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House Grayson Presents: A Tournament of Swords (Opening Night)

Panoply! Delight! Excitement! Adventure! If not adventure, at least games! Fabulous prizes! Public acclaim! House Grayson hosts a Tournament of Swords in honor of Gloria, of glory, honor, and also good old-fashioned showing off who is the winningest! Opening Night will contain:

A SWIMMING RACE!

A SPRINTERS' RACE!

A LONG DISTANCE RUN!

A MARTIAL PARADE!

A MUSICIANS' TOURNEY!

Games, food and drink, fun for the whole family, and of course, the opportunity to look publicly very silly if you so choose. Facepainters, jongleurs, hawkers, children's performers, etc., please make contact with our organizers in advance of our frabjous day.

Date

July 26, 2018, 8:30 p.m.

Hosted By

Tikva Sabella Coraline

Participants

Caspian Cristoph Norwood Alaric Arthen Felicia Waldemai Niklas Signe Victus Lucita Jordan Gianna Helia Alexio

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Eastern Approach - Beaches

Largesse Level

Grand

Comments and Log

Gianna

I enjoyed hearing my fellow musicians play in the musician's tourney. I wasn't entirely certain how such a contest was going to work, but it did. Truly, there is so much talent in this city.


Merril, a scholarly aide, Warrior, a skittish pygmy goat kid arrive, following Felicia.

There is a carnival atmosphere that has swelled out throughout the beach, with food and drink, banners, facepainters and a couple of jugglers and ribbon-dancers. Several musicians are sitting around one of the picnic tables, playing bright and sprightly tunes with drums and strings. Tikva is standing near them and gesturing amiably with direction as more guests of the upcoming festival begin to arrive.

Caspian has joined the Beneath Trees.

Victus is marching to the beach with gusto. Guards, a cat and an unfamiliar hound following him down. He's clad in his usual great coat, coattails every now and then brushing across the surface of the sand ever so slightly. It's a rare occasion when he's coming around with a gin on his face, some actual spirit having taken root in those scarred features of his. The casualness of his gait is telling all by itself as he stands before the water.

Atila arrives, following Signe.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Gianna arrive, following Niklas.

Niklas wields a musical wooden banjo.

Tikva shouts from nearby, "Welcome, everyone!"

Cora is in a hurry, so much hurry, she scrambles onto the beach actually sliding in the sands with her guards and Fraja scrambling after her, she looks around to see if either Tikva or Sabella note how late she is before straightening her clothing and doing her damnedest to look like she was here all along to help organize, cause she is a helper!

A tournament? Music? /Contests?/ Cristoph is here. He wanders down to the beach, going solo for the evening it would seem. Or at least until someone meets up with him. He ambles along, happy to poke his nose into things as they come up.

Caspian strolls down the beach, meandering his way through the crowd with a grin on his lips as he tries to find a place for himself to hang out while he awaits for the festivals to get underway. Seeing Victus, his grin, and his pets, he approaches, giving the man a wave of his hand. "Your grace. You are looking quite happy. Were you looking forward to this?"

Felicia's 'off-duty', at least to judge from the fact she's in her black leathers as she makes her way towards the beach with her aide, and a fainting goat wearing a teeny little harness adorned with the sigil of the King's Own, mostly letting Merril and the laughably named 'Warrior' do the leading for the moment.

Before her slippers touch the sand Signe removes leather obstruction in order to feel the luke-warm grains beneath her barefeet. Atila trotts casually at her side as they make their way towards the beach, quite ready and eager for the festivities to begin.

Walking down onto the beach, Alexio Donatti is arm in arm with Helia. The two are talking about something or other, some super charming and adorable small talk no doubt, but all of that changes as Alexio spies the atmosphere that awaits them. "Wow," he says aside toward Helia. "I didn't know that it was going to be like this," he says, looking toward the ribbon dancers and jugglers.

Tikva fills her lungs in a bellow to carry across the busy beach, over the music and laughter of a few of the children. Her own child is among some of other kids, getting lion-bird painted on his face. Her breath puffs with the flash of her teeth in a grin, and she spreads her arms wide. "Thank you all for coming to the Tournament of Swords! House Grayson is delighted to welcome you all to our first evening's worth of fun and games. Grab a drink, grab some food, enjoy yourselves! Our first game of the night will be coming up in just a moment, so if you've brought a bathing costume and you want to join in for a chance to win the first of our fabulous prizes, start lining up by the surf!"

Sabella is already making the rounds and talking to people while making sure little things are being set up. "None greater than Grayson at, wel, everything!" She beams at Alexio, "The dancers are great though aren't they? Are you going to compete tonight?"

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Signe before departing.

Alaric strolls in with the usual excessive crowd-parting retinue in tow, off to greet the event hosts straight off as one does. "Quite the festive atmosphere we've got here, Tikva," he declares with an approving smile to her as she's the first one he finds. Probably the shouting helped. "I think that this whole tournament will be quite a hit with the citizenry! Do let me know if having a King sitting around and drinking would be helpful at any particular juncture." He raises a mug he's already snagged indicatively.

Waldemai crosses his arms and stands well back, bathing costumes not being among his possessions.

Victus has joined the line.

Caspian has joined the line.

Signe has joined the line.

Cristoph has joined the line.

Coraline has joined the line.

A swimming contest? There's a river by Artshall, surely that means that Cristoph knows how to swim. Or at the very least, he knows how to not /drown/. When the call to meet up by the surf is dictated, he heads in that directin. Though he does stop to grab a drink a long the way.

Caspian has left the Beneath Trees.

Caspian has joined the In the Water.

"I ain't been to a proper tournament since the last tourney of the roses." Victus muses aside to Caspian as he abandons his armored core of wizened soldiers to walk along the beach-side with only animals at his side. "Ain't competed in one for awhile either. Which speakin' of." The Prince rolls his shoulders to remove his coat. "Wanted to do some modelin' didn't ya? Sounds like we got a perfect time." He holds out the bulky garment to Caspian. "Here, can't take this out on the water or it'll fucking drown me."

Half-Mast, a surly little person arrives, following Arthen.

Gianna makes her way onto the beach, her gittern in hand. A few laughing children swarm past her, and she holds her instrument with a vaguely suspicious air until they have passed and taken their grubby, grubby hands with them.

In comes Helia, arm-in-arm with Alexio, using him as a sort of impromtu leaning post post due to the very very very slight limp she's walking with. She nonetheless grins and laughs as the two of them engage in that potentially super charming and adorable small-talk. Then as Alexio takes a good old gander at the sights before them, she nods and smiles widely, "See, I told you! The wise choice." However, as Prince Biscuit makes a run for the sea, she bounds after him, shouting to Alexio, "Wait a second! I need to put this dog back in the ship!" And then she comes back after a few minutes, once the dog is stowed away in a cabin of the Redemption. Waving to Alexandre again, she yells across the beach, "I'm going to try swimming! I think my hip is okay!"

Helia has joined the line.

"Oh, that's me," Caspian says, and he begins taking off his clothing to reveal his swimming clothes underneath, a simple pair of drawstring shorts! "I feel bad for the people here," he says to those already standing before the surf, giving them a challenging grin, "Because I'm gonna win." He looks back to Victus, shaking his head, "Sorry, your grace, I can't right now. I'm going to be too busy leaving all of you in my wake in the water."

1 Saik Guard, Gunther, a Rottweiler, Micana, Golden, an Oakhaven bloodhound arrive, following Lucita.

"Rather confident Master Wild, if I beat nobody else I now wish to beat you at this." Cora says with a broad grin. "I mean, for Thrax of course." She notes this as she sees Victus sans great coat, "And I can't win if I am wearing the coat either, before you mention it, and I am terrible at modelling."

Helia's wincing as she runs, though, so Gods only know how this is going to go.

Tikva laughs at the number of people who head up the beach and claps her hands. "Great!" she calls. "Is everyone ready who is going to swim? You are competing for the first of our fabulous prizes, of course! Six ingots of finest rubicund!"

Signe checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 4 lower.

"Yes, you did tell me,"Alexio says toward Helia with a chuckle, and then he stares after Helia as she goes running off. There is something there, perhaps an amused confusion, but his attention does turn to Sabella. "Well... I do not think that I plan on competing yet. At least not in a swimming contest, by any means. If there is a contest for standing around and looking beautiful... maybe that one I will join in."

Victus checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Helia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Cristoph checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Caspian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Coraline has rolled a critical success!
Coraline checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 77 higher.

Not so long after the start of House Grayson's opening night for their Tournament of Swords, a man named Arthen Dayne comes wandering down the beach, with a much, much smaller man called Half-Mast at his side. Neither of the pair are moving like they're in a hurry, simply enjoying the act of meandering closer to the gathering, until they've arrived. Well, Dayne seems to be enjoying it, anyway. Half-Mast always seems to look just a little bit like he'd rather be anywhere else at the moment, no matter where he's actually at.

Niklas follows Gianna down, banjo in hand. Unlike her he's actually playing his, all tangly twang twang tangling the strings, rolling his drop chords to get that extra twangletwang for which the banjo is so well known. "...and the paint is peeling. My body's moving forward but my mind is reeling..." He slows as he sees the evenings games have already started. "It's always swimming contests or running or lifting logs." He heaves a sigh and swings his banjo around, then picks a swimmer at random and starts cheering for them. "Gooo Lady Signe!"

"Bunch of scared babes." Victus tuts as hangs his coat across the back of his wolfhound, who while completely dull to whatever is going on, is just happy to be helping. The rest of his clothes began to go as well. Shirt off, leaving him bare-chested. No jewelry, no shoes, nothing else. Just him and his pants before he dives headlong into the ocean blue!

Felicia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.

Felicia has joined the line.

"Go!" shouts Tikva at the top of her voice as the swimmers launch into the sea.

"I'm always confident!" Caspian calls out to Coraline, the man says with a grin. And when Tikva announces it's time to go he runs into the water and dives when it is deep enough, hands forward in a rather professional looking dive as he starts to swim with a furious pace. In it to win it for sure!

Time to swim! Cristoph apparently came dressed for this under his clothes. Which seems well prepared! He dives into the water and does a good showing off it, but he's certainly not the best at swimming. But he's not floundering and in need of one of those circular life saving devices! Which is a positive and certainly a good sign.

Felicia didn't count on a swimming contest, clearly, judging from the fact that she strips down to her linen chemise, mercifully for her, as black as everything else she wears, in order to jump into the water with the rest, leaving her armor and sword with a much put-upon looking Merril.

Cora laughs softly at Caspian's words then launches herself into the water as though she were part seal, or otter, probably sea otter, or ...dare I say it...mermaid >.> either way she takes off with strong powerful strokes and makes a good start.

"This time, there's music," Gianna tells Niklas. "I wonder if you get extra points if your song is about swimming or lifting logs." She finds herself a place to watch the swimming, though she doesn't look particularly attentive. She holds her hand up to Niklas. "See my ring? The exact shade of the Bard College's banner." Smug.

Clothes fly over Helia's shoulders up the sands, until she stands in a linen tunic and shorts laced up tight to her body. Eading into the water with a pleased shiver, she lets out a 'nyargh' of mild pain as she waits for a good wave to dive right into. Despite her bruised hip, she propels herself with a strong front crawl through the water, breathing in sharp breaths every time she kicks the bad leg. But she's still giving it her all and loving every moment of it. Competitive!

Sabella laughs at Alexio's response, "There isn't one tonight, maybe tomorrow, although in all fairness they probably haven't put one on the list for I think I would have an unfair advantage." She grins, then turns to cheer on the swimmers! "I don't know how they do that, I could freeze to death just watching them!" She gives a little shiver for emphasis, then brightens considerably when she sees Niklas, "Nik! I see you brought your banjo. And Mistress Gianna! Are you both going to compete in the musicians portion? You're welcome to also try swimming!"

Lucita walks down the path toward the beach carefully, placing each foot so her slippers don't fill with sand, at least not yet. She pauses near the outskirts of the gathering and lets her amber gaze slip from visage to visage and then toward those in the midst of a contest. A slow, warm smile comes to her lips and she moves toward a good location to watch more easily.

Felicia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 54 higher.

Victus checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.

Caspian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Coraline checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Helia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.

Bayberry, an Oakhaven juvenile bloodhound arrives, following Norwood.

Signe shedded her attire to leave on a swimming shift. All her belongings were piled up in no neat order at the base of a tree. She turns partially to her animal companion, "Guard my things Atila. I'll be back." Maybe. With Spring in her steps she hurries over to the others that have lined up to start the race. Signe crouched, excitement brightening her eyes ready to leap in. Hearing her name the shaman reached a hand up, acknowledging the distant cheer from Niklas. At 'Go' she charged forth, water splashing and kicking up beneath her large and broad leaps towards the waters. Just as she was about dive in, the waves pushed her back onto the beach and very far behind the other swimmers.

Signe checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

As the surf gets stronger Cora slows down though she keeps fighting to move onwards she doesn't much pay attention to anything but that next stroke.

Cristoph checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.

Niklas gives Gianna a broad grin. "That's a very nice ring!" He holds up his hand. "Mine is made out of starmetal and duskstones, so I guess it doesn't really match anything. Ah well. I guess I'll just have to live with its beauty and sparkle. Just like the woman who gave it to me!" He looks back out to the swimmers just in time to see Signe, well, just in time to see Signe. "Hm. I swear, whenever I cheer for someone they lose. I may be a jinx."

Forget slow and steady wins the race. Fast and steady wins the race! Dispite the water getting deeper and the currents getting faster Capsian constistantly keeps up the decent pace he is on. He doesn't have the burst of speed that Coraline or Felicia is having, it's just consistantly good swimming. "I'm!" He turns his head in the water, popping it in and out for breaths as he calls to Coraline, "Gonna! Beat! You! Princess!!!"

Alaric takes up a spot at the finish rope and strikes a very official judge-looking pose, inasmuch one can look like a race official with a giant mug of something in hand. Since he doesn't have a lot of potential ties to judge yet, he turns his attention back towards the oncoming swimmers. "Oh my," he observes, pausing right before he brings his mug all the way up to his mouth. "Is somebody out there sinking?"

Jordan is staying away from most of the crowd, settling down on an old tree stump while he watches the swimming. Too late for the competition, he's at least got his armor in a bag rather than on him for this.

"Don't any of those folks know we got ships these days? Swimming is OUT, that's what I heard.", Arthen Dayne says, emerging from the gathered crowd for a moment as if just for a breath of air, before wandering back in to keep doing whatever it is he's doing there. Socializing, some might call it.

Gianna inclines her head to Sabella, and to Alexio as well. "Your Highness, Master Donatti. Yes to the music, no to the swimming. I don't particularly care to be cold and wet while I sing." Niklas shows her HIS ring and her eyes narrow slightly. She looks back down at her own. It's gold and a sapphire! But HIS is star iron and duskstone. Her eyes narrow slightly.

Cristoph continues with the swimming! He's very good at not drowning! He's probably not winning, but this is okay. He doesn't seem concerned about whether or not this water might be kind of cold.

Victus is putting his best into it, though he doesn't seem as in-it to win-it as others. Regardless he's keeping up a good pace all the while, the big man wading through the waves like a shark without a fin. Or a tail. Or a lot of big teeth. He's swimming like some kinda fish though, a big one.

That bruised hip seems to be slowing Helia down now. After a while, the kicks of her legs get less and less frequent, until she's gliding through the water at a more leisurely but still nippy speed. Competition seems to be at the back of her mind now, and instead she just enjoys the cool salt-infused sway of the waters, ducking underneath them a few times before she surfaces again.

Felicia probably should have taken off her chemise. Not that the linen is heavy, but it's just flowy enough that there's some floundering in the efforts to try to keep up with Princess Mermaid, Caspian, and Victus. But at least apparently decides that the extra speed wouldn't be worth the time trying to shirk the wet material. Not bad for a girl from the Lowers, at least.

Tikva jogs forward to the edge of the surf, just in case she needs to dive in to aid any of the contestants, like a medieval life guard of some kind. She's concerned about some of that thrashing. Clapping her hands, she calls, "Here they come towards the finish--"

Niklas turns and kisses Sabella on the cheek. "My love, I come from the Islands. I would be unfair for someone who swims like a fish to participate against regular folk. However, I will surely participate in the musical portion, so I may lose to the two brightest stars in Arvum's skies."

There is a snort from Alexio at Sabella's comment back toward him. He nods toward her and says, "You are probably right. That is most likely why they haven't put one in. /We/ would have an unfair advantage." Looking back toward the waters, he cups his hands around his mouth and shouts out encouragement for Helia before turning his gaze back around to those nearby. Niklas and Gianna get a friendly smile, as does Lucita as she steps down onto the short, the man waving her over to join them if she should wish.

Victus checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.

Caspian has rolled a critical success!
Caspian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 133 higher.

Felicia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Cristoph checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

Coraline checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Soaked and drenched, Signe spit out a healthy amount of sea water from her mouth as treaded along the water not too far from the shore. She made very little progress as the waves pulled and pushed the shaman away and towards the bank. Occasionally she called out, "I'm got this!" Until another wave pulled her under again.

Signe checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 2 higher.

Helia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

The Compact's newest Baron (unless some NPC dude died and the kid too over) is fashionably late to this party. Taking himself down to the beach he pulls up short near Sabella and Niklas, settling into a soldier's parade ground resting pose.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Niklas before departing.

"I think that High Lord Victus must've been born in the water," Sabella comments to Alexio, giving Arthen a big smile and a wave when she sees him, "Do you see how easily he moves through it? Though a surprising amount of the swimmers out there are very good! Or, I suppose it's not surprising, for why would you jump into an ice cold ocean if you weren't a wonderful swim--" she pauses and looks out to see Signe. "Ah, all in good fun, I suppose! I...think we have a plan for if things go wrong. I'm sure we do." She sounds like she's trying to convince herself as much as everyone else. She grins at Alexio, "Since the King is here, I daresay we'd both lose, even with an unfair advantage." She reaches out to give one of Niklas' hands a little squeeze, "I'm not competing! Maybe for one I didn't help plan. But I already know what's to be won where so it feels a touch unfair if I try. How terrible would it look when I swept more than one category?"

Seeing Caspian having apparently prepared with beans or something for wind power and just let loose to blow past Cora ups her own effort, she will make a good showing, she WILL!

Someone needs to check Caspian for performance enhacing drugs. Or maybe a Mail'aflar is under him, carrying him, because on the last leg of the race he puts his all into it and swims with some amazing speed, cutting through the water like he was born in it. Furiously he paddles until he hits the end point, likely leaving everyone in his litereal wake now.

Gianna inclines her head to Norwood when he comes to a halt nearby. She's still sulking a bit about the rings, but she'll get over it. Probably.

After a bit of a break, having slowed her pace a little, Helia takes another go at kicking faster. Her body glides through the water smoothly, and although she's not going to win the competition, not by a long shot, she's not drowning either. So that's good!

Tikva exclaims in surprise as a burst of strength and speed allows Caspian to cruise past the rest of the competition towards the finish. Coraline's strong start makes it relatively close but there is no arguing with the conclusion as Caspian's strong stroke brings him first back out of the surf. "AND THE WINNER," Tikva calls. "Master Caspian Wild!"

Alexio nods his head toward Norwood as the man moves to join them, offering him a friendly, "Good day, friend. I am Alexio Donatti. It is a pleasure to meet you, I'm sure." He then looks past the man toward Gianna and he says, "You mentioned your singing earlier. I am glad that I'll get to hear you in such a short amount of time. I am sure you will do wonderfully."

Lucita gives a little nod, her smile extending to those she knows and lightly steps toward Alexio once the gesture toward her is seen. "Oh, that does look exciting, though nothing I'd do very well trying. I have managed to improve enough in swimming that my effort does not look like a froth of elbows and heels and and a desperate grimace with eyes closely shut so not to get water in them any more. Still, it is ore a matter of 'not drowning' and managing, usually, to move in the direction I want to go but usually in a warm springs or pool, or the shallows.

The line has been dismissed by Tikva.

Cristoph doesn't come out the winner in this race, not by a long shot. But he finishes it out and makes it back to shore. Once he's there, he notices Norwood standing there and watching. He waves to him enthusiastically and goes to retrieve his clothes, which he'll put back on after he finds a towel. Somewhere. There are probably towels!

Once out of the water Cora pats Caspian on the back, "Well done Master Wild, very well done indeed. You did as you claimed and won the day. I admit I am impressed." She grins and goes to dry off.

At last the shaman has found her groove in the water, managing to stay afloat while doggy paddling along the constant waves seeking to push Signe back to the shore. Some natural element perhaps suggesting that the northerner belonged on land rather than the open sea. Still through all her flundering it was a slow struggle to remain a participant in the race. Even though she as constantly spitting out the salty taste of the ocean the northerner remained determined to finish, laughing all the way.

"Princess Sabella, are you at every social thing goin' on here in Arx? I get the feeling you are.", Arthen Dayne asks, meandering over to the Grayson Royal, "I hope you faired decent-like in saving all those orphans I heard about earlier, the ones from that fire. Mighty impressive how you talked the fire down like that. Going to be some gossip about that for sure.", he admits, his attention on the swimmers by only half right now.

Bursting through the waves, Caspian comes out with his arms raised, calling out, "YES!" When Coraline pats him on the back, he gives her a hefty pat on the shoulder, "You did good! I was worried you were going to beat me!" He says back to her with a grin her way. "It was a close race! You're a worthy opponent!"

"That lad's quite the closer," Alaric notes to Zelda as he has her hold his mug so he can applaud politely. "Very well done, swimmers, that was quite an exciting race!"

Laughing Cora nods, "Oh don't worry I am sure there are other things we can try and beat each other on to come. Hopefully things I will be equally worthy at opponenting."

"All right, everyone!" Tikva cheers with a pump of her fist in the air. "Take a moment to dry off, get something nice to drink, watch the dancers!" She dances a little hop and skip through flying ribbons, gesturing with broad sweeps of her hands. "--Everyone who is going to try for our long distance run, come on over here to where we have marked the beach with these /super/ pretty shells!"

"A fire is only dangerous when it's heated and a calming word always soothes even the most tempestuous flames," Sabella replies to Arthen with a laugh, then looks over as the swimmers emerge. "Oh, pardon me for a moment," she says to the group, before hurrying over to speak with a bunch of the party attendants, who start hurriedly pouring tea, coffee, and hot chocolate to bring over to the swimmers along with fluffy towels that have been warmed by the fire! "Make sure you dry off and warm up so you can keep competing or just watch in comfort!" She calls out to them. "Congratulations, Master Caspian!"

Clambering back up to the shoreline is Victus, drenched entirely as he marches out from the surf. His matted dark brown hair sticking to the back of his neck and hanging in messy strands across his face. His hound gallops up to greet him, while his cat has picked a nice warm spot on the sands to watch the proceedings from. He ruffles the shaggy dog's head with a calloused hand. "Blood is pumping and full o' salt. The way it should be."

Waldemai is much more suited to long distance running than swimming. "Those are pretty shells," he says, noticing them. "Are they marking the raceway?"

Hearing Tikva, Cora grins at Caspian, "Like say, a long distance run? No better way to dry off and warm up both than to run no?" She begins heading towards the super pretty shells to get ready for a race, by warming up and jumping a bit.

Gianna inclines her head to Arthen, too. "The Princess essentially is at every event, yes," she informs him. She turns her head to regard him, arching a brow. "Will you be competing in the race?"

Caspian takes the hot chocolate and towel from Sabella, giving her a wide grin, "Thank you!" He takes a sip of the chocolate and drapes the towel over his shoulder. Looking over to Coraline, he nods, saying to her, "If you can't beat me in the water, maybe you'll beat me on land!" He heads towards the shells as well, remaining in what he swam in for now. Seems like it'd be a good idea!

There's a series of gasps and pants that burst out of Helia's lungs as she stumbles back up the beack, but then after a few moments bent over double, she lifts her hands over her head with a big whoop of happiness. "YEAH! Grandmaster Caspian! Whoooo!" And then she reaches down, fetches up her clothes into a bundle in her arms and trudges up the beach towards where Sabella and Alexio stand. Dripping wet and still wearing her tunic and shorts, she looks an absolute mess, with bits of seaweed tangled into her hair. Then she grins wide and chuckles breathily, "Alright, now my hip really is sore. Last time I fight with Lord Arik before I go swimming. Ouch!"

Norwood nods back to both Ginna and then Arthen with both of them make various greeting things in his direction. "S- Baron Norwood Clement." The man has to stop himself and put the right title on there. "If you'll pardon me?" He makes his way over to Cristoph to remark, "I keep thinking you'll grow out of it my Lord, but you still look like a wet rat after you swim." So respectfully said, "Ah, races, you going to try those also?" Wandering away again over to Tikva.

Felicia is determined that, in the least, she'll try to get ahead of Victus, just to try and rpove something to herself, but by the time the redhead climbs out of the water 'drowned rat' and 'a ghastly shade of blue' might well describe her, wringing out her linen chemise as she tries to catch her breath with a grin.

"Norwood! BARON NORWOOD! Come run this race with me!" Cristoph can be heard yelling at the top of his fool lungs from way over there. Sometimes he's just very loud. It turns out to not be necessary as Norwood approaches him and calls him a wet rat. He looks at him sad, anguished. /Betrayed/. He snorts softly at him and having dried off and pulled some more layers on that more appropriate, he jogs down to the racing line.

"At least a run might be a good way to warm up?" she ventures with a shiver, slower to join the line while she tries to coax some circulation back into her limbs.

"They are! Our sprint will be once around this sand track, but this long distance run will be three laps." Tikva stands beside the impromptu 'starting line'. "Pace yourself! Our long distance racers will be running for the prize of a 30,000 silver purse! With which you can do what you wish, of course."

Norwood keeps pace with Cristoph when he goes jogging. "Maybe if you had a beard." It's a random thought.

Caspian has joined the line.

Victus has joined the line.

Waldemai has joined the line.

Felicia has joined the line.

Norwood has joined the line.

Coraline has joined the line.

Cristoph has joined the line.

"That's for the best, like as as not. She seems to be real good at sociable things. A boon, I figure.", Arthen Dayne tells Gianna, a warm smile for the woman, while Sabella is running off to give the swimmers their proper aftercare. "Fancy seein' you here, though. I expect that means we're in for some good music.", he tells the woman, but her question about the race makes him shake his head, "Oh no. No racin' for me. I like to be chased if I'm goin' to run like that.", the explorer assures. His baby blue eyes swing over to Norwood then. "Baron Norwood! That name's been in the gossip. Congratulations on your.. uh.. promotion? That word doesn't seem to fit right, does it?".

Jordan heads on over to the area marked with the shells. "I've made second on the Gauntlet, this can't be too bad, right?"

Jordan has joined the line.

"Sit. Stay." Victus commands his shaggy hound, taking one cautionary step back. The dog at least understands 'sit', not so much 'stay' as she begins slowly butt-scooting across the sand to her master. With a roll of his eyes, he commands her to 'lay down' next as she promptly plummets into the sand. Then rolls on her back. With a shrug he joins the starting line, following in close step with Felicia. "Do you think the King will make me his new favorite if I beat you in the race?" He'd muse to her.

Deadlast. Perhaps the sea took pity on the shaman and when Signe finally made it to the finish line she allowed the waves to carry her exhausted frame to shore. Crawling along up the sands the northerner collapsed, a hand lazily patted the earth in relief to finally make it. Here she'll catch her breath and completely content to skip the next race while sprawled on the grainy sands.

Prince Biscuit, the seadog puppy have been dismissed.

Once at the starting line, Caspian stretches his legs, grabbing his ankles as he stands one one leg and pulls the other behind him, looking up and down the starting line. "Oh, so it's a long distance race. Wonder if anyone will drop out."

Lucita watches as the swimmers come out of the water and others start to line up for the race. "Oh, That was you, Mistress Helia! Good try, I was not sure till you got out at the finish." She then looks toward those lining up. "There is Master Waldemai! Good luck to you in the run if you are running!" She glances toward Alexio to murmur. "mmm, I've visited Southport, helped Duchess Calypso there with some negotiations, but am originally from Granato and married into the Saiks. If you have not met Master Waldemai as yet, he is from Southport, too."

"I'm hardly his majesty's favorite, your Grace." Felicia snorts at Victus with a grin,"But I'm certain that the Lord Commander might consider you if you decided to join the Silver Swords?" she suggests with a loft of her brow. The dog merits a laugh with a shake of her head, shaking out her hands and stomping her feet to try and get some circulation back,"I mean, who else can claim to have forged the river Crow?"

"If you are hoping I will then you can keep dreaming. I intend to push this one hard and the whole idea is you will be eating my dirt, since I had to eat your wake." Cora says in reply to Caspian she grins at Victus, "Too bad it isn't a team thing again."

Sabella brings Signe over a nice warm towel and drapes it on her like a blanket, "You're braver than I am for going out there!" She tells the exhausted woman cheerfully, "Is there anything I can get you to warm you up? Hot chocolate? Tea? Brandy?" She inquires helpfully. "I've also got more towels!"

Gianna nods confidently to Arthen. "You shall. Also, Prince Niklas will play," she tells him, gesturing to her patron. Watch, she'll probably fail spectacularly because of this little joke. "Ennoblement," she suggests. "Elevation to the peerage?"

Alexio smiles toward Helia as she comes to join them once again. "You did good," he tells her with a congratulatory tone. "If I had joined, someone would have had to come and find me at the bottom out there," he says with a laugh at his own expense.

At where those races are starting Norwood catches Arthen talking to him and turns slightly to smile. "Promotion would be Duke Cristoph giving me another army to lead." A nod towards Gianna, "What she said. Though, to be fair, formally courting Lady Margerie Keaton is //quite// a promotion."

Once the whole team of competitors has advanced to the starting line, Tikva holds her fist in the air, counts down, "Ready, and, one, two, three... Go!"

"I think my current oaths bind me to the ground firmer than a brick in the sea. Leona would be pretty upset." Victus replied evenly, dipping down to plant his palms on the sand and streeeetch deep. Limber as could be! "If I had a paddle this race would already be over. Shame, ain't it?"

Caspian checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.

Victus checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Cristoph checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 52 higher.

Felicia checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.

Coraline checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 49 higher.

Jordan checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 59 higher.

Norwood checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.

Waldemai checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 8 higher.

Waldemai immediately rumbles off into last place. Too much time in the forge and too many buckets of ale!

"I could promote you again, if you want! But I feel like you're kind of-" and it's time to run. Cristoph is a much better runner than he is a swimmer and he takes off, pulling to the front of the pack and keeping pace there. For now.

As the call to start goes out, Cora is concentraiting on getting ahead of Caspian, and just manages, however a couple of other speed demons seem out on the track today and take the lead, mild cursing comes from Cora.

Seems as though Jordan is not slow on the uptake, keeping a very narrow lead on the rest of the runners after his start.

Signe slowly rolls onto her back, fatigued and still wearing a lazy smile. "Yah? Some might say insane. Mountain folk don't belong in the ocean!" She laughed, patting along the towels offered to keep the chill at bay. "My thanks Princess Sabella, hot chocolate would be wonderful." Signe craned her head towards the racers, her braided hair heavily soaked. "Still fun though. Think I've drank enough seawater to become a water spirit."

"I noticed Prince Niklas had a banjo. I can pick a banjo out of a crowd real easy. Done a bit of it myself, out on the road. Good way to pass the time between nightfall and sleep. If you're not worried about bein' heard.", Arthen Dayne goes on to tell Gianna, affably, his demeanor a thing of ease. "Ennoblement. I knew there was a word I was lookin' for there.", he admits with a snap of his fingers, "Thanks for that.", he tells her.

Norwood is a little awkward with the whole starting-the-run-thing because he was being all in love with his soon-to-be-wife and talking about her. So, yes, running. That's a thing he should do. He's far behind Cristoph but takes the time to yell back, "I'M A LITTLE BUSY FOR THAT THANKS."

Run run run run, run run run run. Caspian runs from the starting line at a fast yet steady pace, not sprinting, but just fast enough to be a steady clip to not tire himself out. Though a few people pass him, and he calls out, "Hey!" in protest, and gives Coraline a playful glower when she passes him as well!

"Eleanor, your grace. Lord Commander Leona stepped down." Felicia notes for Victus with a laugh. She's still shaking off the water, definitely, or well, not so used to running barefoot on sand. Something of a zombies shambling 'grace' rather than a loping wolf in her stride as the pack sets off.

"I would have saved you, of course!" There's a mock-boastful tone to Helia's voice as she stands with one hand on her good hip, the other hand plucking bits of seaweed out of her dripping hair. Lifting one of the salty flecks up for inspection, she wrinkles her nose then flicks it to her side, away from Alexio. "I'm terribly heroic like that!" Then she looks around, focusing on where the race has started. "So, are you having a good time so far?"

Tikva cheers in a fairly indiscriminate fashion for her runners as they head around the track, and at the close of their first lap her voice trills past their ears.

"I know! I pulled her off that burnin' ship in Setarco!" Victus shouts back as they set off, keeping an even pace with the rest of them. His breathing controlled enough that he could keep barking at Felicia all the while. "But Leona is still an ice-queen of my blood, therefore I have to listen to her, or she puts on that fucking frowning face! I /hate/ her frowning face, Dame! It's AWFUL!"

Victus checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.

Jordan checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Sabella gestures for someone to bring Signe a nice, steaming hot chocolate! "I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. I'm cold just thinking about it! You fared far better than I would have. Festivities would have come to a halt so that I could be rescued." She pauses to look over at the runners as they round the bend, "Go Sir Jordan!" Sabella calls out when she sees him in the lead!

Caspian checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Waldemai checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 4 higher.

Cristoph checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 50 higher.

Norwood checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Coraline checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.

Felicia checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

"Ahhh, yes. Of course you would. If there is one thing that I have thought of you since we met, it is that you are most heroic," Alexio says toward Helia, reaching forward to pull another piece of seaweed from her hair and toss it to the ground. "I have been conversing with a few people that I met earlier," he says, gesturing toward Niklas, Sabella, and Gianna. "And I just met Baroness Lucita," he says with a wave toward Lucita.

Another middle slow down for Cora as Caspian edges ahead a bit and there are others passing her, her cursing gets a bit louder at this.

Waldemai seems quite content to bring up the rear. "Finishing is the real victory," would be what he would say if he wasn't so out of breath.

Pushing herself to sit upright Signe rewrapped herself in the towels then graciously accepted the hot chocolate. After a few sips she shared Sabella's mirth. "Someone would have enjoyed that. To rescue a Princess. Think of the sonnets and poems composed." Following Sabella's gaze towards the runners, she cheered from beach.

"Preaching to the choir, your grace!" Felicia yells at Victus, huffing a laugh as she tries to actually not make an embarressment of herself in the race. The wet linen also not an aid to the running, even if her fish-belly pale legs weren't a fright. But at least she stops lurching like she's about to start calling for brains.

Norwood is totally running. The sand's making it rather difficult though so Norwood is going to just glare at it. Really sand. Must you be squishy?!

Jordan loses a bit of his lead, and indeed, is surpassed by Cristoph as he marches on. Steeling himself, he tries to make up for it in the last lap. There's a smile flashed to Sabella for her cheering, but he can't quite stop and bow, so instead he'll wave as his feet pound into the sand as he tries to quicken the pace.

Cristoph finds his pace, the one that he can maintain decently and falls into it. It's fun running at top speed! He calls out loudly, enjoying being on land. Land is good.

"AND the FINAL LAP," calls Tikva as they kick up sand around the bend. (Stupid squishy sand.)

More and more people pass Caspian. He is no Waldemai, but the gap between them gets further and further apart. Him and Coraline are neck and neck though! So at least what he can do is beat her!

Coraline has rolled a critical success!
Coraline checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 112 higher.

Cristoph checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 91 higher.

Caspian checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Norwood checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Felicia checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 25 higher.

Jordan checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.

Victus checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

"That's right!" Helia chirps, because of course, she is the Most Heroic Ever. When Alexio plucks that bit of seaweed from her tangled up hair, she smiles in thanks, then nods as she mentions the people he was speaking to. Then she waves at Lucita when she hears her name, grinning brightly. "Ah, Baroness Saik! My most wonderful patron!"

Waldemai checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Waldemai picks up the pace but fails to make up any ground. Fortunately the wind of Coraline's passing has stirred up an excellent breeze.

Norwood is just way too preoccupied with the sand being squishy to make up any ground on this last lap. Instead he'll stay comfortably with the rest of the pack and share some air to shout, "GO CRISTOPH!" since they're like, up there, loving the land good.

Seeing Caspian pass her briefly has somehow made Cora dig into her very soul and push hard for that run making up lost time and at the very least beats Capsian so neener nee.

Sabella winces as a couple of the runners get a second wind, "I think I just distracted Sir Jordan. Perhaps next time I will just cheer generically for all of those competing," she muses with a nod like that's a better idea. Then everyone can lose! She blinks a few times as Coraline just rushes past everyone. "Oh, wow! Looks like Princess Coraline was saving her energy for this last sprint!"

It's a very close finish, but it is "DUKE CRISTOPH!" that Tikva yells with the full force of her lungs, and moves forward to bring him his purse.

The line has been dismissed by Tikva.

Jordan just slows down completely when both Coraline and Cristoph dart forth like they're half-arrow and half-human. He nods to the winners and heads back to his seat.

Panting and after Tikva gives the purse, Cora smiles to Cristoph, "VEry well run your Grace, very well run indeed,"

Fully recovered enough to stand, Signe presses herself to rise from the beach just as the race comes to an end. The shaman raised her half drained mug of hot chocolate, "Well done contestants!"

Alexio claps for the runners as they finish out the race, then his eyes shift toward Helia. "Are you going to be jumping into any more last minute races?" he questions with a grin.

Oh noes! Coraline is leaving Caspian in her dust! He runs and runs, hand reaching out for the woman's back, as if to catch her. But no. He doesn't even get third. And once he reaches the end he moves up to Coraline, bumping his shoulder in her, "You didn't get first, but you put me to shame!"

"Good job Duke Victus!" When Norwood and the duke pass the line at the same time. He won't stay there for long as he goes to pound on Cristoph's back some nice victory pats.

Felicia should run more, and talk less, clearly, but at least by time she crosses the line she's warmed up again finally, dredging her sopping wet hair from the back of her neck and pinning it in place with her hairpins as she applauds the winners with a broad grin, cheeks pink from the exertion and chemise still dripping.

Clapping her hands as she jogs back to the start of the track, Tikva says, "What a great run! Good job, runners! Now, for our next game, it's going to be a sprinter's race! It'll be fast and dirty! Just once around the track, running all out, as /fast as you can/! If you think that's your race and you want to compete in the sprint, come on over here and warm up!"

Laughing Cora grins to Caspian, "Naw, you ran a good race too. This was fun, I know I am far too competative for my own good but damn I wanna win. I know, I am horrible, I just want it.!"

When they make it to the end, Cristoph skids to a stop and puts his hands on his knees. He catches his breath and looks around for Coraline, because he absolutely noticed her FLY up on him and nearly pass him. "Nicely done!" He calls out to her before Norwood slaps him and almost makes him fall over.

Norwood is just being a supportive Baron.

Gianna sighs, flicking her hair over her shoulder. "Please let the music competition be n.... oh. Sprinting." There's a pause. "That will be exciting."

"No, it's understandable, everyone wants to win," Caspian says back to Coraline as he walks with her back over to the starting line, a little bit breathless. "Well shit. Long distance before the sprint? That's punishing."

Victus slows to a halt alongside Norwood as they both round out the pack. Coming to a stop, he kicks up a bit of sand with the recoil of his stop. A brow goes up to Norwood. "Duke?" He cocks his head to the side. "Thanks." And he's off to the next race, no rest for the weary!

Tikva has joined the line.

Norwood has joined the line.

Victus has joined the line.

Caspian has joined the line.

Cristoph has joined the line.

Helia joins Alexio in appaluse for the runners, hearty loud claps of her hands and everything. And then she turns her attention back to him and shakes her head. His question has her chuckling, "Oh Gods, no. I'm done with running until I can rest up."

Cora waves to Cristoph with a grin, and nods to Caspian, "That will be. I dunno do i sit this one out? Princess Tikva, is there anything after this one?"

"Amazing job, Duke Cristoph! Did you imagine bees were chasing you?!" Sabella calls out with a big smile, "And great job Princess Coraline! It was so close!" She applauds all the runners as they move on to their next event or next drink. Either one!

Jordan has joined the line.

"The bees love me! They don't chase me!" Cristoph calls back to Sabella. "They chase other people!" ...What?!

"They chase you when you squish them!" Norwood's just going to say before pausing and turning back. "//Prince Victus//. Slip of my tongue, forgive me."

Coraline has joined the line.

"No, I will not." Victus immediately fires back with a stern look on his face. It holds for all of a second before he snorts and haunches with laughter. "Buy me a drink and we'll forget all about it."

"We sprinters," Tikva hollers, "will be competing for the prize of six of the finest exotic pelts! Ready... set..."

Caspian checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.

Coraline checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 31 higher.

Tikva checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Norwood checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 8 higher.

Jordan checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 2 higher.

Victus has rolled a critical success!
Victus checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 100 higher.

Cristoph checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 30 higher.

"Done!" Norwood says to Victus before, wait! Running! THAT IS A THING.

"Done!" Norwood says to Victus before, wait! Running! THAT IS A THING.

Huff. Huff. Jordan can't really catch a breath when he hears that the prize is a generous /six exotic pelts/. And that's just perfect to get a damn cloak made! So he runs back to the starting line, except he's exhausted, and just sort of barely makes it halfway through the sprint before he collapses into the sand, face-down.

It's a very quick race and the sand flies, spitting dust behind them, but Tikva is already laughing as Victus leaves her TOTALLY in his dust.

And with the Go Cora runs like anything, air has no meaning she can see the finish she can seee....Victus butt as he blows past her and everyone else. Her cursing as she crosses the finish line is loud enough to be audible between hacking coughs and gasps for air.

Felicia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 3 lower.

"...are they chasing Prince Victus right now?" Sabella calls out to Cristoph considering Victus' blink-and-you-miss-it run.

"...Did someone light that man's ass on fire?" Gianna asks, brow furrowed as she watches.

Despite his better judgement, Cristoph drags himself to the next race. He looks as tired as he can be when the sprinting race starts. He event attempts to slap Norwood in the back, but MISSES. He should know better. They start running, he's not doing to- oh. Well, alright.

Drink after the race? The fire has been ignited. Gondor calls for aid. All of that, as Victus goes sprinting ahead of the back at a sudden burst of speed. He's still wet, leaving a trail of damp sand in his wake as he explodes down the beach!

Blink blink blink. Helia watches wide-eyed Victus as just LEGS IT. Impressive stuff! But then she turns back to Alexio and whispers something to him with a casual nod.

"I've never seen anyone run that fast," Tikva wheezes a little hoarsely, as she goes to collect the winner's bag and then moves, skipping and staggering a little, to provide it to him.

When she can speak again Cora gives Victus a pat, "Well...run..High...lord." this said between trying to get air into her lungs.

Lucita says, "Impressive! That.. is just impressive!" She gives a little cheer for all those racing."

Norwood is just... going to slow down.... and come to a stop when Victus just... does that. Cool. "Well. That was impressive." Understatement, they name is Norwood. A whisper to Cristoph.

It doesn't matter where Caspian places. Somewhere in the middle of the pack. But Victus just beats everyone, and the man is left to do nothing but stare wide eyed as Victus runs crazy fast. When he's done he pants, shaking his head as he says, "Good gods, your grace, did you want a drink that bad?"

Sprint? Sprint! Today is not Felicia's day. The sprinters take off, and the Harrow makes it perhaps a dozen steps before she manages to simultaneously find a broken shell, and a faceful of sand *THUMP*, legs over head, it might be an impressive headstand if it was intentional. But as it is, it just looks like she tried to plow the beach with her face.

After a moment's conversation, Alexio offers Helia his arm once more before turning and leading her over to take a seat to watch the rest of the races, the man settling down to rest his back against the trunk of a nearby tree.

Alexio has joined the Beneath Trees.

Helia has joined the Beneath Trees.

Still sopping wet, Helia follows Alexio to the tree, and rests her back on the other side of it. Phew!

Victus sucks in a breath like his chest was about to collapse after his bull-headed charge comes to a stop. Now not only is he damp, but he's also practically covered in sand from the chest down with all the excess kicked up after all of that. He spins right around to see the others catch up, giving them a wide toothy grin to one and all. "My thanks to ya', Princess." He muses to Tikva, giving an extra rough pat on the back to Coraline just before his eyes move to Caspian next. "I mean... I was a thirsty."

Signe winced in witnessing Felicia's faulter, "Ouch! Shake it off Dame Felicia!"

The line has been dismissed by Tikva.

Norwood pulls out his hat and presses it onto his head as the only appropriate thing to do right now. He also goes to find a bottle of something or other and returns to hand it to Victus. Because wow.

"Oof," Cora says at the extra rough pat then grins, "Well now we know how to get you out of that streak you were in. You can't say you haven't won anything now, now can ya?"

Breathing in quick puffs, Tikva jogs lightly back to a more centrally located point. "Now," she says. "We have a number of volunteers who have agreed to break into teams so that our leaders can really demonstrate how good they are at leading. While the children watch and our musicians play, if you want to try your hand at leading a parade of troops, come and join this game!"

Oh, no. "Please excuse me," Sabella says in a rush to Sign before bounding her way (not nearly as fast as even the slowest runners!) over to Felicia to offer her a hand up, "Dame Felicia, are you quite all right?"

Coraline has joined the line.

Cristoph laughs and pats Norwood on the back. "Ooh, leading a parade! That sounds good. Lets go." And he drags this poor man off again to another contest. This is fine.

Cristoph has joined the line.

Caspian has joined the line.

Sabella has joined the line.

Victus gives the widest grin of all to Norwood when he returns with a bottle of booze. "Baron Norwood, a finer man of service I've never seen." He says all fit and proper before horking down a good portion of the bottle right then and there. He'd damn near need it for this leadership contest next!

Victus has joined the line.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Victus before departing.

Signe has joined the line.

Still panting Cora trots over to get into line because dammit she will do all the things and either win at /something/ or at least say she did her best dammit!!!

Norwood is dragggggeeeddd by Cristoph in the direction of leading a parade. Okay, that's cool. They can do that.

Felicia horks up a mouthful of sand as she dredges herself up and scrapes what she can from her face before accepting the hand up with a groan,"Bloody sand attacked me." she insists, then gives a laugh,"Gods, that was embarressing. Thank you, your highness." she offers with a wry smile, apparently electing not to try her hand at commanding right now.

Coraline checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Coraline checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 46 higher.

Lucita considers the parade portion for a long moment then shakes her head. " I think I make a better spectator for this, Every parade needs someone to watch it and cheer them on!"

Tikva claps her hands as people line up for this. "Here you all will be competing for the finest of stygian and iridescite!"

Sabella gestures for one of the waiters milling about to bring over a tray of drinks for Felicia to choose from, "Well, the best way to get back at it is to kick it hard and enjoy yourself," she says with a laugh, before turning to grin at Tikva, "I'm going to try this one, although I'm very rusty at giving orders beyond where to place a table or a flower arrangement."

The volunteers for the parade begin to assemble into small groups behind each of the competitors, looking attentive as they listen for the orders.

Norwood has joined the line.

Norwood checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.

Sabella checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.

Still a touch damp, Signe uses one of the towels to drape across her head and wrap her hair. As the next challenge didn't require any further physical exertion she eagerly joined the others. In passing the previous challenge winners Signe offered a pat on the shoulder of congratulations to Coraline, Cristoph and Victus. "Well done you three!" Still rubbing the towel through her soaked braids as the volunteers gather. "This is going to be so much fun. Too bad they are not puppies."

Victus checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 40 higher.

Signe checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.

Cristoph checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.

Caspian checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.

Waldemai likes a parade. Everyone likes a parade!

Gianna shifts her weight from foot to foot impatiently as she watches the whole parade competition gear up. The Whisper manages not to sigh. Look. Some Whispers are better at being patient and diplomatic than others. Gianna is the kind of Whisper who sings and entertains and should never, ever be present to try to sooth a problem that requires diplomacy.

Caspian checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

A messenger arrives, delivering a message to Victus before departing.

Cristoph has never really led a parade before! But he can use his imagination to tell him how this is supposed to go. It involves a lot of unnecessary arm waving that's supposed to look very official. Apparently it's official enough, because the volunteers follow his directions. Even if they do occasionally look confused.

Norwood doesn't parade, so he's just going to look out of the side of his eye at the others. Especially Cristoph, doing the whole parade thing. Wave arms. Norwood can do that. Energetic Arm Waving.

Caspian...well...no one ever said he was good at leading a group. He marches ahead of his parade, big, high steps, dynamic arms, he looks good while doing it, but he isn't really doing much of the leading part, and this troop begins to stray a little bit off to the side, and he has to course correct halfway through!

Sabella glances over her shoulder at the volunteers behind her, which it turns out are mostly children. And mostly girls, looking up at the sparkly tiara of the Princess, "Okay everyone, let's make this fun for everyone! Left, right, left, right, and skip!" She manages to lead them through the first four steps beautifully, but the skip is where a number of them just kind of stumble or miss it entirely. Still, everyone is giggling.

Victus for all intents and purposes does /not/ look the part of an all-leading general. He's filthy, he's got a prize bag slung over his shoulder, and he's also drinking every now and then between all of that. But that still doesn't change the fact that the man is loud and scary, as his authoritative voice rings out for the soldiers to follow. It's not pretty, but it gets the job done as they march across the beach.

Tikva cheers and claps as the parade marchers go, laughing.

Victus checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.

Sabella checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.

Norwood checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.

Cristoph checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 26 higher.

Signe checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 33 higher.

Half-Mast, a surly little person leaves, following Arthen.

Caspian checked charm + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.

Caspian checked command + leadership at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.

Signe's all smiles with her volunteered group to lead. "Here we go!" To ensure the group traveled as one the northerner took lead in singing, creating a rhythm for the troops to follow. "Hold your head and hold it high, Signe's troops are marching by! Step in line and gather up! Then as we pass just watch our butts!"

After that first bit Norwood is fairly sure he's got this thing down. Lift up arms, put them down again. Take quick small steps. Then quick big steps. Go back a step! Forward a step! Make that squishy sand fly.

This time! Yes, this is the time! Now halfway through the march, Caspian keeps his troop steady! Yay! I mean, that's all they do, no fancy tricks or thrills here, just straightness! It's the best he can do though!

Cristoph completes his circuit the volunteers, laughing brightly at the end. His group may not have been most focused, but he seems to have enjoyed his time with them. There are high fives all around and he goes to find Norwood, "I think the next contest might involve singing. How about we get some ale and just enjoy this part of it?" He pauses and then cuts a knowing look at him. "Or should we /try/."

Signe checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.

Sabella twirls around to conduct the same series of steps, but backwards as she smiles brightly at those following her. "Great job, everyone! I daresay if we were a real parade the whole of Arx would've turned out to see us marching and skipping and having a wonderful time! I--oh," she falters on one step as a little girl grabs her dress, "Yes, it is quite nice isn--oh," another one is pulling the other side. "Is is very pretty. I also like the flowers that--ah," suddenly she finds herself pulled down into the sand with dozens of sandy fingers and shrieking children reaching out to feel the very nice dress and the Princess' very shiny hair and her very, very sparkly tiara, "Let's just--ouch--okay that's--you're all very enthusiastic aren't you?" She says with forced cheer and not complete panic or anything.

Gianna tilts her head at Sabella and her procession, watching with blue eyes that get wider and wider. Then the Princess is going down in the sand in her fine dress and Gianna outright laughs. She doesn't point, but she's clearly enjoying this way too much.

After the next twirling march of the troops, Tikva murmurs in consultation with a few convenient other judges, and then claps and raises her voice with bright cheer, "Thank you all so much for competing, but after comparing all of our competers in this grand parade, we must award the prize to High Lord Victus, who has demonstrated his leadership before us all! It's like he's used to leading soldiery or something, who knew?"

The line has been dismissed by Tikva.

Norwood gives Cristoph a LOOK. It involves STARING at the younger man for a long time before a smalllll smile finally peeks under that graying beard of his. "Do you remember that song... about the busy buzzing bees?"

Waldemai cheers Victus

Caspian laughs as Sabella gets mobbed by children, approaching her as he waves his hand to the kids, "Okay little tykes! You're hurtin' the princess! She'll let you see her dress one at a time!"

"Yeah, the one the nanny used to make kids sing at Artshall." Cristoph is looking back at Norwood now, eyebrow raised. "Quick, we're going to need to drink if we do this."

"And for our final competition of tonight's Tournament, I invite all of you to join me and my fellow musicians in a duel of music!" Tikva moves to collect her own instrument from where it was awaiting this part of competition. "Come and join me around the benches and we will compete. Everyone who isn't playing, get ready to applaud! Musicians need it for fuel, you know!"

Victus brings his soldiers to a halt and with another command executed, they turn to regard the crowd. The shirtless, sandy High Lord faces them as well as he's crowned the victor. "Celebrate, you lot. We've won!" The soldiers give their light-hearted applause. "I SAID FUCKING CELEBRATE DAMN YOU!" That roar turns the muted applause to a sudden onset of hooting and hollering with joy. The Prince looks satisfied.

Tikva gets Amanita, a secunda balalaika from instrument case slung across the back on linen straps.

Gianna manages to get her laughter down to a giggle and composes herself on the way to join Tikva at the benches. She absently adjusts the pegbox on her gittern, but it's already in tune.

Norwood is just going to nod at that. Because they're ABSOLUTELY going to need some fortification. "Maybe Prince Victus would share. I believe someone handed that to me after learning about the courtship."

Sabella gives Caspian a grateful look and the kids seem to mostly listen to him. Mostly. Slowly they withdraw with some complaints that they just really liked her dress/hair/tiara. One little girl looks up at Caspian defiantly, as only one age four can, and announces, "I do whatever I want!" For her part, Sabella gets to her feet, brushing sand off her skirt, "Thank you, Master Caspian! I thought by avoiding the swimming I wouldn't need rescuing today, but sometimes I think it is just my lot in life!"

Niklas silently mouths 'competers?' as he crosses over to where Sabella was being mobbed. "Ah, Grandmaster. Thank you! You've saved the day, I think." Niklas brings his banjo back around and nods toward Tikva. "You're not going to get up there and play? It's be a shame not to hear you sing!"

Jordan makes his way out of the beach quietly, once he manages to pat the sand out of his boots, that is. Nobody likes sand in boots.

Niklas has joined the line.

Gianna has joined the line.

Lucita moves toward Tikva and holds her vielle. a little grin given.

Lucita has joined the line.

Signe has joined the line.

"Oh, instruments. I think I still want that drink though. Prince Victus!" Norwood calls out, "Any chance of you sharing that drink?"A finger pointing to himself and Cristoph.

"Oh, no, I'll play," Tikva assures Niklas. "If I win, I'll give the prize away, that's all." She smiles widely at Lucita and hoists her balalaika.

Waldemai cheers when Lady Lucita goes out to join the singers. "You show them how it's done, my lady," he calls.

"I could just get us two drinks." Cristoph tells Norwood, tugging him along. "And then we don't have to share the same cup?" Cooties.

Victus' gaze travels over to Norwood and Cristoph yet again. "Oh, sure. Matilda! MATILDA!" With a sharp whistle his hound comes running up to him, having rolled around in the beach quite enough to become sufficiently dirty as well. He rummages around in the coat he was carrying, eventually producing a big bottle of whiskey which he tosses over to Norwood. They may have to share. The horror! "I'd offer you the one you gave me but I've gotten my mouth all over it by now."

"Oh yeah?" Ask Caspian down to to the little girl, giving her a grin. "Guess what? No you can't!" He says back to her with a grin. "Now, I need to go play music, so you be a good girl and listen, or we're gonna have to find your parents." And with that, Caspian grabs his lute and heads off to go play some tuuuunes.

Gianna's lips curve up at the corners at the mention of a prize. Her air is a calculating one. Also, kind of greedy. Greedy. Outright greedy.

Tikvaine

Lucita says, "I'll give it a try. Am a little rusty, have not been practicing the way I should. Twins have been rather distracting and there was no time to really do so when I was in Saikland not too long ago."

Caspian has joined the line.

Sabella leans in to give Niklas a quick kiss, "For luck! Not that you'll need it. And those I've been cheering today have not won. So...should I cheer for Princess Tikva this time?"

"Nevermind, my apologies!!" Norwood calls out, because Cristoph is pulling him in that direction of over there and no cootie infested drinks. Ewwwwwww.

Tikva checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 58 higher.

Caspian checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 60 higher.

Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 52 higher.

Niklas calls out to Tikva, "Good enough!" Then looks back to Sabella, eyes wide, expression so sad it must be a put on. He lifts ea h of her hands so he can kiss the backs of them. "There's nothing I can do to get you to come and sing? Come along and give this world a treat."

Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 73 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.

Caspian drops a dark stained lute with a golden sound hole.

Sitting down with his lute on his lap, Caspian begins to improvise a little tune, plucking away at the strings as he plays a light and airy song for the crowd once it is his turn to play. He sings along with the song, a short song of a pauper pining for a princess from a distance, too poor and too unknown to ever get close to the object of his affection. It's a sad song with lots of flowery notes but no happy ending.

Sabella shakes her head at Niklas as that little girl goes wide eyed and running off at Caspian's parent threat. "I've already competed once tonight, it's your turn!" She replies with a warm smile. Once he's headed over to the other performers, she turns to go get herself one of those delicious hot chocolates. "What?" She asks Elizabetta who is looking at her askance, "So I didn't swim and these were for the swimmers. I supervised!"

Tikva starts picking at her balalaika, fingers skipping over the strings as she hums a low, thrumming note, strum strum strum, and the music begins to thread mellow warmth from her instrument. It's a sweet alto counterpoint, lovely and quick. She's not the finest of the performers, but she seems pleased not to embarrass herself in the first run.

Lucita lifts the Vielle in place and and lets the lapping of the waves on the beach and the wind set the tempo and rhythm. The notes she plays are intricate and weave in and out of the ambient sounds, making them part of the song she plays, a song of the wind and sea. She becomes lost in the music and it takes a little while for the song to come to an end.

Caspian checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.

Tikva checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.

Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 56 higher.

Gianna's turn; she plucks at her gittern, though her real instrument is her voice. Her contralto soars as she sings a song about mermaids. It doesn't have quite the same skill as the others, and her tune is not nearly as haunting.

Gianna has rolled a critical success!
Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 127 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 43 higher.

Waldemai wows. "She's like a songbird," he says.

Sitting with her back against the tree under which she sits, Helia sways to the music of each performer. Lucita's song seems to have the greatest hold on her, though. She closes her eyes and smiles at the lovely sounds that carry towards her on the breeze.

Having once more performed well but not well enough in the leadership event, Cora congratulates her Highlord once more on his achievements then heads off to listen to music. Settling down he listens with great appreciation.

Gianna's song thereafter also has Helia swaying and smiling. Pretty!

And then once it's Caspian's turn again, he sings a new tune, plucking away at his lute as plays another tune. For fun, he adds a few lyrics at the end.

"Victus had a bad ictus

Which gave him a big rictus

So he climbed a eucalyptus

And shouted,

I will be invictus!"



Tikva's music stays quick and sprightly, though her strings are a little less smooth and mellifluous as she plays on. She definitely does not add any puns, though.

Gianna rises to the occasion, and the song grows richer, more complex. Now her eyes are alight as the music takes hold of her. She sways as she plays, a skilled performer.

Felicia has been content to linger with her whiskey. At least a couple of whiskey's, maybe three, running and swimming and failing hard is hard work.

Sabella only has eyes, and maybe ears?, for Niklas, sitting across from him and beaming a brilliant smile his way as he plays. Her hands clasp together as she very slowly turns to look at Gianna and her song as well, eyes going a bit wide. Then she laughs and leans over to say to Helia, "There, see? I was just telling someone today it's not the plumage that makes a Nightingale great, it's the song!"

Tikva's fingers are still and quiet on her strings after Gianna finishes for a moment, caught in silence. But then it's time for another round for her, and she clears her throat and lifts her voice to rise in accompaniment to her strings.

Caspian checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 61 higher.

Niklas just plays. He looks a little annoyed at the start in the first round, but he's gotten warmed up by the second go. Still, when Gianna takes off he snorts and sits back, shaking his head. "Damn. Someone should snap her up as a protege."

Tikva checked dexterity + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher.

Lucita checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.

Niklas checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 57 higher.

Gianna checked charm + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.

Turning to Sabella, Helia grins, " Indeed!" And then, with another smile, she adds, "This has been such a lovely event, Your Highness. You've all done wonderfully in arranging and hosting it."

Lucita chuckles softly and sets her music segue into something more upbeat, variations of a more popular song. She does not sing as she plays, just lets the instrumental music have its say. When done she lowers her bow and the vielle, listening to each of the others appreciatively and tucking the instruments to the side so she can give them all a round of applause. "Oh, that was fun, playing with you all, each so very skilled!"

Victus hoists his drink up high upon Caspian's contribution. "I dunno what it means, but preach it loud brother! Preach it loud!" The buzzed Prince wags his bottle this way and that as he sways with the music. Not dancing, heavens no, not dancing! But smoothly swaggering to the beat, yes.

Gianna's next round has got to be a disappointment after her last one, but... that was a tough act to follow. She opts for a cheerier song this time, too, but she can feel that the height she gained earlier is out of her reach again, and that frustrates her.

"I'm glad you've enjoyed it!" Sabella replies graciously to Helia, "Tomorrow night should be even more fun, though a touch more chaotic, I think what with the melee. Still, I hope that you'll return for it! Even just to watch. I certainly will not be getting in the ring."

When all the performers are through, Tikva leans back and waits with a bright smile on her face and a huff of laughter on her breath, and several of the musicians who didn't compete murmur together, comparing notes. Then one comes up to Tikva and murmurs something, and she nods gravely and says, "I think we must all agree that Gianna Whisper, the Nightingale of the Bard's College, is the winner of our prize this evening! Gianna, thank you for your beautiful playing, it was absolutely fantastic."

Caspian lets out a laugh back to Victus, giving him a little grin before he turns to those playing with him, saying, "This was the hardest competition out of all of them! Y'all are so good. Us together could make dragons weap with our playing!"

Waldemai cheers. "Someday you'll be as good as Lady Lucita," he calls.

Cora applauds, "Beautifully done all of you! WOOOOO!" Standing isn't going to happen cause Cora is pretty worn out at this point but hey, she can clap.

Gianna tips her chin up high as her name is called; a dazzling smile curves her lips, and it really and truly reaches her eyes this time. Performing is what makes her happy, and she basks in the applause and praise, triumphant. And she is very happy to claim her prize, too. "Thank you," she says, gracious in this at least. She gives a theatrical bow to the other musicians, and then to the crowd.

"That, everyone, is the end of our games for tonight!" Tikva hoists her balalaika high in the air and whoops. "So now, drink and eat and enjoy each other and the beach for the rest of the night until you tire of the party! For tomorrow's events are yet to come!"

Lucita sets the instrument carefully aside in the padded carryall she uses to carry it around. "A lively start to spring."

Lucita puts a maple wood vielle with a mellow tone in a feminine carryall in shades of green lake ripples at dusk.

Caspian picks up a dark stained lute with a golden sound hole.

"Oh, I am /totally/ going to be getting in that ring, I assure you." With a cheeky grin to Sabella, she adds, "Though I'm glad I won't be facing you. I'm sure you'd be a terrible and fearsome foe." That said, she applauds loudly for all the singers, raising her voice so they can hear her appraisal, "Fabulous! Beautiful!"

Caspian has left the In the Water.

Alexio raises his hands to clap them together as the competition comes to a close.

Niklas eyes his banjo before he swings it back around and heads back down to get some refreshments. "Congratulations, Nightingale. I think you are now that I was right in some of the things I've said to you." He gives her a significant look as he grabs himself something alcoholic and alcoholic. He glances sidelong at Waldemai before adding to Gianna, "Not much to be done about those who don't listen, though." Then he heads over to Sabella. "So, a dance contest tomorrow?"

"Now if you'll just excuse me for a moment, there's a little business I need to take care of... /please do/ keep enjoying the party!" Tikva waves her hand through the air, smiles at a few other people, and says, "Soon? Hell, I don't know," to Coraline before she turns and moves to the edge of the forest to talk to one of her assistants.

Confessor Imori, Confessor Warren, 5 Armed Confessors leave, following Tikva.

Cora blinks then laughs and grabs a drink before looking for a good place to wipe off sand and listen to music.

Gianna looks at the gemstones in her hand and curls her fingers around them. She's still bright and happy. "Thank you!" She glances in Waldemai's direction - or at least where he just was - and gives Niklas a puzzled look. One eyebrow arches. "I missed something, didn't I?" She certainly did.

"Dancing? Ha! None for me thank ya'." Victus calls across the dunes as he finishes off his drink and responsibly stores the empty bottle in his trouser pockets. He calls for his dog a second time, finally able to start getting dressed now that there wasn't anything else to be hurling himself into. His coat goes back on and the Prince ambles for the picnic table so he might enjoy the evening as the waves lap upon the shore.

Victus has joined the Wooden Picnic Table.

Coraline has joined the Wooden Picnic Table.

Sabella laughs and cheers for Gianna, "Amazing job, Mistress Gianna! I only had eyes for Prince Niklas, but my ears betrayed him to listen to your amazing song! I think you should be booking a few more singing jobs from this." She gives a wave to Tikva as she departs and shakes her head at Niklas, "No dancing, only fighting tomorrow. A jousting contest that I would thank you to not enter this time!" She leans in to give Niklas' cheek a quick kiss. "This was a lovely competition though! Hearing all of you sing together, so many different styles but all wonderful! I imagine this is what it must be like to watch a duel or a joust and know the different fighting styles and difficulties."

Felicia goes to join Merril at a distance with a grin,"Okay, sure, let's head off now, those books aren't going to read themmselves." she offers her aide.

Felicia is overheard praising Tikva.

Confessor Imori, Confessor Warren, 5 Armed Confessors arrive, following Tikva.

Gianna is overheard praising Tikva: So many contests and such lovely prizes!

Gianna is overheard praising Sabella: Finally, a tourney I can participate in! Best parade leader.

Seeing where Victus has decided to settle, Cora takes her drink and heads over to settle there as well. "A successful first day of the tournament I think, even if this is the first I have partaken in. Two events won as well, nicely done Victus, I think your not winning streak is well and truly broken."

Niklas calls out to Victus, "Perhaps jousting is more to your preference, then?" He pulls his banjo back up and plays a quick and spritely tune, "Prince Victus of Thrax once married his axe so he fought as if blessed from above. Tried his hand at the lance, but he refuses to dance, 'til Alarissa bested him at love."

Lucita is starting toward the path headed toward the city, a cheerful little wave goodbye given the others as she turns back to glance over the gathering once again.

1 Saik Guard, Gunther, a Rottweiler, Micana, Golden, an Oakhaven bloodhound leave, following Lucita.

Sabella grins at Niklas, "...wait. Are you saying Alarissa is his new axe? Because if so, I can believe it."

Victus snorts at Coraline's words. "Aye, just about makes up for my shit performance at darts and drinking the whole year 'round. Least the fancy metals will anyway." He jingles the bag a bit before setting it aside. "So that'll be Victus two and about... a dozen or so other competitions. Eh, it ain't too bad!" As he turns to look at Niklas, he just scoffs. "Horse-riding? Almost worst than dancin'." The jolly tune afterwards gets a roll of his eyes and a 'feh' hand-gesture the nee-Kennex's way.

Cora laughs at Nik's little ditty and gives one of her own, "Prince Niklas did love his rhyming, he even had good timing, his words were quite clever, boredom to sever, his entertainment value keeps climbing." she smirks rather pleased with herself.

"How witty Prince Niklas." Signe praised the impromptue song after acquiring a fresh mug of something heavily laced with alcohol. "That would give a whole new meaning to 'axe to grind' Princess Sabella." She jests while taking a quick survey of who remaied. "Are we rhyming now?"

Niklas eyes Sabella and says, "Don't think on it too hard, woman!" He twangs out a few more notes, then sings, "Let me sing you a song about Luca's broke dong and the shattered mess of his balls." He slaps the strings to stop the music and says, "Ah, too soon."

"Oh, rhyming schemes," Gianna says, her tone light. She still looks pleased with herself.

Standing up with her clothes still bundled in her arms, Helia grins at Alexio, whispers something to him and then waves goodbye, then bows to everyone around her. Then she walks off towards the Redemption, leaving footprints in the sand.

Helia has left the Beneath Trees.

Alexio has left the Beneath Trees.

Alexio leaves, following Helia.

Sabella looks at Niklas with wide eyes and then bursts out laughing, placing a hand on his shoulder as to not completely double over, "Don't you dare sing that when he can hear you, he knows to hit your hands!" She says between fits of laughter.

Cora yells out to Niklas, "I just complimented you in rhyme and I got nuttin, I can say it louder. Do I need to stand on the table and perform cause that won't end well." Cora shouts with a laugh.

Coraline is overheard praising Alarissa.

"Princess Coraline! Your rhymes were quite pleasant! Thank you!" calls out Niklas to Coraline. "Though I must admit that after Caspian sang about Victus climbing eucalyptus with a rictus the bar was lowered for us all."

Gianna inclines her head to Niklas and Sabella and saunters off, hips swaying, gittern in hand. She's even whistling as she goes.

Niklas nods to Sabella. "It does need work, doesn't it?" He taps the drum of his banjo for a moment, then tries again. "Let's all sing a song of Prince Luca's dong and the shattered remains of his scrote. A broken beanbag with a sad sort of sag, and his cock, chewed off by a goat." He stops there and adds, "Well, it's a work in progress. I'm sure it'll be ready in time for the Royal Singing Contest."

Signe gathers her belongings and calls for Atila. As the event winds down the shaman and husky take their quiet leave.

Sabella holds up a hand, "He is still my brother-in-law, if in name only and I do not need to hear anymore about his penis." She assures Niklas, though she does take his arm, "Did you know Master Alejandro is writing a song about me? And yet you only seem to write songs about your male friends." She starts pulling him towards the exit, "Do I need to pick up a sword or an axe to keep your creative attention?"

Niklas snorts at Sabella. "I've written songs about Grazia, Bastien, Sorrel and now Luca, none of them flattering! And the only one I'd call a friend would be Luca. But if a song about you is what you desire, then give me some time to come up with a rhyme and I promise I will make your heart melt. You've no need for swords for you've found the right chords to make me sing of the way that I've felt." Niklas pauses and says, "I should have been writing that down."

Cora waves to Sabella and Niklas, "Good day today, was fun. Enjoy the rest of it you two!"

Niklas waves to Coraline, then takes Sabella's hand and starts back to the city.

2 Grayson House Guards, Elizabetta, a disapproving lady-in-waiting, Lily, an aloof lady-in-waiting, Clark, an exasperated guard leave, following Sabella.

Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense, Sabella leave, following Niklas.



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