Gates grunts again, glancing out the building to make sure nobody's watching. His horn fires up, and the brick archway begins to disassemble itself back into the blank wall it began as once more.

"I heard you were back in town." Canopy says when she touches down, offering a smile as sweet as her voice to the visiting trader. "I heard you had a little run-in with our new law enforcement too. Your…parting shot got a chuckle out of our social circles."

"I wasn't trying to make such a splash," Stormsailor says with faux-innocence dripping off of every word. "Who'd've thought that slamming the door to my quarters would rock the boat enough to dislodge the gangplank? Not me, that's for sure." He trots towards Canopy, unbothered by Gates sealing the entry behind him. Can't be too careful when you've dealing in magical herbs of questionable legality.

"So what's on the menu today, Canopy?" the smuggler asks as his gaze drifts over the stacks of inconspicuous boxes. "I've got a good route lined up for Baltimare and Manehattan if you've got anything you think'll sell out in that direction."

Canopy keeps that sweet smile, even closing her eyes with a tilt of her head, as though imagining something really nice. "Anything sells in Manehatten. I'd probably be living there if conditions here weren't so good for business. Hold on a mo'~"

The pegasus flits her way up into the rafters again, disappearing among hidden stashes of who knows what. When she returns, it's with a small briefcase in mouth, which she sets on a nearby table. She nudges the clasps to let the springs flip the case open, and tugs a small bag filled with a dark red and grey sparkley dust, setting it on the table next to the briefcase. "Speaking of good for business, can you guess what this stuff is?"

Stormsailor's eyes go wide at the contents of the case. "If that's what I think it is, there's definitely a market for it in Manehattan." The stallion remembers, at the very least, not to say anything incriminating aloud. You never know who might have a wire. "How did you even get a hold of that? I thought you just dealt with Wintersong herbs." Another loaded, but ultimately circumstantial, turn of phrase.

"Things changed when you were out sailing." Canopy chimes, her wings carrying her in a slow flutter about the warehouse, as though she were drifting on a cloud. "We make that stuff now. You wouldn't believe the opportunities that come up when there's no pony around to stop them." Nevermind how difficult the ingredients may be to get! These lands are just that full of mystery.

"Anyway. That case is yours if you want. I've got a couple crates of the stuff you can take with you for your Manehatten trip." She giggles, pleasantly giddy, "Maybe you'll come back with a bigger boat."

The smuggler rolls his eyes as he closes the lid of the case. "It'd be easier if I knew who I had to bribe to stay off the books in port. That metal-flanked bitter berry isn't getting a red bit out of me." He shakes his head. "I still can't believe that's for real. What happened to Red? That guy was always so serious, there's no way he'd give up his post to a known criminal."

Canopy flits her lazy circles, practically floating in the air on her back. A flying posture she's managed to perfect over the years of substance abuse. "That's the thing, Stormie. Nobody knows what happened to Red. He just up and disappeared. There was a search party put together to find him, thought he might've chased something into the forest, but none of them came back either."

The lazy circles stop, Canopy hanging in the air on gentle wingbeats so she can shrug to the smuggler. "Next thing you know, they show up. Like nothing ever happened between them and this harbor. Wouldn't you know, nobody raised a fuss either." She rubs the back of her head with a hoof, "It's hard to raise too much fuss when a change of the guard makes your job easier, you know?"

"Eh, I still don't like it," the blue stallion says softly as he picks up the briefcase and perches it on his back. "…they're really not doing anything? Not roughing up the local dealers, demanding a cut, anything like that? I've heard about the Syndicolt, they're the type that like to dominate whatever market they stick their noses into… I can't believe they'd get Mad Mare into a position like she is now and not stick their hooves into everyone's pies."

Stormsailor shakes his head and watches the pegasus float impossibly over his head. Watching somepony fly upside-down that slowly is always a little unsettling. "Just… stay safe, Canopy. I know we've had our ups and downs over the years, but I'd hate to see anything happen to you, ya' know? When you're not sending Gates to crush my skull, anyway, that part's not too close to my heart."

Canopy rights herself, settling her hooves on the flooring. She walks along, one wing extended to settle atop briefcase and smuggler's back alike. "I didn't say they weren't doing anything. I said they made my job easier. You know how the game works. It's all about getting the drop on the other pony before they get the drop on you."

That happy giggle rises up again, the pegasus nodding to her never-happy brute of a bodyguard. Gates gets his magic working to rearrange the wall. Again. "I'm pretty sure once everypony here gets tired of having a bunch of thugs pretending they're important try to muscle in on their profits there'll be a good old-fashioned riot, and that will be that. No more thugs! So far the worst they've done is a couple extra taxes here and there, and that's something most of us ignore anyway." Again she shrugs, once the gateway is finished, taking her wing back.

"By the way… They're dumb, but they do like to throw bits around. Your little stunt did put you on the Watches wanted list. They may not be doing much upholding of any laws, but the price they put on your head says any pony in town might be willing to bring you to 'justice'."

"What stunt?" Stormsailor replies. "I told her to get off my boat and sailed out of town like she told me to. Last I checked, doing what the Watch captain says isn't a crime."

If it was anypony else using such ominous words Stormsailor would be sure that a horde of watchponies would be waiting around the corner. He doesn't expect that behavior from good ol' Canopy Seed! She's so lovable and trustworthy and rarely has her head firmly enough on her shoulders to think like that. "Well, that's a few bits they won't have to worry about throwing around, I'm not planning on them getting my head any time soon." He trots out into the presumably empty alleyway.

"Funny thing about plans." comes a new voice, from that very same supposedly abandoned alleyway! Except it's not exactly empty. There's at least a half-dozen watch-ponies blocking the ends, and one particular metal-legged monster leading the pack. "They never quite go how you expect."

The brick archway is already closed up. Nothing but blank walls, Watchponies, and one wanted sailor. Whom Mad Mare glares at, her face screwed into a harsh frown. "You, sir, are a wanted pony. I told you not to show your face in my Harbor, so what do you do?" She turns her head, glaring with one eye. "You come back."
GAME: Restart by Fluttershy, please wait.
GAME: Restart finished.

Stormsailor stops in his tracks as Maddie is right there. "…thanks a ton, love," he calls out to the sky, loud enough to carry through the magical brick wall. "I'm afraid I'm not sure what you mean, Mad Mare," he says in a more conversational tone. "Last I checked you told me to get my boat out of your port if I wasn't going to pay the docking fee, so I did. Is doing what the Watch says a crime now?"

Maddie dips her head. "Maybe you missed the part where I said not to come back?" she growls out, one hoof pawing at the ground. "You almost drowned me. I have a tendency to take things like that personal."

The other Watchponies advance in slow, menacing steps. The Mare included. "Your reluctance to play nice means I need to do something about you before you disturb my peace."

"I'm sorry, what?" Stormsailor says, throughly afronted. "You're going to blame me for you falling off my boat? I was nowhere near you. As I recall, I went to sulk in my cabin that I had to cross Horseshoe Harbor off my usual trade routes. Unless what you're trying to say is that I've got a horn hidden on this bare forehead of mine." He takes a step backwards as the trio approaches. The captain may be an obstinant mule of a pony, but he's not an idiot.

"Right. Accidents happen." Maddie mutters in that same low growl. "I really don't care who's fault it was. Your boat. You're the captain. If it's not your fault, by all means tell me which one of those wonderful crewmates of yours did it. I'll go find them instead."

It couldn't have possibly just been rough weather? Or a random wave? Or something? Naw… It was embarassing, and the Mare almost died. Somepony has to pay for it, and this poor soul was the last one she saw!

"Well, if you want to blame someone," Stormsailor says. He glances over his shoulder to verify— yep, the back end of the alley seems to be clear. He grabs the handle of the briefcase in his teeth and whips his head forward again, trying to clock Maddie with the heavy case, let the inertia carry him around and bolt down the alleyway to freedom! Maybe.

Huh? (Type "help" for help.)

» Stormsailor rolls 1d10 (Drugs are bad, they mess with your head!) — Result: 10 | Sum: 10

Ka-POW! Talk about lucky hits! A briefcase to the head knocks the Mad Mare right over, sending her sprawling into several of her own Watch ponies! Like a bunch of bowling pins, the group topples over, giving that perfect break for any good escape artist!

Oh yeah, she's stunned. Shoot, she's probably going to have a right bloody lip after this. Maybe even a concussion! If she's lucky.

But lo! What is this at the other end of the alleyway! Another small force of Watchponies, whom just watched their boss get clobbered. Rock'em and Sock'em at the lead of this group. "Boss!" "Don't worry Boss, we'll get 'im!"

"Horseapples!" the blue stallion shouts as his getaway is suddenly rudely cut off! If only he had charged past Maddie instead of running the other way! He skids to a stop, glances back at the Mad Mare and her goons, and drops the briefcase. "Apple-bucker," he mumbles. He's gonna get one heck of a shiner before gets to the prison for that one.

At least he's cooperating now. What with the veritable wall of stallion that consists of Maddie's two personal goons and all. The rest of the Watch crew get Maddie back on her hooves, the Mare shaking out the cobwebs from that almighty smash she took to the head. Bleeding from one corner of her mouth, she manages something of a bloody grin to the cornered sailor.

There's no smart-alec words, no snappy response. Just an eye for an eye, with the Mare pivoting on her front hooves, back legs wound for a swift buck to the plucky smuggler!

Stormsailor braces himself as best he can for the inevitable but there's really no way to prepare for those mechanical contraptions attached to Maddie's flanks. There's a crack of bone as the metal legs knock the smuggler clean off his feet, into the alley wall and to the ground. He's overtaken by wracking coughs through which he barely manages to get out, "I think that took out a few ribs…" If he was planning a clever getaway before, he's not likely to be following through with it now.

Swift buck delivered, Maddie turns back to the downed sailor again. She gestures with a hoof, prompting her personal goons to descend upon Storm, one goon working to heft the smuggler over the back of the other. Stormsailor's got a whole entourage now! Marching along, right back out the alleyway, one Watch pony even carrying the briefcase of contraband with him.

Maddie walks alongside her goons, keeping an eye on the smuggler they're carrying along. "You'll be fine. We've got you a nice place to relax for a while, let those ribs heal up. Real comfy. I might even let you have a visitor." She turns her head to spit a glob of blood out. "…If anyone cares enough to ask." Or even finds out.

As the Watch ponies vacate the alleyway, a pegasus and a unicorn watch the procession leave. Canopy, wearing a frown much like the one Gates always seems to wear. "I'm going to feel bad about this, aren't I?"

"Yeah." Gates says. "For about five more minutes. Then you'll be flyin' high."

"Hey, that's not a bad idea~ Maybe you should join me. For once."

"I don't think…that's a good idea. The last time I was under the influence of something, I accidentally rearranged all the walls of a building into one big window. It kinda fell over."

"Aww, and I missed it?" Canopy pouts. "I'll never get to see you high…"