Summary: A wildfire has broken out across Equestria, threatening to burn down Ponyville, or even Canterlot. Even worse, there seems to be a 'Disturbance' near the Fire that causes ponies' magical abilities to go haywire, making most efforts to put the fire out ineffectual. You are a Stallion named Hemostat, a famous surgeon from Manehatten. You've been recruited by the EFAS (Equestrian Forestry and Agricultural Service) to go on an expedition with 5 other ponies into the origin spot of the fire, deep within the Everfree.
Last time, your plane had crashed and separated you from the rest of the group. A couple of deer visited you and Beartrap claiming they know where Pakanga and Glamour are.
You travel in silence with the deer. Everything is rather still in the burnt forests, very little noise except for the occasion snap and crackle of a burning pile of leaves or two. Embers still fall like an ashy snow, making it harder and harder to see. Beartrap eyes the deer suspiciously the entire trip, making sure they don't steal anything from the crate.
They eventually stop at a cave and set your crate down before speaking
>"Our leader is inside. He is very eager to speak to the sky ponies."
You follow them inside the cave. They don't travel that far in before you're greeted to a few other deer sitting lying about the cave. Most of them seem to have burn wounds or other rather serious injuries. And there does not to be a whole lot of them, probably 10 in total including the ones escorting you.
Eventually they stop and give you a view of a stag with massive antlers that have bells hanging off the end of each antler. Beartrap pulls out his book and starts sketching him, mesmerized by his looks, but fumbles and drops his pen when he finally speaks.
>"Strangers, welcome. I am known among my brethren as Nether. What brings you here in these troubling times?" Beartrap speaks for you
>"We were sent here by, uh, Celestia. We're trying to determine the source of a magical disturbance or something like that." Nether nods his head, which sounds like a baby rattle.
>"That is what we seek as well, Ponies, perhaps we can reach a compromise?"
"That's nice and all, but we were told the rest of our group was here. A pony we know may be in grave danger, and we were hoping to be on our way quickly."
>Nether nods his head yet again, you're starting to think he just likes the noise it makes "Understood pony, we've only found 2 of them however, and from what the striped one told us there were 6 of you. We'll speak on this matter after you have saved your comrades." a few deer head out deeper into the cave. Moments later Thrifty and Pakanga run up to you. They seem in decent shape which is a huge relief.
>"There you are kid!" Thrifty says "I see you have the little wimp with you. Where's Sumac and that crazy old unicorn?" Beartrap scrunches his face at the comment
>"W-we don't know. We're thinking of trying to go find them, or maybe Star Struck-"
>"Wha? Why her? She's probably dead right about now." Pakanga says. She seems a lot less scared now for some reason. Odd. You figure she'd be freaking out harder than Beartrap right about now. Her nerves during the training were horrible, and she often tapped out or panicked.
>"We don't know that yet..." Beartrap tries to retort.
Because we're not leaving team members behind if we can help it. Until we know they're dead, we have a chance to save them and I won't hear any of that talk.
For now, we need to help the deer out.
"I won't have any of that talk. We have a chance to say them, and until we know if Starstruck is dead or not, we won't just abandon her, alright?" Pakanga rolls her eyes. You're not sure why she's acting so odd. You ask the group their opinions on what they think you should do
>"Let's get the rest of the team together before we get ahead of ourselves." Is what Thrifty briefly says
>"I-I'd like to help the rest of our team...but Sumac is a big guy, he can handle himself. Starstruck may be really hurt and she may not last long without our help" Beartrap mutters
>"I'd like it if we didn't waste time. But whatever, I'm fine if you want to do something else." Pakanga briefly says before drinking out of her canteen. You hope she didn't fill it with vodka since you didn't have time to check it.
Fairly far, in fact where you are standing is rather close to the objective.
"We brought the crate along."
>"Good! Or maybe not so good. Now Sumac and Glamour will be searching aimlessly for it." Thrifty says
>"We left a note behind telling us where we were going." Bear trap replies
>"Aaahhh, good thinking kid! Well, better it's here than out in the open. These deer seem nice enough."
Who should be closest? Star Struck or the others? If Star crashed in that town(which I don't remember) we'll need all the help we can get, so I'd say we go for our teammates in that case
You do not know the whereabouts of your other teammates, but you decide to try and help a few of the sick deer and wait for Sumac and Glamour to find you. You tell the Deer to send a out some scouts to help guide them to the cave if they come near the note.
Healing the deer would use a fair bit of the burn salve, but would definitely make them indebted to you. The rest of your party members look alright, a few minor scrapes here and there but overall nothing that needs any medical attention.
You decide to help the deer out with the burn salve. Not expecting any reward, just because it's the right thing to do. Regardless, the deer definitely do start to warm up to you more and more.
It takes almost 5 hours, but eventually Sumac and Glamour walk into the cave.
>"'Ello love." Sumac says, and then sets the still unconscious Glamour on the ground. Her hindhoof looks badly mangled and broken
Start examining her hoof and put it in a splint. Any cuts we need to clean?
Tell sumac that his things are in the crate. Did he find the note? The deer helped? Did they have a lot of trouble out there?
You quickly head over to Glamour and begin assessing her mangled hoof. It looks like it was already broken from the fall, but then something bit her and did further trauma. You quickly get to work cleaning the wound and stitching it before putting it into a splint.
"What happened after you fell? Did you find the note?"
>"We landed in a rough spot, and were attacked by a whole herd of these...odd ponies. One of them bit into Glamour's hoof really well. After escaping from them, I found that note, then those deer popped out and lead me here."
A flame pony bit her? Well I cleaned it so she should be fine. We just need to wait till she wakes up.
We'll let sumac rest and then be on our way. How is he feeling right now by the way. We might have to insist that he take his medicine now.
You wager it must have been one of the flame ponies, but the bites don't look burned like your expected. Sumac insists he feels no pain, and it seems true. It's rather hard to tell when he's in pain, but over the past 9 days you've learned a few of the tells. Your team settles down and rests, just glad to be alive after the plane crash. Your pounding headache has begun to settle down right when a deer comes up to you and speaks in an annoying accent that sets it off again.
>"Pony, Nether wishes an audience with you."
You head back to see the bell wearing stag, this is his home afterall. "You needed me?"
>"Yes pony, since all your friends are here, and you are about to go try and save your last one, I'd wish to aid you in your main objective."
"Any help would be appreciated."
>"Good. Well, we know where the source of this 'disturbance' is. I'm sure you saw it on the way to this cave. That 'island' of greenery, it is coming from there. We can feel it." He paces around the room.
>"Unfortunately, we do not know how to approach it. Odd creatures attack any who we have sent to investigate. And even if they avoided them, they went insane."
"What do these creatures look like?"
>"We've been given many different descriptions, some seem rather impossible. Overall, we can say they mostly are quadrupeds."
"And how close do they get before the insanity begins?"
>"We do not know. We never had a witness. However, we believe an artifact we had in our old homeland may combat this affect. Unfortunately, that location is rather close to the fireline."
[sorry for slowness, will try to speed it up over the week]
Fuck man, I have been waiting for this thread. Afternoon bump
Ok, thanks OP. I will await your return, gods speed