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Valardin Sleigh Racing

Do you like snow? Do you like horses? Do you like sleighs? Do you like racing and prizes??? Come to this event.


Nov. 8, 2019, 8 p.m.

Hosted By

Cristoph Zara


Merek Arcadia Ryhalt Amari Tesha Korka Felicia Scipio Rosalind Sydney Adalyn Liara




Arx - Ward of the Compact - Tournament Grounds

Largesse Level


Comments and Log

Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes, Triage, The white dove of Mercy, 3 Valardin Knights, 1 Templar Knight guards arrive, following Sophie.

Snow: check!

Horses: check!

Sleighs: check!

Racing and prizes: T R I P L E C H E C K.

The tournaments grounds have been invaded (in a very wholesome and not militant way) by House Valardin. Streamers fly and the place is decked out in blue and white decor. There's a booth for hot chocolate and plain steamed milk, you know how Oathlanders are. There's also a couple of expensive bottles of liqour kept *under* the booth's counter. For those who need a little extra kick with their race viewing. Princess Zara Valardin and Duke Cristoph Laurent are milling around seeing to all of the little details just prior to the events kick off.

(ooc: HI. Racing will be conducted by some simple checks. 1) Charm/Command + Animal Ken at 25 and then Dexterity/Intelligence + Ride at 25. The sum of which will determine your placement in the race. TADA.)

Merek makes his way with his dark attire on, looking to find a place to settle in and find where to sign up for the race.

Strolling about between the sleighs, Zara's hair is worn loose, streaming dark over the pale furs of a fluffy white cloak that serves as frame for the Very Latest in Super Expensive Fashion. Fresh from an unexpected turn at modeling, she wears brocade and dragonweep, crafted by Talia's hand. The dragonweep at her heart is nearly as bright and pale as the snow as she moves through. She has a mug of hot chocolate in her hands, and she's not shy about keeping warm by pulling it against her chest. "Are you interested in racing?" she asks Merek, spotting the inquisitive look in his eye. "Here, my assistant can take your name, and you make the reins of a sleigh."

Arcadia practically bounces into the grounds, that crazy competitive gleam in her eye. "Ooh."

Cristoph is moving around the sleighs, speaking with different drivers before he spots Zara on the side of one nearby. "You look lovely tonight, Princess Zara," he comments as he moves along to check one of the horses. They're several minutes away from starting, but there's enough time for anyone who might want to enter to sign up with the assistants and get into position.

Ryhalt just here to watch gets himself a warm drink before he heads over to the seating areas. He decides for the far seating today.

Ryhalt has joined the Far Stands.

This is the perfect event for Amari and all her various animals, who all pad or trot along with her as she strides onto the grounds. Two tremendously large dogs who could probably pull a sleigh on their own, a dapple gray gelding she leads along by the reins and bringing up the rear, a pygmy goat. She must hear a mention of plain steamed milk, because she heads straight for that booth, pausing only when she sees Zara and Cristoph. She has to wave, naturally, and dip her head respectfully to the hosts, "Hello, Princess Zara! Hello, Duke Cristoph!"

Tesha arrives with her guard, but otherwise no one to escort her. The red head has her hair plaited back and she's heading for one of the booths to take a seat and enjoy the race that is going to be done. She gives a dip of her head to those she knows, but stopping to greet the runners of the race, "Duke Cristoph, Princess Zara, it looks like you'll have a good turn out tonight." she tells them before she moves off to let others speak with them.

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound arrives, following Rosalind.

Korka comes strolling into the tournament grounds, hair bound back in a braid and hands tucked under the warmth of her cloak as she wanders towards the festivities, "Are people allowed to bet on the races?" She asks as she moves towards the crowd, "And if so, who is the favorite?"

Arcadia finds herself next in line and remembering she has to use her manners, she beams at Cristoph and Zara. "Your Highness. Duke. This looks marvelous! When do we start?"

Felicia is among those who stroll (stomp?) into the winter wonderland of Valardin the tournament grounds has become. The redheaded Harrow forgoing her steel for ease of movement and the desire not to become a popsicle. By the booth with the drinks is her first stop, and she's definitely one of those to complain her cup is missing something until there's liquor added.

Another new arrival to the Tournament Grounds comes in the form of Scipio Whisper. The young man is outfit in a set of fine attire, with a comfortably warm looking Clearlake marmot fur cloak pulled tight about his shoulders. He pauses just inside the grounds, lifting a hand to brush through his curly mop of hair and to cast an easy smile about the area as he regards the different faces competing. Noticing as Korka moves past him, he steps along to keep pace with her before he says, "What sort of bet did you have in mind? I may be interested in losing a few silver myself."

Dame Rosario Nevarre of the Oathlands, Anouk Ardennes, Anais Ardennes, Triage, The white dove of Mercy, 3 Valardin Knights, 1 Templar Knight guards leave, following Sophie.

"Lady Amari," Zara greets with true -- if low-key -- pleasure. She might not lift her hand and wave, but the lift of her chin and the call of her voice carries a warm welcome despite that. "Will you be racing?" Her eyes pass over the assembled collection of creatures, thoughtful, like she's trying to figure out if Amari is going to bind them to a sleigh. Tesha draws her eye away from her consideration, warm with an enthusiasm that brightens her features. "I do hope so. We'll start just as soon as everyone's sorted themselves out. If you are competing, please do get settled so that we can be sure all competitors are ready." She draws up next to Cristoph now, looking over the assembled. "Thank you," she says, finally, in return to his compliment. "Princess Isidora seems to have gotten caught up in some other duties. I was forced to take her place," she says with a low note of humor that suggests it was a REAL BURDEN, were REAL means NOT AT ALL.

Another newcomer comes running in, a flash for red hair and black feathers. "Am I too late?"Rosalind asks breathless.

Korka flashes a smile at Scipio as he asks her that, "The sort of one that I win. But if you'd like to try your luck, let's get ourselves acquainted with those that are racing and then find a good place to watch," her green eyes give him a quick once-over, but whatever she was looking for she doesn't appear to find, lips quirking at the corners, "Are you a Clearlake or just a fan of their fur?"

12 Grayson House Guards arrives, following Liara.

Ill-equipped for the weather, but here all the same is Sydney, her auburn hair a veritable magnet for the thick, heavy flakes that drift lazily downward. When it comes to tests of skill - or luck - it's becoming increasingly difficult not to find the Lowers pugilist in attendance. She casts a glance around, noting some familiar faces, a cheery grin working its way onto her cheeks, rosy from the cold. She offers a nod to Korka. "Nothing ventured, nothin' gained, and all that." Meandering over towards Adalyn, Syd beams, "...Why, I get the impression you're every bit as competitive as I am."

Adalyn arrives, an energetic bounce in her step as usual. She leads her horse by the reins, murmuring what appears to be reassurances to the animal as they approach the group. "Look, just trust me. It'll be fine." Sooo convincing. As her gaze finds familiar faces amongst the crowd, a genuine smile brightens the Clement's features. She elects to make her way toward Amari with a cheery wave. "Lady Amari, glad to see you here!"

Moving along at Korka's side, Scipio glances down to his cloak and pulls it a bit more comfortably around his shoulders before shaking his head and saying, "No, no. I am afraid that I'm not. My name is Scipio Whisper. I cannot take claim to the Clearlake name, but I can advertise the quality of their furs all the same. I actually won this in a benefit auction that the Baroness held." His eyes shift over toward the different sleighs resting in line, then says from the corner of his mouth to Korka, "So, uh... what are we looking for? Is it a boon to have a big horse with a small rider? Or does the extra weight of the rider in the sleigh help with controlling the craft?"

"I'll give it a try." Amari replies to Zara, but she doesn't reveal whether or not she intends to have her menagerie pull the sleigh. The goat would probably have to ride, the poor thing, on her little short legs. As she ends up at the booth, she goes for steamed milk with no kick and is soon grinning as she notices Felicia. "Dame Harrow! Are you racing? I think they're starting straight away if you are." Which explains why she's already turning towards the line of sleighs and reconsidering the milk. There is a further distraction in the form of an Adalyn, so yes, the cup is quickly forgotten. "I'm so glad you're here. Have you met Dame Felicia Harrow? And are you racing?"

Arcadia seeing Rosalind moves over to the other northern lady. She grins at her friend. "A bet? The winner buys the next round at the spirits?"

Liara shows up to the tournament grounds and slows to gaze across the field, creating some momentary blockage by the entrance as her entourage too pauses, only to proceed fairly directly towards a booth, seeking out a snow-free seat.

Liara has joined the Quiet Booth.

Cristoph offers waves to Tesha and Amari and others as they greet him. He's a bit distracted by the horses and sleighs, but he honestly can't help it. He enjoys all of these things! Zara is given another smile when she draws up near to him. "Ah, yes. It sounds like you were very put out. Shall we?" he asks, and lifts his chin in the direction of the assembling riders and drivers. After her reply, he'll clear his throat and announce: "Would the racers please get to their sleighs? We'll be starting at the end of a very LONG AND DRAWN OUT COUNTDOWN." It's probably not that long.

Felicia smirks vaguely in the direction of Scipio with her face mostly buried in her mug of adulterated hot chocolate. At the sound of her name she's diverted Amari's way with a rspectful half-bow,"Of course, someone said something about 'racing' and well... here I am." she admits with a spread of her hands. An upnod offered Adalyn's way is accompanied by the wry notation for Amari,"Lady Clement soundly defeated me at the recent tournament."

Rosalind grins at Arcadia,"Deal!" Though really, she's not not that great. Rosa is excited nonetheless as she watches the others.

"Oh, is this going to be a long and drawn out countdown?" Zara asks Cristoph in a quieter voice, not nearly as carrying, as he suggests that. "Very well." She lifts her voice and calls, "One thousand! Nine hundred and ninety-nine!" She glances at him sidelong, too composed to laugh, but with humor clear as (sleigh!) bells in her eyes as she dares him to shortcut her countdown. At least people have p l e n t y of time to get in place.

Sydney has apparently made arrangements for a steed and a sleigh, neither of which is a terribly impressive thing. If judgements were to be made on the craftsmanship, she'd score rather poorly, her sleigh as rickety as they come. Her horse, if nothing else, looks like it was chosen with care. A sturdy, if not gallant beast. At Cristoph's prompting, the brawler makes her way over and makes ready, securing lashings, checking over her cart to make sure that it's unlikely to come apart on her halfway through.

"You are absolutely asking the wrong person," Korka replies, a shake of her head sending her dark hair over one shoulder as she surveys the contestants, "I've been told that one should never place a bet on how pretty the weapon of choice is. It was a very dear lesson. And not being a horse person, all of these horses look the same to me. But I know that one," she points to Sydney, "Will probably punch that horse if it fails her, so maybe that will give her an advantage? So instead I will hope that my luck holds out and choose..." she draws it out, lifting a pale hand and gesturing loftily towards Adalyn, "That one. For reasons only I will know that have nothing to do with complete and total chance and is definitely based on secret knowledge of horse knees and sleigh bells."

"3... 2... 1...!" Three, two, one is actually counted down a lot faster than it reads, because after all Cristoph has to cut Zara's thousand number count down SHORT. By like thousands and thousands of numbers.

Sydney's familiar voice has Adalyn swiveling to catch sight of the woman, her grin betraying amusement. "Likely true. Competitive to the point of recklessness," she admits with a matter-of-fact air about her. "Can't say I'll fare so well in this event, but we shall see! Glad to find you here as well." Felicia's remark has the Clement shaking her head with a grin. "Well, you make it sound easily done, but far from it... you kept me on my toes, Dame Felicia. Quite a worthy opponent!" To Amari, she adds, "Yes, I'll be giving it a try. You as well, won't you?" Adalyn's horse, meanwhile, is giving her baleful looks. Poor thing.

Arcadia checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 25, rolling 1 lower.

Sydney checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Rosalind checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 25, rolling 12 higher.

"Oh, that's right!" Amari remembers suddenly the match in question, at the prompt from Felicia. She looks mildly chagrined for having mixed it up somehow in her head. "Lady Adalyn was a fury that day." Then she hears there's a countdown. Her eyes widen and off she goes, beckoning for the other two women to join her, "They've started counting, we'd better get to our sleighs." As Cristoph reduces the count by thousands of numbers, she's climbing aboard, with her dogs leaping up to pile on. She has to lift her goat up after Marigold starts to bawl. After that? Totally ready.

Felicia checked command + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.

Adalyn checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Ryhalt has left the Far Stands.

Amari checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 25, rolling 25 higher.

Rosalind checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Arcadia checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Does Scipio catch that smirk sent his way from Felicia? If so, he does not seem to indicate as much other than a slow rove of his gaze that holds on her for a moment longer than the rest of the contestants. He lifts a hand to point out his own bet, then pauses as Korka alludes to possessing some secret knowledge of knees and sleigh bells. He looks sharply to her for a moment as if to call foul on her secret knowledge before he smirks and shakes his head. "I think you're having me on. Should we find a seat?" he says before pointing toward Felicia and saying, "I'm going to place my bet on her. And she better not let me down!" The last part of his statement is of course yelled a bit louder so that Felicia will be able to hear him across the way.

Merek checked charm + animal ken at difficulty 25, rolling 5 lower.

Felicia is still toting her mug when she goes to get her sleigh ready, laughing as she does for Adalyn's remark,"I'd hope so, or my pride might be a shade wounded, but still... you bested me fair and square." she offers with a glittering wink. Perhaps she'd have been better off leaving off the liquor-and-hot chocolate, though her way of relating to her sleigh animal appears to involve a lot of cursing at them in loud volumes to try and get them moving.

Korka quite boldly reaches out to take Scipio's arm as if they were already the very best of friends or bitter rivals pretending to be nice, "Let's sit as close as we can so that if a sleigh overturns we can laugh uproariously. Or be the first to find a mercy. Whichever sort of person you are a close seat is always the best," She then heads over to one of the first rows of general seating, "I'm Korka Glynn, by the way. We should decide on what we're betting so the loser is very sore about it."

Korka has joined the General Seating.

Scipio has joined the General Seating.

Arcadia missed the countdown. Oh dear! She grabs the reigns of the first horse she sees and jumps on. She flicks the reigns and the horse starts off on a nice trot. Not the best start.

Zara and her hot chocolate return to the stands, moving to take a seat well-clear of the field -- which erupts in a positive _flurry_ of snow. And limbs. She winces ever so slightly at the chaos on the field.

Sydney gets off to ... a start? A slap of the reins, and the horse rears up and then refuses to budge. She pauses to briefly palm her face as some of the racers get off and running, while hers lazily breaks into a trot. "Oi, come on, now! Put your back into it! I don't weigh much!"

Merek makes his way to the beginning line, then he shifts the reigns. He doesn't manage too well, but it's not the worst, while he nods a bit.

Scipio watches as the race begins and his bet begins to curse at her horses, chuckling in spite of himself and shaking his head before he moves to follow Korka over toward the seating that she has chosen, not seeming to mind as she takes his arm. "It is a pleasure to meet you Korka Glynn," he says as they step up into the seating chosen.

Rosalind hops onto her sleigh with the...borrowed horse. Shhhhh..dont tell! Gathering the reigns, she takes off with a grin. Not the best start, but off she goes!

Felicia checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Oh, is that the countdown? As Cristoph wisely shifts from the nine hundreds to the single digits, Adalyn hastens to her sleigh and takes up the reins. "Alrighty, Master Horse, YOU CAN DO IT!" What she lacks in animal knowledge, she makes up for in enthusiasm -- which instantly spooks her horse. "Whoooa there, settle down! It's okay!" she calls out to the nervous animal as he begins prancing anxiously rather than taking off as expected. It takes a moment before the Clement, with a blessedly quieter voice, manages to coax the horse into taking off with the others.

Sydney checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Arcadia checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Tesha barely gets seated before she receives a messenger. After reading it, the woman rises and gives a murmur of words to Cora before she starts for the exit with her guard.

Rosalind checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Cora, the optimistic telmarine leaves, following Tesha.

Once Amari, her two dogs, and the pygmy goat are all stacked onto the sleigh, she takes the reins and gives a loud click of her tongue and a "Huphup!" To prompt the horse into a trot. It takes off smoothly enough, hooves stamping into the snow and pulling hard. It looks like they've done this before, it's that good. Very slick.

Arcadia flicks the reigns again. "Mush mush!" Does that work on horses? Yes! Apparently it does and the horse picks up the pace. She gives a loud whoop of happiness as she makes her way onwards.

Amari checked intellect + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.

Adalyn checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Cristoph watches as the many, many sleighs take off. Some starts are better than others, he judges none of them. He just watches! There is also quite a bit of cheering for him. "You've got this!" Someone. One of you. You can do it.

Rosalind falls behind. Damnit! Maybe she should have borrowed a different horse..or told someone? Rosa mentions to the horse, a little bribery,"I'll get you some whiskey later?" Do horses drink whiskey? This one should..

"Go forwards!" Liara calls from where she is seated, followed by a bright laugh, in probably not very helpful exhortation to those individuals having trouble departing the starting line.

Sydney settles into her typical position at the absolute back of the pack. Her poor start is not improved by the steady but lazy progress of her horse. She seems more like she's out riding for pleasure than as a part of a race. Her eyes turn good-naturedly upwards, and she offers a helpless shrug of her shoulders. "...Truly, I don't know what I was expecting."

"Punch your horse!" Korka calls out, swinging a fist in a way that no brawler would in Sydney's direction.

Zara pulls the hood of her cloak down over her hair and head like she's shielding her eyes -- but everyone comes through the initial burst at the gates safely, if not always elegantly, and she leans forward to watch the dash toward the finish line.

"I'm not punching the horse!" Sydney calls right back, still in earshot, which is a poor sign. She, considers, squinting. "...probably."

Felicia is generally a good rider, and her horse, Wrecking Ball, was once among the stable of the King's Own... and perhaps that's part of the problem. The massive black stallion might just object to being lashed to a sleigh. The flick of his ears certainly suggest he's unhappy about it - and while Felicia gets him moving in the end he's... well. There's the horses that prance through the snow, and he's one of the ones that just... wade through it with no attempt at all to pick up his feet enough to avoid sinking through to the ground below. A race horse he most certainly is not.

Despite a rather rocky start, Adalyn finally manages to get her horse moving at a pace that exceeds their original nervous pacing in place. She may not be all too skilled at anticipating the animal's needs, but she does seem to know the basics of riding. She keeps a loose hold on the reins, allowing her body to shift slightly with the movements of the sleigh. "That's right, there you go! We'll just forget that initial little hiccup, shall we?" A benevolent rider, truly.

Metzger, a great grey shrike, Jok, the muscley muscle knight, Maximus, the drooly Highhill Mastiff arrive, following Dominique.

Merek checked dexterity + ride at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.

Maybe it's Barf giving a bark from the sleigh more than Amari's technique that really convinces the horse to speed along. It doesn't hurt anyway, neither does Marigold making crazy goat sounds as though she's regretting this entire situation very much. Amari for her part, stands in her sleigh and gives the reins a snap, keeping the pace, and the horse set to it. They tear along, battering the snow and cold ground beneath pounding hooves and hard sleigh runners. "Ya!" The Keaton lady happily calls, having far too much fun to really notice where she is in the pack. Front? Back? Middle? Doesn't matter, she just laughs amusedly and encourages the horse to go yet faster, "Quick-quick!"

The finish isn't quite alphabetical -- but it's close. Leading the pack, Amari has had the race in her hand from the very start, showing a remarkable command of her horse -- and a canny understanding of how to bring a race to a close. But behind her, nearly neck and neck, come Arcadia and Adalyn -- no, it's Adalyn and Arcadia, as Adalyn sneaks past her to take second, leaving Arcadia to bring her sleigh across the finish line in third. Felicia's just barely behind, and after that the rest of the pack -- follows.

Korka has left the General Seating.

Merek makes his way along with the others, but doesn't place particularly well. Either way, it looks like he enjoyed it all while he does that also.

Except Sydney. The brawler's horse veers off course as she nears the finish line and begins to simply roam around in the snow, doing whatever it will. Eyes half-lidding, Sydney clicks her tongue. "...Shard it. I should have punched you, after all." She hops off of her Sleigh and walks across the finish line, disqualifying herself.

As the race comes to a conclusion, Cristoph cheers very loudly for Amari and Adalyn (and also Arcadia). But there is a certain extra enthusiasm for the Keaton and Clement ladies. He hops down from this position in the stands and approaches each of the racers in turn once their sleighs are in. "Well done! Excellent riding. Please, get yourselves some extra hot chocolate, maybe with the whiskey in it. Don't tell Baron Norwood."

Korka has joined the General Seating.

While Zara might not cheer as loudly as Cristoph, her applause is certainly as enthusiastic -- and there might be a little shared bias for the Oathlands women, too. (Clearly the whole thing was rigged, rigged! A sleigh-ride sham!) "Excellent riding, Lady Amari." She glances to Sydney as she crosses the finish line on foot, and her voice is quieter as she addresses her: "And excellent restraint. I think you would have earned yourself a bruise from a horse's swift kick rather than a victory. But still -- well-competed," she says, addressing the congratulations first to those who didn't place. Cristoph is taking care of those who did.

Felicia can't get Wrecking Ball to go any faster, no matter the amount of cajoling she does to try and get him to catch up to the three A's. When he finally crosses the line behind Arcadia she does hop off the sleigh and go around to shake her head at the horse with rueful disappointment,"Okay, a sleigh-horse you're not, old boy. But... really..." she grabs at his reins to look him in the eye,"That contraption can't weigh more than my full kit... so this was all just you being a stubborn ass as usual." she harumphs at the horse before ruffling it. The sleigh's unlatched, and the horse left with the faith that his training will stop him from wandering too far as she goes to congratulate the winners.

Zara is overheard praising Sydney.

Zara is overheard praising Merek.

Zara is overheard praising Rosalind.

Zara is overheard praising Felicia.

Zara is overheard praising Arcadia.

Zara is overheard praising Adalyn.

Zara is overheard praising Amari.

Metzger, a great grey shrike, Jok, the muscley muscle knight, Maximus, the drooly Highhill Mastiff leave, following Dominique.

Scipio is overheard praising Felicia.

Arcadia hops off her sleigh, surprised at coming in third. She grins, "Huh. Not as good as a dog sleigh, but fun." She wanders away from the group to get that hot chocolate.

Merek is overheard praising Zara.

Merek is overheard praising Cristoph.

Felicia is overheard praising Zara.

As the finish disappears behind the sleigh, Amari slows the horse down with another firm but friendly 'woah' and some pressure on the reins. As soon as they stop, River jumps to the snow and Marigold follows, landing on River's head. There's a yelp and a bawl and a mess of fur before they've sorted themselves out and the goat walks off with her chin high and dignified. That was intentional. Amari and Barf follow, the former looking far more pleased than the latter. "Thank you, that was great fun, actually." She says to both Zara and Cristoph before she's looking for Adalyn and Felicia, smiling broadly, "Hot chocolate then? I think we earned it."

Rosalind eyes her horse,"Well I guess you tried. You get whiskey anyway,"patting her horse with a smile. Waving to Arcadia, Rosa grins and says,"I owe you!"

Sydney regards Zara with a blank expression, and she shrugs her shoulders. "...Well, at least my bruised face might have scared the beast across the line, if nothing else."

Adalyn appears pleasantly surprised to be crossing the finish line behind Amari and in line with Arcadia. There's no denying the young woman's delight in the experience, wide grin in place, hair windswept and wild. As she manages to slow horse and sleigh, she hops off and moves toward Cristoph with a smile. "Thank you for hosting, Lord Cristoph! That was quite exhilarating. And don't worry, I'm quite practiced in keeping secrets from Papa." She attempts her most innocent look, the effect rather spoiled by her amused grin. Turning to Amari, she nods agreeably. "Hot chocolate sounds like just the thing now. I know oughtn't be surprised, but you made it look effortless out there!"

Arcadia finishes her drink laced heavily whiskey, she's a northerner now after all. After a brief whisper to Rosalind, she gives a brief smile and leaves the grounds after offering her thanks and goodbyes to the hosts.

Sir Jesmond the Giant leaves, following Arcadia.

Sydney pauses as a messenger arrives, and hesitates upon reading it. She casts a forlorn look at the prospect of spiked hot chocolate, but duty calls, it would seem. She beats a quick retreat, letting her glorious steed uselessly play around in the snow and amble off in random directions.

"I noted how well you fought at the Rite of Gloria tournament, Lady Adalyn. You truly do your father credit. But that was very well done, both of you," Zara says as she joins Adalyn, Amari, and Cristoph, looking between the first two with warm approval. "It was thrilling just to watch. Every sleigh I've ever ridden in has traveled _much_ more sedately. My next journey will now seem dull."

Rosalind shifts away from her horse and thanks the hosts. She waves and smiles, departing quietly.

Connal, a Northern Wolfhound leaves, following Rosalind.

"Though perhaps rather safer, your highness," Liara speaks up towards Zara, with apparent amusement. "That was quite something to watch. I think I shall stick to not moving around when it's snowing at all, if I can."

"I should go check on the horses," Cristoph says to the winners with a very concerned look for the sleighs that are being checked in. Loaning out horses is always a very worrisome affair after all! After he's handed out various purses of silver, he ducks his head and bows before politely scurrying away. As well as a tall man can scurry off.

Felicia strolls her way over to Zara, Adalyn, Amari and Cristoph, raising her mug by way of silent salute and then peering into its contents with the mournful frown of one who has just discovered it's empty,"Congratulations, ladies, nicely done." she offers, scanning for someone potentially offering refills.

"It was all Baron Norwood's instruction shining through." Amari has to reveal, "I wouldn't have dreamed of going so fast even a few months ago. I'm not sure I would have even entered the race to begin with. I should make him a hot chocolate in thanks, honestly." That doesn't mean she's not going to smile with a bit of satisfaction all the same. It was her in the sleigh and not Norwood. Liara's comment earns a lifted brow, "But the right kind of snow makes you go so much faster. We should really all get one of the bigger sleighs and take a tour outside the walls one day. When it's not bone chillingly cold."

Glancing toward Liara, Zara inclines her head in an acknowledging nod. "_Rather_," she agrees, all kinds of low-key understatement in that. "I admit I'm a in favor of _not_ driving so fiercely into the wind that your nose immediately freezes. There may be something to your thought of not moving around, your grace." She's understanding as Cristoph excuses himself, saying, "Thank you, Duke Cristoph. You're a splendid host." She tips her mug of hot chocolate toward him in salute.

Zara is overheard praising Cristoph.

Amari is overheard praising Cristoph.

Amari is overheard praising Zara.

Scipio is overheard praising Cristoph.

Adalyn is overheard praising Cristoph.

Adalyn is overheard praising Zara.

"I may go very speedily indeed, though not, perhaps, in the direction in which I wish to go, my lady," Liara replies to Amari with a glint of amusement. Then she remarks to Zara, "I'll still take a ship upriver to home on occasion as circumstance demands, whatever the weather, but I suppose I am fortunate to have that luxury."

Adalyn inclines her head gratefully to Zara upon hearing her praise. "Thank you, Princess Zara! I do hope to make him proud. I figure it can off-set at least a little of the worry I always seem to put him through," she notes wryly. Her green eyes shift between the Valardin and Liara, their remarks met with a feisty grin. "I find speed and a touch of danger tends to make life more interesting. Though I suppose it could be downright hazardous if we all dashed around everywhere in sleighs." Felicia's mug is cast a rather envious look as scans the surroundings to locate one of her own. "Thank you, Dame Felicia. I hope yours was an enjoyable ride. I honestly was concentrating so hard, I'm afraid I didn't see much of those around me." Concentrating on not falling off at high speeds, most likely.

To Amari, Adalyn adds with a touch of pride, "He's going to be so pleased to hear that you took first."

"Well, I learnt one thing today... Wrecking Ball is not fond of being used as a sleigh-horse." Felicia offers wryly... oh look, someone bearing mugs. Felicia decends on them in order to claim one, and with the look on Adalyn's face she elects to grab a second one to the protest of their bearer. The redheaded knight offering a toothy grin before swanning back towards the gathering with a double fist of whiskey-adulterated hot chocolate.

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