14 August 2021
Heading toward the Kelpie Graveyard, across the swamp. Hurryup is leading with Aurora floating behind on a telekinetic disk with Kronk and the healed crab busboy. Joneigh is flying above her. Autumn is behind Aura, trying out her earth magic to dry out a bit of land temporarily to walk on less swampy stuff.
Joneigh and Autumn can hear a scream in the distance, “Murder, murder; help, murder.” Autumn says to the group that there is someone calling out about murder and help just ahead. They hurry to see what is going on. There are spiders, cranes, and an egg up where the screaming is coming from. Autumn asks if someone was calling for help… about a murder? Joneigh wonders if someone is looking for help with a murder?
A spider runs up to Autumn, saying, “They’re all murderers!” The spiders need help in defense. A crane on a nest points at a spider running away with an egg, saying, “Kidnappers who will probably murder my child.” Aura asks for explanations and points at a random bird. “You first!” The bird says the evil, eight-legged evil monsters keep stealing their eggs. Then she points at a random spider. “Now you!” The spider says they eat us and steal our silk for their nests.
Hurryup suggests they kill all the spiders. Aura thinks there is a trade deal that could be made. Autumn isn’t sure what is “right.” Joneigh decides to fly forward to scout for the Kelpie Graveyard to see if it is still where the monkeys said it would be. While she flies, she wonders if she can pray to The Verdict about Prow Lee’s curse.
Aurora tries to convince the spiders and cranes to come to some sort of compromise. A crane picks up her egg and takes it over to place at Aura’s feet “Thank you for saving us, Your Majesty!” Aura nods regally. “So, no more murders, right?” Aura asks. The spiders and cranes are going to celebrate by eating a bunch of insects together.
The ponies are glad for no more murders and move along in the direction Joneigh went.
Autumn thinks about pulling out a map, then decides instead to try to make an earth-magic path through the swamp to the area where Joneigh is hovering. There is a whomph where it stops against an unseen barrier. There is more of a lake here than swamp. Joneigh sees a vortex in the lake that goes down very far. Aura can move forward, but Autumn’s magic stops at the edge of the shore.
Aura calls out, “Hello, anybody here?” A squid pops out of the water and Aura yelps in surprise. Hurryup runs up to the edge of the water and says she knows the universal cephalopod language and waves her legs around. She asks if the squid knows where the Pearl of Foolishness might be located. It says it is probably hanging around the Kelpie Queen’s neck. Hurryup wants to know if the Queen is cute…. It says, “No offense, but you only have four legs.”
Autumn asks if the Kelpie Graveyard is down there, where the squid lives. It asks which down there she means. She explains that we want an audience with the Queen. It looks at her, searching for gills. “You do know that Kelpies’ main goal is to drown land-dwellers?” It says that the Queen is at the bottom of the vortex.
Autumn asks if Aurora can give the group gills. Aurora looks through her spells and doesn’t think so. Joneigh pulls out a book, flips immediately to the correct page and shows her the spell she needs.
Aura: “Can I copy that?”
The squid waves at Hurryup, calls her a sister-cephalopod, and gives a warning about guards. “Good Luck! You’ll need it.”
The group Bubbles, Slides, or Flies down the vortex.
When the reach the bottom of the vortex, one of three undead fish on a spit calls out: “Halt, who goes there?”
“I do,” says Hurryup.
It wants to know who she is; she says, “Hurryup Ann Night Messenger.” The undead fish ask, “The ”/wikis/baltimare" class=“wiki-page-link”> Baltimare or the Pandemonium Night Messengers?" Autumn suggests the Brindlebury Night Messengers. Autumn introduces herself. Joneigh just says she is a librarian. Aurora agrees that Joneigh is a librarian of the highest order. Jimmy, just a farmer. Aurora gives her full name. Kronk and “other crab”. The undead fish recognize Aurora’s family name and ask if she is any relation to the Great Philanderer who left the Kelpie Queen at the altar? It appears for a few moments that being Borealis’s sister might be a problem, but Kronk intervenes (clicking his claws, which the undead fish seem to understand as speech) and the fish decide that with Kronk’s vouching, Aurora may proceed.
Suddenly, a white ferret swims down with a scroll for Joneigh. She reads it and makes a proclamation about Prow Lee. A desk, quill, ink, and paper appear just as suddenly and it writes out the proclamation and Joneigh hoofs it. Prow Lee pops out of Jimmy’s saddlebags, no longer a snake.
Autumn asks if a happy bundle was left in the wake of Borealis leaving the queen? The undead fish ignores the question and asks who might be in a romantic entanglement with the Evil One now? The fish suggests Joneigh, Autumn, Jimmy, and Kronk precede the group and follow it. One of the dead fish uses a tail fin to try to “fist bump” with Autumn and says, “Good luck, sisters!”
They are brought before a big fish. There is offer of refreshment. It is declined, politely. Big fish turns and leads them to a lantern fish “Sea Bed can be treacherous”. Another Big Fish comes and the two discuss and then one moves forward to give proper introductions, starting with Kronk. Then the Librarian. Then Autumn. Then Jimmy. Then Hurryup. Then Sunny. Then it mangles Aura’s name and she doesn’t respond. Then Prow Lee, the other lying, cheating philanderer.
The fish acting as majordomo looks at Aura and asks why she hasn’t moved, she explains that she hasn’t actually been called. He changes it to, “Aurora – great friend of Kronk,” and she moves forward.
There are lots of kelpies around, several Big Fish with ribbons or citations. When the queen appears, she is wearing a necklace with cowrie shells and three pearls—ivory, black, and pink. Before Joneigh reaches the queen, a Kelpie sidles up to her and says, “Just a slight bow, and say ma’am.” Joneigh gives her a sidelong look and says, “Read that in a book, yeah.”
The queen gives Kronk a gold, royal cocktail mixer set. Joneigh gets an eyeglass cleaning kit and a small key, marked “Royal Library.” Autumn gets a fancy trowel and a book titled The Octopus’s Garden. Jimmy is given the golden scythe. Hurryup says, “Hey, Queenie, I have a proposition for you!”
The queen: “We will discuss that later.”
Hurryup gets a book, So, You’ve Married a Chaos God.” Sunny gets a book, 5001 Ways to Curse Your Ex. Then the queen sees Prow Lee and motions for a dragon fish to approach; it swallows him whole. Joneigh swims over and does a Heimlich maneuver on the fish to get it to spit the cat out (she’s read how to do that in a book). The fish vomits Prow Lee out at Aura’s feet, whereupon Aurora gets her grooming kit out and combs the slime out of his fur.
The queen looks from Joneigh to Aurora to Prow Lee and says her gift to him will be to let him live. She gifts to Aurora a book: The Family Plot—How to Rid Yourself of Inconvenient Relatives. Aurora places it in her saddlebags without looking at it and thanks the queen.
Hurryup sends Prow Lee off to find her copy of the trust for Borealis’ progeny.