The Silver Archive
IC date: Winter 34, 1007
OOC date: January 22, 2013
PCs: Dream Daze, Goody Horseshoes, Magpie, Muzaji, Siyana
NPCs: Eddy, Sinking Stone, Tale Chaser
GM: Diamond Dog

The journey to Silver Shallows may have provided ample opportunity for tourism, but the purpose was to meet with Spindrift's teacher- Sinking Stone, head of some 'Silver Archive' organization. It was he that first invited citizens of Horseshoe Harbor, but the travelers have yet to actually meet him… something evidently being rectified today, as summons have finally been made. Eddy was prompt to act upon them, gathering up interested ponies and leading them across the town towards Silver Shallows Academy.

The way, thankfully, can me traversed entirely by way of air-filled tunnels that wind along the ocean floor. Most of the time they're surrounded by the short, squat buildings that often adjoin the tunnels, but occasionally the road has snaked through tube-like passageways otherwise unburdened by surrounding architecture and offering clearer glimpses of the town outside. So, too, can the Academy be seen as the party approaches… a complex of buildings much larger than most in the town, characterized by ornate spires and archways, perhaps the best example of the grandiose and classical architectural style evident in portions of the hodgepodge town.

Eddy has been more than happy to share stories of the town and the school along the way. "And that's how the Academy became one of the top centers of artifice studies in the entire Starlight Kingdom! Who knew? Ha ha ha. So technically we're kind of a 'college town' but that doesn't seem to cause much in the way of problems."

The tunnels are leading up into a foyer somewhere in the school; whereas the hotel at which the Harborites are boarding and many nearby shops tend to favor snug, sometimes cramped quarters, the school has the sort of high, vaulted ceilings and broad walkways one might expect from the lush architecture outside. It's almost forboding, really- the chambers are chill, their recesses barely touched by the lights near the floors, and sound tends to carry end echo in a way that makes even casual conversation seem distant. Here in the foyer, asorted students are going to and fro with books and papers stuffed in their bookbags; they offer alarmed or curious looks at the newcomers, relaxing only somewhat when they see Eddy, one of their own, and a handful of soldiers accompany them. Nobody seems to want to stop and chat and say hello- everybody either busily settled at a bench to pore through their work, or on their way to another part of the school to do that.

"Right, we'll be there shortly!" crows Eddy, flashing a bright smile back over her shoulder at the Harborite entourage. "I'd say to please keep quiet inside the Archive, since it's also a library, but I'm not in charge, so I don't know. I probably should have figured out what the rules are, tee hee! Though I'm pretty sure they don't want you to bring in any pets."

Siyana is trotting along with the group, feeling rather out of place even with a few foals tagging along. Especially with all those seaponies giving them those awkward stares. After a moment, though, she puffs out her chest and glares back. Hmph!

Dream-Daze is at least keeping Siyana company. Quiet company, all things considered, but company nontheless. With as much copying of the older filly as she can fit in without looking like a totally obnoxious copycat about it.

To the other Harbornites Muzaji has been a come and go sighting over the few days they've been here. It's one of the few chances she's gotten to be amongst her own sorts and basically living it up, can you really blame her? Possibly setting up a new trade (or smuggling) contract on the side and under the table, but mostly just living it up. Mostly. Seriously.

However once the word came from their supposed intended contact he was ready to audience them the zebra was there. Strengthening racial ties and making deals was all well and good… but home and her insaliable curiosity was still enough to draw her away, so she wasn't -completely- a problem, right?

Goody-Horseshoes stays near Eddy for most of the journey through the school, occasionally asking a simple question or two about the archictecture. Rather than returning odd looks to the onlookers, he returns smiles and courteous nods.

Smiles and nods seem to work. Many of the seaponies- most of them younger, a few older- seem a bit surprised at the reaction, but return the smiles in manners ranging from cordial to self-conscious. Only the occasional grump meets the smiles with something surly.

And Siyana's glaring just scares them. AAH, ZEBRA.

"The Academy is one of the driest places in the city," elaborates Eddy, leading the group onward…. up a set of broad stairs, down a hallway. Small classrooms adjoin th e hall, in which groups of ponies discuss Matters or Read Things or stare at various objects with confused expressions. Another room is empty saved for one student flopped over his desk and snoring.

"It's the books, you see. All the paper keeps better in the air than underwater. Not all of it is our own lore! The Archives keep a record of Zebra history, too, plus they're always building their collection of griffon knowledge, but that's a bit harder, 'cause the griffons aren't as big on trade as zebras are." She turns and flashes Muzaji and Siyana a grin. "But you guys know that already! Ho ho ho. Oh! I think it's right around this corner, and…"

Yep, right around this corner is a broad walkway, terminating in a pair of tall, broad double-doors. A sleepy-looking guard leans up against the wall nearby, but perks up as ponies come into view, turning to regard Eddy curiously. A moment later and recognition sets in, and she smiles. "Ohh, hello, miss Eddy. The Curator said you were coming." She glances up and at the party. "Is this everybody?"

Eddy nods briskly. "Yep! The rest were off enjoying a tour~!" She sighs wistfully. "I wish ~I~ was off enjoying a tour."

Magpie has been getting a rather cross-eyed expression during the long walk. The big building is nice and all, but she's not much of a book pony. At that comment, though, she bristles. "Well, /we/ wish our home wasn't about to get turned into driftwood by /your/ sea witch. So."

Muzaji chuckles a little at the mention of griffons and zebras. "They do tend to be a bit more… peckish about what they allow away." And seeing no Ruby about, she takes it to herself to give Magpie a slight swat for that. "It's not like they -sent- her to attack the harbor, child." Her attention is more on Ebby and her explainations, though. "Mm, yes, there's always trade. By the end of this I'll have it made."

Just kind of makes one wonder what she's been off doing. If anything at all.

Eddy's ears pin back, and she slows for a moment, glancing about at the floor and the walls and not at the ponies. "Well, I wish it wasn't, either," she says, lamely. "You guys are really nice and everything." YES EVEN THE GRUMPY FILLY

Goody-Horseshoes 's visible eye widens a bit when the doors come into view. On the outside, he looks calm and composed, but on the inside he's practically crawling out of his coat in anticipation.

Magpie skips to the side at Muzaji's swat. "I'm just sayin'! It's been like DAYS! And I'd like to see the city more and all that but it's kinda hard to have fun while that's still happening."

Eddy seems increasingly panicked as Magpie complains. "Okay! Okay! I don't know why the Curator didn't send for you sooner! The less charitable types around the office say he's kind of absent-minded in his old age, maybe he forgot!" She says this as she bustles up to the door. "Okay! Let us in!" The guard, listening with a bemused expression, nods, and reaches up to swing the door open.

And revealed is a BIG dang LIBRARY.

A broad walkway, carpeted in rich tones of deep purple and indigo, runs down the center of a chamber that would be a good basis for a cathedral. To either side are rows and rows of shelves, stacked with all manner of books and scrolls, and tablets and stacked sheafs of paper. Several other stacks sit on the floor nearby or are piled on top. A gleaming lantern formed of a globe of glass lit magically from within sits at the end of each rack, keeping at least the bottom half of the chamber in a warm glow… though the upper, vaulted recesses suffer from the same overhanging darkness that much of the school does. Tall windows line the walls, looking out on the dusky ocean beyond.

At the center of the library- a good fifty feet down from the doorway- the shelves open up a bit more, creating a centralized location at which are staged a number of desks and tables, both small and large. A number of ponies could gather here with any number of books and TOTALLY READ. But only a single figure sits there- a young scholar, a colt only a few years out of adolescence, with the scrawny build of someone who, here in the library, is clearly in his element. His mane is red, his coat a shade he would insist is -pale red- but which in all actuality is pink, and he's peering at a large tome through a pair of thick, soda-bottle spectacles. As the party enters, he looks up and peers down the aisle at them, glasses magnifying his green eyes to an almost comical degree.

He stares, surprised. Ponies. Uh oh.

Turning about, he looks back over his shoulder, to the far end of the library, where another set of double doors sits. "Professor?" he calls out. "They're here…."

Eddy, in the meantime, is agog as she enters, looking about slowly, eyes wide. Evidently this is HER first time visiting as well.

Siyana is semi-interested in the building as they go, but she's not terribly bookish either. And Eddy, sweet as she is, /never stops talking/. GUH. But as they step into the enormous library, she blinks at the pink pony. And she's about to greet him as the curator, until he calls for the professor. Then she just puts her hoof down lamely.

Muzaji rolls her eyes the other way. "Foals say the darndest things." It's all she's really got to offer on that matter.

Because stepping into the library pretty much makes wanting to speak for a few moments rather effectively…. if only for a few. This is Muzaji, after all. It's rare that she's ever at a lost of words for very long at all.

"A vault of knowledge, grand and wise; now spread before our very eyes.
Would amongst these shelves the answer find, to the matter that has our home in bind?
One can only hope as we stand and wait;
To meet the sage who can guide our fate."

Told you it doesn't last very long.

Goody-Horseshoes 's jaw drops. His pace slows down to molasses and finally a stop. Never in his time did he imagine he'd come across something quite like this. He stumbles over his words for a moment before finally working out, "Eddy…Eddy…please…pinch me…I…I must be dreaming…"

"Huh?" asks Eddy, shaking her head and looking to Goody. She stops, sits down beside him, reaches up with both front hooves, and tries to pinch the good captain. Because she's a pony. And this is how ponies have to do that. What with the lack of fingers. (She is really bad at it.)

Magpie has to fall silent for a few moments as well. She doesn't care much for books, but those glowy lantern things sure is nice.. and that's a neat carpet, and all..

The young scholar at the table stares at the party. His spectacles gradually slip down the bridge of his nose, and he blinks, pushing them back up, in the universal hand sign- transcending species and worlds- for "nerd." Nobody seems to be answering his call yet, and he's gradually furrowing his brow. Turning to look back behind him once more, he calls out. "Professor…?"

Nothing. Eddy has since given up on trying to pinch the captain and is making her way down the center of the room, towards the desks at the center, hoofsteps muted by the carpet. She looks a bit perplexed. "Is he not here?" she asks. "Are you his assistant?"

The young scholar looks back at her with wide eyes. "PROFESSOR," he calls out, in a way that rhymes with, SAVE ME FROM TALKING TO PEOPLE.

"Confound it, boy! I've told you already, it's 'Curator!'" answers a crispy old voice, as an old pony totters out the shelves in the back of the library. There's a hobble to his step, and his shoulders are stooped and head bowed with age… as well as the weight of a truly Gandalfian beard. Yes sir, his beard is full and long, as sure a sign that he knows what he's talking about on matters academical as anything. Its color matches his mane- grey, naturally- as well as the bushy unibrow that seems to eclipse his eyes entirely. His coat is a faded brown, and his cutie mark depicts a closed book resting on its side. "There's enough Professors around here that if you take to calling me that nobody will know which one you… mmmmm?" There's a brief gleam of blue under his unibrow as he peers up at the group. "Ohh! Ohhh. Guests. Welcome. You're the ones I invited, yes? Mmmmm. I hope so, otherwise we'll have to shuffle you out…"

Siyana blinks as the real curator arrives, and tipping her chin up to portray all the confidence she really doesn't possess, she waves at him. "I think that's us!" she calls.

Goody-Horseshoes still remains completely taken aback. As Eddy progresses forwards so does he…only his pace is much slower. His neck looks like it's ready to snap from looking in all directions in much as possible. His mouth still doesn't seem able to close.

Magpie goes trotting over to the student at the desk. Like a cat, immediately attracted to the person in the room who least wants to be near her. "Hiya," she says, grinning toothily.

Muzaji snaps out of her little revelle at the sound of the truely ancient looking pony's voice. She sighs a moment, and puts the only other mostly reasonable pony here back in order… by giving Goody a light whomp atop the head to snap him out of it, since pinching didn't work.

Then while his brain is catching up she steps forward, as well as stepping back into her voice of the group role that she's been repeatedly put into for this little adventure. "Yes, good sure, that we are; at your request we have sailed but far." She pauses long enough to sweep a foreleg and bow to the Curator, pushing aside a thought of wondering of how he swims with that beard if he can barely walk. "From the Harbor we have come to hear your wisdom from."

The pink- ahem, pale red- pony at the desk watches Magpie with widening eyes. He seems caught, staring, as a mouse sits transfixed before the deadly approach of a… like a snake or something. "Hi," he says. Like Eddy, he appears to be just about Magpie's age- old enough to not really be a foal anymore, but not yet old enough to be a proper ~adolescent~ in the sense that adolescents run off to start their own carousel boutiques or manage libraries and bakeries.

Magpie is either oblivious, or enjoying making the colt uncomfortable. "I'm Magpie," she says. "What's your name?"

The old pony- presumably Sinking Stone- looks back and forth between the various newcomers, hrrrmmmming under his breath. He's still approaching at his gradual pace, and is soon close enough he can peer at them all the more closely. "Oh, good. Good. Rhyming! I see. Zebra, clearly. Welcome! Welcome to the Silver Archive. I am Sinking Stone, the Curator of this Collection, and it pleases me greatly that its wonders may be shared with…" He trails off as he consults his inner thesaurus. "Sojourning heroes of your obviously worldly caliber. So glad you saw fit to take me up on the invitation. I trust the journey wasn't too difficult? Mmmm? Mm." He quiets for a bit. "What was it? The storm? Was that one yours?" He turns his attention to Siyana, and seems to ask this of her.

The young scholar glances up at the prof- er… the -Curator,- and then back to Magpie. "T-Tale Chaser," he says, bashfully. "Nice t'meet you." Seated on a bench beside his table, his front hooves rest on its edge, and sort of knead together nervously.

Eddy lurks nearby, one ear perked as she listens.

Siyana blinks. "What, me? The storm? I didn't make the storm! It's that evil seapony who did it!" The zebra scowls and pouts. "Storm. Pff. As if I could make a storm."

Muzaji … is not surprised the elder is both very wise and a bit scatterbrained. Oi, this is going to be fun. "We are the ones that had to surpass the Maelstorm and seek ways to dispel if before it engulfs the entire harbor and town, yes," she replies, patiently. Fortunately being a trader she has a lot of experience dealing with older, ah, easily confused sorts. That's a nice way of putting it.

Goody-Horseshoes is a little too busy examining the library to pay attention to Sinking Stone for a little bit. He wants to take in every moment of it that he can.

Magpie grins. "Hi, Tale Chaser. You gonna chase mine?" she asks, flicking her tail just a little.

"Bah, fish flakes! In your town, that is," scoffs Sinking Stone in such a fashion that his mustache flutters out in front of his mouth. "Yes, the evil seapony. The evil seapony! There is much evil at work, striped one. Much evil indeed…" He trails off as he totters his way over to a bench and settles down. He then looks up and watches Muzaji for a moment. "That's right. The maelstrom, as you put it." He reaches up and strokes his beard in the thoughtful fashion such a beard demands. "The expression of the Spire of Storms… the will of an old god. Did you know that, land-dwellers? The… sea witch…" He considers the term for a moment, as if listening to the way it echoes across the books and the distant arches of the darkened ceiling. "Strikes not with her own power, but with power borrowed from an old deity. A fragment of a fragment, a throwback to a dark age in our people's history."

Tale Chaser listens to this, watching Sinking Stone anxiously, though his gaze falls a bit at the mention of sea witches. He is swiftly brought out of his reverie by Magpie's… proposition? And looks up at her with a mortified blush that turns his pink complexion to a… er.. a different shade of pink. "It's not that kind of tale," he offers in defense.

Eddy snickers, catches herself, covers her mouth, snickers more and feels guilty about it.

"Old god? Now you're talkin'." Siyana perks curiously. "What kind of old god are we talkin' bout here?"

Goody-Horseshoes finally makes his way over to the wizened pony, the zebra, and all others who may be gathered around.

Magpie giggles at the blush and grins. "I figured," she says, but then her smile fades. "Um," she says, turning her attention to Sinking Stone himself. "You mean that black heart thing she's wearing?"

"It's not her power, yes." Muzaji patiently follows after Sinking Stone as he moves about, letting him prattle as old folk are tendant to do in order to get to the juicy tidbits that are actually useful to them. "The Black Heart. We had presumed it was a relic, some sort of odd."

She stops a moment, blinking a couple of times, then turns back to the bearded pony with eyes slightly wider than before. "What do you mean by that? 'Of an old god'?"

Tale Chaser positively deflates with relief as Magpie turns away.

Sinking Stone's unibrow quirks in Magpie's direction. "The Black Heart, perhaps. The Spire of Storms… definitely." More beard stroking. Mmm, yes. Quite. "The two were discovered together some… eight years ago? At a temple a fair distance away, in a trench located in the Hadal Marches." He pauses. "Very dark place. Cold, too. Good place for such a structure. Myself and Spindrift were there along with several other members of our research team… ahh! Quite a find. Marvelous, but bewildering. We never really understood the relationship between the two- the Black Heart and the Spire- save that it seemed more than a coincidence they were discovered together."

He trails off and apparently gazes out the window, thinking. Tale Chaser and Eddy both listen, the former worriedly, the latter in a fascinated fashion.

"But! That is not what you asked about. An old god, yes." With a low sigh, he sits up, hooves bracing on the bench before him. It's hard to read his expression underneath all the beard and brow. "A thousand years ago, they say- for it is always a thousand years ago, isn't it?- our people were ruled by a king as mighty as your Celestia and Luna are today. Little record remains of the extent of his duties- regarding, that is, how celestial royalty care for our world as much as their people- save that, in time, his heart grew dark and his powers became a means by which to oppress our nation… as well as threaten nations beyond."

Goody-Horseshoes sits his rear down next to Muzaji, ears perked up as high as they'll go. This is important history after all!

Magpie glances over at Chaser. "Is he always kinda vague?" she whispers to the pink colt.

Siyana plonks right down. THIS is a story. She folds her forehooves against the bench, resting her cheek and listening, ears perked. "Did you kill him?" she asks. Obviously this is the only solution.

And things are starting to click together in Muzaji's head. Spindrift was there when they discovered these things. Explains how she knew where to find them, what to do with them. But Muzaji is still wagering that what happened was not entirely Spindrift's intent, having spiraled farther than she had meant to. Or could control. Would explain why she showed up to -save- them from the driftwood chimera.

"On Sorrowed Tide she was dragged away; but in an ancient shadow hope did lay.
But a force so dark from her it did break; and now a great old evil rises in her wake."

Tale Chaser glances at Magpie. "He… he tends to take a while to get to the point," he says, shrugging embarssedly.

Muzaji then adds to Magpie, somewhat distractedly "Of course he is. All sages are."

"KILL him?!" says Sinking Stone, eyes briefly wide enough that their faded blue can be seen beneath the overhanging cliff of his brow. He then smiles. "No! No. Nothing quite so drastic, young zebra. Though maybe… hmm! Could it have saved some trouble down the line? Perhaps."

The old pony gestures to the surrounding library. "If we seem preoccupied with the study of old matters, here, then understand it is because the ocean consumes much of it. Structures crumble; records are lost. Anything not actively preserved- be it something physical, or knowledge!- disappears in time. And that is why, nowadays, we know little of the Faceless One, as our old king came to be known…" Again, more trailing off, more beard-stroking. He appears to be staring at the floor before him as he reviews the story in his head.

"He couldn't be killed, you see. Not by anything our kind had at our disposal… but if his power could not be destroyed, it could be broken. And so it was!" He raps a hoof on the bench before him, the sound of it echoing off the vaulted windows and ceiling. "Split apart, and sealed away. That was long ago, of course… far before even MY time. But still, traces remain. Preserved, perhaps, by misguided fools among of our kind that wish to see our old King restored to power… fools such as those who had built that temple in which we found the Spire and the Heart."

He lifts his hoof to point to Muzaji. "And you have the right of it, other young zebra. Did you ever see the Spire? It was not a pleasant thing to look upon, for it was crafted to tap into the sealed power of the Faceless One… power that longs to break out and drown the world above. Power that can easily escape the control of one who does not realize what they are tapping into…"

It seems, at this, that his tone takes on a great sadness and the weight of decades of regret. He falls quiet, staring into the distant recesses of the library. Or the immediate recesses of his unibrow, it's hard to tell.

A sudden clattering of books over -> there, and Dream Daze pokes her head out of a pile, one book balanced open over her mane. …Oops. She was just tryng to read the titles, honest!

Siyana jumps a little at the clatter, looking over at Dreamy with wide eyes. "Shhhhh!!!!! He's talking about crazy evil kings!" she hisses. "The best kind!"

Dream-Daze blushes and ducks down into the book pile, so just her horn and eyes are showing. …Impromptu book fort. She listens intently!

Magpie jumps and shifts on her hooves, scowling towards Dreamy. "But, uh… wait. The tower is in the harbor. It's like.. growing there, or something. So there's another tower out there?

"Yesss!" Muzaji pumps a hoof at her side when much of the theorizing she's been putting together over this long strange journey is proven correct… then remembers there are others present and dismisses her little celebration with an awkward cough and adjusting her jeweled neckbands with a hoof. "So Spindrift tapped into those leylines to empower the Heart, using it to raise the Spire, which yes is quite a terrible sight you are correct, and cause the storm… which this Faceless One's long forbidden power is now using to try and force itself as a whole into the world again and descend it into the watery depths."

Eddy glances about, then speaks up, a bit hesitantly. "Of course any rumors about the existence of a cult of worshippers of an old god should be considered as nothing more than that! Really, now, they're MUCH more harmful for the city's PR than they are for anypony els-"

"Bah!" says Sinking Stone, waving a hoof irritably at Eddy. "Shush, girl. It's true, no matter how ugly a truth it may be and no matter how much they strive to cover their tracks. Tell them, boy."

Tale Chaser starts in his seat. "Ahh… he's… he's right. Any record of the Cult we might otherwise have is… is erased. Pages missing from books, tablets shattered." He gestures to the table before him, where off to one side, an collection of shell fragments with traces of worn writing on them sit in an incomplete little pile. "They're… a secretive bu- aahhh!" The young scholar jumps in his seat and whirls to face Dream Daze, as does Eddy, her eyes wide. Sinking Stone looks up as well, gumming thoughtfully. "Mmm? You hear that, boy? This is why I tell you to keep the stacks orderly! Someone will go and trip on them." He turns back towards the group. "Mmm. We didn't know what to make of the Spire or the Black Heart. They were far more powerful than anything else we keep her. Most of what we have in the Archive are mere trinkets and curiousities… artifacts by definition alone. These, though…" He shakes his head. "Once we knew that the Spire of Storms was a fragment of the Faceless One's legacy, we had it put away. Only a few of us knew of it. Of course, we see what good that did when it was one of us who sought to make it a tool of her hatred! Mmm…" The old pony shakes his head slowly. "Spindrift was my student, but to think she was an agent of the Cult as well? Unpleasant, but it just goes to show you how deeply the seeds of evil can be rooted… ahh… tower?"

He looks to Magpie, tone curious. "A tower, you say?" Muzaji's followup answers his question, and he considers the older younger zebra carefully. "That may seem to be the right of it, young trader! I did not know how the Heart factored into this, but- if anybody would know how to turn it towards channeling energies, it would be her."

"Oh man." Siyana frowns and sits up. "So— so she's gonna become an old god or something? Or is she just gonna, like, pilot the old god magic suit? Or is she just gonna straight-up smash the whole world? Cause, no matter what way this turns up, we're really in a bad place." She wrinkles her nose at the ground in thought. Then looks back at Dream-Daze. "You still wanna hug her?"

Dream-Daze pokes her head up, tips her eyes up in thought. Then nods once, decicively. Of course! How else do you hug the evil out?

"She's not going to do any of those, because while she may of been the instigator, this is well out of Spindrift's intent or control." Muzaji pauses a moment, tapping her cheek with a hoof. "Well okay, she intended to make a mess of the town either way. But that was her only intent. The whole destroy the rest of the world thing is because this ancient power was more than she thought and got out of control before she realized it."

Tale Chaser looks increasingly worried about all of this. He turns to look through his book, leafing through the pages absently, thick plate-glass spectacles askew on his muzzle.

Sinking Stone shrugs. "Who can say what her endgame is? Well, besides Spindrift herself, of course! As I said, we knew little about the tools she stole before they were sealed away. Both of them were beyond the scope of what we were willing to deal with. It seems likely that it would go beyond her ability to control. She is crafty, yes, but powerful? Hardly! Could one of YOU contain the powers of Princess Celestia?"

Eddy clears her throat. "Sir, she's 'Queen' Celestia now."

Sinking Stone shuffles. "Ohh? Is she? Is that new? When did that happen?"

"Uhhh… about four years ago, sir."

"Ahhh…" Sinking Stone marvels over the wonders of history for a few moments, before shrugging. "The point stands."

"I think it is safe to say it has gone out of her control, considering she came to the *aid* of our ship when it was attacked by monsters created by this dark power." Dismissive hoofwave on that matter. "The history lesson is all well and good, Curator." Muzaji tries to grab the conversation and steer it back into the direction it was headed before derailing off into the aspects of the crazy seapony that started it. "But how do we put an -end- to this thing, is what we would like to know."

Magpie ums. "Wait, what's this about destroying the world?" she asks, looking around at the adults. Did she miss something?

"Well, if we knew that, then the soldiers dispatched to your town to help contain the storm would be doing their best!" suggests Sinking Stone, smiling beardishly at Muzaji. "We've tried to learn more about artifacts of the Faceless One, but, as you can imagine, we have few examples to go by- only two, it would seem, and both of those are out of our reach. This is why you were invited here- so that you may join us in searching for an answer. Our research team is… well, little more than what you see here before you."

The young scholar and the old scholar exchange glances. Tale Chaser pushes his glasses back up on his face.

"Destroy the world? Doubtful! Rule it, yes. That's what the old King woud want to do if he was resurrected," explains Sinking Stone, to Magpie. "Reassembled? Released from imprisonment. Something such as that! Although assuredly he would do so from a watery throne that ill-accommodates air-breathers such as yourselves, so it might as well be destruction he seeks."

Goody-Horseshoes keeps an ear on the conversation, but can't help but to keep exploring the library.

"So— is the king trying to use Spindrift then? And get resurrected or somethin?" Siyana asks, though she keeps eyeing Dream-Daze. Really? Hug Spindrift? Well…maybe it's worth a shot. Harumph.

Magpie ohhs. "Yeah… okay, I guess floods aren't really 'end of the world' for you guys." She gives Chaser a little nudge. "Yeah, you're heroes. Go Brain the spire to death!"

The library offers plenty to explore, for Goody Horseshoes or whomever, provided you like books, and scrolls, and tablets, and stuff like that. There's a globe or two, and the occasional model of a ship on an endtable or something. The furniture is ornamented with polished brass and amber, and inlaid designs in the wood resembing waves and seahells and watery things such as that.

Dream-Daze sneaks out from beneath the bookpile to sit next to Siyana. And projects a little image to the zebra filly of the whole group of foals just burying Spindrift in hugs. Who can stay evil after that? Honestly?

Muzaji is about to ask what -did- he summon them for then, but then Sinking Stone explains it. "Ah, I see. You are not the one with our answer, but the one providing the way to hopefully find it." She pauses to look back at the other ponies that came. Thinks of the others still off exploring the city. Turns back to Sinking Stone. "Weeeeeeell we may be a bit of a motley crew, but that seems to be what works around here." She's been resisting so hard to want to wander herself. It's only her curiosity seeking answers that's gotten her to stay listening to the elder scholar.

"Hey," protests Tale Chaser, reaching up to rub the nudged spot as if it hurt. Maybe it does. Maybe he has painful cooties. From being touched by a girl. "YOU go brain the spire to death." -Witty repartee.-

Magpie shakes her head. "Um… naw. My brain's not that.. brainy. It's all up to you, if you can stop chasing tails for a while."

Goody-Horseshoes seems to have found himself stuck in the Magic History section. He's looking over all the titles as if actually on the search for something.

"No answers, child. I am sorry," says Sinking Stone. "Only suggestions- and I have one in particular I encourage you to consider."

He sits up, eyeballing the air-breathers for a moment. "I would suggest we take a trip to the temple where the Spire and the Black Heart were first found. It is an old, crumbling ruin, some ways beyond the city. Distant and forboding, yes, but empty, and still full of much promise." Reaching up, he strokes his beard most thoughtfully. "We've little record of the artifacts here- and I suspect if any more are to be found, it is in the place where they were enshrined."

"I like chasing tales," says Tale Chaser, defensively. Eddy snickers. Tale Chaser, mortified, shuffles and glowers at Magpie. "Story tales! Ugh!" He starts to rearrange a few quills and inkpots nearby, since everybody knows everything is better when everything around it is arranged at neat 90 degree angles.

The Magic History section of the library doesn't seem to be very hard to find. If anything, finding it is the easy part- finding something specific in there is what's tricky! It is fitting a school that specializes in artifice- itself a form of magic- has lots of information available on the subject of magic. Just what is Goody Horseshoes looking for? Hundreds of books are wondering just that as he peruses them, each one wondering if they might be the one who is chosen!

Magpie giggles and gives Chaser a quick hug with one hoof. "I know what you meant. And thanks for helping us." She slips back to go… do… something, whatever, she can barely read, what good is a library anyway?

Muzaji wells. "That's about as good as place as any to start, seeing as we don't really have any other options and it wouldn't be wise to come all this way for nothing." Did her eyes just light up a bit at the prospect of an ancient temple to explore and possibly loot both answers -and- treasures from? Nah, you must of imagined it. Maybe. Really. Just your imagination…. Oh who are we kidding?

Siyana's expression falls. "…research? Ewww." The zebra turns and skitters after Magpie. "I, uh…hear my mom calling! About evil kings! I should go listen bye!"

Goody-Horseshoes plops his butt down, surrendering for just a moment. So many A's to look through. You'd think 'Auras' would be easy to find. There's just so many titles to look over…

Tale Chaser squirms at the hug, but smiles a little as well. He doesn't say much as Magpie shuffles off, merely watching her go, before looking back to Sinking Stone.

Sinking Stone quirks one half of his unibrow, peering at Muzaji, that brief gleam of faded blue visible for a moment. It would seem he smiles underneath his beard as the Zebra agrees so readily to the prospect of adventure! "Ahh, fitting that a worldly type such as you would so readily agree! It is encouraging, it is."

He pushes up off the stool. "Eddy, was it?" he asks, of Eddy. She nods, blinking. "Do these air-breathers know how to get around with a proper floatie yet?"

Eddy squints. "Some of them do! Not all of them have had lessons, yet."

Sinking Stone nods, once. "Excellent. See to it that they learn! They'll need to be able to swim, after all. The Cultists didn't build for air-breathers the way our esteemed office of civic development does, after all!"

Eddy beams. Esteemed! He said ESTEEMED.

On the shelves, 'Auras' is not just the title, it is the title of SEVERAL books. In fact, thre is an entire shelf dedicated to auras!

"How to swim, I do surely know… but *under*water, not so well, no." On second thought, Muzaji might want a quick lesson just to migrate one familiarity into the other.

Goody-Horseshoes has an a-ha! moment. Of course, it helps when you're in the proper isle. He turns his head sideways, studying the titles of all the books in search of something that might be what he's looking for.

"Oh, you'll love it!" crows Eddy, bustling up to join Muzaji with a bright smile. "The foals loved it! You'll like it, too. Zebras usually take really well to it, even! I think it's the stripes. They make you more… aquadynamic!" She reaches up with her forehooves and swooshes them around, vaguely following the pattern of Muzaji's stripes with the motions.

Tale Chaser watches, smiling a bit, then casts a worried glance towards Sinking Stone. "Curator…? Are you going to go with them?" Because you're SO dang OLD, is the unspoken concern.

"Of course!" says Sinking Stone, looking over with a whiskered smile. "Been far too long since I did field work of my own. Besides, someone needs to make sure we only bring back the valuable finds! Remember that one time you came back from the field with what turned out to be litter from a passing trading vessel, boy?"

Tale Chaser squirms. "It looked valuable at the time…" he mumbles.

"Ha!" laughs Sinking Stone. "A valuable empty can of beans! From the Tin Age, perhaps?"

Goody-Horseshoes comes back out of the isles, not exactly pleased with the results of his search. He slowly makes his way up to Sinking Stone. "Excuse me, Curator…might I have a brief word with you?"

The old professor- or, ahem, curator- is tottering about near Tale Chaser's table when Goody approaches. The old pony turns to smile at the captain. "Yes! Young fellow." All of you are young. "You may, and you may have a long word as well if it better suits your fancy!"

Muzaji stifles a bit of a snicker at the old colts remark as she turns to leave. "I'll leave you to discuss your personal matters, Cap'n. I shall begin to make preperations for out upcoming… outing." *Some* pony needs to make sure they have proper supplies for adventuring, after all. Or maybe she just wants to go live it up some more and that is her excuse. Either and both are likely.

Goody-Horseshoes clears his throat, "I would like to ask you about something, that may very well likely be in your realm of knowledge…or you would atleast be able to point me in the proper direction. You see…it's my eye…" He hoofpoints to the darkened monacle covering one of his eyes.

This old stallion seems like he's seen better days. His coat is usually a dull brown-grey with a lack of shine. An old sea-captain's hat sits on top of his head, partially covering up a short dark chocolate brown mane with hints of grey. One blue eye remains uncovered, while the other hides behind what appears to be a blacked-out monacle. He often wears an old and tattered jacket made of faded leather. His hooves look like they could use some good care as well.

"Mmmm?" asks Sinking Stone, leaning in to peer at Goody's monocled eye. He considers it for a few moments before slowly shaking his head. "If you mean to ask me about your eye, lad, then I must say I've never seen it before today. Boy?" He looks to Tale Chaser. "Are you familiar with our friend's eye?"

Tale Chaser looks up at Goody Horseshoes for a moment, then shakes his head. "No, Curator, I'm afraid not."

Goody-Horseshoes looks to his left and right. He tries to be careful about things like these. After a bit of a sigh, his horn glows and the monacle flots up to rest in a band on his hat. His eye is closed at first, but as he opens it anypony might see it's a bit…odd. The iris is a deep, almost luminesent, shade of yellow-green. The pupil is stranger yet. It doesn't seem to cast a reflection. Rather, it would seem as if it absorbs light. The feeling it invokes is the strangest yet…it's like it's looking through, not at.

Sinking Stone draws back slightly, eyebrows lifting. "Mmmmmmhhh," she says, thoughtfully. Beside him, Tale Chaser pushes to his hooves and leans up to take a look. His eyes widen and he skitters back a bit.

Eddy is off near the door and totally oblivious!

The old curator strokes his beard, which as we all know promotes thoughtful thoughts. "How did this come to pass…?" he wonders.

Goody-Horseshoes magic's the monacle back in place. He doesn't want too many ponies to catch on to his eye. "Well…you see, I'm a captain. Like my sire before me, I've been on the seas since I was a filly. I was out with my father…out chasing some sea creature. We found it alright. I couldn't tell you exactly what it was because quite frankly, I'm not sure. All I know is when it looked at you, it felt like burning ice. It felt like it could look into your soul." His hat floats off and sets down on his back.

My father…he wasn't of the coolest temper. He didn't want to study it. Rather, he wanted to destroy it. The seas were rough, and I fell into the water. Next thing I know, I'm staring at it, and it's staring right back into me. Father lost his temper, and used his magic against it. I don't know what happened then. I woke up back on the ship…and I could see things. Colors…around ponies…"

Both Tale Chaser and Sinking Stone listen, fascinated in their own ways. Tale Chaser's expression is one of open wonder, his ears perked as he listens to the tale, whereas the abundance of whiskers on Sinking Stone's face once more mask his expression beyond a vague browing in Goody's direction. "Mmmm," he muses as the tale concludes. "Auras. What do they signify? Can you tell?" He turns to regard Tale Chaser as he thinks out loud. "Many auras are typically assumed to be a reflection of some sort of quality of those they surround, be it an aspect of that pony's spirit or merely their emotional state at the time. But such auras are typically only revealed by fleeting works of divination, or, aheh, hallucinations brought on by psychotropic substances! That monster didn't sting you with some powerfully hallucinogenic poison, did it? Ha!"

Goody-Horseshoes gives a nod to wisened pony, "It's like…like I can see intensions. At first, it was hard. There was almost no color…mostly shades of grey. But, as I got older and used it more, I could see more and more colors. It got to where I could see if somepony was sad without having to see their face. I could tell if somepony was angry, or happy. I even got…I got to where I could tell if they were lying, or telling the truth."

"A useful skill indeed," suggests Sinking Stone, smoothing out his beard with a hoof. This is why you grow beards: So you'll always have something to pet, but not have to worry about feeding it or cleaning up after it as you might with a pesky cat. "You keep it covered. Does this douse your… second sight, or is it merely for the sake of the easily surprised?" He quirks his brow at Tale Chaser as he says this, and the young scholar glances about before shuffling back to his seat, embarassed.

Goody-Horseshoes gives another nod…the Curator's mind is still sharp! "Like looking through any darkend glass, it does help keep it's sight at bay. I will admit, my depth perception is hindered slightly by the monacle, but it makes it easier to focus. And, yes, you are right again. I could tell you without my eye that some ponies are not as understanding about such a thing."

There's that whiskery suggestion of a smile again. The curator turns and eases back to his bench, settling down with a sigh. You can almost hear the joints creaking! He gets situated before turning to regard Goody. "Well, I can tell you it's something I'm unfamiliar with- a shame, considering its aquatic source! You would think we would be the experts, mmm?" He shakes his head. "But even we must specialize. Still- you are surrounded by the bounty of the sea. There may be something here that can help you." He gestures to the stacks that surround him. "Do you seek an explanation? Or perhaps… a cure?"

Goody-Horseshoes perks a brow, shaking his head, "Not a cure, no. You see, what I thought of as a curse has actually become a blessing. I don't want to cure it…I'm looking for more of an explanation, and to learn everything I can about it…"

Sinking Stone nods. "Of course." He gestures to the racks. "You were browsing the Arcane Studies stacks earlier, yes? I would suggest you consider the source, firstly! The beast that gave you this gift. Or curse, if you'd rather. Boy!"

Tale Chaser sits up. "Sir?"

"Show our friend where the biology section is."

Tale Chaser nods, slipping down off his bench and standing up. He starts making his way down the center walkway towards a specific shelf. Sinking Stone watches him for a moment, then looks back to Goody. "It may take some digging, of course, but it's likely we have something that references your sea monster. Anything capable of giving something else second sight must have built up some sort of reputation, I'd imagine!"

Goody-Horseshoes smiles at Sinking Stone. He lets out a breath that seems to say he's a bit more at ease with his life. "I've been looking my entire life for answers. Just because I hadn't found any before doesn't mean I'll stop now. Any information pointing me in the right direction is good, no matter how significant or small. It makes it harder, not being able to remember what the beast looked like…perhaps that's an unfortunate sacrifice to having this eye. I couldn't imagine being without it though.

The curator smiles once more. "Not having a description of the beast might make it harder- but there's still hope." He gestures down the aisle. "Tale Chaser will help you find what you need, I'm sure. He's a bright lad. And you may avail yourself of our resources so long as you are visiting our fair city, of course."

Down the way, Tale Chaser waits by a specific rack, looking towards Goody with what he hopes does not look like an impatient demeanor but it kinda sort is because he's a kid and he's not over that being impatient thing yet.

Goody-Horseshoes gives a very noble bow to the curator before putting his hat back on his head, "I cannot thank you enough. May you forever live in wisdom." The captain trots over to Tale Chaser to start looking for the beast.

The curator turns to smile at Goody, lifting a hoof in a brief wave, and watches as the captain joins the young scholar down amongst the books. Only then does Sinking Stone turn away where he sits on his bench, his smile fading, one hoof reaching up to rub the back of his head. "Wisdom, mmm," he muses to himself. "Wisdom indeed…"