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The People's Tournament - Wagon Delivery Run 1011

The Compact has the Tournament of Roses but the lowers and uppers of Arx has the People's Tournament. Entry to the People's Tournament is open only to the common born and the events held are the kind of activities that those not born with silk wrapped around them would be familiar with.

From delivering a wagon loaded down with goods around the lowers, with the fastest time and with accuracy, catching fish from the Gray River, running through the lowers as swiftly as possible and overcoming obstacles to a good bought of pugilism, the People's Tournament lends more to the tastes and familiarity of the commons of Arx.

With cash prizes for the overall winners (Combined points from all events), crowns for the individual event winners and an abundance of alcohol and a gala at the end to celebrate, it's an excellent time to be a commoner.

1st - 500,000 silver
2nd - 300,000 silver
3rd - 200,000 silver

People's Choice - 250,000 Silver

Ooc: These events are for commoners to participate in. Nobles are welcome to observe, cheer on even, but actual participation in the event is restricted to commoners only.

Date

Sept. 25, 2019, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Josephine Wren

Participants

Drusila Petal Korka Merek Mirella Karina Rikako Maja Caspian Ras Sydney Aksel Jaerith

Organizations

Location

Arx - Lower Boroughs - Commons Square

Largesse Level

Extravagant

Comments and Log


Drusila puts a press of her cheek to Maja's cheek in a greeting. "Me, competing? Oh no. I'm only here to watch everyone and see who makes the most impact on me rather than who just is quick to win." Looking at her clothes she says, "I like the furs, they look nice and warm."

Sydney checked strength + intimidation at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Petal smiles over to Maja and then to Drusila. She seems to be in a cheerful mood. The girl waves to Caspian and Josephine as well. She then goes to find a place to sit.

Maja checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.

Korka weaves her way through the crowd, a tankard with a little too designed to look like the palace and a turkey leg she's grabbed from a vendor in the other, "Go team!" she calls out as she moves to find a seat, "Win the game! Score the points!" she leans over to the person beside her, "There are teams right?"

Sydney checked strength + intimidation at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.

Petal looks over to Korka. "I am not really sure how it works." She says, speaking in the heavy accent of a Norther Shav. She gives her a smile too. "I am Petal, a seamtress."

Sydney checked perception + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 8 higher. Sydney rolled a critical!

Sydney checked dexterity + streetwise at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

Sydney checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 5 higher.

Maja checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 20, rolling 32 higher.

Merek makes his way to the place where people gather to begin preparing for things, his tattered cloak about his dark attire while he begins to settle in to wait a bit also.

Maja checked perception + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 160 higher. Maja rolled a critical!

Petal smiles over to Merek as well. "Hi, Sir Merek." The small seamtress greets. She peeks over the trace trying to figure out who is winning.

Maja checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 25, rolling 24 higher.

Maja checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Lurking somewhere in the vicinity, wearing a neatly-cut dress of fine dark wool, Mirella stands by a shadowy wall with her equally gloomily appareled bodyguard, Stefano. There they quietly mind their own business, exchanging quiet words as they watch the other participants of the race. The loudest of these words is a feminine murmur, calm and steady. "We're going to keep our act together this time."

Karina traipses into the square a slight bounce to her step as she stays within the safe areas cordoned away from the wagons. The golden brown waves of her hair are swept back into a tail that swishes in the wind, mimicking the small flag on a stick she's holding.

Wandering down from better parts of town, Rikako smiles brightly as she looks about with interest and joins the crowd. After a while she makes it to the rules sign and reads.

"I am Korka, a spectator," Korka takes a big bite of her turkey leg and tries to keep up with everything that's happening, not an easy feat in the crowd, "What exactly are we cheering for?"

The heats have been going off all day and the lowers, normally already stuffed and crowded is even more so with the tournament. Everyone wants their cracks at the prize pools or to say that they were there -when-. The Arcuri family runs around, and other people paid or volunteering to tend to matters. Josephine is there limping around and tending to matters that need a bit more personal touch. Thus far there have been some close runs, it's been entertaining, a few wagons have broken and thus far, crowd favorites have brought out the screaming throngs. Maja's darling's are out in full force, with colorful clothing and waving streamers and favors and calling out for the attention of the whisper. The wagons are being repositioned, crates placed and people scattering to positions and dock hands jockeying for positions where they can be bribed by those who are opting for that route.



"The race will be starting again in five minutes, Those of you in this final round, start to make your way to the starting area."

Aksel checked strength + intimidation at difficulty 20, rolling 0 higher.

Aksel checked command + leadership at difficulty 20, rolling 38 higher.

Petal look over to Korka, nodding in response to her words. "I am going to be routing for Champion Caspian, I think. But I need to find who is all in the race too." She says, speaking in the accent of a Northern Shav.

Aksel checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 22 higher.

When Drusilla compliments her fox fur, Maja's grin brightens further. Reaching up, she touches the brim of her monstrously huge hat and gives her head a little shake, the fox tails hanging from the chapeau swaying back and forth. "I must admit, this is one of my favorite outfits," she tells the Lycene woman. One of her fans overhears this and there rises a titter amongst their ranks. Fox fur! They have to get their hands on some fox fur!



Looking across all those gathered, she gives a graceful wave to Petal before spotting a grubby, familiar face. "Excuse me a moment," she says and then weaves her way over to a certain someone...



Flinging her arms around Ras from behind, she presses up onto tip-toes so she can kiss his cheek. "Brother!"

Aksel checked dexterity + streetwise at difficulty 25, rolling 2 lower.

Aksel checked stamina at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher. Aksel rolled a critical!

This is it. Caspian has been waiting for this moment. He steps to the starting area, but then he stops, hopping on a crate as he says, "Everyone, your attention for just a minute!" He calls out.



"I just want to say, Arx is an amazing city, and you are all amazing people. I've been in Arx for years and I could never have imagine becoming what I am now when I was just a boy working the docks under my master." He pauses, looking around, "And although we are in The Lowers, where the rich live high above you and you might feel like you are worthless, let me tell you are not. Because you have dreams, dreams you can chase, and with a bit of hard work and a bit of luck, you can make it. I think this is what this tournament is about, hard work and luck turning into something amazing...such as a pile of silver!" He laughs.



"Remember to thank Josephine for the tournament!"

Ras has been lurking in the press of bodies for a while. He starts to push his way through towards the starting area, and is ambushed by Maja. There's a startled jump, verging on aggressive, as he perceives somebody in the crowd has grabbed him - but once her voice sinks in, he grins and half-turns. "Hey Maja!"

Caspian checked charm + propaganda at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.

Drusila hears Caspian speak, and it seems like what he says makes sense. She claps politely.

Sydney has been milling about, tongue workings its way briefly over her teeth as she regards the competition with a healthy dose of skepticism. All the same, the young woman makes her way to the starting line, bouncing her weight from leg to leg as she works out the pre-event jitters. The display by Maja is marked with some deeply amused curiosity. She calls to the side, "Ras, can a day pass without some girl on your arm, perchance?"

Ras checked willpower + streetwise at difficulty 46, rolling 9 higher. Ras rolled a critical!

Karina emits a sharp whistle from the crowd, hands coming together in approval of Caspian's attempt to uplift and inspire.

Ras glances askance towards Caspian, and for some reason looks a tad sullen rather than impressed. He mumbles something under his breath.

Caspian heads to the startline, stretching his legs as he does so, giving a nod to the others. "Good luck everyone. May the best win."

Aksel is mid swallow from his bottle of whiskey when Caspian takes center stage. The Northerner tilts his head listening to what he has to say and seems vaguely moved. Moved so much that he gives a nod of his head and goes right back to what he was doing away from everyone else and that is drinking.

Korka would clap, but her hands are a bit full, so when Karina whistles she nods her way, "Ditto!" she calls out from around a mouthful of turkey, saying to Petal, "Even if we don't know what's happening, at least the food is good, right?"

Releasing Ras, Maja does a slow turn for him. "Do you like my hat?" she asks him. It cannot be stated enough how big this hat is -- if it starts to rain, everyone should try to stand next to the curly-haired woman because her headwear will keep them dry. It's ridiculous but she leans into it, making silly look fashionable somehow.



When Ras mutters something, she tilts an ear toward him and then glances over at Caspian. "Mmmmn," she replies before murmuring something back. They are an odd pairing, the two of them: Maja so elegant and charming, Ras so grubby and sullen. Before they can get into the conversation too deeply, the apprentice Whisper grabs her sibling's arm and drags him forward. "It's about to begin," she says. "Please be kind and let me win."



Wink.

Mirella and Stefano come out of their hiding place at Josephine's call, with Stefano pulling on long leather gloves and Mirella walking with a swish of dark skirts. She flickers a small smile, albeit one tinged with warmth at the edges, as she passes Josephine. Otherwise she doesn't engage the Guildmaster in conversation, nor does she expect any attention. Arranging this sort of event is a lot of work, after all.



Once Mirella and Stefano are within an appropriate distance of the starting area, they remain there quietly on the edges. The small Lycene woman waves to people she knows, including her secretary Ambra, who's lingering on the edge of the crowds with Maja's cheering Darlings. Stefano waves to her too, a grin spreading across his face as he mumbles something to Mirella about a lack of loyalty.

Petal smiles over to Korka. "That is a very good point. The food is good and this a fun." She adds a moment later. She peeks over to the race onc more as if trying to figure out what is going on. "I get a bit lost at such large gatherings sometimes." Th girl admits.

Or rather, Ambra's lingering on the edge of the crowd of Maja's Darlings. Doh.

"Not like that -" Ras starts to say belatedly to Sydney, but then he's being pulled by Maja, and trots along willingly to tell her with a grin, "I'm totally gonna crush ya."

Karina works her way through the crowd. No amount of hefty bodies was going to keep her from a view at the front, and she took it with hard-fought squirming until she was at the edge of the cordoned off area, getting a clear view of the participants. She raises her little flag in their honor. "Good luck!"

Petal checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.

Done reading, Rikako goes over to where the other competitors are gathering near the wagons. She stretches a little and bounces from foot to foot to get ready to go.

Petal waves over to Ras and then she smiles to Karina. "Oh, a flag.." The girl says.

Drusila checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.

Lips upturned in an amused grin, Sydney only has an impish look for Ras at first before shaking her head. "Oh, to be sure. Never is. Harder'n harder to believe it as the time goes."

Karina checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 1 lower.

And warning are made, the start area cleared and all participants standing at the line. How many rounds have happened this day? How many crates have gone flying? How many mercies have been called because someone got clipped or a fight broke out.



Maja's Darlings crowd the start though some of them start to try and run and squeeze their way further on. Caspian's jumping up and onto the box with that little speech brings about a roar from the crowds - mostly the commoners - who nearly drown out the tow minute warning.



"WHERE'S THE BULL!" Is chanted as it seems some Godsworn have shown up and look for the bull of solace despite his recent promotion. Mapie's little group of red wearing followers are milling about, a few heading to the deckhands and yard works, talking with the people. A gaggle of children dash across with a merchant yelling about giving him back whatever they took. Food and drink are found in stalls, all of it free for anyone who wants it. This is, after all, the people's tournament and today and for the next week, the lowers will eat like the uppers. Eat like kings.

Korka checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 9 lower.

Rikako checked charm + diplomacy at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.

Rikako checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 20, rolling 21 higher.

Ras smiles and lifts his chin in a nod as he sees Petal. "Well you know what else?" he asks Sydney, and his tone is sassy despite the remaining vestiges of a grin. "You get grosser'n grosser as time goes. The taste of cheese and crackers backwards? And she's my sister." Then he looks forward, gearing up at the starting area.

Rikako checked perception + streetwise at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.

Rikako checked charm + seduction at difficulty 25, rolling 2 higher.

"Hm?" Korka says to Petal, looking deep into her tankard to judge how much is left and missing everything. Then someone calls out that there are meat pies and her head snaps up and to the left, "Here, save this for me will you?" and she hands Petal the turkey leg and tankard so she can go get herself a meat pie.

Rikako checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Once the start has been announced Caspian runs runs runs! He runs to the docks where the wagons are, calling over a dockmaster. Like a smooth operator, he promises dinner with the dockmaster in Caspian's own home and he scores himself a wagon with just a single promise! First try! And then he's running for the sailors.

Before things get truly started, Maja flits over to where her Darlings are and takes off her hat. "Will you hold this for me while I compete?" she asks sweetly as she hands it to a golden-haired fop; he nearly swoons from the honor. "I will guard it with my /LIFE/," he promises which earns him a kiss from the (almost) Whisper and the undying envy of the other fans. She hands her cloak to Ambra and passes her gloves to someone else -- a little bit for everyone! Or, well, at least three everyones.



Heading back over to Ras, she pushes up the sleeves of her gown and puts on her most serious of serious faces. "It's /on/," she tells him menacingly.



Then she laughs and it begins!



While others head out at a sprint, Maja approaches the dockmasters with a /slink/. Swish, swish, swish go the skirts of her gown thanks to the swish, swish, swish of her hips. "May I have a wagon," she asks the man in charge of the sturdiest looking vehicle. "I will make it worth your while. Cross my heart." Leaning in, she whispers something. A promise most likely.

Merek is going to do being persuasive, as such making his way to ask politely if he can have a wagon while he nods a bit to them, he's doing well it looks like also.

Petal waves once more to Ras and now to Sydney as well. The girl reaches out for the turkey leg and tankard. She even rips off a bit of meat and tries it. "This is good."

Drusila watches the activities, and glances around with a slow turn, taking in all the color the Lowers has. She does though step a bit closer to the guard and after a little talk, moves to get a better view of the competitors.

When the event is called to a start, Aksel doesn't immediately move from where he stands his arms crossed over his chest and staring right at a dock worker. Yes. That one. His stare is intense, nostrils flaring, chest rising and falling. It's all very... well.. let's be honest with ourselves it should be a frightening visage. He's got the stare down, but.. there just seems to be something lacking. Oh. It's his target that he's trying to intimidate. The old man is blind. Aksel growls under his breath giving a shake of his head and stalks quietly towards the man. "Just give me the wagon," Aksel grunts out to the man. This causes the dock worker to jump and hastily offers up the wagon. Apparently suddenly speaking to a blind mind is pretty intimidating. Maybe.

Offering a winning smile in response to Ras proclaiming her gross, Sydney offers a most noble bow, then it's back to waiting on the bell to ring. She's off like a shot to the wagons, where she takes the direct approach, not bothering with currying favor nor offering favors, simply invading the personal space of one of the dockmasters and turning her affable grin into a weaponized sneer. "Wagon. Now. Let's go. And don't you dare be setting me up with a rutted wheel."

After darting towards the dockyard and taking a quick survey of the area, Ras swiftly approaches a likely-looking wagon - a smaller one, with a single horse. Without asking permission, he starts acting like it's his - checking the harness, under the horse's hooves, and trying to wobble the wheels to make sure they're sturdy. When challenged by the dockmaster in charge of that wagon, he draws himself up rigidly and sets a hard fist on the seat, directing a solid glare back, and growls, "I'm takin this wagon." There's a subtle falter in that intimidating stare as he adds, "Swear I'll give it right back, aight?" But then he raps that fist onto the wood with firming emphasis, and something about his glower makes it obvious he'd launch straight into assault with little further provocation. The dockmaster backs down with some dwindling bluster about how that wagon better not have a scratch on it, and the like...

Regal, the majestic pygmy goat, Orin, a Felhound sergeant arrive, following Jaerith.

Meanwhile, amid all the racing and dashing and slinking, Mirella and Stefano have found their way over to one of the dockmasters and embarked upon the business of... well, bribery. Unfortunately they're both stony-faced types today, and apparently the dockmaster knows them well enough to be a bit tricksy, so when coin is offered, Mirella only earns a good-natured roar of laughter right in the face. Folding her arms, the dark-haired Lycene raises a brow. "So it's going to be like this, is it Constance? Very well." Pulling a small, jingling pouch of silver from her belt, Mirella hands it over to the roaring dockmaster. With a wagon arranged shortly afterwards, Stefano lifts his employer by the waist and all but throws her onto the wagon. With an arranging of skirts and a sniff of annoyance, Mirella moves up the seat and allows her bodyguard to clamber up and take the reins.

Korka waits patiently in line for a meat pie. Which means she actually charms her way to the front rather quickly, gets two for free, and turns back to return to her seat by Petal, placing her winnings beside her on the bench, "I swear, people take one look at this dress and I get free stuff. Or maybe it's this Inquisitor badge," she shrugs and holds a meat pie out for Petal, "Try some of this, it's to die for."

Rikako walks up to her chosen wagon confidently, but when she discovers the dockworker isn't just going to let her take it, she smiles at him pleasantly. "Looking like this..."s he gestures at her slim, short body, "Do you really think I can carry crates all over by myself? I'd die. People would get involved and that's really much more trouble than letting me borrow this a little, yes?" She turns on the charm by brightening her smile.

Meanwhile, Mirella's secretary is giggling with joy. Maja NOTICED her.

Petal reaches out for the meat pie. "OH, thanks!" She says. Petal eagerly tries the pie and well it looks like she is eating for two. She seems to be carrying well though. Her cheeks are pink and her chestnut locks are silky.

Jaerith might be a people but in this instance he's not one of the People, but that's no reason not to swing by and have himself a watch of the excitement going on. He watches the wagon-riders for all of twenty seconds and is then looking for someone taking bets. Though what he finds first is the line for meat pies and decides to indulge there rather than with the bookmakers first. To the person next to him, which just so happens to be Korka, he says, "Who do you think wants it most?"

The promise of dinner with Caspian seems to have a few people looking a little swayed, very swayed in fact and soon enough he's got a a handful of dock hands striding forward to indeed soon enough, the man has what one of them swears is THE best wagon. Mind you, Merek's being told the same thing by the ones who respect the politeness of the blacksmith. Maja, oh Maja's got no issues getting a wagon as her darlings take the hat - yes, there's swooning and soon enough there's a squabble breaking out about -who- did Maja actually give it to, or intend to give it to and HOW COME IT WASN'T ME. There's going to be fists swung. But the dock master doesn't swing a fist, but offers his arm to escort her to the best wagon that -he- owns.



Ras has success, indeed that other dock master is differing to the fresh into the cusp of adulthood and he finds himself with a fairly sturdy wagon that seems like it will stand the test of time. Or the route. Maybe. Who knows. Mirella has done this before, though it costs her a pretty penny and she'll at least be a little lighter for the choosing! Rikako's charm succeeds, the dock master for her section taking pity on the poor woman and agreeing that no, no, she couldn't begin to cart everything and so she's led to a fine wagon. Aksel finds himself... well, we all know how it is with the blind leading the blind and in this case, Aksel's is only temporary as he realizes why no one was responding to him. But that intimidated second hand is swift to find him a wagon. And then there's Sydney.



Sydney is totally not set up with one with a bum wheel. No, not at all.

Petal watches the race with all this interest even as she has a meat pie in her lap. "I wonder if they got pastries too?" The girl says to Korka. "Woot, go Caspian!" she says, maybe realizing that the champion is ahead.

Korka points into the crowd where a young man holds a ridiculously oversized hat that might have two live foxes on it, it's hard to say, "The guy with the hat," she bites into a pie then graciously offers one to Jaerith without looking at him, "If he doesn't go home with the lady that was wearing it I think he might literally die."

Now he's got THE BEST wagon in the business, it's time to get the dockhands to help him load! "Come on guys and girls," he says to them as they start loading, giving them a pep talk, "Do you want to be part of the winning team or the other team? No, I say! Go for that fuckin' gold! Throw yourself into it and be winners!"

Jaerith checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Karina checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.

Korka checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

Petal checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Ras starts grabbing boxes to load them on his own, moving with a sharp energy and wiry sort of capability. Still, some of the larger and heavier crates are clearly a struggle. When he catches sight of a particular onlooker smirking mockingly, he lets down the crate with a thud and rising of dust, then bulls over to the gawker and grabs them by the collar in both fists with a rough shake and a snarl, "What're -you- lookin at?! You wanna give it a try, jerkwad?!" A rhetorical question, because in the strength of rage he yanks the fellow around and shoves them bodily towards the wagon. Soon they're loading together, at a grudging pace, with mutual resentment.

Drusila continues walking with the guard as they've moved away and continues on while the crowd cheers.

1 Pravosi Knights leaves, following Drusila.

"Thank you!" Rikako's face lights up as the dockworker agrees and lets her have a wagon. It might not be the best or fastest wagon, but she doesn't care. She hops up into the driver's seat so she can look into the back and realizes it's empty. "Well..." Turning that smile upon the few dockhands that linger nearby, unwise to look idle. "Would you please help? Oh, don't worry, I can figure out how to fit it all in." She jumps onto the wagon seat and glances between the wagon and the crates. After mumbling, "I hope" under her breath, she starts directing them to putting everything in the wagon in the most logical and space-efficient way. She even helps with the lightest ones, scampering up the pile of crates to set them.

Petal peeks over to Korka and hten looks over the crow, searching for hats. "This race is very exciting." She murmurs. "I would have ran, but in my state, I though eating would be a better way to spend my time." She says.

Merek begins to have the boxes loading with assistance, while he takes a moment to point what needs to be which place. He seems to like logistics, from the looks of things, often taking the diplomatic way of things.

To say that Aksel was supremely successful in gaining the use of a cart would be an outright lie. In fact his wasted time at trying to intimidate a blind man likely set the Northerner way back in the pack of other competitors. But funny thing about races you can't win a race right off the get go. Almost immediately upon gaining use of the cart, the Northern warrior is turning and speaking quickly to those that are around him. Kids. Mothers. Fathers. Sailors. All are spoken to. All in a quiet tone that is only for those ears only. They all listen intently to whatever Aksel has to say. But quickly his words are over and he turns to start loading. There are time for words and time for action. In a blink though, every single person who heard Aksel's words was helping in some way. Kids rushing around to gather smaller boxes, mothers hearding kids and helping with stacking. Fathers and sailors helping Aksel to load. All helped in some way with quickness and efficiency and just as quickly the work was started it was done. "Thank you," Aksel murmurs softly to small group, a warm smile offered to each. And much like he whirled into the lives, Aksel turns and whirls away. There be deliveries to be done!

Oh, she can see the way the Wagon is ka-thumping its way in her direction, but the dockhand she stared down is nowhere around to direct her wrath at. Thumbing one of the scars on her face, she leans in to her experience and amps up her experience as heel. Rather than start loading up her own cart, she incites the crowd, "I thought this was a contest of the common man, not frilly hats and silky noble words! You, there!" Sydney juts a finger at the nearest brawny looking sailor. "Don't think I didn't see you getting hammered right alongside me at the Murder! Give us a hand, yeah?" Those teeth flash, and Sydney starts hefting cargo onto her wagon, throwing her back into it.

The wagon loading is in progress, with the majority of the other competitors getting their precious (and not so precious) cargo stacked onto their vehicles. Meanwhile Mirella and Stefano are just sitting back and letting the dockhands go to work on the business of dong what they do. The workers are being a bit slower about it than they could be, though -- no doubt because Mirella is gently but firmly nagging them to do it RIGHT. Put that box here; put that crate there. For some reason she seems to think she knows better than they do about how to do their job, and as such they're not in any particular rush to get things done. With a look from Mirella to Stefano, and a look from Stefano to Mirella, the two Lycene just exchange bland looks before they chuckle quietly at each other. "It's the taking part that counts," murmurs the dark-haired women. The two of them peer over to the crowd of Darlings, where Ambra hugs Maja's cloak and cheers for her idol.

Petal murmurs something softly to Korka

How is she going to load up this wagon? Maja's got noodle-arms; she will be crushed beneath the weight of anything she attempts to pick up. "Won't you please help me? The sooner I get this loaded, the sooner I am out of your hair," she asks of a bunch of dockworkers. Is it an accident that she is appealing to young, strong, strapping men? Of course not! Everything she does is with purpose and intention.



As well as this...



Waving over to her Darlings, she calls out: "Kisses for whoever helps me load up this cart!" STAMPEDE! Well, no, it is orderly but there are also no shortage of people willing to help. Even a little kid tries to lend a hand and Maja laughs brightly, scooping him up and placing him on the seat next to where she will sit. "Ride with me?" she asks and the boy positively beams, taking up the reigns for her. "I've only crashed once," he tells her and then quickly amends: "Twice. But the second time weren't my fault!"

"What state is that?" Korka asks Petal, looking up and around as someone mentioned shaved ice, "Do you see a shaved ice seller somewhere?" then she leans in as Petal whispers something and that has her attention, "Right. Of course. Hey," she reaches back and slaps Jaerith's shoulder, "You look like you've never done a day of hard work in your life. Follow us!"

Petal rises to her slipper feet and tights the shawl around her slender shoulders. "Ooo..ice." The girl says. She points a bunch of stuff that is spilling out from one of the chests and seems to be meaning to head that way with Korka and possibly Jaerith.

"Which guy has a hat? Also, what? I do hard work every day. I'm a riverboatsman! A-" Jaerith squints at the participants. While he doesn't see the hat, he does see, "Shit!" He shoves his hot meat pie into his face and sprints away from the line, leaping out to slap down one of the crates that an overly excitable loader sent flying into the crowd. "Mrrph mf hrrf." He pulls out the pie and waves his bruised hand. "Ow." Then he smacks his lips together. "I burnt my tongue. And now I have splinters. Good time."

Zavi arrives, following Magpie.

Zavi leaves, following Magpie.

Karina leans over the length of rope barrier, occasionally jostled by the eager onlookers pressing in behind her. As she's about to round on the fat-bellied gentleman behind her, she spies... /something/ going on at Sydney's cart and squints. Suspicion mounts, and without further ado, Karina rises her voice over the din, waving dramatically toward Sydney's wagon to point out the ne'er do wells attempting sabotage. "HEY, WHAT ARE THEY DOING TO THAT WOMAN'S WHEEL?!" Instead of rounding on the big man behind her, she attempts to rile up his sense of honor, along with everyone else around her.

"Petal!" Aksel suddenly gives a shout out. He's some distance away from her making actually conversation impossible. But he doesn't seem to be slowing his cart, instead just points in a seemingly random direction. Then to another. Then to another. A few more hand movements and he might have broken out in some sort of elaborate hand dance. Thankfully it's not.

Petal looks over to Karina and then to the wheel. "I don't know.." She ays, before looking to Aksel and waving to him. "Hi!" She calls out. She tries to gather up spilled items.

Korka also helps clean up the spilled items, saying to Petal, "Were you saying what I think you were saying up there? Because if so shouldn't you be home with your feet up?" When someone shouts about people interfering with the wheel she looks up then says to Petal, "Let's pretend I didn't hear that or I'll have to investigate and it will be a whole thing and then my pies will get cold and I'll never find that shaved ice vendor."

Caspian is just pep talk central, the head champion is motivating the people. The more hands make swift work and soon Caspian's wagon is loaded. Though old dear! Oh my! There's a flying crate as someone somewhere overshoots and it looks like peril for a handful of cheerful observers. Maja of course, has no shortage of helpers and where dock hands help, so do a few of her adoring fans, not caring that they might get dirty, they start to swiftly load things up for the Whisper.



Under Rikako's keep eye, she knows just where to tell them to put the crates and barrels and soon enough, there's an efficiently loaded wagon, organized with the heaviest stuff nearer to her and lightest toward the back. Merek? Well. Merek directs. The loads. Onto his wagon. Ras meanwhile uses what he's able to best - overreacting and escalating - and those harder, less easy to load crates are soon on and the guy that was smirking, now covered in sweat in the cool autumn air, is jumping up onto the wagon, ready to help. Who knows, if Ras wins, maybe he'll share?



Do you know who's not sharing? The dock master who gave Sydney the top of the link totally not kathumping wagon, nope. That man's long gone indeed so he can't bear the brunt of her wrath. But who is sharing is the sailor and a few of his companions are soon running forward to haphazardly load the thing down. Because they're just a little on the drunken side already. Oh yes they are. Careful there Sydney. Which leaves Mirella. Oh sweet Mirella. But when you want to make sure that nothing falls off like what might fall of Sydney's wagon, sometimes, you go a little slower. Yes indeed.



Redcaps still mingle through the crowda

The crate that jaerith bats out oa the way goes crashing beside the group that it was going to hit, and those people screech and duck, and the crate splinters. Wine, so much wine starts to flow from the smashed bottles and crates, flowing across the raceway.

Karina spies an lone apple conveniently rolling along the cobbles, scuffed and projected by the sea of feet, and scrambles for it mercilessly. The result is a few kicks to the body from unintentional lookers-on, but an eventual triumphant emergence on her feet. "Get out of here!" She calls to the saboteurs, sending the apple soaring through the air. Perhaps the bruises later would all be worth it if she could just hit one of those blackguards with fruity wrath!

The would be sabatouers all screech as an apple wings one of them and they scatter. Looks like Sydney's wagon isn't going to be messed with.

Petal looks over to Korka. "Maybe, but that does get kind of boring." She says and reaches for a bottle of wine that is dripping whine from the bottom. "Oh...this is a mess." Sh says cheerfully. She seems unsure what to do with the wine though. Finally Petal sets it aside somewhere.

Hopping into the cart seat next to the lil' boy -- Will is his name -- Maja grins at him. "Whadda say?" she murmurs conspiratorially. "Shall we lose these other guys?" The kid beams proudly and cracks the reigns, setting the horses off at a swift .. trot? Gallp? Whatever it is that horses do when they want to:



"GIDDY-UP!"



Twisting where she sits, Maja blows a kiss to the other competitors as she and Will HAUL ASS. "Bye Raaaaaas!!" Between the kid's crack driving skills and Maja's navigational know-how of the Lowers, they make rapid-quick work of this leg of the competition. It seems that the apprentice Whisper knows short-cuts to the short-cuts! And she and Will leave happy deliveries in their wake, each pit-stop sent off with an air-kiss and a wave.

Karina pumps her fist, less out of punishing with righteous indignation, and more proud that she'd actually nailed someone. A broad grin plays across her face, peering up at some faces around her to see if they'd noticed. The glory of that moment fades some as the big-bellied man received her with all the fanfare of a bored cow, and all the ceremony of a loud crunch into his own apple. With a quiet huff, Karina spins and faces the racers once more.

Merek makes his way through well enough, although he seems to be also taking up towards the rear. All the same, he is having a bit of fun in avoiding issues while making his way about.

As she's working on loading, she hears Karina's shout and looks about for what she is referring to. Seeing something that doesn't look quite right about Sydney's wagon, she furrows her brow, but it seems to resolve itself. With a shrug she sits down and sets off on the delivery race. She has next to no experience driving a wagon, so she tries taking it down some of the short cuts she knows since she needs to shave off every bit of time she can. "Oh dear...oh dear. Stop, stop. Whoa... Whew" Somehow she manages to slow and steer the wagon about the spilled wine and glass. Holding a hand over her heart and sticking her tongue out a moment, she catches her breath. Seeing a guard coming her way, she scoots her carthorse on to try to evade her.

Aksel can't hear what Petal responds with. Just the wave. There is a sudden ah-ha moment written on Aksel's face and he gives a thumbs up back to her before turning to focus on the road before him. Those damn sabatouers are there and Aksel's hand immediately goes to his side for his weapon. It's not there, this is a family event! and he's not about to be walking around with a huge axe. Suddenly Aksel is turning his cart down a narrow ally away from spill. "Be thankful that's just wine. If it was whiksey I'd beaten your asses!" And through the windy backways of the Lowers Aksel goes. He occasionally pops to the main thoroughfare delivering a package as he snakes his way this way and that.

Though he's lived in the Lowers all his grungy life, Ras doesn't seem too accustomed to driving a wagon. He's worse than Will, holding the reins awkwardly, gingerly pulling this way and that, an alert and intense look in his eyes. When Maja passes by, though, he has to smile and bellow back, "I'm gonna get ya!" Then the guy on the seat next to him appears to be offering advice, and a scowl returns. Arguments and annoyance ensues, but eventually things even out, and the horse is clip-clopping readily through a river of spilled wine.



"There," Ras mutters, managing to guide the horse towards an alleyway. Of course, speeding up through muddy alleys spatters grime all up across the wagon's body and wheels. And here it's apparent why he chose a somewhat smaller wagon - it can fit well through narrow spaces! Deliveries are made in respectable time, even if the boxes are a little dirtier than usual...

Sydney curses under her breath, but still finds the time to encourage her entourage of recruited muscle, even as they don't seem to actively help speed the process. "There's a good lad - the calls from the audience reach Sydney's ears, and she bristles, standing up and clenching her fists and getting ready to face the problem head on, when that well-timed apple whizzes out from the stands and scatters those that were messing with her cart. Blinking, she turns her focus briefly in the direction the flying fruit originated, and beams her brightest smile. "My dearest thanks. I suspect I owe you one. No time for it now!"



After a brief scrutiny of her wheel to make sure it'll still hold, and a similar look at the load, Sydney swings herself up into the cart and gives her horses a crack of the reins. "Move, move, we've got it in the bag!" Unfortunately, no amount of familiarity can help the late starter from avoiding the spilled wine, especially as she's so late to start that some of the more desperate commonfolk start to close in on the spill. Navigating around them proves a timesink, "Oh, come on, now!"

Curse Mirella's desperate need for efficiency in all things, and in this case for perfectly aligned crates. It slows the loading down considerably -- but unlike last time she competed in the people's tournament, she and Stefano are not shouting or grouching at each other as the dockhands deliberately fumble over their work. No, they're actually LAUGHING as the bodyguard jigs the reins in his hands once the loading is done, sending horse hooves clacking along the street. People who know the stony-faced pair might be surprised at just how amused they seem. There's even a bit of snorting in the laughter. Are they drunk? No. They've just lost it at their own ineptitude, and the sound of their helpless amusement snickers on as they drive slowly out of view.

Karina nods an urgent understanding toward Sydney, ushering with quick, eager gestures. "Go, go, go! Make them regret it when you're collecting your silver!" Karina waves that little flag on a stick with encouraging gusto, joining the cheers of the crowd.

Here is where things -really- start to pick up. Start to separate the wheat from the chaff. The commoners from the merchants. Those who live in the uppers know the uppers and those who live and work in the lowers, know the lowers. This is the lowers. And then there's just Maja. Maja knows all. Or maybe, just maybe, Maja's got Darling's standing here and there, making room for her to get her wagon through. To unload as she goes. Giddy-up indeed. What's her secret? Maja's not gonna tell. But maybe you can bribe those darlings. Did she bribe the darlings? Who knows.



Caspian's pep talk still works and the champion rides through the streets with a snap of the reigns and those who have elected to help him are swiftly unloading. Mind you, not at all as fast as those darlings and soon enough everyone is in Maja's dust. Choking on it. Poor rikako, the horse on her cart stamps feet and seems like it might balk but forges forth and that guard who was coming for her pulls up short to keep from being run over and shakes a fist at the woman.



Aksel! Here there are people starting to chant his name. He can hear it bouncing off the walls in the lowers, a sliver of sky above them as the wagons make their weary trek up those unfathomable narrow and horrifyingly twisty streets.



Ka-thunk- goes Aksel's wagon and out of the corner of his eye, there's a bottle of whiskey thrown there. The corner of the bottle cracking. Someone, has a sense of humor. Also, shame. It's half full. Here come Ras though! He knows this place, he knows the streets and many times he's had to duck down them to escape guards or a pair of weather beaten fists. But his companion waits for signals, and getting mud spattered, quickly unloads, hops back on and off they go. Merek. Unloads. Next stop. Unloads. You know how this goes. Rinse, repeat.



But here's Mirella! She scoots ahead of Sydney finally! Thanks to a well timed, or ill-timed apple depending on how you look at it. They laugh as they ride off and Sydney can hear it in her ears as she finally gets on the road and everyone starts to get their deliveries to the lowers done!

When the leaves the Lowers and head into the Uppers, Maja reaches over and lays a hand over one of Will's. "Ease up a little now," she tells the boy and he does just that. They have a comfortable enough lead that they can take their time, do thing right.



Why hello, Lord Fancypants!

Don't you look divine, Lady Sparkletush!How kind of you to help unload this delivery, Sir Glittertoof!



Will beams over at Maja and sits up a bit straighter as they hand off their last delivery. "Think we can make it to the finish line first?" he asks her and the apprentice Whisper kisses his wee cheek. "With you driving? Absolutely!"



ONWARDS.

When they leave the Lowers and head into the Uppers, Maja reaches over and lays a hand over one of Will's. "Ease up a little now," she tells the boy and he does just that. They have a comfortable enough lead that they can take their time, do things right.



Why hello, Lord Fancypants!

Don't you look divine, Lady Sparkletush!

How kind of you to help unload this delivery, Sir Glittertoof!



Will beams over at Maja and sits up a bit straighter as they hand off their last delivery. "Think we can make it to the finish line first?" he asks her and the apprentice Whisper kisses his wee cheek. "With you driving? Absolutely!"



ONWARDS.

"Sorry!" Rikako shouts as she realizes she nearly ran over the guard that thought he'd try to catch her. Not really sorry at all, she keeps on hurrying through lowers and only relaxes when well into Uppers. Here she knows the roads better, but that also means the guards know her better. They know as well as she it's -very- odd for her to go rushing about driving a cart and even reminding them she -is- a mercenary doesn't make them eager let her hurry. Gritting her teeth through a smile, se pretends patience as she makes her stops, trying to enlist some people at each stop to help unload to go just a little faster.

"Take it easy, it's not like we're the Iron Guard. It's not our job to clean up the Lowers," Korka points out with a wink at Petal, "Let's get back to the meat pies. And I think that guy before said he was a river otter so there's probably a weird story there."

Driving towards the Uppers, Ras develops a sullen furrow of his brow. He hunches his shoulders in the seat, looking clearly suspicious with his shabby persona, bedraggled companion, and mud-spattered little wagon. When the guards at the gate assess him with wry suspicion, he gives the reins a shake and half-stands over the seat. It's the exact opposite of Maja's approach. "Go, go!" he hisses towards the horse, whipping the reins dramatically. Soon, the wagon is careening around turns and rattling hard over the cobbles - but for some reason, the street rat in the driver's seat is no longer sulking at all. Instead, he's wearing a mischievous grin. "Throw off the boxes!" he directs his new friend, who climbs from the driver's seat into the back with an agreeable smirk. And so deliveries are made. Maybe not all to the right places.

Petal looks over to Korka. "Oh, you make a point. We should see if the guard will clean the lowers. Poor guard..." Sh says, heading with Korka back to the food.

"For the guard," drawls Jaerith, having finally caught up with Korka and Petal, "cleaning the Lowers doesn't generally mean picking up litter."

Petal looks over to Jaerith and ohhs softly. "Another kind of cleaning. I wonder who will clean this up then?" She asks, before saying. "I am Petal, a seamstress, it is nice to meet you."

Mirella's saving grace in this race is that she knows a good deal of faces and places of the Lowers. Poetry! But whatever; this is to say that she and Stefano make a fairly good clean run of the deliveries, having trodden these streets before, doing business with many a totally legitimate businessman. So it is that they get their work done steadily, with Stefano lugging the heavy crates off the wagon, and Mirella dealing with the smaller boxes and parcels. And what's more, there are smiles still plastered across their faces, which get a few weird glances from people on the streets of the Lowers. 'Is that Mirella Fiorelli?' they ask themselves. 'Is she.. giggling?' It's very odd, really.

Sydney just seems to be scraping by after the numerous setbacks, and her efficiency in the lowers seems to be completely on tilt as she jostles around in the crummy (but functional!) wagon. The uppers are by no means her forte, and there are plenty of opportunities to prove exactly that. Guards seem to only barely tolerate her presence, and she's taking everything at a frantic pace to try to make up time - it only ends up causing her deliveries to take that much longer. "What? No, it's your bloody package! See, it's got the... okay, wait, no, that's not right. Shit." Still, the young woman buckles down and carries onward, trying not to think about how it's been quite some time since she last clapped eye on any of the frontrunners. Instead, she sets her sights on keeping herself in the game.

The uppers are a cheery place compared to the lowers. It's gotta be true, just ask one from the Uppers. Just look at all the beaming people frolicking about and hugging puppies and all that. Want to know who's not a happy camper? One Sword of Stonedeep, Aksel Nygard. The whiskey bottle incident seems to have shattered Aksel's concentration. I mean who does that? Break a bottle of whiskey? Monsters, it must be. "Aksel!" comes a call from a guard along his route, "How.." the mans voices stops and he stares at Aksel. "Can you wait until my shift is over before you go beating people up Aksel? You know I hate paper work!" Aksel blinks a bit glaring down at the guard. "Wha.." Aksel starts to say before he stops in mid sentence. "Spirits fuck me," he says with shake of his head. "Rufus, I ain't going to hurt anyone. Say hi to the missus and kids for me." And with that Aksel is back on track.

Merek is nice to folk, a wave to them while he begins to make his way about. Still, he's the guy that is simple in his work as well.

"Funny, I thought their whole thing was taking out the trash," Korka flashes a smile at Jaerith and then hops over a river of wine to get back to her meat pies, "Eating rather than exerting oneself is always a better bet," she assures Petal.

"We leave it. Someone will come who wants the remaining wine and then someone will come who wants the broken glass and then someone will come who wants the nails and then someone will come who wants the wood. Like when a deer dies in the woods and first the wolves come and then the birds and then the flies." Jaerith squats down and pokes through the wreckage before producing a sticky, but whole, bottle of wine. "And speaking of the wolves, as a Keaton it seems entirely proper I helpfully start the process."

Petal looks over to Korka, giving her a nod. She seems more than willing to get back to the food. The girl then looks over to Jaerith. "You might be right." The girl softly says, having a dimpled smile for him.

Finn the large Northern hunting dog with icy blue eyes arrives, delivering a message to Caspian before departing.

As Caspian rides on his wagon through the uppers, Finn the big northern dog rungs along side his wagon. He leans over to grab the missive and read it as he rides, grinning before crumpling up the paper and tossing it.

Mirella is overheard praising Cassimir.

Mirella is overheard praising Josephine.

Petal is overheard praising Josephine: Wonderful Event!

Ahh the uppers. Here the merchants, well-to-do's, nobles who are a little on the stingy side. Maja knows some of these people easily enough and as she greets them, driving on by in her well loaded and unloaded wagon, there's less Maja darlin's hanging around and just finer dressed people who interact with her more professionally. Less swoons and more tips of the head. She can take her time indeed, but Caspian's in the distance with a promise to make up ground. The Champion with his steadfast charges helping to unload. He's a gleaming specimen of the common man. But here comes Rikako and while at first there's reluctance to help - someone badly demands half the winnings if she wins - she finds other soon enough ready and willing to lend a hand with no expectation. Through the Uppers everyone goes, some feeling at home and others like Ras who try to make themselves as small as possible. But he garners confidence and there were no rules that said they had to actually end up in one piece. And who checks the addresses? Someone. There's an volunteer raising a brow. That'll cost ras a point or two, but will speed make up for that? Maybe Aksel could tell Ras that, as his reverie is broken, much like that poor whiskey bottle that drip..



drip...



drip. Maybe if he drives faster there will be a glass left in the bottle? Will he lick the wood? Who knows! And here comes Mirella. Steady, dependable, steadfast Mirella. Mirella doesn't get the job done half assed, and knows that if you do it right the first time, you don't waste time redoing it a second time. It's fairly unremarkable, her speed and unloading. But that's just what you come to expect from her. Except the giggling. What is with the giggling?



Merek?



Delivers. On time. Every time. Maybe he should be wearing brown.



And here's Sydney! Sydney, who has seemed to gather her own little group. They run along with her wagon, they direct where to go, and keep one eye on those wheels for her. A red capped individual gets too close and they suddenly find themselves down on their knee's. For some reason, Sydney's their target. But the assistance of the group who springs to her aid after a few people get cranky about deliveries should put a smile on her face.

Thankfully, Mirella and Stefano have got their shit back together after the rather solid and unremarkable tour through the Uppers. The guards will not have to stop them on suspicion of driving while under the influence. So it is that the home stretch is a neat but leisurely thing, with the two making a nice clip-clopping pace towards the finishing line thanks their awareness of the best shortcuts through the streets. With that done, they hop off the wagon, a bit pink and windblown in the cheeks thanks to the autumn air. They're in pretty good spirits, but they keep themselves to themselves for a while as they chatter together. Apples are fed to horses. Mugs of cold booze are called for, and the Lycenes swig away after delivering a lazy high-five to each other.

Stefano, an inconspicuous Lycene bodyguard have been dismissed.

Carmela, a gleaming dusken-feathered crow have been dismissed.

Ambra, a plain-faced Lycene scribe have been dismissed.

Ahh, back in the Lowers -- it's the place that Maja knows best. After she and Will return the wagon, they head for the tavern .. utilizing the secret-double-secret shortcuts that only they seem to know. Almost as if by magic, they pop up at the tavern and take a seat, the apprentice Whisper even putting her feet up -- one neatly crossed over the other -- as the waitstaff beings them both some booze: hers full-strength, the kid's watered down.



The Darlings join the triumphant pair, young Will turning into an instant-celebrity due to his wagon ride through the city with Maja. Man drinks are bought, many toasts are made. Her hat is return as is her cloak. And when Ambra comes over with her gloves? The curly-haired woman laughs and give her a hug. "Thank you for taking such good care of them!"



And that's the sight that waits for the other competitors: Maja at the center of a growing party. "Make sure you save a seat for Ras," she tells them all over laughs and cheers and general hullabaloo.

Merek keeps on with his task like he was meant to do it all, in fact he is actually following the map, by the directions, with skill, which is to say he is doing his job, which is to say he's probably not winning, but he's doing the thing!

For a mercenary, Rikako isn't motivated by booze. Come the last delivery, she's wiped out, but still smiling. She has newfound respect for people who do this for a living, but is reassured this is -not- the path for her. So, after a few minute breather, she sets off back down to the Lowers, hurrying only because of the promise to return the wagon and maybe there would be some money out of this. She cuts what corners she may, riding in a wagon on these streets isn't very pleasant.

Caspian really, really wants to close that distance between him and Maja. But try as he might, he just can't get unloaded fast enough, can't drive the wagon fast enough. He tries to go at a decent pace, but it just isn't enough to get him in first.



As he passes the group he stands upon the wagon seat, calling out to them, "Give it up for Maja, she is super fast folks! No one can deny that!" He says, taking his defeat to the previous title holder graciously. He passes the crowd and takes the wagon back to the dockmaster, hopping off the wagon and shakes the woman's hand. "Thanks, come by my place tomorrow evening."

After 'completing' the deliveries, Ras steers the wagon theatrically and needlessly around a guard patrol. He urges the horse into a frenzied gallop, wagon bouncing frantically behind over the cobblestones, and whoops with glee as he rockets back through the guarded gate between the Uppers and the Lowers. Meanwhile, in the wagon box, his muddied compatriot hunkers low, clinging for dear life. A glimpse of pure regret can be seen on the fellow's face before he completely hides down inside, because he knows what's coming - downhill.



On that steep path, somehow the horse doesn't stumble, but the wagon skids and slides dangerously. One wrong bump or wheel hitting a rock and the outcome could be truly disastrous. Nevertheless, Ras is howling exuberantly, as if he thinks this is some kind of thrill ride. At the bottom of the hill, the horse comes to a heaving and abrupt stop to avoid a collision with more successful wagons that have already reached the Commons Square, and screaming cuts off short as the possibly insane driver is catapulted out of the wagon and suffers an ungainly impact with the butt of the wise and agile beast. The horse just stamps a hoof and snorts.

Aksel did no such thing as speed back. But, what he did do was carefully plot out his route. As the crowd wax and wanned, Aksel found space and moved with a determined pace back to the lowers. While unlikely able to catch up with the leaders, he does shockingly gain ground. Around the corner he comes across the finish line and brings his cart to a stop before the dock wokers. "Thanks," he says to them before tunring on his heals and slips into the crowd of people and without further ado, Aksel is gone.

He's probably going to see a joker about some whiskey.

Past a certain point, it doesn't do much good to get worked up over a run of bad luck. Sydney seems to take it in stride, particularly as she gathers a crowd. She blushes from freckles to ears at the show of support, and makes sure to do her able best to cast a grin to each of them, "You lot are the shardin' best! Come see me at the Murder some time, and I'll treat you to a drink." Deliveries all accounted for, she makes for the finish line, her bum wagon making a terrible racket as it draws up last but not least.



Ka-thunk-ka-thunk-ka-thunk-ka-THWACK.



The wheel comes off the wagon right as she draws to a stop. Sydney can't help but snerk and then laugh uproariously at that. "Oi, cut me three ways and serve me. I ain't cut out for wagons." She hops out of the wagon and pumps her fist, "We finished it!"

Karina hones in on thundering hooves and scraping wood against cobbles. The tips of her toes provide that extra inch or so as anticipation sweeps over her. She blindly fights back against the fat belly that's accosted her all evening, if only to keep him from knocking her straight into the wagons' path. Her flag flaps with fanfare for the returning riders, sharp whistles and bright cheers infecting her in that moment.



The fact that Sydney was the last to arrive despite thwarted saboteurs makes the artist's shoulders slump a little. She attempts to rally the crowd, pointing her flag toward Sydney, "Is not the man - or woman! - at the bottom of the pack most representative of the common folk? And yet she still pressed on, through sabotage and ridicule, trial and struggle! She represents all of us, too! Make your choice with that in mind, ladies and gentlemen." Karina wasn't much of a speaker, truth be told. She could say it much better with paint than words. Yet they poured out passionately all the same. "And congratulations to everyone else who just filled their coinpurses tonight! Well done!"

One by one, the birds all come home to roost. The darlings overtaking the tavern and spilling out as their beloved apprentice whisper - again- wins the wagon run. There's something about that woman. This race. But the darlings celebrate with everyone, each person who crosses the line even as wheels fall off. Sydney's not going to be forgotten because she came in last. No. Those who helped her at the end swoop in to carry her into the tavern with a roar. Past Rakako who returns the wagon, as promised. Of no doubt, next year she can certainly borrow it again. Caspian though, is second fiddle to maja but the champions are there to cheer his arrival and celebrate his second place. But that's just as good as first. Ras, nearly running over who knows when and how many, meets a potentially deadly end. But thankfully not and instead of an adoring crowd, he's met with the face of a mercy looking down at him. 'Do you need help?" She asks, offering a hand. %

Aksel though. Oh man. By the time he slides home, there's a drop of whiskey left and as he takes off with a thanks, there's a very pale redcap who is suddenly making a run for it. Oh yes he is.



Merek comes neatly home. Doing what he does best and Mirella? Well. Mirella. She's not last, that's for sure. She hasn't drawn the attention and that, that's perfection in Mirella's books.



And somewhere, someone comes in with that outlandish and perhaps this side of gaudy crown, and it's crowd surfed all the way to Maja and a darling sets it on her head. "The winner of the wagon run! TWO YEARS IN A ROW! HIP HIP HOORAY!"



And so ends, this years harrowing rides through the lowers, uppers and into everyones hearts and sets the mood for the rest of the week.

Merek is overheard praising Josephine.

Merek is overheard praising Maja.

Merek is overheard praising Ras.

After thanking the dockworker for the wagon, Rikako goes to where the party is, more for food and company and learn who won than anything else. Hearing Maja announced as winner, she claps loudly and smiles brightly at her.

Sydney sheepishly rubs at the back of her neck under the weight of Karina's praising words, grinning and leaving her wreck of a cart where it rests. Let the dockhand she 'borrowed' it from tend to the cleanup. She scruffles the hair of some of the children who joined her impromptu cheer squad, claps the women in a firm hug, and locks arms with the men. "Lifesavers, all of you. I'd still be floundering around in the uppers if not for you - whoa--" And off she's swept, into the Tavern, none too unwillingly.

Ras is actually fine, except for some hysterical snickering. He gets up and doesn't dust himself off, grinning at the mercy, and then finds his way over to the tavern through all the crowds. "Maja!" he yells. "I let you win! Decided to be kind and all!" From the grin still on his face and the mirth in his eyes, he obviously knows that's not true. It's also obvious that the race was a lot of fun.

Ras is overheard praising Josephine.

Yelp, second fiddle. Womp womp. But he does head over to his fellow Champions, grabbing them up for a group hug. "You guys are the best," he says with a grin given their way, squeezing them fondly. Then he pulls away and heads to Karina, "Hey there, glad you came. Did you cheer for me or did Sydney steal your heart?" He asks with a grin.

Ras is overheard praising Sydney.



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