Dusk has followed the path of a tree back to its health, showing things that have interacted with it. Mirage's talent is showing it as an overlay to the actual scene around us to everypony that wishes to see it. But we've had a pause as Blue sets off her magic, originally to catch one of those 'noise squiggles' but distracted by a sandwich has 'caught' and crushed it into a tiny ball. Dusk chuckles to her, "Did you get it, Little Blue? How does it taste?" He uses the moment to give a little pause for Mirage, to recoup for a few. But he does nod to PP, "Yes, Dear Mirage and myself should be able to manage that together, I believe." He looks over check with Mirage.
Mirage is concentrating deeply and working diligently with her talent and magic to bring the image of what Dusk perceives into the most accurate image she can create for the others to see. And while she is working hard, she is far from stressed. "Don't let your attention drift, dear," she says to Dusk. "It will take more effort to bring it all back together than if we continue on."
BlueFeather blinks at her sandwich marble, holding it a bit more gengerly than might be expected, and blinking at it. She gives herself a sudden little shake, and offers it to Dusk, "Wanna diferent sandwich." Totaly unawares of the damage she might have done if she had grabed a pony or something else like she had grabed the sandwich
Snow_Bolt blinks as Blue crushes that sandwich. He has no idea where the sandwich even came from, and at this point there really isn't much point in asking. There will be time to answer all those questions later. The primary question of the hour is where do those little squiggly things come from, and how do they do what they do to the trees. And perhaps even more important than that, what do the ponies here gathered need to do to stop them. He looks over to Mirage and watches her for a moment. He has seen her use her talent in a way that is stressful to her, but is pleased to hear that it isn't that bad, at least for the moment.
Chance glances over to Wild Ana and her two helpers, and trots on over to her. They're just standing there silently, watching everything. Wild Ana is keeping her composure, but the other two are looking a bit lost. Chance checks to make sure they're doing alright. PP in the meantime nods to Dusk, but shuffles his hooves this way, then that way, getting a bit impatient as he keeps looking between Dusk and the large field of squigglies.
What was being seen, the first thick lines were some significant potential very near-term future events, all originating back to Blue. Dusk wasn't trying to project them, but showed up on his awareness as Mirage was projecting it, so the rest ended up seeing it too. Dusk quickly searched through many thousands of possible alternate paths of the present and found one with what he was looking for, spliced it in, and thus the sandwich. He grins to Blue, "That's a very unique sandwich, Little Blue? Maybe it's good?" He does magic up another though, knowing now where to find it. Turning back to Mirage he chuckles with a little smile. "Indeed, my love! I will take that as a 'ready and able!'" To which he turns his attention back more fully to the area around the trees. He slips back a little ways to just before the squiggles acted up, then follows the paths back forward, particularly focusing on the background noise that PP wants to see, enhancing as much detail and size that he can, showing the entire field.. It's a lot of paths to track each mote of magic energy! "Here we go!"
Mirage is concentrating too deeply to be aware of what most of the others are doing. She is focused inward, taking what Dusk is seeing in his mind and then carefully crafting the images for the other ponies to see as well. And while this task requires a delicate and skilled touch, and no little effort, Mirage is actually in her element. Her talent and her innate magic are in harmony as she brings the time and probability changed surroundings to life, carefully overlaid over the reality to enhance even the smallest differences...
BlueFeather blinks and tilts her head, snatching up the second sandwich offered to her, her wings giving a sharp little flick, her tail twitching. It takes only a momant before the sandwich is hovered infront of her muzzle, then, a bite is taken out of it, then another, and all too quickly, the sandwich is no more. For the momant at lest, her attention has turned away from the squigggles, but, that might not last, considering.
Snow_Bolt in general has very little understanding of magic. At least as the others know it. Everything he does is natural, and while what Dusk is doing isn't un-natural. At least not in any real way he can't yet see any sort of pattern in it. It frustrates him a bit. Yes he can see the squiggles move, even move through where he is standing, but that happened in a different time so he has little concern about it. There doesn't seem to be any sort of pattern to the movement. No telling where they come from or where they are going. Just that when they go to a tree it dies. They are clearly the cause...but they are only echoes of the trail that whatever the things are followed..and not the things themselves. Sort of hoofprints of the past. So his attention wanders back to the present just watching the trees, boy are they ugly like this. He'd hate to think of a plantation full of them. It would be one sad place.
If Dusk could trace the entire field, it would surround the entire area, not just the immediate trees. It's a large circle of energy that surrounds the current dead trees, which by now encompass a number of acres in this northern field (though 'field' is a bit of an understatement, as it's an entire plain). It also 'bleeds' a bit against the nearby healthy trees, which Chance just notices that the fruits on those don't seem to be growing very well. PP stands back and looks over the thing squiggling in front of us, watching things closely, his head swiveling this way and that way, and up, and down. Comprehension and recognition slowly floods his gaze as he follows what appears to be random clumps of squiggles, but to him they're nodes and connections, dynamically fading in and out of the field. "It's a gate.." he says softly, then a louder he repeats, "It's a teleport gate! The entire things is a gate! I've never seen one likes this. But.." and his expression goes to confusion. "It's too stretched out.
Too big. Too unstable. Nothing could be sent through it, aside from maybe a few spells, if that. It doesn't make any sense. It's so.. organic. I don't know this class of teleport gates.." he realizes. He looks closer. "There's.. the gate is the noise. There is something else though. I can't tell what it is. It's.. spread out over the entire gate area." Chance glances to PP and trots over, curious what Dusk might have to say about all of this.
Dusk keeps focused on his own work, but smiles to himself a bit, always happily impressed to see the finesse Mirage has with her talent. He thinks his and hers work wonderfully together. Though that's just one fraction of what she can do with hers. Seeing Blue happy with the sandwich, Dusk looks up to see if he can make out any sort of pattern perhaps he missed as well, not wanting to miss the forest for all the trees, so to speak. Snow is indeed correct. The 'donut' is clearly our problem. It isn't something that just suddenly happened, it's slowly growing into a larger and larger circle. He blinks over to PP. "A teleport gate?" He listens more and nods, "I was wondering 'what' as well. Hmmm. Well we have a couple of things." He thinks and glances up, and in a moment a copy of the pattern appears overhead, filling a good chunk of the sky, but now letting us see the pattern as a whole. "We can take a different view. And after that, follow the ring back to its start."
Mirage easily shifts the illusionary vista as Dusk takes Chance and ProgrammerPony's observations and begins to delve more deeply into what is actually here. While we are looking at ruined trees, have we only observed the effects of something else that lurks here? In a way, as if something is casting a shadow on the area that we perceive as a sickly part of a grove of trees? Mirage is aware enough to understand Snow Bolt's consternation. She herself is not adept at magic spells and such, and she's learned to let Chance, Dusk and the others come to their conclusions before asking any questions. So, she continues to help them with her talent and magic.
BlueFeather of course has no clue what is being talked about, magic books where rather not things she understood, nore things that where readily available to her when she was younger. Shes not too clear on the fact that sometimes she can do magic too now, and has not yet considered trying to read any books about magic, after all, only horn ponys can do magic, and shes not a horn pony. Her wings give another little flick, and her head tiults to one side, not even paying attention to the squiggles for the momant, her attention more on the contemplations of weather she wants another sandwich or not.
Snow_Bolt looks over at PP when he says something about it being a teleport gate. What? That doesn't make any sense at all. Teleports are for moving from place to place and as far as anyone can tell nothing has come through or gone to the other side of the gate. He isn't thinking that PP is wrong. If anyone would know about teleportation gates its him, but he dones't understand enough of the theory behind it to really understand, "If it is...should we be concerned about being here?" If something is going to pop on over he doens't want to be standing right here if it does.
PP glances up as the full 'donut ring' that killed the last batch of trees is shown. "That's definitely a teleport gate. Still can't tell what it's doing though." When Dusk rewinds the thing to the beginning of it's 'existance', there's a thread that suddenly appears, about 10 seconds into the life of the ring, that points toward some hills that are visible from here. As that's followed, it's endpoint ends up at a place where a massive magic surge happened, appearing at the start of the ring, and dissapearing at about 10 seconds later. The ring itself stays stable for a short while, but eventually collapses. Whatever it was doing to the trees, it would most likely continue until the ring itself dissapeared.
Dusk thinks all the ponies in our group have from our experiences gained a rather keen eye and insight to things, and Dusk values all the input of his friend. Well other than you-know-who. You know who you are! And well if Blue is hungry enough for another, she might check her Sandwich Marble out. He raises a brow at Snow's astute observation. "Good thinking, Mr. Bolt. Though if something hasn't appeared yet, it may not work quite that way." Well unless it needed to get big enough or something first. But as we follow back in time again, more quickly now, we reach the point of the start, and the connection from that starting point to the hills. "Well well.. Looks like we have some hills to go a-visiting. And if they have to keep casting new ones for each larger ring, then somepony has to be around, or coming back."
Mirage continues to make Dusk's unique vision visible to all who wish to see it. And it seem now that all the effort has not been in vain. The stallions are coming to some conclusions as the study the past of this mysterious ringed gateway. Mirage continues unabated, since it seems we're closer now than ever to making some progress with this mystery.
BlueFeather is still trying to think of weather she wants more food or not, still, her head tilts a little to one side, and she lights up her horn, a faint green glow, as she starts feeding apon the emotions of thoes around her, not realizing that this might not be considered a polite thing to do, and probably creating a mess of probability around her as well, still, she continues to watch whats hapening, her attention turning to watch whats going on, then blinki9ng a little, "Issa like hunt."
Snow_Bolt has grown rather used to Blue over the trip, but he does wish that they could find a way at some point to change her back to being a pony. She'd probably be happier and certainly would be more accepted, "Dusk I think Blue needs another sandwich." he says as he ponders the trek to the hills. They have come this far, after all, and can hardly stop now. Knowing that its a portal of some kind doesn't really solve the problem. They still need to figure out what is coming through and what its doing to the trees, "We had best get a move on then.." he says. Mainly because he doesn't want to be standing in the middle of a portal if it decides to form again. That can't be good despite Dusk's reassurance.
Chance watches everything that's happened. "So.. it's not a disease? It's deliberately being done?" He lets out a light breath. "Let's go check this out." Everypony piles back into the wagon and it heads for the hills. Or hill, as the case may be. Wild Ana gets us partly up the hill, and we have to walk the rest of the way. It's a good ways up, and takes about an hour to make the trek. Once we reach the area, we see an odd sight. The grass here is green, except in one area, where a patch about 6 feet wide is 'burned', with only some green grass starting to grow back again. PP trots over and inspects the grass. "Teleport charing. Too much energy went into a teleport spell here."
Dusk, with Mirage's help, visually traces the spell link right back to the very spot and time of where it came from. And even if the pony is there right now, they wouldn't see anything, because only those sharing in Mirage's vision see it. From there Dusk looks for a connection.. a path of a pony or such at that spot that created it. And yes, it wouldn't be good, if you were wood. Not that he wants to see anypony exposed to it. Destructive magic like this always crafted for safety. He nods to Blue, "That's very good, Little Blue. It is a hunt, for a bad pony that's hurting Mr. Chance's trees." He looks back up and nods, "Quite so! We don't want to give them any time to get away. But we'll also want a plan of attack so they don't just see us coming and take off long before we're there." But seems Chance already has his plan of attack. He clears his head of things to show and waits for Mirage to let her magic down easy for the ponies, then helps her back up into the wagon. He checks for the point he tracked, seeing if it comes back to the same point of the burned grass.
Mirage is careful to end her illusions gently. Jarring others unkind and a sign of sloppy craftsponyship, after all. She smiles as Dusk helps her into the wagon, glad that Chance is taking Snow's suggestion to not waste time with the investigation. Mirage is quiet during the ride, as well as the walk up the hill. As ProgrammerPony examines another magical teleport site, she tilts her ears thoughtfully. "So, what would the purpose be?" she asks Snow, Dusk and Chance as PP looks around. "Why even bother with a magical teleport from a grassy hill to a banana tree grove? And to do it so poorly that you kill the trees and grass?"
BlueFeather cocks her head, eyes her crushed sandwich, then offers the sandwich bead to Mirage, perhaps Mirage would want it? She does not want to swallow it, she tried eating marbles and stuff before when she was starving, and it just, well she did not like the result, shes not planing to repeat it, even if she knows the marble is a crushed sandwich, shes still not going to eat it. She trots after Dusk, her head cocking to one side
Snow_Bolt follows along with the group until they get where they are going. Mirage is good. No doubt about it, and he has the same question that she has. It doesn't really make any sense. If you wanted to kill trees there are probably easier ways to do it that are less detectable, and certainly more indirect. Why go to all the trouble? He does find himself half wondering if thats what happened to the train and the ship. What if someone or something tried to teleport to those places and botched the job. It would make a certain amount of sense, but there is still no motivation, "And if it was an amature simply messing around why weren't they caught int he act?" he asks, "Its not like the ponies here haven't been watching. Are we sure that it was a pony who did this?"
As Dusk searches the area, the spot was definitely the source of the teleport. But it's like something came through with a spell already charged up, making it hard to figure out who the pony is. They went through alot of trouble to mask who they are. "It looks like it was something." Chance says to Snow, pointing out the magic saturated teleport. As we continue to check, there's a magic charge in the air. Something is teleporting through.. right now!
Dusk smiles back to Mirage as he helps her up. Once there he tilts his head to her question, "Well they might do all that, if killing the trees was the point, without having to be near it to get caught, and trying to make it look like something illness-like happening. The ponies here probably aren't equipped to search what we did. And seems they were trying to stop us from getting here to find out." He ohs and was so caught up he forgot about the sandwich. He smiles as Blue trots up and pats her head and faint glow from her horn. Oh, that's what Snow meant. He takes a moment, and then magics over a new sandwich to Blue, "Here you go. And we're getting closer, Little Blue." He turns back and examines the spot more closely, and the path of the prior spell.. when the new spell suddenly starts. Dusk senses it too, and steps back a bit, and readies to cast a teleport-blocking bubble around whatever, or whoever appears.
Thursday, August 29, 2013