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IceStorm

Frozen Adventures of the Frozen North (closed)

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Most of Equestria is filled with places that can be both magical and dangerous for ponies. A standard side effect from living in a world where magic is at the whim of most creatures. Very few decide to use their magic to help others, and most non-sentient beings with magic is more apt to use it's magic to try to kill a pony for food rather than help you out of any dangerous situation that a pony might find themselves in. One of these places, is the Frozen North. In fact, it's dangerous enough that many ponies wont even attempt to go out into it. Not because the don't want to... well, okay, a lot because they don't want to, but also because of the temperatures. It gets it's name for a reason and the frigid temperatures can make an unprepared pony suffer from hypothermia in a very quick manner. This applied to most ponies. Ice Storm on the other hoof, simply used her ice armor as a wind breaker. Her affinity with ice making her much more resistant to extreme cold, but she still came prepared herself. It was likely that the deeper parts of the tundra would force even her to use some provisions of warmth to survive. She was still a pony after all and not a god.

 

However, the fact that she could sustain herself in these conditions much easier than most ponies could was why she was one of the ponies going into the tundra. Aside from the fact that it was where the Crystal Empire was, and the area south of it had been pretty well tamed, everything north was still uncharted. In fact, She had very little information to go off of for what she could even hope to find. The only thing that she could find about the Frozen North in any records that she could find, is that they cold was dangerous, and it's where Sombra was once imprisoned. Otherwise, there was absolutely nothing to go off of. Herself and a few others had taken it upon themselves to venture into the dangerous Frozen Tundra, just to see what was out there, and what they could bring back. Considering that most ponies can't or won't come out here, this place must still be very resource heavy. These resources would go a long way to helping Equestria in many ways. The group that she found herself in was a simple one. A unicorn that she presumed was from the far east, judging by the name but she never verbally tried to guess where he was from. She though she remembered his name as being Nensho from when they first met up for the expedition.

 

One of the other companions with her was a changling. She had met quite a few of them in her time and overall had a rather fond experience with them. there were a couple that seemed to be a bit too skiddish to really interact with, but none of them were hostile. This changling was the same way. In fact, she was a medic. She didn't know how hearty a changling was in regards to cold climates, that the hard carapace would be a benefit or if it would make them easier to freeze. but she supposed that they were about to find out. Naturally of course, they would always have a shelter if things got to nasty weather wise. she could almost instantly summon an igloo for them to stay in and shelter them from wind and provide warmth.

 

The last companion that was with her was an Earth pony named Kappi. She couldn't really say that she knew him very well, but he came to her as a navigator and was interested in coming along. A navigator in a place that a pony can easily get lost in, was very much appreciated. She wasn't a total novice at it herself, but having a pony who's entire thing is navigation rather than a pony who read a few books on how to navigate is much better. Knowing her luck, she would end up getting lost and then EPIC would have to seen a regiment to try to find her. At least she hoped that they would. She looked around to everypony else as they sat inside an igloo that she had made for the first night. Enough holes in the door to let oxygen in and a small fire under the chimney way kept the igloo warm for the other ponies. She made sure to sit as far away from the fire as she could though. "So, where is everypony from? and what made you all decide to come with me?" she asked trying to start a conversation for the evening.

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Nensho laid near the fire he helped make, his armor neatly stored nearby. He looked around at the others, two ponies and a changeling, sizing them up once again. The stallion seemed like the most dangerous of the three, at least based on physical prowess, though the mare seemed to be a powerful mage. 

 

The wolf in disguise tugged his scarf tighter around his neck with his magic, easily keeping warm at the moment. He looked over at Ice as she asked her questions, eventually speaking up when it became clear nobody wanted to go first. 

 

"I am from Neighpon, and I work in private security mostly. I'm here because I was already in the area after completing a job and I thought you could use my help." Nensho said, shrugging slightly as his tail swished around a bit. 

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The pony was no youth. His age had placed him a few steps beyond thirty seasons by two more years. Experienced in his age, and with greater build he was able to participate in this journey, but not by choice of personal enjoyment. No this journey would perhaps allow him a chance to pass the rigorous lands of Whitescar which often times consumed a pony. While he did consider himself more caribou: his body often times did not agree and he would succumb to the environment long before his caribou kin. This would give him training and, hopefully, a few legs up on his completion! He was a stout pony that had a body built for the icy tundras of the northern regions. That compact size led to advantage when it came having less body surface area to lose heat from and a healthy layer of fat in which to store energy for long journeys. In addition to size and weight: his coat was thick, oily and double layered. The chestnut brown and ice white fur was thick enough to prevent much of his body heat from loss and even preventing the cold snows from melting and introducing hypothermia. It was not foolproof. There was a point where he simply stopped chugging, but he wanted to increase that time, tenfold.

 

It was much to fearsome to sleep outside under the harsh claw of the elements. He was genuinely impressed of the mare's ability to build shelter from ice. It was a technique he has never before seen. While still rather primitive compared to the woven tents of nomadic Whitescar tribes, it would do. It was a tight space and with three ponies and limited gear inside it was packed. Inside the igloo he felt strangely comfortable. It wasn't much different from the small, collapsible tents the more nomadic tribes camped in. Like this Kappi felt time was foreign. The Frozen North was, on a whole, a great mystery. He could almost see history carved into the glacial cliffs and ice fields.

 

It was an untouched, primitive land that could create a paradigm shift in the idea of the governing beliefs on the origins of the Frozen North. There were stories, but he was not given to such conventions. There he lay rest on his belly upon his sleeping may. It kept his thick stomach fur dry, but also unmatted from exposure to wetness. Laying on the snow shavings his warm body could create some moisture from some minor melting. That would be disastrous for him! He shook his head, that thick mane tossing about. A unicorn and a Changeling… neither has he ever before met until this day. Tomorrow he was in for more discoveries.


I am Kappi of Stjarna. Navigator of Tribe Askr.” That deep, bellowing voice was thick with accent, his home region of Whitescar apparent. "I come to learn and become stronger." Though if he became any stronger he would crack the ice beneath him!

 

Maybe not.

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IN order to deal with this cold, Aria had made sure to dress to preserve her body heat perfectly. Every inch of the changeling was covered in thick winterwear. The thick coat she had on covered her entire head to the point that when viewed head on. It almost looked like there was a void in her parka with only two lavender lights floating in the shadows. It wasn't easy dealing with the cold for such a creature!

 

"Mah stories not too different from this fellas." She gestured to Nensho, "Except Ah'm from Dodge Junction and Not Neighpon... Ah don't work at private security, but I do know a thing 'r two 'bout patching decent folks up! So, Here Ah am! Nice ta meet y'all. Name's Aria."

 

 

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The responses that Ice Storm got to the question that she asked everypony else, wasn't really too surprising to her. The other unicorn had apparently just finished a job and decided to hang around and thought that she could use the help, and the earth pony was from Askr. She had to think back for a bit as she couldn't remember anypony being part of the clan the last time that she had went up there, but she could hardly say that she met the entire clan. Just because she was a friend of Sigrin didn't mean that she knew every other bou that was there. She had also only been there a few times herself, one of which was to help stop the plague that was affecting it.

 

That being said it was of little surprise once he said he was from Askr, that he took up this adventure. Whitescar on it's own was a completely different monster, one that would probably require the same sort of skills that this expedition would need. Ice Storm had no problems there because of once again, her affinity with ice. That and she wasn't afraid to use her ice as a weapon if she so needed to. Ultimately, she prefered to use it to protect others in situations like this, hence why she had created the structure that they were in. If the weather got bad, this group would never be caught without a shelter of some kind.

 

The changeling that was with them though was a bit of a different story. She was bundled in just about every type of heavy wintery clothing available. It answered her though as to if changelings could handle the cold well or not. It made sense, as she knew that they would either be very resiliant to the cold, or very vulnerable. when she answered, she instantly picked up a very, thick accent, similar to Applejack's. Made her wonder somewhat of the origin of the changling and might explain a bit more if her need for the amount of winter gear she had. Of course, that was answered very quickly when she heard Aria say that she was from Dodge Junction. One of the few places in Equestria that she hadn't been to.

 

Ice Storm looked around to the three others inside the igloo. "I appreciate the assistance from all of you. My name is Ice Storm, Master ice magic in the Canterlot Guild of Magic, and senior member an elite spec ops unit. I must say that I wasn't expecting another pony from Askr. I must ask how Jarl Sigrin is, or at least last you saw of her. She is a good friend of mine," she said looking at Kappi before turning to the Unicorn. "I also have a few acquaintances in Neighpon, but depending on what Island you're from you may or may not know them," she replied to Nensho before looking back to Aria. "And I very much appreciate the help that you're willing to lend. In this environment, traveling without a medic of sorts is usually a death sentence," she said addressing everypony else. "That being said, I cannot really say how long we're going to be in the Frozen North, and I can tell you even less of what to expect. No pony has been here, and other then legends, there is absolutely no factual information on the terrain other than it's cold."

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Nensho hummed to himself, running the other stories through his head as they were told. Well, Kappi's reasoning was completely understandable, though it was nice to know he wasn't alone in his reasoning for joining up with this expedition. He gave Aria a slight smile, especially as she was the most in danger from the cold itself. He had his fire, Ice had her magic, and Kappi was just used to it. At least more than the others here. He sighed, looking back to Ice as she started speaking again. 

 

"Sounds good. You're in charge here, so just tell me where you want me when we're on the move." Nensho said, his horn lighting briefly and keeping the fire going strong.

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For Kappi the cold: it was no problem. Even as he sat it seemed he was quite accustomed by the way he sat. With his limbs tucked in as close to his body as he can one could tease him for looking like a roosting hen as his thick fur was fluffy and dense looking, like feathers, to insulate him. Despite his weight he was a stout pony and he further reduced his size by tucking close. The tight space of the igloo helped as well. Despite being tundra born it was reckless to purposely present oneself to the icy whips of the northern winds and ask for punishment. Conserving energy was a necessity of any journey. He would not be the sort over exerting himself.

 

“The Jarl keeps herself busy.” He assured. “Life requires constant vigilance, especially against one's enemies. Change is always a dangerous aspect to life and shouldn't be taken lightly.” He regarded in his thick accept.

 

He shook his head, tucking it down as if holding heavy antler before settling once more. A stalwart fellow, by his straightforward manner, he was also more caribou in his mannerisms than pony. It was to be expected for one raised among them, the only of his kind he truly came into contact growing up being his parents. He turned his sea-green eyes to inspect the present company. He had never seen, let alone met, a Changeling, but he has not been given kind words about them, but it was all the more reason to focus on the realistic issue: they were in a frozen waste. Here even the foolish were not so reckless. He would still expect them to be fools, for it was the nature of adventurers. They were all here after all.

 

It was not a safe place to be.

 

The fellow who worked with security could have a sharp eye for dangerous matters, so he would note to take his counsel. As a former warrior the tundra-born pony was given to more strategic stances in situations. The mare too would seem to have her skills though many of the titles she had gave him no knowledge as to the extent of her own. What exactly was a special ops? Magic could be useful… It would be seen soon enough. As for the Changeling… medics were always good to have, but he was unsure of her combat experience.

 

“We should move as soon as we are ready. Wasting time is a waste of resources.” He strongly asserted.


There was also the issue of daylight. He had his tools ready in his saddlebag: his cartographer's tools which would include a compass, writing pencils, clean parchment (with their current encampment and location drawn out) and, lastly: a string and sundial. He had two rations, but only good for restoring minor energy with a dense calorie count.

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"Ah'll do mah very best Miss storm! You folks're gonna fit as a fiddle once this missions all done with It's a promise!" The folksy little changling would be grinning in the shadows of her hood... although this mostly just gave the image of a pale of pale purple eyes and a fanged maw smiling out at the rest of the party. "Ah Can't say I know all that much about about this crazy place either. Do y'all have any idea if there's gonna be anythin' like a search party if our mission takes too long 'r somethin'?"

 

Aria took notice of that smile and that the security stallion from neighpon had given her. He was kinda cute, honestly... although there was something about him that reminded her of what she was like when she was in disguise normally. It was probably just her imagination. The changeling would give the stallion another smile back in kind before clamming up to listen to whatever briefing was left to be done.

 

 

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When she heard the changling tell her that she could do the best that she could in regards to the mission and that they would all bee, 'fit as a fiddle' when they were done. She couldn't say that she had heard that saying since she lived in Ponyville. The smile that she wore grew a bit when she heard Kappi mention that Jarl Sigrin was doing well. That life required constant vigilance, especially against enemies and that change was always a dangerous thing, so she was constantly busy. Ice Storm agreed to an extent, but not all change was dangerous. Sometimes it was change that was needed. The lack of the desired change would prove to create a more dangerous situation that any other alterior. However this wasn't really the time nor the place to be debating semantics such as that.

 

The security pony that was with them stated that he was content with being wherever she needed him to be. That she was the leader of this endeavor. She then also heard Aria ask about a set of time that they would have to be gone before a search party would be sent. "Well, I have a reporting device on me. I'm supposed to report in at least once a week with possible findings that we have as well as documenting them down. it also serves as if I go a couple weeks without contact, they know that something is up. Unfortunately, it's just a communicator, not a tracker, so they wouldn't be able to pinpoint where we're at with it. If everything goes well though, I'm cleared to stay here in the frozen north indefinitely until something more pressing arises that would require my attention," she replied. Granted, even then if she was deep enough into the tundra, it would still take them several days to get out. So whatever pressing matter might come up, they would have to alert her very well in advance that something could even be thought of happening and being an issue.

 

"It is also good that Jarl Sigrin has been finding ways to keep herself busy. AS you said, change is often dangerous, especially in Whitescar. Just the few times that I've been there I can tell that it's not a place well habitable by most ponies. Myself would be a rare breed as I would be immune to the weather for the most part, but not the predators. One of the reasons why I visit the clan when I can is because I can withstand the cold. I'm actually quite comfortable in it. Even in this frigid place, I'm still comfortable. I imagine it gets much colder further in though," she finished. "That said, we should probably get as much rest as we can. we progress deeper at dawn, and fear not, in the event of extreme weather, I can make these igloos pretty quickly, so we'll always have a shelter."

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Nensho hummed to himself, laying his head down on his front hooves like a dog would. Well, she had received the message, so there was nothing more for that at the moment. He decided to remain silent for the moment, watching the others as they spoke amongst themselves. He wasn't sure how long he would be helping this group out anymore, seeing as she was talking about staying in there until she was needed. Definitely long enough to get her there, wherever she was going. 

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Kappi looked between them as they talked of their skills and reasons for being here. Why was he here? Well there was sometimes when he felt the call of the tundra and frozen wastes. It was not something easily understood, his love of the barren plains of ice and snow, but he knew the peace that came from such a shifting and expressive landscape. Even now, within their encampment, they were still close to the jagged grounds and icy hills. The further one went into the wastes the emptier it became and the less distractions a pony had to worry about. He needed fewer distractions. Folding his ears back his brows furrowed as he felt his thought drift back towards the Changeling. He swallowed, his tongue brushing along the roof of his muzzle. His large nostrils flared, huffing out a steamy mist thanks to the cold air consuming the warmer breath of his snout.

"Yes…" A strange group, but they seemed capable, at the very least. "I am ready for what will come. Are we to sleep or go as soon as possible? My charts are prepared for this region, but I am not familiar with all the stars so come the evening I will need to map them." It would decrease the likelihood of getting lost, as doing calculations on the move could result in mistakes. "Areas like these are notoriously cloudy during certain seasons." His tone was flat and words blunt, to the point.

It wasn't hard to understand what it was the navigator needed. Though it was hard to determine his feelings in a matter. He rarely expressed a strong emotion, but he did seem adamant about their preparedness! He was ready to go and interested in seeing where this venture would bring them and what he could meditate on.

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Aria wasn't too sure what she was to do now besides wait until the journey began, so she sat herself down besides Nensho. While Ice storm and Kappi spoke she would let out a small sigh and look to the pony, "So... Nensho. That's neighponese, right? Ah've heard Neighpon is a right pretty country." ARia had been hoping to visit that place for a while, she'd heard that it was home to very impressive magical medical spells and techniques and learning more about medicine was surely to only be useful in the long run. 

 

Even then she'd heard about some of the amazing sights and mysterious creatures there that she'd love to see.

 

 

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"Well, considering that Celestia's Sun is already starting to set, I fear it would be incredibly dangerous and unwise to proceed any further into the tundra. Since we don't know what's here, we don't know what could be waiting for us. Not to mention, I'm sure the already cold temperatures are going to plummet even further, and while I'm certain I could withstand it with some assistance from my magic, it would be dangerous for anypony else. So I think resting here and starting at dawn would be the best course of action," she responded to Kappi as she watched the other two. Aria had already made her way over to Nensho and began talking to him about Neighpon. A conversation that she herself was somewhat interested in. She kept an ear out so that she could try to catch a bit of it as well as her own conversation. The last time she was in Neighpon, she wasn't there for sightseeing, so hearing a little bit about what's there interested her.

 

"That being said, if you wish to map the stars here, I would recommend doing so now, as I mentioned, I wouldn't want to be outside of the shelter too long right now until we got used to the terrain," she finished when he brought up the stars. It was true that would be essential to navigating the lands, but at the same time, any cloud cover in the area would render them useless, and Celestia have mercy if they get caught in a blizzard.

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"Yep. I've lived in Neighpon my whole life. Course, I've taken trips to other places, like now, but Neighpon will always be home. And yeah, it's a great place, most of it is pretty beautiful." Nensho smiled a bit, looking over at the changeling. He had never really met one of their kind before. At least, not that he knew of, seeing as they could do what he was doing right now. 

 

"Where are you from though? And what's it like being a changeling?" He asked, looking her over a bit. "Like, does it bother you to have all those holes everywhere?" 

 

Really, at this point his curiosity was overriding his manners. 

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Kappi nodded, agreeing that taking sketches while the skies were their darkest was best. He moved to think the same as the unicorn: come the clouds their reconnaissance would be useless, but it would still do to have them and measurements of the landmarks. If anything they still had a compass. So long as that worked they would be well enough to find their way forward. He would push to stand, his large frame sturdy in its ways. He would step to his saddle bag, which was piled amongst the rest of the gear. From it he pulled a few tools: parchment, a quill and ink, and a specialized ruler.  Settling down he would allow himself to lay partway in the snow and part way within the warming cover. He began the process of mapping out the stars and comparing them to those he knew. They must have been quite far North as many of the stars seemed much further away. The icy hemisphere had a way of making it difficult for the sun to warm its surface. 

 

"Neighpon?" He raised his head. "Isn't is that country which is prosperous but does little to share it?" Well that could be prejudice from where he was from. One could not change the outspoken concern that one grew up with. Being raised among caribou they and the Nighponese were not known as clsoe and affluent neighbors. There were fights, scuffles and they were, often times, seen as the opponent. Kappi did not hate them he simply felt they were beneath him. he was better in the sense of being a Caribou rather than a pony. "It is a rather small country as well." They seemed to make up their lack of fighting forces with machines. 

 

He looked to the Unicorn before looking to the Changeling. he was not sure if she could be trusted either, but at least such was greater than trusting a Neighponese at the most simple tasks. It is said they use machines for everything, even washing their faces. They lack the muscle and fortitude for work so, of course, he would worry on such a journey they would be severely outclassed for survival. Out here -- nopony went back for you, that was the law. He wouldn't take long mapping everyhting out, which was good becuase they needed to rest before the journey! He would not find difficulty in falling asleep. 

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" Ah was born in Equestria actually." Aria responded with hint of pride in her voice, "My Ma and Pa raised me around ponies and Ah even got a big sister back home." She looked down over her legs and the holes therein, "Ta be honest the're not that big of a issue. Sometimes i a stiff breeze comes by while Ah'm flying Ah can hear a whistling comin' through 'em though!"

 

Aria felt that Kappi's comments might be overly harsh, but then again she knew nothing of Neighpon beyond what was in travel brochures. Aria cleared her throat, "Ah don't know much o' Nensho's homeland but I think it's mighty rude to criticize someone's homeland just after meeting them, Mister Kappi."

 

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"I actually kinda like how the holes look to be honest. It's unique, just like how a unicorn has horns or pegasi have wings. The added ability to look like whomever you want is an added bonus as well," Ice Storm responded with a smile as the changling answered Nensho's question regarding the holes in her and what it was like to be a changeling. She imagined that it would be like trying to ask anypony else what it was like being what they were. It's a relatively hard question for anypony to answer with any sort of conviction. How do you answer a question like that? What's it like? Now that the question had been asked she had to ponder what her answer would be if somepony asked her that. What is it like being a unicorn? she couldn't imagine it being much different than anything else, except lifting things is a little bit easier.

 

She did agree that it wasn't proper to talk about somepony else's homeland the way that kappi had, but at the same time, she knew where he grew up and the releationship that Whitescar had with Neighpon. It wasn't hostile at the moment, but it wasn't one hundred percent peaceful either if she remembered correctly. To be expected though while the Red Jarl is still at large in Whitescar and still ruling over some of the clans within the frostbitten lands. She decided not to remark on the comments and let him explain himself if he so chose to do so.

 

Frostbitten lands. There's an understatement for the current conditions if she had ever heard one. They weren't even deep into the lands yet, and already at night outside of their shelter she was fairly sure that the temperature had dropped to dangerous levels. If they weren't already, the would be soon. Especially once Celestia's sun sank below the horizon. She was fine for the most part though. She just hope nopony else needed to step out at all during the evening. At least anypony other than Kappi to start mapping the land. If there was any other pony here that could handle cold about as well as she could, it was him. Though she was certain she could still edge him out just because of her naturally affinity to ice.

 

With that in mind, she figured now would be as good a time as any to do her first report and establish time of entry into the Frozen north. She pulled out one of the small communication devices that she had checked out of the supply room for the mission and tuned the transmitter to their encrypted channel. "Special Agent Ice Storm checking in. Current location, outer rim of the Frozen North, thirty clicks north north west of the Spire. Exact coordinates unknown, all 4 team members including myself safe and accounted for. We start departure into the tundra at dawn..." Ice Storm spoke through the receiver.

 

"Copy that Ice Storm. Everypony stay safe out there." she heard through the receiver before placing it back in her pack.

 

"We should get some rest," she said finally. "We depart at dawn."

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Nensho chuckled a bit at Aria’s responses to his questions, though mostly towards the one about the wind making a whistling noise as it went through her holes. 

 

“Well yeah, I think they look nice too, just curious.” He shrugged a bit, smiling until he heard Kappi’s comments, looking over at the stallion for a few moments before responding. 

 

“Eh, it’s bigger than it seems. And sure, it’s got some greedy rich dudes, but from what I’ve seen that’s true of most countries.” Nensho shrugged again, holding himself back from insulting Kappi’s homeland right back. 

 

At Ice’s suggestion they all get some rest, Nensho nodded and settled into a comfortable position that he could still get up from easily should the need arise. 

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That was not something Kappi could be sure of. While the insectoid mare thought it harsh of him, he was being quite honest with his thoughts without using words of challenge, which was key. The stout pony curled his brow slightly, head lowering as he eyed her. he seemed annoyed by her comment, but he considered it with care. He looked away and laid his head on his crossed, bandaged forehooves. Having finished his charting the instruments were put away with care and parchment folded away into his saddlebag. His ears flicked about beneath his fuzzy, dual toned mane as he pondered.

 

"I would not know, to other countries -- no. I have lived in one place all my life and that is the reach of my knowledge. If it is not in the stars ... "He glanced up before closing his eyes. Yes, rest was good. Dawn was close by and it would do the party no good if they had no rested members.

 

Upon the coming of dawn Kappi would be a challenge to way. Grumbling nickers and annoyed growls, which seemed out of place for a pony, seemed to consume him as he was forced awake! He packed up and placed his bags on his back, but it was not without struggle. Even getting into his snowshoes was problematic as the thick furred pony seemed to not be a morning horse. His face was scowlier than usual, that long, thick mane drooping over his face. He pushed to stand, mane messily tied back, and he was ready -- to go back to bed, but he had no choice! This was an expedition to map an uncharted area of the world and that was something the navigator would have liked a hoof in!

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