Autumn 1014 Steeplechase
Jan. 2, 2021, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Gray Forest Outskirts
Comments and Log
At the edge of the forest, a bit of a party has been set up. Tables are laden with seasonal treats and nearby, there are roasting pits for skewers of meats and vegetables that are handed out to attendees. For drinks, there are ciders are both hard and fresh. It is autumn, after all.
Food's great, and all, but that's not why people are here. They want to ride at unwise speeds and encounter inadvisable obstacles. As one does.
Lady Brianna Halfshav stands near a starting line, marked by two poles with a string of colorful flags between them. "Riders! Ready yourselves and your horses. The course is marked by red cloth tied to trees. Please try not to die or get lost." That sounds a bit more earnest than such a request should, but it /is/ the Gray Forest, after all. She accepts a skewer of venison and roast vegetables as the riders assemble.
Dog the rat arrives, delivering a message to Aconite before departing.
Horses are not exactly the type of being that any Eswynd spends a lot of time around, but Medeia and Haakon are here for the steeplechase because Brianna is a friend and apparently some people might fall off their horses and need medical attention. Which explains why Medeia is in her aeterna and wearing her medic's belt, hair baraided back to stay out of the way. Haakon? Probably there to carry people if she needs them moved. At her side if the young Halfshav ward, Caleb, who has been learning medical and apothecary skills at her side. Today's event seemed as good as any to let the boy get some hands on skill, in the off-chance someone actually gets hurt.
Nova and Sir Flop show up with a grey team of adorably-short horses which are from Northern origins. They are not pulling any wagon, but they stay together and seem to move side by side even if Nova rides one as she ponies the other. Getting down from her mount, Nova leaves the reins in the care of the hound before she steps to the food tables, packing up a togo box.
Felicia has joined the line.
Petroc, the most unassuming man you have ever met have been dismissed.
2 Sanna House Guards have been dismissed.
Of course Thea is here. With Finn. And her mare. Soxette. "This is going to go well,"she murmurs to her mare's ear. "I think this the first time we've even attempted to race,"as she slides onto her back. "I guess we get to see how our lessons go,"giving a wave to the people she knows.
Aconite arrives with Alejandro in toe. The Torean Chmapion's riding a dark chestnut older gelding that plods along after the high spirited Narciso and his rider. The tall Courtier pats the dusky beasts neck and murmurs soemthing to him in Eurusi and the horse slows down as they approach the race. Aco smiles from ear to ear.
The finest of Volkov stock shows in the palomino stallion who arrives at an easy walk, and the same could be said of the young woman on his back. With an unruly mane of wheat blond hair, braided and twisted, adorned with feathers, beads and even bits of bone, atop which sits a crown of antler pieces. Though Svoli stands only five foot nothing, she is a feral looking thing, and she rides her destrier with the ease of one born to it, okin complete control of the animal she's astride, one hand on the pommel the other with a loose hold of the reins.
As she sways along with the movements of her horse, Svoli is softly chattering away at him. "No, I'm not lost. I'm sure it said it would be at the outskirts of the Gray Forest..." The horse whuffles softly in response "I do not! You ungrateful, overgrown pony!" And she leans forward to give him an affectionate thump to his golden neck as Alban whinies to announce his arrival. When the party comes into view, she gives her stallion a smug look. "See!? I told you this was right. Now lets see about getting in line..." She mumbles, making her way to the starting line.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Raziel is not there to participate in the riding, in case the man's arrival, slow and limping even while relying on his twisted cane. Instead, he heads straight for the tables, or more precisely, one of the chairs there, allowing himself a sigh of relief when he sits down. It's only then that the disfigured Bisland takes a look at those who have gathered for the race with his one good eye. "If someone gets wounded further into the forest, look to the other physicians for help." he remarks, his voice dry and raspy, even as he motions towards Medeia. "Like this one. Working legs and all."
Merek has joined the line.
Wrecking Ball is not exactly the most sleek horse, with his dinner plate sized hooves and broad body intended for stamina and strength in battle, but... he is the only horse Felicia has. And she possibly wasn't planning on a steeplechase so much as she see's people and hears horses and nudges the big black stallion over to check out what's happening. The spark of interest when she hears the call has her nudge the big beast in among the others. The snorting flick and toss of the beasts head perhaps indicating to those familiar with horse behavior that it thinks that maybe they're joining a cavalry line rather than a race.
Jeffeth has joined the line.
Drake has joined the line.
Brigida turns up with her animals and Disciples in tow, stroking the neck of her gelding, Dancer as she looks over the assembled peoples, squinting a bit as she looks,from person to person. Suddenly she gasps, "Svoli Volkov!! Is that really you?"
Bree has joined the line.
Merek comes along to race with people and obstacles, taking the time to lead his horse, finding the place to settle in on Beauty with a nod along while he watches.
Aconite has joined the line.
Dog the rat arrives, delivering a message to Aconite before departing.
Svoli looks around as she hears her name, a little puzzled as she tries to pick out who exactly called her name. "I'm me, but who are you?" She replies gruffly.
After packing up her togo box, having deskewered a kabob or two to make that happen the way she likes, Nova looks up and then spots Svoli and blinks twice. "Lady Svoli?! Good to see you. Seems like Volkovs are showing up all over... really glad you are still alive."
Drake is here leading his horse, Apple Cider, a Chevalle stallion with a lovely chestnut coat. He gives a nod to Thea and her mare, and gets atop his own mount, ready to ride. He pats the horse on the side of the neck, just in a reassuring way. "Now, we've done this before. This is your sport, boy, so let's show them again this time, eh?"
"People really need to make sure before they talk about whole houses disappearing." Raziel can be heard commenting, shaking his head even as his gaze moves to Svoli, now that multiple people are pointing her out. He considers the young woman before nodding. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you." And soon the man's attention has wandered again.
Aconite waits with the other riders though she's slightly distracted for a moment. Narciso is eager to be at the race the leggy Torean beast pulling at the reins a bit.
Brigida moves over towards Svoli on her horse and pats Alban as,she looks up at the Volkov, "Your eyes must be worse than mine are Svoli." She pats the Volkov's leg, "Obviously I need to be more intimidating to be remembered properly next time hmmm?"
Never shying away from a dumb race, a behemoth of a man rides along on a monster of a horse. The two plodding along besides a much smaller pair. The massive form of the Grandmaster of Solace is steering Friend slowly coming to a stop as he looks down to the Knight Lieutenant of Solace riding alongside him. The Grandmaster's face is uncovered, today, letting all who look upon him see the horriffic scarring that dominates one half of his face. Though to people only looking on his left side, hey, he looks completely normal.
The pair of Solace knights sort of meander and circle, Shay and Friend socializing as well as grazing, while Jeffeth's gaze skims among the rest of the contenders. He glances over to Bree, a lopsided smile curling on the good side of his face. "Its been a while since we've been in a competition together. Are you excited for another loss?"
Medeia looks over to Raziel when he motions to her and she hears a comment about working legs.
Ahem. That's Knight Commander of Solace, thankyouverymuch. Bree sits astride Shay as the pair of Solace join the festivities, circling the field and allowing the horse beneath her to determine where they wander (for now). Jeffeth's question earns a quick and warm laugh, "The last we were in competition, I believe I won. The Gauntlet? Do you not remember? The ropes? Me at the top faster than you?" Some good-natured ribbing, and she loosens her grip on the reins. "But you have always been a better rider than me, so you might be right on this one!"
"No I don't remember that." Jeffeth says very quickly, smiling broadly. "Are you sure that happened?" He shakes his head. "I don't think it did." His eyes are dancing with humor, and he leads Friend away just a little bit to escape Bree's arguments. Casually.
Svoli gets a momentary panicked look on her face when her name is called from several places at once, and she tenses up just a tiny bit in her seat. Rowenova is offered a bit of a nod, wincing just a bit when she mentions being still alive. "Yep, that I am." She replies stiffly, before her gaze drops to the woman who pats her leg. "Bless Brigida, how nice to see you again. I hope you are well." She says before clearing her throat a bit. I should probably...um... get ready and all." Alban stomps his dinner plate sized hoof as the anticipation for the race seems to hit the Stallion.
Haakon is absolutely here for the food. Also to move people if needed, but mostly the food. "Digging a pit, and letting a beast roast underground for half a day may be the finest invention Arvani civilization has produced," he is opining to Medeia, while offering a measure of slow roasted meat to the healer. "Sea and Sky strike me down if I lie, the meat jumps off the fucking bone but it's still juicy." It's the small things, sometimes.
Horses. Lots of big, whickering, snorting, pooping-wherever-they-please horses. And they're at the starting line! With a drop of a handkerchief, the race begins. It starts off easily enough. About fifty yards from the starting line, the first obstacle is visible in the clearing: a wall made of hay bales, about waist-high to an average-sized man.
Brigida pats Svoli and Alban and lets them get ready with a nod of her head as the Archlector hurries out of the way to watch.
Brianna has called for a check of strength and ride at easy.
Critical Success! Svoli is inhumanly successful in a way that defies expectations.
Jeffeth is successful.
Felicia is successful.
Bree is successful.
TIE: Thea is marginally successful. Drake is marginally successful. Aconite is marginally successful.
Merek marginally fails.
Thea gives an familiar wave to Bree as she sits atop her own mare. "That fucking rope. I had a trophy made for it and decided to leave it at the gauntlet,"giving a nod to Jeffeth as well. Seeing Drake, she gives him a slight grin. "I hear you've been--falling behind in the horse competitions. I thought I'd give it try for once,"as she waves to Svoli, Haakon, and Medeia as well.
"You're getting old," Bree accuses Jeffeth as he 'forgets' her glory. "That's okay. I'm here to keep you going," she brilliantly smiles, and then Thea is remembering the rope, and she waves a hand, "See? It did happen!" She leads Shay to the place of the start, preparing herself for the dash toward the forest.
Merek rides along to the hay bales. The horse stops to eat them.
Well, at least the horse is happy.
Haakon waves a rib bone at Thea in response as the Malvici joins the other riders. A thought strikes and he looks around for Finn, to throw the bone, if he spots the hound.
The handkerchief drops, and Felicia digs her heels into Wrecking Ball's flanks with a whoop. He's not the fastest off the line, by any measure, but the big black thunders across the clearing gathering speed and cleanly launches over the haybale in the wake of Svoli and Jeffeth, the redhead leaning forward in her saddle and giving him full rein to try and catch those ahead.
Drake is watching the rivalry between Bree and Jeffeth with a little smirk. Then Thea gets his attention, and he laughs. "Cider's still a bit unsteady on the joust," he admits. "Either we get there, or we stick to racing --" Oh, no, she's already starting the race, and here Drake is, babbling. "Ah, we're off! Come on then!" Okay, so, it's a bit of a slow start out of the gate on his part. He keeps neck and neck with Thea for the time being, watching her ride to see if she's steady. Getting to the bales... it's an okay jump. Drake's not super happy with it as they're near the end of the pack. "Come on, speed," he says, trying to get the horse to accelerate faster.
It's not Narciso's fault that Aconite isn't -quite- prepared for when the other horses start going. Because that's when he starts going but Aco pulls the reins a bit on shock. Still Narciso continues on steadily and Aco leans in after a moment of instability to attempt to catch up to the others as they clear the wall.
There's a flicker of his gaze over to Bree, then over to Thea. What. The scarred grandmaster glowers, "Don't help her!" He lets out before his expression melts into something far brighter. With a little shrug, he smiles warmly back to Bree before trotting to the start. Then the race starts, the giant draft horse immediately moves into a gallop as the large man hunkers down on his mammomth steed. As they come upon the haybale wall, the huge beast flies over the wall, Jeffeth swinging one hand down to pat pat Friend's neck. Svoli has quite a lead on him, his eyes tracking the forerunner, urging Friend forward.
When the signal is given, Bree's smile is wide as she pushes Shay forward with the encouragement of a squeeze and a flick of the reins. The horse responds by beginning the pace, finding a comfortable spot in the middle as hooves pound the ground. The wind whips through her hair, strands dancing around wildly as she urges the beast into a faster pace. "Come on, girl!" Her eyes flash to Jeffeth's back, broad and easy to spot, and she whispers some promises to her horse of treats and carrots and apples if she just catches up to him. She'll probably hand those over anyhow, but here they are.
Finn absolutely trots over for rib bone. MMmmm---bone. When the race starts, Thea leans forward and off she goes. There's a laugh as Drake is still talking to--well her possibly but she's focused. Even if she IS tied. And not winning. It's her FIRST race. But then she hears Jeffeth and starts laughing. "Sorry,"she calls, causing her to falter a bit. Still not winning. Not even sorry yet!
Even for a big guy, Alban is swift. With a flick of his flaxen mane like an equine Fabio, you're welcome mares, he bunches his powerful hindquarters and he springs to life with a kick of those hind legs. Svoli is sitting up in her stirrups, her tiny body low over her horses neck, whispering in his ear soft encouragements as she give him his head. The first obstacle might as well not have been there the way he soars over it, powerful legs bunching up underneath him as he's momentarily airborne before landing perfectly on the other side, Svoli hardly displaced as he takes off at a full run again.
"Mm. Probably not wrong, there." Raziel remarks after Haakon's comment on Arvani inventions. Hazel and milky white gaze turns to the younger Lord, but only for a moment, the start of the race drawing his attention. He says nothing till Svoli can be seen, very much in the lead. "I shouldn't be surprised to see one of the Horse Lords be so far ahead. Still, an impressive display."
Medeia looks over to Raziel when he motions to her and she hears a comment about working legs. A soft smile is sent in his direction and she dips her chin. "That's what I brought this one for," she says, tipping her head toward Haakon. She turns back just in time to be handed meat. "Oh!" The surprise in her Lycene-accented voice is clear, but she grins up at her husband and murmurs a 'thank you' before taking a bite. Caleb, for his part, has also found himself plenty of food and is happily being Very 10 Years Old about it. Medeia laughs softly, and watches as the race starts.
The path, marked by the red cloth, starts to wind into the woods. The next obstacle is a pair of fallen trees, crossed and tied with rope into a wide X. The dense canopy of the Gray Forest looms overhead.
Spotting Caleb, Nova side steps to side hug him in one arm but not getting in any way of his foody fun.
Brianna has called for a check of dexterity and ride at normal.
Bree is successful.
Svoli is marginally successful.
Drake is marginally successful.
TIE: Thea is marginally successful. Felicia is marginally successful.
TIE: Jeffeth marginally fails. Aconite marginally fails.
Aconite falls but it's not on Narciso. The Stallion clears the jump with ease, the beast has been well trained and is built for jumping. Aconite though? She's tall and appearently still not paying attention because a tree-branch catches her arm and she topples seperated from her ride and laughing quietly at herself as she sucks in the breath that was knocked out of her.
Drake gives Cider a kick and tries to pick up the pace. Getting a little more speed up now, he at least pushes past Thea and Soxette... if only just. He can't get too distracted scoping out the compeition. Getting to the next obstacle now, seeing the wide but clearly marked X shape, he urges the horse forward into a leap. He clears it, getting into the middle of the pack for now.
This IS a dumb race! Jeffeth is busy looking back over his shoulder, spotting Bree catching up on his prized position in the race. He's so focused on Bree that he doesn't notice the rope that ends up taking him right off his horse. Though it's not /that/ embarrassing the man is able to hold on the ropes. He is an athlete! He looks over at the fallen Aconite, dangling from the ropes. He also lets out a quiet laugh. "Well.. Shit." The Grandmaster then drops to the ground, calling Friend back.
Merek waits for the horse to finish its eating, then he guides it back to the beginning line. Afterwards dismounting and taking the time to find a place to settle in and watch people race.
Alban might have gotten just a little bit cocky with his early lead, his bulk not as useful when the path starts to wind as it does. Svoli shifts her weight to help him with his dexterity leaning into the way he has to go. But he just doesn't get enough of a run up to the pair of fallen trees and his hind hoof just clips it on his way over. "Gonna stop showing off and focus Al?" the stallion snorts as he shakes his head before stretching it out into a run again, wanting to keep their lead.
Haakon tosses Finn the rib bone and roughs the hound's ears for a moment. He gives eye to the race, sniffing sharply as notices Svoli so far out in front. "Fuck. Did they all start at the same time?" Then his eye shifts to Raziel. A short dip of his head and shoulders in greeting.
Steve, an ungainly pelican arrives, delivering a message to Svoli before departing.
"To carry the wounded to you, or to carry you to them?" Raziel asks Medeia, glancing to the young woman. "I suppose I could add that duty to my Confessors, yet my pride is far too stubborn for it, I fear." he rasps. "Seems like there's yet to be anyone to catastrophically dive into the ground headfirst. Was your intent to be here in case such occurred, or do you have friends participating?" he asks, to Medeia and Haakon both. "Ah, I've not introduced myself. I am Lord Raziel Bisland. A pleasure." He smiles. It is not a pretty smile.
Felicia nearly falls victim to the same obstacle as Jeffeth, coming hard up behind him, when he gets collected by the rope she has to juke right and only just makes it over the fallen logs. She has to adjust her seat while Wrecking Ball keeps thundering on, losing ground to the rest of the pack in the process.
"Carrots and apples for weeks!" Bree chimes triumphantly as she surpasses Jeffeth, because he was too wrapped up in spying her behind to see the ropes in front. She rides more swiftly than any other this pass, gaining ground, but Svoli still maintains that lead. A hunch of her back, and she settles in her seat to continue the attempt to gain the lead, and hopefully not suffer the same fate as the Grandmaster.
How IS Thea still in this. Apparently those lessons paid off. Getting into the right position, Thea manages but Soxette? She makes the jump but barely. She knicks the logs, but hey. That's alright. She's alright. Eying Drake ahead of her, Thea lifts an eyebrow. "Oh no...,"and tries to catch up.
After the crossed logs, it's a short run through the forest to jump over a rocky creek. Or splash through it. You do you, horsepeople. Just don't die. The rocks are uneven and might spook the horses, or even cause a fall. YOU NEVER KNOW.
Brigida watches with interest as she watches the race and those returning back with a mixture of tsks and chuckles, squinting at the horses to make sure they seem uninjured. The riders don't get much attention however.
Brianna has called for a check of strength and ride at normal.
Critical Success! Thea is spectacularly successful.
Bree is successful.
Svoli is successful.
Drake is successful.
Felicia is marginally successful.
Sighing as he goes to gather up Friend, he rolls his massive shoulders, making his way over to Aconite. He raises up one hand to her in a small greeting with a little smile. Jeffeth pets the mane of the mare as he looks over to Aconite and her steed. "Want company on the walk of shame back?"
Aconite gets herself standing and brushes off her tunic. She flashes a quick grin at Jeffeth, "Who puts ropes on trees?" She laughs again still catching her breath as Narciso - trained to stay near his rider - trots around the trees with a high prancing step and whip of his tail. One might almost think he's annoyed the ride is over. "There's always next year." She glances the direction the riders went and begins to walk back to the starting line. "I would. I made it to the last jump last year.. I'm not going to live this down."
A gleeful laugh spills past Medeia's lips at Raziel's question about carrying. "You don't know how close to the truth you are, my lord." She nods ut to the racers, then motions at Caleb. "A few friends in the race, and Lady Brianna is a friend as well. Her ward, Caleb, is apprenticing with me, and mostly? I am here to ensure no one dies. Though if they do?" An amused shrug, "They have a Harlequin to attend them." When he introduces himself her smiles fades slightly, "Bisland? Hm." She nods, curtseying slightly. "Lady Medeia Eswynd, and my husband, Lord Haakon Eswynd."
Haakon sniffs sharply at Raziel's greeting. "To carry her off if'n the sport grows dull," he quips to his duties here, as Medeia makes introductions. "Fair met," he bids the Grayson. Mention of friends gets a kid and look to the riders. "Aye, there's-" A pause and frown. "That can't be Thea, she's doing too well."
What's this!? Alban's no longer in the lead? Oh hell no! The Volkov stallion snorts his irritation even as Svoli on his back scoffs when she sees Bree pass them. The next part of the course is riden with an almost dangerous disregard for care as the palomino works to make up that ground. The rocky creek doesn't seem to spook him, not with Svoli in his ear telling him he's the best stalliont hat ever was and that he is going to get so pampered if he pulls through on this. Svoli's blue-violet eyes are locked on the horse that has just surpassed them, a fire in them to regain the lead.
Brigida tottles over to the gathered Raziel, Medeia and Haakon and comments, "We should have placed wagers down on this before they began!"
Hold onto your hats. Hold onto your--reins? Because well--coming in strong with a wink to Drake is--Thea and Soxette. At the creek, Soxette doesn't even think, she just ever so gracefully jumps, her long legs effortlessly clearning the rocky terrain. Even Thea may look surprised. Leaning forward, she murmurs to her mare,"You're doing great. We may be a team after all. I bet Drake is regretting his lessons and Svoli is cheering for being the better the teacher."
"Brianna." Jeffeth answers flatly to Aconite's question. "She'll pay for this slight." He shakes his fist in faux rage, his words containing no real heat or venom, his lips are twisted into an amused smile. Falling in line with Aconite and Narciso, Friend moves in beside Jeffeth's shoulder as they walk towards the beginning of the race. "Ah. Most people will forget." He murmurs quietly. "Unless You specifically talk a big game at the beginning to someone specific. Then they will definitely remember. You didn't do that did you?"
It's another good little jump, as Cider gets over the water obstacle with a sure-footed leap. He sticks the landing, but it's not at a breakneck speed. Drake looks over to his side to see Thea catching up, and then pushing past him with a sudden burst. He can't help but laugh. "Look at you! Who taught you how to ride?" He doesn't seem like he's regretting this too much, but... maybe a little.
Brianna hears her name coming from the Solace Grandmaster and she turns, her spidersilk gown shimmering in the sunlight. "What will I pay for, Sir Jeffeth?" she asks, all sugar and spice and maybe a little bit of a rusty dagger.
Bree's concentration on the race seems to be paying off, because she's pushed Shay forward, riding past Svoli with the thundering sound of hooves against ground. "That's it!" she calls out, the warm wind bringing a pleasant pinkness to her cheeks as she leans forward all the more. "Come on. Almost there!" Her lead is not great, and like the Grandmaster and others who found themselves cast out from the race, there is real risk of her fumbling over some rock or patch of ground, so she stays in it.
Wrecking Ball is perhaps wondering why there's no apparent enemies to trample or lances to avoid or something. And Felicia probably isn't helping with her trying to urge a horse built for stamina to try and mimic a lighter steed. The big black is slowly losing ground and dropping to the back of the back, regardless of the imprecations being heaped upon his poor sooty head by the Harrow.
Once the riders clear the stream, the trail gets trickier. It's full of unexpected turns, uneven terrain and low-hanging branches, all sorts of things that can throw an unwary horse and rider, even ones that aren't going at stupidly fast speeds like these idiots. I mean competitors.
Brianna has called for a check of dexterity and ride at hard.
TIE: Svoli is marginally successful. Felicia is marginally successful.
Bree is marginally successful.
"My Lady, My Lord." Raziel nods to both Medeia and Haakon in turn, his lips twisting in a grimace that one, if feeling generous, may interpret as an amused smirk. "Come death or boredom, you two seem quite ready to handle both." he notes. "Though you've made me curious, My Lady." he says to Medeia. "Have you met other Bislands before?" Apparently something of her reaction caught his attention. Not that the race completely escapes him, as he remarks after Haakon's comment. "I met Lady Thea once, I believe. I don't think discussion ever came close to riding. If she's not known for it, it's quite surprising she's made it this far." And that is when his gaze turns to Brigida and he chuckles. Not the most pleasant of sounds, rattling as it does. "Wager without knowing the riders and their horses? An interesting notion, Archlector, but it certainly would have brought some added excitement."
Aconite grins sidelong at Jeffeth, "Thankfully not to anyone in this city." She replies with a little laugh as she walks along with Narciso plodding behind with his nose low as they head back in. Brianna's words make her grin and she moves around from between the two and adds cheerfully to the Godsworn, "You're on your own on this one." She winks and looks down as another messenger appears. "Perhaps fourtunate timing." She hums to herself, "Good riding." She offers everyone before gesturing to Alejandro that they're leaving.
"Rope placement." Jeffeth rumbles lowly to Briana with an arch of the good side of his brow. Glancing out to those still racing, he grimaces slightly. There's another little wave to Aconite as she goes to leave before falling in next to Brianna with his gigantic horse following him. He leans against the beasts flank as he watches.
Briar, the fleet and agile shrike, Narciso, a tall light rose-grey Jennet stallion with tiger eyes and a dark mane and ombre tail, Alejandro, a gravely sober Torean in Fidante Livery leave, following Aconite.
Brianna blinks at Jeffeth. "The ropes are tying the logs together," she says, confused. Not too confused to enjoy some of these ribs, though.
"Yes, well." Jeffeth grunts before smiling lightly. "I didn't make sense it would make sense did I?"
Bree's barreling along the trail, and she ducks a low hanging branch, the prickling twigs catching in her hair, threatening to yank her back, but she shakes them free! With a lean she's galloping around a curve, and both Svoli and Felicia manage to pass her. She gasps in surprise, a delighted flash in her eyes to see the competition so tight. Her smile is wide, the glee she feels in these moments clear.
Brianna bumps Jeffeth amiably with her shoulder. "You never make sense, Sir Jeffeth, but that's all right."
Well, Thea never claimed she was an EXPERIENCED rider. Not at all. As the trail gets curvier and well--lets face it. Not even a little even, her and Soxette don't fare well. And Thea may be smart but Soxette is running on adrenaline. Not listening to the Malvici rider well when she tries to get her to turn, Soxette opts the other way. A battle ensues. And Soxette trots away in the opposite direction, not even close to where they are supposed to be going. Stubborn. Mare.
Some of the smaller branches and such Felicia's horse simply barrels through them rather than attempt to necessarily dodge. He doesn't turn on a silver, though he's nimble enough on the narrow pathways, evidently the stallion figures to a degree that if his rider can't duck then she deserves a face full of pine needles.
Drake may be a bit too focused on the fact that Thea passed him, and he kicks Cider to catch up. This turns out to... not be the right call at the right time, when suddenly a sharp turn catches up with him. He's supposed to go left- he doesn't, and the horse just ends up careening into the woods. Drake ducks under a branch that never should've been in his path in the first place... takes another sharp swerve trying to get back to the path... and gets tossed. He lands in a pile of leaves, taking it with a roll. The horse keeps running a few more yards before he realizes he's lost his rider, and stumbles to a stop.
Haakon comments dryly on the subject of wagering on unknown riders, "If I wanted to throw away silvers I'd cast them in the sea and call it an offering." To Raziel, he notes, "Mayhap she's better at riding than I'd-" And in that moment Thea leaves the course. "Nay, that's her, for certain." A short grunt of flat humor.
When Svoli sees the trickier terrain coming up, she utters a single growled, "Fuck!" Before hunkering down as close as she can against Alban's neck, ecouraging him with half language, half noises made of clicks and whistles. Instructions to guide him through the twisty turns, uneven terrain, pulling back on the speed just enough to feel safe as they move through this part as if they were one creature not two. Svoli's only mistake was when she misjudged a lowhanging branch and a twig grazes across her cheek, a red line forming soon after, but she does not stop or even cry out, because they are ties for first place, neck and neck with Felicia, and they are not going down without a fight.
At long last, the riders emerge from the woods, back into the clearing. There is one last obstacle before the finish line: A tall (perhaps dangerously so) wall made of fallen trees dragged from the wood. It's uneven, there's probably something living in it, and it's really tall. Have fun jumping over that.
Brianna has called for a check of strength and ride at hard.
Bree is marginally successful.
Felicia marginally fails.
Caleb has finished eating - which would be impressive given how much he ate, but he is 10 and therefore can eat faster than a pack of dogs. He comes to stand beside Medeia and she ruffles his hair (which he hates). He grumps off to the side while she looks to Raziel, and then an affectionate smile given toward Haakon. "Mm, quite ready indeed." As for other Bislands? "Yes, I am close with Lady Kaia, her husband is a longtime friend of mine, and Lady Zoey is one of the first people I met when I came to the city. She's one of my neighbors, now, in Crimson Square. I've also met Lord Michael." The last is stated matter-of-factly. She's not much of a wagering person, but dips her chin in greeting to Brigida before hearing Haakon's words about THea. "Ah, she's fine... But Drake. Might need a hand. Maybe."
Brianna makes her way over to Medeia, Haakon and Caleb. "I hope this one isn't being too much trouble." It's not clear whether she means Caleb or Haakon.
Wrecking Ball stops, because there's a bloody squirrel. Lances and swords and enemies are one thing, but the big stallion just doesn't know how to handle a squirrel to judge from the way he puts on the all-four hooves brakes, only to get a nudge in the short ribs from the redhead. Up he goes, mane flying in the wind... and down he comes like a tonne of bricks, jarring Felicia from the saddle entirely so that she goes ass over teakettle and flops out on the ground. Did anyone get the number of that carriage?
Brigida hmphs as she notices the ending of the race but she bangs her staff on the ground in appreciation of the winner. "I'm not sure how many of these lot would have fared in a proper hunt in the forest." She chuckles and shakes her head in wry amusement before giving Medeia a pleasant nod in return.
Haakon eyes Brianna flatly, before answering utterly deadpan, "I'll be troublesome as I like." Sidelong, Caleb gets the faintest of nods.
Thea has slid off Soxette and walks her over to Medeia and co. There's a brief mutter, lowering her voice a moment. "If anyone asks, I still beat Drake."
Perhaps the friendly rivalry with Jeffeth that infused Bree with so much spice for the ride, because she finds that burst of energy in the end, the ability to stay in her saddle (barely), and the victory to the end point! Shay performs well, right there with her rider at every stride, and when they reach the finish of the race, there's a slowing to the animal, and a wild spin of rider in seat to look around and smile widely at seeing she was the first across.
"No trouble at all," Medeia says with a grin, leaning in to nudge Brianna gently. It also isn't clear if she is referring to Caleb or Haakon. Haakon's response has her nose wrinkling, but she's still smiling. Her attention flicks back to Brigida, however, offering, "Harlequin Medeia Eswynd," in introduction. She settles for a bit, watching Thea approach. "Of course, you beat Drake."
Despite his VERY unfriendly rivalry with Bree, when the woman wins the race there is a loud whooping from the giant man, Jeffeth clapping vigorously when she eventually starts to make her way back to where everyone waits.
Jeffeth is overheard praising Bree.
Drake comes back to the starting line, leading the horse again. He's a bit... dusty. It's just in time to hear 'I beat Drake'... which he's dubious about, but then he laughs again. "You WERE beating me," he confesses. "But, it looks like the victory is to Bree this time."
Drake is overheard praising Bree: An excellent chase!
Finally an open stretch where Alban can really let himself go and Svoli just has to hold on, her hand tight in his mane as she doesn't even bother with reins anymore. That might have been a mistake. The wall looms ahead, and at first Svoli is eyeing it confidentally. No sweat. The closer they get though, the less confident she becomes as Alban thunders towards the wall. She tries to guide him to a spot that might look not as tall, where the folliage is dense. And finally they are there, and Alban is in the air, and he is definitely not going to make it over it. Shit. His legs and belly clips the branches and send up a burst of leave obscuring him for a moment until he is over on the other side. Only problem is, Svoli's not with him. One of the various leather straps on her outfit has snagged ong a branch and now the petite woman is dangling helplessly as she kicks her legs and waves her arms, cursing so hard it would make a sailor blush.
Medeia is overheard praising Bree.
Thea is overheard praising Bree.
Merek makes a way from the place after noting something in a messenger!
Medeia is overheard praising Felicia.
"I'd expect no less. And there's a few fresh racks of ribs coming out of the pit -- thought you might want to be the first to know," Brianna says with a grin to Haakon. She bows her head politely to Brigida. "Blessed Brigida, what a treat to see you! I hope the sport and refreshments are to your liking."
Medeia is overheard praising Svoli.
"I suppose luck turns for everyone." Raziel remarks after Haakon as both watch the unfortunate end to Thea's otherwise strong attempt. Medeia's own answer has the Bisland focus on her a moment more before he nods. "I can see who left a good impression among my kin." And those that did not goes unsaid, but might as well be. "Good to know. I am glad the Ladies have made up for it." But the race is over and here comes the victors and those who made a good effort to be such! "No deaths. Not even severely wounded. Perhaps we should indeed have a hunt next time." he nods in Brigida's direction. "More likely to get people shooting or stabbing each other. It'd be fun."
"Urgh." Felicia offers, raising a fist and shaking it at her horse when he comes back to whuffle at her. A hand stretched up so that she can haul herself up and try to get her bearings, muttering at the big black,"You're like... twenty times it's size... really." with a faint tone of disgust before she turns slowly towards Svoli dangling from the wall with a wry smile,"Need some help there?"
"Once you're all cleaned up and the medics have fussed over you to their satisfaction, I would like to see our three finalists to give them their prizes!" Brianna calls out, her strong lungs carrying the sound throughout the forest clearing. She spots the dangling Svoli. "And if someone could rescue Lady Volkov, it would be greatly appreciated."
Thea looks over to Raziel and smiles a moment. "Lord Raziel. Nice to see you again,"she greets, watching as Rocco leads Soxette away. "And yes, Bree absolutely did win,"giving a wave to the woman. "COngratulations." There's a pause though, as if realizing. "There's food and drinks. I should get some,"bowing her head to Brigida as well. "Blessed Brigida. Good evening."
Haakon's stony manner cracks abruptly in a sharp barked laugh that passes just as quickly. The cause? Seeing Svoli dangling from a tree-barrier. "That one rode like a fucking centaur, before turning into a leather fruit." Aside to Thea, "Course you did, we all saw."
With a quiet laugh, Jeffeth rumbles over to Friend, quickly mounting as he starts trotting out towards Svoli and Felicia. He is very big and very tall, as he comes along underneath Svoli he offers one hand up to her. "If you'd like some help down, my lady." The big man calls out, "I believe Dame Felicia and I could get you down together if we both really focus."
Brigida gives Medeia a careful examination at her introduxtion and mutters, "Harlequins seem to be multipling like rabbits now. Well... good to see you Medeia." Raziel's comment gets a chuckle, "There's no shooting or stabbing anything but the quarry on the hunt... lest I chastise people personally." Thea gets a waved blessing in greeting, "Now that is an appropriate greeting Lady Thea. Good for a Malvici."
"Lady Thea, likewise." Raziel answers Thea, nodding in greeting. "My congratulations on not only making it this far, but doing so without injury to yourself or your horse. I remember when I last rode in these woods at speed." To Brigida he notes. "In theory, only the quarry of the hunt receives such attention. But how often do hunting accidents occur, mm? One should never underestimate the damage caused by incompetence, recklessness or bad luck." he smirks.
"Ummm. Yeah please, if you could just...." Svoli tries to disentangle herself from the branch and where it's hooking onto her, a strap across her back, but she can't quite reach. "I can't get it." She pouts kicking her legs and getting her to swinging.
Jeffeth checks strength and athletics at normal. Jeffeth is marginally successful.
Felicia checks strength and athletics at normal. Felicia is marginally successful.
Bree rides Shay back to the start with far less speed than she took her to the end, leaning over frequently to pat the horse on the neck for a job well done. When she nears the group, she easily slides from the back of Shay and leads her to some water, just in time to be presented with her winnings. "Oh," she blinks at the necklace. "This is beautiful," she laughs. "Perhaps too beautiful for me, I think." Her thumb runs over the compass thoughtfully.
"Stay." Felicia informs Wrecking Ball, as if he were a dog, coming over to join Jeffeth and Svoli so that she can help lower the Volkov safely to the ground. It's not graceful, but it works. A wry smile shared with Jeffeth accompanied by the dip of her head,"C'mon. I think they're waiting for us."
Brianna decides to find her winners individually, rather than have an award ceremony. The food and the company is too good to interrupt it with something so formal. The prizes are all similar: pendants worked in the shape of a compass rose, inlaid with enamel with a gemstone sparkling in the center. The first place pendant has a diamond, and is handed over to Dame Bree with a kiss to the cheek and a fresh mug of cider. Dame Felicia's has a ruby at the center, and is handed over with a warm hug. Lady Svoli... Brianna waits until Jeffeth and Felicia manage to get her down to the ground before giving the lady her prize, which features an emerald.
"Nonsense, Bree. Nothing is too beautiful for you. Take it from one Bree to another," she says with a grin.
"Well." Medeia doesn't know what else to say to Raziel on the subject of his family, so she doesn't. "Leather fruit?" She says in confusion, looking up at Haakon before glancing out at Svoli. Oh. The petite woman frets slightly, but stays back, waiting to see if she is needed. Caleb looks antsy and disappointed at the lack of injuries.
Brianna is overheard praising Bree.
Brianna is overheard praising Felicia.
Brianna is overheard praising Svoli.
The big man glances over at Felicia. "If we lift her up by her legs we can give her the leverage to unhook herself, mm?" Jeffeth guides his horse over towards the dangling Svoli. Pressing up in his stirrups, the Grandmaster goes to hook one massive arm around one leg, going to push up. Once Felicia and Svoli get down, the horribly scarred knight gives a soft smile to the woman. "There you are." He rumbles lowly, bowing his head to her. "Sir Jeffeth Bayweather, of the Silver Order. At your service." He pipes brightly before heading back towards the group, letting out another whooping cry for Bree.
"Oh thank you." Svoli says to both Jeffeth and Felicia when they help her down. She's light, it's not hard. Once she's one the ground, she whistles sharply and laban comes running his tail fanning out behind him, pleased of his showing, obviously. Then she approached Brianna for her prize
Svoli belately bobs her head at Jeffeth's introduction with a crooked smile. "Lady Svoli Volkov." She replies simply. (OOC: Because player keeps missing things)
Brianna is overheard praising Jeffeth.
"Hey." Jeffeth adds in to Svoli. Smile.
Drake is overheard praising Brianna.
Thea blinks over at Svoli, just noticing the commotion. "What happened to you,"watching as the jolly not green giant and Felicia are helping out whatever is going on.
Felicia offers with a wry grin,"Dame Felicia Harrow." is all that she offers, sketching Brianna a bow as the pendant is given over, for all that she seems to eye that ruby like she thinks it might just bite her,"Thank you, my lady. That was... invigorating."
"Fucking tree got me." Is all the response Thea will get from Svoli.
"I won't blame the horse for my failure this time," Drake says, shaking his head. "I should have watched that turn better." He pats Cider on the flank. The horse is a bit damp from the hard run in the warm weather. "We should lead off and get a drink." He looks at Svoli, adding, "The horse, I mean. Are you trainer also?" he asks Svoli. "You were doing well and ... I didn't see the rest." Only heard her.
Brigida clucks her tongue and looks thoughtful for a moment, "I wonder if it would be worthwhile heading to the Lodge. There's probably some good eating to be had there as well. I probably had better make sure the place hasn't fallen apart while I've been gone.'
"Hey Drake,"Thea calls over. "You owe ME a drink." There's a hint of amusement on her lips. "Are you alright Svoli? Need a drink? Shot? You did really well you know."
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