Welcome To Your New Life
IC date: Spring 73, 1007
OOC date: June 2, 2012
PCs: Sadaka
NPCs: Bazi, Talhia
GM: Gamble

It's a gloomy day out in the harbor. Cloudy, rainy even, the weatherponies in charge of such things continuing their job despite the troubles and turmoil of the land below. Not so much stormy as it is just…damp. A fitting mood for certain ponies.

The harbor itself is a mess. Last night's ill-advised battle between the Syndicolt and a rag-tag group of pirate wannabies having left ship debris floating about, washing up on the shore and around the docks. The Syndicolt ships on the horizon are much less the worse for wear, dinged and being cleaned of sticky gunk but otherwise unharmed.

On the Syndicolt Flagship, the crew is much worse off than the ship. Many of them were injured in one way or another battling pirates, causing much moaning and groaning and doc-pony visits in the deepest places of the ship where all medical duties are performed. The ship itself is manned by a skeleton crew at this time, and that's acceptable to the Admiral since the other Syn ships are just bloody peachy.

Speaking of Maddie. She's had a heck of a day! Pleasantly roaming the ship, visiting wounded, of which her dear, sweet, traitorous bodyguards are among, sometimes staring out at the harbor with a silly grin on her face. Sometimes visiting the crew's quarters to poe her head at the doorway of a particular cabin, to eavesdrop on the occupants' conversations and goings on as they happen.

Three zebras occupy this cabin. Two bulky zebras, one with a cannon and the other with a cannonball for a mark, and one filly. Whom has been tucked into one of the bunk beds, and left to sleep off her most traumatic experience. The pair has kept quite the watchful eye on her, taking turns when appropriate, but their esteemed leader has given them leave to tend to the filly until she wakes, so that's just what they've been doing!

And sleep the little filly did. She was pretty wiped out by the whole thing. She hugged onto her pillow, squirming restlessly in her sleep on occasion. It was not the best sleep she ever had, but it would do, and she wakes slowly after a good few hours, half-convinced she'd just had the worst nightmare /ever/. YAAAWN, stretch, rub eyes. Blinkblink…blink…blink. This… was not her loft bed.

Stirring! Two sets of zebra ears perk, Sadaka's bed shadowed by the striped bodies of cannoneer zebras. They look nervous, and more than a little confused, but there's no doubt that they also seem awful pleased with themselves when they peer down at the waking filly.

"You're… Awake." comes a deep voice from the cannon-marked stallion. "We were worried…" a softer, lighter voice notes from the smaller cannonball mare. Neither one seems completely sure how to talk to a young filly. Kids aren't exactly a common fixture aboard a Syndicolt ship.

Sadaka blinks up at them, tilting an ear uneasily and looking rather confused herself. "Uh… you w-were?" She looks around, gulping a bit. "…Where a-am I? Where're m-my friends? Where's Mr. Blackbird?"

Both of the adult zebras glance to each other. "You…are safe." the stallion states, if hesitantly, though he takes a quick peek back towards the door, as though expecting /some/pony to prove him wrong.

"Safe." the mare echoes, resting forelegs upon the bunkbed. She takes the initiative to better answer the lingering questions. "You're on our ship… Your friends left you in the water when you fell overboard." The question of Mr. Blackbird is left to hang in the air. Neither of them know Blackbird! How could they answer that.

"Some friends…" the stallion mutters darkly. "Spend so much effort to save you, only to dump you in the water and save themselves."

Sadaka blinks and droops a bit. "They… left?" That didn't seem right. She frowns, trying to recall exactly what happened. "I… I fell, I th-think… Everything h-happened real f-fast…" Lucky for her she'd gotten scooped up by some passing sailors again. Right? That's clearly what happened here. And they could take her on back to town again and she'd never ever ever come near the ocean again ever. …/Right/?

"You fell." the stallion agrees, gruffly. "You fell because we shot the ship that was carrying you." …There's hints of emotion in that voice. He's still watching the door though, which means he misses the glare from the mare.

"Orders were orders. And we didn't realize." she counters, prompting a snort from the stallion.

"We should have. Did we not hear the commotion? The voices? There was enough screaming."

"We noticed when it mattered most." the mare states, softly, but firmly. "And now…" she turns to regard Sadaka, expression alternating between moments of confusion and outright warmth. "We have you back. Welcome home."

Sadaka freezes for a second before looking up at them in confusion. "Wha… h-home?" What did they mean? This wasn't her loft bed, this wasn't her room. Wait, /they/ shot… that means… "I'm o-on a /Syndicolt/ ship?" she squeaked, looking as if she couldn't decide if this concept was terrifying, shocking, or just plain baffling.

Once again the zebra pair peer at each other, the stallion giving a subtle nod. The mare dips her head, resting it on her forelegs, keeping her gaze locked on the confused, and potentially terrified Sadaka. "You are…" she confirms, "It's our home. Now it's your home too." Her eyebrows knit together, worried tones filling her next words. "You don't..remember us. Do you?"

The little filly gapes up at them, shaking her head slowly. Admittedly, she was starting to get the faintest inkling of where this might be going. But she was doing her best to ignore it. Because this was crazy enough without thinking about that. "I d-don't remember… lots of s-stuff. Mr. Blackbird calls it amnesia," she said slowly, "which I g-guess just means I d-don't remember lots of stuff that I sh-should."

This news brings a sad wilt to the mare's ears. "Amnesia." she murmurs. "That would explain much. I guess we should introduce ourselves then." The pair both stand, next to one another and the bed, the mare dipping her head first. "I'm Talhia. This is my mate, Bazi." The stallion dips his head in turn, his hard gaze softening considerably to the sight of his 'daughter's gaping. "We're your parents, Sadaka." he states in that deep voice of his. "We've been looking for you for…a long time."

Sadaka stares up at them for a long moment, eyes wide. Her… parents? These were her… parents? A crazy whirl of thoughts accompanied this idea. They remembered her! They'd been looking! They weren't… dead, or vanished or imaginary or something! They were… pirates?

More confusion. This was a good thing! Right? She was supposed to be happy! She /was/ happy! Of course she was! Her /parents/! But stii, they were… Syndicolt pirates? Her parents were… the bad guys? Did that make her a bad guy? What would her friends think? What would Mr. Blackbird think?

She finally shakes herself out of the stare. "You're… m-my parents? R-really?" she squeaks out, sounding a mix of stunned and disbelieving. "You g-guys were… l-looking for me? Is that why you're here?"

Both Bazi and Talhia let out a breath. Apparently they'd been holding it, out of fear of a bad reaction to such sudden news. Then they both nod, all grins for the moment. "It's a long story…" Bazi states, glancing sideways. "We're here because we're paid to be."

Talhia gives Bazi a nudge, "But we had reason to believe that this job would lead us on the right path. It was the only option at the time. You have to understand, when we lost you it was a very difficult time… The Syndicolt reached out to us." Eyes downcast, Talhia pays her silent respects to her post. Just because her /current/ boss is a nutter doesn't mean all of them had to be!

Sadaka nods dazedly, trying to wrap her mind around all of this. "I-I… b-but… oh… wow." She drops her head onto her hooves for a moment. "…What h-happened? Did I g-get lost? Did I f-fall off a ship, or g-go swimming, or… where're we from? What'd w-we do?" She rattles off all the questions automatically, a rush of all the things she'd wondered since arriving in town but honestly might only be asking right now because she had no clue what else to say.

"It's not an easy story to tell." Talhia admits, settling back on a conveniently placed pillow. Somehow they know /everything/ That must make it authentic, right? "We used to have our own business, in a port not too far from here."

"Before the Syndicolt." Bazi pipes up, again nervously peering back towards the cabin door. "It was a good business. Mostly trading. You enjoyed our ship and liked to find the craziest places to hide."

Talhia grimaces, "Yes. Hiding places. You decided to hide inside one of the cargo boxes during a particular trip… We were..attacked by pirates. The ship was sunk. We were captured, and our cargo… Our precious, precious cargo was thrown overboard."

Tears well up in both 'parents' eyes at that memory, Bazi continuing after a subtle sniff. "We eventually escaped the pirates, but by the time we made it back to our home the entire town had been taken over. We couldn't afford another ship, so we got the only job we could, while keeping ears perked for whatever we could about where you might have ended up. And then we came here."

Sadaka nods slowly. "…G-guess I always kinda g-got in trouble…" she noted slowly, blushing. "M'sorry… b-but… it's nice here! Everypony's r-real nice, and… and I m-made some friends, and I've b-been going to school, and Mr. Blackbird says I'm r-real smart, and… and…" she trails off, gulping a bit. "And I g-guess I'm… not an orphan a-anymore?" she adds slowly, peeking up at them. Because this is supposed to be a good thing! Right?

It's the last comment that has both zebras chuckling, "You never were an orphan, Sadaka." Bazi intones, his head dipping. "You just forgot who you were, that's all." Talhia nods solomnly. "We're so happy you've been safe. But…"

Again the hesitation, the zebra pair sharing one more meaningful glance, "…But we don't know how long we'll be here. When we leave port, you may have to say goodbye to this Harbor for a while." Talhia speaks, offering her best smile.

A smile that Bazi does not mimic. "…Assuming the Mad Mare leaves it intact."

Sadaka lays her ears back. "L-leave? But… I…" she bit her lip, though the expression turned from sadness to alarm at Bazi's words. "You're not g-gonna destroy it, are you? 'Cause we only just got it all rebuilt! And everyone worked r-real hard, and the school's all set up just like Mr. Blackbird likes it, and…"

Talhia gives Bazi another one of her glares, seeing Sadaka's alarmed expression. "You're scaring her…" she intones to her mate, causing Bazi to sigh deeply. "She'll find out one way or another. Why hide it? We can't pretend we don't work for a lunatic. You're safer here than out there, Sadaka. At least until the boss gets what she wants. We aren't told anything more than orders, but our orders usually involve loading and firing cannons…"

Sadaka bites her lip, looking down. "…Wh-why do you… what'd the Harbor do? Everypony's n-nice… why can't all the ships come like they used to? Cap'n Lavender said you had up a… blockade? But /why/?"

Here's where both of the zebras get to look properly repentent. Shey don't /like/ looking at Sadaka like they're bad ponies! Or maybe that's the influence talking. Either way they both shrug in reply, Talhia prompted to give an awkward hug to the confused filly. Like she wasn't used to..hugging. But it seemed appropriate.

Bazi, stoic and sternfaced, keeps his gaze towards the door. "It's complicated, Sadaka. It's because they're nice that they must suffer. That's the way of the world, it seems. We're bullies, Sadaka. It's our job."

The little filly frowns, trying to wrap her mind around this concept. It was certainly a new one. She thought it was /good/ to be nice. The hug seemed small comfort, at least. There had to be some mistake. This Syndicolt couldn't be so bad as everypony said… not if her /parents/ were some of them. Right? Everypony must just… have it wrong. A misunderstanding! She'd never really dealt with 'bullies' before… maybe she just had the concept confused. Maybe they were trying to do something good anyways.

The silence is as awkward as everything else has been so far for this reunion. Certainly not the heartfelt, joyful thing orphans might daydream! Disappointing might be the right word. Heartbreaking even. Neither of the zebras seem to know what to say, and the hug doesn't seem to be doing much to calm the little filly, so both of the 'parents' take a step back. Eventually Talhia speaks up, voice nothing but sorrow. "We know it's a lot to take in. We've always been looking for you, but I think somewhere along the way we didn't expect it to happen. Now we have you and all we have to show are dirty hooves…"

Sadaka blinks, catching the tone and biting her lip. She didn't mean to upset anypony! "No, no, it… it's… I'm s-sorry, I'm just… tired." She sniffled a bit despite herself. "I didn't… I mean… I guess I sorta… d-didn't think I'd ever… s-see you again either," she admits slowly, looking up shyly. "And I'm s-sorry I don't remember, and I'm s-sorry I snuck off, and I'm s-sorry I worried you, and…"

So much sorrow! And sorry! And tears now, what with both of the zebra adults weeping now. They both rush the bed in a surge of emotion, Sadaka now subject to two zebra hugs from both sides! As much as the bunk beds allow anyway. "We're sorry for everything!" they both wail, the tender moment lasting just that. A moment. Bazi breaks off first, slumping back into a cushion, brushing his mane back. "We'll figure it out, Sadaka." he intones. "You'll be happy here. It's not so bad. Once you get used to a few things. A lot of friendly ponies work for us, you'll make more friends. Who knows, maybe you'll even end up back here."

Talhia isn't so quick to break away, getting more used to the whole maternal thing. Natural instincts are powerful like that. "We'll never give up again…"

Well if everypony else is going to cry. Sadaka all but melts into the hug with a faint wail of her own, though she contains it back to sniffles quickly enough, all things considered. She blushed faintly, wiping at her nose with one foreleg. "…I l-like making friends… I… d-don't have t-to go in the w-water, r-right?" Maybe she could get used to being on a ship. As long as the 'water' part stayed waaaaaay down there.

"No sweetie. You don't have to go into the water." Talhia confirms, making Bazi snort in faint mirth. "We'll keep you as far away from the water as we can." Both parents nod, at least happy to make that kind of promise. With that, Bazi nudges the cabin door open. "Our shift's coming up." he notes.

Taliha's head bobs. "We should go. If you need anything, Sadaka, you're allowed to leave the cabin. There's a kitchen downstairs, the cook is a little weird, but he'll feed you. Anything else you need, come find us. And…" Both of the zebras make a little gulp. "…Try to stay away from the boss."

Sadaka nods shyly. "O-okay… r-right. Um… th-thanks… mom… dad." The words sound admittedly awkward, though whether it's from uncertainty or just so long without having faces to assign them to is anypony's guess.

Hearing those words are just as much a pleasant surprise to the pair of leaving zebras, causing them both to pause at the door, turn, and smile at the little filly. "Everything will be fine now, daughter. You'll see!" Talhia says, with cheerful tones. Then they're gone! The door, closed. Sadaka's left all alone.