/q/ - Quest


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474437[Last 50 Posts]

Three days pass. Today there's one of the weekly Mates' Meetings, as it is a Wednesday.

About two weeks until arrival.


And I've been hard at work practicing my gun stance and transcribing that Elements of Harmony book.


Right. That sounds interesting. Can I check my mail first though?


Wait, I still needed to talk with all the mates I know!
And those I don't!


wake up.
How is Nurse Heart?


I shall go check on the Doctor first. Are there any patients there?


You kind of drag yourself out of bed because you were up late steering the ship last night.

It's harder work than it looks like, holding that wheel straight for hours.

You swing by the mail cage near Marsh's room and pick out your mail.

Minutes from last week's meeting.
Requisition approval.
Special offer from a pony in the Oddomane lands.
Something from Vivid Eclipse.
And a letter from Dixie City, Confederate Republic of Dixie.

No doubt. Did you finish it? '1d2-1'

We all know how awkward it is going to be for you to approach all of those mates you never speak to and say, "So, uh… help me out even though I don't know you at all."

Anyway, it won't be until this evening.


It's early, so there are no patients here.

Roll #1 1 - 1 = 0


I've met at least some of them like Al-Jinn and Ruxiang!
And Abilio too!
Fine, be like that then.
I'll just visit Smitts.


Carefully read through all of these for the sake of completion.


Ruxiang and Movp are Officers, so I can't bother them right now.

Let's head on to deck and see if anything catches my eyes or ears at the moment.


You could still swing by before this evening.

The first one is boring and you immediately throw it into a nearby brazier.

The second one is about those hammocks and you eat it to preserve your secrecy.

The third one seems like a good deal. All you have to do is open a bank account that both of you have access to and put in some seed money once you get to Roads, and he'll put in 5.4 million bits, and you're allowed to keep half of that.

The letter from Vivid asks what you thought about the windows.

The letter from Dixie is sealed with the seal of the Fraternal Order of the Olive.


Lets roll over and out.
Hows the deck and the ships. Also the weather and everything?


Swing by who?
Them or Smitts?
And I was in the middle of a talk with Al-Jinn the last time


Ah fuck, the windows. I never do look at those. And I haven't even spoken to him in a while either, I'm just too busy.

Remove the seal and read through it.


You catch sight of a deer being berated by a diamond dog.

The weather is fair and clear. The deck seems fine as it has been for the last few days. Things sure are boring and uneventful here out at sea. You could still go talk to Spring, I guess.

Any of them.

And I think you were talking to Ruxiang, not Al-Jinn.

There are two letters inside, one from the Fraternal Order of the Olive and one from your niece.


Read the one from Glory first.


It was Al-Jinn.
Ruxiang wasn't in his place.
Whatever, find him now.


I have a duty to try and keep the peace, so I want to make sure this doesn't escalate. Get close to listen in without interrupting.


Good grief, this books is a monster.
Let's try and finish this up.


Lets do that shall we?


The Governor said he had a way to get letters to you! I was excited and had to stop myself from writing right away. It's been a week since you left now. Chivalry is still recovering, but they tell me he's more lucid now. I think I've figured out how to use grandfather's sword, though. Please, stay safe!

Glory Belle

No, remember, he wasn't in there at first, then you saw him exiting the belowdecks of the Eagle's Roost.

Anyway, you locate him at the crow's nest of the Sirocco.

The dog is growling at the deer: "It's so pointless! Especially her, the most useless of the useless! Just keep your miserable time wasting out of my face, because I don't want to hear it."

The deer runs off.

You get up early and start scribing while Skylight is out praising the sun.

You're on the last chapter now, titled Prophecy.

You find her in the Sirocco cabin.


I thought you meant I saw Al-Jinn exiting the belowdecks.
Fuck, now I'm confused.


How nice. That's very good to hear.
Let out a relieved sigh and read the other letter from the Order.


"What was happening over here, Sir? Your yelling could raise Davy Hooves from his stable."


Prophecy, huh? Well, nothing against reading while I copy it down.


Go and wave at her.
"Nice seeing you here Miss Spring. So how's your day."


Al-Jinn doesn't use the stilted speech pattern that Ruxiang does.

Liberty Belle,

As you may remember, I have been assigned to the Belle Family case and will be overseeing the recovery of your niece and nephew. Please find enclosed a mailing address for the Abbey of the Sun and Moon at Dixie City. Return mail will be screened. Thank you for your cooperation.

Eternal Sun Protect Us All,
Blazing Bolt

You recall a mental image of a blue mare with an orange mane.

The bitch turns on you.

"I'm gonna let that one slide because I need a drink. Don't press your luck."

Intermittently stepping between rambling and riddle, this chapter is mostly concerned with what it seems to consider the ultimate destiny of the Elements of Harmony. It is well known and documented in the earlier chapters of the books that occasionally avatars of each of the elements raise – with one two unite and guide them. The Magic Element. This chapter is a rough prophetic account of times the Magic Element has arisen in the past, and will come to rise in the future. This all seems very interesting, but you aren't able to interpret most of it because you're not as familiar with scholarly – or prophetic – texts as you could be. If only you knew somepony good with history.


Perk up.
"Oh, hello Chip. Uh… we sleep here, so I usually stick to the cabin. I'm fine, thank you."


Okay, anyway then Ruxiang told me those offical get-togethers are nothing unusual.
"Yeah, but you see, this time they will sort of talk about me becoming a full fledget officer too."


He shrugs. "So?"


Right, I remember that mare. Good on her. Good to know her name too. If something happens to my family, I'll have to murder her.
Store my stack of letters in my bag for now. The meeting wont happen until tonight, right? Gives me time to go check on those goddamn windows in the mansion. Let's go.


"So, since we know each other and stuff, I was hoping you would back me up on that."


Step back and let her carry on then. Whatever happened here got her riled up. I'll go and try to find that deer then and see what this whole commotion was about.


If only, right? Still, Miss Puzzle should be able to puzzle it out. Once I've finished up this chapter, and put the transcription note on the back cover (basically saying that this tome was transcribed in this year by both Curry and Skylight of Autumnsreach), I'll wait for the ink to dry on that and then pack it up and go looking for Chip.


"Its good seeing you two sleeping here instead of the brig. Did Ms. LightHeart arrange all this?"


You head over to the mansion and enter the main foyer.

He shrugs. "You always complain when come to see me. Impatient student, too. What in it for me?"

The deer has definitely disappeared, but a big buffalo laying about nearby remarks, "Don't get too concerned. Happens all the time around Helena God-Hater. I wouldn't bring up any of the pony pantheon, or even canine pantheon, or that matter, around her."

He speaks with an odd tone, and very slowly. Weird.


You only have to look up. He's here in the room.


Walk over to one of the windows and gaze outside.


"What do you want it to be in for you?"


Oh hey, so he is.
"Hey, mister Chip! Just finished that book, if you want to help deliver it to miss Puzzle."


I nod.
"She did, yes. We all sleep here now, it's much nicer than in that damp brig. We even have a bed now."


"Thanks for the information. Has she ever mentioned why she was that way?"

"Oh, by the way, I'm Friesian. What's your name?"


"Did you now? Can I see it?"

I just huff, well that is a good thing to hear."


I cock my head.
"… Something wrong?"


No windows in the foyer.

From here you can head into the fine dining room, the concert hall, down to the shooting range, to the scullery, up the grand staircase to the second floor, over into the parlor, the parlor, the conservatory, or into the gallery. Next to the scullery is the buttery, which has a staircase down into the wine cellar and basement which houses the servants' quarters.

The second floor houses mostly rooms and the billiards parlor, library, ballroom, drawing room, and fainting room. You know the third floor houses the humidor, among other rooms. You think you've seen a solar up there.

He shrugs. "I dunno if you reliable anyway."

He gives you that same really odd way of talking. Very slow and off pitch. Instead of laughing, he actually says 'ha'.

"Ha ha. If you want to know that, ask her yourself. Be prepared to have your ear talked of."

He gestures along with his statement, indicating ears.


Actually, before I do that, can I find some paper to write on first? I should answer these letters before I forget.


"Of course I am!
Why wouldn't I be?
It's a leftover from my years as a merc. Always fulfill the contract."


"I'd like to ask if I scared you last time, you seem to suddenly gone… afraid and seemingly just want to leave."


"Uh… No it was just… I wasn't feeling well all the sudden."


"Thank you for your help. One last thing, was she serious about getting that drink?"

I noticed his odd way of talking, is there anything else visible or noticeable I can detect? [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


I'll hoof it over.
"Doesn't it look great?"
I'll look between the two of them.
"Did… something happen?"


"Oh, we just talked to each other for a bit the other day."


There's probably an office around here somewhere. Or you could return to the ships.

He shrugs. "Can you move magic dust?"

He shrugs. "Probably."

He sounds kinda slow, but he's huge, so that probably doesn't matter.


"Oh. Okay. But if anyone does do something to you, I am still the same Curry… just in a smaller package."


"Depends on where you need it moved."


Try to find an office where I can write in peace.

Roll #1 10 = 10


"All I needed. Let me know if you need anything from me down the line."

Get the directions to her quarters, and then go gets some beverages from the closest galley to take to her, and one for me.


I look at it
"Its a fine looking book I might say. I'll deliver it later."

"What do you mean by that?" I scratch my head.
"Is there something wrong that I did?"


"Oh no no no, not at all. I just needed a moment. … Marestuff."

"I know, I know."


He laughs at you. "Cheeky."

You find a quiet office on the third floor.

She must live somewhere in the bunkhouse, given that she isn't an officer.


"Yeah, but seriously, what do you need?"


Get those drinks and try to find her. We can't have the crew fighting amongst themselves.


Take a sheet of paper and a quill, and start writing. First for Glory.

My dearest niece,
It is very good to hear from you so soon and I hope you are feeling well. At the time of me writing this, we am still at sea after a week of travel. The days are long, but I manage to keep myself occupied with this and that. It is good to hear that Chivalry's treatment is proving to be fruitful. If you happen to speak to him, be sure to give him my regards. As for the sword, I am quite interested to hear as I was unable to figure it out during the short timespan I was in Dixie Town myself.

Liberty Belle

Then for that Blazing Bolt mare.

Blazing Bolt,
Blessings be upon you, I trust you will guard them both well from the many dangers that lurk in the shadow of the Sun.

Liberty Belle


"I see, I thought I've done something. Anyway I am here to apologize to you if I did something, just in case."


"It's fine, really."


"What, you serious? I mean sell it."

You find her belowdecks harassing a keg to get alcohol out of it.



I nod at this.
"Alright, I will go and do some stuff Curry ask me to do." I pointed at the book.
"Perhaps next time we can meet again? If you like that is."


I guess I need to give them to Marsh?
Anyway, go to the third floor.


"Y'know I'm not hooked to it… but tell you what, I'll ask around if anypony is. And if yes, I'll tell them who's the best pony to turn to.
That's you."


"Here, have this one."

Offer her one of the drinks and just let her take it in for the moment. Let her cool off.


"Sure… I mean, I'm always around anyway. Why not?"


Oh, sorry that wasn't clear. You are on the third floor. That's where the office is.

He shrugs. "We'll see."

"Well if you came to apologize, spit it out already!"


Just don't forget me, right?

Off to see Al-Jinn now then


I want to get to the bottom of this and stop any more fighting, so I'll suck it in for the sake of the fleet.

"I'm sorry I bothered you when you were yelling at the deer."


"Alright then, later." I nod before leaving.
Now lets go and grab that suit I have and go find Ms.Puzzle


Right, I forgot. Now let's see the solar.


He's not at the helm.

"I meant for calling me a sir, dumbass. Didn't yer mommy teach you how to talk to a lady? Or is she too busy feeding worms?"

You are stopped at the mansion door. "What's your business here? Landgrave has asked us to be more selective about who gets in."

This pleasant little dining area is for Landgrave's personal meals when he doesn't feel like eating with his inner circle. Bright sunlight streams in from a large bay window nearby.


Maybe he is at his room?
Look for him, if not there, somewhere!


That is what solars are usually there for, yes. Flutter over to the window and look outside.


"I've had superior officers who got mad at being referred to as anything else. Seeing as how they could, and some of them did, kick and drag me across several battlefields, it's a hard thing to drop. But if it offended you, as a proper thoroughbred," set the drink I have for myself on a table, "I must apologize for such gross negligence and misconduct on my part."

Bow my head down and put my hat to my heart.


"I am here for Ms. Puzzle." I look at him.


File: 1377728562613.jpg (32.05 KB, 395x375, window.jpg, IO exif Google TinEye)

Popping open the window, you get quite the view. How pleasant.

You head down to his cabin and knock.


She shrugs. "Alright. A little overplayed, but whatever. You're fine. I wasn't even really mad at you."

It's begrudging, but sincere. Almost surprised.

He eyes you. "Alright. I'll summon her."

He sends off for another servant, which retrieves Happy Puzzle for you.

She bounces over to the door. "Yeees? Oh, hey Mister Chip."


… Uh?
Is it… real? Or just a magical illusion of sorts? Stick a hoof outside experimentally.


"Hey, it's me, Emrille, remember?"


"I get that a bit. Strict parents and military discipline tend to make me stiffer than my age does."

I'll grab my cup, motion it into the air, and then take a drink.

"It happens to all of us. Let's just enjoy the drinks for now."


The bright sun outside is warm, and you feel the caress of a gentle breeze.

"Yes. Come in. What is it?"

Al-Jinn is sitting, meditating.

She shrugs and takes a swig.


"Sure took me long enough. At this rate, I'll not likely finish too many more before we dock at Roads."
"Just making sure."


"Hey there. Hope I'm not interrupting anything.
Just wanted to talk about the little officer's get together later today."


… Spread my wings and try to fly outside.


"So then, can you tell me what sparked that issue earlier? I can try to do what I can to rectify it for you."

Take another drink.


"Hello there Ms. Puzzle." Flutter my eyes in comical way.
"May I come in? Its been some time since you and me have met, perhaps its a good time to catch up dont you think?"


delivering the book right now


Alas, I am too late for any parting words.


"The Mates' Meeting."

Your wings are too wide for the bay window. Also the decorative railing obstructs your legs. You think you see ponies moving down below.

She shrugs. "Just that dumb deer meditating over Nature again. What a waste of time! You'd think they'd know better around me what with the nickname. Yes. I hate the gods. All gods. They can all bite my garters. And if you don't like it, YOU can bite my garters, too. I just get sick of all the god-talk. Might as well pray to rocks and lamp posts. The gods don't do a damn thing. Do they even exist? How could anyone tell? When was the last time Celestia even left the palace? And Luna is conveniently banished? Oh, and Mother Nature won't talk to anyone, and the Spirit of the Law has no corporeal form? Seems like an awful lot of excuses for supposedly all powerful beings."

She frowns a little. "I'm not sure Landgrave wants outside ponies in his mansion anymore. Should I come out there?"



Hmmm… any binoculars lying around that I can use? Or can I make them out from here? I wonder which country I'm looking at here…


"If that is fine by you." I bow.
"Perhaps we can take a stroll on the deck. Its a good day out here."


"Your talking to someone who was in a similar boat. I know what it means to get mad at them for all the things that have happened. Rarely does the sun set when I don't think of the ones who deserved to live instead of me and what they would have been doing if they made it out of all those messes we got into."

"But tearing into that Deer, and anyone else for that matter, won't make any of them answer any faster."


No binoculars about.

She bounces out as the door shuts. "Whatcha need me for?"

She shrugs. "At least it'll keep the praying racket down."


A shame… I guess I'll just ask Landgrave about it.

Where is that noble pone?


"But it'll make everyone else uneasy working together. Look, why don't you point me in the right direction and let me talk to the deer? I can't promise you the lads going to stop trying to talk with Nature, but I can try to at least keep it to private rooms. How's that sound?"


Well, looks like no one else in the room really wants to talk, and I need to stretch my legs after finishing that book. Time to take my gun, unloaded, and head out to the deck so I can practice my stance. I'll keep the bullets on-hoof, though.


Perhaps in his private quarters, on the other end of the solar, as he was not in the humidor, drawing room, or parlor, as where he normally reclines when receiving guests.

She shrugs. "Whatever. I won't stop you, that's for sure. He lives over on that big junk heap, the Eagle's Roost."

You practice standing for a time in the warm sun.


Go there then and knock on his door~


"He took off so quickly that even I lost sight of him. Hopefully, someone over there knows."

Sigh to myself. What have I undertaken this time?

Head on over to the Eagle's Roost and ask the ponies on deck if they have any more specific directions to the deer.


Now to learn how to actually shoot. Let's visit old Ben. And I'll load the gun, because he'll probably expect me to have it loaded.


"Actually I was here to give you this." I hand her the book given to my by Curry.
What is the book about anyway? Do I understand it?

Roll #1 10 = 10


Earlier this day, I go find Felfire.


What day is it, again?
I'm probably reading.
Or maybe exercising with the gun.
Or maybe taking a fresh breath and chatting a bit with my shadows.

Roll #1 2 = 2


Yeah no, we need Emrille for that. Let's say it's the third one.
I'm on deck on the Pillanger's.


"Miss Felfire, good morning."


"Hey there. Came to join us?
We're discussing on how to best translate trotantine without losing the hidden meaning behind magic philosophy."
Chuckle as if it was a great joke.


I look around.
"We, miss Felfire?"


Point at the bunch of shadows.
"These have been interesting travels, Light Heart.
I've picked up interesting friends along the way."


Inspect one of the shadows.
"Ah. I almost forgot about that trick."
I chuckle.
"It is easy to forget that a necromancer does not necessarily speak in a physical sense to the dead."


"It's a great jump for me too.
Finding a decent conversation partner was a chore, before.
And keeping one, even worse."


I nod slightly.
"Maintaining a social network can be quite difficult at times, but it also comes with many benefits. I myself find myself constantly busy these days with keeping up relations… but it is something I enjoy doing. And if there is enjoyment to be found in doing something, it becomes far less strenuous."


"I was talking more in terms of keeping them together instead of blowing their bodies.
There was this sweet girl I met once, kept one of her ribs. You know, to chat with her whenever. She knew a lot of really cool ghost stories.
The kind you tell around a fire to scare kids.
I loved them.
So anyway, turns out I had to blow that up after some other guy had me pinned on the floor.
RIP-" I will mimic a stabbing motion "- right into its guts, and then BOOM!"
"I loved that old trick.
But I never got to hear the end of her stories."


I chuckle.
"What a charming tale."


Roll my eyes.
I've been starting to think more about what I did in my travels lately.
There's so much I didn't remember…"


"Indeed? That is a true shame, memories are something extremely precious in my opinion. One of the reasons why I travel is because I wish to see and experience as much of the world as possible, and without memories to look back on… it is a rather pointless exercise."


Snap my tongue.
"Not exactly the reason I started to travel."


"We all have our reasons. Be as it may… you may want to have that examined. Memory loss does not happen without reason."


"Oh no, I haven't… Lost any memory.
I just didn't think about them. Ever.
Then something happened and now…
It feels just so much easier to think back.
To relax."
Smile and look up to her.
"What brings you here?"


"Oh… well no need for worries then. As for my being here, I am touring the fleet to see how everypony is faring."


Give her a hoof up.
"Fucking great actually.
Helping my friends, getting out of some bullshit that was crowding my mind…
It's been a good year."


Just as you're about to knock on Landgrave's door, you hear Happy Puzzle bouncing about below. You head to the balcony to warn her to keep it down, worried that she might jeopardize your guest status, when you spot her down below with a new book and her scrolls out. Attention drawn away for a moment, you glance up to see from your third floor vantage point that the nearby chandelier suffering from extreme wear. No sooner do you think it than it starts to give in.

Quickly utilizing your pegasus speed and wings, you tackle the chandelier chain and safely navigate it to the second floor of the house, saving Happy Puzzle from certain doom and this priceless relic as well. The servants clap and cheer. HP bounces upstairs to greet you. "Oh wow! That was super brave and dexterous, Miss Heart! Maybe I doubted you too soon. You do seem like a pony I can trust. I was just worried before because I was uneasy about you going through my things, but I'm sure now you had a good reason for it."

What uncommon luck! You smell something burning, but the odor quickly fades.


"My apologies for that again. But as I explained before, I needed something to entertain the children with."
I wonder if that little cube puzzle got solved yet…


She gives you a little hug. "It's okay, I forgive you."


I smile.
"That is most gracious of you."
Look at the book down below.
"I see mister Curry has finally finished that copy?"


"Yes, I was just about to start reading it. It sounded like a good one!"


"Was it free? If so, I will have to thank him again for that. Perhaps even repay him somehow."


"I think so? Mister Chip dropped it by!"


"Most kind of them, do you not agree? In any case, it sounds like a thrilling subject. Mister Curry told me a bit more about it."


"Yes, and particularly relevant to me, if the table of contents is to be believed!"


"Why so?"


"Well, only indirectly for me. I told you before I couldn't read most of the scroll because I wasn't sure if I could trust you."

She glances at all the servants around still appraising your chandelier rescue.

"So we should go somewhere private!"


"My room is rather private, is it not? We could head there."


"Fine with me!"


"Very well then."
Lead her back to my room.


Rosemary is here, alone. Appraising your entrance with a bouncing Happy Puzzle she remarks, flustered:

"A-Ah. I-I mean… I'll do it for you, but… a warning ahead of time–! Just… to prepare, mentally, I mean!"

Then she sees that HP is carrying a bunch of books and relaxes considerably.


I chuckle.
"We needed some privacy to discuss something, Rosemary. No need to get flustered."
Is she the only one here?


Yes. Grey and Onik are out.

"Er… should I leave?"


Turn to look at HP.
"Does she?"


She nods.


"Well, it appears that you do."
Walk over and give her a quick kiss.
"I will meet with you after, is that okay?"


"Alright… I'll go check on Grey. She's at a playdate with Skylight's son– er, little brother – er, big brother."


I chuckle.


She departs, and Happy Puzzle spreads out the scrolls.

"I'm actually protecting these scrolls until the next pony who succeeds me gets them. Apparently they are very important to the next Avatar of Laughter, once one is chosen. It could have major implications, like every time the Elements gather! That's why I'm here to protect them. I thought the prophetic portion might help find out how long away until the Avatar comes! It might not be in either of our lifetimes!"


"Pardon me for asking but… an avatar of Laughter? That seems to imply these elements are far more divine by nature than I thought."


"It's complex, and most ponies don't know about it. The widespread belief is exactly what I told you before – it's a philosophy, and for most ponies, that's true. There is no afterlife for the Elements. Yet. This book talks about how one is destined to come into being – I believe the next time the chosen Avatars of each Element reconvene! Which would be great if it happens before I die!"


I nod.
"I can understand why that must be important to you then."


She nods, then holds up a hoof in admonition. "It's a secret to everypony! And more important than anything else in life to me!"


"Still, there is little you can do about it save for biding your time and protecting this secret, is there?"


"I think that perhaps the book might be able to tell me more if I can interpret it. But yes, in all likelihood, the best I can do is protect it until I find my successor!"


"And how would you go about finding that successor? … How were you chosen?"


"I'm not sure yet… something else I want to learn from the book once I can read it thoroughly. My predecessor said she 'knew'! And she wasn't even Neighponese, so I figured travel was important!"


"How did you come under service of the Lord-Mayor?"


"I was out of money in Stonebriar when he offered me a job as a personal doctor. I can't tell you what for because that would be a breach of doctor patient confidentiality! Sometimes I did spy work on the side too!"

All this talk of spy work makes you feel terrible knowing you're betraying her trust. After all, unless you get rid of that lapel pin, it will no doubt report back to Smitts.


Shit. Can we say I took that fucker off? Because I completely forgot about it.
"I see… and now here you are, working for my sake instead."
I chuckle.
"I do tend to stay on the move constantly, however. Without that, I would have less reason to stay on the fleet."


If only you had a 17-leaf clover at a time like this. However, checking your bags, you can only find the charred remains of a 17-leaf clover.

She nods. "Besides, not like I have anywhere I planned to go in particular. That is, not yet. Hopefully this book will give me some clues…"


"Best to get to reading then, I'd say."


She nods. "I'll have plenty of time with all the voyage left!"


"That you do, miss Puzzle. Say… I do not believe we have spent actual private time together yet."


"But it's private right now!"


I chuckle.
Gaze over to my bed.


She gives you an odd look. "Are you propositioning me?"


Take a few steps closer.
"I may or may not be hinting at something. It is merely an offer of course. I do like making others happy."


She gives you a confused look.

"I'm sorry… you're not an unattractive pony, but uh… it's just a weird time to bring it up, is all. We were just talking about books! And aren't you with Miss Rosemary?"


"This is a bedroom after all. Rather hard to ignore that fact, no?"
I chuckle.
"My mind is quick to wander at times, my apologies. As for miss Rosemary, our relationship is rather liberal in that regard."


Gives a look of comprehension. "Oh! That explains that! But the truth is, I'm straight! Thanks for the offer! I understand what it's like to want to make ponies happy!"


"As I said, it was only an offer. To each her own."


She looks as if she wants to say something, but then stops. "Alright..?"


I look at her expectantly.
"Was there something else you wished to say? No need to hold back around me."


"It's nothing. Er… well, it's a really personal question about you…"


"Go ahead then."
I chuckle.
"I promise I will not be offended."


"Remember when I had to heal you back in Dixie?"






"Well, I mean, as your doctor I want to check your body holistically, especially because a heart disorder can affect so many processes…"


"… Yes?"


She scratches at her mane with a hoof. "Are you aware you're in the extremely early stages of pregnancy? Weeks, at most."

"The Mates' Meeting."



I blink in surprise.
"… Ah. Uh… no, I was not. That is rather problematic…"


"That is good to hear. From the way I hear it, things could get very exciting on the fleet very soon, so it is always good to have your mind cleared of some troubling issues that could affect one's focus."


"If you're worried about me crapping out a resurrection somewhere, just relax.
I'm good."


"I would offer a drink is celebration, but alas, I do not drink."


"Neither do I.
Had a thing for oppium when I was younger, but being poor and on the move makes wonders for your addictions."


"I have a taste for nitroglycerin myself."
I chuckle.


Start laughing together with her.
"Fuck, you got me there."


"Now, I was wondering, how did that event you organized go down?"


Look at the shadow and then back at you, with a smile.
"It was the most beautiful dance of my life."


"That is excellent to hear. I am happy it all worked out for you. So you see your nervousness was unnecessary."


"I was worried until the very last, to be honest.
Ask me to jump into a fire, no problem, I've done that. It's just fire.
But with ponies…"
Inhale sharply.


"In time, you will grow used to it and the nervousness will wash away like sand on a beach."


"Feeling poetic?"


"Always do."
I shake my head.
"But no, it will. You can trust my word on that. Practice makes perfect."


"I really am in no rush. Once it was magic.
But over and over…"
"Next step, learning to touch living ponies."


"If you need my assistance, you only need to ask."


"I've noticed a lot of ponies are saying that, lately."


"I do not know about the others, but I take care of those who do me well. Keeping my partners happy and their needs sated at all times is important to me."


"Cheers to that.
Had to do one or two loops to help my friends too.
Stuff like rekindling thousand years old relationships isn't exactly too easy."


"I can only imagine."


"Anyway, I got something.
You are a mate right?
Well turns out I'm currently trying to gain ranks.
Don't get me wrong, I've it easy already.
Living with Terrebonne, spending my time studying and discovering old secrets, having domain over life and death…
But I'd like to start making it official, you get me?"


I smile slightly.
"I expected you would. Amusingly enough, miss Emrille's officer probation period is over. Tonight she will be judged by the officer's board."


"Which is just how I learnt about it.
She came to me too. Made me realize I've more friends than I thought, on this ship."


"I believe bringing us back from the dead sealed the deal."


"Which one of the few dozen times?"
Then relax and start looking up at the sky.
"You know, for all my talk of gloom and doom, I never died.
Well, once, maybe, but that time I was punching a demon with my bare hooves and he had me pretty beaten up.
But that was a close death at best."


"That sounds like a story."


"Eh. Nothing special, he just had long fangs, but his wits were lacking.
If he was trying to get me to give up my body volountarily, he failed.
Big time.
And he even got beaten up by a little pony.
Talk about power."


"Hmmm… I am not too fond of demons myself. I remember the episode in Tartarus all too well."


"Girl, fuck that. Some show of power it was."
Look up again.
"Wonder when I decided to give up on that…"


"It is probably for the best."


"Imagine if I'd gone around being the ugly evil necromancers that claims soul.
Not much space for friends that way."


"I imagine not, no."


"Anyway, what's that you ponies do for fun around here?"


"Socializing is fun, is it not? I consider it to be, at least. I was assigned to the helm yesterday, which was surprisingly tiring."


"Not exactly my cup of tea, but I guess I will try.
Though ponies tend to avoid the resurrectionist."


"In truth, I do not think miss Terrebonne appreciated me being around her. I certainly do not avoid her because I wish to."


"She likes her quiet.
And for the longest time, so did I."


"To each their own, of course. Without her I would not be here, so I am very grateful. I was actually hoping to help her out in some way, but so far I have not come up with anything yet."


"See, there is no need to.
This is the reason of the doubloon.
It's a token cost for the service, a way to say that all your obbligation have been fulfilled.
Took me a while to realize that, but it's really a way to protect those that are brought back.
Look at Chip.
I've saved it half a dozen times and never asked for money, and now he almost feels like he owes me something, even if I don't care for material stuff.
I realized it only after seeing that.
The reason we do this… It's not for money. Not for favors.
It's not about the reward.
But because this world runs like this, a token is required."


"I suppose that makes some sense, but in my case it is a little more than simply that. With my condition, having miss Terrebonne around is a blessing far greater than anything else."


"See, that's just what she doesn't want."


"I do not understand."


"She's out there on her own accord.
Doing this because she wants to, for her own reasons.
Having ponies buzz around her because she can bring them back is a sure way to get on her nerves."


"I gathered as much. But surely, she would appreciate it if I were to find something that would be of interest to her? Such as that book you received way back when?"


Shake my head slowly, with a sad smile.


"Hm. Well I suppose that saves me some time then. Thank you for informing me of this fact, miss Felfire."


"It'd just give us both an headache, if Terre had problems."
Look her over.
"I think I have to return those music sheets to you, right?"


"Oh, yes. I believe Landgrave would like them returned."


"What sort of guy is he?
I talked to him like… Once."
Start moving towards Terre's room.


"Have you met many nobles before, miss Felfire?"


"Not really."


"Well, like many nobles he possesses quite a lot of wealth, has a certain interest in art and a taste for fine foods and drinks."


"So he's just another rich guy."


I chuckle.
"If you wish to put it that crudely, I suppose."


"Never had much sympathy for people with money.
That's gonna help you little when the time comes.
Another reason I didn't initially ask to be paid.
Mistake on my part."
Go look for those sheets.


I chuckle.
"I suppose that is one way of looking at it."


And finally hoof them back.
"Money won't bring happiness.
Friends did, though."
Smile warmly.
"If you want to drop by again just call me.
Maybe Kilana won't be so busy then and we could listen to some music."


Take them and put them away.
"I suppose we all have our own view on these type of things. But yes, that does sound delightful."


"Oh and speaking of singing…"
Lead her outside.
"How is Sitar doing?"


"He appears to be faring fine, I spoke with him yesterday."


"Is he…"
Make a smoking motion.
"You know, laying it off."


"I'm afraid not, no."


"That faggot."


I chuckle.
"There is not much to be done about it, I'm afraid."


Give her a neutral, but hinting to the angry, stare.
"Watch me. I will talk to Smitts."


"That is most brave of you, miss Felfire."


"Worse that can happen is my soul being flayed, so who cares, am I right?"


I chuckle as well.
"That sounds somewhat serious."


"No soul, no pain.
Forever dead.
A true ending.
Not the worse of faiths, let me tell you."




"I suppose there is some truth in that."


"Just the void would be worse.
Slowly going crazy, aware but not really…"
Smirk slightly.


"That is what I am attempting to avoid. I have spent more time there than I care to."


"Not a particularly religious pony?"


"I was raised to praise the Sun, as all inhabitants of Dixie are. … Needless to say it is not quite the religion that fits me."


Snicker even more.
"I bet Fervored would try to fix that."




"One of the spirits with me.
A paldin of ages past."


"Ah. But is he Equestrian? Bear in mind that Celestia is not worshiped in Dixie. They are quite opposed to her, in fact."


Nod slowly.
"Of both sisters, really.
He is that old."


"Interesting. I am certain our resident Lunites would love to hear more about that."


"Curry did chat it up with him.
But I'm sure they have more problems to worry about."


"They do?"


"What with being slaves on a pirate ship and all."


"Now that is a rather crude way of putting things."


"I've never been one for sweetening the pill."


"Now, let it be said that I treat them well. They are technically my prisoners, it is true, but if they were to be given permission to leave the fleet, I certainly would not oppose it. I even sacrificed my the bed in my cabin for miss Spring and little Summer to sleep in."


"The big thing I saw when I visited?
Well now. And where do you even sleep?"


I smile slightly.
"Landgrave's mansion."


Raise I brow.
"I still wonder what trick he uses to link it to the rest of the fleet.
And where is it placed, anyway?"


"I had thought it was some sort of pocket dimension at first but… I believe it may all be real after all. Perhaps his door is a portal of sorts."


"Never got to look out of a window?"


"I did, yes. I saw trees and a large lake. But that may simply be an illusion."


"What about trying to leave the front door?"


"The front door is the door leading to the fleet."


Tried asking him, then?"


"I have not, but I was planning to."


"Hey, lemme know if he tells. You can never know enough about magic."


"Of course."


"Look what you did now, tingling at my curious bone."


While keeping an eye out for some of the people I've made arrangements to meet, and between helping out any sailors that wet their whistle too much, I run into a familiar looking adult Pegasus.

"Well, hello there ma'am. Sorry to intrude, but you look awfully familiar. Have we met before somewhere?"


I look at you, then smirk.
Might as well have some fun.
Quickly fix my mane and feathers then smile.
"Have we?~"


"Don't take this the wrong way, but you resemble an older filly I know. I guess it must be my age getting to me. Let me introduce myself for interrupting you like that. I'm Friesian Cross, and you are?"


"They do say apples don't fall too far away from the tree, don't they? Did she tell you yet?"


"Hmm? Did who tell me what?"


"My filly! Did she tell you that you're her father yet?"



Rolling to resist heart attack. [1d10]


Guess the old ticker keeps on ticking.

"I don't remember you!? What filly are you talking about!?"


Try to keep a straight face.
"Don't you remember the lovely night we spent together?"


"No, I don't! Or maybe I do? How long was it, it couldn't have been from then!? You're not from there, are you? It wasn't at that place, the, the… Whatever it was! You can't be that girl, right?"


"Aww, I thought I was more…. memorable to you. Of course I am~"


"But it can't be! I just got this job! I like it, I thought I could carry out the plans by myself? What am I supposed to do with a kid here, my kid!? And you, I'm sorry, it must have been hard for you, I'm sorry for letting you raise our child all by yourself!"


Hop next to him and brush up to his side.
"Shhh, it's okay, you're here now!
You didn't think that I won't be able to find you, did you?"


"I didn't even know I needed to be found!? Everything was so planned out… What are we going to do now, where is the child?"


"I know where the next one is!"
Give him a sly grin.


"Wait! There's a second one on the way?"


"There could be~"


"One's enough! One IS enough! I'm too old for this, what about the little filly's education? I chose a life of action, but that no place for such a young child. We'll pool our money and send her to the best schools in Lethuania! Equestria even! But how long before I kick the bucket? I need to make more plans about this…"


"Why make plans when you could make love?
There's a reason for the saying 'old but gold'"
Okay, try not to laugh.


Nope, after that I fall on the floor and can't even stop laughing


Try to contain my breathing and ask: "What's so funny about schooling for our child? What's going on?"


After a few minutes I try to stand up again.
"Ooh, shit… wow… you totally bought that one, didn't you?"
Let out another laugh.
"It's me, Emrille!"


"Whaaa? How, when, you were just a filly yesterday!?"

Try to keep my heart from beating out of my chest for the moment.


"Age magic, remember?
This is how I really look!"
Lean against him for support, taking deep breaths.
"Oh, shit, my sides hurt…"


"It wasn't that funny. You had me going for a moment there. When did you age up?"

Controlled breaths, controlled breaths.


Stand on my own again.
"Back in Dixie, so it's been a while. I've been just busy recently. Had a lot to do with my new adult-again body."


"Well, you're big enough to help me up then. You had me going there."

"So then, how have the last few days at sea been treating you? I got some more lessons with Wyvern and I'm starting to pick up those pistols you seem so fond of."


Help him.

"You do? Don't shoot yourself in the hoof, I have enough ponies to teach guns to that just might."
Caress my rifle with my wing.
"And as much as I like pistols, this beauty is the love of my life."


Take a few more breaths.

"Pretty attached to it, eh? Can't say I don't know that feeling. How long did you have it?"


"More than a few years. I lost count, really.
Always had something to add and repair, and, hey, now it's a fucking magical repeater."


"I can relate, in a way. Had that Crossbow since I signed up, and even to this day I kept adding parts. Got it made bigger thanks to a vampire slayer and added some surprise functionality to it in Dixie."


"I got a sweet scope recently."
"Not like I wasn't accurate enough already."


"It seemns we'll be horses of a feather then. We should have another shooting contest like we did back then when we met."


"Not today. I'll be pretty busy. But hey, there's always tomorrow, right?"


"I'll hold you to that. Today I'm going to go check in on the dock and see if he needs any help. We just started this voyage and I don't want it to sink because to many of us got sick."

"Speaking of voyages, any plans after all this is through? Or at least after we get pass the Island of Roads? You thinking of staying with the fleet?"


"I'm aiming to be an officer, of course I plan on staying!"


"Or, well, I'm an officer already.
I'm just aiming to keep being one."


"Keep being an officer? Let me guess, you got a review coming? I've had my fair share and I'm always shaky going into 'em."


"Yeah, at the Mate's Meeting.
I'm not shaky, just a bit concerned.
That doesn't mean I can't be confident that I'll succeed, can it?"


"You gotta be confident. There's always some who are undecided because they didn't even know they were going to have that meeting today. A strong, confident face is often the only thing they have to go on. At least you didn't get promoted in the field because all the others were dead."


"I sort of got it the cheesy way, but that doesn't mean I'd make a bad officer.
Hey, I even have my little friends to nurture too! Y'know, the Hamburgerburgians."


"They're such nice folks. They even built that rifle for me. I should drop in with some drinks as thanks. How did you get them to come aboard?"


"Told them they could get paid for shooting at shit."


Scrunch at this.

"That's basically my life summed up in a non-manewashed way."


She pulls down her catsuit so she can more easily scratch at her mane.

"Sorry! Not a very romantic way to find out, is it? Maybe you'd like some cake?"


Catsuit's hood*


'Sup with today?


Uh… what does her mane look like anyway?
Shake my head.
"A cake is not what I require… Miss Puzzle, I cannot bear a child. It has to go."


One of the topics will be the end of the trial time of my officership."


It is black and fully matted from being under a catsuit all the time. It does look washed, though, which beds the question of when she is sneaking off to the bath. Maybe after you go to sleep?

She frowns. "Awwww. Well, with your heart condition, I guess you're worried about complications!"

You roll out of bed in Terrebonne's room. She must be out and about, because she's not here.

"I see."


"I'd like to ask for your support."


Oh right, the mate's meeting Emrille talked about.
Well, I've got some free time then.
Let's find a bottle of something drinkable and pop in on Face.


"That is exactly what I am worried about."
I shake my head.
"I suppose I should ask Doc Peg for help on this matter… unless you can aid me?"


He sits in silence for a time, eyes closed, considering the matter.

"Where are you stationed?"

You wander around Terrebonne's room but can't find anything but a half empty bottle of water. Well, maybe half full.

She fidgets uncomfortably.

"I wouldn't feel good about it."


Eh, the holds here on the Pillanger's are filled wtih food, I could check there…
But that'd be stealing.
Let's just head there.


"Right, of course. I cannot hold that against you. … Thank you for the warning, miss Puzzle."


"Pillager's Fancy, because Abilio promoted me.
As you might remember I'm not a necromancer though."


You head over to Face's place on the Seaworthy. You arrive at his door.

She pulls her catsuit hood back up. "This has been an odd conversation!"

"Are you not at home there?"


Before knocking, see if any noise comes out of it.




"Face? It's me, Felfire."


"Mmmm? Oh, come in."


Let's do it then!
Walk in with a smile, whistling a tune and giving him a smirk, light on my hooves.


He's splayed out, belly up on his head. Looks like he slept in. You'd judge him, but you literally just rolled out of bed too. No one is in bed with him, his horsecock is sheathed: no need to avert eyes.

"Somepony is cheerful."


This is the least probable friendship on the fleet.
Keep up a grin.
"Can you guess why?"


"Sounds like you got laid."


"Well yeah, that was the gist of it.
But it's more than that!"


I smile slightly.
"It has. A little bit shocking as well."


"I feel I might not be their favourite.
Not that I give a fuck about what others think of me as long as I do what I should."


"Oh? Wassat?"

"Can I cheer you up somehow?"

"If you don't care what others think of you, why are you here?"


"Because opinions and support are not the same.
And I need the latter if I want to stay an officer, which I very much intend to."


"No need to worry about me, miss Puzzle. My heart may be frail, but I can hoofle myself."


Groan and fidget around this a little while.
Go sit at the bed's feet, staring at a wall.
More than this.
I got past a lot of problems with that, you know."


"Why would anyone support you who does not respect you?"

"Are you sure? It's a lot to take in! You should be with somepony!"

He shrugs. "I had faith in you. No surprises here."


"Well that's something very nice to say."


I chuckle.
"I will spend time with Rosemary later, miss Puzzle."


"I guess it's a matter of trust."


"So what now? Just sitting around until we get to Roads?"


You both kind of stand around as the conversation peters out.

"I could trust anyone to be in the officers' corps. It's a leadership training program. But why you?"


"I was trying to get to know the crew.
There's so many ponies I don't know…"


>implying I ever let conversation peter out
Always on the ball, nigga.
"Now, I do trust your secrecy with this matter, miss Puzzle. Nopony else needs to know about this matter. Hopefully either miss Spring or doc Peg will be able to solve this issue for me and that will be the end of it."


He nods. "It is its own ecosystem. Organic."

"Wouldn't those ponies know about it, then?"


Snap my hooves.
"Speaking of that!
You know Chip, right?
We talked a few days ago. He's starting to worry about his afterlife and stuff, and eventually we ended up talking about nature.
Anything you can tell me?"


"Yes, but seeing how you and they are doctors, doctor–patient confidentiality counts no?"


"Being a merc taught me how to go through with whatever I'm doing, not to lose my shit and panic, and react quickly to everything in combat."


He shifts around in bed a moment, getting comfortable.

"Well, I personally hold the creator sacred."

She shrugs. "I don't know if doctor-patient confidentiality applies to pirates!"

"I'm not saying I don't think you're capable. I think a trained monkey is capable. But I would not support a trained monkey to be promoted because…?"


"I think he's more of the 'live a good life' idea."


"But of course it does. Why would it not?"


He shrugs. "Most of the pantheon seems to either insist on behaving in this life for rewards in the next, or freedom in this life in exchange for a price in the next. Mother Nature demands and offers neither."

She approaches closely and whispers in your ear, "I heard that sometimes, pirates break the law!"


"So what's the Creator like?"


"Nonsense, you must be thinking of a different group."


"Few know with any certainty, though I was able to see one who did when we stopped in Reptil."

She shrugs. "If you say so."


Look up, turning around back to him.


"There's more to being an officer. I know that.
Help the crew. Be proactive about their needs. That sort of thing."


I chuckle.
"In all seriousness though, I ask you to keep this quiet for the sake of our friendship."


"Yes, while everypony else was out getting drunk and whoring, I was outside city limits, visiting a holy site in the nearby woods."

He winks. "Bet you didn't expect that."

"Those are all things that can be taught. What quality does an officer require that is not taught?"

"You don't have to worry about me! After all, I trusted you with an even bigger secret! But… are you sure you'll be alright?"


"Do you have something in mind?"


"I thought you were holed up in here with a dozen or so ladies."


"I get enough holing in my day job!"

"If you're feeling anxious, you should paint with me! It's a good way to relax and express yourself."


"That sounds lovely."




"Ah! I know that feel."


"Great! But I have to set out some paper first, or Landgrave will get upset."

She hops out of the room.

He shakes his head.

He suppresses a laugh. "Pffft."


Smirk and get up, then hit him with one of the pillows and go for the door, lying against it.
"We are young my friend.
No time to gripe about the past!"


"Of course, I will be with you shortly."
First things first though, I need to remove a witness. Kill a witness even.
Any candles around?


"I wonder what then."


He sighs. "A pirates' life involves dying early, and I have too many regrets this early. Still, it's not a life I didn't choose to live… and I am mostly happy with my choices. More and more I wonder if history will remember any of us – or even all of us, as a group."

He suddenly bursts out laughing. "Wow, I sure am waxing ostentatious this morning. I don't portend to be a navel gazer or armchair philosopher, I've sucked cocks for a living."

Landgrave's estate is far too fine for the common yoke. There are no candles or lanterns. Instead, the rooms are lit by some sort of odd circular mineral installed in the ceiling.

"You need it. Attempts have been made to describe it. Honor. Prestige. Respect. You need to command the sense of being an officer even before you are one. Prove to me that you have it, and I will back you."


Turn that smirk into a smile.
"I dunno Jolly, sometimes a pony has to ask the big questions."
Take a chair.
"If all it takes for you to get phylosophical is an early morning I might just come and visit you more often around these times."


Hmmm… leave my room then and head out for the kitchens.


"What does it take to earn your respect?"


"Not my respect. You need the ability to command. A pirate fleet is not like a military. The menials will not listen to you if you do not have a commanding presence. It is why I was disgusted by you when you were as you were before."

He doesn't say this with malice. It's very matter of fact.

He chuckles. "Maybe I'm just anxious. Do you feel it? Something coming? Like a storm in the distance, a sailor who has enough experience feels it before it meets the horizon."

You head into the kitchen. A zebra is barking orders to a staff of various ponies. It's quite busy here in preparation for lunch.


Right, not a good idea to be here then. These ponies are busy enough as is. Leave them to their work.
… How do I get rid of this damn thing? I could just eat it, I guess. Inspect the badge for a moment.


"Yeah, well that shit is over now.
And I don't plan on letting any of the crew mouth back to me, you can be sure of that."


Stare at him in the eyes for a second, then close my own, throw my head back and take a long, deep break.
Relax for a moment.
Think about what's been happening.
I've stopped running.
I've found a roof, a steady meal.
A master that doesn't hate me.
A pony whose embrace I can lose myself into.
Friends and peers to live with.
I've cleansed my mind of doubts and demons.
Attained respect from the thoughest of the thoughest and the smartest of the smarties.
Found a way in my life.

Lower my head and open my eyes again.
"It's… So peaceful now.
If there is such a thing as the calm before the storm, this has to be it."


This is the head of a rose, though perpetually alive. An interesting curiosity. Perhaps it has a water conjuration enchantment, much like a plucked flower can continue to live on in a vase. It is on a little pin backer that makes it easy to attach to your clothes.

He sits motionless, and finally opens his eyes from his meditation. "Prove your mettle."

He chuckles again. "So you feel it too? In a way, it's almost a relief. It should be good, then. Whatever happens, happens."


Raise a brow.
"Hey, don't you dare die on me, uh?
That'd be a stain in my reputation! What a resurrectionist, can't even keep her friends alive!"


"What do I prove about it?"


A shrug. "I try to stay out of battle. I'm a lover, not a fighter. Still, I can't help but feel things will catch up with all of us sooner or later. And if they don't… well, we might be flung headlong into danger. I don't know how ponies keep up the energy for all this intrigue."


Rip off the little pin and grind the flower against my hoof.
"My apologies, little thing. But I cannot allow to have any witnesses live to tell the tale."
I chuckle at the implied gravity of my statement.
Now… let's drown this thing. Find a bottle of alcohol.


"Don't ask me. All the intrigue I do is keeping my soul from being flayed on a boat filled with necromancers."
Smirk at him.
"I'm a scholar, not a fighter."


"You need to be able to make the jobbers listen to you without having to threaten them."

One bottle has been set out on the grand table early for lunch. The Viscountess Nihil is here with Vivid Eclipse.

"Just as well."


Well now.
"Lady Nihil, mister Eclipse. Good to see you both here so early."


Stand up.
"Catch you another time, friend.
I'm gonna try and enjoy these last moments of peace."
Give him a mock salute and leave.
Now, the ships.
Anything unusual going on?


"That's just a form of motivation, isn't it?
Because I doubt asking nicely would work much better."


"Just waiting for lunch, darling."

Eclipse nods.

"Right, right."

Nothing unusual. Almost as if the universe wants you to hurry up and get to the next city.

"You must find your own way within yourself."


Though luck, I still have to tell you about that time we chatted with Spring's dead husband, and Summer was there too.
So all the officers are at their meetings?


That's not until this evening. You spot Terrebonne at the helm of the Fancy.


What if my way are threats?"


Well there.
Flutter over.
"I bet you are having fun."


"I trust you are both faring well?"


"If you cannot command their respect, you cannot command my respect. I will not support you if I do not respect you. Perhaps there are other mates interested in supporting a pony that knows only how to bludgeon. Perhaps on the Seaworthy."

She shrugs. "I'd radda be in mah room, but we all must do tings which we do not like. At least da wedder is fair."

"Oh, quite, darling, but I confess, I am so anticipating the opera house at Roads. Can't this miserable flotilla move any faster?"

Eclipse nods again.


"I could take the helm for you, it's a slow day anyway."


"It is a rather long journey, I'm afraid. As much as it pains me, we will need to bide our time for now. Did you enjoy Dixie town?"


"Fine, I don't suppose you have any test task for me to command the jobbers, huh?"


"Oh, not to be rude, but I found it a bit gaudy and warm for my tastes. Perhaps when our rule is fully consolidated we'll simply install you as the local ruler instead of dealing with some unknown intermediary. Would you like that, dear?"

"Have them take the ship to full sail and pull out ahead of the fleet. Don't forget to withdraw the gangplanks. And make it your own command, not mine. Return to your own ship, amongst your own crew if you must."

"Afraid dat would be against da rules. Basides, Dolly told me ya haven't been checkin' ya mail."


"Right. It was my next stop.
Well, if you need anything just call."
Turn to leave.
"Hey, don't you think it's too quiet?"




I chuckle.
"Perhaps I would… but I do like traveling as well, do you not? Perhaps as I grow older I would settle down somewhere, but for now I would like to keep moving and seeing the world."


Motion all around.


"We're too far out ta see seagulls or ships."

"Personally, darling, I will relish it once we've settled down in the palace. I miss my country estate."


"Not exactly what I meant. I will be b-"
Does she have a hat?
No good to stay in the sun without a hat!


She doesn't wear one.



"To each their own, of course."
I look around.
"Pardon me for asking but… where is this mansion exactly located?"


Fly back there.
"Here, take this. The sun will might get to you."
Hoof her my tricorne.
"And nevermind me.
I just had a chat with Face, he got me to think.
Things are…


>the sun might*


"I haven't the foggiest. I never cared to ask, I suppose. Perhaps you can ask Landgrave if you're truly curious, though I can hardly think of anywhere it would be safe to have this mansion without walls. Perhaps in Poneland-Lethuania. I believe Landgrave's line has traditionally reigned in exile there in the court of the last free king. I believe he still has quite a few friends in that court, and it is of course the country to which his title belongs."

She chuckles. "Ah wouldn'ta expected dat friendship."


He's a great guy!
Got me into the fleet, don't you know?"
"And he's real easy to talk to.
I guess it's because of his job."


She shrugs. "We do naught behave dat way amongst mah people."


"Hmmm, I see."
Look around.
"In any case, I will leave you be. I have an appointment to make and it is bad form to keep somepony waiting."
Bow my head slightly.
"Until we speak again."
Alright, fuck this. Back to my room I go.


You head back into your room, which is empty. On the way you can see HP is nearly set up.


"Deep down he's a good pony.
It's all about getting past the Face."
Smile and leave.
Off to check my mail.


Is there a plate or a vase of sorts in here? Just so I don't make a mess on the floor.


You drop by Dolly's room. You dream of Dolly with the light bronze doorknob.


There's a dresser and a mirror on the wall.


Knock knock.


Dolly opens the door. "Oh, Felfire. About time you dropped by. You have mail."


No decoration at all? For fucks sake. Fine.
Bring up my flintlock, make sure it isn't loaded, and use the mechanism to spark the little shit on fire.


Smile sheepishly.
"Was kinda busy.
You wouldn't believe how much I've had to do with the Focus lately."


"Oh? Be careful, it can be exhausting."

The plant is too green to be lit by such a brief spark.


Of course it is.
Fine, surely there must be a fireplace somewhere in this mansion?


"I would know."
"So what is it?"


Of course. There's one in the sitting room.

"Two letters."

She produces them for you.


Is it lit?


It's not lit right now. Who lights a fire before lunch? This isn't the northlands.


Fine, I'll light it myself then.


You pull some wood from the nearby stack and set it inside. Now how to light the big logs?


"So, how has your practice been going?"
Sit somewhere and read the sender of both letters.


Surely they keep firemaking supplies near the fireplace? Some tinder and all that?


"Consider it done."
Leave, and fly up, above the ships.
Have a good look at the whole fleet.


One is an Oddomane name you don't recognize, another is from Smitts, dated a few days ago.

Maybe they light it with magic.

You see five ships, or four ships and one "ship".


"Steadily. Not much else to do."


Well fuck. If only I didn't get lost in time during all those skips I'd have known the mail was here!
Open Smitts' one first.
"I found lots of great books in Dixie's library, even managed to hoof-copy all of them.
Want to give them a look over?"


I doubt that. There must be some way.




The Eagle's Roost is pretty unlike any other ship. It's like a large shipwreck with cannons that moves.

There is a tinderbox on the mantel you missed before.

We only skipped a few days!

Hm… It's a summons for the afternoon three days from now. And the letter is dated three days ago.

"Sure, might help! Did you get anything on fashion?"


Of course there is, so much more practical than counting on all your staff possessing a firemaking spell.
Try to light some tinder and get the fire to go.


Oh, right, that slow ass thing.

No way that thing can pull ahead.
I need a ship that can go fast!


"Well fu-"
Good thing we are still in the morning, right?
Look up from the letter, back to Dolly.
"Uh? Oh, no, sorry. I was kinda caught up, had a lot of shopping to do."
"It was for a special occasion."
Okay, other letter now.
Who the hell could be mailing me from…
The Oddomane empire?


You pinch yourself by accident.

Al-Jinn's ship, the Sirocco, has by far the sleekest design and the most sails. It also sits higher int he water.

Morning is generous now. It's right at noon.

The other letter… hmm… it seems like a pretty good deal. All you have to do is, once you get to Roads, open an account that both of you can access and put in the minimum balance, then he'll deposit 5.3 million bits. You're allowed to keep half of that.

"A shame. I guess pony towns wouldn't have anything for me anyway."


I sigh and rub the spot, then try again.


Right… a little bit smoking heart of the fire, inside the nest of tinder…


Wait for it to increase in size, then apply a log.


Eventually after several tries and curses you get a roaring fire.


Good. Toss the badge in there and LET IT BURN.


The rose burns up and soon you can't see anything left of it but ash.


"Dolly, who can send me mails outside of the fleet?"


"Anyone, I guess."


"How does that work?"


I can do this.
Land at the helm of the Sirocco and start speaking loud enough that everyone can hear.
Don't shout though.
"Withdraw gangplanks! Full sail! I want to see this ship ahead of the fleet!"
'1d10' Diplomacy roll?


"If they know your name and send it to the fleet, then I receive it and then give it to you. Come to think of it, I got a bunch of letters from that some outside source."

The crewmembers look at you confused.

"Why are we pulling ahead? We need to stay with the fleet."

[Patronize] "You dare question me?"
[Misdirect] "My word carries the weight of the captain."
[Humble] (Begin the task of working yourself)
[Deceive] "We need to scout ahead."
[Fawn] "You're big and strong, it'll be easy for you."
[Bribe] "There's money in it for you."
[Flirt] (Smile amorously) "There's something in it for you."


Good. Very good.
I'll have to talk to Smitts as soon as I leave the mansion. But first, HP Lovepone.


"Yeah, well, guess he's trying to play us for fools or something.
Check this over."
Give her the nigerianOddomane letter.
"See how many more from this guy are there."


"You're the last one on this ship to come get their mail since those came in."

She's all set up and waiting for you in the parlor.


"Well damn. Teaches me for not checking sooner.
Not like I expect anyone to fall for a practical joke like this."


"Miss Puzzle, so sorry to keep you waiting."


She smiles. "I'm sure you just needed some time to yourself! Are you ready to paint?"

She has a couple of canvases set up.

She shrugs at you. "Anything good in the other letter?"


"Of course. To be fair, it has been years since I last painted. And that was with hoofpaint as a filly."


"Fleet stuff. I was about to miss it."
Make a ball off the scam mail and throw it up in the air, catching it and throwing it again.
"Anyway, Roads might have something in the way of griffon dresses.
What's your style?"


"Come on, I'm sure such a simple task will be nothing for such a competent crew. All we need to do is pull ahead the fleet."


She laughs. "Do you know how to paint with a brush and palette?"

She shrugs. "I always like whatever's new. High fashion. Stuff with feathers is my favorite."

Some of them shrug and take to their stations, but others remain questioning. "Are you even part of the ship?"

One particularly large pony breaks through the crowd and approaches. "Hey, what, so we do all this work for reasons we don't even know, for a pony we don't know, and you're just going to sit up there and have a good laugh at us because we do whatever you want?"

You can reroll diplomacy or write your own answer.


"How hard can it be?"


"Just don't lick the brush where there's paint! It's nasty! Start with the buckets, and you can work up to a palette."

She passes you a brush and nudges over a few cans.


Flash my wings.
"Lets find a dead pegasus and get an hat made of original pony wings."


"Why would I do that?"
I chuckle and inspect the cans.
Let's start with something… calm and composed. Light pink or something.


She chuckles. "Griffon feathers are much more elegant, dear."

What shall you paint?


I think a bird. How about a flamingo?


You get the sort of basic outline right, but it can't match what you picture in your head. Every time you try to get what you want, you slip or tremble slightly, and you can't get flowing, even lines.

HP makes it look effortless, splashing paint left and right and producing marvels.


"Oh yeah? Maybe I'm gonna get me a scarf of those-
Do they tickle on the neck?"


To the large pony.
"I'm not doing this to get a laugh or just because I want to watch you work, but all you have to know is that I gave an order, and you are going to comply."
Be stern as I look at him.
"Am I understood? I don't have to repeat myself, do I?"
Don't even wait for an answer.
"Good. Now let's take point, shall we?"


Keep at it anyway, no sense in giving up now.


Ack, no… the proportions are wrong… Well, at least it was good practice, and in no time you do feel a little more relaxed. It helped you take your mind off that baby killing you need to take care of.

"You get used to 'em."

A sail-pony in a suit shouts at you in a thick accent, "Who are you? I've never heard of you! Nobody in the Sirocco has ever heard of you!"

The big pony smirks and folds his hooves. "Alright, love. Why don't you show us how it's done, if it's so urgent? Bit above gettin' yer hooves dirty?"


"I'm Emrille, and you need to pay some more fucking attention!"
Glare at the large pony, but then fly to the side of the ship and start pulling in the gangplanks.
"Well, what are you waiting for?"


What is HP painting?


"Gotta keep my eyes open in Roads, I guess.
Dunno how much time I will have there though.
Imagine the stuff we could learn from the Crownhead society!"


A few more of the ponies detach from the group and begin working on loosening the sails, but the big pony remains where he is. He begrudgingly nods, though.

She draws a terrible storm at sea, but a single shaft of light cuts through the chaos and projects a ray of serenity onto a ship below.

"If they're still around. I have my doubts."


"Might still be worth just to check on what they have left behind."
Time to go meet Smitts!


"Very impressive."


Other side of the ship, gangplanks.
And glance at him.
"Are you going to just stand there? You won't let the others say a mare did more work than you did, will you?"


You head over to the Eagle's Roost where his office is placed. You notice right off that he has renovated it a bit, and added a secretarial desk. There's a bored looking mare at the desk.

"Peace from chaos. It's an important idea!"

He growls at you, but joins the others at work. In no time, the ship speeds up and pulls ahead of the rest of the fleet.


"It looks very nice. How long have you been painting?"


Look over the whole thing with a smirk from the helm as we do so.
"Good work, everyone. That's what I like to see. We stay ahead until further notice."
I guess it's time to go back to Al-Jinn


The desk was here last time I visited.
Thought the mare behind the desk was Cloudy, back then.
"I'm here to see the Commodore, he's summoned me."


"All my life, even back in Neighpon! I did some murals for the shrine near where I lived, too."

You return to his cabin to find him still meditating.

Well it's not now.

"Yeah, I got ya. Go on in whenevs. Oh wait. Let me page him. HEY COMMODORE, APPOINTMENT!"


I should talk more to some NPC's
Which ship am I on?


Very raffinate.
Just go in.
Like, right now.


Just look at him with a smirk.


"It certainly shows."
I chuckle and wait for her to finish.


BACK to being with Moonbeam.

"Attuned.. Attuned? Attuned.. Attuned. "

Attuned. A strange word to use, because I have never felt attunement to.. anything. Like I've been separate somehow. from everything"


Probably lurking on the Pillager's Fancy, though at heart, you're more of a Seaworthy mare.

We have a word for raffinate in God's Chosen Language (English). It's 'refined'.

Anyway, you head in. Smitts is massaging the bridge of his eyes. "Yes? Oh, right, right. Well, you look better since the last time I saw you."

"You tell me. What have you learned?"

She nods and smiles. "Thanks! You'll get there, too, if you work at it!"

"Exceptionalism is not a pretty picture."


I am? Well maybe I should see why that is. Who is the captain of the Seaworthy?


"A few things.
Like that you can be pleasant but firm at the same time. And that a little work won't kill you either, but it takes you a long way."


"Maybe not. I don't know if I should be thankful or not. I might have enjoyed things more if things were different. But I am using whatever it is to see beyond others. Maybe my work so far has been all to turn it into a gift."


"I will aspire to, it seems like a fun activity."


Keeping up three different conversations in two different languages is hard.
"Yeah, I've been getting this often.
Must be all the sea air."


"Thirsty" Umlock, the lover of wines and speaker of foreign tongue. He's a huge, furious bull and supposedly a terror in battle. This inspires all the greatest warriors of the fleet to take up residence on his ship. It also has a galley, so the food over there is hotter, and the hold is a little more spacious, with training rooms for shooting and practicing sword play. Maybe you should think about a transfer.

He nods slowly. "The crew of my ship are proud, but good workers. They will only respect one who is willing to do work as they do. Good. Very well, you have demonstrated that you are more clever than a blunt tool. You have my vote."

"Perhaps. Maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe there is no bigger picture, and you might as well leverage things as you can."

He pauses, then laughs. "Well, maybe that might work on some other pony, but you and I are the only two here that get the story structure and plot. You should read more fiction. It's good for the brain and the soul."

She smiles.

Once the two of you finish, she sets about packing up the stuff. "Don't worry about this… you don't know where it goes anyway. If you need to go ahead, that's fine."

"That's good. You'll want to be at your peak in Roads. The truth is, Felfire, I've been following your career with interest for some time now, and I think you're ready to move to the next level. Not everypony agrees with me, but I have faith in your abilities, and I'm confident you have a future in this fleet. What do you think?"


"I wonder…"
Take a seat.
"What's the reason?"


"I promised to see miss Rosemary, yes. Thank you so much for your time, miss Puzzle. It was lovely."


Maybe… but Emmy isn't there!
Sounds like I have to meet this guy though. Is he up on the deck somewhere?


Nod, still smirking.
Should I get the ship back where it was before I leave?"



"Is the Astral Theatre an abstraction? Perhaps I see it as a theatre, and us as marionettes, only because it is how I can understand what is truly going on. I am not a marionette here, but when I exit, I see myself as one. Are my sense being hidden here? Or is the 'theatre' only one because I can only interpret it as so?"

"Anyway, fiction. What do you recommend?"


"I'm interested in aggressive expansion of the fleet. Adding more ships, becoming more powerful. Some of the captains under my command want to maintain a traditional low profile, but I have greater ambitions than that. Believe you me, if one of them were in power, we'd still be raiding petty colonies and avoiding viable business opportunities, but this is just the start. I want to create a future for all of us, and for that, I need to expand the officers' corps, starting with ponies that have demonstrated some real competence. Now, we did discuss this before just briefly, and you seemed excited about the opportunity before, but I need to know now if you're still interested."

She nods rapidly and continues packing up.

Looks like today, Salty Slugs is at the helm. He's probably in that monstrous fortress he calls a cabin at the aftcastle.


"All of it, and none of it. If the Astral Theater was entirely what you made of it, then how would I know what you made of it before you told me? But everything is filtered through impression and perception, and this doubly so."

"As for recommendations… well, there are of course the classics, but it'd be a waste of time to recite those you surely already know. Try Poppolacci's World Stage or Myagg's The Expedition. If you're feeling enterprising, go for the Brothers Maximilian and their collections of tales."


Right, is Rosey inside the mansion or out? If she's out, I'll have to swing by Smitts first and try not to get demoted or murdered because I lost that badge.


"Yeah. I am."


See you at the meeting."
Back to the helm I go.
"Okay everyone, training's over. Let's get back into formation with the rest of the fleet.."
Help them out a again with the planks once we are next to the ships.


Monstrous fortress? Sounds fun! Pound on the door with a hoof.


Probably out, since she's not in your room. You think you remember something about a playdate.

"Good, good. And I notice you've been closed-mouthed about my own magical proclivities, which demonstrates you can be trusted. I for one am all for inducting you into the officers' corps. I'd invite you to sit in on the mates' meeting this evening and get their impressions of you as an officer. That being said, what do you think you could bring to the leadership corps of this fleet? Will you be able to handle being in contact with, and leading your fellow crewmates?"

They seem a little put off that it was for nothing, but don't complain when you help out.

Some foreign tongue calls from within in a huge, deep voice. Another, more orderly voice calls, "Come on in."

The aftcastle of this vessel is reinforced with metal columns and has a huge double door to accommodate the bull. The smell hits you first when you walk in. The place smells of a million different flavors of alcohol, and the captain reclines on a couch in the back, laughing at something that Lieutenant Sunnyskies just said. This collaborator is a pegasus in an old, worn Equestrian uniform.

In any case, there are bottles and kegs everywhere. Umlock's muscles are huge and imposing. His martial prowess doesn't need to be stated.


That means I get to go to Smitts first! Yaaaay!
Leave the mansion and head over to his cabin.


"Thanks for the cooperation.
Off to Abilio!


You stop by and find yet another new secretary mare at the desk. This one looks exceptionally bored.

"Smitts is in a meeting right now."

You head over to the Pillager's Fancy and to his cabin. The ebon knocker familiarly.


Hell yeah."
Relax back on the chair.
"I've seen enough of this life to know how it works.
And I've done more than enough surviving to know how to keep ponies alive."


Huh? Strange…
"Ah. Well, I can wait."
Sit down and do just that.
"Another new employee?"


My kind of place. Hot damn!
I recall meeting a bull before, but I forgot who that was.
Anyway, casually step in.
"So you're the ones hogging all the damn drinks!"


"With some broad in wings and a black dress."

"As for the second question?"

This is the only bull on the fleet.

Sunnyskies translates, and the bull barks something in a foreign tongue.

"He says, 'still not enough'. So are you going to sit down and have a drink or keep gawking there, private?"


Maybe that wasn't a bull then.
I smirk and settle down somewhere.
"Not one for gawking, lieutenant. I'd rather have action."


"If you are worried I might have problems keeping the crew straight, don't."
Give him a serious look and call my shadows right behind me.
"After all, who wants to anger the resurrectionist?"


"That would most likely be miss Felfire."
Look her over.
"I do not believe we have met, miss…?"


The captain and lieutenant chat back and forth in incomprehensible northern for a while and then Sunnyskies asks, "So what brings you to these quarters, private? News from the front?"

"Do be careful. The necromancers of this fleet have spent many decades cultivating a sense of good will towards the art of necromancy. Being overzealous with it could damage that. You've been studying under the Fullmaster, yes? In your time away from Miss Terrebonne, that is."


She doesn't seem interested in elaborating, or asking your name.


"Whatever happened to your predecessor?"


She shrugs disinterestedly.


"I was bored and heard the Seaworthy is the undisputed powerhouse of the fleet. Couldn't resist poking around in a fortress like this."


Nod slowly.
"I have no intention of staining said name, there is a reason both of them took the time to train me."


"Where did you come from then?"


He gives a curt little nod.

"No doubt. But the warriors of the fleet grow restless. This voyage is taking too long."

Umlock says something.

"Right. Our way would have involved pillaging every city along the coast instead of a direct route."

"Well, good. If that's the case, stop by the meeting later. Unless there's anything else, you're dismissed."



"That sounds unpleasant."
Is she dirty?


Shake my head.
"I will be there."


"Not exactly a low profile way of going at things, but I can relate."


She's mostly clean, but everyone is dirty in this time period, especially pirates. Maybe the only clean ponies are the ones in the mansion.

She shrugs.

Felfire exits the office.

You head out and see Light Heart chatting at the desk.

"Low profile? We need to show 'em we mean business! That's war! If victory is assured, then you MUST fight! Tirek himself said that, and I think he knew a LITTLE more about war than YOU DO, private, because he invented it!"


"Thank you. Is.. there library on the fleet, I wonder?"


"I doubt it."


"Ah, miss Felfire. I thought it was you."


Exchange a nod with Light Heart.
Now, off to Terrebonne.
"Yeah, got summoned.
Turns out I will be at the meeting tonight."


"Yeah, well fuck Tirek. Had enough run-ins with his little asshole followers trying to gut me as a sacrifice."


"I will see you there then."
Enter Smitts' office.


You return to the helm.

"You commit to vice, you're going to have run-ins with the guy who came up with it eventually."

"Miss Heart. To what I do I owe the pleasure?"


"Well, how am I going to look for those?"

Try pulling one of those title out of my hat.


Lie down near her and stay silent for a while.
"Hey. I guess you know, right? About Smitts' idea."


"A few things, in fact."
Pat my chest.
"I lost my badge, first and foremost."


You pull out a book, but the pages are blank.

"What, ta go ta Roads?"

"A shame. I thought you were a better steward than that, Miss Heart."


"Yeah yeah, I'm sure I will. Still, fuck those sacrifices."


Shake my head.
"He wants to expand the fleet.
Needs more officers.
Asked me if I were interested."


"I didn' know, but it sounds like him."

"No doubt. Here's to saying 'fuck you' to our enemies!"


"My apologies but… I must have lost it someplace in the mansion. I tried looking for it, but I could not find it again. I do hope none of the foals ran off with it."
"In any case, if I could get a new one to replace it with?"


Try again?

Where else am I going to get them? What, leave the ship?


Stay silent for a little more.
"Do you think it'd be wrong?"


I laugh.
"Damn right, to hell with 'em! I'll send them there myself if need be!"


You would try again, but the universe is currently paying too much attention for you to pull one over on it. Let the heat die down a bit first.

He nods slowly. "Yes, perhaps, but I'm afraid it was one of a kind. There is no replacement. I'm afraid you'll simply have to do without the symbol of my endorsement from here on out."

"Ta do what? Accept? Expand da fleet?"

He offers you a really, really large flagon of booze. I'm not exaggerating when I say you need to hold it with both hooves.


"… Oh. If you say so, commodore."


"I'm in no condition of talking about the fleet Terre!
It's just, Smitts said some ponies are opposed to me as an officer.
It worries me. What officer would I be if I weren't…
You know, accepted.
I'm not exactly going to try and intimidate the crew into following me."


Well, I did promise Helena I'd talk to the deer, so I'll head over to the Eagle's Roost and ask those on the deck if they can give me some directions to him.


I grin.
"Hehehe, exactly the right size."
I'm strong as fuck! No problem to drink from it!


"Alright, so… yes. Thank you for the suggestions. do you have anything more for me?"


"Was there something else?"

She shrugs. "Ya'd probably be here on da Fancy. Necramancers have always held da Pillager's Fancy. Fer long since before my time."

Rumors point toward that big hunk o junk, the Eagles Roost.

You spill it all over yourself trying to take a drink. Umlock gives a bellowing laugh.

"Careful there, private. Need a bib?"

"How about a plaintive melody to see you off?"

The sounds of a lute resound for a time, and eventually, it stops. The connection is severed.


"Yes. Are you aware of the location of Landgrave's mansion? I must say I was rather surprised."


"Yeah, I'm worrying too much.
After all, you are an officer, a second mate even, and are doing great."


"Goddammit! Stupid hooves!"


Yup, just where I was headed. Let's ask some sailors on its deck if they know where that deer usually sleeps.


"Quite aware, yes."

She shrugs. "I've grown ta trust Smitts over da years. He may be a scheming bureaucrat, but he upholds da traditions of da fleet. If Umlock were in power, he'd probably put ya on da Eagle's Roost just for a cheap laugh or sometink."

He chuckles and pats you on the back. "Here, I've got something smaller. No foal lids, though."

You locate some sailors on deck. Better ask them.


"I had thought it was a pocket dimension of sorts, not an actual portal to a different location. I remember master Abilio saying that his own portals are dangerous to use while at sea."


"Fuck that, I'd prove myself even there.
But thanks."
What can I see from up here?


"Oh real funny. You know what I really need here? A unicorn horn."


"Apologies for the intrusion, sailors, but I'd like to know if you could direct me to a particular deer on your ship. He probably ran inside with a rather forlorn appearance earlier."


"It is a pocket dimension. Were you lead to believe otherwise?"

Sea, sea, sea. As far as the eye can see.

She just steers in silence for a while.

"I think Jones has a spare or two if you go down to see him."

He translates and Umlock has another big booming laugh.

A couple shrug, but another nods. "I think I've seen him on one of the upper bunk levels… near a window."


"… Yes? From the view from one of the windows, it appeared to be someplace else. The viscountess Nihil believes it to be in Poneland-Lethuania, where Landgrave has friends."


You know who I should talk with? the new guy.
Imminent Domain.


"It cuts down on about half a ship I have to check out., thanks for your time."

Head into the Eagle's Roost and look around the windowed areas, seeing if we can find the deer.


"A working unicorn horn! If I wanted a battletrophy, I'd get one myself."


Talking to miss Puzzle, whats the book all about btw?


"As far as I know, it's a mirrored recreation of his estate in, yes, Poneland-Lethania. The view outside is just part of the recreation."

You're free to.

Eventually you do spot him, his unusual species making him stand out a little more. He's tinkering with a wooden sculpture.

"Rate medicine is advancing these days, maybe you can graft it on."

"It's about the Elements of Harmony."

Yep, you remember those. Laughter, Generosity, Honesty, Kindness, and Loyalty. Supposedly there's a sixth element too, but it's a hidden element.


"So it was an illusion after all then… interesting."


In this case, it will be rude to interrupt right now. I'll take a seat and see if I can make out what he's making.


I snort.
"Maybe I'll ask around then. I'll be juggling beer kegs in no time."


It was an invitation to summon him, actually.

Imminent? Can we talk?


My eyes brighten up a little
"The elements of Harmony? Isnt that some kind of pony artifact or something based on those traits that you said? Heard it from some of my old crew back then that it has magical properties, and has a hefty price to boot if one is able to find them."


"Not entirely, but it has to end somewhere, and a nice blue sky is more inviting than a black abyss."

It appears to be some sort of totem.


"Big plans for Roads? The boys are getting antsy."


She laughs. "They don't work like that. They only come into this world when there's a threat – and ponies are chosen to stop it. But that probably won't even happen in our lifetimes!"


"That is true. Well I suppose that is that then."


"Depends where Dainty or Emmy want me. I'm sure they'll need somebody's shit to get kicked in, right?"


I'm curious about you.
Kilana told me ever so little.
Just that you two were close, and you were a necromancer in life.


"Pardon my interruption, i didn't wan to bother you while you were working. I'm Friesian Cross and I couldn't help but find myself involved in the argument between you and Helena. I was hoping you could explain your side of the story so I could try to get things to calm down with her."

"Guess I should explain my mentality instead of just looking like a busy body. I've been a soldier almost all my life, so a cooperative crew is of utmost significance to me, so even with Privateers, I like to continue that part of my old career."


I grin
"Then I am mistaken, I was thinking it is some kind of treasure that one can acquire physically."
"Though out of all of those, laughter do sound the best of them." I scratch my chin.


"Will that be all?"

He shrugs. "Haven't heard of either of them! But you seem good enough. Set aside to get a sword shoved through you, we could use a meat shield or two when we ransack that marketplace against the commodore's orders. You in?"

Only loosely accurate. I was a professor and to the Northlands, royal surgeon. Please don't take this the wrong way, but in truth, I'm here for her, not for you. Understand?

He gives you an odd look. "I was simply meditating on the teachings of Mother Nature, when she interrupted and started yelling at me to stop, so I left."

She gives you a big grin. "It's my favorite, too! But yes, when Avatars are chosen, there are physical treasures that appear – but not until then!"



And I brought you back for her, not for myself.
But this doesn't mean we can't bond, no?


"For now, yes. I suppose we will meet again later at the meeting."


"Can't really fault someone for meditating. But,why were you doing it over in that ship?"


"Uh, Light Heart. I just call her Dainty because… you know."
Shake my head.
"I dunno, I'd rather not get flogged or something. Maybe if I got nothing else to do."


"Avatars? You mean they become the manifestation of laughter. That do sound kind of fun specially if you have the whole crew with you laughing and having a good time like yourself."


I suppose not.

"Very good then, good day."

"Because this ship is too mazelike for me. I do not care for it."

"Ah, I do know her. Right. Well, think about it! And Hell, you can come on our ship if you're worried about flogging!"

"Kinda! But yeah, that's the fun of it! It would be really great if we could see one, but like I said, probably not going to happen!"


Tell me then, what was life like, for you in the North?
And I don't mean you in general

Poke the shadow.

I mean you.


Walk out.
… That was odd. In any case, I'm pretty sure I'm about ready now. There's still Wark and Onik to talk to though. So let's find Wark first.


"I don't think Emmy would appreciate us sleeping apart from each other. Eh, we'll see then."
Do I have a new drink? If so, down it!
"What're the plans for Roads anyway?"


"Guess that puts a bit of a damper on my plans. I managed to talk to Helena and let her know that getting in fights with worshippers isn't going to win her friends or favors, so I was hoping to help you find another place to worship, away from her, at least. Have you tried any of the other ships, or are there any special conditions you have to meet?"


"Being in a ship increases those odds does it not? Able to travel around the world makes you see a lot of places, eat different food, drink every wine and meet new and interesting individuals, like you if I may add." I grin.


After I was accepted as a courtier, mostly opulent palaces and fine refreshment. Practically nobility.

He's dozing in the Sirocco cabin.

Yep. You down some.

"Smitts is doing some trading and appraisal, so we've gotta make our own fun."

"Not really."

"Maybe! But, you have to remember! Even once it happens, there will only be six in the whole world, so that's pretty rare to witness!"


It's just what Kilana said.


But I'm more interested in what you did before 'the good life'.


"I'm guessing you don't like him too much.


Sleepy jack.
Smile slightly and nudge him in the side.


"So, how about trying the newest addition to the fleet, the Hourglass? Not very big and not much crew, but it's closer tot he sea if that's what yo u like and not really used except for a few menials on hoof. At the moment, it doesn't even have a commander you have to worry about."


I'll check around the eagle's roost, late afternoon, there will be plenty of people up now. '1d10'


"By the sea's, if that true then I might say that is an odd thats hard to beat." I laugh.
"Say, Ms. Puzzle want to grab a drink or something? If not I can escort you back to the mansion."


What does a ghost do on her downtime?


Well, then.

try to pull one of those books out of my hat, again?


I'm afraid I'm not comfortable discussing it. It's a private part of my life.

"He's too subdued for war! Always concerned with profits and losses, instead of just charging headlong into battle!"

"Mmh? Aye?"

He thinks for a bit in silence. "Maybe."

Looking for Ciddir? You locate him talking to Friesian.

"A drink? What kind?"

Who knows? Presumably you return back to the Mossy Plains when you're not on call. But Id is out, so maybe you are too?

There you go. You pull out The Expedition.


"Did you rest well? I believe we should talk."


Sure. I can understand that.
So how did you get to meet Kilana?


"'Bout what?"


I snort again.
"Got a lot of them types on this fleet."


"Let's go check it out then. Maybe you'll fall in love with another ship on the way there."


"Perhaps some wine while we chat? If you like that is." I nod a bit.


"About you. And me perhaps."
Sit down with a smile.
"I noticed you were out and about again back in Dixie. Did all go well?"


Oooh, ooh! read it!


Oh, walk up to them and listen in on their talk.


She was already working as a courtier for the High King when I came to his service. We met while visiting a tournament in a foreign nation.

"Affirmative. Too many, if you ask me. Not warrior-like."

"Perhaps." He says after a time.

She bounces along. "Alright!"



"Good. I admit I am always a bit worried about you whenever you leave."


A tournament now? This sounds like something you wouldn't see every day, even in the past.


"General Movp even offered to recommend me as Commander, so I wouldn't mind having you there if it happened. You might still have to work with that Diamond Dog lady, but hopefully this will also calm her down."


"So why stay? No doubt you've worked as a merc before."


It's a pretty lengthy tome about the adventures of some Saddle Arabians into the northern lands.

You do that.

"It'll be over with soon."

No, it wasn't. It was, in fact, to decide the succession of the country. The result of the battle was annexation by the Northlands.

He stares at you for a time. "We will see."

"Well, this ship is alright."

He goes back and forth with Umlock again in the foreign language.




"What kinda language is that you're speaking anyway? Don't think I've heard it before."


"I cannae say fer sure, but I feel it. In Roads, I'll find an end, one way or another."

"North Equestrian. All but dead, these days, but a few cling to it. Especially popular with Crystal Ponies, if you've ever seen one. They're pretty rare."


Talk about high bets. And you fought in it?


I smile and nod. Lets go grab a drink.
>I dare you rng

"So, you're a doctor or healer of some kind but what do you specialize in? Most of those I know specialize in something regarding those fields."


"Come to think of it, I had forgotten all about it until I just talked to you regarding it. I'll go check it out in the moment to see what I might be getting myself into. You're free to come with if, even if you just want some sea air."


"And I doubt you will want me involved in it."


Briefly, though not intentionally. I was seized by border guards that insisted I fight for my personal freedom. I won, but I am not a fighter.

You discover a keg of fine cognac in the hold.

"General medicine! I collect a wide variety of specialties by traveling!"

He nods, and stands up.




Must have made quite the impression on her.


Observe him for a moment.
"… What do you want, Wark?"


"While we walk, tell me your opinion about our fleet? Outside of the yelling with Helena, that is."


Yes, I think so. And she on me.

He shrugs. "A pillow'd be nice."

He surveys you for a time. "Different. Foreign… Alien. Oddly alive."


So was Abilio in his cabin?


Tell me the truth. Did I do you wrong, looking for you once again?


"Is this your first time out to sea? I could understand feeling like you're out of your element. I was that way a long time ago when I was probably your age."


"From me, I mean. Everypony has something they want in life. But still you don't want me to help you. Why not?"


Well, since I've got a moment, I'm going to see if Smitts is available for lessons.


Serve some of those on a cup or glass to her.
And also get mine.
"So you're a traveling doctor? By your looks it appears you've traveled a lot."


He chuckles. Give a jack a full 24 hours to digest the changes of a millennium. Then I'll decide if the future is a more miserable fate than eternal sleep.

He was. You go in there.


"It is."

He peers at you searchingly.

"You still owe me a ship."

He begins to pick out bits from his teeth with a little carving knife as you chat.

"Remember? What I want, you can't provide."

You head on over to his office. A bored looking mare is at a desk where the front part of his office used to be. There's been extensive renovating, it seems.

"Yes, I am, and have! Have you traveled much?"


I'll wave to the mare.
"Good day. Is the Commodore free at the moment?"


Fair enough.
Anything you want to know?


"I do remember. Your confidence in me is remarkable to say the least."


Just wanted to drop by before the meeting."


"Sorry, did I say something wrong? Don't mind telling this old man to keep his metaphors down."

Let out a chuckle.


"I do, from Tall tale port up to Horseshoe bay if I might add, I also travelled to lands that I've forgotten the names now that I think about it. I've been.. forcefully retired for up to 10 years well until these ships came along and now I'm here." I scratched my chin and smile at her before drinking.

"How about you, when do you start travelling?"



Don't take this the wrong way, but even if I had a modicum of an idea of where to start, I'm not sure if you would even have all the information I want. Perhaps the basics… What is the state of the Northlands? What has become of the Noble Practices? Why are you interested in me and Kilana? Was time magic ever mastered?

He shrugs. "Maybe it was an excuse, maybe confidence. If ya don't die, I do believe it'll come ta that some day. But excuses will be done with soon. It's been a long time coming. I feel the end closing in. There can be only one."

"Ah, I see. There's only one reason you might be interested in a Mates' Meeting. I hope you realize that I can't singularly vouch for you over everypony else."

"You think strangely. I can tell. The way the gears turn in your head. The mechanisms. You think like they do. Maybe that makes me the strange one."

He doesn't return the chuckle, but instead stares at you more intensely. His eyes are locked onto yours.

"Oh, since I was a little filly! But not too young! Well, I like to think I'm still young now, too! Where are you from?"


"Can I go in, then, miss…?"




Regard him for a moment in silence, then smile and nod, reverting to my usual self.
"Of course. If our confidence does not end up being misplaced, we have a bright future ahead of us."


"Don't worry too much about thinking differently. It adds some spice to our day to day lives, and quite often to our food. But what do you mean I think like "them," like who?"


Dark and snow with only one port left, still shunned and only taught in secret, she is a portentous necromancer and a good conversation partner, not by common knowledgence.


"I know, I already spoke to some others.
I just wanted you to ask what do you think about the other necromancers and their opinions about it."


I'll nod, and then knock on the commodore's door.
"Pardon me, commodore. It's Curry."


"Was an orphan on one of the port cities, Nodvogod is its name if I am correct. Learn everything I have toe learn about shpping from there. After that I was invited to be part of a ships crew and the rest is hstory."


"Big plans for the big city?"

"The outlaws."

Bleak. And who are you?

"I honestly don't know. Have you even met any of the other necromancers?"

"I know, come in."


A resurrectionist on a pirate ship made mostly of necromancers.


"You mean the country of Novdogod! But that sounds exciting!"


"Not many of them…"


"I always have plans, master Wark. Some of them small, others bigger."


"What? What 'Outlaws' are you talking about?"


This is highly inefficient, asking questions one at a time.

"Then I have even less of an idea."

"For a pony that will likely drag me along on them, that was mighty vague."


He gestures about.


"Don't they sort of follow your lead though?"


You can even ask two, or three or more.


I chuckle.
"They are prone to changing quite a lot as the situation changes around them. Flexibility is important in that regard. You will be informed of them as they draw closer."


"Ah my bad my bad. Thanks for correcting me. Cheers." Offer a toast before drinking.

"Come to think of it, ever since I left I havent gone back to that place. Its been a long long while."


Allow me to rephrase: it is highly inefficient to ask questions at all. I would rather just read, if you don't mind.

"In some things, I suppose. They are very much there own individuals, though."



"Do you miss it?"


Raise a brow.

Read my mind?
Do you think you deserve that much trust, Imminent Doman, lecturer Ten or however else you want to be called?


Smile at him.

"I've been in this business longer than some of the people here have been alive. What can I say regarding such a matter? I've seen combat for years and been amongst people like these for just as long, eventually we start thinking similarly. Isn't this something you had considered when you joined up?"


"Not very much, there's nothing for me in there. Though I still wonder what the place looks like now. Perhaps its still cold as ever."


"If you really wish to know about Roads, there are no plans from me for it yet. The commodore will no doubt have work for us there already."


"So you don't think your vote will sway them?"


hey someone is picking on my husbando!


I did have the decency to ask politely. To be honest, I am not sure if I still have the ability, or if you have some special increased perception as a result of being my loan officer.

Pause. However, I don't see it as a matter of trust. I find most conflicts arise as a matter of poor communication skills. Besides, what could you possibly have to hide from your own shadow? It's not as though I can blackmail you.

He surveys you. "No."

"Snow is fun, when you get the chance for it! And it's romantic a lot of the time, too! Have you ever enjoyed the snow with a close friend, Chip?"

"Maybe. I'll be busy anyway.

"I can't say with certainty."


"I tried my best at least. And I'll be confident and firm at the meeting. That should be enough, shouldn't it?"


There are parts of my memories I'd rather keep private.
Not for how they could be used against me, but for the significance they hold.
Showing my mind to someone would be an extreme show of trust.
But I can agree to let you start slow.
Try to read a very small piece of my mind and no more.
Keep in mind I have no way to tell where you will stop, no way of knowing if you broke your word.


I am not sure if you are summoned right now! But let's say you are for more fun for you, I guess.

"Perhaps. Just… don't rely too much on my support. I want to distance myself. Not for my benefit, but for yours. I think ponies think I just gave you a position for being a guinea pig. Well… that is actually true. See… you need to show that you can stand on your own hooves if you want their respect. That you don't need my backing."


"It was beaten into me, but you seem to be catching on to it by yourself, but different places will have different ideas of ther own when it comes to doing things. I'm already used to this life, or what's left of it, you have plenty of time left to decide what you want."

"Tell me, in your opinion, what is out "Outlaw" mentality? What do you think of it?"


Take his hoof and shake it.
"The best of luck with that, master Wark."
Stand up now.
"I will leave you to your slumbers. If something comes to mind, do not hesitate to ask."


I frown at the turn of conversation here. "Hey, How are thing going?"


I always try to keep Kilana - Zivur - Fervored, but right now I dismissed Zivur because you and Kilana are here.


"Oh, hello… Sateo, right? My apologies, my mind is starting to rust like my bow. How are you today?"


I'll enter.
"I was hoping to continue my lessons in the natural arts, commodore."


I stop and this made me think for a while, remembering my past.
"Snow is something to be wary about, the winter times of Novdogod is harsh. Most dogs and ponies living there have little time for the romantics and usually coop up inside their houses. I mostly stay inside the workshop since I have nowhere else to go and I burn scrap wood to stave off the cold. There are times when me and the other street foals have to huddle each other to stave it off, thats why many of us have to work hard in the summer so we dont run out of bits during the winter."

I then drink some.


See, that was so much faster than talking. The mind moves so much faster than the mouth.

"It is not one quality. Instead… Patterns. If I use a lever, you use a slope. They would also use a slope."

He grunts in assent.

"Talking… Solving."

"I see. Well, we may as well get it out of the way. What are you interested in now?"

You start to get very intoxicated.

"I see. That sounds unhappy, but at least you get to be close to each other!"


"I appreciate the support, but I know, yes.
I'll stand up for myself allright."


Stare at him.

How much did you read?


What's going on now?
Anything interesting going on around me?


"Something has come to mind that I had forgotten. My former teacher, who had fished me out of the sea, often walked around in a form that as much resembled a pony-shaped bundle of seaweed as it did anything else. I was wondering if that was something that was actually nature magic, or if I'd somehow been picked up by a spirit of some kind."


Okay put down the drink first and just stare at her.
"Most likely yes, there is a sense of… how can I say it, camaraderie amongst the orphans who works on the shipyard. Most of us experience the same hardship thats why we stick together back then. Hmmm.. I wonder what happened to those guys now that I think about it." I


"Good. Stay safe out there."
I'm ready for that meeting if you want.
Or I could go talk to Onik first.


"Solving? Somethin' I can help with?"
I smile "Its nothin' mate, I was just taking a break to smell the sea air, an' saw ye two over her', anythin' in particular bring you this way mate?"


"Patterns, huh? Hmm, so where do you think we got such a thing embedded into us? You must have asked yourself a few questions about it? I've been in this industry long enough that I can probably answer some."

"We're headed to the Hourglass. Some of our fellow sailors don't take to kindly to meditation, and we we're hoping to find a quieter area to help keep the peace."


Nothing relevant to your personal life. Politics, mostly.

You should head to the meeting soon.


You should head to the meeting soon.

Everyone on the ships is mighty bored and antsy for arrival at Roads, where everything will pick up.

Sateo and Freisian are nearby if you like, or you saw Emrille go onto the Pillager's Fancy.

"Yes. Such magic is possible, but incredibly difficult and dangerous until you master it."

"I'm sure you'll see them again someday, even if it's in the hereafter!"

You should go to the officers' meeting soon.

You head to the meeting early.

"No… Or maybe yes? Complex."

"Higher level. Processes, not specific thoughts."


Who else is here already? Is it on the Eagle's Roost again?


Whoa, that late already?
I'm right here beside Terre, as soon as she leaves so will I, following her.

Warn me next time, please, really do.


I should go and at least say hi to the other diamond dog again…
I walk over there and wave.
"Hi mister… Satero!"


"Then I would like to begin working on it immediately. With how things have been going lately, my normal efforts are proving less than useless, so I obviously need to work harder."


Yes indeed. Nearly all the mates are here, and no one else. Smitts is notably not here yet.

Oh, wait, there he comes.

It's sincerely nothing you need to worry about. Relax yourself.

Terrebonne passes off the wheel to a officer corps member and heads to the meeting.

"Good. Focus on becoming a rock. We'll reconvene tomorrow and dawn. Bright and early. Do not be late. Until then, I must go to a meeting."

He bustles out with some papers.


"Maybe you're losing me. I'm guessing you mean the way we think about everything else? Many of us grew up in the area. We fight each other every so often, but we share a lot too, so that might be why you think we all think alike. I haven't met that many deer like yourself, so this is a fresh chance for me too. We might change each other, if I'm reading what you're saying properly."


"See you there then."

Well, no time like the present.


I look confused "Who has been sayin' stuff?"
"Aye, that's a bit o' life ye be speakin' of thar."


Let's follow.

Don't read anyone else unless they tell you to, clear?


I'll blink for a moment.
"A rock?"
I'll look at the assorted plants around the cabin.
"Don't suppose you all have some idea of what he's talking about?"


Oh boy, here we go. I think I'll sit with Mellow Marsh if possible.


"Officers meeting?" I raise an eyebrow.



"There was a fellow Dog lady sailor whose been causing some raucous with the more 'spiritually inclined' amongst us. Even got herself the nickname of God-Hater. Took it upon myself to try and keep the peace and I'm showing our friend here a few places he can go to be alone and worship his way without interruption."


I blink and glace down at the little pony. "Ahoy thar, what be happenin' wee lass?"


"Looks like what was supposed to be a quick inspections s turning into a crowd already. Hello Miss Summer, they letting you play on the deck today?"


Another look of scrutiny. "Maybe."

You head to the meeting. It's busy! Light Heart is here. You're the only non-mate here. Until, wait… Felfire is here, too. Odd.

If you insist, but really, I'm not doing it malignantly.

He nods confidently.

Smitts doesn't keep his office very decorated with plants, just one frondy affair next to his desk.

In your house I long to be; /
Room by room patiently, /
I'll wait for you there like a stone. /
I'll wait for you there alone.

No one said that out loud, that was your brain working.


HP gives you an odd look. "What now?"

You take a seat next to him. Emrille and Felfire are here, oddly.



"God-Hater? Be she.. very strong?"


"I'm just wandering around. What about you mister Satero?"

"They stopped making me stay in that cell a while ago… I don't think they care where I go now, mister Freesheen."


Oddly? They already told me they'd be here. Don't be silly.


I smile "Miss Light heart certainly is nice to let you play outside now. I'm just catching up wit' me mates.."


Sit with Terrebonne.

I doubt they'd take kindly, and I'd rather not have my friend think I want to read their deepest secrets.


"Ahaha, nothing nothing. I've drank too much, perhaps its time to drop the wine for now." I smile and stand up.

"Come to think of it, there's a meeting of the officers right later, perhaps we can talk more later or tomorrow if both of us have time. "


'Well, that's about as helpful as I can expect, I suppose. Thanks."
And I'll head back to the room with our stuff and think rocky thoughts.


"She got in enough trouble to earn that name and keep most worshippers from decking her in retaliation, so aye, she be quite a strong lady."

"I recall meeting your momma and her getting a bit worried at the thought of Miss Heart being by herself, I'm sure she might be worrying if you ran off up here by yourself. But if she doesn't mind, than neither will I."


"Memates? Who's Memates mister Satero?"
I scratch my head in confusion and look around at who else he could be talking to.
"Are you talking about mister Freesheen?"

"I didn't ask her… but she was busy! And it was getting really boring just sitting there waiting for her to be done talking to miss Light Heart…"


I nod and get a determined look on my face. "Well, then.. I be needin' to fight her!"
"Aye! Him and anypony else who isn't busy."


"You shouldn't be leavingher side like that if you know she gets worried that way. But what's done is done, would you like to join us as we tour the rest of the ships?"

"She might not appreciate me sending a pup to pulverize. I barely managed to talk her into not getting into fights with our more spiritually-leaning fellows."


"I'm a good bit tougher than my size lets on. And, I've taken a shine to this.. meditation, besides.."
I whisper "She's cute right?"


"Huh? Fight who? Who are you gonna fight mister Satero? It's not… you're not gonna fight Emrille are you?!"

"She's busy a lot of the time anyways… she's probably still talking to miss Light Heart!"
I shake my head and then nod.
"Can I? Pleeeease?"


I scratch my head "Uh.. Emrile be a pony, This God-Hater is a Dog like me, but a…" I smile "Girl, and a tough one! can't be the same person."


"Can't say exactly as I'm not exactly a Diamond Dog myself, but," whisper back: "she's pretty cute, for a doggy."

"I've fought with enough that I got a decent grasp on those type of things, so go ahead and go after her, but don't say I didn't warn you, and don't say I sent you."

"Of course, I wouldn't mind the company and she wouldn't mind you being supervised."


I grin "Yea, don't worry. I won't mention ye name.. where is she hanging out?"


"God-Hater?… That's not very nice."
I scrunch up.
"Does she hate Luna too?"


"Maybe?" I shrug "Can't say until I meet her."


"Got it from a good source that she cares nothing of our pony gods, or even those of the Diamond Dogs, or anything else for that matter."

"Promise me you'll hear her out before you challenge her to pawsticuffs. I'm trying to at least keep the crew functioning smoothly."


"Aye aye.." I say a little sadly.


Secrets are just a source of conflict.

The room slowly fills. Looks like it's starting soon.

She nods and smiles. "Until then!"

You head on down to the meeting room. It's nearly full.

You feel more like The Thing already.

General Movp swings by and calls to you: "Cross, come with me. There's a meeting I'd like you to come to."


I still kind of wonder what he meant. Think like a rock? Rocks don't think, they just… are. Maybe he means to think myself like a rock?
Casting my mind back to the stone walls of the shrine, the solid earth that was once my home, I'll think myself stone. '1d10'


"Yes, Sir!"

"Sorry, looks like I have to leave, but Summer, try not to run too far off, okay?"




Keep my head high and find a comfy place to sit.
If we sit.


The smarter the animal, the bigger the lie.
It's a basic truth of nature.


On a cob web afternoon,
In a room full of emptiness.

You wait for Smitts there.
Like a stone.
You wait for him there.

Before long, you realize that hours have passed, and you hardly even noticed. Hm. Maybe you're more rock like than you thought. You'll have to report this tomorrow.

He leads you off to a meeting room already crowded with faces, but the only thing you recognize in common between them is that they are all officers of various ships in the fleet.

"Today they will be taking nominations for Commander of the Hourglass, and I'd like you to sit in, though non-mates typically do not speak unless called on directly."

Clearly things are starting, because Smitts pounds on the table, and the room quiets.

"Good evening everypony, this is the forty second week session of the Mates' Moot. Hopefully everyone has been having a pleasant voyage, we will make landfall in Roads in about two weeks. On that note, we have four items on the agenda tonight. First, I will be naming a new Jack o' Swords for the Eagle's Roost, second, we examine the end of an officer probationary period, third, we will consider a new officer candidate, and finally, I will be taking nominations for the commander position on the Hourglass. Anything before we begin?"


I want to search for this God-Hater.


Just nod with a smile for now… Commander, huh?


Nod my head and sit properly and orderly, like a soldier.


Stay quiet.


Keep my stone-cold face up and wait.


It must be my experience with waiting. I've done it for 20 years, after all. But the passage of time is concerning. I've lost a lot of time to work on those books. Since Smitts is going to be in that meeting for the rest of the day, I suppose I can explore the fleet a little before coming back to work on those books. Let's go explore… well, how about that new boat? The Hourglass.


You head over to the Seaworthy where she's holed up and spot the bitch right away. She's wearing the traditional clothes of your people, which is to say, just a vest and nothing else. You approach from behind and see her tail wagging slightly. No mistaking her: she's quite big for a female, towering over you. She hasn't noticed you yet, but she does look a bit cute. She is a little older than you, though. Maybe ten years.

"Good, good. For the first item on our agenda, we're conferring the honor and station of Jack o' Swords of the Eagle's Roost upon Third Mate Chip. Thank you for your continued service, Mister Chip. I will issue your letter of commission after the meeting privately.

For the second item on the agenda, we will hear Miss Emrille speak on her own behalf, then take a private ballot vote on whether she retains her officership. Miss Emrille, the floor is yours."

He sits back down.


You wander on over to the Hourglass, though you notice Skylight is trailing after you as you arrive there. It's quite small, but it looks fast and maneuverable.


Smile briefly at the good news for Ship, but then go back to a stone face.


Ah. She would be, wouldn't she? I'm such a hoof-full of a brother… I'll wait for her to catch up.
"Hey there Skylight. How's the day been treating you?"


She smiles at you radiantly, like the sun.

"Good. Nearly over, now. I just thought I'd tag along and make sure you don't topple overboard. Want to ride?"


How is my chick doing?


Good… strong. Its growth has been rapid. In only a few days, it's been getting smarter and more capable. Catching rats on its own. Soon this hold won't be enough to feed it anymore as rats begin to run out, and she will have to expand her hunting grounds. She has also begun to flap her wings, strengthening them in preparation for flying. By the time you arrive in Roads in two weeks, you expect that she will be totally autonomous.


I give her a scratch behind whatever gryphons have instead of ears then go looking for Curry.


"Not for now, though thanks for the offer. These legs may be little, but they still need to be worked every so often."
I'll smile back.
"So, what say we give this ship the once-over? Who knows, we might meet someone interesting."


You glide out in the evening sky, and spot him with Skylight on the Hourglass.

"Sure. Let's take a look. Where first, belowdecks, or the helm?"


I land next to Curry.


Stand up and clear my throat. Here goes!
"I never really was a mare of many words, so I'll be brief. I know what some of you might think of how I got this rank and that I couldn't do much as a filly, but that is over. Now, the fleet comes first. And I intend to do my job right.
At first I was hesitant to call myself a pirate, but now I know there's nothing more I could ask for than being one. I fucking love it. But that doesn't mean I left everything behind from my history as a mercenary. I still have the drive to complete any mission I have at hoof, whatever it might take. No backing down, no excuses.
I have the will to command and the skill to kill.
And I don't take no for an answer.
I know that I am suitable for this position, which I have proven already to some of you. For the rest of you, you will see once it is finalized.
Thank you."
Sit back down.
That went well I guess?


"Might as well start belowdecks, Skylight. "
"Well, hello there. How are things, Seekkill?"


Skylight blinks in surprise, but then nods in greeting. "Hello, Seekkill."

"Alright, but lets finish here, first."

Smitts nods and takes the floor.

"We'll have be having the vote. I'll come around with the hat."

You can see the various officers scribbling votes out on paper, and then dropping them into a hat Smitts provides.

He reads them up. Roll please.


"Things are things. Teach Seekkill reading?"



Whoa.. Take her by surprise and tackle her! '1d10'


You leap onto the cot in front of her, and she giggles with surprise at you.

"Careful there loverboy. You'll need more than a running start to get into my bed."

Skylight smiles. "Back to reading again? It's good of you to better yourself."


"Right now?"
I'll look at Skylight for a moment.
"Well, sure I guess. Did you bring a book, or should we go bother the quartermaster?"





"Yes. Bother quarter master."


She shrugs. "I didn't expect you'd want a story time over here."

A slow murmur creeps into the room, but after a few minutes, Smitts pounds on the table and remarks,

"Motion passed. I'm reassigning Emrille to a permanent post as an officer on the Seaworthy. Next order of business. A nomination has been put forward to promote Miss Felfire into the Officer Corps on the Pillager's Fancy. I'd like her to speak a moment, then I will listen to thoughts. This is a preliminary hearing, we will not be having a vote."


Smirk and flap my wings.
"Fuck yeah!"


"Alright, though they're probably going to ask for money for the book. Just in case it gets lost or damaged."
I'll consider a moment.
"Are there any quartermasters you're on good terms with? You might be able to get a better price with them than the others."
I'll shrug.
"Well, there are worse places."




"She might have some books we could use. So that means we're headed to the Darklantern."




"Aye, then.. I be Sateo!" jump down in front of her and smile "Ahoy thar Miss God Hater, ye be the talk o' many rumors."


The three of you head over to the Darklantern, but find the hold locked. You knock on the door a bit, but there is no answer.

She puts her paws on her hips. "Oh? And what rumors are those?"


Can I hear anything through the door?


What did I miss?


I'll clonk my front hooves together.
"Ah, that's right! Topaz is an officer, too. So she's at the officer's meeting."
I'll think a moment.
"Perhaps the gryphon over on the Seaworthy might have something? She knows I'm as good as my word."




No noise from within.

You missed getting promoted. You now carry the additional honor of Jack o' Sword.


Wf, is the chick old enough to get anything from speaking or reading lessons yet?


"Rumors that ye like to brawl wit anyone. "


Did I arrive late?
Or did I arrive on time and fell asleep through all of it.


Off to da Seaworthy, then, and her quartermaster.
Knock knock.


I follow you.


Shows up at the door, panting and finding my seat.
Sorry if I didnt make it on time. I have no excuse."


Nothing to do but hold on and wait for the meeting to carry on.


Step up from my seat and reach the middle of the room, giving a faint nod to the mates.
"Commodore, Captains, Mates.
There is little I have to say that isn't known already.
Most if not all of you know who I am and what I've done so far, so I will spare you all from tales about how well I will perform and how useful I would be.
Instead, I intend to address what I think is the main concern most of those who don't truly know me have."
Start pacing.
"Over the course of my travels, I've met people of every breed and kin, from mighty thinkers to lower scammers, I've had the occasion to stare in the face of each and every one of them.
After a life spent travelling, the Pillanger's Fancy has been my first harbor. The place I've decided to set up roots in.
If amongst you there are some worried about my ability to face others, to carry a command across, to be respected and not simply avoided, chase those thoughts from your mind.
Determination and hard work brought me here, determination and hard work will carry me over, and the same determination and hard work I will require of those under me.
That's all."


Answered in meta.

She shrugs. "Yeah, I'd fight just as soon as the next bitch. You here to brawl or somethin'?"

She offers you a paw up.

You were in the room.

Over on the Seaworthy, you knock on the metal door of Lockermaster Jones, but get no answer.

You head over to the Pillager's Fancy and knock on the door of the griffon known as Dolly Doldrums, but get no answer.

Right… all the quartermasters are officers! Maybe you should get one of your own books for now.

"Very good. Any comments?"

PCs should speak up now if they want to, NPCs will evaluate next.


"Where find books?"


"Well, looks like we'll have to use ours. Luckily, I've got a spare copy of one of them. Terrible facts of nature."
"Our room on the Sirocco."
So we'll head there.


Keeping my snout shut.


"I say that what she can do is useful enough to warrant officership. And she always has those freaky shadows to make anyone think twice of insubordination too."
Smirk at Felfire after I finish.


You hike on over to the Sirocco and into Light Heart's room. Your big stack of books is here.


Smirk back.


"Which book?"


I raise a hoof.
"Miss Felfire's words ring true. One must only remind themselves of where she started and where she stands now. A most impressive improvement to be sure. I for one look forward to seeing her flourish further and think that she is well suited for a position among the officers."


I accept her paw. "If ye be up fer it. I be decent in a fight meself."
"Probably better than a pony priest. "


"This one here."
I'll take the fresh copy of Terrible Facts of Nature: Children's edition out of the pile.
"And we'll start at the beginning, as that's usually the best place to start."


I smile at the officers while I relax.
"What Ms. Felfire do is what she does. She is an odd case back then, a mare who is hard to approach and equally harder to please. But like she had said, she is determined to do what she can, without hesitation. Without a moments notice do she do her duty and revive any fallen comrade of our and she do it without thinking twice. That is dependability and I assure you people that she is a mare worth her salt."

I smile at her.


"Good. You and Seekkill go to hold."


"Did you want Skylight to come with us, in case I can't explain something properly? Or just me?"


"Only Curry."


I'll look at Skylight for a moment, and then nod.
"Alright, lead the way."
And I'll pack up the book, and be ready to follow Seekkill.


Abilio adds: "It goes without saying how I feel."

He then immediately sits down. He must have meant it literally.

Terrebonne nods. "She be ready."

Doc Peg echos her: "Ready."

Short John Bronze groans, "Big surprise. This is just more nepotism. Can't really reliably judge her because she would've been promoted regardless of skill just because of her practice. Just listen to Miss Heart. Even she's not part of their little club and she knows that she's only being promoted for her magical abilities, not leadership abilities."

A few others murmur in agreement, Marsh notable among them.

Topaz adds: "There's more to running a tight ship than a spell here and there. And keeping in line with fear."

Umlock growls something in a foreign tongue, and Sunnyskies translates: "She doesn't have any meat on her bones."

Rusty Wrench nods. "She's good. Promote her."

General Movp adds to the end, "I'm not saying she is or is not ready, but I've never so much as spoken to Miss Felfire. I'm not prepared to advance an unknown into fleet leadership – nothing personal of course, Miss."

There are more murmurs of agreement.

Smitts bangs on the table. "Very good. That will do for now. Please see me in private counsel if you have any other concerns. We should be able to come to a vote on this in the next week or the following week. Moving on to the final order of business, nominations for Commander of the Hourglass. Any nominations to put forward?"

General Movp once again stands up and indicates Friesian, who he brought along. "I've worked with Mister Cross in the past. He is a commander is consummate skill and honor, and is not only a proven leader, but a champion of loyalty, dignity, and tact under pressure. I believe he is the ONLY right choice for the position."

She laughs. "Yeah, but that's not saying much, is it?"

Then she pulls you up. "So that's what you came over for, just scrap? Boy, and here I thought you were trying to make a move."

She has an amused smile.

The introduction, right. It's about his opinions of his swamp pony neighbors, if you recall.


I lead Curry to my nest.


You take him to your quantum nest. Your chick is here.


"Chick. Ratcatcher. Come here."


She pops out of the nest and waddles over, stretching her wings wide.


Sit up a bit higher. The General's words are enough for me.


I smile and stand up.
"I know I just got promoted officially, but hey, go hard or go home. I nominate myself.
Nothing personal, Friesian."


"You learn reading and speaking now. Seekkill learn reading."


I'll be a little surprised.
"Well, Seekkill, I had never pegged you for a father. Is she to be joining us for the reading lessons?"


I blush and rub the back of my head "Oh, uh.. do you want me to?"


Smile and nod at that, but go back looking forward, standing straight and at attention to the rest of the officers.


"Yes. Keep her secret."


She cocks her head at you. "Come?"

"Very well, not strictly traditional, since you're not a mate, but I'll note it."

She playfully shoves you. "Well if you're going to be a dog, at least be an alpha. Scrawny pup like you, people are going to think you're my bitch if you don't start acting a little more confident."


I'll nod.
"You've my word on that. I won't mention her until you bring her out into the world yourself."
Clearing my throat slightly, I'll sit down next to the two of them and open the book to the introduction.
"Now, let's begin, shall we?"


I chuckle.
"That seems rather extreme, general. Although I agree with your sentiments about mister Friesian, I would not say he is the only acceptable candidate."


I'll give her a smile.


"Gotta' go with the times."
Tip my hat with a wing as a thanks to him noting it, then sit down again.


I point at the ground next to me.



I puff up a bit and shove her back with a grin. "I'm plenty tough, I could take em' if they started talking that way."


"Freisian is an old veteran, but a veteran nonetheless. That is a plus to me."


Sunnyskies interjects at the end. "You're right. The only acceptable candidate is Salty Slugs. He's been an officer longer than any of these maggots by a long shot, and he has quite a bit of sailing skill. And you think he got fleet cannonmaster by sitting around on her ass? Better believe not."

She chirps at you.


She takes a seat next to you and repeats the word: "Come!"


She shoves you back down on the bed. "Well?"


I then recline and relax for a bit.
"Both veterans, now this is a hard pick. I have nothing to say much since both of them looks worthy to me. It now comes down to the crew who knows the two of them better than me."


"I have not met Salty Slugs, so I cannot agree or disagree with that."


I point at myself.


She chirps pleasantly in recognition of the name.

Abilio stands. "I actually have a nomination of my own. Our fleet navigator has long commanded the helm when it has been necessary, and she has ample experience with controlling our route in general. Lucky Stripes would be the ideal choice for a small scouting vessel like the Hourglass."


"I'm not doubting her skills but it sounds like she would be awfully more useful on the Eagle's Roost which has like all the cannons, and not on the one that barely has any, don't you think?"


Come on I said he like give times and made the 'her' type once. And how do you mistake a name like Salty Slugs as female?


I point at her.

"Start now?"


Show her I can be a real man. make it good for her '5d10'


Slugs are hermaphrodites anyway.
And all that is beside the point of what I said.

"Hey, no offense, I like her and everything, but isn't she a bit too… y'know, shy?"


"Alright, most books begin with either an introduction, or a table of contents. This one has an introduction, so we'll start there."
I'll have the book on the floor so both gryphons can read it easily.
I'll nod, and then I begin to teach as best I can.
"Now, as you recall, Sekkill, words are nothing more than letters and sounds. Certain combinations of letters make certain kinds of sounds."


I look slightly surprised.
"Miss Stripes? An interesting suggestion, master Abilio, but… she is not the most sociable of ponies."


"Seekkill know that."


She chirps a few more times. "Come!"

At the beginning, she takes the lead and bends you over, using her size advantage to control the flow, but by the end, you've seized upon her and have taken the alpha position. She seems pleased as the two of you collapse in a heap on the cot.

You didn't realize it, but because of the way your member has inflated, you can't actually disengage from her for quite some time, so you end up laying with her for some time.

…She's soft… and smells… like strawberries.

"This is a nomination session, not a debate, Emrille. Sit down."

The chick preoccupies itself with trying to climb up Seekkill's back.


I just keep my silence.


Shrug and sit down.
"Okay… just sayin'."


"Then let's move on, then. We'll start by reading the introduction, and see how well you do."
"She's a little bundle of energy, isn't she?"


Keep my breathing down and just stand at attention while all the yelling goes on.


"Of course."


Umlock growls something in a foreign tongue, which Sunnyskies relates: "Non-mates should not even speak at a Mates' Meeting."

"Well, if those are all of the nominations, that will be fine. We'll continue this discussion next week, and we will decide two weeks from now, at the meeting after we make landfall in Roads. Enjoy the rest of your evenings."

Timeskip when you are ready.




She chirps at you and flaps her wings.




I'm kinda ready. I doubt the others are though.


Ready as I'll ever be.


"Or it could be called Officer's Meeting. And we could use one language."
Glance at Umlock.


"Alright, we'll start reading here…"
And I'll start reading the introduction to Sekkill and Ratcatcher, pausing if they have any questions.
"You're going to be a terror when you get old enough to explore the ship on your own."
Do I explain things well? '1d10'


what a good first time!
I will hang out on the sea worthy for a while after all that is done.


Who of the officers who wants to meet me privately? I go to him/her


Learning roll for me.
For Ratcatcher.


Once Terrebonne leaves, follow.
"That went better than I expected."


Sunnyskies relates this. Umlock makes a [i]huge scene, bolting up from his seat and yelling in a foreign tongue.

The Lieutenant translates: "The captain invokes the privilege of non-appeal. You're banned from The Seaworthy indefinitely."

Smitts grimaces. "That's her new post. That will make things difficult."

She squawks.

At least you're explaining things pretty clearly.

Mmm… good memories.

Ready to timeskip?

Does anyone?

You pick up everything, but she seems a little young yet.


"It's always a battle of da wills."


"Repeat for chick."


Where are we time skipping too?
I would probably spend the remainder of the time working with my bird trying to get it to like me and my other two pets more


Ah, lets go to Smitts then.


"You know, I'm thinking about the General's words.
I should go out there and talk to the other mates.
The ones I know have all vouched for me, after all."


"Well enough, then. She's young, so it might not stick very well yet."
I'll repeat the passage, and my explanation for it.


Chick roll.


You stop by the desk and pick up your letter of commission. "Congratulations, Mister Chip. Take care to maintain that cudgel arm. The position of Jack o' Swords always belongs to the strongest."

She nods. "Wise."

Roads, two weeks ahead.

Perhaps she picked up on some, but her youth distracts her through most of it.


I chuckle.
"Perhaps another vessel then. What of the Eagle's Roost, commodore? Are they still in need for extra crew?"


"Focus, Ratcatcher."


"I will be back soon. Gotta have a chat first."
Go look for Doc.


Alright. Aslo, I brag to chip about banging that cute girl.


"Or the Sirocco. Until I might get a new post on the Hourglass anyway."

"You had a proposal, I had one too."


That's likely the best I'll get out of her.
"There's time, Seekkill. She's young, and I hardly took to lessons that well when I was her age. We've two weeks to Roads, and I'm sure she'll make excellent progress."


"Besides the cudgel, I got more on my sleeves." I show him my cutlass." I smile.
"Also, thank you commodore for everything." I nod.


"Yes. Curry right. Keep reading."


"The Seaworthy would be a more ideal position since it is where her little mercenary troupe is located – it's also the traditional position of the fleets' warriors."

"Come, hungry!"

You catch him on his way back to his room.

You may as well get it out of the way in character, we're not quite skipping yet.

He shakes his head at you. "Are you incapable of determining the difference between my own faculties and the Captain's commands?"

He nods approvingly. "Good, good. Keep strong."


Now leave and I am ready for skipping.


"Hey, I might have good news. Private chat?"


"Not come."
I point at her.
"Ratcatcher. Go hunt."


And I do so, at least until it's time for dinner. After that, we'll arrange a schedule for a session each day until we hit Roads.


"I meant with the whole thing that started it. Seems a bit hasty of a decision."


Noted, though Sateo is looking for you.

He nods and takes you back to his cabin.

Felfire looks at you, "Yes?"

She wanders off and finds rats to eat.

"This is just a nomination session, private."


I keep learning.


Since we're hopping days, should I roll for books that I work on as well as progress with the NE? I do need to talk to Smitts about the Stonemind.
I'll correct a few things here and there. '1d10'


I look at him.
"Thats a wide grin you got there. So whats new:?"


It's probably time to retire for the night. Your mind is unfocused… you'll have plenty of time over the two weeks.


"Turns out I might have a chance to go back to Stonebriar as soon as we make port in Roads.
Any way we can identify those ponies you are looking for?"


"Perhaps miss Emrille should try and make amends with captain Umlock then."


Roll my eyes.
"Not that. The whole thing with the 'officer's shouldn't speak'."


"Seekkill tired now. Thank you for teaching."

"Ratcher! Come tell pony thank you!"


"I just came from the Sea worthy." I keep grinning. "You know there is a lady dog over there, the God Hater?"


"No, but if survivors are as few as you say, then they will surely know each other."

He grimaces. "I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt here, sergeant. You're not questioning the chain of command, are you?"

Smitts nods. "Agreed."

With that, he departs. The only ones left in the room are Emrille and Sunnyskies.

She chirps cheerily through some rat meat.


"Good Ratcatcher."


"You're welcome."
I'll smile at her.
"You're welcome, too."


"Give me something to tell them by.
Unless you are coming, of course."


Felfire things on it, and puts a hoof to her chin. "I think I should come."


I depart as well.
I should inform Rosemary of something. And abort something else. Where is she?


"That name sounds fearsome, I have little knowledge of the female dogs we have on the ship." i smile.
"Wait, don tell me you did something fishy? Like steal her underwear or something?" I stare at him.


"No. I'm saying that's sort of fucking me over for nothing.
And from what I hear from Captain Al-Jinn, Captains are supposed to, y'know, not abuse their powers. Correct me if I am mistaken."


"It's a long walk. And othen than me and Abilio, there will be Light Heart and a few ponies of her entouragé too."


She's back in your room in the mansion.

"Perhaps on that pansy-ass ship. On the Seaworthy, power belongs to the strongest. So are you going to fall in line and learn to be great by training alongside the great, or are you going to find yourself a different ship, Sergeant?"

"Do you think I should stay?"


I shake my head and still grin. "Nah, she doesn't wear any of those."
"I shared her bed"


"I'm just saying the trip won't entirely be amongst friends, necessarily.
So they might ask questions."


The next day, I've got a chat with Smitts.
I'll say hello to the secretary, and ask if Smitts is available.


"I spy a pretty nurse in need of a patient."


I smile and pat him in the back.
"Outta boy, thats what a good crew man do, enjoy life to the fullest aye?"


"Right, falling in line then.
My Hamburgerburgians would be awfully disappointed if I couldn't visit them."


"I trust you to make the right call. What do you think?"

"Yeah, go on in."

She smiles, and comes to the door. "I just got Grey to sleep. Feeling alright?~"

"Good. Tell you what, Sergeant, I appreciate your moxie."

He pats you on the back, heavily. "Good, good. I'll talk to Umlock for you. Listen, you can use our gun ranges, galley, practice dummies… whatever you like. Just one thing… we do things a little differently than the other ships."


I'll knock twice before entering, to give Smitts fair warning. Not that he needs it.
"So, I've come to report on that exercise you had me do the other day. Thinking rocky thoughts. And I think I may have sort of got a hold on it."


"Do you think the crew can survive half a day without you?"


I nod.
"Yes I do, the meeting went well. Aside from Emrille immediately angering her captain after being promoted."
I chuckle.


"And that is? Apart from not accepting drinks from anything smaller than a bucket?"


"Aye! I bet she won't soon forget that. I must'a left quite the impression on her to get her in bed so fast. "


When are we moving on?


I stand for a moment to let it sink it in me.
"… wait, you bag her the first time you met?"


"Good, good. Come in. Tell me all your thoughts on rocks."

He shrugs. "They'll have to eventually. Besides, I've been training some successors."

She smiles. "She is a rough one. Not like you at all. Well, except when it's more fun that way~"

"We don't follow a lot of those crap-tastic traditions from the rest of your fleet. It's the privilege of non-appeal retained from ancient times by the captain of the Seaworthy. All of our officers take their own rooms. None of that bunking with the regulars crap. Go pick up your key from Lockermaster Jones."

As soon as people are ready. I think we are mere posts away at this point.


"Aye! Pretty impressive right mate?" I nudge you.


"Anyway… when we arrive at Roads in two weeks, I was hoping to make that trip to Stonebriar."


"Oh… alright. If you think so, sure."


"Well, when I started thinking about it, I remembered the feeling of the stones from the temple, back in Autumnsreach. Solid, but workable. Strong enough to take a punishment from the sea, the creatures in it, and the passage of time. Before I knew it, hours had passed.


"Then I will pick you up when we are ready."
Smirk and leave.
Ready for timeskip.


I smirk wide.
"An own room, you say?"
I chuckle.
"Okay, I like this ship a bit more already. I'll see him right away, but I need a quick talk with Smitts first. Thanks for the heads up.

Oh, and tell Umlock I have no hard feelings."


"You do not seem enthusiastic…"


"Very much.." I scratch my chin.
"Say why dont both of us go get a drink. I need details you know, about the story."


"Good, good. It sounds like you understand how to become one with the stone mentally. Let's start physically. And listen – don't expect to get this right away. It'll take weeks, even for a prodigy. So just be prepared…"

Then you spent a week training and transcribing.

Got Skill: Nature Elemental.

You transcribed books! You fill up the six you had, and scavenge more materials. You finish:

'1d9+6' more.

She shakes her head. "No, no… I want to go back, I think… get closure. It's just… it's going to be difficult for me to see that, alright? I feel like it's going to be hard, but… the right thing to do. Sometimes the easiest thing isn't always the best, you know?"

Time skip imminent.


"Sure thing, maybe a game o' cards as well, and make an evenin' out o' it?"


I nod.
"I understand."
Pull her in for a sideways hug.
"I will be at your side, my love."


At last, viability.
And books are hard. It was probably that fungal tome and the history texts that ate up so much time.



I smile.
"Come." Go to the barrel of cognac and hand some to both of us.
"So tell me your story." I drank.


"Aye, I followed the trail of rumors about her.. that she had be picking fights with priests and anyone else sitting out in the open meditiating, I just knew I had to meet her, if only to fight her." I take a drink and deal out some cards to you '1d10'


"So you beat her in a fight and as a reward you bagged her you little lover." I grin.
Lets try to play and beat Sateo on the card game.Higher roll wins.




I chuckle at that "I tracked her down in her room, and before I knew it she was..on top of me, and she wanted it.."
'1d10' card roll


I just stare at him a bit jealous.
"Hmmm… perhaps I need to up my game if that is the case if I want them crawling after me instead of me to them."


The day after the meeting, I will track down Light Heart, probably during the early morning.


Luckily for you, I have left Landgrave's mansion early today and went to the Sirocco!
"Miss Felfire, did you rest well?"


I'm sure Landgrave would have had servants awake early in the morning anyway.
"As well as one can after last night's show.
It's given me a lot to think about."


"Oh I am certain. Quite something, was it not?"


"Emrille being banned from Umlock's ship was a sight to behold, yes."
"And that's why I'm here.
You saw the reception I got, out there.
I need to fix that. I need to go out and finally 'make friends'."


"A world record on 'Angering your captain as quickly as possible after having been promoted' for sure."
I smile slightly.
"You certainly do. The more ponies you know, the higher your chances are at being voted for."


"It's not only that. I'm realizing more and more that no matter how much I study, the rest of the crew will still see me as the ugly thing who got promoted because she was a necromancer.
I intend to change that. Show those the like of Al-jinn, Topaz, Umlock and Movp that I'm worth my own weight."


I nod.
"Of course. General Movp is a good gryphon, and as his title implies also ex-military. He has some very interesting stories to tell indeed."


"I might need some indroductions…"


"That should not be an issue. Captain Al-jinn for one spends a lot of his time at the helm, so catching him will be easy. Captain Umlock…"
I chuckle.
"Well, he may be a bit more difficult."


"I noticed. And I doubt he'd give much of a fuck for me even if I talked whatever tongue he uses."


"Perhaps. He does value strength above all. And…"
Gesture to the both of us.
"We are not exactly what I would call the mightiest of warriors. A cripple and a necromancer."
I chuckle.
"Still, I spoke to him and his lieutenant the other day."


"This does make me thing though.
What would his reaction be to a long-dead paladin who perished on the battlefield?"


"Logic dictates that he would respect a pony like that. However, I do not think he cares much for the things that paladins value."


"I will be sure to point out strength above all.
This is one down. What of the others?"


"Miss Topaz. Captain of the Darklantern. Have you spoken to her?"


"No. Had a brief chat with her second mate during the storm. And I know Chip well. But no idea about Topaz."


"She is a smith by trade. And mints the fleet's doubloons as well, as far as I am aware. She seems to value hard work quite highly. More important yet, she has been on the fleet longer than most others have, so many look up to her."


"That's one I can try to talk with no problems."


"Then there is miss September, captain of the Eagle's Roost. Have you met her?"


Massage my forehead.
"Yes, only passingly though.
I don't know her, either."


"A jenny with quite the reputation. She is quite cynical… very cynical even. Captain Umlock seems to like her as she speaks his language as well."


"Okay, I'm seeing a pattern here.
So the way to get to Umlock is through his language, and for the Jenny…"
"I think I know just what to do.
Does the 'great' Light Heart have any other teachings for me?"


"There is also Mellow Marsh… but I doubt he likes you very much."


And why is that? Got a beef with every other necromancer?"


I nod.
"I believe so. He used to serve on the Pillager's Fancy under Fullmaster Abilio. When miss Doldrums was promoted instead of him he was quite upset indeed."


"Oh, I remember that…"
Gulp down.
"And I'm responsable for Dolly's promotion, at that…"


I chuckle.
"I'm afraid you will not be his best friend any time soon, miss Felfire. Better not to bother and focus on others. Not that mister Marsh is not a respectable stallion, of course, but there are other more important votes to keep in mind."


"I'm not exactly doing this to win votes. Not in the immediate future."


"My point still stands. Unless you wish to try and mend this wound, of course. Come to think of it, that may not be a bad thing to do."


"It's hardly in my powers right now."


"True, but perhaps it is something to keep in mind."
Think for a moment.
"Mister Ruxian, mister Flux, mister Chip, Landgrave, mister Face…"


Raise a brow.
"Face isn't a mate. Not even an officer for what I know."


"He is an officer. The fleet's diplomat. I believe that having a diplomat vouch for you is a sure way to gain approval, no? Aside from that, I quite like him. A nice stallion indeed."


"Oh me and him are friends already, since long."


"Good. Very good."


"See my only problem is with those officers I haven't spoken to. Indeed, Movp's words ring the truest.
They just don't know me.
And I'm not exactly the best at striking up a conversation and keeping it alive."
Grin sheepishly.


"Nothing that cannot be fixed with some practice and effort. Networking is an art, miss Felfire, and anypony can be an artist so long as they practice and maintain their skill by continued practice."


"What if… I went with you for a day, to see how you do it?"


"That sounds delightful."


"Well, that's incredibly kind of you."


"Kindness is a resource far too scarce in this world, miss Felfire."
I chuckle.
"I may be a pirate who has done very bad things in her life, but that does not mean I am unable to be kind to others when it calls for it."


"Speaking of others, I might bring someone along on our trip to Stonebriar. I hope it isn't a problem."


"I do not see why it would be."


"Great. Then…"
Stand up.
"Ready to learn."
If you want we can stop here.


Getting a little tired, so yeah.
"Let us not waste time then…"
Off we go.


Some time after the Mate's Meeting and everything, let's find Tela.


Just chilling on the deck somewhere, enjoying the sun and smoking my pipe for once.


Land beside her and place a wing around her.


Four weeks at sea are an incredibly long time.
Especially if your trotantine friends doesn't talk anymore, not even about necromancy.
I think it's time to go find Zivur, no matter the hole he hid himself in.


Smirk and exhale the other way.
"If it isn't sunshine smiles."


"That's Officer for you."
"Trial peroid's over."


"Not an officer of mine, slutty butt. I'm a merc under contract from Dainty."


"You're still a jobber to the fleet. And that still means you are under my command too. Educate yourself!"


I'm probably huddled and curled around some dark corner and muttering to myself if I'm left to roam.


Shake my head and inhale from my pipe.
"Don't work for the fleet. Do you see me scrubbing any decks or anything?"
Exhale in her face.
"Don't take orders from anyone except Dainty, so you're shit outta luck."


You are. I have special care to treat all my friends as people, not minions.
Darkest corner around is Terrebonne's room.
But I guess I can sense you there, in the dark.

So I will just sit in front of you and look with a worried expression on my face.


"You don't scrub the floor because you are a raider, you dumb slut."


"I'm a merc, not a raider. Raiders are crew, how fucking hard is it to understand for you that I have an agreement with Dainty and not with the fleet? When you whore your body to a guy on the fleet, does that mean everyone can use it? I think not."


I stop muttering and look at you, but say nothing.


You have been awnfully quiet lately.


"Does that mean I can, say, fuck with Light and it won't count because she's not in the relationship?"



Was it something you found in your old notes?


Shake my head.


Grab her and pull her close.
"No, because you're mine."


Sound a bit more concerned

Was it what I did with Fervored?


"OOoh, am I?"


Shake my head again.

…..n-no, no…


Nod slowly.
"That cute little flank of yours? Mine."


Did someone in the crew say something to you?


…N-No, no… s-someone didn't say s-something…



I'm here Zivur, I can listen.


Run the tip of my wing down her spine to tickle her.
"Is that so?~
What a massive dyke you turned out to be."
Let out a laugh.



…s-she… s-she's a zebra!"


Yes, yes she is.


"Learned it from the best, after all."
Release her and inhale deeply again. Try not to cough, it's been a while.


"Damn right you did!
What'cha smoking?"


"What do you think?"
Blow a ring in the air.
"Tobacco. Expensive stuff, which is why I rarely smoke."


Stay silent again.


"No shit! But is it, like, y'know, any of the even fancier shit?"


And you are afraid of her, are you?


Nod meekly.


Zivur, you are a stallion.
Do you see me run scared?


"Bought a small stash a few days before we met from some marketplace. Pretty rare stuff, you know. Can't be picky."


"Just imagine, you could have spent that money to buy me something nice."


"It's been months, you dumb fuck."


I-It's different!


"Since you last sucked a dick?
How did you manage?"


Stare long and hard.



"Since I last beat up a scrawny little fuck like you."
Drop the pipe and tackle her!


…s-she is a z-zebra ma-m-ma-…


Not today!
Hop up with a flap of my wings and get the upper hoof!


Step forward. Angry.

And one mare hurt you.
And used you.
And did all she could to break you.
Are you gonna say she. Did. It?


Try to be even smaller in my little corner than before and look away scaredly.
N-No, no….


Barely got you.


Smirk and don't even bother kicking her off.
"Guess jacking off all those stallions made you grow some serious legmuscle."


Back away.

Zivur, did Kilana ever hurt you?


"Actually, it was the training with the mares.
Did you ever fuck a mare mid-air?

Oh… right."


Keep looking away, but shiver less when she backs up.

No, n-no…


Try to catch her off-guard and become top.


Did it even matter to you who she was, before you knew she was a zebra? Or a mare?
Weren't you happy enough knowing her just as a necromancer?


Nuh-uh, you're staying down!