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Giovenith
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Mon Jun 01, 2020 7:08 pm

Giovenith crossed her arms and shifted in her seat, somewhat thoughtfully. She wasn't sure whether now was a good time to add her expert input given all that had occurred, but she figured it was better than letting Sandy hanging. "You're going to get a lot of that, as long as you're Pegasus and keep traveling through the universe," she explained. "It's not a personal thing, it's just like..." She thought for a moment. "... well, it's a bit like if you were a really big politician from one country, and then you decided to fly over and hang out in another. The leaders there might not have a problem with you at all, but they'll still want to check up and see if you're there for a reason. Even if you're not engaged in any business, you're still seen as a representative where ever you go."

Willow hmf!d and turned up his nose. "Yes well, she always 'means well' and 'wants to help.' That's how I managed to spend my entire day trying to rip her down from a coffee billboard surrounded by bulldozers, you know!"

"Oh, really?" Giovenith perked in surprise. "Why?"

"It's a long story," he waved it off with dismissive bitterness. "Or, like that time we all almost got kidnapped at that skii resort by that weird fucking juice cult. That was all her fault too. I had to dig that escape snow tunnel out with my bare hooves! And I still got junk mail from them for two years!"

"I guess that's a long story too?"

"Yes!"

"Okee dokee then."

He sighed, clearing himself of the annoying thoughts before smiling again at Sandy. "I do appreciate it though, Sandy. Princess Cadance has always been a source of a lot of comfort in this country. She'll help us through all this, one way or another."

"All of us?" Giovenith asked, bright eyed.

He nodded. And she nodded back, seeming serious.



The trip back to the hotel and the stint at camping in Everfree went by in a blur. Both the locals and Willow alike had been quick to try to dissuade the humans from going, citing the dangers of the wood. The poisons, the wild animals, the mythical beasts, but all to no persuasion. Finally (against his better judgment), Willow agreed to accompany them in order to make that Sandy they didn't get into any trouble. At first he considered venturing out to seek help and protection from Zecora, but decided against it, figuring that it would be rude to drop in on the zebra magician so suddenly asking for so much. Instead, he insisted that they set up camp as close to the edge of the forest as possible, so that they could flee back to Ponyville at the first sign of trouble. He packed lots of coffee, planning on staying up most of the night to keep look out.

Willow stood back and didn't say much during the hunting, other than to usher everyone along if he even had the slightest sense of danger. There was way more than just undomesticated and untamed animals to fear here. Still, he gave advice here and there regarding the few normal animals that the couple managed to take down.

"Probably be discreet when you bring that back," he said. "Most ponies understand that there are carnivorous species out there, but some of them might consider it obscenity if you show it off in town. Plus they might not know you got it from the Everfree and try to report you or something."

"Does it matter where the animals came from?" Giovenith asked, curious.

He nodded. "The animals in the Everfree take care of themselves, so it's sorta fair game if you wind up killing them, because it's not like they were under our protection. But animals inside of Equestria are, so it's seen as a really dick move to mess with them."

The godling turned this in her head. "Willow," she ventured. "Why do ponies control nature?"

He shrugged, flying over some scratchy vines. "Why do bees build hives, or beavers dams? We just always have, even before the Princesses, it's in our nature. Probably there was a time in ancient history when ponies didn't even know that other species didn't control their own environments."

"But not this forest?"

"We could never manage to."

"Why?"

His stare cut into the endless black abyss of the trees beyond. "Nopony knows."
Last edited by Giovenith on Mon Jun 01, 2020 8:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Northwest Slobovia
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Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:44 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day


Yawning, Amanda threw open the flap of the Belas' tent. "'Morning, dear. What's for breakfast?" She looked to see what Sandy was cooking on the tiny camp stove. "Make mine sunny side up. And how'd you get–? Never mind, you probably did the Rocky Balboa thing while I wasn't looking."

Sandy nodded, barely giving her a glance. "It's even less palatable than it looks." He took a bite from a yellow cake, then set it back down on the plate in his lap.

"Peasant food, dear?" With that, Amanda walked the few steps over to him and made off with a hunk of the puliszka from the larger metal dish that passed for a serving plate in camp. She plopped herself down on a camp stool, chewing and smiling at her husband.

Sandy looked up from the scrambled egg he was cooking. "Goes with the territory." He set down the spatula for long enough to conjure coffee into Amanda's travel mug and hand it to her. He cocked his head as he realized what she was wearing. "Cargo pants? And both guns?"

"Willow seemed a bit concerned about what we might run into." She sipped her coffee. "For all we know, stunners don't work on the wildlife. Shame we're out of spell-cutters, and I didn't think to bring the last of the moon silver rounds for the Walther."

Sandy shrugged as he tipped up his frying pan to pour his eggs into his plate. "The unknown always seems dangerous." He turned to look off into the forest gloom. "We'll know soon enough. But if anything took a look at us before sunrise, it was very sneaky, since not even the Wolf's Eyes, Ears, or Nose picked it up."

He turned back to the camp stove, adjusted the flame, and set the frying pan back on it. He passed his hands over it and said a few words, filling it with a couple of raw eggs, which he set about to cooking.

[OOC: Puliszka is Hungarian corn bread, more or less. There's several more pieces in the serving dish. There's also various packets of hot cereal mixes in sight, along with whatever other characters brought.]
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Tue Jun 16, 2020 6:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Solisian Union
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Solisian Union » Wed Jun 17, 2020 9:18 am

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day


Domenica awoke shortly after she smelt the cooking from her own tent. The Filipino writer groaned as she sat up, cradling her head with her right hand, her left automatically searching for her pens and her notebook. The memories of her travels from meeting the princess and being given a chance to make friends while taking a train to the forest so they may fulfill a quest flooded into her consciousness, body moved to obey the mind's conditioned response at writing down, firstly what she felt now after waking up. Then she wrote about her dreams. She slept well and long, exhaustion had done that to her, and she dreamt of speaking more to her friends. It was amazing to meet Giovenith and Amanda. It was also grand to listen to them speak. She appreciated their friendliness as their efforts to make her feel welcome reminded her of her friends in the United States and in Europe.

But in reality, she was...rendered shy, too much so to speak beyond simply answering questions about where she came from, what job she had, who she was, etc. If not these things, she simply did notes. A lot of it.

And even now, she wrote. Then she finished that, taking up half a page with line after line of small letters. She wrote in a mix of English and Cebuano. And she signed her name at the end of her waking entry.

A smile appeared on her face as she stretched her limbs and groaned loudly. She shook herself awake and packed up her pens and notebook. Then she prepared a bag for them before she put it on herself and came out the tent she had.

She walked over to the couple quietly and remained a distant meter from them before she came close, circling around to face the eggs as they fried, and said, "Hi! I'm sorry I woke up late. I apologize also for not speaking much earlier. I was so shy...."
^_^

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Northwest Slobovia
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Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:54 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day

Solisian Union wrote:She walked over to the couple quietly and remained a distant meter from them before she came close, circling around to face the eggs as they fried, and said, "Hi! I'm sorry I woke up late. I apologize also for not speaking much earlier. I was so shy...."

Sandy waved away her worries. "It's all right. The change from people's previous lives is abrupt and... often confusing. Aaand Equestria is an, um, unusual place for humans to suddenly find themselves."

A big grin filled his face. "As is finding out that one of the few humans here is sometimes also a flying horse. But please, pull up a stool and join us. Have some puliszka... cornbread. It's like polenta, just a bit heavier so it makes cakes." He gestured toward the cut squares in the serving plate.

Amanda nodded. "Yes, please join us. And what would you like for breakfast? Sandy's very convenient when camping." She flashed her husband an impish grin, who returned it with a dirty look. "We have eggs. That is, Sandy can conjure raw eggs, and there's packets of hot cereal mix on the table. Also plenty to drink, courtesy of the walking vending machine."

Despite Amanda avoiding eye contact with Sandy, he flicked the spatula at her, flinging oily droplets in her direction. She batted them away, though a few speckled her clothing. He waved the spatula at her in a mock-threatening way, before checking the eggs and returning his focus to Domenica.
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Wed Jun 17, 2020 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Gollum died for your sins.
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Giovenith
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Thu Jun 18, 2020 3:40 pm

Willow, being a stubborn fool, had tried his best to stay awake throughout the night to stand guard. Giovenith, understanding him for the stubborn fool he was, had managed to eventually coax him into laying down in their tent for a "ten minute break" that managed to last the rest of the night while her paper birds kept watch. Since she was going to pass out soon after anyway, she summoned an extra strong burst of healing smoke and settled it against his head in the hopes of guarding him from nightmares, and tucked his blanket around him tightly. He had a big day tomorrow and needed his rest.

Silly little boy, she thought. Always trying to be a protector is what you got into this mess in the first place.

The next morning, she woke up before him and heard the sounds of the others already up and about. Anxious, she quietly crouched and peered through the slip in the tent opening at Domenica, Sandy, and Amanda, then looked back to Willow, hoping he would wake up promptly. No such luck. Giovenith really wanted him to continue to do most of the talking for both of them. She knew it was rude and probably over dramatic, but she was just so tired and sad... her chest felt like a heavy weight submerged in mud that she struggled to pull out whenever it was time to socialize. She was tired of playing a game she'd already lost.

I just want to go back to sleep, she thought to herself, eyeing her spot on the tent floor. Yeah, that'd be nice. Just sleep. Warm and swaddled safely away from the rest of the universe, not thinking of or planning anything, no one able to be mean to you or disappoint you...

Giovenith shook her head and rubbed her eyes. There would be the rest of time to Sleep soon. She just had to get through one more day, for Willow. That's what she kept telling herself: First Willow, then Sleep. First Willow, then Sleep... She took a deep breath, put on a normal expression, and cautiously crawled out from the tent.

"Hi," she greeted after a pause. She shifted her eyes and caught sight of Domenica, suddenly remembering her. Oh, poor girl, no matter how Giovenith felt it didn't do anything to help how the newcomer must have felt at the moment. They wouldn't be having any kind of long lasting friendship, but that didn't mean there wasn't room for kindness. She smiled. "Do you need any help, Domenica? I have lots of stuff in my pockets that can make being in the woods easier."

Meanwhile, Willow began to slowly stir from a dreamless but refreshing slumber. For a moment he was at peace, until the rest of his senses kick-started and reminded him of the terrible place he was in, jolting him fully into consciousness. He was calmed somewhat as he registered the sounds of his companions chatting peacefully outside.

I guess there are worse circumstances to be in Everfree under, he thought to himself, sitting up and stretching. Something shifted to his side and, figuring Giovenith had left some items behind, absent mindedly turned to look down at it.

A second later, he was barreling out of the tent in a slight panic, nearly knocking over breakfast.

Giovenith was instantly at his side, carefully reaching out to reassure him as he stood breathing heavily next to a far off tree. "Willow, what's wrong?" she asked, kneeling down.

Willow looked to her, then the others, trying to slow his breathing. He managed to with one long, deep breath, calming enough to fly back to over to the tent and reemerge with a foreleg-full of items which he unceremoniously dumped onto the ground: a silver and purple astrolabe, a golden, discus-shaped object with a hole in the center, and a large hourglass seemingly filled with water and smoke instead of sand. He looked down at them seeming tired and bitter.

"I don't know how they got out of my saddlebag," he stated. "Did you pull them out?"

Giovenith shook her head. "What are they?" she asked, carefully.

"Bad reminders," he answered. Well, not entirely, but moreso than not. He picked them up again. "Let's go find a cliff to throw them off of."

"Willow-"

The items suddenly began to glow slightly, with purple, green, and blue light respectively. This shocked Willow, who dropped them again and scrambled backwards, bending his wings in self-defense and horror. No, no, please not again... But nothing else happened, they just sat there, glowing. Willow relaxed slightly, convinced that he was not in danger of being flung back in time again.

Giovenith was just as confused as anyone else, but her attention was soon stolen by something unseen and unheard. Her head darted behind her, and she watched the forest closely for a moment, before carefully turning back.

"Something is shifting," she announced. "I don't know what." She put two and two together, and pointed to the items. "You triggered something."
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Northwest Slobovia
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Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:46 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day

Giovenith wrote:A second later, he was barreling out of the tent in a slight panic, nearly knocking over breakfast.

"Will-ow!"
"Hey! Be careful around the fire!"
After a moment, Amanda added, "Are you OK, Willow? Did you have a bad dream?"

Giovenith wrote:Willow [reemerged] with a foreleg-full of items which he unceremoniously dumped onto the ground: a silver and purple astrolabe, a golden, discus-shaped object with a hole in the center, and a large hourglass seemingly filled with water and smoke instead of sand. He looked down at them seeming tired and bitter.

Sandy cocked his head as he looked Willow's collection over. The astrolabe has some use... but they don't have the sextant? But what are--?

Giovenith wrote:Giovenith shook her head. "What are they?" she asked, carefully.

"Bad reminders," he answered. Well, not entirely, but moreso than not. He picked them up again. "Let's go find a cliff to throw them off of."

Giovenith had, to no-one's surprise, beaten Sandy to asking the obvious question about the other two. But at Willow's answer, his gaze snapped up to the pony artist's face. Oh! Strange that he'd be carrying around things that remind him of-- physical reminders? 'Don't do that again?'

His eyes leapt to Amanda, whose expression suggested she was trying to sort through the same logic, but from a much closer perspective and better understanding of what Willow was feeling. She moved, about to say something.

Giovenith wrote:The items suddenly began to glow slightly, with purple, green, and blue light respectively. This shocked Willow, who dropped them again and scrambled backwards, bending his wings in self-defense and horror. No, no, please not again... But nothing else happened, they just sat there, glowing. Willow relaxed slightly, convinced that he was not in danger of being flung back in time again.

Amanda flinched, and her breath caught. Oh, no! It's set him off! Jesu-- Cadance help him! She took a deep breath, relaxed, said quietly, "It's OK, Willow. We're here for you. It's not happening again. You're safe with us." She was pretty sure about that; whatever hit him was somewhere and somewhen else.

Sandy turned to Willow with a soft expression, nodded at Amanda's words, and added, "We'll keep you safe."

He waited for Willow's reaction, and seeing that he'd improved, turned back to the things Willow had dropped, as he Heard Equestrian magic coming from them. Another piece of the historical puzzle fell into place: no, not Equestrian magic, ancient Equestrian magic... and the astrolabe was the unicorns', from then they moved the heavens. And part of Willow's reaction now made sense: things from... whatever happened to him, but also of incalculable historical and cultural value.

Giovenith wrote:"Something is shifting," she announced. "I don't know what." She put two and two together, and pointed to the items. "You triggered something."

"Yes, I Hear it now." He rose from his seat like a sleepwalker, concentrating on the faint Sound.

Amanda leapt to her feet, right hand reaching for the stunner in her shoulder holster. "Sandy!" she hissed under her breath. "What is it? What's out there?"

Sandy's reply was distracted, almost dreamy, as he slowly turned to try to pin down the source of what he Heard. "I'm not... sure. The forest is, um-- I'd wondered why the Equestrians' magic hadn't changed the forest. They push in, does something push back? I... think something pushes back, perhaps the whole forest; something like Fangorn, maybe. I'm not sure it's too happy with--"

There was a silence, then Sandy shook his head. "Pegasus would be better for getting a handle on--"

"Sandy?" Amanda's tone had an edge to it: sometimes Dr. Bela, Yadda-yadda Professor of Classical History, failed to grasp the obvious. "If the forest doesn't like--" What to call the enchanted things without triggering Willow further? "—them, maybe we should move them out of the forest. Without touching them any more."
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Solisian Union
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Founded: Apr 22, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Solisian Union » Sun Jun 21, 2020 7:55 am

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day


Domenica smiled and let that create some wrinkles. She nodded to Amanda . Her stomach growled loudly as she pulled up a stool and sat with them. Embarassed, she blushed and giggled right before she muttered something in Cebuano quietly. She eventually shook her head and said to her, "I'd be fine with eggs. Cereal is fine too. Just no milk. Drinks....I'd say I'd like some orange juice."

She turned to Sandy and smiled at him, nodding for a moment before she let her chin rest on her right hand.

Domenica looked around and found Domenica crawl out of her tent. The shy Filipino writer blushed at seeing her approach them. She moved her chin off her hand and straightened. No pressure, be polite.

When greeted, she nodded and returned the greeting by saying, "Hello." When asked about help, she just shrugged it off and said, "Thanks, but not for now. I'll ask later if that is okay!"

She tried to smile and gestured to her to come close to them. She was happy to see that Gio was still being friendly to her. She liked her company as it added to the presence of the couple hard at work cooking breakfast.

She was about to stand up from her stool to rub her butt when Willow came barreling out. She quickly sat down, hands gripping at her stool. She gave him a hard glare until she saw him, after he went into the tent again and out, with those items. Her jaw almost dropped if not for her inquisitive nature and patience to listen.

But seeing those items glow made her eyes widen as she scooted away while sitting on her stool.

At that, Domenica gulped and reached for one of her pens and a piece of paper from her notebook, just after shakily getting them out of her bag. "I hope those items don't explode or summon anything we don't want to deal with just yet!"
^_^

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Northwest Slobovia
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Founded: Sep 16, 2006
Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:21 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day

Solisian Union wrote:"I'd be fine with eggs. Cereal is fine too. Just no milk. Drinks....I'd say I'd like some orange juice."

Sandy looked up at her and nodded silently, and Amanda added with a wink, "That's routine short-order work for the sorcerer's apprentice."

Solisian Union wrote:But seeing those items glow made her eyes widen as she scooted away while sitting on her stool.

At that, Domenica gulped and reached for one of her pens and a piece of paper from her notebook, just after shakily getting them out of her bag. "I hope those items don't explode or summon anything we don't want to deal with just yet!"

Sandy turned in place – more flowed, he moved so slowly yet effortlessly – raised an eyebrow at Domenica, gave her a baffled look, and then flowed back to run his eyes over the Equestrian relics. He spoke as he turned back to face deeper into the woods. "No, they're perfectly stable, and have been for thousands of years... and they can't-- None of then soon-to-be Equestrians worked summoning magic. At least not then; perhaps some of the unicorns do now."

"But... you couldn't tell?" He ended facing Domenica again, his face a mixture of confusion and concern.

Amanda ignored Sandy has she looked over the cooking kit he'd laid out by the camp stove.

"Aha!" She gave the forest a last, nervous look and reached down to slide a pair of tongs out of their holder.
Gollum died for your sins.
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Giovenith
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Founded: Feb 08, 2012
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Tue Jun 23, 2020 10:24 pm

Giovenith crossed back over to Willow in order to hug him close as he settled. He buried his face in her sweater dress, squeezing his eyes shut and trying to make the rising blush of shame pass faster. He was grateful for Amanda's reassurance, but still not happy about the position he was in in front of everyone... though considering what had happened at the art show, this was nothing. It passed quickly as a result, and he backed up from Giovenith, who was still busy looking deep into the woods.

"I think..." she trailed off. "I don't think, I don't think the forest dislikes them."

Willow looked up at her in surprise. "You can tell?"

"I spent a lot of my life in the mountain forests of the Empire," she said. "I can know a woodland speaking when I hear it."

'The Empire' — she was talking about her home, or at least, the physical land that was home to the people who worshiped her family. Giovenith rarely spoke of her country, even to Willow, so it wasn't something he was likely to brush off.

"Then, what does it want?" he asked, tentatively.

"It's not that simple to tell," she answered, looking back at the treasures. "We might be able to find out, but..." She looked back to him, and he understood: But it probably wasn't a good idea to be leading Willow into the unknown in this state.

She wasn't wrong, and it was partly going into the unknown that had left Willow like this in the first place. He was instinctively against the idea and wanted to insist they abandon the treasures there and go back to Ponyville immediately. But he also trusted Giovenith more than anyone, aside from maybe the Princesses themselves... and maybe, maybe even if this did... disturb him, maybe in the long run this was needed? For closure?

Sensing his thoughts, the godling nodded firmly. "If we did go in, I wouldn't let anything bad happen to you. I'd use all my power against anything that tried. And if you don't want to, I'll use it against anything that tries to stop us from leaving."

He looked towards the others, seeking an answer from them.
❃she's ripping wings off of butterflies❃

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Northwest Slobovia
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Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:25 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Dawn, the next day


Giovenith wrote:"I spent a lot of my life in the mountain forests of the Empire," she said. "I can know a woodland speaking when I hear it."

That broke Sandy out of his reverie, and he stood gawking at Giovenith for a second before finding his tongue. He shook his head once, vigorously. "Your Sight is something else! I expected greater sensitivity and breadth, but..." He swept his gaze around the forest, seemed about to speak, and then shook his head.

He caught Amanda's concerned expression: her implicit trust in his Sight was wavering. "I can tell what the forest's magic is doing. It's consciously directed, but not like the way a caster would... the way a person would. More like-- like the way the fire lizards breathe fire: they harness magic, but instinctively, not intelligently"

"That's what I got, but..." He made a weak gesture in Giovenith's direction: his Sight had nothing on hers for this.

Giovenith wrote:"If we did go in, I wouldn't let anything bad happen to you. I'd use all my power against anything that tried. And if you don't want to, I'll use it against anything that tries to stop us from leaving."

He looked towards the others, seeking an answer from them.

"It's your choice, Willow." Amanda said, "but there's not much I can add to Giovenith's protection. I'll do my best, though.

"But I think that this one--" She turned to smirk at Sandy.

"—Will see what's here regardless." He concluded. He then raised a finger. "But, since I'm carrying Cadance's pocketful of miracles, I'll make sure you reach safety, whatever and wherever you judge that to be.

"Let me see if I can answer your question first. Other ears may Hear more than mine can." Sandy transformed into Pegasus, though his casting was slow and tentative, as he Listened for reaction from the forest as he went, noting how the trees shifted as he drew strands of ousia into his spell. Once in the shape of the Olympians' winged pack-horse, he stood like a statue, unmoving except for his ears, which swept the the forest like radar dishes.

At intervals, his ears fixed on unseen things deep in the trees. Once or twice, one ear Listened to Giovenith: a ground truth, the Song of the latent magic bound into her paper, a familiar tune.

He took a step forward, and Listened again, then nodded as though agreeing with a suggestion. He then turned and trotted over to the antiquities Willow had dropped, and Listened to each one in turn, dipping his head to do so. He looked up sharply at Hearing the astrolabe, searching for something in Willow's expression, but apparently not finding it: did he know what he was willing to throw away?

Sandy returned his normal form, and addressed the others, primarily Willow. "The forest insists on showing us something. It's embittered... angry. That's not surprising: it has been under Equestrian siege for over five thousand years now.

"It... wants us to go deeper in, I suppose to see the bone of contention. It, uh, seems like an honest desire; I don't get the impression it's a trap or set-up."

He picked up the astrolabe and activated it, bringing up an image of a night sky projected onto a miniature fogbank. He smiled with delight at it. "A planetarium show. Shame I don't know the name of any of your constellations. And a double shame the magic school won't study it; unicorn magic has changed dramatically over the ages, perhaps has much as ours has."

He blinked several times, seemed to shake something off. "Right! I'm willing to see what the forest wants to show us. I don't think it's a threat, it... I think it wants to get something off its wooden chest."
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Fri Jun 26, 2020 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
Gollum died for your sins.
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Solisian Union
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Founded: Apr 22, 2018
Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Solisian Union » Sat Jun 27, 2020 8:28 am

"But... you couldn't tell?" He ended facing Domenica again, his face a mixture of confusion and concern.


She shook her head rapidly, sweat breaking over her face a little. "N-No, the only magic I've encountered was with my writing and my mother's writing. She reached out her left hand up to wipe it off of her, then darted her eyes towards Amanda, chuckling nervously as she said, "I could probably use some tissues or something..." She looked down at her groin, crossing her legs and blushing. She put her hands down to cover up too, saying, "I bloody wet myself..."

Despite this, she listened to them. But she was confused. Sandy could...see magic? He spoke of things such as Sight and what not, like it was his third eye or sixth sense, just as the superstitious ones in her country would describe. Dom recalled what he spoke of before, in the presence of Cadence, and during the time they travelled from there to here. But those things confused her and she made sure to write down her questions into her notebooks and to keep in mind what things made her think over and over without reaching an answer for such answers lay in the speech of those around her now.

She was so lost in thought that when she snapped back to listening to them and watching them, she gasped at Sandy transforming into a Pegasus. Not out of fear or surprise but from amazement. She did not realize her jaw dropped before he transformed back. She closed her mouth shut and let him speak until he was done. When he was, she said, "I'm curious to learn more. I have many questions, and I can realize now that....there's so much magic and wonders that I am not able to, as Sandy told me, tell. I do not have your....Sight. So I think I am willing to go with you all and find out what we can find out by ourselves and with the help of what powers we all have and what tools we all carry in our hands or hooves. I suppose that," she paused to keep her groin covered, "we can get to doing what we must...after breakfast..." And just after she said that, her stomach growled loudly, making her blush and sit on the stool again, groaning at herself in shame.
^_^

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Giovenith
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Founded: Feb 08, 2012
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Sun Jun 28, 2020 4:04 pm

Giovenith patted Willow's head as she looked up at Domenica. "I'm so sorry you've been thrust into all this at once, Domenica. It's a lot to handle, and I know it must be awkward. Don't worry though, we'll help you."

I don't have to do anything, Willow reminded himself. Sandy can probably take care of himself out there.

But if he didn't go, would there ever be any closure about the treasures? Did he want any closure about this? Right now, it seemed easier to just move on... but Willow had read about trauma here and there and he knew that this desire was common in the initial shock, but had sadly heard far too often of victims coming to later regret not acting sooner. He held nothing against those people, but he did not want to be a slave to cycles and statistics. Maybe it would be hard now, but future Willow would surely thank him, right?

Easier thought than done.

"Giovenith?" he asked.

She looked back down at him. "Yes?"

"Can you just, talk to me while we go looking? Keep my mind off of it."

She smiled. "Of course."



After breakfast and a quick shower, the group marched on into the unknown. The atmosphere of the forest only grew thicker the further the group went in. They were lead on by a mixture of both Giovenith's instincts and Sandy Listening to the forest, deep into the darkest and most untouched parts. They were careful to avoid unfamiliar plants and stay alert for anything that might have been peering at them from the shadows.

"What do you want to talk about?" Giovenith asked Willow.

"I don't know, anything," he answered.

She looked around. "What do you think about where were going, and what Sandy said? About the forest being mad about being under siege?"

He stepped on a branch, snapping it in strained thought. "I guess it makes some sense."

"Do you think, maybe it makes you feel a little different about things?"

"Things?"

"What you do with the nature."

It was hard to read Willow's expression, set in stony concentration as it was as he trudged on. The surroundings had become too snug for him to fly. "Not really. You know, I'm an abstract artist, so it's not like I don't understand the value in some degree of randomness. But I'm not really convinced that that needs to be the case for the environment. Even humans understand that, to some extent."

"Oh?" Giovenith offered her hands to Domenica to help her over a particularly thick and dirty fallen log.

"You have domesticated fruits and vegetables," said Willow. "You know, apples and carrots don't look in the wild what they do in grocery stores. And you keep animals in big farms instead of hunting them. I think we're all doing the same thing, we just have different limitations as to how far we can take it."

"That makes sense." Her eyes followed a small, unknown furry creature scurrying up a tree. "But you don't think the weather and stuff might be a little much?"

"Well, think of it this way," he said. "You wouldn't want to suddenly get rid of your apples and carrots and farms because so many humans would starve, right? That would be messed up. Well, I think it's messed up that an innocent person can lose their house to a random tornado or hurricane. Because your weather just does whatever those storms can't help but eventually form, and then humans have no choice but to either hide or run away while their lives get smashed to pieces. You have to spend all this time and money just to get them back to normal, and then even some of what they lost can't be replaced. And that's just if they're not murdered..." He paused. "... or not even. They're killed, not murdered."

"So you've never heard of anyone being killed by a storm?"

"It happens once in a very great while, but only because somepony was stupid and reckless. And even then, we always stop it before it can ever do anything like destroy a town, and the pegasus is charged and sent to jail. But anyway, if the pegasus ponies here can stop that from ever happening, why shouldn't they? Isn't it the same as stopping people from starving from tinier, worse, wild produce because you can breed better stuff?"

"I understand-" Giovenith was cut short by a gasp as she tugged Willow backwards before he walked straight into a wall of black, thorny vines. It was thick and menacing, and yet... "I think whatever it wants us to see is past that. How are we going to get past it?"

She looked to Domenica and Sandy.
Last edited by Giovenith on Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Tue Jun 30, 2020 4:37 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria

Giovenith wrote:Giovenith was cut short by a gasp as she tugged Willow backwards before he walked straight into a wall of black, thorny vines. It was thick and menacing, and yet... "I think whatever it wants us to see is past that. How are we going to get past it?"

She looked to Domenica and Sandy.


Sandy turned both of his eyes to the godling, but said nothing, since Pegasus was mute. Wrap-around vision and Pegasus' sensitive Hearing (and hearing) were too useful to give up in the forest, even if it meant Sandy had to use his alter ego's bulk and strength to force his way through the narrower parts of the path. He did, however, rear up onto his hind legs to try to get a look over the top of the vines, to little success.

Amanda tried to catch the gaze of the equine towering over her. "Turn human, Sandy, so I can get the hatchet of out the pack." One eye looked down at her for a moment, then Sandy let his spell dissipate, returning to normal size and shape.

He tossed his head uncertainly. "Even with the Boon, we'll need to take turns. The brambles seem pretty thick, and the Boon grants strength, but not endurance."

Amanda's face twisted into a pout, and she gave Domenica a hopeful look: what did Giovenith See in her, and what magic had Sandy caught a Glimpse of in her pens?

[OOC: Since we cleaned up and ate breakfast, Sandy would have explained the spells he and Amanda routinely use and offered them to anybody who wanted them. Presently, they see, hear, and smell better than normal, and are strong, graceful and handsome/beautiful. But Pegasus is too strong for the Boon to aid, and his majestic supernatural appearance is unchanged.]
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Postby Solisian Union » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:42 pm

Giovenith patted Willow's head as she looked up at Domenica. "I'm so sorry you've been thrust into all this at once, Domenica. It's a lot to handle, and I know it must be awkward. Don't worry though, we'll help you."


Dom smiled at Gio and nodded. "Thank you. Yeah, it is a lot, but I can get used to it; we Filipinos can adapt to a lot of things, especially in times of great confusion."

She looked over herself and made sure that she had not dropped any of her pens nor papers. Afterwards, she smiled at herself, chuckled, and sighed later. She took to readying herself for the journey ahead.




Walking through the deep forest amazed Domenica and made her awfully curious, often pausing briefly to look at plants or at the ground or at anything of interest to her. She made sure to take quick notes with her pen, while also making use of one of them to light her way. But she was not so happy with the lack of light. At this, she pulled out a pen filled with colorful ink. She wrote in the air in front of her and a dim orange light was formed, thanks to her Pen of Signals, and that helped her see where she walked a bit more clearly.

"What you do with the nature."


On that, after Willow spoke about himself being an abstract artist, after he spoke of humans understanding it, the Filipina shook her head and said, "Sometimes, humans forget that they understand and proceed with the destruction of the environment. I sometimes believe we are a part of nature, but that fades away from my mind when I see my countrymen or hear about my countrymen doing things against the environment."

She looked to Willow after Gio helped her over a log for a moment then moved on. She did not speak again until they reached the wall of dark and thorny vines. At this, she said, "I can use my pens. I have one for destruction, another for spells, but I'm still not so great at casting them."

Amanda's face twisted into a pout, and she gave Domenica a hopeful look: what did Giovenith See in her, and what magic had Sandy caught a Glimpse of in her pens?


She immediately showed Amanda and the others her two pens as mentioned; one looked incredibly sharp at the tip, probably releasing an aura that seemed hostile to everything that existed, and another that seemed ordinary yet was filled with immense power.

"Here they are." She then turned to Sandy and said, "Oh, I just remembered; you told me about spells that you and your wife use from time to time. Maybe I can take your offer up; any help would be appreciated, since I kinda wish I can really feel how I am with my powers and my pens."
Last edited by Solisian Union on Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:29 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria
Solisian Union wrote:[Domenica] did not speak again until they reached the wall of dark and thorny vines. At this, she said, "I can use my pens. I have one for destruction, another for spells[." ...] She immediately showed [...] the others her two pens as mentioned; one looked incredibly sharp at the tip […]"Oh, I just remembered; you told me about spells that you and your wife use from time to time. Maybe I can take your offer up; any help would be appreciated[...]"

Sandy's eyes tracked every motion of Domenica's pens with single-minded focus. He mumbled a half-hearted "Excuse me" before racing through casting Apollonius' Fifth Metamorphosis and becoming Pegasus again.

Sandy's gaze hadn't moved from the pens during his transformation, but after a moment of staring at the pens wide-eyed with surprise, he turned an ear towards them and lowered his head until his ear was practically touching them. He Listened to them for a few seconds, and an excited expression grew on his horsey face.

With a raised fore-hoof, Sandy pointed at the destruction pen, then made a partial backwards turn, and emphatically gestured at the vines with his other fore-hoof Despite the size of his head, his nodding was more like a vibrating head: he wanted to Hear the pen go.
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Postby Solisian Union » Sun Jul 05, 2020 6:07 pm

The Filipina nodded at Sandy and put away the other pens so she would hold only the pen of destruction. She walked towards the wall of thorns with her pen, stopped, and took a deep breath. She released it in a bit and pressed the nib against one small spot of the wall. A loud hissing came to their ears. And smoke came out of the spot which Domenica pressed her nib. It smelled like burning vegetation, combined with the sweet scent of rotting life. Rapidly rotting life.

She did not seem to mind the smell, continuing to use her pen against the wall, lifting her pen up and down, creating a circle.

As she did this, she said, "I'll make a test hole to see how deep this wall of thorns go. If I can, I'll use my magic pen to blow a hole through after I use this one to weaken the thorns."
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Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:16 pm

There was little need for Domenica to go any further as the burning rapidly overtook the entire wall of thorns, revealing the way. Beyond the burnt remains lay an enclosure with a large, still, crystal clear pool. It was eerie in its serenity, the water seeming to glow slightly with tranquil blue light. Giovenith and Willow exchanged a look.

“What do we do now?” he asked.

She frowned and looked around, unable to answer. There weren’t any other signs or feelings, just the creaking, squeaking, and rustling of nature around them. She shifted the relics in her arms and decided to lay them out on the ground, sit down, and look at them for a moment.

“Gio?” Willow asked again, growing anxious.

“You know my big sister first Woke Up in a place like this,” said Giovenith, tapping her cheek with fatigue as she looked down at the relics. “Deep in the woods, surrounded by thorns, in a place that people hadn’t touched before. That was a really, really long time ago.”

Willow was perturbed, not seeing what this had to do with anything. He looked towards the others, wondering if they were as confused as he was.

“There were so many bad men back then, she would say,” Giovenith continued, picking up the hourglass and fiddling with it in her hands. “Especially when the Shining Men came and tried to kill our totems and build their temples of wood and stone. That’s what they did, they went around and tried to change things, no respect for how things were before. My sister was scarier than them and preserved our culture, but lots of others weren’t so lucky.” She looked at Willow. “I don’t think she’s ever forgiven the people of the book, even though they’re so different now. I guess she knows better, but it’s still easier for the rest of us because we were born later. Maybe if I had been born earlier though, I wouldn’t even be friends with you at all.”

Willow stared at her. “Geo-puzzle, I interpret a lot from you on a daily basis, but even I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.”

“What I’m saying,” she said. “Is that a changing world can be difficult to accept, and it can be hard for people born in the changed world to see what the problem is. But I know for a fact that even if we don’t see the problem, maybe even if things are better now, it’s still important to remember and honor certain things that used to be.” She held up the hourglass. “I think you discovered that on your journey, didn’t you?”

He looked down with an awkward and pained expression.

“And I think, maybe, we were brought here so we could do the same for the Everfree,” she said. “Remember what it used to be.”

“What brought us here?” he raised an eye. “The forest itself?”

“I don’t think so,” she looked around. “It’s got magic in it, but it’s still mostly just a forest. Maybe destiny? I don’t know, I don’t know if it matters. But I think we brought these things here for a reason…” She held up her relics. “... maybe as a form of closure. The first relics of the new world in the last part of the old world.”

Giovenith got up and brought the relics over to Sandy as well as Domenica.

“I think I have an idea about what to do, but I’ll need your help,” she explained. “I think we should take out the magic from inside of these..." She held up the relics. "... and put it into the pool." She pointed to the pond. "I can use the reflection of it to offer the magic to the forest. That might give it the closure I was talking about. But I don't really have any way to take the magic out of these items. Do either of you have any way?" She looked out around at the foliage around them, and came to another conclusion. "And maybe, if we do that… we could bring a bit of this place out with us. A baby plant? If we take it somewhere else outside of here, and let it grow, it could double the closure. The present can continue, but so can the past."

Willow started to say something, but Giovenith cut him off.

"We'll plant it outside of Equestria," she confirmed. "We won't mess with what they're doing here."
Last edited by Giovenith on Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:19 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Thu Jul 16, 2020 5:39 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria

Giovenith wrote:There was little need for Domenica to go any further as the burning rapidly overtook the entire wall of thorns, revealing the way.

Sandy stood stock still, awed, as the pen obliterated the brambles. It was by no means the most potent magic he'd Heard, nor even the most potent enchantment laid on an object, but it was merely one of many such enchanted objects Domenica had, but did not make herself.

As the last threads of the pen's ousia drifted away, Sandy willed away his equine form and turned to Domenica. "Are things like your pens... common where you're from?" His tone carried more surprise than his words suggested.

Giovenith wrote:“I think we should take out the magic from inside of these..." She held up the relics. "... and put it into the pool. [...] That might give it the closure I was talking about. But I don't really have any way to take the magic out of these items. Do either of you have any way? [...] And maybe, if we do that… we could bring a bit of this place out with us. [...] We'll plant it outside of Equestria,"


Sandy's brows furrowed as he frowned and thought about it. "If it could be done, it would solve the problem... a number of problems. Momentarily lift the siege to take a refugee... hmm, yes, perhaps to another timestream." He took a deep breath. "But pulling the ousia out of enchanted objects – Tripolitanian Equestrian enchanted objects at that! – is not easy."

"Is it really, Sandy?" Amanda gave him a quizzical look. "You brought home fifteen vials of fire isolate you pulled out the fire lizard blood with nothing more than the traveling kit."

"Yes, from raw materials. Not fixed magic, and not fixed magic I barely understand." He sighed. "And if alchemy will work, it won't leave anything behind. Just disenchanting these artifacts is like erasing books for the ink; alchemy would burn them for good measure."

Sandy gently lifted the astrolabe from Giovenith's hands. "This one in particular. It's-- This is the key to understanding five thousand years of unicorn magical development... or more, depending on who else will study it, and when they will live. That would be an incalculable loss to future generations."

He handed the relic back to the godling, and turned to Domenica. "If you've got ideas for drawing some of the ousia out of these things without destroying them, I'm all ears. Otherwise, I'm going to try to get a... get a reading on how much ousia we need, uh, relative to what's in these artifacts, and what resources are available here. It Sounds like some of the plants might yield extracts I can work with."
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Thu Jul 16, 2020 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Giovenith » Fri Jul 17, 2020 4:37 pm

"Hmm," Giovenith pulled the relics back, examining them before turning to Willow. "Willow, would you feel comfortable if these wound up being destroyed? You said so before, but did you meant it?"

The pony maintained his distance a few paces from the group, ears pinned low. He shifted in a little circle, trying to restrain himself from pawing at the ground nervously, though his ruffling feathers gave it away. "I don't know. I guess so, I don't really think I'd put them on a shelf or something."

Giovenith frowned, set down the relics, and beckoned him into a hug with outstretched arms. He hesitated for a moment, but the desire to seem cool and tough today was quickly beaten by the desire for comfort and friendship, especially when in a place like the Everfree. He trotted over to her side and stayed close as she cuddled him.

"How did you get something like fire lizard blood?" she asked the Belas, patting her pony friend's hair. It seemed like quite a story to tell, and it would get his mind off the stress of the situation. "You were gone somewhere for a really long time too, weren't you?"
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:09 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria

Giovenith wrote:"How did you get something like fire lizard blood? […] You were gone somewhere for a really long time too, weren't you?"

"Sandy was gone for almost two years." Amanda said in a matter of fact voice. "And for the last eighteen months--" Her voice cracked, and she cleared her throat before going on. "--He was completely out of touch in Alexandria. I didn't know if I still had a husband."

She took a step towards Sandy, who took her hand. "Uh... yeah, there was some time, um, slippage between Galli and Ptolemaic Egypt. We were there for only two and a half days."

Amanda shot him a look that mixed worry and anger. "Try not to dice with death next time."

Sandy let his face fall for a little while before looking back up at Giovenith. "Anyway, there's not really much to tell. We – Baron Primordial, Nick, and I – took on a little job, helping to escort a convoy – a medical convoy, in part – to Alessio. To raise some money." He paused to collect his thoughts.

"The route between Ascalon and Alessio ran through a desert, and there were both raiders and intensely magical, flying, fire-breathing lizards. Back home, we'd call them dragons, but as you know..." He trailed off: she did know, not only having seen one of Galli's actual dragons, but also Giovenith's pantheon included them.

"We knew what we were getting into, and there was some video of the fire lizards from previous run-ins with them. There was enough that the holodeck could make us a sparring partner, and we learned a great deal about how they fought. The key thing we learned is that I could out-turn them, and um, I already had some practice serving as a aerial firing platform.

"In any case, the convoy was attacked by a flock of them, and we did our part. Baron Primordial managed to kill one with his telekinesis and the front of a car the fire lizards had destroyed. He … rammed it down the beast's throat, which was one of their few vulnerable spots. Nick and I managed to call in an anti-aircraft barrage on one, which discouraged it from chasing us. The rest decided to find an easier meal." By the time Sandy took a breath, Amanda had a white-knuckle grip on his hand, and he had a trace of a grimace on his face.

"So, we were able to butcher the dead one, and they have gallons of blood, so even with sloppy work, I was able to pull out a lot of... I guess I should call it pyrousia, the essense of fire, from it. We also ended up with its scaled hide, which an enchanter should be able to make armor from, and some other parts. The wings are in my workroom, for instance."

There was a brief silence, and Sandy glanced down at his hand. He looked back up, speaking as he slowly opened Amanda's grasp, one finger at a time. "But, uh, Willow, I'll try to do my part as quickly as possible, and then we can leave the forest. You're perfectly safe here--" He shook his head: no reason to try that. Amanda was hurt enough, and she faced mortals, not things that could defeat gods. Don't remind him of the trauma, even if he's a hero just for suriviving. "I'll finish up fast."
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Sat Jul 18, 2020 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Solisian Union » Sun Jul 19, 2020 10:04 pm

There was little need for Domenica to go any further as the burning rapidly overtook the entire wall of thorns, revealing the way. Beyond the burnt remains lay an enclosure with a large, still, crystal clear pool. It was eerie in its serenity, the water seeming to glow slightly with tranquil blue light. Giovenith and Willow exchanged a look.


"Whoa!" She cried out, withdrawing her pen from the burning wall. She watched it burn up until it was all gone. The Filipina blinked a few times at nothing and looked down at her pen, commenting, "Wala man kana nahitabo before. This didn't happen before." She turned to see Gio and Willow exchange looks then turned to Sandy.

As the last threads of the pen's ousia drifted away, Sandy willed away his equine form and turned to Domenica. "Are things like your pens... common where you're from?" His tone carried more surprise than his words suggested.


To that, she shook her head and said, "Not really. I purchased my pens from a little shop in the city. It closed down a long time ago. I can't get anymore, I'm afraid."

She then put her pens away, listening to the conversation they were all striking up. She glanced at Willow with a frown. Poor guy. Understandable, but Gio seemed right. She looked to her and smiled. Kinda proud of her sticking to Willow despite those things that he does or says.

Then her attention was taken away again.

He handed the relic back to the godling, and turned to Domenica. "If you've got ideas for drawing some of the ousia out of these things without destroying them, I'm all ears. Otherwise, I'm going to try to get a... get a reading on how much ousia we need, uh, relative to what's in these artifacts, and what resources are available here. It Sounds like some of the plants might yield extracts I can work with."


"I get the power out using some of my pens. I can't use the one that destroys, but I can use the one with magic and the one that acts for that. As long as I have something to write on, or some paper, then I think it will all work out."

"Sandy was gone for almost two years." Amanda said in a matter of fact voice. "And for the last eighteen months--" Her voice cracked, and she cleared her throat before going on. "--He was completely out of touch in Alexandria. I didn't know if I still had a husband."

She took a step towards Sandy, who took her hand. "Uh... yeah, there was some time, um, slippage between Galli and Ptolemaic Egypt. We were there for only two and a half days."

Amanda shot him a look that mixed worry and anger. "Try not to dice with death next time."


That made her stare at the husband and wife with some concern. Wow. That must be very worrying, indeed. She almost felt like reaching out a hand to Amanda but refrained. She did notice how the conversation went and simply observed Sandy as he spoke, especially at the end when he stopped and just said those four words so abruptly.
Last edited by Solisian Union on Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Northwest Slobovia » Mon Jul 20, 2020 6:20 pm

Everfree Forest, Equestria

Solisian Union wrote:To that, she shook her head and said, "Not really. I purchased my pens from a little shop in the city. It closed down a long time ago. I can't get anymore, I'm afraid."

"You bought them??" Sandy's mouth hung open for a second, and he raised an incredulous eyebrow. "With money??" He gave Domenica a wide-eyed, side-long look. "Wherever you're from is nothing like where we're from, despite how similar it sounds."

Solisian Union wrote:"I get the power out using some of my pens. I can't use the one that destroys, but I can use the one with magic and the one that acts for that. As long as I have something to write on, or some paper, then I think it will all work out."

His voice sounded strangled. "Just like that??" There was a drawn-out second of silence. "I have to see... I have to Hear whatever it is you're intending to do."

"OK, let me figure out what needs to be done."

With that, Sandy metamorphosed into Pegasus, and spent a while trotting around the lake and the nearby woods, occasionally returning to human form to scratch some notes down. At length, he returned to the others and said, mostly to Willow, "We're going to need a lot of ousia." A shake of his head and a frown summed up his conclusion: "I'll see... what I can learn about these relics, but even with Domenica's help, they may be reduced to mundane husks. It's, uh, simply a question of measurement-- how much we need versus how much we have."

With a set of familiar verses, Sandy returned to being the Olympians' mascot. He picked up the hourglass, and, after a moment's confusion about what to do, tucked it into the crook of one of his forelegs, and made like a lame horse – though a surprisingly agile one – over to a spot of clear ground near the lake.

While Sandy started to study the hourglass – clumsily at first, as he figured out how to handle it with hooves – Amanda sighed and brought the other two relics over to him. He nodded without looking at her.

As Sandy examined the hourglass' workings, he scratched notes in the dirt with a hoof: Greek, Arabic, and English words, along with all sorts of mysterious symbols: runes, glyphs, sigils, squiggles, and a few things that looked like the offspring of doodles and word webs. He repeated the process with the sun disk and the astrolabe. To his surprise, the sun disk pointed out fertile patches in the forest when pointed more or less in Celestia's direction. He spent the most time with the astrolabe, projecting constellations, making them move across the fogbank, and generally putting it through its paces.

By the end of his studies, Sandy had a large patch of notes on the ground, perhaps fifteen feet on a side, filled with fist-sized marks. He spent a while reading it through, then let his spell dissipate, becoming human.

With a two-handed gesture towards his notes, he started speaking with "Please, nobody walk there until I copy this." He spoke as he returned to the group, a bit of a spring to his step.

"So, we need almost as much ousia as the artifacts contain. I'd like to keep the astrolabe at least partially working, since that's the one I, or any of the unicorns... or your Princesses, for that matter, can most easily compare to the state of the art of unicorn sorcery. The astrolabe will still be able to project a few constellations, but the fogbank will be very thin and patchy, so they'll only be visible in the dark.

"The other two... Well, they'll contain traces of magic. They'll have enough ousia left, and some of the framework of the enchantments on them, that somebody can later restore them. At least, that is, somebody with the Sight. I... think that the-- at least Celestia has the sight. Perhaps some of the other Princesses do as well.

"So, if Domenica's pens are capable of... uh..." He paused to think for a while. "Carefully disassembling a Swiss watch – the mechanical kind, the kind they were known for – then this will work. Otherwise, I'll have to dissolve the set to get the sapling and some lake water." He turned to Domenica. "Let me explain my notes so you know what to do."
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Postby Solisian Union » Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:22 pm

"You bought them??" Sandy's mouth hung open for a second, and he raised an incredulous eyebrow.


"Y-yeah." Domenica looked at him with a really nervous smile, glancing once at his wife, hoping that she would, like, help him get a grip? She appreciated the surprise he had, but thought that it wasn't that big of a deal. Wasn't he the magic guy? Why was he so shocked?

"With money??" He gave Domenica a wide-eyed, side-long look. "Wherever you're from is nothing like where we're from, despite how similar it sounds."


"That's probably because I bought it in my country, not yours." She then paused to say it a bit more lightly, to explain it to him. "Basically, in my country, it's, I think, normal that we do business with things like amulets, charms, etc. The Philippines is a great place to be in if you want to get myths and legends and stuff that are in your field."

His voice sounded strangled. "Just like that??" There was a drawn-out second of silence. "I have to see... I have to Hear whatever it is you're intending to do."


"Yeah," Domenica just said, chuckling now as she heard his strangled voice. Then when he said that he would have to see, she nodded and shrugged, a bit uncomfortable with the implication of that but mostly all right, as she said to him, "I can have my pens do a lot of things. Doesn't take much out of me, it's mostly the pens that work for me."

She then got all her pens out, choosing the ones that she suggested were fit for the job. The pen of magic and the pen of action were to be used, as they were now in her right hand, but she seemed to be a little indecisive with one other pen. If anyone focused on it, it would seem to be...very much alive. Domenica said to herself, "Not sure if I should use the Pen of Life. The life it creates can only exist on paper."

She sighed and put it away, choosing from the rest of the pens. So far, nothing. The rest went back to her pack.

With that, Sandy metamorphosed into Pegasus, and spent a while trotting around the lake and the nearby woods, occasionally returning to human form to scratch some notes down. At length, he returned to the others and said, mostly to Willow, "We're going to need a lot of ousia." A shake of his head and a frown summed up his conclusion: "I'll see... what I can learn about these relics, but even with Domenica's help, they may be reduced to mundane husks. It's, uh, simply a question of measurement-- how much we need versus how much we have."


She followed after him so she could try reading his notes. Copying them would help. To do so, she had her notebook and the Pen of Writing. She would happily twirl her pen in her right hand as she tried to read what he wrote. Too afraid to ask him for permission to see his notes though. Domenica will have to ask later.

As Sandy examined the hourglass' workings, he scratched notes in the dirt with a hoof: Greek, Arabic, and English words, along with all sorts of mysterious symbols: runes, glyphs, sigils, squiggles, and a few things that looked like the offspring of doodles and word webs.


Aha! At last. She took her pen and notebook, studying the notes for a while, then copying them on paper. She didn't understand Greek and Arabic, but she could at least copy them exactly as written in Sandy's style. She chuckled to herself as she saw that she was able to easily copy the handwriting of her companion.

At least the notes will be saved in her notebook after the earth brushes away what Sandy put down.

Fortunately, she was able to finish copying what he had to write down before he became human.

With a two-handed gesture towards his notes, he started speaking with "Please, nobody walk there until I copy this." He spoke as he returned to the group, a bit of a spring to his step.


"Didn't do that. You don't mind if I copied your notes? Was already doing that while you wrote on the earth." Domenica gave him a cheeky smile.

"So, if Domenica's pens are capable of... uh..." He paused to think for a while. "Carefully disassembling a Swiss watch – the mechanical kind, the kind they were known for – then this will work. Otherwise, I'll have to dissolve the set to get the sapling and some lake water." He turned to Domenica. "Let me explain my notes so you know what to do."


The Filipina nodded and said, "Sure. I'll make some of my own as well. I need to write down some spells for a job like this. Gonna take me a while. All we gotta do is disassemble." She immediately put away her writing pen and used her pen of magic. Sandy and the rest could see her really enjoying it when she wrote with the magical pen, as she hummed a popular Filipino song while scribbling. Later, she filled six pages with spells. She tore off three pages and folded them up for later use. Then she approached Sandy and explained the spells she wrote down on the three other pages she didn't rip off.

"First one is basic disassembly. That way we don't need tools or energy. The spell does it for me, and I can use it on a few targets. It takes time, I think around a minute. Second one is generating shields and other protective stuff. Think of, like, PPE. I may be a writer and an editor, but I take lessons from cooking and that's to always protect yourself...especially when handling a sauce pan full of cooking oil." At that, she shivered and let out a very uncomfortable groan. After she composed herself, she shook her head and continued. "Last one on the notebook is for, uh, enchanting the parts that we get from disassembling the relics. Basically, that's to just make sure that while we work on them, they won't come apart on us and probably kill us. If you don't want your noodles to get too soft, then you make sure you keep time and the heat and the water in mind, no? Same logic for the relics. I also got the spell to stop working once we are done with playing with the parts. Sound good?"

She paused and twirled her magical pen. Then she added, "Oh, yeah, forgot; the three other spells are for emergencies. A blast of carbon dioxide, a water spell, and containment."
Last edited by Solisian Union on Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
^_^

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Giovenith
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Founded: Feb 08, 2012
Left-wing Utopia

Postby Giovenith » Thu Jul 23, 2020 3:58 pm

Giovenith's expression shifted to an ambivalent one as she listened to Sandy recount his tale with the "fire lizards." Her mouth tightened to a flat line and she slowly raised an eyebrow at him, and sniffed critically a bit about the slaughter, but otherwise didn't bristle.

"Hmmmm," she hummed, for a second too long. "Well, as long as you were attacked first, that's alright." That was the rule of her family. They weren't unreasonable, they knew dragons could be dangerous, but God wouldn't help anyone who had a lesser excuse than that. It was pretty tasteless to use the body like that afterwards, but she could let that cultural difference slide. Mostly.

Besides, there were more important things to worry about at the moment. With Sandy's knowledge and Domenica's tools, the magical essence was soon extracted from the relics, which took the appearance of small balls of the purple, blue, and green lights that had been emanating from them before. Giovenith was able to take them in her hands, keep them there, before walking over to the pool and gently lowered it onto the water, where it stood. Using an index finger, she pushed the lights down into the reflection itself, each one sending a pulse across the surface of the water before dissipating around the edges. It seemed anticlimatic, but she stood up again and gave a smile and nod to the rest of them.

"The magic will journey out and become part of this forest," she assured. "It won't change anything practically, but a little piece of the New World is now in the bloodlines of the Old World. Now we just have to choose, which little bit do we want to take with us?"

The water was easy enough to take, just a dip of a bottle into the pool, but it was the sapling that would require more thought. Obviously there were so many to choose from just rooted in the foliage around them, but Giovenith insisted that they should take care to pick a special one.

"Maybe we should get a willow sapling?" she teased her friend as they searched.

Willow rolled his eyes. "I've had enough of being at the center of all this for one lifetime, thank you."

"They do represent sorrow and renewal," she pointed out, though the notion was quickly abandoned. Instead, she curiously rolled over a small rock to find one skinny sapling flattened beneath it. Kneeling down, she straightened it back up with her fingers and observed its leafs before brightening and producing a trowel from her pocket. She dug deep to pull up the dirt clod that its tiny roots rest in and carried it in her hands for the others to see.

"Let's take this one," she said. "It's the littlest one and needs the most help. And it's a birch, they represent rebirth and new beginnings." She produced a small seed biodome to house the baby tree in before giving both it and the pool water to Sandy for safekeeping, as well as the remains of the relics. These were all things to figure out in time, but for now, a larger quest had been accomplished. Maybe they hadn't gotten all their answers — maybe some questions just didn't have easy answers — but they had been shown a path towards the future, and that was as good as anything.

--

One couldn't be blamed for wondering where a spa was to be found in the middle of an arctic tundra. Or even how anypony had managed to build a set of train tracks all the way out here, in a never ending expanse of untouched snow under a dark grey sky, the wind screaming and the snowflakes tapping violently against the windows, which they had been ordered by the conductor to keep closed lest they give everyone inside frost bite. Both fuel and magic had been put to work overtime to keep the inside of the express warm, and free complimentary hot cocoa with marshmallows was passed down to soothe the potential anxiety of the travelers.

Giovenith kept her face to the window, trying to see into the snowy distance as far as she could, wondering what would happen if something took distant shape. "There's an empire all the way out here? It doesn't look like anything could survive."

"It's not really an empire, that's just its name," said Willow. "It's a city. It's protected under a dome of pure magic generated by a legendary crystal that runs on the hope and happiness of the ponies living there, inside the city it's always spring or summer."

"Wow," Giovenith's eyes widened with wonder. "That sounds beautiful."

"It is very beautiful there," he nodded. "Some say more beautiful than Canterlot. The streets and buildings are made of crystal and the residents' bodies shimmer with the dome's magic. If you stay there long enough, you get coated in the shimmer too."

"And Princess Cadance rules over it?"

"Her and her husband, Captain Shining Armor," he confirmed. "He's a normal mortal unicorn and the captain of Princess Celestia's royal guard. Apparently, while I was gone, they had a baby alicorn princess."

This only made Giovenith smile more. "So, it's a shining little place made of light and love, protected from all the outside by this tundra, always warm, where the cute little family can live in peace? That's perfect. I wish I..." She trailed off and her smile dropped, as she fully thought through her intended words. I wish I could make a place like that for myself. She was going to too, exactly like it, once. But that wasn't happening anymore. Still, she would need a good place to Sleep once all this was done... maybe while she was there, she could steal a few ideas from Cadance about how to build her own little perfect place sealed away from the universe. Once again taken with these melancholic thoughts, she turned her back to the others to continue looking out the window at the cold wasteland while Willow looked on at her, ears folded sadly.

A bright blue light in the distance soon cut through the darkness of the tundra, and far away they could see exactly what was described, a giant dome that reached the sky of made of teal light. It became bigger the closer they got until it obscured all sight ahead, and in one unexpected whoosh, the train passed through the dome — which caused a wall of the light to pass through the inside of the train itself, passing right through the passengers and zooming past them as the train drove on. Sandy would sense a magic similar to Cadance's but not specifically hers, but rather the condensed energy of countless generations of happiness, love, and comfort. It had an incredibly intense protective element too, and the intent of that was clear: Anything dark and evil approaching would find itself smacked against the outside of the energy dome like a fly against a window.

Their eyes may have squinted as they had trouble adjusting to the sudden radical change in lighting. Once adjusted, they'd find a pure blue sky above them, seemingly uncontained by the dome and untouched by the dangerous grey of the beyond, and fertile fields on curving green hills stretching just as far beneath. They were dotted with bushes that seemed to throw off twinkles, and Giovenith noted with delight what looked like pastel colored sheep roaming in the distance. Up ahead, outshining all the other sights, was a breathtaking, imperial tower made of glowing glass. The top reached so eye that the sunlight reflecting off of it was blinding, like a miniature sun in its own right, and one could not look too long before having to blink away. There wasn't a much better description of it than what it literally was, the palace of a benevolent god in the center of their paradise. Surrounding its bottom, not nearly as heavenly but still resplendid in their own right, were several smaller buildings of equally sparkling glassy substance, though they were a myriad of colors that shot prismatic rainbows into the eyes of anyone who looked at them.

The train chugged along the valley before eventually entering the city and finally stopping in the train station, where they were allowed to get off. Even the station itself didn't disappoint. The architecture was all in deep lavenders and forget-me-not blues, and modeled with a mixture of strong, straight lines with swirling, elegant accents, like a cross between art deco and art nouveau, reflecting both the sharp geometry of crystals and the fragile complexity of the snowflakes beyond the dome. There were many regular ponies coming and going on the train, but the residents weren't hard to miss. Just as Willow had described, their bodies were cast entirely in a magical essence that made it look as if they themselves were made up crystal, replete with throwing off light and glow from seemingly within. They seemed to have taste for elaborate, elegant hairstyles and accessories — elegant in general was the word that defined this place. Elegant and ethereal. As Sandy would hear, the entire city was loud with the sound of powerful magic of the most pure, wholesome variety.

Giovenith breathed sharply as she took it all in, her eyes widening with every little sight. If she were a pony, this was definitely the place she'd want to be, these Crystal ponies the sort of citizen she'd want to be. As if this place needed to be any better, her senses were soon drawn to a nearby gift shop. Its shelves held snowglobes with miniature versions of the palace inside, stuffed plush versions of the colorful ewes she'd seen in the fields, little commemorative doll sets of Cadance, what must have been Shining Armor, and the other Princesses, silk ribbons and scarves with the same cool hues as the rest of the city, silver and crystal jewelry and plateware crafted for a snow princess, and best of all, freshly baked cinnamon rolls drenched in cream.

It was perfect.

"Hello," a crystal pony nearby greeted the group with a friendly tone. "Are you the human group with Willow Streaks? The Princess sent me to escort you to the spa. Come along."

The elegance and perfection was only reinforced as they traveled further into the city. The streets were polished to be mirror-like, not a scratch on them, and the homes and shops threw off even more light as they walked along. They came to the base of the palace in the heart of the city, finding that the structure rested on four legs that created an arched open area beneath it, in the center of which two needle-like structures were built, one from the top and one from the bottom. In the middle of them was a rotating crystal the side of a large heart, from which both Sandy and Giovenith would be able to tell that all of the magic in the city was emanating from. It seemed that ponies were allowed to go up and look at it as much as they liked, but no one dared touch it. In the city center square, they were brought to a large building with a dome in front.

"Here we are, the crystal spa," their escort announced, holding the door open for them. "It's much bigger inside. You'll be able to relax, take your therapy, and even stay in our in-house hotel if you like. All expenses paid by the Princess, so please, enjoy yourselves."

Inside was a round, typically shining and blue lobby, where a desk pony awaited them.

"You must be Group H," she greeted. "Would you like to sign in and sign up for what we have to offer today? And Mister Streaks..."

Willow tensed up as she pointed down a hall.

"... Doctor Veranda will see you down there."

He looked back and forth between the hall and his friends, as if he was a child told to march to the principal's office and thought someone might be able to save him from it. Shit, shit, shit, it was finally time... It was easy to make promises. A whole other thing to keep them.

"Does she need to see my right away?" he asked.

"No," answered the desk pony. "She's preoccupied with a few other things, so you'll have to wait a while."

"Can somepony come get me when she's ready and stay with my friends for a while?"

"If you wish."
Last edited by Giovenith on Fri Jul 24, 2020 1:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Northwest Slobovia
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Anarchy

Postby Northwest Slobovia » Fri Jul 24, 2020 7:14 pm

Suite, Crystal Spa
Crystal Empire, Equestria


"Could you take us to our rooms?" Amanda asked. She was visibly wilting. "It was a long train ride."

"Certainly," answered the desk pony, beckoning with a forehoof to summon a bellhop.

Sandy nodded to catch Amanda's eye, and stepped to the desk. "I'll get us signed in, dear, and catch up in a minute." He proceeded to look over the register and sign-up book the pony slid across the counter to him.

He waited until the bellhop led the rest of group out of earshot, set his briefcase on counter, and opened it to pull out Cadance's satchel, which he handed to the desk clerk. "Cadance said this is for Willow. I-- You probably know who should get it."

The pony took it with a smile of pleasant surprise. "Yes, of course. Will there be anything else, sir?"

"Mmmm? Oh... uh, yes..." Distracted by the quill pen he'd plucked from its inkwell, Sandy signed them in. Then, running his finger down the list of things to do, he spoke as he wrote Amanda's and his names in various places. "A hot tub for a few hours a day while we're here. And... let's see... yes, a couple of massages, and..." He broke into a crooked grin. "Let's see how close you guys can come to a mani-pedi."

He glanced around cautiously, then leaned close to the clerk, whispering. "If you have anybody who can work on humans, please keep them on call." He got a discreet, if puzzled, nod as a reply.

* * *


The bellhop pushed open the suite door, and stood attentively but inconspicuously to the side as everybody piled into the suite.

"Oh! Somebody did their homework!" Amanda beamed at the furniture: the common room had human-sized and -shaped chairs and tables, as well as ones for ponies. She made a rapid tour of the suite: it was easy to find Willow's room, since it was the one made up for ponies. The Belas' room, by contrast, had a king-sized bed, and Giovenith and Domenica would find their rooms to their liking as well.

While pulling open the curtains, Amanda practically squeaked with delight: the suite, and apparently most of the rooms, overlooked a pocket park within the spa. "Oh, it will do."

Sandy's tour of inspection was far more casual, though he couldn't help but noticing that the Princesses must have talked before their arrival: there was a writing desk in the corner, along with another stack of books from the Library of Friendship. By the time he finished looking around, Amanda had tossed her jacket and shoulder rig onto a coat tree and collapsed into a sofa. The bellhop, having moved everybody's luggage into the suite, pulled the door shut and left.

"Oooh, a few days of peace and quie-- Oh, thank you!" She broke off as Sandy pressed a tumbler containing an inch of whiskey into her hand.

He seemed to be drinking some sort of golden wine, and he swept into the sofa next to her. "I signed us up for some time in a hot tub, dear." Amanda nodded without stopping drinking, and Sandy turned to the others. "If it wasn't for this place's official purpose, I'd say it was positively Sybaritic."

He considered for a moment – ok, a few long seconds – then said, "I think this trip is working out better than expected!" It has the advantage of being both true and a wide open gambit.
Last edited by Northwest Slobovia on Fri Jul 24, 2020 11:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Power is an equal-opportunity corrupter.

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